WA! The Red North

The Red North
After South West Australia, I didn't know what to expect of the wild wilde north west, and that's exactly why I fell so much in love with it. It is so wild, so wide, so preserved and genuine - and so are the people there, that it was impossible for me not to.
The Red North

Aah, Kalbarri... I spent such an amazing time there that it's the only place I came back to. I met wonderful people, the weather was so nice, and there are so many things to do! Kayaking, sunset cruising, walking the trail of the National Park... And of course, horseback riding. I write "of course", because I actually worked for a couple of weeks at the Big River Ranch during the school holidays, guiding the rides along the Murchinson River, and it was just great... Living for a while a life I often dreamed of is truly priceless. 
The town is at the mouth of the Murchinson river, allowing a lot of water activities and there are great surfing spots and ocean cliffs around. My description might seem poor, but I really recommend experiencing the tranquil charm of this beautiful place. In their "winter", the temperature is still around 30°C, while in summer, the heat in the National Park can go up to 50°C!

Just like Kalbarri, Exmouth is a small country town, but unlike Kalbarri, there's not much to do apart from water activities around the Ningaloo Reef. Exmouth lies on the East side of the peninsula, where the coast is unremarkable, meaning you need a car to enjoy Cape Range National Park, the Ningaloo Reef and the sunset, which are a good 50 km on the West side. I spent 3 weeks there, and I really enjoyed the low pace and the calm of the YHA.
Three important things to experience in Exmouth, from the least to the most:
- snorkelling at Oyster Stacks on a high tide, it is simply amazingly rich with underwater life. People usually stop at Turquoise Bay, because the beach is pristine, but you definitely should go on 5 more km to Oyster Stacks and enjoy the life there...
Turquoise Bay honors its name...
- swim with whalesharks. It is very expensive, around 380 $ for a full day including one snorkelling and swimming with the whaleshark. For the good of this wonderful fish, it is very regulated, that is to say one boat can only stay one hour with one whaleshark, and you cannot dive with them, just swim on the surface. But if you're lucky, you can spot more than one shark, and at the end of May, people were lucky enough to spot some Manta Rays and Humpbacks as well. So on the whole, it is a great experience.
- Dive in the Navy Pier. It is said to be one of the Top 10 dives in the world, and frankly, it lives up to this reputation. The setting is so amazing, and the waters are so rich with life that you simply cannot believe your eyes. My favorite moment: when a nurse shark came circling around us for a good 5 minutes. And it is cleary the best safety stop I've ever done in my life!

Risking to cross some people's opinions, I didn't like Broome, that's why I didn't stay long. The weather is rather hot during the dry season (fyi, there is no wet season in Exmouth, it only rains 30 days a year), and the town itself is cut in half by the airport, so wherever you are, you can always hear planes landing or taking off. 
But first I need to tell you how to get there. There is one overnight bus, on Wednesdays and Fridays, costing 200 $ and lasting 16h to go across the 1300 km separating Exmouth from Broome. I always thought people were exaggerating when they were scared of overnight bus drivers not driving straight. I mean, those drivers are obviously well trained professionals, and if there were any risks of accidents, we would have heard of them, and the company would have become bankrupt, right? At least, that's what I always thought, and why I always blindly trusted my life in their hands.
But let me tell you how Integrity Coach line works: There are two drivers, and they depart Perth the day before (so Tuesdays and Thursdays), and arrive in Broome on the morning of Thursdays and Saturdays. They have one day to rest, and go back the same way on the evening of Thursdays and Saturdays. Just to tell you how tired or superhuman they should be, and the roads in Western Australia are notoriously long, straight and boring... Let's just say that the uncomfortable position in which to sleep became the uncomfortable position allowing me the least harm in case of a crash, as the driver kept driving in zigzags during the night.
Anyway, I came out of this ordeal alive, and I really didn't like the atmosphere of the town. The YHA was full of young backpackers working and partying, some parts of the town are 100% aboriginal, and despite the roadsigns stating "no alcohol", they were still drunk and aggressive.
It was actually the first place in Australia I didn't feel safe walking at night.
Besides, honestly, Cable Beach is not that great a beach. Of course, I missed the Staircase to the Moon, but I wasn't feeling like staying 2 weeks there, so I just took a walk around the japanese cemetry and Chinatown - including Matso's Brewery serving amazing ginger beer and mango beer.

So on the whole, I really enjoyed Western Australia, especially with the warm weather up north., and when I come back in Australia, I will definitely prioritize this part of the country, and this time, with a 4WD van!

Next: the roadtrip to Monkey Mia

No comments:

Post a Comment