Rising as early as I could muster, which wasn’t very early at all, I set off on the 5 hour ride north to Kalbarri National Park which Alex and Sarah had told me was beautiful. And indeed it was. In fact, Kalbarri town is one of the most beautiful and relaxing places I have ever been.
The whole ride that day was just amazing, and I wish everyday could be like that. When the sun is shining and you have an empty, open road for miles ahead passing jaw-dropping scenery each side of you, how can it get any better?
My first stop was Lake Thetis just outside Cervantes, one of only a few places in the world with living marine Stromatolites. Stromatolites (layered rock structures built up by microorganisms such as cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae) are one of the most ancient forms of life on Earth dating back over 3.5 billion years. They played a very significant part in the creation of all other life on Earth too by increasing the amount of oxygen in primeval earth’s atmosphere through photosynthesis.
Further north other particularly pleasant stops included Jurien Bay, the ‘Leaning Trees’ of Geenough (blown over to seemingly impossible angles by prominent winds) and popular camping spot Coronation Beach. The route also afforded plenty of opportunity to ride the bike through the dunes and sandy tracks littering the coast.
The day marked a definite change in the weather from a cloudy, relatively cold winter south of Perth to beautifully warm, sunny days the further north I rode. I certainly know which I prefer! However, temperatures at night still plummeted to 3 degrees C as the land cooled rapidly without cloud cover, making for pretty cold nights and me wrapped up in my biker clothes in addition to my (not very suitable) sleeping bag.
Just before entering Kalbarri there are several beautiful coastal lookouts to view along the Bigurda Trail, including Island Rock, Natural Bridge and Eagle Gorge.
Nestled at the mouth of the Murchison River on the mid-west coast, Kalbarri is a tourist & fishing town with beautiful views out over the estuary. As soon as I arrived I loved the place, and wasted no time booking into a lovely campsite on the seafront.
Pitching my tent quickly I thought it was about time I started my new fitness routine after my unhealthy wipe-out in Perth and unplanned soiree last night, and donned shorts for a run along the beach; running on sand is always a good way to build up a sweat. As it was approaching sunset I took my camera along as I suspected it was going to be a good one. And good one it was!
There’s nothing like a cooling swim after exercise, and swimming in the estuary was especially relaxing and peaceful in the twilight.
Returning to the campsite feeling wonderfully refreshed I made my way to the camp kitchen to heat up the curry I’d bought earlier at a petrol station, looking forward to a good feed and an early night. In the kitchen I met Zack and Robin, 2 travelling Australians, who promptly offered me a cold can of ‘Emu Export’ to wash my curry down with. This is not unusual for Australians, who I have found to be among the friendliest and most hospitable people I’ve ever met, and it makes travelling there very easy and very enjoyable. However, needing an early I thanked them sincerely for their kind gesture as my brain was saying ‘NO NO NO! – not more beer!’, but somehow I heard the words “Great! Yes please!” drift out of my mouth like the call of charge before the doomed Charge of the Light Brigade. And that was it – a full crate and several hours afterwards I drifted back to my tent (in a round-a-bout manner) and crashed.
Needless to say my planned early start in the morning was firmly demoted to second place as I rolled out of bed at 10, packed up and started a gradual crawl to the café for breakfast by midday. Whilst packing up I bumped into last night’s sleeping partner, Mr Bull Ant, who was resting on my pillow. These ants are well known for their aggressive behaviour and powerful stings, the venom of which can induce anaphylactic shock in allergic victims. If he did sting me 10 cans of Emu Export must be an excellent aesthesia.
At the café for breakfast I somehow found myself ordering a Thai beef salad, but it turned out to be OK, and once again rode north to try and get the 400km to Monkey Mia and her dolphins before I again faced the wrath of the Kamikaze Kangaroos.
On the way north through Kalbarri National Park I stopped at 2 wonderful lookouts, Ross Graham and Hawks Head. Unfortunately the 2 most famous lookouts called ‘Natures Window’ and ‘Z-Bend’ were closed due to road closures, but I can’t see how they could have been anymore awesome.