Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Thursday 6th March 2008 to Saturday 8th March 2008

Thursday 6th March 2008

Our last full day in Geraldton today so it was time to do a little shopping and stock up on items that may be a little more expensive in Denham. So into the Patrol it was and off on a little shopping adventure we went...

Now 'One of Us' has this idea that the 'Other One' has some fascination with Bunnings Warehouse stores and suggested we visit the local one, so doing as he was told as usual, our first call was Bunnings where we wandered around the aisles for a short time before discovering there was nothing in there that we needed. When we left the Bunnings Store, we found a BCF store right next door so a quick visit was made there as well. Once again nothing was found that could add to our recreational enjoyment, so back in the Patrol again and the search continued for another shop in town.

A short distance down the road we found a lawn mower and small motor store that looked interesting so in we went and had a browse around the small generating sets as we do not have power to operate most appliances if we stop in any roadside 24 hour parking bays. Much to our surprise we found a Yamaha 2800 watt generating set that was light and small enough to fit into the front boot of the caravan and would run all the essential appliances we use, this included the most important piece of equipment - the hair dryer that 'One of Us' uses every morning. It goes without saying, the 'Other One' will never have a use for the hair dryer, but with love and affection and a lot of care, he purchased the Generator set for the sum of $1,900.

After this purchase our next visit was to the Woolworths shopping centre where we replenished our supplies of vegetables and salads, along with a few other essentials that we 'may need' over the next two weeks. Then it was to another shopping centre where they sold 'Croc' shoes so 'One of Us' could purchase another pair for Daughter-in Law Lana to try our when we get to Port Hedland.

With all our new purchases on board we made our way back to the caravan where we needed to relax and put our feet up after such a busy days activities (well any excuse will do!) before packing up all we could in preparation for our drive in the morning from Geraldton up to Denham (Shark Bay).

A quite evening with a couple of cold drinks at 'beer o'clock' and an early night was had to recharge the energy levels for the morning.

Geraldton - Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach - outside the caravan park

Friday 7th March, 2008

Time to move so we were up at a reasonable time, but still had a bit to pack up and prepare before pulling out of the Sunset Caravan Park this morning. We were ready and on the road by about 9:am, turning North on the North West Highway and heading for our destination of Denham, sometimes known as Shark Bay.

We wound our way up to the town of Northampton and onward to Binnu before the road started to straighten out a little, the farmlands faded into the distance behind us and the rolling hills gradually lowered themselves to become the plains that were covered by natural bush land along with sheep and cattle running on station properties that could be larger than many small countries.

Our journey took us up the highway passed Billabong Roadhouse and on to the Overlander Roadhouse where we took a left turn and headed out another 28 kilometres where we pulled in to Hamelin Pool, the location where some of the worlds oldest living fossils can be found. Although these look just like rocky lumps, they are in fact living colonies of micro-organisms called Stomatolites This form of life was established around 3.5 billion years ago and created the atmosphere that we now take for granted. This particular colony is a relatively young, being only about 3000 years old.

After a walk around the boardwalk and a few photographs of the Stomatolites, we were back in the Patrol and on the road again for another 50 or more kilometres to where we turned off into Shell Beach where we took a walk over the billions of small white Coquina shells form the wide expanse of the beach and out into the water. In some places they are over ten metres deep and many of Shark Bays buildings had been constructed using blocks of these shells.

Back on the road again it did not take long to cover the remaining 45 kilometres and arrive in Denham around 3:30pm where we set up the caravan in the Denham Seaside Tourist Village, with our caravan parked on the western most powered caravan site in Western Australia. We were able to gaze out our windows and look at the ocean toward Useless Loop and Steep Point, the western most point of mainland Australia.

There was a very strong, warm and humid wind and 'One of Us' had a dip in the waters of Shark Bay before we settled down for the evening with a cold drink in our hands and watched the sun set on another day in a great country called Australia.

Stramotalites at Hamlin Pool
3000 year old Stromatolites at Hamlin Bay

Shell Beach - Shark Bay
Shell Beach made up of small shells - Shark Bay

Saturday 8th March, 2008

We woke to a strong wind this morning, however the humidity that we experienced yesterday seemed to have abated considerably overnight. After our morning rituals were completed we decided to drive out to Cape Peron which is about 54 kilometres North of Denham along a sandy 4WD track.

It wa around 10:15:am before we departed the caravan park and made our way out to the entry of the track to Cape Peron and pulled in at the registration point where we paid our entry fee of $5 for a concession vehicle entry for the day. At this time the tyres of the Patrol were deflated to just over 20 lbs/in and away we went on a pretty good road as far as the old Peron Sheep Station homestead. From here it was onto a sandy track with 4WD engaged, however it was not too bad as we were able to average around 60 kilometres per hour for most of the journey.

Along the way we had to pass over two or three salt pans and a number of very sandy patches, however it was nothing that any reasonable 4WD vehicle couldn't negotiate. Around an hour after departing our caravan we arrived at Cape Peron where we took time to walk down to the water where we were able to admire the red sand cliffs that drop down to the white sand beaches and out into the green and blue ocean. At this point there is an obvious area of turbulence in the water where the currents from each side of the cape clash.

From here we strolled, or may be that should be 'climbed' up into some red sand hills with views out over the water and along the red sand cliffs to the stunning red headlands. We were able to look down onto the white beach where large numbers of cormorants settle at the edge of the water, resting before starting another fishing expedition for their daily food supply.

With plenty of photographs of this area we went back to the Patrol where we filled it up with 100 litres of diesel fuel from the jerry cans on the roof, then made our way around to Skip jack Point where there is another walk to the top of the sand cliffs where there are more great views out over the water and along the white beaches below the red sands. With more photographs and video footage 'in the can' we made our way back to the Patrol and started on our way back along the track toward Denham.

We chose not to visit two or three of the beaches that we had visited on our last trip out here back in 2003, however a few kilometres back down the track we decided to see what was out at Herald Bight, so off on this sand track we ventured. Around 6 to 8 kilometres along this track we came to Herald Bight which was a large, very sandy white beach with beautiful green clear water and nothing else. We drove down onto the soft sandy beach and parked next to the water to admire the view and decided this water needed to be tested and a swim was in order.. Good thing we brought our bathers, however it didn't appear it would have made much difference as there was not a soul in sight, and maybe had not been one for some time.

The water was quite salty but at a wonderful temperature and beautifully clear. So clear the we had no problems seeing the hermit crab scuttle passed or the three quite large Stingray swim by a short distance away from us. This was a great experience to be out in the natural and open environment where things have not changed a lot since time began, just like nature intended it to be.

After cooling of for a while we dried off and were back in the Patrol on the rest of our return journey to Denham and the caravan park. arriving back at about 2:45pm.

The rest of the day was spent pottering around the caravan until beer o'clock and then we enjoyed another BBQ meal before retiring for the night once more after a great day out and about Cape Peron and the Shark Bay area.

Cape Peron - Shark Bay
Cape Peron at the tip of Shark Bay

Cormorants on the beach at Cape Peron
Cormorants on the beach at Cape Peron

Herald Bight - Shark Bay
On the beach at Herald Bight

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