Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Why Warroora is Wonderful.

After idyllic Cape Range camping, could it really get any better on this West Australian coastline? Yes, it could so Fiela assured me. He had been waxing lyrically about a station called Warroora (pronounced Worra) where we could stay on its endless Ningaloo reef beach frontage for the week for $100. In fact anyone who spoke of Warroora stared off into the distance, eyes glazed as they spoke of white untouched beaches, where protected reef and snorkelling spots stood side by side with amazing fishing and surf breaks. I was sold.

The tranquil waters of 14 Mile at Warroora.

Until we got to 14 Mile, the northernmost of the Warroora campsites and met its camp host, Rossco. To be honest, it wasn't even this morbidly-obese-perennially-half-clothed-tanned-to-an-indecent-shade-of-orange specimen that put me off; he was really quite jovial. It was the line of tightly packed TV antennas I could see straining into the sky, down the beach for as far as I could see. This was deserted paradise? We asked about other campsites we'd heard of further down the coast,  but old Rossco was cagey to say the least, actively discouraging us from even taking a drive down there the next day.
Our first camp at Warroora.
Beautiful sunrise with the moon still up.
So we found a spot behind the dunes, away from the hordes lined up side by side on the beautiful white beach and it was lovely. But I certainly wasn't about to get misty eyed about Warroora. In fact I was contemplating just staying a few days and moving on, until the next day when we did drive down to those other 'full' sites.  We got as far as Sandy Bay and then the Stevens campsite before 'Rossco' officially became a dirty word. Far from busy, Stevens was practically deserted and up over (OK,  I'll admit,  a very sizeable dune that stupid Rossco would never make up in an orange fit) the dune was a crystal clear, reef protected lagoon, a surf break just to the south and channel aching to be fished in. R#!@co!!!!

We drove back, a bit pissed off, but we'd planned to go to Coral Bay tomorrow when the wind was supposed to howl anyway and fill up our water cans while we were there- the Coral Bay Caravan Park sold drinking water at 10 cents per litre (that's a whole other story!).
Beautiful, protected Sandy Bay.

Coral Bay is really pretty, but all we did was have a quick snorkel in its protected waters. I came out from my lone snorkel (Oh my, heaven in the water! What a girl has to do to get some alone time!?) amazed at two things. First were the amazing coral formations unlike anything else I'd seen, almost like gigantic underwater wood roses: they are beautiful. And secondly, that my husband had spent so much time fishing the West Australian coastline and had caught practically nothing. The bloody fish were everywhere!  Was he fishing with breadcrumbs? Massive spangled emperor swam lazily around Coral Bay within casting distance of the shore. Yes alright,  it was a marine sanctuary... But still. Shit, I felt like I had a better chance of getting a feed of fish from a seagull at this point than from Fiela.
.... and he came back to camp and caught this spangled emperor. Excited much?
The gorgeous waters of Coral Bay- very protected and safe for family swimming.
Anyway,  Coral Bay is pretty touristy, but if you can't get down to Warroora because you're in a 2WD vehicle and you don't have the time to muck around with the maybe's of getting into Cape Range National Park,  then it comes a very close second. There's heaps of great snorkelling and lots of other tour options like quad biking, fishing charters and the like. But we headed back down to Warroora, ready to begin our true station stay there.
Marguerite's shell haul.
Even as we left, Rossco shook his head, he couldn't understand what it was about Stevens- why would we leave easy beach access for dunes and isolation? It just goes to show, some people's idea of paradise is not another's.
Looking down into Steven's Campsite.
We bagged the best spot at Steven’s since it was almost deserted, a few metres away from the Dove's who'd also managed to extricate themselves from Rossco's grasp. We spent four beautiful days in this arid spot, totally in love with its blue water so clear it was like being in a bath.
Keeping fit and tiring the kids out on the walk over to the beach.
Lagoon goodness.
Our camp spot looking down from the top of the dune.
Fiela had a couple of surfs and managed to catch some fish (hoo-bloody-rah), we even grabbed some beautifully sweet oysters straight off the rocks. Lizzie and I went out into the lagoon a couple of times for a snorkel, viewing some gorgeous bommies. We saw a little reef shark hiding under a rock shelf, some interesting coral and spectacularly colored fish... Even an incredibly bright orange sea slug we named Rossco.

The ghetto-camp kids and Fiela's latest catch- another spangled emperor.

 The wind blew a bit but we didn't mind, the dunes were high and we puffed our way over them, but it was alright. The only mobile reception was limited to one bar at the highest dune and that was fine, there were only a few other people camped here but the isolation didn't make us feel lonely. Our chemical toilet smelt, our water was incredibly precious and we scraped the bottom of the cupboard drawers trying to cobble together our meals… and suddenly the week was done. On the last day, when the water in the lagoon was glassy and crystal clear, we drive off, resolving next time to be prepared to stay three times as long and bypass the Rossco factor altogether. 

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