With my house-sit in Secret Harbour coming to an end it was time to pack Brutus, my little campervan, and head for warmer weather. The day I left Perth it rained so hard I couldn’t even get to my van at times so my departure was delayed until everything was transferred from house to van and I was ready to hit the road again. I had first planned to travel with Wilma, a Western Willie Wagtail I had met, but she postponed her departure. Then Jose, who I had travelled with in Tasmania, was going to leave that day but she developed bronchitis and just wasn’t well enough to leave home. So off I went – a Solo! It was a terrible day for driving – cold, windy and raining all day. I was heading to Sandy Cape, just north of Jurien Bay.
Well, my GPS led me up the garden path and I passed the turn off to Sandy Cape thinking there was another one further ahead. That proved not to be the case so I checked out my map and decided to head to a roadside stop out of Dongara, which is about 60kms south of Geraldton. I didn’t like the look of that and there was no-one else there so off I went again in search of Seven Mile Beach, which had been recommended to me. The wind was blowing so hard I didn’t even put up my pop top when I arrived there so I had a very cramped night and couldn’t wait to leave the next day. The map above shows my trip from Secret Harbour to Seven Mile Beach. It was a big day’s drive!
As I had made it a lot further north than I intended it threw out all my planning so back to the drawing board! Richard, who I had met in Lucky Bay earlier this year was in Carnarvon so I thought ‘Hang it, I’m going for it’. The rain had stopped, I got an early start, stopped in Geraldton for breakfast and then I was off again. For my east coast friends, Carnarvon is roughly the same latitude as Hervey Bay.
I arrived in Carnarvon about 3.15pm….over 500kms….another big day! Richard had arranged for me to stay in the same caravan park that night and then we headed off to Rocky Pools, on the Gascoyne River, where we had three lovely days. The weather had cleared to bright sunshine, the setting was beautiful even though quite harsh, and despite it being school holidays there weren’t many people there at all. With some encouragement I even found my bathers and plunged into the freezing cold water… I thought I was going to die!!! It was soooo cold it took my breath away.
We came back into Carnarvon on Saturday morning to stock up on supplies and then headed to Quobba, staying at Quobba Station the first night then Quobba Blowholes where we once again caught up with some of the Western Willie Wagtails – Jean, Barry, Leo, Jenn and finally Jose joined us after a couple of days.
At Quobba there are about 40 or so shacks that people have leases over – and I mean shacks! They looked like something out of a Third World slum, but you can judge for yourself!
Although windy, most of the days were fine and on Tuesday Richard and I tested out my 4 wheel drive capabilities and travelled the 70 odd kms of rough corrugated and sandy road to Red Bluff, where we stayed overnight. What a magic day! It was so warm and sunny and we sat looking out over the Indian Ocean watching the whales migrating north. We lost count of how many breaches and blows we saw that day.
The swell was huge the next day and we drove onto a cliff head south of Quobba Station and watched these enormous, probably 30ft waves, crashing onto the shore. Once again, a spectacular day on this rugged, rocky coastline.
On returning to our camp at Quobba the day grew cool and windy so I decided to head back to Carnarvon the following day to once again stock up on supplies before I head further north. I was out of food, water and gas so had a busy day today and I’ll be heading off early tomorrow. I’m expecting most of the crew from Quobba will catch up with me at Warroora Station, about 200kms north of here on the way to Coral Bay and Exmouth.
Needless to say the phone and internet coverage is almost non-existent, so I’m not sure when my next post will be. I am sure though that it will be from somewhere warmer than it is here at the moment.
July 19, 2014 at 9:31 am
Thank you Rosemary for taking me on your journey. Always enjoy it.
July 21, 2014 at 6:07 am
Looking forward to your road-journey posts. Missed Quobba. Want to go back.
July 26, 2014 at 11:11 pm
Nice pics Rosemary. Glad to hear you got back on the road safely, despite the weather. Just by way of clarification, the shacks at Quobba and various other places along the coast between Perth and Carnarvon aren’t permanent dwellings. They are just weekend shacks for fishermen. You got yourself well north very quickly. I don’t know whether you plan to turn back south for the wildflower season. It starts in the Northern Wheatbelt around now or early August and it peaks progressively later as you head south. Mind you, being as far north as you are, it would be tempting to continue on to the Pilbara and Kimberley. Sounds like you might have missed Kalbarri and Shark Bay, both of which are well worth a visit. If you continue north, I recommend that you have a look at Ningaloo Reef near Exmouth, the historic ruins at Old Onslow and the historic settlement at Cossack; not to mention the Aboriginal rock art on the Burrup Peninsula near Dampier. Karinjini National Park near Tom Price and Millstream Chichester National Park are a “must see”. Rudall River National Park east of Marble Bar is also well worth a visit but I don’t think Brutus would be quite up to the job. Broome is expensive, but if you get that far, try to stay a while to get into the swing of it. Broome is a state of mind. Once you get in synch, you’ll know what I mean. Make sure you get to the Saturday market. And then there are the fantastic gorges and waterfalls off the Gibb River Road, Purnulu (Bungle Bungles) National Park, etc. I’ll keep track of Snail Trail and offer some further comments if you decide to continue beyond Broome. Thanks again for doing such a great job of looking after our home while we were overseas.
Graham & Donna
July 26, 2014 at 11:28 pm
Thanks Graham – all advice gratefully received. Planning to move my way slowly north, then south again for the summer, and hope to catch up on some of the places I missed on the way back down.