A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about landscapes

Day 1 Queensland to Western Australia

Brisbane - Goondiwindi

It was 9.15 am when we eventually left home in Queensland with our Caravan in tow. The morning was cool and sunny, lovely after the previous frosty mornings - A great start to the day!
We made our way to Beaudesert and onto beautiful Boonah in the Scenic Rim. This town is a favorite of mine. It's situated in a pretty area with magnificent views of the Great Dividing Range, I always reach for my camera here!

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Great Dividing Range near Aratula

Then next town on from Boonah is the small village of Aratula where we make a stop before making the climb up and over the range to the fertile valley beyond.
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Great Dividing Range near Aratula

On Warwick side of the range, the surprise was the price of fuel, 146.9cents litre, compared to 160.9 at home, what a difference! Of course, the price made us stop and top up with fuel, have a quick lunch and toilet stop before making our way to Inglewood. Travelling along this road, we see a tremendous amount of road-kill, mainly Red and Grey Kangaroos, even a massive Wedge Tailed Eagle who was too slow escaping from the many semi-trailers that travel this road.

SAM_5945S.jpgInglewood is only a small town, but one we usually make a break at, today was no exception. First we stopped at the park to have a look at an interesting Sundial and to use the toilets before travelling further along the main street where we found a Cafe open so we stopped for a caffeine break.

Pity it wasn't lunch time as they had Roo (Kangaroo) burgers on the menu. The shop walls were adorned with old types of agricultural pieces.

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Goondiwindi is a border town and our final destination for the day. We crossed the McIntyre river which is the border between Queensland and New South Wales and continued to the small, mainly Aboriginal town of Boggabilla. About 9kms from there, we found a free camping site at Whalan Creek, away and hidden from the highway.

Posted by balhannahrise 02:53 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes road trip queensland free camps Comments (0)

Day 5 Queensland to Western Australia

Peterborough, South Australia to Port Augusta, South Australia

Brrr! That was a really cold night, only 3° and a white frost in the morning. I slept with a beanie on and still was cold!

Well, at least a frost meant a nice sunny day which it turned out to be although on the chilly side because of a cold wind blowing. Early morning and we head into Peterborough. Only the garage is open, the rest of the town is dead, far cry from the days when Peterborough was a very busy railway town.
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Today, the shops have been restored and the old homes painted, tourism is where the money for town comes from these days.
It still has kept its link with the Railways though! The tourist information centre is located in an old railway carriage, there is an old steam train in the main street and the massive Steam town Museum.

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The next town is Orroroo. In the centre of the road are some marvellous sculptures made out of iron of the early pioneering days. I loved the one of the old draught horses pulling the plough.

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Orroroo

We are heading to Eyre Peninsula, so from Orroroo, we have to pass over the Flinders Mountain Range.

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Lower Flinders Mountain Range

The road we take is through Horrock's Pass. In summer of this year, a huge bushfire devastated this region, today, the grass was green and the trees looked very fresh with new foliage sprouting from their burnt tree trunks.

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This pretty drive through the gorge brought us out to where we had wonderful views of Spencers Gulf. We turn right at Port Wakefield road and follow it into the industrial city of Port Augusta, located at the head of Spencers Gulf.

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Port Augusta

As we have been here before, we stop at the Shoreline Caravan park again. We are given a waterfront view site, trouble is, the wind was so cold and strong that we couldn't sit outside to enjoy it! Our stay here was to buy more groceries and to do the washing. We bought what we thought was a nice lunch from a Bakery in town, only later we both had food poisoning which must have come from what we ate there. Dinner was at the nearby Sharks club. Meals were cheap and good, service was terrible and two drinks cost $17!
Today - the scenery was good!

Posted by balhannahrise 13:46 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes park australia south caravan peterborough Comments (0)

Day 6 Queensland to Western Australia

Port Augusta to Pildappa Rock @ Minnipa, South Australia

Woke up to a cold, windy and cloudy morning in Port Augusta, unfortunately it stayed like this all day.

Today, we are heading to some new scenery. We are away fairly early and soon are driving past the huge open cut Iron ore mine. The iron ore found here at Iron Knob was of such high quality that it started an iron smelting industry. It is referred to as the birthplace of the steel industry in Australia. Huge dump trucks were working on what looked to be a new mine.

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Iron Knob mine

From Port Augusta, we are travelling along the Eyre Highway which is the main road to Western Australia. What we notice is how green and lush everything is, especially the Blue Bush and Salt Bush,obviously the area has had rain recently for the area to be looking so good.

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Countryside after good rains

It is lunch time and we are near Kimba, the town known as the "halfway point" when crossing Australia on the Eyre Highway.

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Halfway across Australia

It's Saturday and the town is dead! All the shops are closed, but the one where the "Big Galah" is located, is open. A photo shoot is in order!

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Big Galah @ Kimba

The flowering Gum trees are a picture and another photo is a must!

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Flowering Gum Tree @ Minnipa

We see a Brown Tourist signpost pointing to White's Knob. Last time we didn't go there, so today we did. The hill isn't that high although high enough to give good views over Kimba, the Golf course and the surrounding countryside.

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Overlooking Kimba and surrounds

Also at the Lookout are two wonderful sculptures made out of bits and pieces of steel. One if of Edward John Eyre, a famous Explorer who was the first man to cross Australia from Sydney, NSW to the Swan River in WA. The other sculpture is of his Aboriginal helper "Wylie," who he relied upon for his bush skills.

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The expressions on the faces look so real!

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Wylie

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Edward Eyre[center]

As we follow the road downhill and back into Kimba, I glance towards the showgrounds and realize it is Saturday and all the townsfolk are here watching football. The Showgrounds had some very interesting Murals to take a look at!

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Showground Mural

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Showground Mural

Time to leave Kimba behind and follow the Eyre Highway to Minnipa. Along the way we had to stop at the small town of Yaninee because of a funny mural painted on the public toilet block. A good one!

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Toilet Block @ Yaninee

Our last town today is Minnipa, but we aren't stopping there, but following the Tourist signed road 15kms to Pildappa Rock where we will free camp for the night.
Wow! What a sight Pildappa Rock was, just beautiful! Only one other camper was there. He thought Pildappa rock had better colour than the famous WA Wave Rock. First we set up camp for the night near the Free gas bbq and picnic table and benches. A toilet was located a little distance away.

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Pildappa Rock camp area

Next, I went for clamber up the side of this giant pink granite monolith that was formed about 1500 million years ago.

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Pildappa Rock

Pildappa Rock is known as an inselberg. Its outstanding feature is a unique wave form or "flare" structure extending for quite a way, often at a height of 2 - 3 stories high. Pildappa's flared slope is the product of complex chemical weathering below the surface.

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Pildappa Rock

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Pildappa Rock

Located on the top of the rock I found numerous gnamma waterholes, some empty, many with water and tadpoles and plants growing in them.

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Gnamma Holes

Also of interest were the constructed gutters I found made by pioneering farmers to channel water run off from Pildappa Rock. How clever were they, as the gnamma rockholes were the only permanent source of water to be found in this part of Eyre Peninsula. The local Kukatha tribe of Aborigines realized these rockholes were essential for their survival in the dry and arid environment. Early European settlers also recognised the value of such waterholes. I even found the remains of dam walls on the top of Pildappa rock, made by pioneering farmers in order to increase the rainfall catchment area of gnamma rockholes.

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Dam walls on Pildappa Rock

At the base is an extensive system of man made gutters. These gutters were constructed in 1928 and designed to channel water runoff into a huge underground water tank on the northern side of Pildappa Rock.

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Wall around the base of Pildappa Rock

Other points of interest were the mosses growing on the rock and the loose rocks which had been sculptured by the wind.

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And don't forget to take in the wonderful 360° views you get from the top of Pildappa rock, these were great too!

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View from the top of Pildappa Rock

After spending plenty of time on top of Pildappa rock, it was now time to completely walk around the base of the rock. It wasn't a long walk, but another interesting one as I was viewing the rock from a different angle. All the way around was black stripes made by water running of the rock during heavy rains. What a sight it would be in the wet as there were dozens of these areas which would form waterfalls in wet weather.

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Watermarks on Pildappa rock

That a stunning rock this was and with so much historical interest!

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Pildappa Rock

Posted by balhannahrise 04:21 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes australia south camp things free monoliths Comments (0)

Day 22 Queensland to Western Australia continued

Mullewa and surrounds 3rd August

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We are staying at Mullewa for several nights as this is one of the best places to find wildflowers in W.A. Be fore-warned, the population swells greatly during the wildflower season. Opposite our caravan park in Lover's Lane, was The Wildflower walk. For something to do before it became dark, I followed the loop dirt track of around 3kms, along a gentle rolling landscape, past the water catchment area and back to the beginning.
I Just completed this circuit but you can join the Rail Heritage loop and then join onto the Bushland trail and walk to the scenic lookout. Other links connect to the main street.

The trail is easy to follow because of the red markers on the steel posts. I do suggest you wear walking shoes for comfort and support, wear a hat and take water.

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Along the way are 18 Interpretive boards with colour photos of the most common and colourful flower species found in this area. I found the majority of Everlasting Daisies on this walk were the Lemon and White and it wasn't as colourful as the Bushland walk, of course in another season, this may not be the case! I saw many wildflowers, orchids and caves as I returned back to the beginning of the trail.

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Wild Daisies

I walked at a leisurely pace, stopping to read the signage, take in the views and taking many photos, and I guess it took me around 1 hour to complete.
It's best to take your time as you need to look hard to find the orchids that grow close to the ground and are fairly well hidden.
TAKE NOTE - PICKING OF WILDFLOWERS IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED

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Once again, Mullewa has gone to a lot of effort in making another interesting trail for the Tourists to follow, this time about their famous former resident, Monsignor Hawes. The 600 metre walk begins at the Mullewa Information centre, then all you do is follow the paved pathway, suitable for wheelchairs too.

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Hawes Heritage Trail

It is named the Hawes Heritage Trail and features 11 interpretive areas, each detailing a phase of Hawes’ life story. On the trail are large mosaics created by local Wajarri artists as a tribute to the relationship between Hawes and the indigenous people of this area.

The structures on the track are shapes and forms common in Hawes’ buildings. I found a little rusty steel cut-out of a Dog who was Hawes' beloved fox terrier named Dominie.

The trail begins at the Tourist information centre in Mullewa where out the front are three interpretive signs with information about Hawes. Here I read the story of his childhood and family, school and architecture and viewed some old photos of Hawes, his dog, Hawes as a Priest and some sketches.

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Hawes Heritage Trail

Along the trail I come across some interesting structures and more information on this famous Priest.

I will briefly tell you about the remaining Interpretive boards on the trail.

The next interpretive boards were ROME & BEYOND - BEDA COLLEGE & BISHOP KELLY
It was Bishop Kelly , the first Bishop of Geraldton in Western Australia, who happened to come across Hawes when in Rome recruiting novices to come and work in W.A. Hawes completed his studies in Rome and came to Australia.

THE OUTBACK MISSIONARY - HORSEMAN & GOOD SPORT
It didn't take long for the locals to realize that even though Hawes was a Priest, he was "a good sport!" Hawes spent countless hours in the saddle, ministering to the isolated areas of his parish.

GERALDTON & MULLEWA - CATHEDRAL BUILDER & PARISH PRIEST
Architect, foreman, labourer and fund-raiser, Hawes had his hand in everything.

DIOCESAN ARCHITECT - BUSY BUILDER NEEDED
He had many religious buildings on the go!

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Hawes Heritage Trail

THE CONSCIOUS STONES - HIS OWN CHURCH AND PRIEST HOUSE
When Hawes completed his church in Mullewa, he then drew up plans for his Priest house.

MULLEWA'S MONSIGNOR - A HARD BUT HAPPY LIFE.
John Hawes was a Mullewa from 1916 - 1938. In this time, he became a highly respected and much loved member of the community.

ON THE MOVE - BACK TO THE BAHAMAS
Six months after leaving W.A., Hawes returned to his beloved Bahamas.

THE FINAL YEARS - THE HERMIT OF CAT ISLAND
Hawes was in big demand for his architectural talent, so much so that he decided to retire to Cat Island and enjoy the quiet and peaceful life he longed for.

The trail finishes at the Church, so we went there next. Mullewa is known well for Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, known as Father Hawes' crowning joy! People come here when following the Hawes Heritage trail. This Church is open to the public during set hours, so do check with the information centre first. The tour is free, but donations are gratefully accepted, I bought a book on the church - cost $4.

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Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church

I loved the exterior of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church.
It was 1920 when Monsignor Hawes begun sketches of the church while holidaying in England. In 1923, the Church foundations were laid.
The church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was built almost entirely by Hawes, the priest architect, although he did have some help from local farmers in the district carting stone from the neighbouring quarry. When the parish could not afford to pay a mason, Monsignor Hawes took on the job himself.

Built from local Mullewa stone, it is said to be reminiscent of the Spanish Mission Churches of Southern California. The domes have been described as Byzantine, while the north porch is a mix of Celtic and Spanish details. The eclectic mixture of styles was typical of Hawes' work.

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Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church

The west front has a recessed arch within which is a large corbelled window, with this Latin inscription in roman lettering above the doorway.
Translated it reads...........
'To God Most Good, Most Great: and in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, and the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, this Holy Temple is dedicated'.

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Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church

The interior is the same as the exterior- raw stone. This Church is a good example of Hawes' personal commitment and his desire to create a building which reflected the antiquity of Roman Catholicism. The interior has been described as a mixture of 'baroque', 'classic', 'Gothic' and 'Romanesque', all of which express Hawes' eclectic taste in matters of art and architecture.

The guide told us there are five Altars and three Shrines, that on the opposite side of the Confessional are a pair of folding doors which shut off a little rock grotto where the "Crib" representing the cave of Bethlehem, is set up at Christmas time. The stained glass for this area was made by a Carmelite Nun of Woodbridge Convent, Essex, England.
The Sacred Heart Shrine has a statue carved in wood after the model of Sacre-Coeur of Montmartre, Paris.
Under the Sanctuary arch hangs a Rood, an ancient custom where under the dividing arch, a large crucifix called the "Rood" is hung.

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Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church

The High Altar is in the form of an early Christian Sarcophagus such as are found in old Roman Basilicas. It resembles a Tomb, as in the subterranean chapels of the catacombs, the Holy sacrifice of the Mass was offered upon the top of the tomb of some recently slain martyr. Also the Holy Table symbolizes both the Altar of the Cross and the Tomb of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
In-front of the Altar hangs an old silvered repousse lamp brought from Rome. This is the Sanctuary Lamp.

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Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church

We were taken through an archway that led to the acolytes' vestry and to the base of the Bell-tower where we could view the ropes. In this area is a "squint" a little tunnel through the thick wall enabling the bell ringer to see the host at the High Altar and to know when to toll the big Bell, this is called the Sacring-Bell of the Mass.

From what I understood, Hawes liked adding quaint additions like the squint. His aim was to build a church that pleased him and one that signified the antiquity, romance and quaintness of the old hillside churches of southern Europe - I think he achieved this.

After viewing the church, a guide was waiting to take us through the Priest house museum, also know as the Presbytery where Father Hawes lived.

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Priest house
The low cottage style building with red cordoba tiles was built from the same quarried stone as the church, it blends in beautifully with the Church.

The building inside has a feel of olde England. The kitchen has an old wood stove, the main living room has an ingle-nook fireplace and a large latticed bow window with box seats and the walls are half panelled with wallpaper. A hidden door has been wallpapered over and is quite hard to see. The timber used in the building is heavy and dark timber. It has many, many doors!

ADMISSION - $2
Tours were with a guide

Posted by balhannahrise 03:43 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes churches australia heritage western wildflowers Comments (0)

Day 27 Queensland to Western Australia

Kalbarri National Park

Kalbarri National Park which surrounds the lower reaches of the Murchison River, is one of the popular Western Australian National parks. The Murchison River has created a 80 km gorge through the red and white banded sandstone to create formations such as Nature’s Window/The Loop, Z-Bend and Hawks Head. All of these can be reached by following well formed trails.

The National Park also runs along the coast where wind and wave erosion has created some wonderful creations such as Red Bluff, Mushroom Rock, Rainbow Valley, Eagle Gorge, Island Rock and the Natural Bridge, these are the best-known features of this rugged coast.

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Wildflowers in Kalbarri National Park

Kalbarri National Park is known for its exceptional wildflowers which are at their best in spring and early summer. I even found my first green and red Kangaroo Paw in the park. People come here for a variety of reasons that include sightseeing, picnicing, abseiling, diving, rafting, kayaking, swimming, canoeing (only after heavy rains) Snorkelling, Surfing, Bushwalking and Fishing.

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Kalbarri N/Park

Make sure you bring your own drinking water as there is none available in Kalbarri National Park, wear sunscreen and a hat - It gets hot out here during the daytime. Toilets and Picnic shelters with bbqs are at some look-outs, not all.

To enter the National park, you need an ENTRY PASS.
A Day Pass - This pass covers entry into one or more parks on any one day. Passes are available from rangers in the parks. In some parks, a system of self-registration applies.
Holiday Park Pass - Entry to as many parks as you wish for any 4 week period, this is the one we bought, but first we made sure we would get our moneys worth out of it before buying.
Annual All Park Pass - Unlimited access to all parks in WA. Valid for one vehicle, with up to 8 legally seated people.
PARK PASSES DO NOT INCLUDE CAMP SITE FEES - Separate fees apply.

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Hawks Head- Kalbarri N/Park

Hawk's Head Lookout is about a 30mins from Kalbarri township. We found the brown tourist sign and followed the road until we came to a car-park and picnic area which is a far as we could go, the rest is walking. This area is quite new and very nice and even had nice clean composting toilets. There was a shelter with benches and bbqs where a bus load of tourists were having their morning tea. There weren't any rubbish bins, so we took our rubbish home with us.

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Composting toilets- Kalbarri N/Park

Putting my hat on and taking a bottle of water with me, I made my way along the paved pathway, a walk of only 100 metres to the look-out. The look-out gave me a spectacular view over Kalbarri Gorge and the Murchison River.

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Hawks Head- Kalbarri N/Park

Hawk's Head was named in honour of a hawk shaped rock formation visible from the lookout. It is a great view made even better by the deep red colour of the Gorge.

The Ross Graham River Walk, a class 3, is an easy walk I followed along a paved walkway to the edge of the peaceful Murchison river, where trees were lush and green and the rocks a brilliant red.

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Kalbarri N/Park

The view from the look-out itself is a good one of the Murchison River and gorges.

Before coming to Kalbarri National Park, I had read over 1,000 different species of wildflowers have been found in the park. As a lover of flowers I was quite eager to see how many I could find.

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Kangaroo Paw

I was very excited to find my first Red and Green Kangaroo Paw, "Anigozanthos manglesii," the floral emblem of Western Australia since 1960.

On the roadside were many different wildflowers to what I had seen previously, a walk into the low scrub found many more!
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Wildflowers

The wildflowers come in a myriad of colours and shapes, some were low ground hugging plants and others were taller shrubs with many dead looking branches but were still covered in flowers.

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Wildflowers

Some of the more common ones I saw were gold and orange Banksias, Grevilleas in many colours,
the unusual Smoke bush,

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Wildflowers

Starflowers, the famous Kalbarri catspaw and spider orchid and the small Murchison Hammer orchid. Twenty-one of these species are only found in the Kalbarri area. It was very pretty!

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Wildflowers

Take many photos as many species will not be found elsewhere in Western Australia, I learnt that lesson earlier in this trip.
IT IS ILLEGAL TO PICK THE WILDFLOWERS
The best time to see the wildflowers is between July and November.

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The Loop trail is one of the harder walks to do in Kalbarri National Park. It is described as a "challenging but spectacular walk through the gorge system." The walk is 8km return, too far for me to walk, so the only part I did was the first section which forms part of the trail to Nature's Window. I imagine if you had the time and energy, it would be well worth doing.

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Kalbarri N/Park

The 400metre walk to Natures Window is on paved pathway most of the way, then the last part to the window is over sculptured rocks, the elderly and those a little incapacitated were finding it little difficult, I managed ok, but saw others struggling.

The rock geology of this National Park is really something to see and shouldn't be missed!

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Kalbarri N/Park

At Nature's Window I saw orange/red and white banded rocks and rippled surfaces that were formed by waves moving over tidal flats in a shallow sea approx. 400 million years ago. These red and white banded rocks can be seen through most of the river gorge. The rock is made from Tumblagooda sandstone, a soft stone which the wind shapes into all kinds of different shapes.

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Kalbarri N/Park

Natures Window would have to be one of the most stunning sights and most photographed sights in Kalbarri National Park.
The Window is a wonderful natural creation made this way by the wind. In the centre is a gaping hole from where there are wonderful views of the Murchison river. This natural formation is a great natural frame for your photos so make sure you have your photo taken in the frame, even though you will probably have to wait your turn!

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Natures Window - Kalbarri N/Park

From Nature's Window, I could see people clambering over a narrow rocky razorback to reach a part of the plateau that has almost been cut off by the bend in the river. Once on the heath covered plateau, the walk is along the rim of the gorge where some weather carved sandstone and views of the river can be seen. River gums and Sandy beaches beside the river would be a nice spot for a rest, perhaps some lunch/morning tea and a cool off in the River before continuing. Of course, the end of the trail means a steep short climb back up to Nature’s Window.

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Kalbarri N/Park

In another area of Kalbarri National Park were more walking trails, sadly after doing so many on a hot day, I was feeling rather tired and weary by the time I reached these, so all I did was the shortest which happened to be the Z Bend Trail. The trail is a 1.2km return, class 3 walking trail that departs from the car park. It was quite and easy trail, although expect uphill on the way back. I saw more wildflowers and an interesting small Lizard that ran flat out across the track with his head held high, golly he looked funny!

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Kalbarri N/Park

I came across a signboard with a drawing of a Scorpion which told me about these creatures that were found in Kalbarri nearly 400 million years ago, making them one of earths earliest land creatures. These were the Arthropods whose descendants are Spiders, Scorpions, Cicadas and Centipedes. It tells you where to look for their trails and sure enough we could see the parallel markings made by the creature known as an Eurypterid.
On reaching the end of the track, the view from a large rock is over the Murchison river and is very nice!

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Kalbarri N/Park

If you wish to go down to the River, then follow the "River Trail" a class 4, a more difficult trail and one with ladder climbs, steep descents, loose rocks and a narrow chasm to walk through. The trail is 2.6kms return and the estimated time is 2 hours.
The Four Ways trail is 6kms return and is expected to take between 2 - 3 hours. It too is more difficult and has a steep

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Kalbarri N/Park

Meannara Hill Lookout is a must visit if your in Kalbarri.
As you drive out of Kalbarri township along Kalbarri road, watch for the turn-off to the right not far from Kalbarri township. The road is dirt and can be rough, it depends on when the grader has been through. It's a no through road ending at a dirt car-park. From here it was ashort walk to the look-out along a dirt path where bushes were flowering and Honeyeaters were after their nectar. The look-out has wonderful views over the Murchison River and its entry into the Indian Ocean, Kalbarri township and the lovely coloured cliffs. Early morning and the sun was behind me, so I took lots of good shots, unfortunately, my camera played up and l lost all of them, so had to return in the afternoon to take more when the sun was in the wrong position.

large_SAM_0165.jpgLooking over Kalbarri

Kalbarri National Park was wonderful! Even though it was winter, it still was quite hot, so I would hate to come here in summer, I definitely wouldn't recommend that!

Tomorrow, we are going to explore the seaside part of Kalbarri National Park

Posted by balhannahrise 15:58 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes park walking australia outback national western trails wildflowers Comments (0)

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