Denham - windy and westerly
Trip Start Oct 12, 2005
118Trip End Mar 23, 2006
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This day included the best thing on the tour, the Kalbarri National Park. This must be the most beautiful place I have ever seen: red rock gorges with bushland behind stretching to the horizon. Photos in the usual place (Yahoo - see travelogue intro page): really I can't describe the place - just look at the photos and transport yourself there, on a warm, bright, sunny day, with these views stretching as far as the eye can see in all directions and a slightly eucalyptus smell in the air.
So we got up, piled into the bus and bounced along a hard sand road to the Z Bend gorge on the Murchison River: well into Kalbarri National Park and a good distance from the town. Here we wandered along a path to the viewpoint and then took on the climb down the rocks to the river below
After paddling a bit in the river water we climbed back up the gorge sides again, by a different route which included a strategically placed stepladder at the most awkward point! I was pleased not to be the person who was puffing the most up the climb :-) must be getting fitter on all this running around! By the time we got back to the bus the sun was high in the sky and the temperature was climbing to a point where you could beging to appreciate how outback heat can do serious damage at the height of summer (which it isn't yet, of course, just spring).
The next stop was the other end of the bouncy sandy road: the "natural window" and the "loop": a wider vista over two gorges in the winding Murchison river, with a rocky outcrop at the viewpoint where there is a "window" - a hole in the rock through which the whole view can be seen. It makes for great photographs!!
The National Park was just beautiful: if you can make time to go there (and it is a bit of a long way from the normal tourist destinations for Europeans!), then do so!!
After lunch we got on the way for a long drive up towards Shark Bay, and its central peninsular. After passing a huge amount of empty bush and a couple of isolated roadhouses (see before - not somewhere you want to be marooned!) we finally reached Shell Beach. Fairly obviously this is a beach of shells. They're white, about 1cm square (cockle shaped, though, not square!) and apparently 10m deep. The beach runs for maybe a mile or two around the bay. In theory this was an opportunity to swim. In practice not much swimming happened as the wind was blowing hard, the water was ankle-deep to a VERY long way out and the shells were somewhat painful under the feet.
Shell beach was also at the entry to the Shark Bay World Heritage Site which proudly advertises itself as one of the few places in the world which satisfies all 4 criteria for a listing. If you want to know more then click here.
After that, we trundled up the road to Eagle's Bluff, a west-facing lookout with wind so strong that you really could lean on it. There are supposed to be lots of interesting sea creatures below in the bay but it was hard to see them because looking down without being blown off your feet was so difficult.
By the time we got to Denham at sunset it was blowing a gale & we were glad to get inside. Dinner was cooked on the outside barbequeue but in an area with brick walls and a firmly-attached roof! Steak, sausages, salad, chips & onions. Not bad at all... and the stars were nice: though 2 minutes was about as long as I fancied being in the howling wind. Went to bed with the promise of a 6am start, and dolphins, the next day.