Monday, 25 March 2013

Perth to Coral Bay - part 2

532km - 8h with stops

Leaving the town of Geraldton, we got on to the North West Coastal Highway, the Brand Highway having ended at Geraldton. (Both highways have only one lane in each direction and overtaking lanes every 20 or 30kms).
Although not too busy with traffic, we came across a couple of road trains that we overtook. Road trains can be up to 36,5mt long.

A road train - 5km ahead an Overtaking lane
Overtaking a road train
In Northampton, 52km north of Geraldton, we turned left to take a coastal road, the George Grey Drive, that took us to Gregory, 44km away where we stopped to see the pink waters of the Hutt lagoon. I had seen photos and was curious.

Hutt Lagoon is a salt lake 14 km long and 2km wide, just north of the mouth of the Hutt River. The lake has a pink or red hue due to carotenoid producing algae, which thrive on the lagoons high salinity. These algae are a source of B-carotene, a powerful anti-oxidant, and commercially farmed as a food colouring agent, for dyes and Vitamin A supplements.
The same company also raises brine shrimp (Artemia) that get freeze dried for fish farms or to feed aquarium fish.

Hutt Lagoon

The pink waters of Hutt Lagoon

Beach in Gregory - a van is being loaded with lobster from a fishing ship
After taking photos we went into the tiny town of Gregory 6km away, to have a look at the beach, where we saw a truck being loaded with lobster from a fishing boat.
My husband inquired about buying lobster, but was told it was all accounted for and no private sales were permitted. 

We had no time or inclination, but if you are into "royalty", halfway between Gregory and Kalbarri you can turn right into a road that leads into the "Hutt River Province" where you can meet Prince Leonard and Princess Shirley, in their self-proclaimed Principality of Hutt River. 
Yes, can you believe it? There is a small kingdom of 75 square kilometre within Western Australia.

Back on the road, and another 51km north to our next stop in the town of Kalbarri.
We had travelled 150km in 2,45 hours, and it was time for lunch.
We settled on the Kalbarri Motor Hotel restaurant, having arrived just 15 min. before the kitchen closed.  Ooops...
We could see that the waitress at the counter wasn't pleased with the late arrivals, but my husband made a joke and she managed a smile.
We ordered fish and chips and beef burgers from the menu of the day, and the food was reasonably good.
Kalbarri beach

Eagle Gorge - there is a small beach down there

Nature's Window at the Kalbarri National Park, with dry Murchison river
A fee of $11 has to be paid to enter the Kalbarri National Park, if you want to visit the big rocks of Z-Bend and Nature's Window or walk the nature tracks. The 30km road to reach these huge rocks is untarred and slow driving.

Leaving Kalbarri  via the Ajana Kalbarri Road we again joined the North West Coastal Highway 65km later.
Looking around us as we drove, we found there were lots of discarded bottles - glass and plastic - on the sides of the highway. I cannot understand why, as at about every 10 to 20km there are rest stops and all of them have at least one rubbish bin! So why would people litter the road?
Also road carnage was very much in evidence! Lots of kangaroos and goats on the side of the road, or sometimes the middle of the road.
We also saw a few wild goats crossing the road or just munching on the verge. If we hooted they would scoot away into the bush. Only once did we actually have to stop while 3 or 4 goats crossed the road in front of us.

We had to stop for these wild goats to cross the road
179km north of Kalbarri, Billabong Roadhouse was our next pit stop for coffee, toilet and leg stretches. There is a motel and bar in the building next door.

Billabong roadhouse - for coffee, food and petrol
48 km later and we stopped again at the Overlander Roadhouse to fill up the tank. The petrol was now 1,699$. Back in the car, we turned left into Shark Bay Road, our destination now only 129km away!  Yippiii I shouted!!

At times the long straight stretches of road can be a bit boring and when just sitting next to the driver I found myself shutting my eyes frequently. For the driver the concentration and constantly being on the lookout for suicidal kangaroos or crazy goats or cows is also quite tiring!
A few years ago we had an "encounter" with a huge kangaroo on one of our trips to the southern coast of WA, and our car was greatly damaged and we had to fly home (luckily it was a company car!). So we didn't want that to happen again, even though most kangaroos came out of the bush at sunrise or sunset, and we made sure we weren't driving at those times. 
The straight and long roads made for boring driving
We arrived in Denham 8 hours after leaving Geraldton and 5 hours after leaving Kalbarri, having travelled a total 440kms. 
We settled on a 2 bedroomed cottage at Shark Bay Holiday Cottages, costing $130 night, which we booked for 2 nights.
The cottages are across the road from the beach and within walking distance to the town centre, but were quite minimal and the furniture in need of replacement with some broken wicker lounge chairs, minimal tv reception, we had to use a chair as a side table in the bedroom as I didn't want to put my bag or mobile/alarm on the floor...but still at this price for 2 couples we couldn't expect fireworks! The landlady was very friendly and helpful with information. (the interior must have been very uninspiring because I didn't even take photos)

The Shark Bay Holiday Cottages
After we unpacked, we went across the road to use the under cover barbecue facility on the grassy area in front of the beach, and grilled some steaks and sausages we had in our cooler box, and sat down to dinner right there.

There was also a strange contraption next to this bbq area which I discovered the next day to be a fish cleaning area. So I presume there must be lots of fishermen here. Once again no lobsters available to buy!
The barbecue area in daylight, 2 grills and 2 tables with benches and was illuminated at night

The fish cleaning area, with running water and brushes

The grassed area by the beach with the bbq and fish cleaning huts
After dinner we were ready to have a shower and jump into bed for an early rise the next day to travel to Monkey Mia 21 kms away, to watch the dolphins being fed from 8 a.m.

Watch out for my next post about Monkey Mia and the dolphins.


  1. How good of you to share this wonderful trip with us! The horses crossing over are beautiful and the ocean is breath-taking.

  2. Oh that sounds like a lot of driving. I remember Monkey Mia from the farmer wants a wife show! I look forward to the next instalment.

  3. Hi Lynn, they are wild goats. The ocean is so blue and clear, just beautiful.

  4. Hi Gill, we drove almost 3000km, a lot of driving indeed! Monkey Mia was fabulous, we loved the dolphins, so read the next post about them.

  5. What a wonderful trip, I'm looking forward to reading about the dolphins.

  6. Thanks Maria, you will enjoy it for sure!

  7. As suas fotos deixam-me roida de inveja ;)
    Que viagem maravilhosa. Nunca fiz uma road trip e a Australia parece ser perfeita para isso, com muita natureza, cidades costeiras e claro... os bichinhos exóticos que cruzam o caminho.
    Estou curiosa quanto aos próximos posts.

  8. Obrigada Sara. Foi uma longa viagem de quase 3000km.

  9. Thanks for sharing wonderful trip and all your photographs appear magnificent.

  10. I really enjoyed all your photographs.Thanks for sharing this amazing trip.


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