Exmouth to Steep Point

Trip Start May 11, 2009
Trip End Aug 17, 2009

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday 27th July 2009

Heading south today. Plan is Carnarvon.

We detour into Coral Bay and have a quick look. Only tourist parks and shops and three wind power generators which were working unlike the three at Exmouth which are out of action. Very tourist only orientated place.  A quick photo and on our way.

Carnarvon didn't do it for Owen so after some fuel and bread we headed south further for a road camp.

Tuesday 28th July 2009

Up early and a quick pack too to get going.  Destination Steep Point, the most westerly point of the Australian mainland.    The track in was dirt then the last 60km is sand, soft boggy sand and a lot of sand dunes to cross.  Owen says, low tyre pressures (20psi) make a huge difference, the car just floats over the sand.  The Prado ate it up, even towing the Kimberly.

We got to the ranger station and the ranger asked what our booking was.  When we said we didn’t have one he looked at the camp trailer and then us and asked why we brought it and he gave us a real strange look too.  Great guy though, Scottish and possibly a relation of Jimmy Barnes!  Well if you’ve got a camp site we’ll have one then please.  What a fantastic spot. 20ft to the water in the most picturesque (other than Kiama) place we’ve been to on the coast.
We headed to Steep Point, then Zudoypt Clifts.  On the cliffs is a memorial to the Nor 6 which sank there Anzac Day 1963 due to the inaccuracy of the current ocean charts which were as in the 1800s!  It tells of the tragic loss of life of all on the prawn trawler other than the Captain who was flung free of the wreckage which sank in under a minute and of his struggle for survival for the next 14 days.  Fantastic sights.  Magic spot.  Will book to come back here again.

A real highlight though was the humpback whales just off the coast.  Possibly 12 of them, blowing, splashing and jumping.  Magnificent to see in such a special place.

For fun Owen gave the girls a drive of the car.  They loved it even though they had no idea of keeping the car on the track.  They steered, I did the brake and gear thing.  Huge smiles.  My problem is they will be at me for more now.

Back at camp we have a little fishing session to use up the remaining bait from 80 Mile Beach.  Bites galore which was good for the girls to experience.  Kirstyn was to only one to bag a whiting though as their mouths were just too small for the gear I had.  Nice fish, nearly 12’’ long too.  He went safely back to sea.

Wednesday 29th July 2009
Beautiful morning, even though the breeze was a little strong and cool. Probably 10oC this morning.  We wanted to get out early before the possibility of other 4WD's coming in made the going out a little harder as the track is very narrow in most places.

On the way in was a real narly dune which on the downward side was really steep and very soft.  Owen was a tad concerned about getting back over it.  On reaching that dune there is a secondary track and no need to go the hard way. Phew.

We drove into Hamlin Pool to look at the stromatolites which occur here and only one other place in the world.  They look like rocks but are living cyanobacteria which have survived here because of the sand bar across the bay 47km to the north.  This sand bar reduces the effect of the tides from coming in and results in hyper-salinity water in the bay.  No other creatures can tolerate the salt so the stromatolites survive where they are consumed as food in otherwise normal sea conditions.  These are over 5,000 yrs old and date back to 3,500 million years ago as the earliest forms of life on earth - prior to the earth having an oxygen rich atmosphere.  By creating oxygen as a by-product they are responsible for changing the earth’s atmosphere to a 20% oxygen level to allow other life forms to evolve.

We had some nice burgers and milk shakes at the caravan park at Hamlin pool then headed on our way to find a camp closer to Geraldton.  We camped by the Murchison River with probably the remainder of the grey nomads not already camped in either Broome, 80 Mile Beach, Exmouth or Coral Bay!
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Where I stayed
Steep Point
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