A year on the road – highs and lows

This is tough to write, there are so many great places out there and Australia is so huge there are many more we didn’t get to.  It almost feels like we have simply marked the areas we need to go back to and spend more time exploring.  Something for when the girls have grown up.

Firstly we have to mention meeting people along the way.  Along the south coast there are too many routes to take to see faces more than once.  It wasn’t until we approached Broome that we started to see people on a regular basis and make plans to travel together.

Travelling with others adds to the journey in so many ways, and was a side of the trip which, before leaving, we had not really thought was possible.  It is strange how in the remotest of places you can suddenly bump into someone from home.

So to great traveling companions and friends; Roger & Jada, John & Amanda, Chris & Rachel, Ben and Simone, and many others, thank you.

Now in pretty much our direction of travel:

Picnic Point – as remote coastal spots go this was lovely, basic but right by the sea with a great view to boot, a fantastic way to start the trip.

 

Victorian High Country – definitely somewhere we will go back to, lucky it is not that far away.  Such a beautiful area, and top notch for 4wd.

Wilsons Promontory – a busy campsite, but more than made up for by the scenery and friendly wombats.

Great Ocean Road­ – So much to see, from the forests and koalas of Cape Otway, to the 12 Apostles and many lovely little towns along the way.

Crabtree Farm, Goolwa – Wonderful hospitality, and the chilli pork pie is to die for (the manager is also the local baker).

Flinders / Arkaroola – Incredible scenery, an introduction to the arid interior and its wildlife.

 

Coffin Bay – At the bottom of the Eyre Peninsula this is an isolated park of sand dunes and bush, perfect for escaping the crowds and a camp dinner on the beach.

 

Memory Cove – on the other side of Port Lincoln from Coffin Bay, so peaceful with only 5 groups allowed to camp at any one time.  Not such a bad place for a fish either despite the showers.

Tractor Beach – Forget Streaky Bay, just around the corner is a little spot of heaven

Nullarbor – spectacular cliffs, wide open spaces, and the longest straight road in Australia.  Some of the best bits were off the main road, like or Koonalda sinkhole, or Twilight Cove down a 30km track to the sea.

Lucky Bay – one of the many places to claim the whitest sand in Australia, the kangaroos join you on the beach (and in camp); Frenchmans Peak is worth the climb for the view.

The Pinnacles – Just amazing, the contrast of the sand to the sky and the moonscape rock formations.

Kalbarri – one of the busier spots, but a must see all the same.

Cape Range – A very warm welcome from Exmouth District High School, for the girls to complete Naplan.  Around the corner the national park has great snorkelling, with the river gorge at Yardi worth a cruise.

Karijini – wonderful gorges, but you need to be up for a hike to get into landscape and make it worthwhile.  Superb interactive programme, a partnership between the rangers and local elders, for the girls to complete to earn their junior ranger badges.

 

Indee Station – in the middle of nowhere on the road to Port Hedland, intriguing rock art.

Broome – an isolated oasis a long way from anywhere, but bags of charm and sunset on the beach, fantastic.

Cape Leveque – Spectacular red cliffs, spear making with Bundy and a pearl farm to tour; just some of the things to see and do.

Windjana Gorge – the problem with the Kimberley is all the great stuff to see.  Travelling from the west this makes a splendid first stop, the freshies are placid but perhaps no swimming.

Silent Grove – Not only a superb gorge for swimming, but the nightlife comes and says hello.

Mornington Wilderness – at the end of the longest dead end drive you can imagine, beautiful but a bit on the pricy side if you want to hire canoes to explore the gorges.

Manning Gorge – Probably the best swimming spot we found in the Kimberley

Mitchell Falls – Worth every corrugation on the drive up, the worst stretch of road on the trip

 

Pentecost River – An icon or a picture cliché?  Whatever, it’s a beautiful place.

 

El Questro – a return to civilisation at the east end of the Kimberley.  A very enjoyable mix of landscape, restaurant and bar.  The gorge walking is top rate and the hot springs great fun.

 

So many great places, too many for a single post.  More to follow……….

 

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