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Reisverslag Westcoast Roadtrip
10 juli 2014
We had just over 3 weeks the time to drive the 4200 kilometer between Darwin and Perth. As you can imagine that is a lot of hours driving. The driving however for me was part of the fun. It is amazing how the highway can be dead straight for hours and hours, petrol stations can be 500k apart, and that you always have to keep an eye out for wild animals crossing the road. On our way offcourse we had plenty stops, to see all the amazing national parks and beaches of Western Australia. All the national parks where absolutely gorgeous, we saw and swam under several waterfalls, walked through a couple of gorges and had several amazing views. The beaches along the west coast (as promised) were absolutely gorgeous as well. Imagine perfectly white sand beaches, with turquoise waters and at some spots points the Ningaloo reef with amazing coral and sea life just several meters into the water.
The camping situation
First of all to give you an imagine of how we travelled I will describe the car and its load. We travelled in a Mitsubishi Magna 1994 (a stationwagon) so a quite spacious car. The car however was always fully packed. First of all our 4 backpacks were in the car, offcourse. Second of all the sleeping equipment: a tent, mattresses, pillows, sleeping bags and blankets. And we needed a lot of blankets because, especially in the outback, the nights could get pretty pretty cold. Furthermore the car was packed with all the camping equipment we needed including a gascooker; a box full of cutlery, plates, cups, bowls; some pans; and a 15liter water tank in order to always have enough drinking water with us. Last but not least we also fitted all our food in the car, one time even food for 10 days!
On our way we always tried to camp for free, and we managed this for about 85% of the time. Camping for free however means no luxury at all. Sometimes it would be a secluded place a bit hard to find with just us and two other cars at the site. But most of the time we would camp on rest areas along the highway. As you can imagine these free campsites didn’t have any facilities at all, or if we were lucky a ‘toilet’ (a deep hole in the ground). This situation unfortunately twice on the trip meant not having a shower for four days straight. But luckily most of the time we would find public showers at the beach, or at roadhouses, or just walk onto campsites and use the showers there (kind of illegal).
As I said before the nights could get pretty cold and it already got dark at 6pm. In order to keep warm and to see something in the darkness we always enjoyed making a campfire at night, if it was allowed. We would just walked into the bushes to search for our own firewood. In the outback we just had to use the lighter once and the fire was on for the whole night, since everything was so dry. Because it got dark and cold pretty early, nights without a fire would usually mean bedtime around 7/8pm. Bedtime for me and Stephie meant getting into the car pushing the seats back, wrapping our feet in jackets or towels, putting on two sweaters and our beanies and covering ourselves with two blankets, as an attempt to stay warm that night.
On the road
A fair bit of our time we had to spend in the car because of the humongous distances. I however also enjoyed the driving. First of all the scenery was pretty impressive, although sometimes pretty much the same for hundreds of kilometres. Even though the roads are really really straight, while driving you must be alert because of the wildlife. We had to avoid several animals (dead and alive) on the road, such as kangaroos, wallabies, emus, cows and horses. Another adventure during the long drives was crossing the border to Western Australia. At the border we apparently had to through away all our fruit and veggies, but offcourse we didn’t want to do this. Because we just bought a lot and fruit and veggies are expensive. Therefore we hid everything all of the car, in shoes, in the tent, under the seats and so on. Also we ate some of it. The rotten fruit and veggies and fruit rests we put in our fruitbag and gave to the guy at the border, he did look in someone bags/boxes as well but didn’t find any of the hidden fruits and veggies.
Since we were driving around in a car built in 1994 which already had driven more than 200.000 kms, we did incur some car problems. To be honest some problems weren’t fully the cars fault. Like for example when we ran out of petrol, due to the fact that there was no petrol station were we did expect there to be one. But thank god we were so smart to carry petrol in the car. Unfortunately we didn’t have a funnel, but no worries cause we are inventive girls and we managed by cutting a water bottle in half and opening the lid with a spoon. That was a good team effort! Furthermore we also discovered that our car wasn’t capable of driving unsealed roads anymore. Sometimes we however didn’t have a choice, but tried to spare the car by driving 20k an hour. Unfortunately even then the stones on the road managed to destroy our muffler, leading to the car making racecar noises, while accelerating. We tried to repair the muffler with some muffle bandage, but the holes in our exhaust were definitely too big to be fixed and the only option was a whole new exhaust. This offcourse was out of our budget so we decided to just live with the noise/blocking it up by turning up the music.
Our first national park on the way was Litchfield national park. Here we saw three beautiful waterfalls and swam under two. One of them, Wangi falls, is now one of my favourite places in Australia. Under one of the smaller branches of the falls at Wangi falls, there was a naturally made kind of Jacuzzi that we sat in and enjoyed our surroundings. I love waterfalls, and luckily this wasn’t the only place where we saw them. We drove to the Edith falls, where we hiked up to the upper pools, where there was a second fall and naturally took the chance to have a swim here. In Karinjini national park we found a nice waterfall under which you could sit on the rocks, and enjoy the clattering sound of the water.
Next to all the waterfalls we also got to enjoy several gorges. In order to see the Katherine gorge we had to complete a 2hour one way hike, it however was worth it. The gorge was beautiful! We however didn’t have a swim there because we were a bit too afraid of crocodiles. In Karinjini national park we did an amazing 4 hour hike through the gorges sometimes having to cross the water by jumping from rock to rock and sometimes not entirely sure where the path was. The way back we walked on top of the gorge on the cliff end resulting in amazing views. On this way we somehow took a wrong turn and lost the path completed, but after walking through the bush up a pretty steep hill we were back on track.
Australia literally has al kinds of natural sceneries including sanddunes for example which we saw in Lancelin. The drive here was pretty nice because the highway went along side the coast and there were several sanddunes with amazing white sand. In Lancelin, although the weather was pretty bad, we got out of the car and climbed the sand dunes and had some fun running down the hills and making snow angels in the sand. Second of all a pink lake which we past on our way. Also on our first, and second to last, cloudy and bit chilly day we heard about a natural hot tub in the national park of Shark Bay. This was the perfect way for us to spend our afternoon.
The westcoast is famous for its amazing beaches. So when we finally arrived in Broome, our first beach town, we immediately went to check it out. To stretch our legs from all the long drives we walked to the lighthouse through the cliffs. When we arrived at the lighthouse we saw a sign saying that we shouldn’t have been walking on these unstable cliffs, oepsie. To enjoy the good weather, and work on our tan, we spent one whole day relaxing on the 80 mile beach. Which is an amazing long stretched beach, with white sand and clear blue water. On several spots along the west coast the amazing Ningaloo reef is just metres away from the beach. Thus a great snorkel opportunity which we offcourse took advantage off at turquoise bay as well as coral bay. Both picture perfect beaches. During snorkelling we gazed at the beautiful coral, the colourful fishes, and spotted and swam with turtles. I love turtles, they are such beautiful and peaceful creatures.
On of the best places we went to was point quobba. A less popular but amazing place. There was (another) beautiful bay as well as blowholes from which quiet high water fountains erupted. Furthermore we saw a beach consisting entirely out of crushed shells (instead of sand), amazing lookouts from cliffs and tons of other places with turquoise water and white beaches. In Monkey Mia, we got the opportunity to feed dolphins.
To conclude: my roadtrip along the westcoast was another great experience which I will never forget, and I will always treasure all the beautiful places I have seen.
Foto's bij verslag (43)
11 augustus 2014 12:30 | Door: Martin vd Werf
Mooie tour, 4200 km : dat is heel wat. Inderdaad "unforgettable" denk ik, als ik het zo hoor. Groetjes aan Steph en "the family". Martin Gouda