On our way north from Coronation Beach heading for Murchison House Station near Kalbarri, we passed through the town of Northampton. Being sheep district, it wasn’t surprising to see painted fibre glass sheep throughout the town. They are part of a community project called ‘Ewe Turn’ to help bring the community together and attract tourists.
A significant looking bushfire in the direction we were traveling caused us a little concern, particularly as we were unable to find any radio stations to tune into to find out if it was a planned ‘prescribed’ burn or an actual bush fire. Thankfully, it turned out to be a prescribed burn.
We stayed at Murchison House Station, a 350,000 acre property 12km from the coastal town of Kalbarri, 650 km north of Perth. This 150 year old working station has over 60 km of rugged Indian Ocean shoreline and over 30 km of Murchison River flood plains. Their driveway is a 4 km gravel road easily accessed by 2WD, and although corrugated was quite suitable for taking our van.
The camp area is on the banks of the Murchison River. There is no reticulated water or power, but there are old, but clean showers and toilets a short walk away behind the shearers’ quarters. They also have a tap near the homestead where we could fill our van tanks with spring water pumped up through a bore: lovely water, nothing like normal bore water, which usually is not suitable for drinking and smells of sulphur.
There was no wind, which was a nice reprieve, but the flies at the station and in the national park were horrendous. It was almost impossible to eat outside without getting a bit of extra protein. Along the coast the wind had kept them away.
Kalbarri is a small fishing town at the mouth of the Murchison River.
We saw some small fishing boats going through the entrance, which looked so wild. They seemed to follow a passage between the two reefs at the mouth, but they were still tossed about.
Each morning in Kalbarri on the banks of the river, volunteers come to feed the pelicans and give a talk to the public about the town and the birds. Only two pelicans and a few seagulls showed up, but the talk was informative and all the kids loved it.
We hired a small motor boat to go up the river. A kayaker was using the wake of boats to hitch a ride, which was fun to watch. Due to the lack of rain the river is low and very brown.
Driving south we explored some of the many walks and scenic lookouts along this spectacularly rugged coast line.
This part of the Western Australia coast is called the Batavia Coast. Now called Jakarta, Batavia was the name of the capital of the Dutch East Indies and also the name of the flagship that wrecked here followed by a mutiny. The following plaque explains why so many Dutch ships were wrecked in such a small area of the coast.
Blue Holes was the only beach suitable for swimming and snorkelling but only when the tide has gone out a bit. We tried at high tide but it was way too rough even for swimming.
On a day trip south along the coast we came to a different Lucky Bay Camp ground; not at all like the one near Esperance. We tried to find our way over the dunes to the beach without success.
We visited the pink lake near Port Gregory (or Gregory as it is also referred to). Unlike the ‘Pink Lake’ near Esperance, it was indeed pink. Saw some pink flamingos in the lake: thought they were real until, after watching them for quite a while, they hadn’t moved.
Kalbarri National Park has some fabulous walks and climbs. The Murchison River winds its way like a snake, in some areas making loops and in another a Z-shaped bend.
Natures Window is a rock porthole, located above the neck of a loop in the river. You can see both sides of the loop’s neck from there.
Z-Bend Lookout and River Trail
From the lookout you can see a Z-shape in the river. The river trail is a walk/climb down through gorges to the river, which was flowing a bit too fast for a swim but we cooled our feet in it.
Cheers til next time, Helen and Tim