Friday, 22 March 2013

Perth to Coral Bay - Part 1

420KM - 4,45h

All packed and settled, and we (my husband, I, daughter and her partner) left Perth after lunch on Sunday 10th. It was still hot at 34.C!

The boot was packed!
We took Roe Highway and later joined the Great Northern Highway that later changes name to Brand Highway in the Middle Swan wine area.
Around 5 hours later after having driven 420km we arrived in Geraldton to spend the night.
We had decided not to pre-book any accommodation for our trip, as it was off peak time, so we would have no trouble finding accommodation. 
As we entered Geraldton we turned on our GPS to search for a Bed and Breakfast option for the night, and soon we were knocking on "Wheelaway" door. 
Whealaway, was a self-check in B & B, so we had to phone the owner who came over for a chat and to show us around.

A King and Queen bedrooms were booked, both with en-suites, and we left Jackie (the owner) to make the beds, and went to dinner at Skeeta's Restaurant, at the Foreshore. 
Three of us had the Lobster Thermidor and I had the Gluten Free Fig and Fontina Chicken. We were almost the last people to leave at 9 p.m. and the staff was already setting the tables for breakfast and eager to leave.
We had packed our coffee machine and coffee pods, so we set up the machine and had coffee in the B & B kitchen.
The kitchen was pleasant and had all the mod cons, even a spare fridge for the guests to store their food.
Unfortunately hubby and I didn't sleep too well, as the corridor light was on the whole night (we didn't know if other guests needed to see their way around, as it was on when we arrived after our dinner) and there was a big gap under the bedroom door through which we could see the light shining. The mattress was far too soft for our liking as well, and we couldn't find a blind or curtains to cover the window, and as soon as the sun came up through the drapes we could no longer sleep. There was also just one bath towel per couple in each the second one to shower had a wet towel.
The house and rooms were wonderful though, sumptuously decorated, a lot of brochures and books were displayed with information about the town and surrounding areas, the suburb was quiet and price wise it was cheaper than some of the hotel rooms I had looked at. 
($130 for the King suite, and $125 for the Queen suite) The two bedroom cottage they have would have been ideal for us and cheaper at $165, but it was booked for the night already.

The King bedroom had a private courtyard too (Randolph Stow suite)

The Queen bedroom (Xavier Herbert suite)
The following morning after breakfast, we packed the car again and headed to the top of the hill where the H.M.S.A.  Sydney II Memorial is located.
Inaugurated in 1999 it was designed by Irish pair Charles Smith and Joan Walsh-Smith.

I had on more than one occasion seen televised Anzac Day services from this monument, but it was quite moving to see it in person.

This memorial honours the 645 sailors who lost their lives in the Western Australian coast, in November 1941, during World War II, in a battle with the German raider HSK Kormoran, who was also lost, although some of it's crew survived.

The dome with 645 seagulls represents all the sailors, the wall of remembrance shows photos of the ship and names of all the sailors. There is a bronze statue of a woman looking out to sea awaiting news, and there is a tower representing the bow of the ship.

Detail of the 645 seagulls on the silver dome
The wall of remembrance with the names of all the lost sailors

Ship's bow
Woman waiting for news of the Sydney II
In November 2011, another element was added to this monument - the Pool of remembrance - with 644 seagulls lining the base, and another one 2 metres high above the pool, the wings indicating the spot where the wreck was found with the longitude and latitude coordinates.
There are 30 minute daily tours at 10,30am guided by volunteers. There is also a yearly memorial service on 19th November, date when the Sydney II disappeared.

Pool of Remembrance with 2 mt high seagull and coordinates of area where Sydney was found
The wrecks of both ships were found in March 2008, 12 nautical miles apart, 112 nautical miles off the coast of Steep Point in Dirk Harthog Island. Just across the island is the Peron Peninsula where Denham and Monkey Mia are located, which we visited on our trip.(discussed in future post).

Steep Point, where both wrecks were found and Coral Bay over 550km north.
Across the Dirk Hartog Island, is Denham and Monkey Mia where we also went (later posts)

Before leaving Geraldton we filled up the tank, with petrol at $1.579/litre, already higher than what we had paid in Perth the day before at $1.439/litre.
The further north you go, the more you pay for petrol!
This placard at the petrol station, another sign of the Australian humour made me smile. 
We certainly waved a lot at all passing traffic on our way north, some drivers waved back, others didn't...but I'm sure we made some people smile, and we had fun too while we did it.

Wave and brighten someone's day!
Part 2 - Geraldton to Denham - to follow soon


  1. I liked everything, but the dome is fabulous!

  2. I agree with you Sandra, it's an intricate work of art with all those seagulls.

  3. The accomdationreally looks a home from home. 9pm to finish dinner was early and them to start laying up for breakfast while you were there...loved all the pictures of the area...thanks for sharing :)

  4. Carole - unlike Europe where people eat early, unfortunately here the restaurant kitchens close at 9 or 10 maximum! And at lunch time they don't go past 2pm. They eat early, go to sleep early and wake up early! We are the ones that still keep to European eating times, lol

  5. Gosh it would be worth while just to see this monument Sami, it's amazing, beautifully shown here.

  6. Thanks Grace, I wish we could have stayed for the daily tour to get to know more about the monument.

  7. This design is incredible! You definitely know how to keep a reader amused.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost.
    ..HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

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