Carnarvon is only about 100 kilometers from Monkey Mia as the Crow flies. We aren’t Crows and we can’t fly in our campervan so we have to drive south for 200 kilometers and then northwest for another 155 kilometers. We made a late start down the road after shopping for groceries and filling with diesel. We took advantage of the discount offered by the grocery store which is pretty standard in Australia. Woolworths, Cole’s and some IGA stores offer a 4 cent per liter discount on fuel at their
We left Exmouth headed for another sea adventure in Monkey Mia. South of Exmouth we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. In doing this we left the tropics for the last time in Australia. The distance from Exmouth to the Monkey Mia was too far to cover easily in one day so we decided to make it a two day trip. We needed to stop for groceries and figured that Carnarvon would be a good stop for that and give us an easy 2 day trip to Monkey Mia. As we pulled into Carnarvon, there was a huge dish an
Monday, May 12, we went out to swim with the whalesharks. We chose Ningaloo Whaleshark Swim as the company based on the information we could gather. We were picked up at our park at 7:15 and driven to the dock which is on the other side of the peninsula. There were 19 adults in the group plus three young children. We were transferred to the boat which was anchored offshore and then taken to a reef area. The snorkeling was partly a training exercise for the whaleshark swim which has to be ex
I’ve seen pictures of the planet Mars, and this part of Australia sure looks like Mars. The landscape here is relentlessly red. The red is a deeper red than the red center. The desert is red, hills are red, sand dunes are red. Even the rivers look deep red, much deeper red than the Red River on the Texas-Oklahoma border. Our whole journey from Nanutarra Roadhouse to Exmouth had only minor elevation changes and only a few curves to move us around rather than over hills.
Temperatures are mod
Port Hedland was an overnight stop, we left in the morning intending to drive to Exmouth on the Exmouth Peninsula to the southwest of Port Hedland. The road route is over 700 kilometers which was a surprise to me. I had looked at the map and figured the distances at something over 400 kilometers. When I programmed the GPS in the morning I thought it must have a different route in mind. So Louise went to the map and confirmed that the distance was going to be over 700 kilometers. We have dri
Our next stop was 610 kilometers down the road, a full day drive. Port Hedland is south and west of Broome. The road follows the curve of the shore just inland from the Indian Ocean. We packed up and were on our way by 9:00 a.m. Between Broome and Port Hedland there is little for us to see. The only side roads from this section of highway are unpaved dirt roads. There is access to 80 mile beach but that also is an unpaved road. As you might suspect, 80 mile beach is an extensive beach sim
Our last day in Broome was a beach day. We drove to the beach about 11:00 a.m. and parked the motor home on solid sand at the upper part of the beach. Cable Beach is a large beach that stretches from near downtown Broome on the west coast for twenty kilometers. We were on Gantheaume Bay on the Indian Ocean. Waters were quite warm and the surf was mild, waves less than two feet made for a fun beach.
There were vehicles all over the beach, many with boat trailers. This was a great swimming b
Our second day in Broome starts with laundry. The park laundry facilities here are generally quite good. Here in Broome there are 10 washers and just 4 dryers. All the parks have clothes lines set up for laundry right next to the laundry room. Our campervan came with a set of clothes pins and a small clothes line. Washers here are $4.00 per load so she has been economizing by hanging the laundry to dry rather than using the dryers. It is always an adventure to do the laundry. Some machine
Broome is a small town on the northwest shore of Australia. The pearling industry has been a strength of the area along with tourism. Broome isn’t the only place where pearl farms are found here, it is the center of a large region that extends from Darwin in the north to Port Hedland to the southwest. The largest pearl oysters are found here and the pearls we saw in shops are enormous. The downtown of Broome has a dozen jewelry shops specializing in pearls. We browsed our way through all of
Fitzroy Crossing is named for the place where people could ford the Fitzroy River. The Fitzroy River has cut a deep gorge to the north of this area which made crossing in that area impossible. Exiting the gorge the river deposits huge amounts of sand after each flood. Choked by all the sand, the Fitzroy River fans out into multiple channels which would make crossing the river difficult because the multiple channels are constantly shifting. After each flood the channels would move as sand was
Leaving Lake Argyle on Sunday, May 4 we made a stop for fuel at the first town we came to, Kununurra. It is a small town. We found a grocery store and picked up some of the fruits and vegetables we hadn’t been able to bring across the border. Once that was done we were driving almost all day long. We made another stop for fuel at Halls Creek and ate lunch at that stop then were back on the road until we arrived at our stop for the night in Fitzroy Crossing. This is the place where the road
We left Timber creek after discovering one more new-to-us bird, a Red Winged Parrot. These were in the trees near our campsite and we just had to pause to enjoy watching them. Then we were off down the road to Western Australia, the last of the 8 Australian states and territories. I couldn’t get a city programmed in the GPS because it only showed me cities in the US. I knew I was putting in a large enough city, it should be able to find it. Finally after three tries I realized that WA was W
Our time in the campervan is now down to three weeks and we have one third of mainland Australia to explore. Leaving Batchelor we drove south to Katherine to fuel up and stock up on groceries before turning west on the Victoria Highway toward Broome, Western Australia. Western Australia (WA) would be our eighth and final state in Australia to visit. Australia has eight states so we will have seen something of each of them before we conclude our trip. From Batchelor we will go 235 kilometers
South of Darwin is a well-known park, Litchfield National Park. Several people we have talked to mentioned Litchfield as a must-see park. It was just off our planned route of travel so we planned to spend the day exploring the park. We decided to drive to the far end of the park, there is only one road into the park, not a loop through the park. We would be driving into the park and then seeing the sights on the way out. That was the plan but when we got to the first stop, the magnetic term
Our last day in Darwin was spent visiting two interesting sites. Darwin National Park lies to the south of the city and is located on Beagle Bay. There is a nice view of the city from across the bay. The park itself is relatively undeveloped. During WWII the land was used for ammunition bunkers which are still there in the park. They no longer contain ammunition but are used for other storage today. One of the bunkers was open and contained exhibits from WWII when Darwin was under Japanese
The capital city of Northern Territories is Darwin. It is the smallest of the capital cities in Australia. We are at a park just south of the airport, Hidden Valley Tourist Park. It is a well maintained park but the rates are among the highest we’ve paid anywhere at $45 per night for the en suite accommodations. The regular accommodations without the private bathroom were $44 per night. All this and only minimal free internet, a two day pass for 100 MB and then you have to buy internet star
Monday, April 28, we departed Jabiru at 6:00 a.m. on the way to the Nourlangle site in Kakadu National Park. This site has two things we want to see, Aborigine rock art or petroglyphs and a scenic viewpoint overlooking that part of the park. Our early departure is an attempt to cope with the extreme humidity and very warm temperatures that are common in this part of Australia. We are just 13 degrees from the equator so every day is a warm day and there is plenty of moisture.
We got to the M
There is a little bit of everything in Kakadu National Park but the heart of the park is the South Alligator River. The entire drainage basin of the South Alligator River is within Kakadu National Park. About the name, it was incorrectly named when the person who named it mistook the crocodiles for alligators. Once named I guess there is no way to correct the mistake. So there are no alligators in the Alligator River, only crocodiles. This goes along with a standing joke Louise and I have.
Saturday, April 26 is another moving day. We left Katherine on the way to Kakadu National Park near Jabiru, NT. Kakadu National Park is a world heritage site. It encompasses a large area of land with several large rivers and lakes. It is known for its fishing, birding and crocodiles. There are no swimming areas in the park other than swimming pools. Crocodiles are found in the waters throughout the park. One person laughingly described this as Crocodile Dundee territory! We’re going for
Nitmiluk National Park is a small park just a few kilometers east of Katherine in the Northern Territories. The primary feature of Nitmiluk is the Katherine River which has cut a gorge into the rocks. The gorge is rather unique in that it developed as the rocks were lifted. With its path established prior to the rocks being lifted, it encountered resistant rocks and created a new path along the stress cracks in the rising rocks. These stress cracks are in a pattern with near 90 degrees angle
North of Tennant Creek is Three Ways, a small community near the junction of the Barkly Highway which we drove from Mount Isa to Tennant Creek several weeks before and the Stuart Highway which we are now taking on north toward Darwin. When we passed Three Ways we were in new territory again. As we drove along you could tell that there had been quite a lot of rain lately. We were seeing water standing in creek beds that would normally be dry. Further north the vegetation became thicker with l
I hadn’t looked at a map for a while so I pulled out a map to see where our coming journey would take us. I had a general idea but the specifics were foggy. The first thing I looked for and found was the Tropic of Capricorn. How close were we to the tropics? Well, it turns out we were really close. Alice Springs is only slightly south of the Tropic of Capricorn. We would cross back into the tropics in about 60 kilometers when we left town in the morning. In fact, the marker for the Tropic
Our last trip to Alice Springs we were southbound toward Uluru. This time we were returning from Uluru and Kings Canyon. Our normal travel pattern is to avoid backtracking over the same route. If at all possible we will take a different road on a return trip. In this case there is one road from Alice Springs to Uluru. There was an alternate route from Kings Canyon that would cut off some distance and give us different scenery. That road was a dirt road. We gave it a try but found it badly
Northeast of Uluru is an area known as Kings Canyon. The as the crow flies distance is about 120 kilometers but the road distance is more like 300 kilometers. It is a beautiful area of sandstone bluffs and canyons. There are several hikes of interest to us in this location so we spent Easter Sunday driving to this location. We arrived at the Kings Canyon Resort to find that all the powered sites were taken and the rate for unpowered sites were just a few dollars less than those with power.
Our last evening at Uluru was spent on a camel ride with a sunset view of Uluru. We spent the earlier part of the day hiking in the domes of Kata Tjuta. Following that we returned to our camp to get showers and dressed for the evening. We were picked up at a bus stop just outside the entrance to the campground. It was a small, 30 person bus and we got the last two seats. After a short ride from the campground and we arrived at the camel stables. We were escorted into the office and given a