Australia - Kalbarri

Trip Start Dec 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Day 1

The small town of Cervantes is basically just a location for getting out to the Pinnacles and has very little else to keep a traveler in the area. That being said we left Cervantes and headed up the coast.

The first stop of interest during our drive was Greenough. This town is situated in a vast, wide-open stretch of outback and the strong winds that whip across the area give rise to an amazing natural phenomenon - horizontally growing trees (PIC). At first they look as if they have just been blown over and it is not until you take a second look that you realise they are still very much alive and growing with the direction of the imposing winds.

The next major town on the way up the coast is Geraldton, a somewhat industrial port town with a few quaint attractions which are enough to tempt a traveler into a brief detour. The first of these attractions is the Yellow submarine; it has no connection to the Beatles song of the same name but was once a crayfish catching vessel - albeit a hugely unsuccessful one. It has however become something of a tourist attraction for the town (PIC). The second attraction is the cathedral, a stunningly preserved piece of architecture which, despite looking rather out of place in the town, does lend a certain air of majesty to the place (PIC).

Leaving Geraldton, after a quick McD's break, we progressed through Northampton (the town names were becoming more and more UK-like) and spotted a strangely coloured lake on the way. The lake, we assumed, was pink for the same reason as the one in Esperance was supposed to be, due to the algae growing in it. The photo doesn't quite capture the vibrancy of the water but it was a spectacular, if completely unexpected, sight along the way (PIC).

Finally reaching Kalbarri we found a caravan park and claimed our plot. We popped into town and did a bit of internet-ing before bedtime.

Day 2

Our first port of call when we woke up and got on the road was the tourist information office. We had our Australia guide and a few local leaflets but we wanted to find out what we could get to with our trusty 2WD Gizmo and what sites would require paying for tours to be able to visit. We also didn't want to get to a place and find out that we needed to walk for 5km just to be able to see a view out over a gorge.

Our initial plans to see the Loop and Z-bend (two of the more popular scenic areas of the Kalbarri district) were scuppered as they required a 4WD and a lot of walking. We were however, directed to a number of alternative lookout points which would give similarly great views of the gorges and coastal regions nearby.

Red Bluff, Mushroom Rock and Rainbow Valley were three lookout points along the coast slightly south of the town. They give dramatic outlooks over the Indian Ocean and the heavily weathered rocks that make up the shoreline (PICS).

On the other side of Kalbarri are a collection of gorges, primarily viewed from the aforementioned Loop and Z-bend, but also viewed from lookouts such as the Hawks Head Lookout and the Ross Graham Lookout, both of which give a great view into the steep channeled landscapes formed by the Murchison River as it carves it way down to the sea (PICS).

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