Western Australia is massive. All that space houses a relatively modest population with a few far removed settlements – some of which are almost large enough to be classified as towns. In face, with the exception of Mandurah and perhaps Bunbury, there are no cities besides Perth on this side of the country.
Considering the size of WA and the isolation of literally everything, it might not be surprising that travel here can be both time consuming, and costly. Even if those two factors don’t put you off, the difficulty in physically reaching some of the more awesome locations might. If -however – like us, you are able to reconcile with the trials of driving holidays in Australia, the only obstacle remaining (as is so often the case) is time.
ON this trip, we had 10 days before Linh was due to return, reluctantly, to work, and we hoped to use the time to reach Karijini via Shark Bay, Coral Bay and Exmouth. To the uninitiated, this might seem a reasonable aspiration, but a journey such as this takes in excess of 4500km, not including detours and backtracking. As I sit here in the Karijini Eco Lodge (distracting the staff from their duties) , I realise that traversing such large distances can be a challenge (tomorrow we need to travel 1450km from Karijini back to Perth).
WILLIE NELSON: On the road again, this time between Nanturra Roadhouse and Tom Price.
Our initial goal was to reach Karijini NP and spend three days scrambling through the spectacular gorges, however we wanted to detour along the coast on the way to submerge ourselves in the waters of Ningaloo Reef.
A 5000 kilometre journey can be costly (our trip took over 720 litres of diesel – almost a tonne – at an average of $1.30 per litre. For this reasons (and to share the journey with a few others) we advertised on Gumtree and enlisted Tony (a Perth bloke looking to break new ground in the central west) and Nadine (from Austria, who was looking to make it to a few harder to reach sites before moving on to South America). Also on board was our friend Henny, who has travelled overland with us before.
Having planned and prepared, we left Perth at around 5pm on Friday and travelled through the night past Geraldton until we reached the Murcheson River (inland of Kalbarri) where we halted at about 1am. We took the opportunity to get a jump on the the trip by skipping the sights between Karbarri and Perth as we had already toured that region on a previous outing.
The next morning we drove on, taking in Shark Bay, reaching Carnarvon in the late afternoon. A shopping outing (groceries and replacement footwear) slowed our departure on Sunday, but we reached Coral Bay in time for an afternoon snorkel and a cold beer as the sun set.
Our next stop was Exmouth where we pushed on into Cape Range National Park until we reached Yardie Creek. Having reached all of our goals along the coast, we turned inland and headed for Tom Price so we could explore Karijini National Park.
That’s where I’m sitting as I write today (Friday, April 15), at Karijini Exo Lodge having spent the day paddling through stunning gorges. I’ll enjoy this particularly tasty cold beer, and by the time you read this, we will be back in Perth ready to plan our next adventure – this time to New Zealand.
Unlike many of my posts, which have some sort of narrative or purpose, this story is really just to say that you need to get out here! Forget the distance, forget the isolation, and deal with the heat, and explore WA today!