Who would have believed the large contingent of caravans and cars that all left Perth around the 19th of August heading north toward Coral Bay. For the first few nights, travellers camped at various locations: Jurien Bay, Cervantes and Dongara. Amazingly, Tracey and Ross found Bill, Thelma and Louise got away from home and lots of interesting sights were seen on the way before everyone arrived at Kalbarri.
Kalbarri National Park is a tourist draw card and everyone was keen to experience the new Sky Walk. The Sky Walk is set high above the gorge in the Kalbarri National Park and the views were stunning. It is the perfect spot to see multi coloured sandstone walls that are contrasted against the cloudless blue sky. It was breathtaking. Even those who felt a little uneasy about the height of the Sky Walk could not help but be impressed with the views.
Close by is the famous “Nature’s Window”, where many posed for the mandatory tourist photo. An intrepid few walked “The Loop” and were able to compare their experience with others who had ‘looped the loop’ previously. For some reason, nobody seemed to want to do it twice. Others explored the Z Bend and even climbed down into the gorge – here they were rewarded with beautiful views and the return climb back up out of the gorge!
Kalbarri also offered boat rides up the Murchison, horse riding, golf, meals at Findlays and lots of opportunities for exploring the area. We even managed to find another Y Strider who wandered into Kalbarri and came and joined us. So lovely to catch up with Kerry and Greg J.
Carnarvon was the next stop. Usually visitors would make a bee-line to see the One Mile Jetty, but unfortunately it had been blown away by Cyclone Seroja earlier in the year. So, it was off to the Space Museum to become fully informed about the role that Carnarvon played in the USA’s space race to get men on the moon. This was very interesting and informative, plus we could all get to have a bit of hands-on experience, piloting the Challenger spacecraft, getting photos taken on the moon’s surface and experiencing ‘lift-off’ within the space capsule.
All the Carnarvon campers enjoyed high entertainment at the “Spud Night” courtesy of the caravan park, with a huge meal, fun music and dancing. Well done to Pam for being brave enough to perform Nut Bush City Limits and ‘kicking’ off the dancing. The next night, a fine evening was spent dining with a large group of Striders at the Carnarvon Hotel. Thank you, Tracey for organising this meal.
Then on to Coral Bay! We travelled through a wide variety of amazing wildflowers. A most impressive display put on just for us, of course.
At last, we all arrived at the People’s Park at Coral Bay. It was lovely to have all of the Y Striders at the same location and it made catching up for 5.00pm drinks and nibbles very easy. Thank you to each of the caravanners who were prepared to have a noisy group under their awning for Happy Hour.
Although it was quite windy, Y Striders were out swimming the next day. Snorkels, masks and flippers were ‘de riguer’ as swimmers explored the lagoon area in front of the caravan park. There were plenty of fish, sting rays and coral this close to shore.
As the days progressed Y Striders and partners enjoyed a lot of different activities. Shorter activities were glass bottom boat tours and snorkelling. There were full day tours that involved fishing and exploring the outer reef and more of the mandatory swimming and snorkelling. Not too far from the main tourist beach is another beach that serves as a reef shark nursery. Some even travelled to Exmouth to swim in the exquisite Turquoise Bay.
By Sunday the wind had dropped, and it was a great day to try out The Drift. This involved walking along the beach to the south, then with snorkels, masks and flippers on, the current would gently move swimmers along the reef back to the lagoon in front of the caravan park. What a joy this was! Moving at your own pace, as close or far from the shore as each swimmer wanted and ending up back where you came from. Some swimmers even ventured out as far as “Uluru” a massive coral formation that resembled another well-known Australian landmark. There were “lavender” beds, parrot fish, rays, snapper, lots of little coloured fish and all of the coral formations to enjoy while being gently taken “home”.
It is a wonderful opportunity to see the beauty and life of the Ningaloo Reef. We all came away feeling that the sanctity of the reef should continue to be a priority for business and government.
It seemed all too soon, when Y Striders were enjoying their last night together as a group. Everyone had their own plans for how to get home, and some were even travelling further on. Monkey Mia was high on the list for the return journey, and many made a diversion to see the dolphins and experience the relaxing beachfront resort. There was even a light plane trip for our intrepid photographer.
None of this happened without the amazing organisation and planning that Elizabeth put in to getting this event “on the road”. There were meetings, emails, information packages, reassurances, helpful advice and lots more that made it possible for so many to enjoy this holiday. Tracey and Ross also made a huge effort organising group meals at various venues along the way. Thank you for all your efforts.
Thank you to everyone who travelled to Coral Bay. You all made the holiday very memorable and lots of fun.