A couple of months later, finally sharing some pictures from the gorgeous wild west coast of Australia. To attempt and give you an idea of just how wild, here’s some numbers:
- 20,000km of coastline in the state of Western Australia
- Perth is the capital city and with 1.9m people, accounting for over 70% of the population of the whole state
- The 2nd largest city (Bunbury, if you have to know!) has 70,000 people and is close to Perth. Actually, the next 5 largest cities (less than 30,000 people each) are all relatively close to Perth, in the very Southern tip of the state
This means that well… there aren’t all that many people left on the rest of the coast! (also, as we travelled during the hot low season in November, so there were almost no tourists anywhere). Let’s say that when we arrived to Broome (whopping 15,000 souls, and even a proper supermarket), we felt like we reached a metropolis.
The other reason we were happy to reach Broome, is that on the beach we didn’t find any terrifying warning panels about deadly sharks, saltwater crocodiles or jellyfish. We actually saw a couple of people in the water – and figured it must be OK to swim 😀
Not very crowded 😛
Excited to finally jump in the sea!
Enjoying a snack and a drink on our rooftop terrace, admiring the sunset…
The view from our rooftop terrace
Barely credible colour of the rocks and sea nearby!
Not only the colour, but also an incredible texture of the rocks!
Broome was known for its pearl industry until the 1960s, and the best divers were Japanese. Unfortunately many of them died here, so there is a very neat cemetery, funded by Japanese associations.
Cesar is trying the high-tech equipment of the pearl divers
After Broome, we drove 1,300km through… well, mostly nothing. It’s just a wild coast with little access to beaches, punctuated with a couple of mining ports (Port Hedland and Karratha – this is where Australia ships most of its iron from the inland mines, and produces industrial salt). So we reached Exmouth and the Ningaloo marine park – a real paradise with transparent aquamarine waters, where we snorkelled with turtles and endless kinds of tropical fish. The corals may not have been as impressive as elsewhere in Asia, but contrary to Asia this is a pristine environment with no rubbish and no people – it was incredible to have this beauty just for ourselves. The only strange thing was that from that part of the coast and for another 2000km, there was absolutely no trees, only dry grass and some bushes.
Pure and stunning nature
Overwhelmed and overjoyed by this beauty!
Ready to jump see some turtles!
Cesar didn’t build sand castles, but fiddled with all the wildlife he encountered, annoying busy crabs…
…tickling starfish who were minding their own business…
…and chasing flocks of birds
We explored some station roads (=roads for goat farms) across the dunes
We left our car in the dunes and just walked towards the sea…
…until we reached this magnificent beach where no humans had been in days, only some turtles bobbing their heads in the water. Guess: did we bother with swimsuits?!
Only goats roaming in the dunes above the magnificent beaches
Of course, this then happened 😎
Another 500km later (i.e nearby, by Australian measures), we half-unexpectedly ended up in another glorious location – Shark Bay and Francois Peron National Park. Only “real” 4×4 vehicles are allowed there, because the only way to access the peninsula is a 50km deep, red sand track. Imagine how excited Cesar was to see our Landrover Discovery on the “allowed vehicles” list!
The red sand tracks looked ok but in some places got really deep
Landrover Discovery is on the “allowed” list, phew!
More amazing red rocks dropping into the sea
Barely real colours, again. Not photoshopped, promise!
View from the walk in the dunes
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we arrived at this spot where not only the landscape looked surreal, but down in the water we coud see turtles and manta rays gracefully gliding about. Nature is just such a show-off here!
The hooligan Cesar is at it again, annoying the local cormoran community…
A kangaroo jumped in front of us, too quickly to be photographed – so here’s the track
Other areas of Shark Bay are also gorgeous – like this white beach of tiny white shells
Beach of shells
After driving so much, we decided to have a break and stay at a helpx farm (working in exchange of food and accommodation). We ended up in a huge seaside farm on top of amazing sand dunes, and belonging to a family that lives the “Crocodile Dundee” lifestyle in real life! Like what? Think big 4×4 driving like mad in the fields, fishing 1m-size fish, catching lobsters with bare hands, hunting emus and kangaroos, mustering cows by car, raising and slaughtering pigs, catching wild goats… Here we discovered another dimension of the Australian Wild West!
Beautiful sand dunes were part of the farm
The beach was just down the dunes but we used some old farm cars to get there – easier! The waves crash spectacularly on the “reef” – the edge of the rocky shore where the water suddenly deepens. No beach for swimming!
The family runs quad bike tours for tourists in the dunes. We did the tour once, and Cesar helped running the tour several times after that.
Our first fishing morning – the owner was showing us how to catch mackerel with a helium balloon. It can only be done on the days when the wind direction is right, and can take the balloon and the hook far into the sea.
No mackerel this morning, but Cesar was training and caught a shark! He panicked a bit – ” how do I get it out?!”
Angry eyes of the carpet shark (yes that’s what it’s called, and it can bite your finger off if you’re not careful)
Sunset fishing and being careful with those waves
After loosing some hooks to the rocks, Cesar caught 2 fish again!
After all this training, finally the master catch – an 18.5kg Mullaway fish. Ieva then spent a week preparing this fish in various ways: frying, battering, oven-baking, raw ceviche style, freezing, looking up more recipes…
The owner caught these lobsters by hand – just jumping into a rock pool on the beach, and feeling the edge of the rock until he grabs a 1,2kg lobster like these…
Wild goats roam in the outback fields, and depending on the wind direction farmers know when they will venture into their farms (called stations). So they muster them into prepared enclosures, and the following day sell them for 100 dollars each. Too easy!
As mentioned, the whole coast is very dry and barely has any vegetation in the dry season. We were really wondering what the cows could find to eat in such a field! Tosupplement their food, the farmers give them some grain and a bit of hay.
These fields get pretty dusty too… this is after mustering sheep to “tail” them (=cut their tails) and hunting a passing kangaroo or emu
These beautiful galah parrots live everywhere in the farm, because they eat some of the grain intended for cows. There are so many that from time to time the farmers just have to shoot them… and then feed them to the pigs :-/
The family also has 9 little holiday houses that they rent, mostly to fishing enthusiasts. Our job was also to clean them after the tourists left. Here a committed window cleaner.
We had to be careful to not grab the windows too fast… this is a venomous redback spider. Apparently it hurts like hell for several hours, and if you have a bad reaction you might start convulsing and maybe even die. Ouch.
This is a “thorny devil”, a cute local lizard. He doesn’t bite 🙂
To make some cash, ieva worked in the afternoons as a “pizza chef” at the pizzeria in town, 20km away.
Just fresh from the oven…
When not working, we could relax in our own little house with a view of the sea below. The farm sheep dogs were so sweet, they were practically living on our porch, waiting for us to wake up!
We used to go to the beach with the dogs to collect oysters for lunch, or just walk around
We could also visit the national park nearby, with amazing cliffs
…and more amazing red rocks!
Cesar fails to walk on water in the nearby pink lake (the colour is due to a special kind of algae)
And just like that, a month and a half passed… It was then time to move on as we wanted to visit more of Australia and also found a wine job for Ieva in the state of South Australia, 4500km away. On the way, we visited the “green corner” of south-west Australia, where it actually rains sometimes, which means that it’s…full of trees!! Crazy how we missed seeing trees during our 3 months in the outback.
Some of them are huge and survived many fires, like this one
EXIT flat red lands, IN the green mountains!
Exit red cliffs, in green cliffs!
In Esperance, our last stop in Western Australia – the most beautiful beaches we had seen yet
Waves crash on the reef, forming calm transparent pools, as if made for swimming
The famous kangaroo beach in Esperance
3 little kangaroos 😛