7.00am. Nine of us leave the bus port at Wellington Street and head up through the city and smile at all the people who are going across from the train station to the CBD area of Perth on their way to work glad that it isn’t me.
We leave the city behind us and get onto Mitchell Freeway heading towards Joondalup with excitement travelling with us. I am sure everyone is a little bit apprehensive looking around them at the other passengers hoping they get on with them because after all we are going to be travelling together for the next 11 days.
I welcome everyone onboard and tell them the “rules” (sorry there are always rules), letting them know what is install for them today. We have a fairly tight schedule today and I hope everything goes well. However, if we see something exciting along the way, I will gladly stop for photos or have a look at it.
We start a bit of a game as a “get to know each other” and I think it goes pretty well. We soon arrive at Nambung National Park the home of the world famous Pinnacles. I park the bus and we stroll around the limestone formations. I know it is going to be a great trip as I hear the oohs and aahs as people first catch sight of the Pinnacles. Today is like so many other days beautiful blue skies, but not too hot. There is a magnificent view looking across the Pinnacles towards the Indian Ocean from the lookout.
The Pinnacles are actually wind carved limestone formations ranging from less than 1 metre to over 3 metres high. They were formed 25 to 30,000 years ago from the deposits of shell left behind when the sea receded. Time, erosion and the winds have combined to form such formations as the “Indian Chief”, “Garden Wall”, Milk Bottles” and many more. When seen against their background of golden sand, it is reminiscent of ancient ruins.
Pinnacles at Nambung National Park
Pinnacles at Nambung National Park
All too soon we leave the Pinnacles and head off again. We arrive at Leeman and stop to have lunch. We have pre-made sandwiches this morning for lunch and these taste great for our first meal together. After lunch we continue on towards Geraldton where we again stop to stretch the legs and whatever else people need to do. Naturally, I buy an ice-cream (one of my many, many favourite foods – well you have to get your calcium some way).
We continue on, turning left at Northampton (which is famous for its annual “airing of the Quilts in October when the town comes alive with people displaying patchwork quilts from buildings and shops) taking the back road to Kalbarri. On the way we stop at Natural Bridge and Island Rock, just a couple of features of Kalbarri’s coastal gorges where natural forces are slowly sculpturing the ever changing coastline. Some spectacular views are available from the lookout. Last time I was here I saw half a dozen hump back whales frolicking just metres from the cliffs in the water. (This is a regular occurrence during the annual humpback whale migration from July to November).
Natural Bridge at Kalbarri
Today is a bit windy, but it blows the cobwebs away (and Tom’s hat, but he retrieved it) and it is again great to get out of the bus (even though the seats are very comfortable) and see these natural phenomena that Nature has created. (I will probably use this term many times, because I never get tired of our natural environment).
With just a few kilometres left before arriving at Kalbarri I let everyone know what is on the agenda for tomorrow.
We arrive at the caravan park and I show everyone how to erect their tent and inflate their mattress and this takes about 10 minutes to complete. It is amazing how quickly an electric pump can inflate a mattress – no hard labour for us pumping it up by hand.
Tonight we have a lovely home made cottage pie and salad for dinner, followed by a cheese cake. Some people go for a walk down to the Murchison River and some go for a walk into town but most people head off to bed fairly early.