Two years ago we made the decision to not do our annual trip to Ningaloo, that decision was made easy as we were embarking on another Kimberley, Gulf and Cape York trip. We didn’t miss not going but thought for 2019 we would give it another go. Why the reluctance you may well ask, well the answer to that is familiarity, we 1st went to South Lefroy Bay in the 80’s and lost count with the number of times we have camped there. We have seen the best and the not so good times, the weather is the number one reason that can turn a great stay into Armageddon, plus we have seen a huge decline in the fish caught and if you haven’t got good weather, calm water and fish your just left with sand and a mini suburbia of other campers.
So we made the decision to give it another shot but with a difference, we chose a different location to camp. Instead of basing ourselves at site 15 we headed north closer to Point Billy and camped at site 60. But first we had to get there and we were in no rush to do the drive in a day or two, instead we took a week to get there, we called in at our mates new home in Geraldton and finally saw what we had been hearing about for 12 months or more, a stunning home with plenty of room to park our van. We had a great night catching up and lots of laughs but with both our mates having to work the next day it wasn’t a late night and we said our goodbyes that evening as they both started work early the next morning.
We had intentions of stopping at Coronation beach but decided to continue on to Galena Bridge before the crowds arrived. We took the prime spot down the end facing the river and during the day watched the nomads arrive, it’s a large area with camping both sides of the river but it still doesn’t stop some travellers from pulling up literally a few metres away from our van, apparently I’m not allowed to express my thoughts these days and to take some big deep breaths, I can tell you neither works. It’s not something I would do to other campers and I don’t like it.
Our next stop was Worramel Station, we have stayed here before for a night and enjoyed the bird life, this time we booked in for two nights and were almost carried away by the flies. They were horrendous, persistent annoying little bastards! I had misplaced my fly net which made life hell but luckily found it the 2nd day so things weren’t as bad. Very few birds to be seen apart from the Pink & Grey Galahs, maybe the fly's ate them all ... A walk around the station rubbish dump was interesting with many different vehicles in different stages of rust, there was even a section for white goods and lawnmowers.
|Warroora Station 14 Mile, too busy for us.|
On the 27th of May we arrived at Ningaloo station, the road in was its usual corrugated self but with tire pressure down we had no issues. A chat with Phil to pay our fee and pick up the key to the locked gate and a half hour later we were parked up at site 60. We were patting ourselves on the back on making the decision to change sites, we were literally metres from the waters edge with stunning views of the ocean and reef and behind us was the Range. That 1st and 2nd day were the best, then the wind started and pretty much didn’t stop for two weeks, on the Friday 36mm of rain came down and because we were so exposed to the conditions it wasn’t a fun time. Our new awning copped a beating with the over hanging flap getting torn and we discovered a water leak in the van which I was luckily able to find and fix.
Groundhog Day describes our stays at Ningaloo these days, that’s not meant to mean it’s not a beautiful place, it is superb and not many places in Australia can you camp in such a beautiful place, but because we have been so many times previously and the amount of travelling we have done, we have admitted to ourselves we prefer to keep the wheels moving after a week or so.
|View from our bedroom window|
|Site 60 South Lefroy Bay|
|Wild Dingo in poor health|
With the forecast for more rain to come we broke camp and left Ningaloo after two weeks. We thought we would head to Mount Augustus along the Lyndon road but after refueling at Minilya roadhouse we found out the road was closed. We instead drove south to Carnarvon and headed East on the Carnarvon Mullewa Road,this would have to be the best maintained dirt road we have encountered in all our travels. We stopped 40klms along at Rocky Pool where we stayed the night, the last time we had been here was around 1991 and this visit was a lot different, water and lots of it greeted us, it is a very pretty place and the contrast between the red rock and blue sky was lovely.
In two days we drove along the road we did not see any other cars, it wasn't until we reached Gascoyne Junction we saw anyone. Then after leaving Gascoyne Junction we again saw no one for another full day, excellent road, very pretty camp places and no people, how good was this. We spent an enjoyable day at Bilung Pool where we were presented with a magnificent sunset and star filled sky.We will definitely drive this road again and hopefully get to Mount Augustus next time.
|Sunset at Bilung Pool|
|Well 19 ET Hooley Stock Route|
|Well 19 ET Hooley Stock Route|
We stayed a night at York and treated ourselves to an evening meal out at the Settlers Inn, the meal was better than average but still not what i would class as better than what we eat at home or in the van, an entertainer singing and playing guitar was a nice touch.
The next day we arrived home, everything was how we left it. The rest of the day was spent unpacking.