The first walk we did was to Z Bend gorge and boy, was it hot. Not sure how hot, but certainly much hotter than anything we had experienced to date and there must have been a gazillion flies walking with us. Fortunately, the walk to the lookout was only about 500m with only a few steps and a well formed pathway. I must admit to being disappointed at the view from the lookout, it was definitely impressive, but after the gorges we’d seen over the last 19 months in Queensland (Porcupine Gorge near Hughenden), WA (Karijini NP) and Tassie, it didn’t stack up. So after more grumbling and whining, we returned to the comfort of the air conditioner in the car and drove the 30km to Nature’s Window, a well-known land mark in WA.
|If only photos could moan and groan as much as the girls were when this was taken!|
|Z Bend Gorge.|
Nature’s Window is basically a natural rock formation that frames the gorge and rivers below. It was still stinking hot, but mercifully there weren’t as many flies here. We had to walk 600m to the rock itself for the obligatory photos. I actually thought the surrounding area was quite spectacular and deserved some quiet reflection time (or just blank gazing at the view!), but the troops were keen to return to the car and get back to The Mothership (van). Despite the heat, Nature’s Window was a pretty special place I thought.
|Sitting inside Nature's Window. Gives you an idea how high up it is|
in comparison with the landscape below.
|Murchison River is to the left of me.|
|Murchison River from Nature's Window.|
Back to Kalbarri and a late afternoon visit to Rainbow Jungle, a privately owned bird park. It was much more interesting than I thought and cool and pleasant after the national park. It’s certainly a labour of love. All the birds are bred in captivity and seemed pretty well cared for and content in their surroundings.
|Kissing or chatting???|
Kalbarri is a pleasant little seaside town located on the Murchison River just a few metres from the sea. Its sole reason for being is a small fishing fleet and tourism. A daily attraction is the pelican feeding each morning. Only two pelicans came in during our visit, one was as large as Kate but according to the guide, up to 30 pelicans can turn up. They had to compete with the dozens of seagulls who fared much better than the pelicans. Again, I’m glad we visited in the off season as the tourist season must be pretty full on.
|The mouth of the Murchison River at Kalbarri|
|Feeding Percy. Kate is in the centre in the green shirt and it gives|
you a good idea of the size of the pelican.
|Larry is holding a fish behind his back and the pelican spotted it pretty quickly.|
A few days later, on the drive to the next stop, Geraldton, we drove past the Pink Lake, which was, well, pink! Again, the lake is super salty and naturally produces beta carotene which is harvested and used as a food colouring in soups, biscuits and cereals. It really was pink and a bit weird to look at. Even up close you could see the pink hue to the water.
We also called in to see some ruins of a convict hiring station and then paid a visit to Oakabella Homestead, reportedly the most haunted house in WA. We did a tour which was OK, the house is full of old Australiana but could do with a good cleaning. There have been an unusually large number of deaths in the homestead in the early days and I guess this provides the basis for the hauntings. Fortunately, the young tour guide we had didn’t go into too much detail and the girls weren’t too freaked out. We could camp on the grounds next to the house, but I reckon they would have baulked at that idea!
|Convict built Oakabella Homestead - barn (left), cookhouse (centre) and house (right).|
|Indoor toilets have come a long way since then!|
|Lynton Convict Hiring Station|
|Elizabeth in the ruins of one of the buildings|
|Lynton convict hiring station prison - check out the thickness of the dividing walls.|
|Early grafftti! I wonder if Syd Jupp is still alive?|
|This area south is known for its wind and this was the first group of leaning trees|
we came across.
Traveller’s Tips: Four caravan parks, all around the $50 per night for 4 and the car parks at the Kalbarri beaches are patrolled by rangers. The closest free camping is Gelena which is a great spot located on the Murchison River with lots of black swans. However it is 60km from Kalbarri. Rainbow Jungle was $25 for a family. The shops are spread out and the post office is part of a fishing/tackle shop at the northern end of town. Dump spot provided on the main drag. Reasonable sized IGA who offer a fuel discount. Oakabella Homestead $25 family. Lynton convict hire station ruins free (and more interesting!).