Seriously, Shark Bay Australia was on the top of our Must See list and we couldn't wait to get there. BUT first we hit Geralton....I'm sure it's a great spot...but it didn't really appeal to us.
The highlight would be a trip to the meteorological station for a bit of education for the kids and launching the weather balloon...twice! Yep! It was the first time he'd ever known it to burst before all the information got transmitted. (I think it was me, as my camera was on auto and by the time it got itself focused and clicked, the balloon had gone, and I was like.."AGhh Missed it! Need you to do it again!" AND Lo and behold!!) Tried similar idea with the lotto since and didn't pan out as I'd hoped!
We'd had however, heard about a great free camp spot nearby called Ellendale Pool. It was a great spot and the children loved swinging into
the water from a rope. Bumped into a family that we'd met earlier in
Denmark, avid bird spotters..... (Yep really! Leaving that one alone!) but have to say - after a few hours even we were looking for different species! We didn't stay too long as Shark Bay Australia was beckoning.
We were getting closer to Shark Bay Australia, but first Kalbarri! Why don't I live there? A sensational place and the coastline would well and truly give Esperance a run for it's money (In fact, I preferred it!) We really tried to get work there, as we'd like'd to have stayed longer - but so did about 400 other backpackers and the industry is only tourism, so no luck.
We climbed our first 'peak' couldn't really call it a mountain, but reminded me that I'm hovering round the late forties age group! (AND the TAWK Pose was born!) Going up 'the peak' was easy peasy, it's the coming down.
We took the boat up the Murchinson River with a picnic and the rods, stopped to climb the peak, fished a while and then realised why the chap who hired us the boat said it'd be a choppy ride back. I ignored him, thinking 'it's a river already' WELL, the wind was howling against us and every wave, soaked us! It took ages and we snuggled behind the towels wishing instead of 4 bottles of cold water that I was encouraged to take, that I'd taken a hot themas with soup!
We left Kalbarri promising to return and headed towards Shark Bay Australia. I'd read 'Down Under' by Bill Bryson and remembered his amazement of stromatolites found at Hamlin Pool. The first existence of life form on Earth and without the oxygen they produced, life on this planet may not have existed. Tried to get the children enthralled, but frankly they were more interested in the fish that were swimming amongst the stromatolites! And after a while.....so was I!! Look they most certainly are a phenomenon...but hard to get excited about!
The boardwalk to the Stromatolites
Hamlin Bay...I like to call it MOTH LAND!!! Now if any of you know me well, you will know I have one phobia and that is Moth phobia! I know, I know, I'm travelling around Australia, but let me tell you, even Fabio was getting freaked out! There were so so so so so so so many, it was truly insane. When we packed up, we had to individually check everything, every. single. thing. They really wanted to join us on the trip and they found every single nook or cranny to do exactly that. When we were in the car leaving I looked at Fabio, he looked at me and we were just like "What the hell just happened!! What was that???" (Turns out we did end up bringing at least 30 with us!! AGHHGGGHH!!)
I liked this Shark Bay Australia, but the moths and flies were taking their toll.
another lovely spot in the Shark Bay Australia area, we thought it would just be a quickie and a base
to do the whole, Monkey Mia thing. However, it turns out the resort at
Monkey Mia was leaking sewage into the bay where the dolphins swim and
now they are trying to encourage them not to come in and feed until it
is all sorted. GREAT!! First and only feed now is 7am........joy! NOT
However, Denham was celebrating it's fishing festival and we they had a children's competition which the boys entered. One won the 'most beautiful' fish!
They also had Shark Bays got Talent and I kept threatening the
children I would enter 'popcorn' by flicking my bottom
teeth!! (Another story for another day!)
We had the heads up from some friends that the Ocean Park was a spot that they and their children enjoyed, being able to interact with the sea creatures. So off we headed. The guide was fabulous with the children, and held their attention. Really recommend a visit if you get the opportunity.
Did you know that clown fish (of Nemo fame) all start off as boys, then when the local female dies, the alpha male jumps ship and becomes the female! Imagine that...'Oh oh, Marilyn looks a bit worse for wear boys, I feel a change occurring in my loins!......."Hey! How you doing?!"
Monkey Mia: Well we didn't do the 7am feed (never thought that was going to happen!) but thought we would go there for sunset on our last day in Denham. It was so, so worth it! The dolphins turned up and there were only a few of us on the beach.
A turtle came for a swim too! Monkey Mia was spectacular and not as commercial as I was led to believe. Maybe because we chose sunset instead of sunrise?
strange snail type thing (DECs officer told me what it was called but I
have forgotten) was skulking around, turns out its a sea snail that eats
other shell creatures, so when you see those shells on the beach with
the holes in, this little tacker is responsible. He's got this spike
that he pierces the shell with and sucks the life out of the other
sucker - literally. I didn't know that, I thought some hippy was
responsible trying to make necklaces....everywhere I've ever been?? Now
that I think about it........I should be blonde!
We arrived back in Denham later than expected but thought we would pop into the festival area as the local aboriginals were apparently cooking up a storm and I was keen for us to experience some fine bush tucker. I had warned the children that we were going to try anything that they served up!
Well what a disappointment! Curry fish with salad for main, then bread and butter pudding for dessert!! What?! That's what I normally cook! So we went back to the van and I cooked up some witchedy grubs with emu steaks!
Shark Bay Australia was a delight and it was tough to leave....
Next stop Coral Bay...to be written soon.