September is a great time to explore the west coast of Australia with the added bonus of the wildflowers coming into bloom everywhere. And what better way to accomplish your travels than in a rental motorhome. The two of us did just this and thoroughly enjoyed our first ever motorhome experience. You have your ‘house’ on your back, you have your clothes tucked away in the overhead lockers, your breakfast and cooking provision in the cupboard, your own refrigerator, gas cooker, and toilet and shower if you find it necessary to use them when not staying overnight in a camping ground. The majority of the facilities at the camping grounds are clean, adequately provided and staffed by helpful people You get up in the morning when you feel like it, you leave for your day’s activities when you feel like it, you stop to take a photograph or boil your kettle for tea or coffee when and where you like and if you are really adventurous you stop in a roadside ‘freedom’ parking area overnight and yarn with several other people who are doing the “grey nomad’ thing just like you. Cell phone coverage is only available in the large built up areas so you can really get away from it all for days on end, as so much of the country is so isolated.
We hired a two berth (one big square double bed) motorhome for 28 days and travelled all the way from Perth to Darwin stopping overnight from 1 to 3 nights at ‘conveniently’ spaced civilised areas about every 250 to 300 kilometres along the unbelievably straight roads. There are fantastic sights to be seen all along the way.
Highlights for us were many:
The multitude of many coloured wildflowers growing on the roadside and the surrounding scrubland.
The gorges, the lookout points and the climb down to the rivers edge in Kalbarri National Park are an experience to be remembered forever.
The trillions of miniature cockleshells on the beaches of Shark Bay that cement themselves together after rain to form a “rock” that can be cut into large white bricks and use as a building material in building construction.
At Coral Bay the huge snapper swim between your legs in knee-deep water knowing that they are in a protected area. Further out in the bay the “lucky“ fishermen are allowed a limit of one snapper greater than 50 odd centimetres per day.
The whole Ningaloo Reef Marine Park, of which Turquoise Bay is a part of, is the most spectacular turquoise colour and a fantastic place to go snorkelling.
Cable Beach and the historical pearling town of Broome made for a few restful days in the middle of our journey.
Boat trips in the Geikie Gorge, the Katherine Gorge and the Adelaide River are each unique in their own way. Geikie Gorge (Darngku is its Aboriginal name) is darned good and was so tranquil the day we were there. Katherine Gorge is actually 13 gorges that the Katherine River flows through. The tourist trips concentrate on the first two or three gorges with a short overland walk between each boat trip on the gorge. The river waters have beautifully carved the walls over time and the walls tower above you. There are Aboriginal art sites and a hanging garden on the gorge wall. Five metre long crocodiles cruise freely in the Adelaide River and make massive tail propelled leaps out of the river to take chunks of pork and chicken dangled above the water for them with jaw smacking thuds.
And finally the wartime history of the bombing of Darwin in 1942, the rebuilding of the city after cyclone Tracey in 1974 and the kangaroo steak and mango ice cream dinner on Stokes Hill wharf while the huge fish swam in the water below us over the wharf edge.
To any adventurous types out there we really recommend this trip.