Gorges and Wildflowers

Trip Start Jul 08, 2008
Trip End Sep 11, 2008

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Where I stayed
Tudor Caravan Park

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Tuesday, September 2, 2008

We packed up and left Denham at 8am with the temperature hovering around 15 degrees and we travelled via Hamelin Pool towards Kalbarri. We soon crossed the 26th parallel and officially said goodbye to the North West. We checked our Speedo and it showed that so far we had travelled 8317 km. The small white shells quickly gave way to the red earth that we had come to know. Along the roadside flowers and shrubs of all descriptions and coloured from lilac to pink and yellow were growing prolifically, a testament to the good rains that fell this year. The countryside also turned to an unfamiliar green in contrast to the browns further north. It was 246kms to Kalbarri and we soon arrived at the caravan park where we quickly met up with Pat and Rosemary Knowles. After setting up and having lunch with them we all went down to Chinamans Pool to try our hand at fishing which turned out to be a bit of a fizzer.

The next day we slept in a bit and then enjoyed a nice breakfast.  We decided between the four of us to have our main meals together which worked out well because we have very similar tastes. We had a chat with our neighbour who gave us all the low down on the Findlays restaurant saga which had been shut after the owner had locked himself in the building and fired a few shots at who knows who.  Pat and Mike tried their hand at fishing again and a few small ones were landed only to be returned to the water.  The evenings were spent playing cards and talking.

The wind came up and remained almost for the rest of our stay bringing in flies, seeds which caused hay fever, itchy noses and mozzie bites. Wednesday went and Thursday came, Pat and Mike went off fishing and Rosemary and I went off to the wildflower centre where there were a lot of flowers in bloom with their magnificent colours.  After viewing these arts of nature we returned to the little shop and enjoyed a Devonshire tea and bought some homemade candles.

Friday was a very windy day so we decided to stay at home and did nothing except eating, talking and relaxing.  The traditional game of Rook took place again that night and would you believe it, Rosemary and Margaret actually won.

Saturday was voting day and being good citizens we went along to the local school to cast our votes. There were more absentee voters than locals, or so it seemed, and we had to queue while the locals just wandered in and cast their vote. After an hour or so it was all over and Mike and Pat wandered back to
the caravan park while Rosemary and Margaret enjoyed browsing around the craft market.  Back at the caravan and a necessary cuppa, we all drove off down the coast to have a look around Red

Sunday 7th September, Fathers Day, we attended the family service at the Kalbarri Anglican Church where the minister, Matt Brain, dressed as an Aussie Shepherd looking for lost sheep as he gave his message to the children. They then had a quiz about Jonah which also went down well with the children. After the service there was an amazing spread of food on the table which is apparently provided every week by a member of the congregation who regards it as her ministry. Mike developed a headache and went for a nap after lunch whilst I went with Rosemary and Pat on a bush drive to have a look at the fantastic wildflowers that grow in this region.  The plants are all colours with a profusion of yellows, blues and purples. The rest of the afternoon after tea was spent relaxing and reading.

Dinner consisting of T bone steaks, sweet potatoes, onions, mushrooms and what remained of our Carnarvon vegetables was cooked on the park BBQ.  What a Father's Day feast it turned out to be. The steaks were cooked to perfection by two of the greatest camp cooks in town (Pat and Mike) and the vegetables were something to behold. After the delicious dinner, the usual card game took place after coffee and was a win for the men again.

Next morning we made a trip to the local bakery after a breakfast of muesli to buy some sticky buns, a delicacy that we had been craving for some time, before inviting Rosie and Pat for morning coffee when we demolished the cinnamon buns together.

We then decided that it would be a good day to head for the river gorges as no trip to Kalbarri would be complete without visiting the Loop and the Z bend. The flies were out in force again but bearable if you kept on the move when they then hitched a ride on our backs but kept out of our  eyes and ears. Margaret made use of a fly net over her head. The weather was warming up as we made our way down to Nature's Window where the view is always spectacular. A little flock of feral goats were munching on the gorge floor and we had fun taking photos of us all climbing the rocks. We then headed down the dirt road towards the Z bend and though the track was not in really bad condition, having a four wheel drive certainly helped with our comfort. There was quite a bit of water in the river, probably the rains in July topped it up because on previous visits the water levels were much lower. The view from the top of the gorge never fails to impress.

We returned to Kalbarri for lunch at around 2pm and went to the local internet cafe to read our emails and also visited the local shops to buy a few items and to peruse the souvenirs. We could see some whales just out to sea playing around which was a great treat.  Normally one needs to spend a lot of money on a whale watching cruise and still it is not always possible to view whales so well.  During the night we could hear the waves pounding the beach and early that morning it was time again to hit the road and make our way to Dongera for our last 2 nights.
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