The drive to Kalbarri was like driving through a colorful carpet of wildflowers, great variety and quantity! We stopped at two lookouts on the way in and were treated to views of the Murchison River and the gorges. After errands and lunch in town we did the 12 k coastal cliff drive which features a range of rock formations along a very scenic coastline with descriptive names like: Blue Holes, Red Bluff Lookout, Mushroom Rock, Pot Alley, Natural Bridge, Island Rock and Shellhouse Grandstand. As it was a windy and cold day we didn’t walk as much as normal before checking into a farm campground with sea views. The walking came the next day when we visited the gorges. It was also the flynet day! (People often look at us because we use hiking poles, so adding the fly nets is another cause for more weird looks). We started with the Z-Bend Lookout and River Trail, which was only 2.6k’s return but took 2 hours. It was a tough climb down to the river involving 4 ladders and lots of rock climbing. Then we tackled the Loop Lookout and Nature’s Window, one of WA’s most iconic natural attractions as the rock window perfectly frames the river below. We did some of the Loop walk which involved more climbing on cliff tops and great views of the Murchison River and how it loops around. There were more, longer walks to be done but we left them for another time and headed off inland to more wildflower country. Passed by the Pink Lake, which is pink due to the presence of carotenoid producing algae which is a food coloring agent and source of Vitamin A. Made a stop at the Geraldton Tourist Info office just in case they had some useful info, and we’re very glad we did. They sent us to an obscure country road (40 km out of the way) to see wild wreath flowers which are delightful and quite beautiful. We stayed at the Coalseam Conservation Park where we knew the volunteer camp hosts, Pete and Sue, who we’d met on our travels. The campground is covered with a layer of yellow flowers. Joined in the communal campfire which was pleasant and social.
Visited a couple of scenic places in Coalseam before leaving. Another fly net day! Treated ourselves to lunch in Dongara (Trip Advisor comes up with good recommendations) before checking into a CP famous for its wildflowers and walking tracks. Saw more wildflowers during our 5 k walk, and also visited a frog pond with over 20 kinds of frogs – sounded like a motorcycle track, and a bird hide where we saw ringneck parrots and honey eaters. Met an interesting couple, Sandy and Allan, so invited them in for tea and a travel chat. Had another good chat with them before we both left the campground the next morning. We headed to Lesueur NP which is named after a natural history artist aboard the French ship ‘Naturaliste’ in 1801. Lesueur is a biodiversity hotspot and an important reserve for flora conservation. We drove through, admired the wildflowers and visited the lookouts but didn’t have time for any bushwalks, and did a food mission instead. WA is famous for exports of live Western Rock Lobsters, and as we were in the area we visited ‘The Lobster Shack’ which is a factory for processing and packaging lobsters for live export. We skipped the factory tour and enjoyed a lobster lunch. It was raining heavily as we drove to The Pinnacles but fortunately it stopped when we got there. The Pinnacles are thousands of ancient limestone pillars rising from the sands of the desert. We did the 1.2k walk and the 4 k drive through The Pinnacles which cover an area of approximately 190 hectares or 470 acres. Its quite a strange landscape to explore and our last attraction before we hit the bright lights of the big city of Perth for a few days.
Note – the wildflowers are so amazing that I’ve given them their own blog, coming next!