WINDSWEPT GERALDTON, CAPITAL OF MID WEST WA
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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Where I stayed
belair park CP
MILEAGE: 28780 KMS
JOURNEY: Geraldton, Coronation Beach, Geraldton -109 kms
WEATHER: Sunny, around 25 degrees and as always windy!
ACCOMMODATION: Belair Gardens CP ($25 pn. no power)
Coronation Beach Camp ground -$15 pn
We had arrived in Geraldton yesterday afternoon, shopped, refuelled, dined and enjoyed a restful night's sleep. Kath was able to get some blogging done after an hour’s walk along the path to Moore Point beside the beach this morning. We were fascinated to witness an osprey feeding its young in a nest upon a specially constructed tower in the dunes. We imagined the beach would have been swim friendly in less windy conditions.
Sheila bought some seafood pies to have for breakfast but they were unexpectedly frozen and she had to construct an improvised cooking set up to get them ready when we arrived at the foreshore to eat! We enjoyed the apple/rhubarb pie later in the day and it was delicious.
We called into Liquorland to get some more of our favourite "cheap" S/E Australian Shiraz which was on special with 30% off. We have really enjoyed this wine, first discovered in Kununurra and priced at $6.99 each but always heavily discounted to be as low as $4 per bottle.
We arrived at Coronation Beach Camp ground around lunch time. We were happy to find a well maintained and clean camp with BBQs and toilets, right on the beach; there is a caretaker on site and a $15 pn per vehicle daily. There were just a few spots available when we arrived on this lovely sunny and breezy (not yet windy) afternoon and we found a perfect spot to settle.
The beach was beautiful and the sky was blue and it was great to sit outside the van and enjoy the afternoon.
Friday morning was lovely and calm and the beach walk was invigorating and scenic but by 10am the winds were strong and the wind surfers and kite surfers were setting themselves up on the shore; this indicated to us that the weather forecast was for” strong winds” and as more surfers arrived the winds became strong and the sea choppy. We sat a while and admired the skill of the kite surfers; it seemed a mighty effort to get set up and into the water and then we estimated speeds close to 60kms ph, maybe more.
We had good books to read so it was curl up in the van and get reading for the afternoon. Sheila was able to grill our meat on the beach BBQ for dinner but eating under the big moon and stars was out of the question so dinner inside was the way to go.
Saturday morning we pulled out of camp at 7am to catch the Farmers Market in Geraldton which was a bit disappointing, being very small and limited. We checked into the Belair Gardens CP once more and decided to explore the town of Geraldton.
Geraldton is 434 kms from Perth with a population of 37,000 and some interesting architecture and a newly renovated port/foreshore area where the locals flock to for picnics etc. The Byzantine style cathedral makes a grand impression and the amazing Museum is a place to educate yourself about the maritime and cultural history of the area; we were horrified to learn the story of the ill fated Dutch trading ship Batavia from a well produced film running in the museums theatre. The coast was a treacherous threat to early ships and there are amazing exhibitions of wrecks, treasures etc.
We loved the Art Gallery and were thrilled that one of our favourite authors, Tim Winton was presenting words to accompany the photographs of Martin Mischkulnig –“smalltown” on a 20 minute film. The photographs on show in the gallery were taken over a number of years in remote Australian towns and portrayed ugliness as well as strange beauty. Happily there was also an exhibition of Elizabeth Durack’s “A Visual Description of the Mid West” and we could relate to both exhibitions having visited the towns and areas just recently.
The “Year 12 Perspectives” paid tribute to the very impressive artwork of young WA art students and we oohed and ahed at their skills and insight.
The visit to the gallery was enhanced by the enthusiasm and knowledge of the gallery attendant who pointed out little things we had not noticed- she was wonderful.
So after all this culture we strolled along the foreshore and explored the small town area but shops were closing for the afternoon. We grabbed the Weekend Australian newspaper for our weekly news bite and headed back to the CP.
We enjoyed the company of a young English couple newly arrived in Australia at dinner in the camp kitchen and Kath told him to look up her brother Joe in Brisbane for a radiology job!!! They were hoping to work in QLD for 6 months.
We also met a young lady from Tasmania, travelling alone taking in the sights of WA coast before going home after working in Perth for a few months. As mentioned before these encounters are as special as the sights and sounds of travelling!
As we leave Geraldton we pass through the historic village of Greenough, which in 1860s was the principle administration centre of the area. Driving along the Brand Highway south we marvel at the “leaning trees” which have become an icon at Greenough; buffeted by the huge southerly winds the Red River Gums just lie down and grow horizontally along the ground and give up on reaching tall to the sky. We visit the well preserved village before heading for the Turquoise Coast.