Travelling around Australia in a motorhome. A story of our travels starting from NSW then through Queensland, across to Northern Territory and Western Australia, then to South Australia, Victoria and finally across the seas to Tasmania. We have enjoyed everywhere we have visited and look forward to setting off again in our motorhome.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cape Range NP 18 – 21 October 2006

Up ready to leave after a spot of banking for Laura at 8am and returned to see how the motor home and car washing was going. Yes! You can wash your vehicles here despite there being a modest water supply. We really were getting caked-on red dust, so a few layers have been taken off with the wash. Peter showed Alamo how to rinse whilst Peter used the broom, for in Switzerland they don’t wash cars that often.
With our 2 Swiss friends in tow, we went straight to the Mesa campground in the NP. This was a magnificent spot with views across to the beach and ocean and a great swimming area. We can see the ocean through the bedroom window. As soon as we settled we were down in the water. On our first day the water appeared turquoise and it was better than the photos of any beach we have seen. The colour is surreal and the sand a blinding white. We swam looking for the coral and although we found a little bit we guessed there would be a better spot close by. However, we did see beautiful fish and had a lovely swim.
Within this NP there are about 8 camping areas and no water available except for the one bore nearby to us. We called by to check it out and were thrilled to observe about 12 emus vying for a position to drink. What was so amazing was the sight of this big fluffy ball with the majority of them sitting on the ground with heads down looking like a feather mop of gigantic proportion. The kangaroos hovered back a bit waiting for their turn.
On Thursday we went down to Turquoise Bay to snorkel in the drift reef. You get in at one end of the beach and drift down to the other, admiring the coral and colourful reef fish. The coral is very good but the fish are the highlights - so colourful. It’s a bit fast but with flippers you could control your speed. The coral is so close and it is easy to swim out to, then rest and then jump back in! After Peter’s sea sick voyage to the Outer Barrier Reef, this was heaven.
On Friday we said goodbye to Alamo and Moema and headed to the north of the park to following up on some turtle sightings. While there were lots of turtles in the shallows they didn’t land on the beach. We then moved down to the Oyster Stacks, where the coral is at its closest. The coral starts about 10m out and is so close that it was unnerving going over the top. It’s best at high tide and we were in 2hrs past it - another hour and we would have missed out. We enjoyed being so close and it was easy to believe we were in a paradise. We moved back to Turquoise Bay around from the main snorkel drift reef to a perfect cove and snorkelled in calmer waters. The coral was less plentiful, but the fish were still amazing colours. Saw a few big fish but no sharks. Lots of tourists did see sharks but, although everyone assures you they are all harmless reef sharks, Heather was not convinced. Despite her plan to remain calm there was no guarantee that she wouldn’t walk on water if she saw one. Our friend John D. has always maintained that most sharks are more afraid of us and that in his encounters he hasn’t had any trouble. John’s words were worth a thousand in that water.
Back to our camp and enjoyed the company of Robyn and John who caught up again! Felt a little sad to think we may not overlap much as they are now taking it slower than us. Watched them fishing for a bit at sunset with an image better than the finest west coast postcard, and found the trail of a turtle that had come up onto the beach and made a big U turn in the sand. It was like the tracks from a big tractor about 1m wide. You could see each flip of the flipper propulsion and a great big belly drag in the centre. Went back at night to see if there was any other action but only found masses of middle size white crabs jumping everywhere. Wind has come up a bit too, but what can you say - this is the west coast. Temps have been milder around 26-27deg and we are already thinking that this might be far enough south and starting to miss the hot weather! Memory is short. A cardigan on tonight and a blanket out for the bed! Rain in Perth some 1500km away! It was so nice in the NP, that we decided to stay another day, however the wind really started to howl, making it more of an indoor day.

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