Thursday, 9 October 2014

Getting ready for Ningaloo Reef in Exmouth...

Sometimes our tour around Australia had definitely felt more like work than holiday. When you go on holidays all the administrative prep has been completed; you generally don't care if there is a large amount of sand and dirt covering your accommodation's floor… And food? Chips and cheese will do for dinner. Every night. But when you're on the road for months, there are days when chores need to be completed, things need to be booked and life just needs to take on a more routine aspect.  Such was our stopover in Exmouth, a place offering lots more than the groceries and washing machines we essentially used it for.


The transition from Pilbara red dirt to the white ground shell of Exmouth and Cape Range National Park is quite quick. Don't get me wrong, the red pindan is ever present but it is no longer all pervasive as it once was. The flora changes ever so slightly too and becomes more coastal, the terrain much more gentle except for the range filing down the southward coast from Exmouth itself. The road in files passed an Australian Air  Force Base and a number of World War Two points of interest. I wasn't aware that the Japanese bombing raids which had devastated Darwin had done the same to Exmouth; lots of roadside exhibits showcase events connected to this.

We were headed to the Lighthouse Caravan Park which is about 15 kilometres north of Exmouth itself. The wind was howling and we were hoping to gain some protection from the headland below which the park was situated. But for whatever reason, maybe a bit of Outback isolation mania, or just the idea of shops (an IGA and an IGAXpress!) and some retail therapy, driving through Exmouth itself was so exciting. This was a stock up stop: we needed to wash and buy food and water before we headed into Cape Range National Park and the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park. Maybe that was the reason for all the excitement- Ningaloo was on my bucket list and the idea of white sand, crystal blue waters and pristine marine life had been swimming about in my head for days. Exmouth is the jumping off point, with Cape Range fronting over 50 kilometres of Ningaloo Reef, accessible by really only one road in and out. Once we'd procured a spot in the national park (easier said than done), getting back to Exmouth and the comforts of electricity, running water and groceries would be a hard trip to drag yourself away from the beach for. Of course, the massive "Cape Range National Park CAMP SITE FULL" in towering red letters we drove passed in town wasn't super positive but we were hopeful that a few days in town and the raging wind would rid the park of enough tired campers so we could fit in.

So we packed ourselves tightly into our little(!) spot at the caravan park and listened to the surf crash onto the rocks over the road for the first time in months.

After washing every item of clothing and linen we had, I was quite perplexed as to why everything felt like it had been starched (or at least what I think it should feel like, being quite allergic to irons etc.). Until I had a shower and realised that all the amenities' water was from a bore and almost as salty as sea water. I even had that crackly skin feeling after. This part of Western Australia receives very little rainfall each year, and fresh water is at a premium with caravan parks generally offering only a few drinking water taps throughout their entire property.

I cleaned as best I could though to be honest my heart really wasn't in it. Months of cleaning only a few metres of living space has left me with an absolute loathing of household chores. I shudder to think what will happen when I'm living between walls not made of canvas (yes your heart bleeds for me, I know).

Fiela fished a bit and the Doves turned up to provide us with some light relief having had a few mechanical mishaps of their own- it would seem that we've passed the baton on to them in that respect. It had been weeks since we'd seen them and we'd been bemoaning or lack of travel companions over the last few days, so it was a very timely reunion.  But most importantly we worked out our strategy in regards to getting a spot in the Cape Range NP.

A sneak peak at Ningaloo.

1 comment:

  1. Great article with excellent idea! I appreciate your post. Thanks so much and let keep on sharing your stuffs keep it up.

    Sailing Ningaloo Reef