Trip Start Jul 12, 2004
Trip End Oct 09, 2004

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Monday, September 13, 2004

The beautiful state of WA.

Just finished my 3 week trip up the west coast, such a contrast to the madness of the east! First stop Perth....

Really liked Perth, it's small compared to the east coast cities and far more laid back. Rain had followed me as usual and was starting to wonder whether I'd ever find any sun in this country, it's Australia for gods sake!!! Spent a couple of days seeing the sights, Kings Park, Fremantle (Hammond missed a great market!), and of course a bit of culture at the Art Gallery (only went in because it was free!). Jenny would be proud to know her all time favourite drinking game ibble dibble was played to great effect one night and completely wrote off the next day for me!

Took in the Pinnacles (strange limestone columns by the sea) on the way up to Kalbarri. Couldn't really get excited about them, but was a tourist must do. Kalbarri was a very laid back seaside town, as they all are in WA, full of old grannies in their caravans taking it easy. It was a while since I'd done anything mad, so went sand boarding on the biggest sand dunes in Oz (apparently). Was fantastic fun, especially when Caroline landed on her face, although I'm sure she didn't find it funny at the time!! A lasting memory for me was trying to climb back up the biggest dune when a sand storm started and could barely move, felt like I was climbing Everest or something!! The guide couldn't stop laughing at us! Was finding sand in places for days afterwards! Kalbarri was our first WA Karoake experience, and not the last unfortunately, it seemed to be everywhere. We cleared the pub with our terrible renditions of classics like Grease and Lady Marmalade, although Trine's now legendary version of Crazy was a highlight! Popped in to see the Kalbarri national park on the way out where we abseiled down a 25m cliff. Was absolutely terrified!! Did it twice of course even though I was shaking so much! Not as mad as Damo and Paul though who went down forwards!! I thought our driver was going to kill himself when he practically jumped off the top head first and ran down to the bottom! Nutter!

On the way to our next stop we popped to Shark Bay. In order to protect some rare species of birds there they've constructed a fence to keep the roo's out, not just any fence though, as you get close to it it barks at you!!! Didn't believe it until I heard it myself! Went to shell beach, a 62km stretch or beach made entirely of little white shells, no sand at all. Was amazing, especially when a little rain fell and we were left with a rainbow as a back drop to the beach, beautiful!

Went to see the dolphins at Monkey Mia. They feed them every day so they come right up to the shore, so we were able to see them up close. Not as good as swimming with them though!! Next stop was Coral Bay, with a population of 120, it was, as you can imagine, quite a sleepy little place. Stayed there for a couple of days chilling out on the beach and spent a morning quad biking along the coast turtle spotting. Michelle provided the entertainment by driving up the kerb before we'd even gone 10 metres and later completely missing a corner and ending up stuck on top of hill!! Classic! We were treated to more of Trine's karoake fav's, with Stand By You Man being added to her repertoire. I vowed never to do karoake again on this trip, I was just way too keen and embarrassing!!

From Coral Bay we headed up the road to Exmouth. Finally it was hot!! Spent a couple of hours snorkeling in Turqoise Bay, there was plenty to see without even diving. Watched the sun set over the ocean with hump back whales playing in the sea, was amazing. There's only one reason to come to Exmouth and that's for the Ningaloo Reef. Trine and I spent the next couple of days diving. We dived off the Navy Pier which is the number 5 dive site in the world. I could see why!! There was so much marine life down there you just didn't know where to look first. We saw sharks, octopus, turtles, and just so many fish of all shapes, sizes and colours, was fantastic. After 2 more reef dives the next day we were hooked and disappointed that we had to leave the next day, it was amazing. Especially on the boat ride back when 2 hump back whales swam really close to the boat, we were spoilt!!

Next stop was Tom Price, a mining town. As we travelled up the coast we were getting on and off of different buses and hence a new group of people. This one sticks in my mind as a bizarre bunch! Especially the 2 girly girls with full make up on and nice little outfits to sit on the bus all day, and the Swiss trucker with a mullet Hammond would have been proud of who spent the whole day drinking and talking about roads and trucks (fascinating)! The only reason to stay in Tom Price was to see the Karijini National Park. Trine and I stayed and went on Dave's Gorge Tour. Spent a couple of days exploring the gorges. They really are spectacular. Walking through them was interesting too, having to walk astride the walls, and climbing in some bits with no ropes, was great fun!! After trying and failing to wash out the red dust from the Karijini from everything, we were ready to move on, unfortunately next stop was a dodgy little town where we were warned not to go out of the hostel and lock all the doors at night! Nice! So not even going to talk about that place!

Final stop was Broome. Was really hot there!! Spent some time on the beach (finally!), just enjoying the heat and the sun. Trine and I thought it would be a good idea to do some exercise so hired a couple of bikes, only we were so stupid and went out in the middle of the day and almost passed out!! Went to the open air cinema watching a film sat in deck chairs, was very excited when a plane flew overhead at a dramatic point! Cool!

Was sad to leave WA. Had such a good time over there, and was lucky to have met such a nice bunch of people to share it all with! Thanks guys! I don't know why more people don't go over there. It's so isolated compared with the east, and it's a long way between places, but the coastline is fantastic and a not to be missed part of Oz if you ever come here. I will be back!

Next adventure is from Brisbane to Cairns. Paul gets here tomorrow and we'll be heading north in our little camper van. Can't wait!

Hope everyone is well, and as usual, keep in touch! xXx
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