Kyle in Australia

Kyle's adventures in Perth, WA and beyond.

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Sunday, February 20, 2005

Aussie Outback Safaris - Monkey Mia

Last week I spent 4 days in the company of 14 other Europeans with Aussie Outback Safaris as we made our way up to Monkey Mia via a few other places.

We left Perth [map] at 7.30 am on Tuesday, and made our way northwards to our first stop the Nambung National park, [map] home of the Pinnacles, thousands of huge limestone pillars rising from the shifting yellow sands, resembling a landscape from a science fiction movie. From here it was a short journey to Hangover Beach [map], for a swim and lunch, and then on on Greenough Wildlife Park [map], for some Kangaroo feeding, and snake handling. The evening found us in Hutt River Province, [map] an independent state within Western Australia formed in 1970. Here we stayed the night, ate a good meal and got to know one another, finally sleeping under the stars in swags.

Day two saw us rise at 6 am, eat breakfast, break camp and leave before 7 am, after which we headed to Kalbarri National Park and Pot Alley, next to Red Bluff where two of the Batavia mutineers were marooned. From Here to the Kalbarri Gorges, abseiling the Z-bend Gorge, and taking photos at the Loop one, including Nature's Window. [map]. From Kalbarri we went to Shell Beach, a beach made up of millions of tiny shells, over 90 km long. [map], and then to Monkey Mia [map] after a quick stop in Denham, Australia's most westernly town [map] for a bit of tyre maintenance, as it was spotted earlier in the day that we had a slow puncture in our truck! After tyre pumping we made our camp in Monkey Mia, and then after dinner had a stroll along the beach, a quick beer and then to bed.

I found a nice dark shaded spot for my swag, and set myself up for the night, and about 12.30 it started raining... until I looked around and realised the reticulation (automated sprinkler system) had come on, so I dragged my swag elsewhere and resumed my sleep. In the morning 2 of my fellow travellers were sleeping where I had been the previous night, and complained of the rain - it turns out they set up bed exactly where I had just moved from, and the retic had started up again at some point in the night.

Day three was a less hectic start, with breakfast and then a short walk to the beach to see the first wave of dolphins, which were smaller than I had thought they would be, and then on board the Aristocat 2, for a tour out to try and see some more wildlife, but strangely there was none. Still it didn't matter, the boat ride was fun, and the boom netting memorable - if only because my swimming trunks came off! From Monkey Mia we moved on to Ocean Park [map], where they keep many species of shark, and some cute turtles. From here we continued to Eagle Bluff [map], which I really think does look like an eagle. Also of all these map links I am providing, it is the only map in which you can see all the aspects I have photographed! Our last stop of the day was Hamelin Pool [map], home of the most accessible living stromatolites in the world. Stromatolites are an oxygen-producing bacteria, partially responsible for turning the Precambrian carbon-dioxide-rich atmosphere into the 20% oxygen atmosphere we know today. Another couple of hours driving found us at Eurardy Station [map], our farm-stay for the night, and also provider of our evening entertainment: Spot-lit kangaroo spotting. You really had to stop and think about how you were in the middle of nowhere, on a farm the size of your average British county, driving around late a night watching kangaroos. Ripper, as the man said. After a bit of a didgeridoo session, a spot of damper, we toasted marshmallows, and then to bed.

"Wake up", were the words to greet me at 6 am on the fourth and final day of the tour, and within an our we had breakfasted and packed up ready for the final day. First thing we made our way to Geraldton [map] to HMAS Sydney II, a memorial to HMAS Sydney lost in 1941. This wasn't part of the tour, but was just an extra hour's morning tea while we waited for the truck to have 2 new tyres fitted! After this we made it further back south, stopping off for a bit of sandboarding, and then lunch at Leeman for lunch by the sea, and finally back to Perth in the evening.

The highlight of my holiday so far. 78 pictures of all the above can been seen here: http://kylet.co.uk/pictures/monkeyMia/

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