More road

Headed inland today. Stopped en route at New Norcia, home of the Benedictine monks.
Total change of scenery – massive wheat fields and areas of grazing, almost like English parkland.
Overnight in a quiet bushland campsite at Toodyay – full of wildlife and birds.

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Still on the road

Long trip south today to Geraldton. Scenery changed from nothing as far as the eye could see to scrubby bush, wild flowers and eventually wheat fields.
Ocean liner moored at Geraldton is Aussie’s largest cruise ship.
Watched the sunset over the Indian ocean, then ate mince pies (well, they were playing Xmas music in the supermarket!)

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On the road again

Sad day today – started heading south back to Perth.
Crossed Tropic of Capricorn, nothing to see but termite mounds. Arrived in Carnarvon not long after lunch. Campsites are empty, town was closed – the end of the tourist season.
Tried to buy fresh mangoes from local growers, but even their stalls were shut! Did see some beautiful azalea-like flowers though.
Highlight of the day was Miouwbus clocking up 20,000 km – 3000 of them with us!

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More sun, sea and sand

Last day up north.
Returned to our favourite snorkeling beach, then visited Jurabi beach where the huge turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Saw several females resting on the beach, in an attempt to avoid the males!
Spotted a pretty red flower – the Desert Pea. Apparently we were lucky to see it in flower.
Baby Osprey has fledged!
Watched an Emu with 5 small chicks (well, small compared to mum – they were pretty big!)

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Sun, Sea and Sand

Headed back into the national park again, for a day of sun and snorkeling. First stop was Oyster Stacks, lovely coral and fish, but getting too shallow for comfort. Went back to Turquoise Bay, and tried the sheltered bay. Saw another shovel nosed ray basking in the shallows. Good snorkeling again, followed by a spot of sunbathing. Both of us look like lobsters now!
Drove along Ambush Alley, named after the local Roos who hide in the roadside bushes after 4 pm each day and hop out on un-suspecting tourists! Ha, fooled ya, we left at 3.30!
Stopped at the lighthouse lookout on the way back – watched whales breaching – awesome!
Kangaroo steak for tea – delicious!

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Cape Range

Day trip into Cape Range national park today. Spotted an osprey nest on top of transmitter mast, both parents there, and chick about to fledge.
Looked at fish chart in info centre and confirmed yesterday’s ray as a shovel nosed ray.
Walked along Yardie Creek, very scenic but really hot.
Cooled off with a brilliant drift snorkel in Turquoise Bay. Huge shoals of small and large fish – stunning. Could hear them pecking at the coral! Swam over a blue spotted ray – his barb was there!
Had near miss with Roos – one now nursing a bruise and a bald patch – his fur is on our bumper!
Roo steaks were on the menu for tea tomorrow anyway!

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Exmouth

Relatively short drive to Exmouth today, as far north as we intend going. Hit a temperature PB of 36 degs!
Stopped for a swim at Bundegi Beach, a beautiful deserted bay, apart from the 6foot long bull-nose ray lurking in the shallows! Waited until it moved along the beach before we went in! Treated to a display by dolphins, with half a dozen fish jumping out of the water trying to avoid being eaten. Then to cap it all, 3 whales appeared and entertained us for ages. Some people pay to see what we were seeing!
Nice campsite – shame about the venomous snakes …

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Shark nursery

Strolled along the beach to Skeleton Bay – saw about 30 baby sharks swimming in the shallow water. Liz had a paddle, but soon got out!
Another afternoon of snorkeling, saw Manta rays and shoal of huge brightly coloured fish. Fortunately the mummy sharks stayed away!

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Coral Bay

Relatively short drive today, so took detour to blowholes at Quobba. Fantastic coastal scenery – waves travelled through small caves and erupted through blowholes. Best pictures equals getting wet!
Then, just 1km south, we found a quiet lagoon type beach, with the most amazing pool for snorkeling. So many fish, all different sizes and colours, they came right up to us and even nibbled our toes!
Passed what looked like an ice rink – in 26 degs heat? Turned out to be a salt lake!
Another long straight road, more emus and lizards with a death wish, arrived at Coral Bay. Liz went straight in for another snorkel – not as good as previous place, but still fun.

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Carnarvon

On the road by 9 am today. First port of call was Shell Beach – 7km long made entirely of tiny cockle shells! Really pretty. Next stop, Hamelin Pool, a boardwalk over living stromatolites, look like lumps of rock but are living fossils, thought to be the first life on earth.
More of the long straight road to Carnarvon, must be rush-hour – saw 10 cars!

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Dolphin day

Early start to meet the dolphins – couple of pods arrived, mums with calves.
Went swimming in sea, calm and lovely until we remembered the name – Shark Bay! Manta ray swam past us!
Emu and 3 chicks came onto the site, followed by a lizard.
Afternoon snorkel – looked up and saw black fins! Fortunately it was the dolphins returning to feed only metres away from us!
Went for an evening sail on a catamaran.

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Monkey Mia

Visited Kalbarri National Park this morning. Couldn’t go on the un-sealed road to visit the best parts, but it was still stunning. An obliging lizard posed for his photo.
The wildflowers are at their best – had to stop loads of times to take photos.
Warming up now – reached 34.5 degs!
Continued on the long long road to Monkey Mia – 350 km, and all we saw were two goats and two Emus! (oh, and millions of flys). Liz was so bored she even drove the newly-named Miouwbus!
Fantastic beach front site at Monkey Mia – staying here for two nights.

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Kalbarri

A short day today, with a shopping stop at Geraldton. Passed another huge pink lake, but this time they were ‘harvesting’ the carotene.
Met the massive road trains on the highway, so took the scenic Coastal road, stopping at various lookout points. Saw a fox – and numerous signs warning of fox poison!
Found a nice quiet site at Kalbarri.

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The Pinnacles

Continued north along the coast road, enjoying the different scenery. Wild flowers are at their best just now. Visited The Pinnacles, amazing limestone rocks. Drove off-road through them – bit hairy and narrow in places! Overnight at Dongara, 350 km north of Perth.
Met a pretty bug!

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