MG 4808Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Wind Turbine by the road to Ellendale Pool.

The morning, once we’d had breakfast, was largely spent driving with our destination for the day being the town of Kalbarri and the nearby Kalbarri National Park. Naturally there were a few stops along the way to take photos of turbines in the Alinta Wind Farm (situated by the turn-off to Ellendale Road) and later in the morning a brief diversion towards the town of Gregory to get a closer look at the rosy-pink hued Hutt Lagoon.

MG 4825Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The water of Hutt Lagoon.

As we approached Kalbarri the road turned north and followed a cliff edge to our left. We stopped to look at one of the numerous lookouts on the cliff tops and were almost driven back into the car by the hoards of flies. Keryn also disturbed a kangaroo taking shelter in the toilet block next to the carpark, it was very warm. Nothing we had read before coming on this holiday had prepared us for the flies which were incredibly annoying. The only thing to be thankful for was the fact they didn’t bite, they did however tend to fly around the head and shoulders, inviting all their friends and basically try to fly into any feature they could find be it eyes, ears, mouth or nose. Combine these swarming flies with their African tsetse cousins and you’d have the most horrible creature on the planet. We didn’t stick around but did at least manage to see the natural rock arch and the impressive cliffs before taking sanctuary in the car.

MG 4829Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The rock arch, referred to locally as the Natural Bridge.

Heading into Kalbarri our first task was to find some fly nets. We found a general store that was just about to close and were thankful to be let in by the owner and purchase two spiffy looking black nets with camouflage fabric detail – maybe the flies wouldn’t see us coming? Next we found somewhere to park for the night. We drove around the town past the three caravan parks mentioned in our guidebooks and settled on the Murchison Caravan Park. We had lunch, checked out the local info centre and then decided to head into the National Park for some walking.

Having a 4WD vehicle with high clearance proved useful on the road into the park. A good 20km of dry, corrugated road left us and the van very shaken up by the time we arrived at the carpark near the Z Bend Gorge lookout. Donning our fly nets we set off on the path to the lookout which felt further than a few hundred meters due to the heat. The view was striking, the red brown walls of the gorge worn by water into smooth layers of rock like badly stacked, ill-made pancakes. Green eucalypts dotted the red landscape and in the middle of it all ran the Murchison River. Flies were now our constant company, still annoying but we could live with them now we had a working barrier in place.

IMG 1350Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Flies!

MG 4831Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Looking up the Z Bend Gorge.

We continued past the lookout on a track that headed down to the riverside. Keryn was feeling tired and worried that her leg rash might appear (as it has in other hot climates in the past) but we decided in the end to continue and negotiated the rough cut steps and boulder climbing ladders in the narrow valley. It wasn’t a long decent and we were soon next to the Murchison and I was getting the tripod out to take some photos while Keryn found a suitable rock for a sit down. I spotted a kangaroo moving down the side of the gorge and spent quite a while just watching it as it disappeared and reappeared on it’s way to the river, heading down for a drink.

MG 4849Photo by Brendon & Keryn

At river level.

MG 4929Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The kangaroo (wallaby?).

It was getting further into the afternoon and we had another spot to visit so we walked back up the track. Our flies were named as our personal swarms, rising in a buzzing mass with each heavy step or sudden movement. We were happy to have a drink back at the carpark before leaving our swarms behind as we shook them off and then quickly entered the vehicle.

The next stop was at the carpark for The Loop walking track. We were only walking as far as the natural rock arch called Natures Window as it nicely frames a view looking upstream along the Murchison. we’d left it a little late in the day so I raced off to try and get to the window before the sun set. This was only partially successful, I did manage a couple of shots but was in a rush and when it came to the portrait of us both with the window view I had the timer settings all wrong so there were a couple of false start. The last evening light on the rocks was mostly gone by the time I sorted myself out.

MG 4946Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The evening light makes the rock glow.

MG 4947Photo by Brendon & Keryn

How far can I run in 2 seconds? About this far.

MG 4954Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Sexy fly net models.

As the sun disappeared behind the horizon I got some last shots of the landscape and then we were on our way back to Kalbarri. Back at our site for the night I found that the hour of bumpy driving had taken its toll and one of the screws for the front license plate had been shaken out, the plate swinging by the remaining screw. A bit of investigation and evaluation of our options and I had it tied back in place with a long cable tie, a solution that lasted for the rest of the trip.

MG 4959Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The Loop track follows the bend of the river.

MG 4960Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Looking down to the river valley.

MG 4964Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Keryn takes in the view.

2 Comments

ron · August 29, 2011 at 8:17 pm

could you please tell me how many Kl it is from geraldton to kalberri and how long it would take. regards ron

brendon · September 2, 2011 at 6:38 pm

According to Google Maps it’s at least 155km from Geraldton to Kalbarri, depending on the roads you take. It should take a couple of hours without stopping. More details here:

http://maps.google.com.au/maps?q=geraldton+to+kalbarri&saddr=geraldton&daddr=kalbarri&hl=en&geocode=FZ30SP4d4c3UBikDOjxwwETaKzEQ3HkkOPYABA%3BFbMpWf4dOAPOBim12AwT_BrcKzEA3XkkOPYABA&z=10&vpsrc=0

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