Monday, 22 October 2012

22-31 October 2012 - Carnarvon, Quobba Blowhole

We then drove to Carnarvon and into a ‘pay for 2, stay for 3’ caravan park. You gotta love these off-season specials! A caravan park seemed almost luxurious after so much national park camping. I lost count of how many loads of washing I did, including doonas, curtains and mattress protectors, but the machine in the van pretty much didn’t stop for three days. I then wet dusted all the interior windows, edges and fly screens. There was red dust and dirt everywhere. Larry did the outside of the car and caravan. The cruiser needed a 210 000km service so that was taken care of in Carnarvon.

Carnarvon has a huge satellite dish that was used by NASA during the landing on the moon in 1969 and also the first international television broadcast. You can drive right up and under it, it’s pretty impressive. There is a small Science and Technology museum on site that explains the role the town played and also the 2011 visit by Buzz Aldrin, one of the original moon landing crew.

The underside of the dish.

We took the Coffee Pot train out on the 1km long timber jetty.  It was pretty scary stuff when we got to the end of the rail track and saw that many of the pylons holding up the jetty have completely rotted away!  Presumably WA has OH&S and the jetty is safe, but I was glad to get off it!  Interesting history though as it was the first location in Australia to have live cattle exports.  A big new interpretive centre is being constructed using funds from the ‘Royalties for Regions’ program which redistributes some of the mining wealth of the State back into regional facilities.  However, the funding does not extend to repairing the jetty pylons, which is the main drawcard. 

The quirky Coffee Pot train.

Just two of many rotted pylons we could see!

A view of the train tracks.

While at the caravan park in Carnarvon we met up with two other couples who were also camped at Ned’s at Ningaloo so we kept up the happy hour tradition at 5.30pm.  The girls loved it as they were allowed to watch a movie while the adults were drinking/talking!
About 60km north of Carnarvon is the Quobba blowhole, a 20m stream of sea water that bursts up through the rock every few minutes.  

Apparently over 30 people have died in the area, mostly rock fishing.

We found a camping spot overlooking the water with a path to the beach for Larry to fish.  He was very excited when he landed two fish on his first two casts.  The first fish was a Tailor, which was not very good eating, but the second fish was a Spangled Emperor, which was delicious.

The seagulls came in close while Larry was cleaning the fish.  One even
managed to pick up a plastic zip lock bag full of bait.

Spangled Emperor - delicious!

View from our van.
Part of the area is a shallow protected lagoon with lots of fish (no fishing) and snorkelling, but it seems we are not a very big beach going family as there wasn’t much interest in swimming.  I’m happy with a book overlooking the beach and the girls put down their Kindles to focus on building a complicated lego house for their Polly Pockets (small miniature dolls with rubbery clothes!).

This creation was a split level house with horse stables underneath.

We did a day trip from Quobba to Red Bluff about 70km away.  The coastline along here is just spectacular and must be Australia’s best kept coastal secret.  We couldn’t believe how undeveloped the whole area is. 
The shipwrecks were discovered not far from this point.
Images from the drive to Red Bluff

Quobba also has a number of rambling fishing shacks that looked very deserted, however many were occupied by the Friday afternoon.  I guess if you live in Carnarvon and are keen on fishing, having somewhere to stay only 60km away makes for an easy getaway. I counted over 30 shacks, some were made from converted shipping containers, old caravans and just scraps.

After 5 days at Quobba it was back to Carnarvon to a caravan park to wash, refill the tanks, get groceries etc before moving south.  I think the ruggedness and beauty of Quobba and Red Bluff is a memory that will stay with us long after this trip is over.  

The other big event during this time is that we have officially finished school for the year! YAY! You probably heard us jump for joy! It’s really only a saving of 5 weeks, as the final weeks of distance ed are Sports for Bush kids which is a week of intensive sport workshops which we wouldn’t be attending anyway. The first few days Kate didn’t get out of bed until 10ish and even Elizabeth slept in much later. We will still do some spelling and maths, just revising some of the stuff they have done already this year. What to do in 2013 school wise has been the cause of many discussions recently. One option is just to have a whole year off the girls would have to catch up on the year when we return. This is soooooo……tempting! Kate was willing to miss a year, but Elizabeth not so keen. I guess Yr 7 as the last year of her primary schooling is an important one. The kids get a school iPad for their lessons and go to camp at Canberra. However, even Elizabeth realised a whole of year of school work and agro wasn’t worth a week’s camp (in a city she has already visited too). However, we’ve now decided to stick with it another year, focusing again only on Maths/English but trying to implement a tighter routine, ie start at 8, finish at 12.00 no exceptions. Maybe not call in so much and definitely reduce the amount of juggling we currently do to access telephone/internet access. At least this is our thinking for the moment……

Traveller’s Tips:  Many plantation shops and tourist related business close by mid October, including the weekly produce markets. Coffee Pot train $7 per adult, $3 per child, or $4 per person to walk (2 km return).  Woolies supermarket and service station.  Quobba camping $5.50 per night per site.  If towing a van, you can follow the track south until you reach the ‘no camping’ sign.  There is a large turning circle. There is no water at Quobba and one drop toilet at the Blowholes.  Quobba Station (10km) has bait and a small shop during the season.

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