Monthly Archives: May 2013

4 Days Perth to Monkey Mia Return Tour

Four days Monkey Mia

Tuesday May 7
Nathalie and I got picked up a little past 7am. We headed out of Perth and eventually stopped at the Pinnacles in Nambung National Park. After that we drove a little more to Port Denison to have lunch. After lunch we kept driving to Geraldton, a good sized city with lots of money because of all the mines in the area, and it is a port city so a lot of exports are loaded there. Cindy got a ticket for passing someone before the dotted line started. We drove to Kilbarra, where we stayed at a horse ranch for the night. It poured rain all night.

Wednesday May 8
I got up at 5:45am and had some breakfast. It rained a little again while we were packing up the minibus. We drove about a half hour to Z Bend and Nature’s Window. They are down 26km of sandy road, which had lots of big puddles due to the thunderstorm of the previous night. The rain continued to hound us for the early part of the day, giving us bright clear sunshine and then abruptly down pouring, soaking us to the bone. I guess I’m glad I didn’t have a shower before we left this morning! Z Bend is beautiful, and the Murchison River actually had water in it, which is very rare. Nature’s Window is beautiful as well, a hole in a big rock, that you can look through and see the gorge beyond. After that we left Kalbarri NP and drove for a couple of hours to Billabong Roadhouse for lunch. Wraps. Then we drove on to Shark Bay, also called (which means two bays in the local Aborigine language, because it is a finger of land that just into the sea, with a bay on either side). We stopped at Shell Beach and some people took a quick dip but it started to rain again so we drove on a few minutes to a big hot tub, fed by very hot water pumped up to the surface from below. Next we drove on to Monkey Mia, the resort community we spent the night at. We made a BBQ dinner with salad grilled eggplant, homemade fries, chicken schnitzel and marinated beef steaks. There was a really good live band at the pub – singer called Toby.

Thursday May 9
Today we stayed at Monkey Mia until 11am, but I got up at 6:40am and walked down the beach a ways to some dunes to watch the sunrise. I wasn’t expecting much of a view because of the heavy cloud cover and rain in the area but it was quite spectacular anyways. Then I went back to the room and got ready with my group, and we walked to the beach to see the dolphin feeding at 7:45am. There are a couple of rangers that talk about the dolphins lives and families and the individual dolphins, before it is time to feed them. The talking is called the “dolphin interaction time” during which they have started swimming in close to shore in anticipation of free fishes for breakfast. During this time the crowd of onlookers is allowed to take a couple of steps into the water to get a better view. When the buckets of fish are brought do the the water then people have to step back to the shore and that is the signal to the dolphins that food has arrived. There are many dolphins in the area but regulations only allow that a specific five females get fed, and it is only about 10% of their daily intake that they are fed, so that they still have to go out and hunt an catch most of their food, ensuring their young learn how to fend for themselves. After the feeding Isabelle, Nathalie and I went for a big buffet breakfast at the resort’s restaurant. Then Patrick showed up in the restaurant so we decided to try to go for a swim at the beach (far down from where the dolphins get fed). At 11am we headed out and stopped in Denham for Diesel. Denham is the most westerly town in Australia. After this we started heading back south and stopped at a lookout on the opposite doe if the road of Monkey Mia, overlooking the other bay. This side has more seagrass and plants and is frequented by dugongs and most of the local shark species. We had high hopes of seeing these creatures but we were disappointed. Only birds were visible in the bay today, so we drove on to the Stromatolites and had lunch there. Then it was time to turn around and start heading back south. We drove back to the Billabong Roadhouse and stopped for Diesel again. Then drove on to Kalbarri, where we stayed at the YHA backpackers for the night. After spaghetti bolognese we played Pictionary.

Friday May 10
This morning we got up and packed up and had pancakes for breakfast. We left just before 8am and headed down to Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park. I got to cuddle a kangaroo Joey – Francis. After we drove on to Jurien Bay for lunch. Next we drove to Lancelin and tried sandboarding before driving back to Perth.


Posted in Australia 2013 | Leave a comment

6 day/5 night ROCK PATROL tour from Adelaide to Alice Springs

Saturday, April 27
I got picked up in a minibus (large van seating 12 people including the driver)by Julian, our tour guide from Groovy Grape Getaways, just before 7am. We continued to pick up other people around Adelaide until the bus was full. Drove through Adelaide, through to the Clare Valley, stopping to look at a couple wineries. Stopped in Clare for groceries. Drove through Georgetown to the Southern Flinders Ranges. Drove through Georgetown and Melrose (where Goider’s line is), past Mt. Remarkable to the lunch stop/caravan park/our camp in Wilmington, SA. Stoney Creek Bush Camp and Caravan Park. We had a BBQ burger lunch then went for a walk through a gorge to see very rare Yellow-Footed Rock-Wallabies. Watched the beautiful sunset while eating cheeses. Had a BBQ dinner and used a swag for camping (a big, heavy canvas bag with a built in mattress that a sleeping bag fits into). They allow a great view of the stars because your head is in the open. No tent.

Sunday, April 28
Left camp at 7am. Drove to Port Augusta for petrol. 550 more km to go to Coober Pedy! Saw a Wedge-Tailed Eagle and some Emus! Made a few pit stops, also stopped at Lake Hart, an inland salt lake. Arrived at Coober Pedy. Had an underground mine video and tour. Saw an opal shop. Had take out pizza watching the sunset then walked to a kangaroo rescue shelter to meet some roos. They also had a joey who’s mom got hit by a car. She was really cute, drinking from a bottle, and just starting to hop around. kangaroos can not hop backwards but baby ones can. Debbie was still rather uncoordinated and occasionally fell over or hopped backwards. She loved to spend time in her makeshift pouch, which is a cut up cotton tshirt put into a soft wicker shoulder bag which someone carries around while she peeks out. We slept in bunks in a “cave” (bunkhouses carved into a small hillside).

Monday, April 29
Had breakfast, left at 6:30am. Watched the sunrise @ the Breakaways, 7am. Had a couple pit stops. Watched two movies: The Adventures of Priscilla Desert Queen and Rabbit-Proof Fence. Crossed the border into the Northern Territory; 11:30am. Julian talked an awful lot, about European settlers and other history of the area, we took pictures. Had more pit stops. Stopped at a gas station/roadhouse called Erldunda. Drove to King’s Creek Station camp. Watched the sunset, had spaghetti bolognese with minced kangaroo. Swagged it, listening to Valery play the guitar.

Tuesday, April 30
Tried to drive to see the sunrise at the same spot as the sunset on the previous night, but hit a big rock that tore into the coolant tank and put the minibus out of commission. Julian, our tour guide arranged for us to travel with a Rotary exchange group of students from the neighboring campsite to hike King’s Canyon. It was Marvelous! We had a bit of free time after that, while waiting for a new minibus to be delivered from Alice Springs. It arrived and then we drove to Yulara, stopping at Curtin Springs briefly (saw some nice birds in cages there). Got to Yulara in time to get to Uluru for sunset!

Wednesday, May 1
Got up at 5am to drive to a viewpoint that allows you to see Uluru and Kata Tjuta for sunrise. Continued on to Kata Tjuta for a hike to “Viewpoint 2”. Lovely. Came back to camp for a taco lunch. We relaxed and I got a couple of photos developed and mailed a couple postcards. Got dinner ready to simmer – Hungarian Goulash. Went to the Cultural Centre and the same viewpoint for sunset. We walked on a trail to see both Uluru and Kata Tjuta sunsets, taking lots of photos.

Thursday, May 2
Got up early to see the sunrise hit Uluru from a different parking spot. Walked around Uluru reading the Aborigine stories explaining tjukurpa and explaining how various marks on the rock formed. After this walk we did another one, the Mala Walk. This one went around a small part of Uluru, showing different areas used for cooking, teaching, childbirth, ceremonies, hunting, etc. Very interesting that the Anangu people had a community type setting around the rock. Then we finished looking at the Cultural Centre and had lunch before heading out (at about 12:45pm) to Alice Springs. We arrived in Alice Springs at about 6:30pm. Everyone checked into their accommodations and then we all went out for a goodbye dinner.


Posted in Australia 2013 | Leave a comment