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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

WA - Up the Coral Coast we Go

And so after flying into Perth on Sunday, and picking up the motorhome on Monday we stopped at the supermarket for some supplies and stayed at a Caravan Park in Perth for our first night.

Tuesday morning brought some excitement. We were off on our first leg of our road trip taking us to Geraldton. Our first stop was at the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park. The Pinnacles are limestone spires that are uncovered as the desert sand is washed and blown away. Some of them are up to 5 metres tall and there are thousands of them.

As we got closer to Geraldton and closer to the coast we could get a few glimpses of white sand and
blue ocean.

The next morning we tried to get an early start knowing that we had another long day ahead of us in an effort to get up the coast as quickly as possible  - so that we could take our time coming back down. On this leg we saw the trees and grass disappear and large expanses of red dirt grow. We were travelling the main highway, but it could be 100 km before you saw another car on the road.

It's 478 km from Geraldton to Carnarvon our next stop, and 200 km from Geraldton to the first possible stop for diesel - at the Billabong Roadhouse.

Since we were already stopped we decided to pull over at the picnic area beside the roadhouse and get everyone some lunch before continuing on. Check out the scenery. All it needs are some vultures sitting  on the tree branches.

Such huge pieces of our drive are spent without seeing another car, you begin to think you're the only ones out there...until an emu runs across the highway in front of your giant motorhome!

Right after these guys bolted in front of us, we passed a sign telling us to "Watch for Emus - They can be Unpredictable"! No kidding!

Thursday was a big day, we only had a couple of hours driving to do, and we would finally arrive in Coral Bay 1,132 km from where we started and where we planned to stay for 3 whole days.

We made a couple of stops along the way, one to take a picture of the Gascoyne River. Yep, we know it doesn't have any water in it. They call it an upside-down river, since water only flows in it for about 120 days of the year and below the dry river bed for the remainder of the year. 

Gascoyne River - the longest River in Western Australia

And we stopped to see the Blow Holes at Quobba Station where water from the ocean is forced into sea caves and explodes out the top once enough pressure builds.

No railings or anything, just take your kids and walk out on the cliff! Just a big sign telling us that "King Waves Kill". Thanks for that. 

Coral Bay is amazing. The water is always turquoise and peaceful and there is sunshine on average 320 days a year. 

We had promised the kids we would do a couple of tours in Coral Bay to check out the wildlife and beach. First up, snorkelling.  After breakfast we boarded the Ningaloo and headed out onto the reef.

The kids are loving this.

First time off the boat was snorkelling with the fishies living in an amongst the coral of the Ningaloo Reef.  We saw all sorts of fish, turtles, and reef sharks.


Once we had our feet wet, the boat took us out a little farther, and with the help of a spotter plane, we found some manta rays to swim with! Some of them were huge - the largest one we saw was 5 metres tip to tip. They are really quite playful, they like to swim up to you (like this one below) and then flip up and over expecting you to follow! But you have to swim fast to keep up with them.

We had some lunch, looked for some more fish and were back at the campground for afternoon tea.

I think Tyler may have turned into a fish :)

With one more day in Coral Bay we decided to spend Saturday on a Quad Bike tour. We biked up, over and around the sand dunes and along the beach. This was a great idea and certainly completely different from anything Scott and I have ever done.

The kids picked who they wanted to ride with. I think Hannah thought I might drive slower.
Ha! No way chicky...the girls led the pack!

They certainly look like they're having a good time!

How can you beat this view. This is truly paradise.

And we even saw a few of the locals!

**I must note that the underwater pictures from our snorkelling tour and the atv trip are not 
taken by me.  Our guides bring along cameras and take pictures so that you can just enjoy your 
time and the scenery without having to worry about getting a great shot. They are however all 
actual animals and sights seen on our particular tours, as each guide provided us with a copy 
of the pictures after the tour.


  1. WOW! What a trip. Your stay in Australia sounds and looks like a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  2. WOAH NELLY!!! :) Carrie

  3. Hey McEwens! Catherine from Ottawa here. I am enjoying your blog and your adventures our west. We did lots of campervanning ourselves, but never did get West of Adelaide. That will have to be for another exchange.

    In the meantime, enjoy your year and I hope you'll contribute to our CLEE newsletter. For now, I have added your blog link to our Ottawa newsletter and will add it to the Provincial edition next time I put it out.

    Good to see you are having such a ripper time!