A second trip down to Geraldton, but this time we actually stayed and had a look around. The foreshore area is really lovely and by chance on the Sunday we arrived there was a sailboat race happening – we had no idea who was racing or who to cheer for, but it was a beautiful sight on the water! We visited the memorial to the HMAS Sydney – hands down the loveliest one I have ever seen. And we learned the story behind the WWII tragedy at the WA Museum Geraldton which is fantastic – apparently the ship got duped by a German warship masquerading as a Dutch merchant ship and opening fire at close range. We could easily have spent longer in the museum, but ran out of time.
Luckily, we ran into a lovely family (J, A, M, O and R) we had met at Warroora Station a few weeks ago – their daughter (R) gamely tried teaching Kia and Tiran the basic rules of cricket! They were quite happy to be smacking a ball with a bat anyway. The next day we headed to Southgate Beach and the famous sand dunes – they were quite high indeed. Kia fearlessly scaled the highest one and had a few runs, including a tandem one with Michael which led to a face full of sand for poor Daddy (see the pictures); Tiran took it much slower (as it’s his way), but he did stay much cleaner at least! Kia had a good stack on his 6th run and the ensuing tantrum signalled the end of sandboarding for the day.
We spent a couple of nights at a free camp spot along the coast called Cliff Heads. We had heard good things about this place from other travellers, but to tell you the truth it was a huge disappointment (for us anyway). The beach was completely covered in dried seaweed (so not the nicest smell or even a good spot to go for a walk along the beach), the seas were rough, it was so windy Mike had to hide the BBQ in the bushes to cook dinner, and of course when the wind stopped, the flies swarmed! Maybe we just got there at a bad time of the year?? It was a good excuse to catch up on some blogging anyway.
The next 2 nights were spent at an absolutely beautiful spot called Sandy Cape Recreational Area. We found a great camp spot right next to the beach and had a very lazy couple of days (it was actually a relief not to have any sights to see or things to experience for a change, so we could just relax). Although there was a swimming area of the beach nearby, it was way too cold for THIS family to get in the water! But we saw lovely dolphins swimming by in the mornings and afternoons. And the boys had their first close sighting of a tiger snake (holy crap!) when they were walking around the dunes – thank goodness they listened to the advice they learned at the reptile show at Coffs Harbour: when you see a snake, you freeze! Well done boys!
We were spending a couple of nights with friends M & L near Lancelin, so we stopped in at the Pinnacles on our way down. They are certainly a fascinating phenomenon – sandstone fingers growing right out of the sand in clusters – but I wouldn’t really call them spectacular. The good thing is that there is a driving path all the way around so you can take the easy way around, which of course we did. Stopping at a lookout a few kilometers down the road, we spied a lovely beach and I suggested we take a closer look, which is how we happened across Wedge Settlement. This is a freehold settlement of ramshackle fishing shacks built by local “squatters” as holiday beach accommodation. Not particularly impressive in structure, however they do have a “hospital” (a small shack with a red cross, so I guess that qualifies) and even a helipad for emergencies. And Mike (along with 3 other tourists just checking things out) got talked into helping a resident move an extremely heavy cast iron oven into his hut. Beautiful beach though!
And then a wonderful weekend of getting utterly spoiled by our lovely friends at their farm! We can’t thank them enough for their hospitality! L had even thoughtfully got out some of her son’s old toys, including a big box of Lego which kept the boys happily occupied for hours. We actually did nothing but eat, drink, be merry and relax – and to stretch out in an actual house and have a shower with continuous running water were wonderful – funny the things you miss when you don’t have them! It was really sad to say goodbye and we sincerely hope we see them again soon and be able to repay their kindness.
We checked into our caravan park in Freemantle (can’t believe we’ve made it all the way to Perth!) and spent an exceptional luncheon and afternoon at my manager’s house with the WA contingent of BMS. It was so fantastic to see them all again. It was perfect in every way and after 3 days non-stop feasting our clothes were straining at the seams!
All excited about seeing Mom and my uncle S from England tomorrow – we haven’t told the boys that Mamani is coming; can’t wait to see their faces when she shows up!!