Ill prepared tourists
29.06.2012 - 29.06.2012
We left Denham early today and headed for Monkey Mia to participate in the dolphin feedings. Despite the early hour and how far away from everything it is, there was quite a crowd. The odds were pretty slim of being selected to be one of two who get to actually feed a dolphin.
However we did get to see a few dolphins and they came in quite close to the crowd.
Having watched the dolphins and the finches as they ate, we decided we were hungry too so we had a hot chocolate, some scones and a pastie for morning tea.
We jumped back on the bus and then 200 km later we pulled in at the Billabong Roadhouse just south of a little place called Meadow on the North West Coastal Highway about 650 km north of Perth. It was an interesting place to stop as they were piping some pretty quirky 50s & 60s music through the roadhouse and out to the picnic area. It also had an air navigation system installation behind the road house to service a nearby airstrip. I think it was here that we learnt that Ken, one of our travel companions, had been an air traffic controller. That explains why he seemed so sharp and why he was so fastidious about everything that he did.
Another hour and a bit further south we crossed the Murchison river for the first time. The Murchison is the second longest river in WA and the town at the river's mouth, Kalbarri, was our intended destination for tonight...but we still had a few adventures ahead of us before then as Jess took us into the Kalbarri National Park...
As we travelled the sandy, often corrugated, and sometimes bull-dusted road into the national park we became the "Kalbarri rescue crew." First we came upon a French lass and an Italian lad bogged in bull-dust trying to dig out their little camper van. They had no chance so we all disembarked from the bus and pushed them out. When our German girls, who are all keenly following the European soccer championship, heard that he was Italian they jokingly said he was lucky they didn't know that before they helped push him out. Some bad blood from last year's comp?
Not 10 mins further up the road we came upon a Ford Falcon, with the back end in the low scrub beside the road and the front wheels hanging over the sandy embankment, tracks veering off the road and bits of car scattered on the ground. Fortunately they hadn't rolled it but they had lost control in the deep sand, shot across the road over the embankment into the bush and then turned back toward the road before getting bogged.
With the help of someone else who also stopped we dug, pushed, made plant ramps, dug and pushed some more and finally got them back onto the road.
We continued on to the entrance to the gorge, which is wider than most others that we've seen and has some odd plateaus behind it, and walked out to Nature's Window. The sign said it was an easy walk...perhaps we took a wrong turn but the view at the end was well worth it.
Karen, with all her boundless energy, decided she'd do a bit of rock climbing. Hang in there Goob!
On the way out we came upon a roo that had been hit. We tried contacting rangers and animal rescue people without success. Eventually Jess did manage to confirm that there aren't any wild life rescue groups nearby. Faced with the poor thing having a lingering death, she moved the bus so our young ladies wouldn't see what she needed to do next. That was a sad end to an afternoon.
After Jess returned to the bus we drove to Kalbarri township for our last night together as a group.
Left hand side front to back: Karen, Jess our guide and driver, Ken, Jeanette, Regi
Right hand side front to back: Claire, Perry, Jackie, (I've forgotten - so sorry), Nikki
Centre back: Haydon
The pair that we had rescued in the Ford Falcon were at the same hostel that night. They looked more than a little sheepish when they saw us