This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2004 Travels August 6

FRIDAY 6 AUGUST     MESA CAMP

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We drove into Exmouth again, in the late morning. Bought lunch in there. John had a pasty and a sausage roll. I had a spinach and ricotta roll.

Refuelled – $1.24cpl.

John played Scroungers bowls at the local club. I walked around the shops, then went and watched the bowls. John got into the play off for runner up. He lost, but did not finish until 5.15pm.

We then rushed to the Library to try to access the internet. It did not work. Then we had to do a bit of shopping for perishable foods.

So, it was dark as we were driving back to camp. There were lots and lots of kangaroos out and about, so it was a slow and cautious drive – followed by quite a late tea.

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The outlook from our camp


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2004 Travels August 5

THURSDAY 5 AUGUST     MESA CAMP

Today was more of the same.

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Waves breaking on the Ningaloo Reef – distant

This was a great “chill out” and we were both appreciating the really slow pace.

John did not have TV, of course, but he was able to get in a little computer gaming on his laptop, at night.

There were some brilliant sunsets here.

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I wasn’t all that sure, at the beginning, but had now decided that this was a great place, after all. This new site was one of the best – only one neighbour, plus views.


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2004 Travels August 4

WEDNESDAY 4 AUGUST     MESA CAMP

The wind dropped during the day, but came back at night.

There was great news for us this morning – we were able to move across to the “good side”. Very happy about that!

It was not too much hassle to move. We walked a lot of the camp stuff across. The biggest task was taking the awning down, then re-erecting it. But it was certainly worth the effort.

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Our old site – empty

We were right on the end of the row there – Site 14. We had a view to the sea – distant, across a bit of a dry inlet. Could also see to the Cape Range behind the flat coastal strip.

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On the new site – our van on the far right side

After that, had the usual sort of day – walking, fishing, reading.

I was not really tempted to swim here, despite the heat. I wasn’t sure about the currents – or the things that live in the sea!

The campground hosts caught a crayfish and had it out to show us. They were allowed to put out cray pots.

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Dinner for campground hosts

In our new site, at night, we could just hear the sound of the sea, to go to sleep by.


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2004 Travels August 3

TUESDAY 3 AUGUST     MESA CAMP

It was still windy.

We drove back into Exmouth.

On the way, called into the Jurabi Turtle Centre, which aims to minimize people’s impacts on nesting turtles, through education and controlled access to viewing them. Nesting was over the summer months, so viewing them was not an issue for us at this time of year. We were very impressed with the Centre.

Now that we knew we were accommodated and could stay a while, it was time for some “extras”. We went to the Library. I was able to borrow twelve books – absolute bliss! John did a computer download.

Found a Kailis outlet in town and bought some red emperor. It was expensive, but I had always thought Kailis linked places were that. I did not buy any prawn meat, because it was $47 a kilo!

Bought bread rolls to take back to the van to fill for lunch.

After that, John fished off the beach. I went for a long walk along it.

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Tracks in the beach at Mesa Camp

The van was in the full sun and the batteries were well charged by the solar system.

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Sunset at Mesa Camp


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2004 Travels August 2

MONDAY 2 AUGUST   EXMOUTH TO MESA CAMP   44kms

We were fed, organized, packed up, and at the National Park Entrance at 8.30am.

There were only a couple of other vehicles ahead of us.

The bad news was that there were no sites becoming available at either Lakeside or Ned’s. So much for our research! But we were offered one at Mesa and took that – better than the alternative of going back to Exmouth! We told ourselves that it was only at the other end of the beach from Ned’s. It was going to cost us $10 a night.

Drove on down the road and into the Mesa camp.

There were twelve camp sites at Mesa. Seven looked out across the sands to the sea; they had some trees around them too. The other five sites looked out on to the visitors’ car park and some dunes. They had no trees around them.

Of course, we got one of the no-view sites! The campers who had been occupying it were moving across to one of the better sites that was being vacated. We were not best pleased, but had to be philosophical about it.

We discussed with the lovely couple who were the campground hosts, the possibility that we, too, might move sites to one with a view – if one became vacant during our time here. They agreed to keep that in mind for us.

And so we set up, on the very open, bare site, hoping it would be a short stay!

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First camp site at Mesa

It was very windy.

After setting up, walked to the beach, through low dunes, and walked along it for a bit. The sand was very soft.

Checked out the long drop amenities on the way to the beach – very clean.

John went down to the beach to try some fishing, after  lunch. No joy there.

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Beach at Mesa – waves breaking on Ningaloo Reef, in distance

There was another Trakmaster van here – a Sturt model. The people were from Tasmania. They had one of the “good” sites.

The campground hosts held a happy hour get together in the late afternoon, and we wandered across to that and sat chatting with the small group of campers. Very pleasant.

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2004 Travels August 1

SATURDAY 1 AUGUST     EXMOUTH

I was able to get newspapers and spent some of the day reading those.

Went to the supermarkets and topped up our food supplies.

Went for a short drive and looked more closely at the new-ish marina development that we’d passed on the way into town. It seemed that some people were optimistic about being able to sell real estate, and establish sea-related businesses, in such a place. Early days yet!

Exmouth had only really existed since the mid 1960’s, being built to house workers and service the needs of the US North West Cape communications base, built at that time. It was a bit like a Pilbara mining town, but on the coast!

John watched football on TV.

This period was meant to be a quiet and restful recovery time, after our Pilbara whirl! A camp over in the National Park should be just the thing.


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2004 Travels July 31

SATURDAY 31 JULY   NANUTARRA ROADHOUSE TO EXMOUTH   270kms

Today’s was a routine drive through some fairly uninteresting country, that we’d driven a few times already.

Took the short cut through Giralia Station to the Exmouth road. It was now a good. sealed road – last time we drove this, it was gravel.

I’d intended to stop at the Kailis seafood factory, not far past the big Learmonth Airforce Base, but the Kailis place was closed for a couple of hours over lunchtime. We’d bought great prawns there on previous trips.

Reached Exmouth about 1pm. Went into the Ningaloo Caravan Park, in the town. It was a Top Tourist park – we were back in the realm of discounts! $23.40 a night, after that. The park was full. It was of the expected high standard. The amenities were clean. There appeared to be some pressure on the washing machines and clothes lines, though.

After setting up, John watched football on TV, whilst I went for a walk to the shops – not too far.

I went to the Tourist Information Centre and found out about camping out in the Cape Range National Park. They did not take bookings for sites in the several campgrounds scattered along the coast. One must go and queue up at the Park entrance – early! The camp ground hosts at the various camps radio to the entrance, when they know of an incipient vacancy, and these are handed out to those in the queue. Very much a pot luck scenario – one takes what one is given! The info lady seemed to think that if we were good and early, we’d get a spot somewhere.

Later in the afternoon, went for a drive around to the National Park, and looked at the various camps that had generator areas – not all did, and we would need one, in case the solar input wasn’t enough.

We decided that we’d find the Lakeside or Ned’s camp grounds ideal.

Refuelled – $1.20cpl.

Had a text message from M. She’d collected her mother from the plane in Darwin, and all was well, so far.

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