Gumtree here we come
Gumtree is the equivalent of the Danish DBA and while in Fiji we had arranged for a few used items to pick up in the Perth area before heading North. That included a Generator to keep the Campervan powered when staying off-grid. 2 scooters for the boys, 2 body boards and a MTB for Noah to get back in shape for the remainder of the season. At a total cost of 375 AUD (1900 DKK) we found we had made some pretty good deals 🙂
Knowing we would spent most of the first day picking up the items from Gumtree and stocking up the camper with various groceries our first stop was only a short drive North to Yanchep campground.
With hot showers and drinking water available it was a comfortable way to ease ourselves into the campervan lifestyle. We also discovered some nice hiking trails in the area and there were kangaroos and cockatoos pretty much everywhere we looked.
With a gloomy weather forecast insight we decided to head North and hoped we could make a stop at The Pinnacles National Park without getting drenched. It was still dry when we entered the park but heavy rain clouds were abundant and the nice lady at the gate asked us we were happy to do the walk in the rain as they had closed the scenic drive on unsealed road due to the weather. We took the chance and just made it back before the rain came.
Skate parks and body boarding at Dongara
As the weather forecast was looking better further North, we set the GPS for a campground close to Geraldton and hoped to make it all the way. It was however raining so heavily on part of the way that we had to slow down and soon realized that we would not arrive until after dusk. In Denmark that would not be a problem but in Australia you really don’t want to be driving outside the cities from dusk to dawn as there is a considerable risk of hitting big wildlife like Kangaroos or Emus which will kill them and damage our campervan.
On a hunch we took a scenic drive through Dongara and found a “No Through Road” ending at the town beach with toilet facilities and a perfect view. Next morning the clouds were gone, and we woke up to a beautiful small town with a perfect beach for body boarding as well as a pump track and skate park. Time to put all that gear we bought on Gumtree to good use. We ended up spending the full day there and free camping at the same spot again in the evening.
Beautiful gorges, coastal cliffs and Humpback wales at Kalbarri national park
From Dongara we drove to Kalbarri – famous for its coastal cliffs (looks much like parts of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria), sky walk and beautiful gorges. Line had found a Ranch Stay with horses and we booked a site there so she could go riding the next morning. On the way there we made a short stop at the Pink Lake.
Our second stop was the famous Kalbarri coastal cliff viewpoints. A spectacular coastline. This time of year, you are however distracted from the view by literally thousands of Humpback whales making their way North – most of them with young calves. The calves are amazing to watch as they will often jump out of the water. They do however have a nasty habit of jumping just when you had moved the camera away from them. As if that was not enough a pod of Dolphins decided to stop
After spending a day in Kalbarri horseback riding (Line), bicycling (Noah), Playing football and going to the beach we headed towards the Kalbarri national park inland.
We got there early and almost had the sky walk to ourselves.
After that we headed for “Nature’s Window” and the 9 km. loop trail along the river. Definitely one of the most beautiful hikes we have ever done, but also easy to imagine how people can get in trouble there trying to do it in the summertime where temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius.
Carnarvon space center and fruit loop
From Kalbarri we headed towards Carnarvon where we planned to visit the Space Center, the Saturday Market and do the fruit loop to visit the local farms. The Space center was a fun experience. They made a big thing out of their space shuttle simulator, but to be honest we found the “simulation” quite unrealistic and more like an old steam train than a rocket taking off. There were however many other things to do and trying to land a space shuttle, playing space video games from the 80’es and the “Space Cat” Buzz that hung around the reception area (weighing more than 10 kilos without a gram of fat he was by far the biggest cat we have ever seen) were among the highlights.
We found a beautiful place to free-camp on Pelican Point and started the day with a run and swim before heading to the Saturday market in town.
The Market proved a bit of a disappointment with a very limited number of stalls that seemed to be mainly targeting tourists. After a stop at the local super market we headed for the Carnarvon fruit loop – which essentially takes you through an area with most of the local fruit farm and their roadside stalls. We talked a bit with the owner of one of the farms, bought some fresh vegetables and fruit and headed North towards Quobba Blowholes and campground.
Quobba Blowholes and more whales
Having been quite disappointed when visiting the blowhole on Tahiti we did not really know what to expect. Furtunately the Quobba Blowhole turned out to be really impressive with water being sprayed 15+ meters up in the air and sound strong enough to make it seem like the very rock was shaking underneath you. Adding to the scenery were a large number of Humpback whales much closer to shore than we had seen in Kalbarri (some of them less than 50 meters). One of the calves and its mother made several passes right in front of us and even the mother did a massive jump (of course it happened just as we had turned off the camera)
We stayed at the Quobba campground just 1 km. down the road from the Blowhole overnight and snorkeled in the “Aquarium” and went for a swim further down the beach. We had hoped to be able to body board as well but the waves were to short and broke too close to the beach for it to happen