Saturday 25th April 2015 Anzac Day Windy clear
Coronation Beach to Kalbarri
The wind gusted through the night again making for fitful sleep. I sweep up 24 dead flies plus body parts and another in Woody’s shoe.
Twenty kilometres north we stop at the little historic village of Northampton. The service station burnt down last week and the smell of chemicals still hangs in the air. The pride of the town is the Catholic Church, Our Lady in Ara Coeli and the Sacred Heart Convent next door. We top up our water in the RV park and sheltered from the wind give our fridge an hour on gas while we attend the Anzac Day service. An RV pulls up beside us and the driver leaps out pulls on a reefer jacket bedecked in medals and gallops across to the RSL Park, his roo bar wears a Viet Vet emblem.
A large crowd is in attendance at the service. Wearing T shirts proudly displaying their heritage are Australians and New Zealanders of many races heads bowed together. Hands slowly brush flies, eyes squint in the sun and a dog with a halo of flies waits. School children sing songs about the sadness of war, songs that will be etched on their minds forever. It is a moving service and a rare chance to sing the national anthem and to our surprise The RAAF Roulettes fly overhead.
Moving on we pass the turn off to Port Gregory the little coastal town that was bombed by a Japanese submarine in World War Two. Another pink lake and this one is really pink, is on our left for several kilometres, it is home to a BASF beta carotene (food dye) extraction plant, the world’s largest. The road follows the coast and there are sheep paddocks, sand dunes, glimpses of ocean and stands of flowering banksias.
As we enter the boundaries of Kalbarri National Park everything changes, as they are wont to do on long drives. The vegetation has changed, there are new strange sprouting plants and the rocks are now layered. We drive into Eagle Gorge where the rocks look to have been laid down by a dry-stone wall mason. However, this isn’t what is foremost on our minds. We are assaulted by hundreds, no thousands of flies and four backpackers wanting to know if this is normal. Do we look like we’d know? We later find out that they (the flies) have hatched since the recent cyclone and all it will take to kill them is a nice cold night. Bring on the nice cold night. How cold? Dunno.
Kalbarri is as pretty as it gets. Perched on the wide Murchison River where it meets the sea there are wide green lawns and tropical plants. We have an Anzac drink at the pub where the locals are playing two up before heading a little way out of town to Murchison House Station (1858). The station is set in a majestic valley and covers 350,000 acres. We are greeted by cheery Belinda. She and husband Calum muster and sell rangeland (feral to us) goats as well as running cattle and sheep.
We choose a spot overlooking the river. Horses roam about and there are chooks, alpacas and baby goats. The original stone cottage built by the Von Bibra family has been preserved and there are stories of an elegant moustachioed Indian prince from Hydrabad who owned the property in the 1990’s. It is a wonderful place to camp and if it wasn’t for the current fly problem we would stay longer.
We cook a roast on the Weber and talk to the stars until quite late.
Travelling Kms: only 136Kms but so much to see
Note: We were recently watching a travel show on TV and Lake Hutt was featured as being a highlight. Crikey I’m glad we saw the sign!