Australian Adventure (July 12 - 13, 2013)

40 Days Down Under (Day 29 & 30)

Friday, July 12, 2013
On the banks of Hutt Lagoon, live the remains of some old limestone convict buildings built in the 1850s. We decided to start off the morning visiting some of these old limestone structures.

Lynton Convict Depot

The 60 convicts in the area were sent there as working convicts. They had passes to work (called ticket-of-leave) during the day completing tasks for the town, and they would return to the Lynton Hiring Station in the evenings or until they were hired by local farmers for manual labor.

They created the multi-story Sanford House and the Sanford Stone Mill in 1853 out of limestone. It's in great condition considering how long ago it was made.

Sanford House
Stanford Mill
By 1856, they'd also built a store, bakery, depot, lockup, hospital, lime kiln, and administration block.

It is said that the local farmers treated the convicts like slaves and frequently flogged them for the slightest misdemeanor. There is also noise that some of the convicts were executed by the farmers for minor offenses.

The lack of fresh vegetables created a scurvy issue, so the settlement was closed in 1857. The convicts were sent to either the Fremantle Prison or nearby Greenough.  Fresh veggies weren't a problem today.  Melons were growing off the side of the road.

On our drive, I was able to finish book 12 of the trip At Home with the Templetons by Monica McInerney before we made it to the impressive Kalbarri National Park.

Kalbarri National Park is quite large. It covers 183,004 hectares (which I hear is a lot - over 450,000 acres). We were most interested in the coastal viewpoints and weathered formations.

Our first few stops were called the Shellhouse, Grandstand, Island Rock, and Natural Bridge. From the Natural Bridge viewpoint, we saw several humpback whales migrating!

Our next few overlooks had the name of Eagle Gorge, Pot Alley, and Rainbow Valley. The Tumblagooda sandstone in the area is really pretty.

Uh oh - hang on Kris.  I need to get a photo first.

The beach sparkled, the sand twinkled, and we smiled.

After leaving Kalbarri, we had quite a drive.

Kalbarri town center
One of our petrol stops was at the very interesting Billabong Roadhouse.  They were serving kangaroo stir-fry.  We skipped it and opted for a pb&j instead.

We stayed overnight at the Coral Coast Tourist Park in Carnarvon and took care of some laundry. They have new bathroom facilities, and we really enjoyed the shower block. (All of the showers are private entry.)

Saturday, July 13, 2013
We happened to be in Carnarvon on a Saturday, and they were having one of the biggest Saturday markets they have all year. We had to go, right? We visited the Carnarvon Growers Market and were disappointed not to find any fruit for sale. You could buy veggies, jewelry, other arts & crafts, or dips. There just weren't any fruit vendors that day. There was a coffee booth where you could get coffee with mini doughnuts and a sausage stand making breakfast sandwiches. It took us less than 10 minutes to walk through, but we were glad to have scoped it out.

After leaving Carnarvon, we headed to Coral Bay where we were afforded with unbelievably spectacular views of the magnificent Indian Ocean. The beach and water are heavenly. Pick an adjective of applies to Coral Bay. Hues of blues as far as the eye can see with fine grained soft sand. It has to rank up there as the most picturesque swimming beach I've ever seen.

One of the best parts of Coral Bay is the lack of development. No condos; no skyscrapers; no high-rise hotels. For lodging you can choose from a few caravan parks, a hostel, or a small hotel. Shopping consists of a few stores that dot the landscape...tour operators, two cafes, a grocery store/petrol station, and a couple of other miscellaneous shops. You can find free parking just steps away from the beach, there are two free restrooms with a basic shower, and a wetsuit/kayak/snorkel rental booth sits on the beach.

We stopped in the little grocery store and picked up provisions to make a spinach, apple, and bean sprout salad with a side of Carnarvon sweet bananas. (These bananas miraculously tasted as bananas should.)

After eating, we were ready to relax on the beach. I dipped my legs in while Kris swam and snorkeled. I grabbed the camper chair from our car and read on the beach for a while.

After Kris got too disgusted with our snorkel set to want to use it any longer, we walked around Coral Bay while he dried off.

Sand turtle

Knowing we had a limited amount of sunlight left, we decided to head to our overnight - the Warroora Station. Warroora Station is a family run farm with hostel type accommodations in their Sheep Shearer's Station. For $30 per person, you are given use of the communal bathroom and kitchen with twin share room.

Warroora Station driveway

It was great to walk around the property and look at some of the old machinery. I really also enjoyed seeing the sheep, goats, horse, cow, chooks (chickens), wild kangaroos, and historic wells.

Historic well


They had really interesting trees and some birds of prey flying around, and the largest ants ever.

Sadly, we ran across a few sheep skulls. (Guess we know why the birds hang about.)

Two baby goats held our attention for a long time. One baby goat let Kris pet and feed it.

After a stellar sunset, we made dinner and showered.

Luckily, we were the only campers in the shearer's station. The female bathroom showers had a shower curtain but no stall door. If anyone was around, they would have gotten a free show.