Again I marvel at this amazing country, the sheer vastness of it and the endless length of road bound by red earth each side of the bitumen.
I wished I had brought my thermos flask of hot water with me today as I had mistakenly thought I might find a café en route from Kalbarri – but not until I reached the Billabong Roadhouse did I stop for coffee and a scone (two in fact, but I saved one for later!!)
And guess what – the flies are out in full force.
I actually passed a road train today carrying a load of cars. Quite scary actually because Bluebird hit a good speed as we raced past. Quite a lot of traffic on the road and a lot of people stopped at the Billabong Roadhouse for fuel and food. Saw a huge semi-trailer pull up with four trailers of sheep – poor things. I would never ever attempt to pass something as enormous as that – it’s the biggest one I have seen on this trip.
It was a little like being in the wild west, being at the Billabong Roadhouse, right in the middle of nowhere. So I was pleased when I saw the coast again. For me it’s a kind of thankful feeling, like, oh good, I can see the sea again so now I feel ok.
People ask me sometimes why I am so drawn to the sea. Well, besides being a Piscean, I thank my parents for introducing me to the water at a very young age. My three siblings and I were taken to the beach regularly as Mum and Dad both loved the seaside – the downside of these beach trips was the soggy tomato and marmite sandwiches (sometimes with sand in them) and the warm orange cordial that we had for lunch! No plastic bags or chilly bins in those days! Sandwiches were wrapped in grease-proof paper and the cordial in a glass bottle.
I have just finished reading Robyn Davidson’s book Travelling Light, a gift from a close friend in Melbourne – and can relate so much to her writing. I think she is a great writer, and when I read her work I feel very much in awe of her writing style and the breadth of her knowledge.
To travel to Denham one must leave the North West Coastal Highway and follow the Heritage Trail in to Denham and then of course come back again and resume going north on the Highway. I did pass several of the recommended tourist attractions en route to Denham but decided to leave them until the return journey.
There was a bit of a mix up at the motel as I had booked through two different companies, quite by mistake – but thankfully the motel alleviated the problem so I didn’t have to pay twice, which one of the booking agencies was asking me to do.
Treated myself to fish and chips and a cold beer on Friday night (and enjoyed it, thank you). Walked down the length of the ‘promenade’ and there were many tourists sitting on the beach with their children.
The Discovery Centre at Denham was packed with information about the wonders of this very important world heritage region, and well worth a visit.
Unfortunately I couldn’t force myself out of bed in time to see the dolphins at Monkey Mia but I did get to see a couple of Loggerhead turtles. I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I got to Monkey Mia – my own fault as I should have read up more about it. But it’s actually a reserve where you have to pay to get in. I had actually thought there was a town there and apparently a lot of people have the same idea.
There is a beautiful resort at Monkey Mia where people can stay and I ordered a coffee and sat for a while under the shady pergola just enjoying the view. It’s a little like a Club Med, with families staying and watching their children play on the beach.
So why is it called Monkey Mia?
“Mia” is the Aboriginal word for home/camp/resting place”. Apparently there are a few different stories for the “Monkey” part but no one really knows for sure. From what I have read in the tourist brochures, and according to the Nomenclature Advisory Committee of the Dept of Lands and Survey, there was actually a ship named the Monkey, Malay pearlers who camped at the location in the early days had pet monkeys and “monkey” is also thought to have been an Australian colloquialism for sheep, which were farmed in the early days of the area.
I talked to the young woman on the beach who had three well cared for camels but she wouldn’t allow me to take a photo unless I actually had a camel ride. I thought that was a bit unusual but didn’t press the point, especially after one of the somewhat feisty Broome camels nipped me on my first and only camel ride!!
It has been hotter today. I’m trying desperately to acclimatize a little before I hit the humidity of Broome.