Leaving the Shark Bay peninsular we headed north along the NW Coastal Highway, passing the 26th parallel and the Tropic of Capricorn. We are now officially in the tropics!
The car was overdue for a service so we stopped in Carnarvon for a couple of days. Not a great deal we can say about this place. Cyclone Olwyn’s destruction was evident again as the old amenities block was closed as the roof had been torn off.
We checked the car in and walked down to the jetty where we found that there was a $5 charge each to walk on the jetty. The water looked pretty murky and unimpressive so we decided to skip it and walked back to the caravan park.
We headed to the Woolworth’s supermarket – after shopping in small shops for the past several weeks it was heaven to find a well stocked supermarket. We stocked up on basics and revelled in our choice of fresh produce!
We picked up the car at around 4pm and left with a lighter wallet.
The next day we were back on the road heading north to Coral Bay.
A small tourist resort town, it was towards the end of Easter holidays when we arrived so was quite busy. There were a few signs up advising not to feed the horse ‘Maverick’, a stray apparently scared away from a station by the storm.
It was a few hours later that we actually met Maverick. We had encountered feral goats, cats and rabbits so far, but this was our first feral horse!
The next day we bought ourselves some snorkel gear and hit the beach. Wading in from the beach we were immediately surrounded by the Ningaloo Reef.
The iridescent blue of the staghorn coral. Giant brain shaped coral. Tubular coral and some that looked like giant broccoli. Giant clams that snapped shut as we drifted overhead. We were surrounded by the tropical fish. Zebra fish, brightly coloured parrot fish. Schools of large white fish. Bright yellow striped fish.
Back on the beach we discussed what we had seen and marveled at how close to shore it was. The second swim we took a camera in a waterproof case. Snapping away madly at the amazing sights before us. Unfortunately when we came to look at the photos we discovered that the lens had fogged up obscuring most of the images, D’oh!
We headed back to camp and had a few drinks with our new neighbours – Chris and Kim who were from northern England and travelling Australia on a working holiday visa.
The next day was overcast and stormy. We tried another swim from a slightly different location, but the visibility was obscured.
We figured we’d try again the following day, however that turned out to be even worse. We decided to bail on Coral Bay and head up to Cape Range National Park – which also has beaches onto the Ningaloo coast as well as some amazing gorge hikes.