Sunday, 15 October 2017

A holiday in the outback


I have just returned from an incredible holiday with my family in the very remote outback of Western Australia (WA). There is not a lot of sewing or fashion to discuss here as I took my oldest clothes. That red dirt gets into everything and doesn't come out!

WA is huge, about a third of the size of the United States or covering several European countries, and I have only travelled a very small part of it, despite living here most of my life. It was time to change that and explore this amazing state.


We hired a big 4WD Land Cruiser built for the outback, complete with rooftop tent and built-in fridge. The route took us north from Perth, camping overnight in Mt Magnet and Newman and arriving in Karijini National Park after 15 hours of driving.

The roads were very quiet apart from the road trains, which shook the car as we passed them.


I had expected the landscape to be very boring, but it was actually quite amazing and beautiful. There were hills and massive termite mounds and ever-changing vegetation and flowers, like this native Mulla Mulla.


Karijini itself is spectacular. The landscape is peppered with massive gorges, formed over millions of years. This was teen boy paradise and I almost stopped breathing a few times watching my sons scampering over terrifying precipices!


This is Dales Gorge. Apart from the lookout and maybe a railing further down (if you're lucky) there are no safety features in the gorges. You have to negotiate the steep paths, narrow ledges and cold water yourself. I loved it, but it is certainly not for everyone as you need to be pretty fit and very sure-footed.


This is Circular Pool at Dales Gorge. Beautiful, but absolutely freezing, even on a hot day!


We stayed four days at the Karijini Eco Retreat campsite and visited six gorges in that time. This is Joffre Gorge, quite difficult terrain, but stunning.



The bottom of the gorges were quite flat, but there were parts where we had to cling to rocks to get through.


This natural amphitheatre was just amazing. The air was filled with the loud screeching of cockatoos, which were nesting in the rock walls. My 14 year old climbed the waterfall while we rested. He came back with his eyes shining, telling us how this was the most spectacular experience of his entire life. My husband was not surprised as he had just been thinking the same thing!


This is Hancock Gorge, another difficult one, but the rock ledges were a huge hit with the boys. I loved it too, but my husband had to turn back at the 'Spider Walk'



This is the Spider Walk:


We spent hours in each gorge, climbing, walking, swimming, picnicing and exploring.


Kalamina Gorge was much easier to negotiate and was very pretty:



After four days in Karijini, we drove west towards the coast for six hours along a hot, very remote stretch of road. I willed the car not to break down the whole way. You would not want to be stranded out there. We stopped for the night an hour outside Coral Bay at Bullara station, a working cattle station with a campsite.

This place was absolutely fantastic. Such a lovely, quirky campground made with tin and old equipment from the station's shearing days. Check out the showers and 'lava-trees':


They were all different. This one rained lovely hot water, heated by a fire. Bliss to finally wash off some of that red dirt.


The resident, tame, young kangaroos were a big hit. This one came up and nuzzled my hand.


After a lovely morning tea under the wide verandahs of the Bullara homestead, we continued to our next destination of Coral Bay. This small town has stunning white sand beaches and you can snorkel the amazing Ningaloo Reef right from the beach.


The area is home to all manner of marine species from whales, to sharks and rays, turtles, sea snakes, poisonous jellyfish and a myriad of colourful fish. Of all these things, the jellyfish worried me the most as some species are so small they are almost impossible to see and people are killed or hospitalised every year from their stings. To reduce our risk, I made full body lycra suits with hoods for the whole family before we went. I am not going to show the boys in their full glory as I'm sure I would never be forgiven. Suffice to say that we looked hilarious (especially me and my husband), but stayed safe and were protected from the sun!



A walk along the beach from Coral Bay took us to this Reef shark nursery. We stood in the water while metre-long sharks, large rays and the occasional baby shark swam all around us. Incredible! Reef sharks are considered safe and attacks on humans are extremely rare.

Look at all these sharks in the water with me:


We did a boat snorkelling tour while we were there, which was fantastic. We saw loads of fish and coral, sea turtles, dolphins and even a sea snake, but the highlight was swimming with a 3.5m manta ray.



From there, it was time to make our way home. First stop was Wooramel, another working cattle station and campsite with natural hot springs. These 33C pools were pure bliss.


This was our camp set-up for the trip. It worked out really well, but the roof tent was a bit of a hassle to put up and down.


We had everything we needed, even a coffee machine for our morning latte. Here I am brewing up a cup on the propane stove before we left Wooramel for a long drive down the coast to stay at Jurien Bay, then home.


This was a unique and incredible 12 day trip that the whole family loved and will remember forever. I just wanted to keep on travelling, but I would have missed my sewing room after a while. In total we travelled 3400km, which is the same as the distance from Perth to Melbourne. 

32 comments:

  1. Wow. I commend your adventurousness. That was quite an undertaking! I cannot comprehend the logistics of the packing that would have been required. At the campsites you stayed, were there any on site tents or accommodation or is it strictly BYO?

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    1. The preparation and organisation was like climbing Everest. Thank gawd it paid off! There was accommodation at most of the campsites, but it tended to be expensive and booked out very early at the best spots.

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  2. What an adventure! loved you pics, thanks for sharing. I have been only as far north as Monkey Mia in WA but we certainly live in a stunning country.

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    1. We are very lucky and I am so pleased we did this trip before I was too old to make the most of it!

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  3. what fantastics memories and a beuutiful country, lovely pics, thanks for sharing

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    1. Thank you, I'm so pleased you enjoyed it

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  4. Does sound amazing in a very rugged kind of way. I do find that I tend to neglect the area I live in when it comes to exploring. There really is nothing quite like a camping trip to connect with nature and disconnect from technology.

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    1. Disconnecting from technology was wonderful! And yes, I agree that we tend to neglect our local area

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  5. Oh my goodness, what an adventure! Such amazing pictures. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful and diverse country with so much to explore. I'd love to travel to the outback one day!

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    1. You must do it, it was so different and so much better than what I expected. I have sooo many pictures from this trip!

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  6. Wow. What an amazing trip. Australia sounds beautiful, fascinating, and kind of scary all at once. Thanks for sharing pictures!

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    1. Ha ha, yes it is a bit of all those things!

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  7. How wonderful for your family to take this trip!,

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  8. I am so pleased you had such a glorious time. Unfortunately (or fortunately!) you will now have the bug and will want to go to all the places. I can't wait to catch up and find out all about it.

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    1. I can't wait to tell you about it!

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  9. What an incredible trip! Yours is truly an awe-inspiring country, that's for sure. Thank you for sharing these snapshots with us--they're amazing!

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  10. Sounds like a great trip! I used to work a couple of hundred km east of Marble Bar, right out in the bush. Its an amazing place. Once my Boys are old enough to consider (and remember!) it , I'm hoping to do the same trip, plus hopefully continue on into the Kimberley too. I do miss the north west!

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    1. It is boy paradise. I think my two will remember it forever

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  11. I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip so much! now I want to go back it's been a few years since we were there. I feel like it's one of the most spectacular places on earth and we're so fortunate to have it in our own backyard.

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    1. We are very lucky. I can't believe I waited so long to explore it

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  12. Oh this trip looks amazing. Spectacular scenery with adventure thrown in too. I would love to go on a trip like this. Australia has so much to offer.

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    1. It sure does. I say do it, you will love it!

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  13. Wow, amazing. Maybe one day I'll be a grey nomad and get to see just some of what our country has to offer.

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  14. Very informative post for us, thanks for sharing.Gmail Customer Support

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  15. I love reading about trips like this in far away countries. Looks like it was geat fun. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Spending the holidays in the Australia is like dream come true. Australia is a very good place, have good climatic conditions, good people, one of the best place in the world to spend the holidays.

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