A Pink Lake and Mysterious Desert

Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
Trip End Apr 22, 2011

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Where I stayed
Big 4 Sunset Beach Caravan Park
Belair Gardens Caravan Park

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, January 31, 2011


Monday 31st January 2011

It was a grey old day when we left Kilbarri, a lovely little town but we have to get moving. To the south of Kilbarri are a number of cliffs or bluffs that have lookout points on, so we are going to stop at a few on our way to Geraldton.  Even with cloudy skies the contrast of the foaming sea and red rocks was stunning.  Each lookout had breath-taking views of the cliffs and the jagged coastline, these cliffs can be seen for miles out to sea.  There was a 3km walk that we wanted to do, it went along the cliff edge and back through the bush, but the wind was very strong at the top of the cliffs and there was rain out to sea.  We didn't fancy getting wet or blown off a cliff so we got back in the van and drove to the next destination.

Don’t adjust your screens this lake really is pink and these pictures don’t do it justice.  I have never seen anything like it. The colour is something to do with having Beta Carotene in the water, which is the same stuff that gives carrots their colour.  We drove into Port Gregory town centre and then right round the lake but one side of it looked pinker than the other.  I have to admit I made Gary drive back down the road we had just come in on because the lake looked pinker from that angle.

Distance                               168km
Accommodation                     $28
Weather                                Sunny 28 degrees

We arrived in Geraldton and stopped at the Big4 caravan park which was a little way out of town but right on sunset beach.....not that we were going to get much of a sunset with this much cloud coverage.  It was very windy and there were a number of windsurfers and kite-surfers enjoying the high waves and strong winds.   We set up camp and got the tourist magazines out to plan our stay. We went to reception to get a map of the town and came across a veg stand with a honesty box.  There were home grown tomatoes, boxes of cherry tomatoes, red peppers, courgette (zucchinis) and squash, all $1 each. Gary had some change on him so we picked up some peppers (which are normally really expensive in Australia) and a box of cherry tomatoes (Gary’s favourite). 

Tuesday 1st February 2011

We are going to move from this campsite, everything we want to do is in town and there is another campground that is closer to all the attractions. We were just sitting on the bed planning our day when I saw tail disappear behind the sunscreen bottle.  I thought it was a lizard, there are so many around it wouldn’t have surprised me if one got in the van.  Gary got up to investigate, looking behind the bottle he saw a mouse.  How on earth has a mouse got in the van, more to the point how are we going to get him out the van?  Gary frightened it and made it run up the side of the cupboard and in to the book case, there is a hole at the back where he can get into our main food cupboard.  We weren’t too worried about it being in there as everything we have is in Tupperware boxes or tins to keep the ants out, but we didn’t want him/her making a nest anywhere. Nothing we could do now, Mr Mouse was in hiding and wouldn’t come out again until tonight.

We packed the van up and headed into town to change campsite.  First stop the supermarket for a weekly shop....and buy a mouse trap.  Gary had dismissed some of my mouse trapping ideas, admittedly most of them I had got from watching too much Tom & Jerry as a kid!!  I did however persuaded Gary not to buy poison, didn’t like the thought of the mouse going off somewhere in the van to die.  We want a humane trap and found one where the mouse goes right into and then the door shuts behind him trapping him in there, no blood, no mess to clean up....and it was cheap too at $3.

 We checked into the campsite and I put the shopping away while Gary took the bikes off the back of the van. The last couple of days there has been a funny smell in the van, not a bad smell just an unpleasant sweet sickly smell that I couldn’t pin point where it was coming from.  It was stronger near one of the seats but we only stored drinks and food under there like jars of olives, bottles of cordial, coke, lemonade and a couple of boxes of wine.  I couldn’t work it out, so decided to rearrange this underseat cupboard, I pulled a few bottles of cordial out, it was then I noticed that the bottom of one of the wine boxes was wet.  As I got closer to the box the smell grew stronger.  I called Gary over and we pulled the 4L box of wine out.  It was soggy and smelt bad, Gary took it outside and pulled it apart, it looking like it has a small manufacturing error in the bag and it had been slowly leaking out over time.....probably while we drove.  We poured the wine down the drain much to Gary’s sorrow......It’s not been a good day!!

With the shopping unpacked and underseat cupboard cleaned up we leapt on our bike for a ride into town.  The wind was very strong but we thought we could ride the 3-4km to the town centre and have a look around.  We started off by riding to the end of the road to see the Point Moore Lighthouse, at 34 metres tall this red and white striped structure is the only one of its kind in Australia and its beam can be seen 26km out to sea.  The wind was too much and the ride was unpleasant we headed back to the campsite and enquired about the local bus times.  It was 2.30pm and the last bus back to the campsite was at 4.30pm so we made plans to get up early the next day, get the bus into town and spend the day looking around.  After such a disastrous day we spent the rest of the afternoon lazily watching TV and planning our mouse’s demise.  Just before we went to bed we set the trap, batting it with a piece of cheese....how cliche!!

Wednesday 2nd February 2011 

We both had a terrible night’s sleep, every noise or movement we were up and looking for the mouse.  It didn’t help that it was really windy outside and the trees kept hitting the roof, we are close to a train line that runs all night and right next to the toilets so people walk past all hours of the night.  At 1am we heard a scampering of feet but no noise from the trap.  At 3pm a loud click woke us both up and Gary jumped out of bed to check.  'Mouse Caught’ said the sign and the way it was jiggling across the work top it was obvious we had caught our furry friend. Gary knocked it off the top and into a carried bag where he then disposed of it in the bin outside.  It’s down to the mouse now if he can work out how to get out the trap then he’s free if not.....well my conscience is clear.  

We woke up pleased we had rid ourselves of our mousy friend, a quick check round and we could see no evidence he had even been in the van, no chewing, no droppings nothing.  We dressed and headed out to catch the local bus.  Only $1.70 each it took us on a magical mystery tour round all the streets and houses of Geraldton before the bus driver eventually told us where to get off.  We walked down to the sea front and then along to the  Western Australia Museum where we spent forty minutes looking round before watching an hour long film on the wrecking of the Dutch trading ship the Batavia.  I was interested in this as I had read a book back in SE Asia on Australia a nonfiction story that started with the tale of a Dutch girl on board a trading ship bound for West Indies.  The similarities between the two stories were too much of a coincidence and I realise now that the Author had used the real life story of the Batvia as a basis for her book.  The Batvia hit a high reef just off a group of islands called the Abrolhos Islands, the captain and some members of the crew made it to one island while the rest of the 200+ surviving passengers washed up on Wallabi Island.  The captain sailed off to find help, leaving behind the 200 surviving passengers in the hands of Jeronimus Cornelisz who mounted a mutiny and had his men kill 125 men, women and children with the aim to make provisions last.  Captain Pelsaert came back with a rescue party and Cornelisz was hung, his men sent back to the West Indies to stand trial.  Only two of his men escaped punishment of sorts, they were cast off in a small boat for the unchartered mainland of Australia where they were never heard of again.

We left the museum and walked into town, the cricket in Australia has been sponsored by KFC and I have had a terrible craving for chicken burger ever since we started watching it.....who say’s advertising doesn’t work.  On our drive in I spotted a KFC so we were heading towards this for some lunch.  We walked past the Information Centre and called into see if we were missing anything on our walk round.  Our next stop was to the old Jail house next door.  All the cells had been turned into craft shops but most of them were closed, we did getting chatting to an old guy who made wooden frames and then we couldn’t get away.  He had been to England....well Wales and had friends over there and was telling us all about his tour.  We finally prised ourselves away from him and carried on our walk.

It was a sunny day but there was a lovely cool breeze so the walk wasn’t too unpleasant, the rumbling from my stomach though was getting louder.  Finally we turned a corner and found KFC and I got to feed my craving. The walk back to the campsite was past a pretty little village and then through an industrial area with big containers full of wheat. Back at the van we cooled off and then stripped the cupboard and worktops down, checking for evidence of the mouse and cleaning the whole areas.

Thursday 3rd February 2011

We left Geraldton but not before visiting the HMAS Sydney II Memorial.  The HMAS Sydney II went down in November 1941 after a run in with the German vessel, Kormoran, she went down with all hands.  She was eventually found in March 2008 in 2480 metres of water.  A stunning memorial was erected, each seagull on the dome represents one of the 645 sailors who lost their life aboard the ship.

On the way out of Geraldton we stopped at the Leaning tree, one of many trees in this area that is battered by the prevailing southerly winds and due to weak branches the trees have an interesting lean.  We drove on through a lovely little town called Dongara and stopped to have a look around the marina and fisherman’s lookout.

We are staying the night in a small town called Jurien Bay, our main purposes for coming here is to see the sea lions that visit the jetties in hope of being fed from a fisherman catch. However with massive repairs happening to both jetties, this means no fisherman and therefore no sea lions.  The only way to see them is to charter a boat.

Distance                               199km
Accommodation                     $28
Weather                                Sunny 34 degrees

We went for a walk along the beach, just in case a sea lion happened to swim out the water next to us, and then walked back along the path way.  Jurien Bay looks like it is going to be a lovely seaside town eventually, there is a lot of building happening and what looks like really smart holiday homes going up.  It is only 267km from Perth it makes a great place to relax to at the weekend.  It was a hot walk back so we stopped in the local pub for a couple of schooners before dinner.

Friday 4th February 2011

We are on our way to Perth today but as usual we have a stop on the way.  The drive to Perth takes us to a town called Certvantes which is the gateway to the Pinnacles Desert.  Looking like the ruins of an ancient settlement these limestone pillars stretch over miles of desert floor.  One theory was that they are the mummified remains of an 60 million year old forest that was covered in sand but in truth the scientist really don’t have a clue to why they are here....it’s another Australian mystery.  We paid our $11 to enter the national park and found that it wasn’t just a case of take a photo and leave.  There was a short walk to a lookout, a discovery centre and shop and a desert drive that you could take your car/van into so you can get up close and personal with them.  It was excellent and really worth the visit.

The drive to Perth takes us on a new bit of road, once a dirt track it is now tarmac and caused the sat nav all sorts of problems.  We were also warned to look out for Roos and Emus because unlike the normal highways the local animals here aren’t use to fast vehicles coming tearing through their bush.

Distance                               167km
Accommodation                     $39
Weather Sunny 33 degrees

We arrived in Perth and headed straight for a campsite.  We have lost the breeze and it felt very hot while we set up.  Time to hit the pool and then get the wine out....well it was a long journey.

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