Arriving into Perth, the temperatures dropped quite a bit and I started to feel cold for the first time in months. It is actually amazing how a couple of hundred kilometers can shift weather patterns from a two seasons’ climate (“wet” and “dry”) to four seasons. So here I am in an early spring day, using my sweater from Mongolia again. But then, the sun is actually out and the skies are blue. If I would be blunt, then I might say that Perth hasn’t changed much over the period of twelve years since I last visited. But that might offend locals and I think that I spotted a couple of new streets, sights and store displays. The bell tower being the most obvious new tourist sight.
The stay in the backpacker lodge in Cervantes was a very quiet one. After having been to so many party hostels in Australia, this was definitely a welcomed change. I stayed there for two nights and had the dorm room to myself. We were a handful of guests in this beautiful environment.
The reason to visit the town of Cervantes is a visit to the nearby Pinnacles Desert, located within the Nambung National Park. The Pinnacles are in fact limestone peaks that were created through time by sea, sand and various layers of vegetation. Formed underneath some sand dunes, they are exposed by the fact that the dunes “wander” by wind relocating the sand cover.
Given the fact that there was no day tour to the Kalbarri National Park from Geraldton, I backtracked a bit north with my Rucksack and decided to stay in the beautiful beach town of Kalbarri. This actually proved to be a good decision, since the hostel there was very beautiful and well maintained – despite all the big crowds arriving and leaving every day. On arrival, did stretch my legs on the beach and afterwards went to visit the Pelican feeding.
Geraldton is a mid-size town (20’000 people), located on the shores of the central west coast of Australia. Here, cray fishing is one of the bigger businesses and consequently the backpacker place I stayed in was full of fishermen. All activities here are based around fishing. People who love to sit on a yacht out in the sea will find this a perfect spot to stay for a couple of days.
Denham, the westernmost point of Australia, is a major tourist stop on the way down from Darwin to Perth. Even though it seemed that there are only beaches (booooring), I ended up by giving a try and go there, since other backpackers along the way told me that there’s actually a lot to see and to do. To make it short: They were absolutely right. Denham is the biggest town located in the Shire of Shark Bay, an area of 1500km coastline and a population of less than 1000 people.
Broome, a small city of 15’000 people, located in the northwestern part of Australia is the major stop when travelling through the Kimberley region. With the Timor Sea at its northern shores, Broome is in fact much closer located to Indonesia than most Australian states. The next big cities to the east (Kununurra) and west (Port Hedland) are about 720km, resp. 610km away, a long drive through sometimes featureless deserts. This makes the town of Broome stand out like an oasis, where infrastructure (shops, restaurants and accommodation) seems to be the primary reason to stay for a day or two.
The Gibb River Road is a 670 km long road which was constructed for cattle road trains. It is only accessible during the dry season (April – October). To drive on this road, a high clearance four wheel drive (4WD) is required. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any other tourists undertaking the same trip. So I had no possibility to get a lift or to share the cost of a rental 4WD. Nevertheless, I decided to rent a Nissan Patrol and go for the four day journey on my own – including the Bungle Bungle Ranges, if time permits.
The town of Kununurra lies on the border between West Australia (WA) and the Northern Territory (NT) in Australia. When crossing this internal border coming from Darwin, NT there is a checkpoint which serves to prevent the spread of disease that affect agriculture. No fruits or honey products are allowed to bring into Western Australia. Although I was aware of that fact, I did board the bus to Kununurra with three apples and two oranges. The driver mentioned the impending control further down the road and – with a touch of Aussie humour – he added, that we had five hours to eat all our fruit. So I did and probably ended that day with an overdose of vitamin C. Mum would have been proud of me.
Crossing the continents by going from Chang Mai and Bangkok in Thailand via Singapore to Darwin in Australia, was – well – very much uneventful.