Ningaloo & Exmouth
Oh to be in the sun again!
Our first destination for this trek north was Ningaloo Station. This was the second year in a row we were starting our trip on the shores of the Ningaloo Reef and I'm not sure what else we can say that we didn’t already say about Ningaloo Station last year. After countless hours planning, preparing, packing and travelling, the moment you jump out of the car and feel the sand between your toes a wave of relief comes over you. This is truly paradise.
After being told by friends and neighbours recently of how amazing the weather has been up there, we somehow managed to drag to terrible Perth weather with us. The night we arrived the winds hit and we thought our rooftop tent was going to be blown off the Paj. The wind barely dropped the whole 4 days we were there, but for one morning where it was incredible and we quickly remembered why we had made the effort to come back.
So instead of spending our time exploring the beauty of the Ningaloo marine life we hunkered down for some much-needed R&R. Reading books, playing cards and board games, walking up the beach and meeting fellow campers. We may not have had the true Ningaloo experience this year but it was still truly an amazing few days.
Part of the reason we were heading to Exmouth this year was for a friend’s wedding. This meant we grabbed a house in the marina with our friends and explored some of the areas we missed last year. We had to start by taking our friends to our favourite restaurant, Pinocchio’s, though they have now changed their name to BBQ Fathers the food was just as fab! Definitely recommended if you’re in town!
The first new spot to explore was Wapet Creek and the Bay of Rest, a stunning place close to town, the boys all wet a line, quite unsuccessfully I might add (we are all terrible fishermen though won’t admit it and pretty sure we’d die if our lives depended on it!) and the afternoon whittled away around the campfire with a spit roast cooking away.
The next day we explored some more of the Cape’s northern bays, we had a quick look at Bundegi Beach before moving on to the wreck of the SS Mildura which crashed into the reef over a century ago. A few more stops to look at reef and washed up coral before heading back to town. Everyone arrived this day so we marked the occasion with an obligatory trip to the Lighthouse for sunset. This time of year there are whales everywhere along the coast, this meant while at the lighthouse you could see them breeching and swimming along the bays. It’s amazingly popular so get there early to find your spot and watch the sky light up as the sun sinks below the horizon!
While in Exmouth we checked out a new bar/restaurant for breakfast, Froth Craft. Great coffee and a damn good bite to eat too! So good that we came back for lunch another day and had some AMAZING fish tacos and a buddha bowl along with their own tasty craft beer, did I forget to mention it’s a microbrewery?
We spent an afternoon snorkeling and relaxing at Turquoise Bay. We saw quite a few fish, including parrot fish, unicorn fish, a few sea anemones with families of 20 or more black and white striped clown fish and most excitingly turtles! I almost sat on one while trying to get a friend’s attention as I'd seen another one swimming close by. Compared to last year where we saw a few elsewhere along the reef, these turtles were very calm around humans and happily let us follow them as they swam. We’d have loved to get photos of all the amazing sea life but I had managed to leave our GoPro at back at Ningaloo Station which was thankfully found a week later, I don’t know how many times we unpacked all our bags, boxes and car hoping it was somewhere there.
We had spotted a few dirt tracks into the ranges last year and couldn’t help ourselves, we had to check them out this time. Speaking to a few locals we had mixed responses as to the difficulty and length so we opted just to enter from the west coast, climb to the peak of the range to check out the view and head back down. It was great fun, very rocky and rough, I think we’ll allow ourselves more time next time to try drive the entire track. It heads right through the range and pops out near the Learmonth airport.
For our last night in Exmouth we decided to head up to Charles Knife Canyon for sunset. We checked out a few lookouts and finally settled in with some snacks and drinks to enjoy the view. Simply stunning and we had the place all to ourselves.
From here we ahead to Karijini NP so keep an eye out for our next blog post. The photos don’t do it justice!