Posts Tagged With: Coral Coast

Ningaloo Station

Ningaloo Station is a homestead to the south of Cape Range. Historically, four-wheel drive enthusiasts have used the crossing at Yardie Creek to make the trip from Coral Bay to Cape Range considerably shorter than having to go via Exmouth. Unfortunately for us the recent cyclones meant Yardie Creek was several metres deep and there had been a recent incident where someone had tried to cross the sandbar and ended up with his car written off. It was stuck for two days before it was retrieved. We took the main road, taking a brief diversion into the eastern side of Cape Range to visit the Charles Knife gorges, the main one, ShotHole Canyon was still closed from the recent cyclone. As well as commanding fabulous views across the peninsula, there are a number of well sites throughout the North West Cape where oil exploration had taken place in the mid 1950s. After drilling almost 4700m and not finding commercial hydrocarbons the wells were plugged.

 

On recommendations from WA locals, Brett and Doreen, and Gary and Pam, we had set our minds on visiting South LeFroy campsite on Ningaloo. The road in to the homestead was very corrugated and after an hour we arrived at a very dilapidated looking house surrounded by a huge flock of sheep and a handful of goats. Most of the coastal stations are for pastoral grazing and their 99 year leases will expire in June. The government is trying to reclaim the 2km coastal strip seeing potential to protect and/or develop the resource and regulars are concerned that their paradise will be lost forever, or will become too expensive. Currently dog-friendly, but lacking toilet and rubbish facilities, chemical toilets are required and rubbish needs to be taken with you when you leave.

A National Park style development would be ideal, however, the prospect of developing expensive eco-resorts would surely not bode well for the pristine coral reefs that lie metres from the beach in the crystal clear waters. We’ll watch this closely to see what happens.

A week at Ningaloo was not enough. We spent hours beachcombing or swimming over the reef. Reef sharks, turtles, abundant corals, and fish life proliferate. A short drive from the campsite took us over the sandhills, past the water bores to Norwegian Bay, the derelict site of an old whaling station. The rusting hulks of boilers and machinery littered the land behind the beach and made for some interesting exploration. The remnants of the old jetty and more machinery sit peacefully on the beach, now a marine reserve, and a solitary dolphin was hunting in the shallows 50m further along the beach.

A short diversion off the same road takes you to a popular fishing spot called Shark Alley. We visited several times, and couldn’t resist a snorkel. This was probably the clearest water but a strong current meant the kids had to be careful not to stray too far from the shore. Surprisingly though no sharks were spotted but more turtles and plenty of fish. Oscar’s new favourite fish was the giant unicornfish that really does have a unicorn protruding from the top of its head. We fished there and caught some of the most beautiful coloured wrasse and trigger fish. Nothing for dinner that day though.

On our last day Oscar and I were taken out fishing in the lagoon. One monster nearly pulled Oscar off the boat as he tried to reel it in, with me holding onto him, before it shook the hook. On the last cast of the day, with the sun having just set, I managed to land a legal sized spangled emperor, so no sausages for dinner!

 

Categories: Adventure, australia, Australian Outback, Beach, Big Lap, Camper Trailer, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, National Park, Natural World, Offroad, Photography, Photos, Travel, Travel Adventure, West Australia | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Waroora Station

The drive between locations has started to increase and the drive to Waroora Station included a brief pit stop in Carnarvon for restocking of fuel and food. We had a brief lunch by the water next to a kid’s park with an impressive flying fox. Some energy expended in the park means less to vent in the car (in theory anyway).

When we finally found the Waroora station turn-off it was corrugations for the next 45 minutes or so. Interestingly, Google and Apple maps did not agree on the directions, as Amanda and I didn’t, and some time later we arrived at the wrong campsite! We had heard wonderful things about Maggies but ambiguous signposts lead us to 14 Mile beach. On the way we admired a vista of giant red termite mounds, rising up to 3m skywards scattered across the pastoral landscape.

The grey nomads appeared to be well established there, with all their neatly lined up caravans facing the ocean, many with boats. Flags were hoisted, TV aerials in place, and many seemed to be set for long stays. The camp host directed us down to the “blow in” campsite, ostracised from the main sites, beyond the car turning point. It was exactly what we wanted, away from the rest, with only beach beyond us and metres from the lapping ocean.

It was our chance to try out our own chemical toilet, researched prior on the internet, as you are required to have one, or rent one from the homestead. We were all pleasantly surprised at its success, and with a dump point nearby it passed with flying colours.

The water here was beautifully warm and for the first time the Ningaloo Reef was tempting us, just out of swimming range, maybe half a kilometre out. The intention was an overnight stay but after an early morning walk down the beach revealed a small reef closer to the beach we decide to stay and try it out.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that the flies were at their most revolting here. This is where the flies were so thick we had to eat dinner in the car to control their numbers as we hadn’t bothered using an awning!

The reef was fun, quite small with a bit of a current but we all saw turtles, plenty of fish life and first glimpses of coral. The kids scoured the beaches looking for shells, and built houses in the sand dunes as the sun went down. The sunsets were marvellous, though we still haven’t witnessed a green flash sunset yet.

Interestingly, in July the 99 year leases on the land expire and for the first time the Department of Environment will not be renewing the coastal land. It looks like it will go under National Park management, resulting hopefully in better waste management and proper toilet facilities, rather than the makeshift open site provided by the homestead.

 

Categories: 4WD, Adventure, australia, Australian Outback, Beach, Big Lap, Camper Trailer, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Mitsubishi, Natural World, Offroad, Photography, Photos, Travel, Travel Adventure, West Australia | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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