Quobba - A Whale of a Time
Trip Start Apr 05, 2011
79Trip End Ongoing
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We were pleasantly surprised at how green the landscape was as we made our way north and the ever changing flora kept us interested throughout the drive.
As we got closer to Carnarvon there were large bodies of water sitting by the sides of the road and in several places covering the highway. We were lucky that there was a constant flow of traffic and we could observe them going through the water to gauge the depth prior to us risking it.
Settled in Carnarvon for a couple of nights to restock we drove along the banks of the river to source fresh produce straight from the farms and plantations
The caravan park we stayed in had to have been one of the most friendly we have come across. From the moment we drove in the staff were obliging and the people staying in the park were really settled and welcoming. Whilst we were in the midst of school holidays there was barely a child to be seen, the park was full with retirees avoiding the cold southern winter. Most of the people we spoke to have been going there for decades and spend a few months up there each year. There was a full bowling green and they had activities planned for each day and announced those over the loud speaker each morning. It was truly unique!
Restocked and recharged we hitched up the big white beast and headed out to Quobba Station. Located some 80kms along the coast north of Carnarvon, it was well worth the detour. It was one of those places we had picked out really early in on our trip as a place we wanted to stay and we were not disappointed. It was a rustic set up with a range of accommodation including cabins atop the sand hills overlooking the beach, the old Shearers quarters and stand alone huts
There was a large spread out camping area so we did not have to park on top of a neighbour. We chose a nice open site with a fire pit and set up. We felt like we had the place to ourselves after having been in caravan parks where it is often row upon row of vans.
We decided to drive up to Gnaraloo Bay as we had been told it was a stunning location. It was 70 odd kilometers further along the gravel road. We came upon puddle after puddle covering the road and successfully got through a couple before finding side tracks around several more, and so it went on and on until we got to a stage some 40kms along where we were not prepared risk damage to the vehicle by continuing. (Later back at the station we were told that they had had to tow several vehicles out of the bog holes and we were also told there had been broken axles and engine mounts etc… glad we turned back!) Covered in red mud we started on our way back taking several side roads over to the coast to take in the awesome coastline. Anywhere we stopped we were entertained by whales frolicking as they make their way north.
The Quobba coastline is one of the most picturesque we have ever seen, in some places it resembles the views along the Great Australian Bight
One such place is Cape Cuvier, this cape also houses the Texada Jetty and as it happens, our friend Mick pilots ships there. So let's pause for a moment and take a look at this… when Mick is not down at Fiddlers Green (the farm which looks like it belongs in Tuscany) making delectable wines with Ilonka, he is up on the stunning Quobba Coast working out of Cape Cuvier, not a bad office!
It had been weeks since we last enjoyed an open fire so we were thrilled to be able set it alight and settle in to soak up the ambiance camp fires so effortlessly create. It was a funny night with the moon almost full, a fragmented cloud mass drifted slowly across and created the most amazing show. A fantastic night to be sitting outside taking in the outback by the sea.
On our second day we went for a morning walk along the beach, the timing could not have been better for as we reached the top of the sand hill there was a whale really close to the shore and as it travelled past it was constantly doing tail slaps before rising out of the water and breaching, such an amazing sight to see in nature and so close
We packed a picnic lunch and drove up the coast a short distance. We set up our chairs on the edge of the rugged coast and watched a procession of whales in the distance. Whilst disappointed that after the show this morning they were not closer, we could not complain about our views. Here we were in this rather remote and isolated area of the WA coast sitting back, the place to ourselves, with a perfectly blue sky listening to the waves crash against the jagged edges of red rock forged over millions of years. Oh, the serenity.
We drove down to the blowholes about 9kms south of our Quobba campsite, again admiring the stunning coastline. We stopped in at the HMAS Sydney Memorial along the way, it is amazing that the wreckage has only recently been found and we vowed to find out more about the location of the find and the battle that caused such an horrific loss of lives.
It was on our way back from the blowholes that the most amazing thing happened
We raced down to the rocky edge of the coast and were delighted to see two adult whales and a calf, only metres from land. Then it happened… the two adult whales rose out of the water in sync and breached, up close it looked like they pirouetted on the water surface, it happened so quickly our jaws were dropped to the ground and we stood there in stunned silence, they were so close we could see the texture of their chests, we looked at each other and could barely speak. To see one so close, to see one so close breach… to see two so close breach together like that was by far the most amazing thing we have ever seen in nature. It was so incredibly majestic, it is hard to find the words to describe the experience.
The three of them were traveling along at a decent speed close to shore. It appeared like the adults were protecting the calf by keeping it between the coast and them so it was out of harms way. The calf was doing back flips all the way along the coast and again we marveled at how lucky we were to be witnessing nature at its best. We kept running back to the car and moving ahead of them then waiting for them to pass and then getting ahead of them again. It was just the most incredible thrill.
We got back to our campsite thinking we had seen the last of them. We walked over to Quobba Beach and as we reached the top of the sand hill we could see them just passing by… a fitting end to our adventure with them. We felt like we had travelled side by side with them for the 8kms and we can’t thank them enough for enabling us to be part of their journey and to watch them follow their natural instincts in the wild. The experience will stay with us forever and we are so glad that we were both looking at that exact moment when they rose out of the water for it would be hard to describe and hard to believe, we were blessed!
Back at the campsite we were just reliving the splendor of the day and saying all we needed to complete our stay was for Mick to turn up. Not five minutes later a truck pulled up to our campsite and there was Mick’s smiling face! So here we were out in a remote coastal campground with Mick delivering fine wine and fine conversation!
We had a lovely evening chatting away under the stunning star lit night sky, caught in the excitement of the day we drank copious amounts of Fiddlers Green Estate Priapus (a delicious blend of Cab Sav and Shiraz), before collapsing into bed.
We loved our time at Quobba, the large open spaces, the magical night sky, the rugged beauty of the coast, our magnificent encounter with whales and of course Mick’s visit, however it was time to move on and it was back to Carnarvon for a night.
When we started our trip we had been keen to go to as many country race meets as we could and so far our timings had not coincided with any. However when we originally arrived in Carnarvon we had noticed there was a race meeting on July 16 and as we were planning to leave only one day prior to that we opted to stay.
It was a delightful little race track, devastated by the December 10 floods they had not expected to hold any race meetings for the 2011 season, however the community pulled together and had them up and running.
It was a small but keen crowd with a relaxed atmosphere and we had a lovely day. Having had such a big night prior we were subdued and left before that last race to stock up on supplies and catch up with new friends Bob and Anne for a chat prior to heading further north on Sunday.
Highlights of Quobba/Carnarvon:
- Two adult whales breaching in sync within metres of us
- Watching the calf do back flips along the coast
- The magnificent Quobba coast
- Chatting around our Quobba campsite with Mick
- Carnarvon Races