This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

Leave a comment

2000 Travels November 6


Packed lunch again and drove back out to the Peron National Park.

Followed the same tyre routine as yesterday.

Just a little way beyond the homestead area, took the track to the left and went to Big Lagoon. This is, as the name suggests, a large shallow, almost land surrounded inlet on the western side of the peninsula.

Fishing was allowed here, so John set up for that – he’d bought bait in Denham this morning.

Whilst John fished, I went for a long walk on the beach to the left. The colours, contrasts and wildflowers were superb.

11-06-2000 01 big lagoon view.jpg

Big Lagoon

11-06-2000 02 Big Lagoon beach & rock.jpg

I walked back to John and found him happy, because he was catching flathead.

So I walked the other way along the beach and took yet more photos. It was such a brilliant place for photography. I saw sharks and stingrays close to shore – and close to each other!

11-06-2000 07 shark and stingray.jpg

Stingray and shark

11-06-2000 03 big lagoon peron np.jpg

Ate lunch at Big Lagoon.

It was such a beautiful spot that I think, has it not been for the 4WD sandy nature of the tracks, we’d have been very tempted to bring the van out here to stay – regardless of time!


After John had enough of fishing, we drove back to the main Cape track, north to the birridas area – which look to be kind of continuous with the top  of Big Lagoon – then took the track east to Herald Bight. We’d not had time to see this yesterday.

We came to a place on the Bight track where there was a Disco, apparently bogged. There was no one there. They had laid long lines of dead scrub and branches in the wheel tracks – which could be a way to wreck their tyres too, because that stuff is sharp. Idiots! It did not appear that the tyre pressure had been reduced at all on that Disco, either.

We found a way around the stuck vehicle – and the section of track he’d messed up – and continued on to the Bight.

11-06-2000 04 Big Lagoon contrasts

Herald Bight

There, we walked on the beach – very pleasant.

By the time we headed back, the Disco was gone. We caught up to him at the junction of the Herald Bight track with the main one. Being towed! It was a young guy. He told us he wasn’t bogged, but the  transmission pipe had split and he was overheating?? That did not ring true – it did not account for all the branch laying stuff we’d seen, which had clearly been him. Hmmm….

Another long but brilliant day. We drove 112kms.

Tea was gazpacho again, followed by savoury mince and noodles.

11-08-2000 from denham.jpg

Leave a comment

2000 Travels November 5


I was able to walk down the street and buy the Weekend Australian.

The day was sunny but not hot.

Got ourselves organized with a packed lunch and drove a short way out the road towards Monkey Mia, then turned north to go to the Peron National Park.

The Francois Peron National Park, to give it the full title, extends across the top part of the peninsula. It was a sheep property until 1990, and became a National Park in 1993.

11-05-2000 peron np.JPG

The road went to the old homestead. Beyond that point, the tracks through the Park are very much 4WD, so we let air out of the tyres before going any further.

Today’s mission was to explore more of the Park than we’d had the chance to do in ’93. So we followed the track towards the tip of the peninsula. It was varied going that Truck handled well. In parts, we churned through sand. The only part that we had any concern about was where the track skirts the edges of birridas – salt pans that look dry but have major mud bogs under them – the sort that bury vehicles! They are to be treated with great caution and the tracks are not to be deviated from. We hoped the tracks of others, that edged these, were on reliable ground.

11-05-2000 12 birrida peron np

Birrida – claypan. The track skirted this.

Towards the end of the Cape, we deviated to the left on a track that took us to Bottle Bay. Had our lunch there and walked around, exploring and admiring the place.

11-05-2000 02 bottle bay.jpg

Bottle Bay

The landscapes at Bottle Bay were typical of those out on the Cape. Red sand dunes and cliffs, in places contrasting with yellow sandy beaches. Brilliant aqua coloured sea. Greens and greys of bushes and wildflowers against the red sands. Really beautiful.

11-05-2000 03 wildflowers Peron NP.jpg

Then we continued on to Cape Peron itself.

11-05-2000 08 at cape peron.jpg

The contrasts of Cape Peron

Walked around the beach, on the Shark Bay side, for a little way, and found a colony of several hundred cormorants. We did not go too close, not wanting to disturb them, but enjoyed looking at them from a distance. Have never seen so many in one place.

11-05-2000 07 cormorants.jpg


The contrasting sea colours, off the Cape, were interesting, changing from the light aqua to dark blue, really abruptly. There was also great contrast between the yellow sand of the beaches and the red cliffs abutting them.

11-05-2000 06 erosion Cape Peron

The contrast between the eroding cliffs and the white beach sand

Visited the light structure on the Cape, part of which hosted an osprey’s nest.

11-05-2000 10 Cape Peron light & osprey nest.jpg

Cape Peron light, with osprey’s nest

There was very much more vegetation on the Cape than in ’93, when it was only three years on from having sheep grazing. It looked wonderful now.

11-05-2000 11 At Cape Peron.jpg

The wildflowers were quite special.

11-06-2000 09 big lagoon vegetation.jpg

We saw very few other people out there.

We drove back the way we’d come this morning – no choice! Stopped at the old homestead to pump up the tyres again – the joys of having the inbuilt air compressor!

It had turned out to be a long day, but a great one. Drove 122kms.

Tea was gazpacho – very nice, then Greek salad with avocado.

Leave a comment

2000 Travels November 4


Got away ok about 10am.

Topped up the fuel before leaving town – at $1.17cpl. John only put in 15 litres because he was hoping to find fuel cheaper further south.

The drive south today was marginally more interesting than that of the other day. There was a bit more vegetation and the scrub was slightly higher!

Had to fully refuel at Wooramel Roadhouse – $1.16cpl.

We ate lunch while driving along.

Turned off the highway onto the road to Denham and Shark Bay. The way became much more interesting, with vistas of aqua bays, low red sand dunes and undulating country, and then some coastal scenery. It was actually really scenic in parts. We were travelling up a long, quite narrow peninsula. It is quite an unusual landform, seeming like past rising sea levels extended up  two valleys, thus creating two of these long fingers of land. We were on the middle one.

The Shark Bay area was designated a World Heritage Area, about a decade ago, because of its marine life and the stromatolites at Hamelin.

As we approached Denham, saw that, since we were last here, the town has acquired some wind turbines that rather dominate the rise behind the township. Alternative energy is very topical in WA at the moment; there has been considerable debate about the feasibility of harnessing the massive tidal range at Derby to generate power.

Drove straight through the small town of Denham, heading for the Seaside Caravan Park, on its far side. There, we booked in for five nights. We were conscious that we did have to ration time now, and could not “afford” the week or two that we would have preferred to stay here for.

We got a very nice site, overlooking the ocean, for $15.85 a night.

11-05-2000 01 denham camp.jpg

A site with a wonderful view…..

After setting up, we went walking, along the main street, which fronted the ocean. Visited a shop selling shells and sandalwood products. Went to the tourist centre, where I bought a few souvenirs.

Denham is much prettier than I remember it being, from ’93. The aqua coloured bay is just wonderful. The township does not appear to have changed much, since we were here, though the caravan park was much improved. It did appear that the past town development/growth had been rather random.

11-07-2000 03 boats Denham.jpg

Denham Sound

In the late afternoon, a strong wind came up and started sand blasting us. That would explain the wind turbines! As would be expected in these dry parts, the ground surface of the park is gravel and sand. John put up shadecloth to give some protection to the area under the awning.

I made gazpacho with some of the flavoursome Carnarvon tomatoes.

Tea was snapper and fries – very good.

11-04-2000 to denham.JPG

11-07-2000 04 sunset denham

Sunset at Denham

Leave a comment

2000 Travels November 3


In the morning drove into town and through to the One Mile Jetty, that is one of the main features of the town.

11-03-2000 one mile jetty carnarvon.jpg

The One Mile Jetty at Carnarvon

The jetty was built in the late 1800’s for the usual reasons of transport of local produce outwards, and needed goods inwards. It was built this long to get from the solid ground of the town area, across the marshy, tidal flats and out to deep enough water. A rail line runs down the centre of the jetty, and in the hey day of the port, engines were used to haul cargo back and forth.

11-02-2000 Carnarvon jetty and railway.jpg

Railway line down the centre of the One Mile Jetty

We walked right out to the end of the jetty. There was an area in the wider section at the end  that was closed off due to fire damage, seemingly when someone fishing wanted to keep warm.  What moron lights a fire on a wooden jetty? Restoration work was being done.

11-02-2000 jetty restoration area.jpg

Enter at your risk – area under restoration at the end of the Jetty

We watched people fishing. There was a big turtle swimming around beneath the jetty and putting its head up to breathe.

11-03-2000 turtle One Mile Jetty.jpg

Turtle off the jetty

There was a sign board at the jetty, with pictures that identified fish – presumably ones that could possibly be caught here. The daily catch limit given for each, was an indication of the relative adundance or scarcity of each species. Clearly, there was no shortage of ones like Dart!

11-03-2000 sign One Mile Jetty.jpg

We did some more grocery shopping. Collected my processed film. Got some scripts filled at the chemist.

Went to NorWest Seafoods, at the marina area through the town, and bought prawns and snapper, both in frozen packs. There are a few fishing boats operate out of here.

Did a basic pack up. We have only really been here long enough to do necessary shopping and cleaning, not enough to strew things around and make packing up a chore. We can’t afford the time to stay longer  here and explore the surrounding area.

Tea was curried prawns and rice.

Leave a comment

2000 Travels November 2


I did the washing, starting before I had breakfast. There were three loads, including the bedding as the last load, after John got up. It was a big job as it was ages since I last did any.

John went off to try fishing at the long jetty, hoping to catch some whiting. He remembered from our ’93 stay, seeing people there, fishing for those. He came back unsuccessful.

I had a phone call from cousin K in Tasmania, to whom I’d sent one of my Kimberley letters. He wanted permission to use it in the magazine of his 4WD club. Fame at last! We had a good talk, for a little while.

A big bus came into the park – a full length touring coach, converted to a motorhome. It was towing a large, enclosed trailer, with a 4WD on it. He had difficulty negotiating the corners of the park roads, and even broke a large piece off the corner of a site slab, going across it. Such rigs are really too big for a lot of parks, from what we have seen. At one point he came a bit too close to us, for my comfort. In the past, I’d driven a school bus that size – there was no way I would want to be touring the country in something that hard to manoeuvre.

11-02-2000 big rig carnarvon.jpg

The difficulties of a big rig

The washing dried quickly in the sun and breeze, so I put that away, and made up the bed again.

I filled in some time reading a couple of new magazines I bought yesterday, and reading over some old letters on my laptop.

After John came back from fishing, we drove back around the streets and shops. I put in a film for processing. Did a proper food shop.

John posted off the tax paperwork.

Tea was frankfurts – John’s choice – and vegies.

Leave a comment

2000 Travels November 1


We thought about having a final snorkel on the reef, before breakfast, but decided we needed to focus on the pack up and travel.

Left Coral Bay about 9.30am, after topping up the fuel with 20 litres, at $1.31cpl.

The van jockey wheel had been going flat really quickly, since Onslow, and John had not been able to get a new tube in the small towns we’ve been in. So, here, he tried putting silicone on the perished parts, and it actually stayed up longer. Having the flat jockey wheel had made hitching up the van harder for me, so I was pleased with any improvement.

It was a routine, but rather tedious drive to Carnarvon, through featureless, scrubby country.

We crossed the Tropic of Capricorn again, before reaching Highway 1. I wondered if/when we would return to the tropics?

11-01-2000 going south.jpg

Going south again

Just before reaching Carnarvon, we came into the irrigated fruit and vegetable growing area that exists around it, relying on  water from bores around the Gascoyne River. This river is another with a really large catchment area. It can flood quite spectacularly. Its waters soak really quickly into the underlying aquifer and that is where the irrigation water comes from. Some say it is a river that flows upside down.

We stopped at a roadside produce stall on the approach to town and bought tomatoes and capsicums. They were cheap and fresh – lovely.

Booked into Wintersun Caravan Park, for $16.50 a night. John paid them an extra $3 so we could wash the van and get the Coral Bay salt off.

We ate lunch as soon as we arrived, then set up the camp.

11-01-2000 camp Carnarvon

Less arid here than at Coral Bay

Drove into town – this caravan park was right on the outskirts. There were banana plantations lining both sides of the road as we drove.

John was able to buy a new tube for the jockey wheel – hooray!

Bought a few supplies and meat for tea at Woolworths.

Carnarvon is rather a strange town – there seems to be no really defined central focus to it, just straggles of shops and businesses. There were quite a few closed businesses, which would seem to indicate some sort of local downturn.

John wanted me to make stuffed peppers for tea. They take quite a while to do, so tea was late.

I missed the sound of the sea at night, that we had at Coral Bay.

11-01-2000 to carn

Leave a comment

2000 Travels October 31


It was a sunny day with little wind.

We changed the daily routine and went snorkelling before breakfast. I finished off the film on the underwater camera. Saw a sea snake on the sandy sea bed and seemed to remember reading somewhere that they are amongst the most venomous creatures of all. So I stayed clear.

10-28-2000 sea snake.jpg

Striped sea snake on the sea bed

The water was more chilly first thing, but it was great. We came back on a real high – and hungry!

John has gained greatly in his confidence in his swimming and snorkelling, during the week here.

10-28-2000 johyn snorkelling.jpg

Strange sea creature

He had to do some more tax work. A change associated with the introduction of the GST means that we now have to submit a Business Activity Statement, because of my share trading, so John has been agonizing over completing the first of these. They do not make it easy!

We were intending to snorkel again in the afternoon, but didn’t get around to it.

This week had gone so quickly. If we hadn’t had to change plans, we would certainly have stayed considerably longer here because we were enjoying it so much.

Tea was Kailis reef fish from the freezer and bought chips.

Leave a comment

2000 Travels October 30


It was a sunny day, though with some cloud.

We snorkelled in the morning. There was quite a current running today, and it was hard work to swim back to the start of the drift.

10-28-2000 coral and fish.jpg

This branching coral looked like it had buds on the tips of its branches

10-28-2000 brain coral

Brain shaped coral formation

I took some more underwater photos, but it was a bit sandy and dull for the best results – yesterday’s wind has stirred the sea up.

After lunch, went for a drive, south along the coast and through Old Cardabia station country. It was the typical semi-arid scrub and saltbush country of these parts.

10-30-2000 coast near Coral Bay.jpg

Coast to the south of Coral Bay

The coast itself became quite rugged. We parked at one point and went walking, down a hill to the rocky shore,  on a foot track,  to get a good look at it. We didn’t see any other vehicles during the couple of hours we were out there.

Tea was Mongolian lamb stir fry with rice.

Leave a comment

2000 Travels October 29


It was another sunny day, but windy. Too much so to snorkel, because the chop on the waves stirs up the sand and reduces visibility, as well as making the swimming uncomfortable.

I bought the Weekend Australian – only a day late up here, and read that for a while.

We drove back to Mauds Landing where John fished again and I beach walked. Again, the fish stayed away!

10-28-2000 coral bay from around the bay.jpg

Looking back to Coral Bay from Mauds Beach

Tea was bought fish and chips. The fish was cobbler and not very nice at all.

Leave a comment

2000 Travels October 28


It was the same sort of day, nice and warm.

I bought a single use underwater camera to try to record some of what we are seeing.

After breakfast we snorkelled. I took some photos.

10-28-2000 blue fish.jpg

10-28-2000 lots fish.jpg

Underwater world

We walked on the beach again.

However, John had to complete some tax work, and that occupied him for much of the afternoon. I read a couple of magazines I’d bought at the shops.

Through much of this month, we have been hearing reports of regular thunderstorms happening up in the Kimberley – about two months early. The Gibb River Road is impassable and closed again. That made it a very short tourist season this year!

An interview with the owner of Ellendale Station highlighted that he hadn’t even been able to muster most of his place, this year. The streams ran so late, and then the water table was still so high that the first storms started everything flowing deeply again.

Tea was spicy chilli prawns and rice.

Phoned V and had a chat and told her all our woes about having to come home. Given the couple of nomadic years that they had, she can understand my sense of loss.