Day 129-141 Cape Range N.P Exmouth
Trip Start Dec 01, 2008
91Trip End Nov 08, 2009
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Where I stayed
Lakeside, Cape Range NAtional PArk
We nervously approached the main gates of the National Park, not certain we would get a campsite and had had a false alarm seeing heaps of vans on the side of the road. We realised they were in fact mini buses and cars all at the start of the whale shark tours, located not far from the entrance, PHEW!
There wasn't a line up and there were plenty of sites available within the park. We even managed to get a position at Lakeside and booked six nights for the main Easter period - we were so relieved. The Jacksons had told us of Lakeside and we were relying on their judgement from their around Australia trip many years prior.
Lakeside campsite was indeed our favourite too, as soon as we drove in and met our hosts Greg and Margaret we felt at home. You can see the beach from the campground and an overflow "lake" is right beside the sites also
Other than the camp hosts we were the only other caravan at Lakeside initially. There was a high rotation of international visitors in Wicked Campers and the like. Our first lot of neighbours Sophie and Brenton and Clare and Helen, all from Perth were in tents.
The Ningaloo Reef is within 10m of the shore and only 80m from our site, it is similar to The Great Barrier reef but has easier access and it's without the many vibrant coloured corals of its eastern counterpart. There are many other areas of swimming, snorkelling and gorges hiking to discover within the 80km long National Park, including Turquoise Bay, Oyster Stacks, Yardie Creek, Sandy Bay and the Milyering Visitor Centre to name a few. We attempted to make a list of all the places we'd like to visit during our stay. The kids made a 6 day menu with Greg and a list of all the necessary items we'd need when we went into Exmouth on Saturday.
Happy hour, a tradition of our camp hosts Greg and Margaret (both originally from South Africa) began at 5.30pm every night. Our first night of this daily ritual was the absolute sealer on top of the awesome snorkelling on Ningaloo Reef in determining what a great time we were in store for
We gathered around a central spot decided on by Greg and Margaret with our chairs and drinks, swapped stories of our day, our travels thus far, topical events and "must" stays, while learning a little of the countries of many of those in attendance. We met some ripper characters had plenty of laughs and made some great acquaintances in these sessions.
The Milyering visitor's centre was our first port of call on the second day. It has a wealth of information on all the sites here and of the various animals native to the area. A huge stuffed loggerhead turtle dominates the room, it was thought to be injured from a boat propeller and is estimated to be 80-100 years old. A movie room out back beside the library is dedicated to showing documentaries of whale sharks, turtles and hump back whales are shown. We sat through 2hrs worth on Easter Monday, they were informative and interesting viewing for Greg and I, the kids concentration span saw them watch the first 20 mins of each doco and then they went out to the kids drawing table! We also visited the library to complete some school work late one afternoon.
On the second night Maegan performed her "Cape Range Rap" complete with her cap on sideways, an attitude and rap noises made from her mouth! She did this after sunset and I wasn't able to video it, however I do have a few still pictures
We needed a change so we came to Cape Range
There is no power and we don't need no shower
The water is great swimming and snorkelling by 8
We've seen lots of Rays (stingrays)
But we ain't fazed
Coz we are doin..... THE CAPE RANGE RAP!!!
Greg was getting right into the spirit of sharing and showing off your talents after Maegan's performance. He had spied Clare practising some martial arts and stretching during the previous two days and queried her in front of the group. We were all excited to find out she taught this Brazilian form of dance/non-contact martial art called Capirairo???, she also juggled and performed with fire sticks. Greg insisted she show us the following night during happy hour and we all agreed to "pay" her with a couple of beers for courage before she performed.
Clare-bell (newly christened by Greg) was a hit - she was fantastic despite the windy conditions working against her
During the day we swam and snorkelled at various locations throughout the park. Sophie and Brenton were hassled by us to participate in our championship netball game - boy's v girls. After a titanic struggle and after several chances for the girls the boys were eventual winners.
We woke really early one morning to walk the Yardie Creek Gorge walk and enjoyed breakfast afterwards in the picnic area near the other camp-ground. We were hoping to see black footed wallabies. There is no comparison to the gorges of Kalbarri but we enjoyed it none-the-less.
Easter Saturday we drove into Exmouth for supplies of the chocolate variety only to find they were completely exhausted in both IGA's. Greg went scurrying around the service stations and was relieved of $50 for his troubles, B.N most unimpressed, he had no choice in the matter. We went to the Pot Shot Hotel to watch an AFL game and Greg enjoyed the pub tab for a few hours, however was relieved of even more money so he was not a happy camper.
Our annual egg hunt occurred as usual Easter Sunday morning albeit with Kangaroos and fellow campers watching the events
Max joined me on the Lakeside bombies snorkel on many different afternoons. You walk about 200m left of the campsite beach and enter the water to be taken slowly by the current across several large coral "bombs" teeming with fish. You have to be wary of the tides and it's best to do this particular snorkel on low tide. Brenton and Sophie had told us during one of the happy hour sessions of seeing a tiger shark within 5m of them when they were out snorkelling very early one morning. I made sure that the only time I went was at about 2pm and at low tide when the sharks would be less likely to be there - it was also at a time when many people would be snorkelling!
Maegan and I particularly enjoyed snorkelling at Oyster Stacks. It is difficult to access these coral "stacks" as it is from a rocky beach, but well worth it at high tide when again the area was teeming with beautiful corals and an inordinate amount of brightly coloured fish.
An Israeli couple moved in next door when Brenton and Sophie left. They were wonderful with the kids, very patient and inclusive. Maegan was helping Marva with dishes and Raem gave the kids yo-yos' less than 10 minutes after they arrived. In turn we gave him vegemite to try on his toast and we also dragged them into a netball championship game (the girls were victorious this time) and we enjoyed many a night playing Rummy-O after dinner
Another two families came in the second part of our stay, Frank and Sue from Mt. Gambier and their 15yr old daughter Megan, whom Maegan hung around like a rash. Sue was really great fun at happy hour, always quick with a response, joking and laughing a lot. The other family are from Perth with two boys Jack and Mitch. Jack performed tricks with a rope, making shapes that included a witch's broom, a cup n saucer and the Eiffel tower. Max enjoyed many games of cricket with these guys.
It had become the running joke at happy hour - when were the Millers leaving? Margaret and Greg routinely surveyed the group "who is leaving tomorrow" - we were known to be always umming and ahhing about extending. Margaret and Greg would say the weather is going to be magnificent over the weekend, why don't you stay a little longer....We did so three times, firstly after 6 nights we added two, then at 8 nights we payed for 2 more and finally at 10 nights we extended to the eventual total of 12 nights! We even helped Maegan write a second verse of her rap to show everyone we would indeed be leaving on the eleventh night. The verse went as follows;
We landed at Lakeside to stay for 6............ 8,10,12!
Met lots of people and saw magical tricks
Happy hour's what we've enjoyed the most
Aren't Greg and Margaret the greatest hosts?
And now we are ALL doing the
CAPE RANGE RAP... (Everyone up and raps!)
We sadly left the following morning despite Greg and Margaret's best efforts to persuade us to stay!
Onwards to Tom Price and Karajini National Park...