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Trip Start Oct 17, 2007
Trip End Oct 16, 2008

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, August 11, 2008

Roughly 3 hours South of Coral Bay we settled into the basic, very windy campsite near the Point Quobba lighthouse. We climbed the beautiful wildflower covered dunes to the lighthouse and the views out over the sea and the ferocious waves was amazing. The main reason for taking the detour off the highway to Point Quobba is the spectacular blowholes, which on all but the calmest days spout geyser-like plumes of seawater up to 20 metres in the air. An awesome sight with the sunlight making rainbows in the spray and the roar of the ocean and the hiss of the vents adding a suitably dramatic soundtrack.

We stopped for a few hours in Carnarvon, where we walked along One Mile Jetty (sadly reduced to 1km by fire) and had a nose around a huge satellite dish, allegedly once part of the Strategic Global Communications Network which had the honour of relaying Neil Armstrong`s first words from the surface of the moon.

Next up was the curiously named Rainbow Jungle in the pretty coastal resort of Kalbarri, which is a bird lover`s paradise displaying hundreds of native and exotic parrots, some behind bars, but many free flying in the huge walk through aviary. One of the caged corellas called Cocky was particularly entertaining with his repertoir of whistles, phrases and fire siren impressions! Scruffy went to say hello but Cocky didn`t seem too interested in making new friends at lunchtime. There was also a whale watching tower in the grounds and we did spot a couple of humpback whales frolicking out to sea but as they were several kilometres out we could only see them clearly through the powerful binoculars. Maybe we`ll catch some a little closer later on.

Kalbarri also boasts some rugged and impressive coastal cliffs shaped and pounded by the collossal waves of the Indian Ocean. Some of the formations such as Natural Bridge, were quite interesting and we spent a little while checking out the area while looking out for whales and dolphins.

The remarkable limestone pillars of The Pinnacles have been formed and exposed by a combination of seeping rainwater, shifting sand dunes and the prevailing ocean winds. The vast area of the Pinnacles Desert can be explored both on foot and via the 4km unmade scenic drive and we took the opportunity to do both, stopping regularly on the drive through to get closer to the strange formations and spending quite some time on foot exploring the unique limestone forest.

Walking amongst the petrified pillars is quite eerie, especially as some of them seem to have mysterious, gravity defying properties.

The position of the desert itself is quite strange, with the ocean not too far away and the whole area surrounded by lush green bush and wildflowers.

As our 4240km road trip came to an end we reflected on the pros and cons of life on the road. It's great to have the means to go where we want, when we want and the Australian caravaners we meet on the sites who indulge us in their hospitality remind us why we came to Australia in the first place. We were given alcohol, offered lighting at night and even accommodation and food when we had a problem with the van.

On the down side, the escalating fuel costs in outback Oz, having so little space to spread out and having to get dressed laying down and nights of eating 2 minute noodles by torchlight (which we actually found really amusing!)and we won't mention the late night 8 legged visitor we found and had some difficulty removing - yeuk!! But overall we really enjoyed our camping "holiday" - so much so that we'll be off for another couple of weeks very soon.
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