A WEEK ON THE TURQUOISE COAST
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
322Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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Where I stayed
Dongara Denison Tourist park
Pinnacles Tourist Park
DATE: SUNDAY 24 OCTOBER 2010
JOURNEY: Geraldton, Dongara, Jurien Bay, Cervantes, Pinnacles NP, New Norcia, Guilderton, Quinns Rock, Perth. - 793 kms
WEATHER: mostly fine and sunny and very windy. Max around 25 degrees, cool overnight
MILEAGE: 28889 kms
It is now just a week before we reach Perth and we intend staying on the coast to travel the newly completed Indian Ocean Drive
After a stop at Greenough we arrived in Dongara around lunch time and most businesses in the small town were closed with half day trading but we did manage to find an acceptable pie for lunch.
Dongara is 360 kms from Perth with an attractive main street lined with huge Moreton Bay Fig trees. Dongara and Port Denison are twin towns with a population of around 3000 which is hard to believe when we explore over the weekend. It is very quiet and obviously a holiday destination on the mouth of the Irwin River; we were happy with our chosen tourist park -The Dongara Denison which backed on to the gorgeous South Beach. Unfortunately the winds were so strong they were whipping up the sand on the beach so we found a lovely bike/walk path that skirted the coast for some distance and enjoyed the views.
We are too early for the crayfish season which does not start for a few weeks and blessing of the fishing fleet is still 2 weeks away!!!
Early Sunday morning we were able to enjoy the beach and town but by afternoon the huge winds resumed and it was back to the van to read. The caravan park provided good shelter and at one stage we were actually sitting out in the sun! Fortunately we have a great range of books picked up or swapped along the way- Kath is raving about Matthew Condon's "Trout Opera" and Sheila is getting into "Salvation Creek" by Susan Duncan
We had a choice of roads heading south to Perth from here, and of course readily picked the Indian Ocean Drive which hugs the coast and has recently been extended and opened at the southern end.
WA has 3500 kms of coast ranging from the northern tropics to the temperate south and this mid-west area is called The Turquoise Coast with turquoise blue water and crystal white sand. A large area of the ocean is protected within the Jurien Bay Marine Park and is home to the rare sea lion and meadows of seagrass and limestone reefs.
Jurien Bay was our next stop when we realized that our designated camp ground at Cliff Head was buffeted by ocean winds and offered no protection from the elements. We keep saying we will be back when the winds stop- apparently between April and September and meanwhile we just keep moving south looking for calmer conditions.
The little towns of Leeman and Green Head kept us occupied for a few hours before settling in at Jurien Bay Tourist Park, where we elected to pay for a powered site, $32 pn, out of the wind- it was rather an unattractive piece of land sandwiched between permanent residents and a tall wooden fence but conditions were calm.
Jurien Bay, 267 north of Perth, has a population of 1500 and is great for snorkelling, swimming, surfing, and diving but guess what!???- conditions were inappropriate for these activities during our visit, but we did get in some enjoyable walks along the beach early- a local told us that the winds came up around 10am so we structured our day accordingly. The Turquoise Way Walk Trail was an impressive community project that led along the foreshore and provided a smooth wide path to power along by foot or cycle!
It also has a thriving rock lobster industry to begin mid November- the best we could to substitute lobster was fish and chips at the very popular seafood shop!! And it was good!
Wednesday was a very overcast day and after breakfast we joined the coast road to Cervantes. We explored the little town and enjoyed the stunning views of the ocean from the lookouts. The Pinnacles Caravan Park was right on the shore, not always good in these conditions but vegetated sand dunes offered enough protection and we chose a perfect site on a grassy lawn- $25pn, no power. There is a gourmet type café attached to the park which was doing a thriving business but we had our own supplies and quickly cooked up bacon and egg toasted sandwiches and a good brew of coffee.
Sitting low on the ground we enjoyed the newly appeared sun and calm conditions. Overnight rain and wind slashed the camp ground but we were secure inside the van; some of the tents looked a little worse for wear as daylight dawned!
Cervantes, population about 700 was named after a ship wrecked on the coast in 1844 and we noticed that many street names were Spanish in the same tradition. As with all these towns cray-fishing is big and holiday makers double the population during holiday times. It is an attractive town and would be fantastic on a sunny calm day to swim and snorkel the turquoise waters.