720KMS - A LONG DRIVE TO THE BEACH!
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
322Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 22
JOURNEY: Karijini, Tom Price, Paraburdoo, "House Creek", Nanutarra, Coral Bay- 720 kms
MILEAGE: 25958 KMS
WEATHER: 20 degrees @ 8am; blue sky.
OVERNIGHT: House Creek Roadside stop-$0; Peoples Park CP, $36 pn
We felt a little sad saying goodbye to Karijini and our new friends there, but the thrill of the journey beckoned and off we went.
First stop Tom Price for supplies and our last cream donut and crusty pie- we can recommend the bakery in this town and they use real cream in their pastries. The mining town of Paraburdoo didn't look inviting and we had a long drive to our over night rest stop so we pressed on; the day was sunny and our car thermometer indicated 28 degrees at noon!
The road was flat and quiet and we stopped to take pictures of roadside wild flowers along the way. We reached “House Creek” roadside stop around 4.30 pm and were amused to note that the other 6 campers set up there were from the Karijini Campground. It was a lovely spot set beside a dry red creek bed amid gorgeous tall gum trees and very quiet and of course free!
We had bought a roast chicken at Tom Price and settled down with a freezing cold beer – newly discovered Maxx of NZ- some salad and the chicken and we felt the world was treating us well!
The free roadside stops in WA are pretty good and we picked up a brochure listing locations and facilities which along with our trusty “Camp 5” book cover free 24 hour camping well.
It was a 6.30am start on Thursday morning and it was 15 degrees sunny as we headed west to Nanutarra Roadhouse for breakfast; despite it being the only fuel, accommodation and food place for hundreds of kms there was absolutely nothing to praise or recommend here so we sat and ate our cereal watching a truck rescue a broken down 4 wheel drive and camper trailer with family and wondered if it was legal to carry the family jammed into the front seat of the truck next to the driver and whether they were adequately covered by insurance, a long way from anywhere!
It was another 260kms to Coral Bay, partly along the North West Coastal Road, then alongside the Scrubby Ranges and dunes close to the coast.
Our first glimpse of this incredible turquoise ocean that covers the famous Ningaloo Reef happened a few kilometres before we reached the tiny holiday community (it’s not a town) of Coral Bay- population 192.
We checked into the People’s Park Caravan Park at 1pm -$36 pn for a small shadeless site crammed between other campers; our neighbour was packing after being stationed here for 4 months which he and his wife do every year before heading back to Albany for the summer.
It is a short walk to the spectacular white sand beach and you can (we did) snorkel right off the beach accessing the southern end of the Ningaloo Reef; the corals are pretty and the varieties of fish keep you gasping with joy. It was very hot and we found ourselves a shaded shelter for a few hours on the beach each afternoon and cooled down in the cold water.
This is a busy little place and the accommodation is booked out for 2 years for all school holidays and at other times availability is tight. There is a supermarket, bakery, some restaurants and tour operators but you have to pay for drinking water as it is a precious commodity in this area. It was great to be back on the coast and the afternoon breezes, more accurately described as winds kept temperatures at a more bearable level. Nights were still cool enough to need light blankets.
The caravan parks and other accommodation places were tipping out everyone on Saturday to make way for the school holiday regulars and we were pleased that we were making our way to Exmouth and then to Kurrajong campground at Cape Range National Park, where we will be camp hosting for the school holidays.
So we packed up and headed north for our next adventure!