Day 73: 10 August – Just another day in paradise

Author: Mrs A

Location: 14-Mile Beach, Warroora Station

Distance hiked: 11 km

We decided to stay away from so called ‘civilisation’ today and remained on the station. After a delicious Mr A special for breaky (bacon and egg sandwiches), we drove to ‘Turtle Rock’ (our mid way point from our last big walk here), a headland along the coast, and left the car there, walking north on new beaches. These beaches were more rocky than those near the camping areas, but certainly no less beautiful. Unlike our walk a couple of days ago, the lagoon had waves rolling into shore, making for a completely different scene. The turtles continued to emerge frequently to take their prescribed three breaths before diving again to hunt on the reef, often seen bobbing through a breaking wave. Surfing turtles. Not something I thought I would see!

We did not see another soul today, the only evidence of other life being the wild feral goat hoof prints, dingo paw prints and the unmistakable kangaroo tail and feet imprint upon the sand dunes… 

We stopped for some fruit and almonds at our mid-point, enjoying a scenic location on the beach. Our first choice of snack stop was right beside an Australian Pied Oystercatcher nest – we only realised once I spotted we were getting dirty looks from the black and white birds. Their clutch of three eggs was well disguised but the ‘nest’ was no more than a roughly scraped out dent in the sand.

We returned to camp via ‘Telstra Hill’ for a quick check in with reality (and downloading of recipes for tonight’s dinner), and then back to start preparations as the sun set. Tonight we have honey-mint-rosemary marinated lamb cutlets on a pumpkin hummus with sweet potato chips and peas. I am certainly going to miss the view out of my kitchen window when we move on.

Entertainment wise, I think we are reliant on some free DVDs from Australian Geographic and some dodgy copies of movies such as ‘The Matrix’ gifted to us many moons ago…

We are saving this location in our memories as a very special place…who knows whether we will ever return? Tomorrow we depart and head south to Carnarvon, the capital of the fresh fruit and vegetable growing of Western Australia. I have high hopes (imagining French style fresh fruit and vegetable markets), Mr A has low hopes (based on our experience so far and thinking all the good stuff is shipped to Perth and elsewhere and its a long way from France)…

Day 72: 9 August – A mucking about sort of day…

Author: Mr A

From: Warroora Sation

To: Coral Bay

Distance driven: 42 km

We awoke after the storm of last night to a blustery morning, so we decided a drive and a visit to Coral Bay was in order. We had skipped this little settlement on the way down from Exmouth so thought we would emerge from the wilds and get ourselves a fix of “civilisation”. We drove into this little place and were so glad we hadn’t stayed there. It’s basically two overflowing caravan parks that almost run together, a backpackers, a pub that must be raking it in for 5 months of the year, a bakery (more of that later) and a “supermarket” (corner shop). That was it. Basically somewhere to extract dollars from people going on some combination of whale shark, dive, snorkel, ride, swim, tag along tour…

Ok, so the bakery was really good. We spent a happy 20 mins there then turned round and drove back to our slice of paradise  – untouched by billboards, backpacker buses and tour operators with a gleam in their eye. 

It was time to brave the beach, the wind was still howling, but the sun had come out and we found a little rock to sit behind. I was so perfectly content. 

A cosy night in the Zone with beer and pizza entrees and salmon mains was all we needed – well some decent internet somewhere to download Netflix would be good. Blimey! I hadn’t quite realised how poorly served rural Australia is with useable broadband. 52nd in the world for fixed broadband speed is pretty appalling. Yes, mobile 4G is fast, but unaffordable if you’re with Telstra (and you have to be if travelling) to download any serious giggage.

If anyone wants to post us a big memory stick of movies there’s a fabulous bottle of wine waiting for you! 

Day 71: 8 August – Weather!

Author: Mrs A

Location: 14-Mile Beach, Warroora Station

Distance hiked: 3.5 km

Weather: Scattered clouds all day, wind and rain from 9pm

I’m writing just after 9pm and so excited to report we have our first experience of weather since mid May! Yes, I know that if you are in the northern hemisphere or southern part of Australia you don’t really understand, but where we have been travelling for the past two months it has been pretty consistent – blue skies during the day, clear starlit skies at night. Every day, every night for 70 days and nights.

Today we awoke to blue skies with scattered white clouds. This was unheard of for us, and we were very excited. I even got out our weather station – first purchased as a Christmas present from a long out of business company (Gowings) for Mr A about 14 years ago, it is famously always right. 

Straight out of the drawer it forecast sunshine with scattered clouds…impressive…but not long after being released from captivity it changed, forecasting rain, with a drop of -3 in the pressure system, showing us it was serious. Rain at this time of year in this area is virtually unheard of, so I somewhat pooh-pooed the forecast, but Mr A took it more seriously, recognising the times in the past it has saved our bacon.

We continued with our day. After paying for another 3 nights here (yes, $60!), we visited the dump point (toilet and rubbish) and then the famed ‘Telstra Hill’, where we could get uninterrupted phone signal. There we spoke to a caravan repairer in Perth about our issues and organised a date for repairs, booked Miss Tassie (our 13 year old Burmese cat fur child) on a flight over in September, and uploaded some blog posts.

After a salad for lunch we decided to explore south, driving to Sandy Point and then walking along the beach. The colours were spectacular, and at low tide, the beach scattered with perfect and stunning shells. Such an interesting location. 

We returned in time for sunset. I predicted it would either be spectacular or a complete fizzler due to the clouds – and sadly it was the latter – no sunset to note. It went down. It got dark. We retreated to the caravan to hibernate, Mr A first packing away the BBQ and chairs, despite the clear starlit sky above us. If the weather station says rain, then beware…

So. 9pm and we suddenly notice the caravan is rocking with the wind, and are then aware of the torrential rain blowing from the sea. All I can hope now is that it is washing off some more of the orange dust we have accumulated over the past couple of months. I am really ready to have a clean mobile apartment again.

It feels very cosy, and I’m pleased Mr A trusted our weather station once more…

Day 69: 6 August – $20 rent for a multi-million dollar view

Author: Mrs A

From: Cape Range National Park, Mesa Camp

To: 14-Mile Beach, Warroora Station, just south of Coral Bay

Distance driven: 216 km

Distance hiked: 4 km

Footsteps from a soft fine white sand beach bordering the world heritage Ningaloo Reef, panoramic turquoise water views, fall asleep to a million stars and the sound of the surf breaking 1km away and the gentle lapping of the rising tide on the sand just metres from your bed…all for $10 a head per night. Not bad eh? This is tonight’s camp spot – we think potentially the next two nights as well, given we are well stocked up on water, wine and food.

We rose early and went for a walk along the beach near Mesa Camp, in an attempt to savour the last of the beautiful location, unsure of where our day would take us. We then packed up and pulled out of our campspot at the allotted 10am departure time, heading back into Exie to fill up on water.

From there, we headed south to just south of Coral Bay. We skipped Coral Bay itself – even the Lonely Planet WA book suggests it is extremely overpriced and overcrowded – and decided to be self sufficient for a few days, ‘wilderness camping’ on a sheep station. Warroora Station clearly has been offering camping for some time, with a camp host (volunteers who stay for free and certain perks, welcoming visitors in, taking their money and allocating sites) and a number of camp areas along the coast. We missed out on the last beachfront site by seconds, and instead opted for an ocean view spot on ‘the ridge’. The Ridge is actually only slightly up above the beach (about 5 metres!) on top of a sand dune. Sites are quite large and the views commanding. There is very quick and easy access to the beach, and we are very happy with where we are. 

We had a short walk along the rockpools at low tide – so many interesting shells and creatures, beautiful green crabs and even a huge octopus trapped in a tiny pool, biding his time until the tide came back in. We thought of that time with Jenny and David when we rescued a moray eel from a similar situation…

We watched the sun set with a glass of Pino Grigio and then enjoyed a Thai green curry with the last of our Netflix. We haven’t seen good broadband download speeds in a long while, and have now run out of entertainment…what shall we do now?!

Day 70: 7 August – The best spot yet

Author: Mr A

From: Warroora Station

To: Up the beach and back!

Distance: 8 km

This is the most stunning beach we have EVER seen. Today we headed north up the pure white sand armed with cameras, bins and water. This is the most pristine coast – turtles continuously pop their heads up out of the crystal clear waters. Whales wave their flippers at us the other side of the reef. The only footprints we can see are ours. We don’t see another soul for hours at a time. 

We both fall in love with the place and work out a plan to stay a couple of extra nights. We are only limited by our water supplies, the drinking water tank is still cloudy, so a fair bit of juggling will be needed to use that for cooking, washing etc. It means we can’t have hot water from our system, and basin washes rather than showers, but it will be worth it to stay here. I’ve been having upset tummies so I’m blaming the drinking water system…I’ll have to swap to beer instead. 

We met a couple on the beach who told us there’s a guy here who lives in his van for 5 months at a time here, just surviving on the bore water delivered by an old  pump, and presumably bringing in drinking water from Exmouth (over a hundred kilometres away). I think 5 days will do us fine! 

We were back with a few kilometres under our belts by 2pm, and settled down to a quiet afternoon of reading. Ah the bliss. Where else in the world could you get a place like this to stay, with no litter on the beach (so that rules out most of the world), wildlife everywhere, perfect blue skies every day, and safe to leave your things just lying around. We lock up valuables but tables and chairs are just outside and could be easily taken if someone was so inclined. They aren’t. Everyone we meet is so friendly and just enjoying the same things, the serenity, the natural world in all her glory. There’s a real mix of people, grey nomads of course, but also families with young kids being educated in the “school of life”. 

Catherine pops into the van and emerges with “wrap-pizzas” – a trick learnt from her sister who finds they go down well with hungry kids. Well they also went down well with this hungry 60 year old kid let me tell you. 

Every day feels like a blessing, and the best thing –  its $20s a night! With the rent coming in on our house we hope to stretch the budget even further…longer….