Day 1 Wednesday 4 April Flight to Perth
Dash off from work at 3.15pm to get the Skybus to the airport for our flight to Perth. Bit frantic, but we made it in plenty of time. We had booked a hostel 500m from the depot to make for a quick turn-around in the morning. Despite the stray cockroaches it was perfectly pleasant…
Day 2 Thursday 5 April Perth to Kalbarri
Up early we headed to the Apollo depot for opening at 8am. We were the first ones there which was good as we had a long drive ahead – 6 hours to Kalbarri. We stopped off at Gingin on the way to stock up the fridge and discovered how friendly the WA locals are as they proudly told us about their first ever ATM. Today was by far the longest day of driving, but we made it into Kalbarri in time to go to the Rainbow Jungle, which is a parrot sanctuary. Into Kalbarri itself we found our campsite in no time and the fridge had done a great job of chilling the beer. It went down great with the first campervan cooked meal of bangers & mash… a great first night, with a lovely walk to watch the sunset by the foreshore.
Day 3 Friday 6 April Kalbarri to Denham
We got up this morning to go and see the Pelican feeding on the foreshore, but unfortunately they weren’t playing ball. We then drove into the National Park and had a quick dip in the Murchison River Gorge. The roads were starting to get more remote and we had to double back at one point when we realised just how far it was between petrol stations. Arriving at the campsite in Denham we had been given a sea view which was just beautiful. Being able to open the rear door and look out over the ocean was very special.
Day 4 Saturday 7 April Denham (Monkey Mia)
Up very early this morning to go and see the dolphins at Monkey Mia. After accommodating a few stray emus on the short drive, three dolphins came into the beach for feeding. They got really close with one of the younger ones, Samu spending a lot of time playing near us which was great. It was really hotting up so we were looking forward to our wildlife boat encounter. We spotted more dolphins, some dugongs and turtles and also got a go at boom netting. This is where they lower you into the water and dragged you along behind the boat – which was great fun, although we did get told about the population of Tiger Sharks once it was too late to get out…
Day 5 Sunday 8 April Denham to Carnarvon
Today we set off along the Heritage route to Carnarvon, past Eagle Bluff and Shell Beach. At Shell Beach we spotted a sea snake which must have been over 1.5m long. Not sure if they were venomous or not, so we quickly took a photo and got out of the water a.s.a.p. Arriving in Carnarvon we had a walk along the One Mile Jetty and wanted to visit the OTC dish but unfortunately this was closed. It was very hot again so after a quick dip in the pool we settled down for the evening with a cold beer and tested our camp stove cooking with tacos!
Day 6 Monday 9 April Carnarvon to Exmouth (via Coral Bay)
Today was my birthday. After about a two and a half hour drive we arrived in Coral Bay where Mitch has organised an ATV / snorkel tour. This was lots of fun and we were up and down sand dunes before arriving at a deserted snorkel spot called five fingers. The visibility was amazing and because today was seriously hot there really was no better way than spending an hour in the sun. We saw heaps of fish and some really amazing coral. We were then taken to a spot on the cliffs where you can look down in the water and spot turtles so clearly it could be an aquarium. We then drove on to Exmouth and our campsite where we would spend the next three nights.
Day 7 Tuesday 10 April Exmouth
Yet again we were up extra early as we had booked a whale shark trip. Once on board we were taken to a snorkelling spot where we fish spotted for about 35 minutes before a very hearty morning tea and patiently awaiting the first whale shark sighting. When it happened we were in group one, and were herded into the water just in time to see an enormous 5m, 5 tonne whale shark glide by. We only got 30 seconds to begin with before it was the other groups turn but we got 2 more swims with this whale shark, who didn’t seem to mind us at all. Another one was spotted, but whilst still harmless he had been caught up in a fishing line so he was a bit less keen to swim with us. We got five swims in total, which was incredibly tiring, but an amazing experience, we seemed so tiny next to them.
Day 8 Wednesday 11 April Exmouth
Today we got a lie in until 7.30am, which seemed very luxurious given our string of early mornings. We set off to explore Exmouth which included attempting the drift snorkel at Turquoise Bay, visiting the lighthouse and off to see the cattle ship wreck of HMAS Mildura before heading back to Exmouth for a game of mini golf.
Day 9 Thursday 12 April Exmouth to Carnarvon
Today we had to retrace our steps and head back to Carnarvon. We stopped by Coral Bay again though for another snorkel, this time straight off the beach, followed by some lunch. This was one of our favourite snorkels as it was amazingly clear and no current at all so we could just bob around and enjoy the view. It was great having the van on these occasions as our lunch would be in the fridge and within minutes we could be having a lovely picnic. We got back to Carnarvon and headed to one of the fruit plantations as Mitch was desperate to try a chocolate covered frozen banana. Mission accomplished it was time for our five minutes of fame. We met Ashleigh from the local paper back at the One Mile Jetty, who took our photo with the van and interviewed us about our trip and the competition win.
Day 10 Friday 13 April Carnarvon to Geraldton
Today was the start of a couple of longer drives to get us back to Perth. We had to get to Geraldton today, but we made a lunch stop in Northampton and visited the most haunted property in the state, the Oakabella homestead.
Day 11 Saturday 14 April Geraldton to Perth
Today we were driving from Geraldton to Perth to drop the van off by 4pm, but were determined to fit some fun things in so we made a detour to see the Pinnacles in the Nambung National park. This was a great stop off and we took heaps of photos before driving the last leg back to Perth. Determined to get the most out of the last day we stopped by a winery in the Swan Valley to get a bottle of wine to take home and drink whilst remembering our trip.