THURSDAY 16 NOVEMBER KALBARRI
Before breakfast, I wrote a letter to K, informing him that we would not be arriving home on the 14th, after all, but going to Healesville instead. I requested that he let us know a suitable arrival time for us, and also let us know how much the water rates were, when the bill arrives. I reminded him to make sure they left my photos and negatives of their wedding, and to put the cats into our room, on moving day. With the cats’ propensity for getting into boxes and vehicles, I could see them getting moved, too!
I then walked to the shops for fresh rolls, and a new film, and to post that letter.
I phoned Healesville and booked us into a drive through site for the 14th. I also booked us into the Coffin Bay Caravan Park – there was no problem about sites at the time we wanted to visit there.
It is all seeming horribly final!
We drove out of town the way we’d originally come in, for a short way, then took the unsealed road to the river gorges in the National Park.
First stop was at the Lookout, where the river was moderately cut into its valley. The river was a greeny colour, the valley walls red. Because the Murchison flows through sandstone layers here, the erosion has been spectacular, creating steep sided valleys and gorges.
Next stop was the Natural Window, where one looks through a dramatic hole in the rock cliff face, at the river and valley below.
We set out to walk the Loop Track, an 8km circuit, graded moderate – which in WA means quite hard. The track follows a great bend or loop in the river so you arrive back where you started.
The track started out along the top of the ridge, above the gorge, where walkers had built cairns along the cliff top – like at Barnett River Gorge track. There were good views of the deep gorge.
Then the track descended to the river level – quite a straight forward descent. However, it did occur to me that what goes down must at some stage, go up again!
The track then followed ledges alongside the river, through the gorge. This was harder going. A couple of the sections were not very enjoyable, given my dislike of heights and narrow ledges!
We ate lunch sitting on a rock ledge, admiring the striking outlook over the river and the layered cliff walls.
Carrying the backpack was making my back ache quite badly – more so than usual – and the heat down in the gorge, with no breeze to alleviate it, was making me tired, too, so John took the backpack for the last part.
The climb back up to the Natural Window was not too bad.
The bloody RAAF was inescapable! They were doing a practice rescue in the Gorge, and so the chopper was all about during the last part of the walk, making noise and stirring up lots of dust. We watched it land, from back up at the Natural Window.
We were pretty tired by then. Fortunately, some cloud had come over and there was some wind up top to make conditions a bit cooler. We even had a few spits of rain.
That walk took us four and a half hours. It would probably be the last decent walk of the trip.
We then drove to the Z Bend – so named because of the river course there – and did the 1km walk to the Z Bend Lookout. This was different again.
The wildflowers were brilliant. It would be most interesting to be in these parts for a whole spring season, one year.
This was the seventh National Park we have entered in WA, since buying the annual pass, back in Kununurra, so we have “saved” $63 in entry fees. That puts us ahead by $12 on its cost. It was, of course, meant to see us through maybe nine months of WA touring, which will not now happen, but it still has saved us a bit.
Whilst driving back to town, we decided we’d buy a new fridge to replace the broken down home one, which is over twelve years old. We also decided we’d look for a new mattress for the bed at home, similar to the one in the van, which we both find extremely comfortable.
Called at the shops for some V8 juice, to make “soup” for tea. We were too tired to go to the sausage and burger cook-up, put on by the park. I made a soup out of the juice, tomato, onion, garlic. John cooked himself whiting and chips. I had a small salad.
Overall, it was a great day of exercise and scenery.
This whole Kalbarri area was totally new for us, as we bypassed it in ’93.