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|
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.
|The pink waters of Hutt Lagoon|
|Beach in Gregory - a van is being loaded with lobster from a fishing ship|
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.
|Eagle Gorge - there is a small beach down there|
|Nature's Window at the Kalbarri National Park, with dry Murchison river|
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|
|Billabong roadhouse - for coffee, food and petrol|
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 settled on a 2 bedroomed cottage at Shark Bay Holiday Cottages, costing $130 night, which we booked for 2 nights.
|The Shark Bay Holiday Cottages|
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|
Watch out for my next post about Monkey Mia and the dolphins.