My trip northwards to Exmouth to swim with the whalesharks has taken a bit of organising, but in the last few days the hard work paid off and things finally fell into place just in the nick of time.
Because Perth to Exmouth isn’t one of the major air routes, there is only one airline that provides a service, and prices can therefore be pretty expensive, particularly when compared to flying longer distances to Melbourne or Sydney, for example, where there is more competition.
I was lucky to find a flight back from Exmouth at around the right time at a reasonable price, but as I tried to organise other parts of the trip to co-incide, prices for that flight increaced, and I went ahead and booked it before it went any higher. But all flights heading northwards were almost double the price, and I searched for an alternative.
I rang all the car hire places in Exmouth, and asked if any of them had a vehicle in Perth that needed relocating back up to Exmouth. A day or so later Rowan from Allen’s car Hire contacted me, and we worked out a great deal for me to bring a small Hyundai Xcel up from Perth.
So after some hasty packing, including an old bicycle I had lying around gathering cobwebs, I made an early start yesterday morning, and drove out of Perth on the Great Northern Highway. It doesn’t take long to get out into the countryside, and 400 empty kilometres later I arrived in Geralton at around lunch time. I stopped briefly to refuel, and after a quick bite to eat, I pushed on again.
I almost made it to Carnarvon, which is about 900km from Perth, but a glance at the map confirmed that I would not make it before dark, and I noticed that there was a free beach camp just off to the west of the main highway, about 40km south of town. I decided to play it safe, and stop before dark, and was glad I did, as the camp spot was lovely.
My decision to stop was prompted mainly by the huge amount of kangaroo carcasses littering the roadside. Many are pretty fresh and recent, some are just skeletal remains. They are a big problem on country roads, and tend to be most active around dusk as the day cools down, and through the night. Most people who have to travel in darkness have roo bars on the front of their vehicles to protect them from damage, as an impact with a big roo can be devastating for both vehicle and occupants, as well as to the roo itself, of course!!!
This morning I was up at first light and on the road not long after sunrise. I was glad I had stopped early the night before, as there were quite a few new offerings in the middle of the road, already being attended to by the crows and the huge wedge-tailed eagles.
I crossed over the Tropic Of Capricorn, but the scenery looked anything but tropical, as the desert shrubs got smaller and smaller, and the huge termite mounds dominated the landscape in their thousands.
I detoured off the main highway to stop breifly at the lovely Coral Bay, with its beautiful beach and crystal clear water. I couldn’t resist a quick snorkel, and was amazed by the variety and size of some of the fish just offshore.
I made it to Exmouth around lunchtime and went to see the whaleshark tour operator to confirm my booking for tomorrow, and then got my tent set up at the caravan and camp park, and settled in, sorting out the mess of gear that had developed in the little car. My final job for the day was to drop off the dusty car with Rowan, where I re-assembled my bike and cycled back to my camp ground, just in time for a quick swim in the pool as the sun set.
I really enjoyed the two day trip up here. It was great to be travelling again on a long journey, sometimes with some good music on the stereo, sometimes just my own thoughts to keep me company, a big cup of hot coffee from the last service station on my lap, and the open road and exciting new adventures ahead.