Press PLAY. This is has accompanied me for the last 4 days so should accompany you as you read :-).
Knowing I can stay in Australia another year, I left Perth in a positive and happy frame of mind. If a little sleep deprived from late onward planning the night before…! I stick with my policy of not knowing what my tour is all about… All well and good until I realised my bikini was in the middle of my backpack… As was my bite relief cream… Both needed halfway through day 1, some rearranging was necessary. Driving north, the landscape changes as we pass through it. From bush, to farmland, to plains surrounded by steep surrounds. The further north we trudge, the redder the soil becomes.
The first stop allows us to try sand boarding. White, white sand and a little bit windy, we have fun in the dunes and start to get to know the thirteen strong group. Onto Nambung National Park, we walk the Pinnacles Desert. We find many many flies. And a Christmas tree. An Australian one. So named because it flowers during Christmas. We play speed dating. We find the sea. We venture on. I get robbed blind in a western australian roadhouse! We reach Pink Lake at sunset. Beautifully pink, the reflection is amazing. We reach Kalbarri. There is banter over two Italians cooking a stir fry on a barbecue! A long day, it was an early night.
I awake at 5.45am feeling rested. We abseil Kalbarri National Park. The guide has some interesting distraction techniques! We walk the gorge. We find out orange skins are not a kangaroo’s favourite food. We look through Nature’s Window. There is laughter over our guide being asked if she is French. She is not. A hot day, we cool off in the pool. There is banter over chickens and sharks in the pool. We reach Shark Bay. We find stromatolites. And a rainbow. We pass an electric fence marking the peninsula boundary. A barking dog keeps predators out. This dog is not real. We see sunset over the water. It is amazing. I pass on the feet banter. I capture the first double foot shot. Some quiet time on the bus, I make a list of things I want to achieve in 2014. We reach Francois Peron National Park. We relax in a hot tub under the stars. On reaching our accommodation I am the only one to understand an Irish boy. He then asks where in Ireland I’m from…!
I awake to some quotes fitting the day perfectly from blogs I follow. We pass through Denham, the most westerly town in Australia. We arrive into Monkey Mia. We are asked not to put sunscreen on our legs so as not to to damage the dolphin’s eyes. We wait. Then wait more. Dolphins arrive! They get fed. Many photos get taken. We swim in the water. We find a little lagoon and the 26th parallel. Our feet arrive in eagle bluff. It becomes one of my favourite places so far. Many shells and a stingray get found on Shell Beach. We stop in the wheat belt. Some tour members, including our guide, climb on the bus. The nurse in the group exclaims ‘I am not a nurse!’ Much laughter occurs. We reach our Farmstay. We play ‘ping pong’. We do yoga. Laughter over earthquakes and ass quakes ends the day :-).
We awake on the last day. The principality of Hutt River, a micro nation within Australia is our first stop. We get stamps in our passports. I meet a Prince. I find a nice quote. The Australian in the group is asked how many countries she has visited this year. The answer none, she is congratulated on her first international trip!! We reach Greenhough Wildlife Park. I see my first bobtail. Everyone excited about kangaroos makes me appreciate waking up to them and other wildlife in outback Australia. Much banter occurs on the bus with a carrot and people sleeping! I receive a video of Scotland singing the national anthem at a rugby game. I smile. I replay. I realise I have deleted an entire SD card worth of photos. I hope they are backed up! We reach Perth. We say goodbye and wish each other happy onward travels :-).
These things can be driven easily but it’s always the people that you meet along the way sharing their stories that make it fun. One tour companion had been evacuated from the Phillipines a week ago, another’s dream was to be a sheep farmer in Australia, another I met had six sisters, five brothers and 83 aunts, uncles and cousins! I loved learning their stories. Sharing their company :-). Enjoying their banter. I can’t wait to see the rest of the west coast. Maybe just when it’s a little bit cooler..! 🙂