RUGGED WEATHERED COAST OF KALBARRI
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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MONDAY OCTOBER 18, 2010
JOURNEY: Hamelin Pool, via North West Coastal Hwy and Ajana Kalbarri Rd- 290 kms, Kalbarri and then to Geraldton- 165kms.
WEATHER: 23degrees @8am. Sunny and still.
ACCOMMODATION: Kalbarri-Murchison Caravan Park $28 pn no power.
Geraldton- Belair Gardens Tourist Park $25 pn no power.
MILEAGE: 28296 KMS
After a quiet, restful night and an early morning walk along the beach at Hamelin Pool, we were on the road and back on the NW Coastal Hwy heading for the town of Kalbarri via the Kalbarri National Park. We notice farms of wheat along the way and the area seems less arid and isolated- and more populated. We stop to take pictures of the last of the wildflowers along the way and Kath braves the pesky flies which stick all over you and try to tunnel into ears and mouths-yuk!.
It is close to midday when we reach the sealed road into the inland gorges of the national park and it is very hot and dry. There are signs everywhere "Heat Stroke Can Kill" and temperatures reach 50 degrees here in summer, and even though it is spring you feel the bite of the sun as soon as you leave the vehicle so it is a quick look around at the gorges above the Murchison River and admiring glances of the wildflowers that cover the huge sandy plains. The area has been recently renovated into safe pathways and informative signage. The other access into this part of the park is strictly 4 wheel drive only so we make our way to Murchison CP on the beach at the town of Kalbarri.
Kalbarri is described as a resort town and is situated on the mouth of the Murchison River with a calm lagoon as well as a surfing beach.
The population of 1400 is probably overwhelmed with tourists most of the year and it is a friendly pretty town to spend some chill out time; we noticed a lot of busy restaurants but felt shocked when the IGA store had tomatoes at $19 per kilo- we only bought one to put with the salad for dinner.
The caravan park was right in town and it was fantastic to be camped with shady trees for the first time in ages. The beach opposite had lovely white sand and calm water for swimming. We had a relaxed 2 days here before exploring the coastal road south on Wednesday.
It was late in the season for wildflowers but we visited the Kalbarri Wildflower Centre to check out the late bloomers.
The coastal cliffs are spectacular and from Red Bluff Lookout you can appreciate the force of the ocean in sculpturing the cliffs and rocks. Once again we rave on about the beauty and drama of this ancient land and drive into lookouts and walkways to see what we can of this rugged coast. Camping is not allowed in the national park but we park at Natural Bridge and make coffee and sandwiches for lunch. Whales send up spouts of water in the distance, a lonely seal swims below us and we chat to a couple from Bunbury about special places in WA.
It is another 50 kms before we reach Port Gregory, famous for its pink lake!! And yes it looks pink! Beta carotene is mined here for the vitamin industry and the beach is well a known fishing spot – we couldn't find much to attract more than a stroll along the windy beach and some photos of the pink lake. There seemed to be a reef protecting the beach, perhaps good for snorkelling on a calm day.
Our initial idea was to travel to Coronation Beach campground, about 30 kms north of Geraldton but we needed to shop and get petrol and it was late afternoon so we leafed through our travel literature and decided we could reach the Visitor Information Centre at Geraldton and find suitable accommodation there for the night, which we did.
The Belair Gardens CP was perfect, just 5 kms out of town with a grassy unpowered site next to shelter, camp kitchen and amenities.
Sheila had pizza on her mind so we found a great little Italian BYO restaurant on the waterfront and tucked into a delicious meal.