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Day 4 Queensland to Western Australia

From Wilcannia in New South Wales to Peterborough in South Australia

Wilcannia Caravan Park needed its facilities upgraded to make it a really good park. It was nice and quiet here, so the noise from the Semi-trailers didn't bother us. First up, it was to fill the car with fuel in Wilcannia, not the cheapest place for sure. It is outback Australia so prices are very high. Unleaded Petrol was 185.9 litre and LPG 120.0 litre. Having travelled this route many times I knew today would be rather boring. Hundreds of miles of saltbush and low lying shrubs and some trees, every now and then a dry creek with some river gums before reaching the mining city of Broken Hill. We only stopped for food and fuel before moving on to find somewhere to spend the night. If you have never been to Broken Hill before, then a few days spent in the city is well worth doing.

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One of the many lovely buildings in Broken Hill

It is along the stretch of road to Yunta that we start seeing small Road Trains.

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Road Train

Before entering South Australia, there is a check-point where we must stop and surrender any fruit and vegetables we are carrying. This is done to stop the spread of Fruit Fly into South Australia.

We are noticing the countryside is getting a green touch the nearer we get to Peterborough. Just 2kms from Peterborough, we see a nice free camping spot and pull in there for the night.

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Peterborough free camp

Posted by balhannahrise 12:52 Archived in Australia Tagged landscape outback new south camp wales free Comments (0)

Day 9 Queensland to Western Australia

Nullarbor Roadhouse, S.A to Caiguna on the Nullarbor Plains, Western Australia - 22nd July

Our campsite was great! We didn't hear the traffic as we were back from the road, this gave us a good nights sleep. The morning was sunny but quite cool. Back on the road early and it is mainly Semi-trailers on the road.
Travelling this section of road, we find tourist signs to look-outs along the cliffs. We drive into Stop 1 and soon put on Beanie and gloves because of the cold wind blowing from Antartica.

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Brr! It was cold!

The cliffs were great, but a little dull looking in the morning when the sun wasn't hitting them, would be much better with the sun on them. Still, it was worth a stop as it has proper viewpoints and information boards.

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Stop 1

Some wildflowers had already begun to flower in this area.

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Stop 1

It was here we met a Victorian couple from Geelong. We kept on meeting them at every look-out, our last time was at Eucla, then we didn't see them again. This is the good part of travelling!

We went into all the stops and found each one to be a little different. I was a little disappointed that we didn't see anymore Whales.

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Stop 2

Border Village is where we cross the border into Western Australia. Here is a notice sign beside a picnic area which has distances to all places around the world. Next to it, is a giant Kangaroo which I took a photo of.

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We had our morning tea break and enjoyed our break watching the road-trains pulling in and out of the roadhouse.

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After morning tea, we make our way to the border crossing [Quarantine checkpoint] where we are stopped and asked if we are carrying any fruit & vegetables, honey and other products. We had already got rid of ours, but it you haven't, then you have to surrender them here. The Officer in charge had a look through our car and caravan and gave us the all clear to enter Western Australia.

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At last we are here!
Eucla, home of the old Telegraph station. Fuel is a little cheaper here. LPG is $1.27 litre & unleaded Petrol $1.98. I thought Eucla had the nicest and cleanest looking Motel on the Nullarbor. On this side of the border there is a giant Whale.

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Eucla

We took the drive towards the coast and to the old Telegraph station, must say I was rather disappointed as it was half buried in sand.

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Historic Telegraph station

Of more interest were the monuments at the top of the hill that we stopped at on the way back.
One is the Eucla War Memorial that consists of two granite boulders. It commemorates Australian servicemen and women who have served in all wars and conflicts.

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Eucla War Memorial

A cross next to the War Memorial is in memory of the Christians and other people who helped build the new highway.

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The last Memorial in this area is to Edward Eyre & Wylie who camped in this area.

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Along the highway we see a sign with a Plane with R.F.D.S. Airstrip. This is here to notify people that the Royal Flying Doctor Plane is using the Highway as a landing strip when attending an accident in the area. Of course, people will we be at each end of the strip to notify travellers on the highway that it will be closed for a while. I think we saw five of these signs along the Eyre Highway.

large_SAM_6761t.jpgFlying Doctor airstrip.

As we have been travelling along the Highway, the Fraser Range has been to our right. Now were are going up and over the Madura Pass which is our way through the Range. It is getting late, so time to look for a campsite. Once again, we found a good free camp away from the highway at Jillbunya Rockhole. We quickly set up camp and we finished just as the first spots of rain began to fall. During the night it rained quite heavily.

Posted by balhannahrise 00:15 Archived in Australia Tagged outback road camping trip free plain nullarbor Comments (0)

Day 21 Queensland to Western Australia

Mount Magnet August 2nd

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Mt. Magnet

We are in the outback, miles away from everything, just us in our caravan and the wildlife outside. This is the place to see the stars at their best! In the morning we found an inquisitive Kangaroo had checked our car during the night, how do we know - We found his paw prints and the mark he made in the sand with his tail.

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Mt. Magnet

From Sandstone, Mount Magnet was next, a town based around the mining and pastoral industries.
Gold was discovered here in July 1891, including the legendary Poverty Flats mining site, marking the beginning of the region's gold rush history. The town happens to be the longest surviving gold mining settlement in Western Australia, still people come here and try their luck gold prospecting and fossicking.

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Mt. Magnet

In 1854, Explorer "Robert Austin" found and named a hill West Mount Magnet due to the magnetic qualities of the rocks. The hill is made up of a lot of metamorphic rock and is capped by a flat top of desert sandstone. In 1972, the name was changed to Mount Warramboo, meaning camping place. Not to be missed is taking the drive approx. two thirds of the way up the hill to where there is plenty of space to park the car and turn around. From here, we had fabulous views over Mount Magnet and the mining area, it's actually the best vantage point to see the open cut mines.

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Mt. Magnet

Mount Magnet is a good place to buy supplies as it has two supermarkets, two roadhouses, three hotels, cafe, butcher, nursing post, post office, plus mechanical and engineering services. I must admit I was very surprised to see the median strip planted with roses, golly they looked healthy and were flowering well!

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Mt. Magnet

There is a town heritage walk to follow, this doesn't take long to do as the town is small. What shouldn't be missed, is the The Mount Magnet Heritage trail, a 37kms sign-posted tourist drive which takes you to see caves, spectacular rock formations, old towns and cemeteries and old mining settlements.

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Mt. Magnet

We always follow these, so off we went following the Brown tourist signposted drive along mainly dirt roads to our first stop, "The Granites."
Once again the colour of the escarpments or breakaways are a bright orange/red and incredibly beautiful!
The Granites are an escarpment about 15 metres high, formed by the erosion. Many caves have formed in the soft granite and have fantastic sculptured surfaces formed by the small curved quartz veins in the granite. For at least 20,000 years prior to settlement, the Badimia Aborigines have lived in this area and consider The Granites a place of strong cultural significance to the tribe. Their old carvings and paintings can be seen at several sites at The Granites.

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Near Mt. Magnet

There is also a “Gnamma” hole in this area known to a few local people, this being a traditional native well covered by a stone. Ceremonial and burial sites are also located within The Granites area, I didn't manage to find any of these.
Near Mt. Magnet

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Near Mt. Magnet

It's a beautiful place which I really enjoyed walking around, clambering over the rocks and finding the caves and enjoying the views. They say sunset is beautiful here, I can just imagine that! There is plenty of parking area and picnic tables so you can enjoy some time here.
The Granites is situated approx. 9km north of Mount Magnet, along the Great Northern Highway.

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Near Mt. Magnet

July - August is peak season to see wildflowers, although they flower through to October. In 2014 we were a little early, it all depends on the rainfall to what time they flower. The carpets of cream, yellow and pink had just begun covering the red earth. Everlastings, the protected Mulla Mulla, Eremophila shrubs with felted leaves and delicate flowers and many other species flower here.
At "The Granites," I was surprised to find so many wildflowers that looked to be growing out of the rocks, I guess they had found a little soil and after rain, water would have run into the crack in the rock and kept them alive. Clever plants!

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Near Mt. Magnet

Leaving the Granites behind, the tourist drive took us along a dirt road where one of the Breakaways looks like a Lions Head. Our final destination was Lennonville. All that has survived from a huge fire in 1909, is the old railway platform. Information boards told of a thriving town during the gold rush days when 3000 people lived here, during that time there were five Hotels.

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Our next stop was the historic Lennonville cemetery. I was rather disappointed with the cemetery as there was only one marked grave, I expected more.
A modern sign listed names of people buried here, many were young children or spouses at quite young ages.
Children - Alexander Campbell died of diphtheria aged 4years - Lillias, his sister died aged 8 years and his brother William aged 6 years. It is hard to imagine how the poor woman felt.
Others died at 15hours, 5 days, 12hours, 11 months, 4 months, 2 years, 5 months, 8months, all made me feel sad.
Some of the adults had accidents like Domenico Seghezzi from Italy, he fell down a 40ft shaft in the Long Reef Mine. Died aged 26 years
Others were only 39 years, 42 years and 33 years, all to young to die.

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Leaving Lennonville cemetery behind, we now are travelling along the Boogardie-Lennonville road past more brightly coloured rock formations to see a natural Amphitheatre, thought to be formed by an ancient waterfall to make this unique formation. There is a walk here that can be done, I didn't as by this time I was feeling rather tired.

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Near Mt. Magnet

Close to the Amphitheatre, is a Cave, formed through erosion during the Precambrian period, the time when the planet was created about 4.5 billion years ago and is the earliest of the geologic ages.

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Near Mt. Magnet.

Back in the car we get and follow the road past more brilliant scenery till we finally complete the tourist drive.

This completed our time spent in and around Mt. Magnet.

Posted by balhannahrise 01:31 Archived in Australia Tagged landscape australia outback road western trip Comments (0)

Day 21 Queensland to Western Australia continued

Continuation from Mt. Magnet to Mullewa. 2nd August

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Mount Magnet had some wonderful scenery and excellent tourist drives to follow. We did them and now are making our way to wildflower country by heading to the small town of Yalgoo.

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Carpet of wild Daisies

Gold was discovered around Yalgoo in the early 1890s, and by 1895 there were diggings and buildings being erected. In January 1896, this area became the town of Yalgoo. There wasn't any big gold rush here, I don't know why, but only 650 Miners came to Yalgoo. World War II came and went and so did the people, so what is left is a very small town in this semi-arid climate with hot summers and mild to cool winters.

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Yalgoo has a historic tourist trail to follow, so we followed it but found some of the buildings were missing and all that remained was an information board with description and photo.
Some of the other old buildings were the Courthouse Museum with displays of old photographs, lots of gold rush history and the usual displays of old domestic items and some Aboriginal artifacts from the local area.
Next to the Courthouse is the restored old Yalgoo police station and jail. These were built in 1896, replacing the stick and chain method previously used.

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Dominican Chapel of St Hyacinth

When heading to the Yalgoo look-out, we passed by a gorgeous Dominican Chapel of St Hyacinth, quite famous as Monsignor John Hawes, the Architect Priest who came from Europe to Western Australia, designed the wood and stone Dominican Chapel of St Hyacinth for the Dominican Sisters who were working in Yalgoo in 1920. Not only did Hawes design the building, but he regularly travelled by horseback from Mullewa to oversee the construction and to work as a labourer for the local builder.

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Dominican Chapel of St Hyacinth

The Chapel of St Hyacinth forms part of the Monsignor John Hawes Heritage Trail, which is a self-drive four day tour including 15 houses of worship created by Monsignor Hawes.

After viewing the Chapel, we continued along the dirt road to Yalgoo Look-out, where the views were over the small town and the countryside, nothing outstanding, but it does give you an idea where mines are located and what the land looks like.

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Wildflowers

Wildflowers abound in wildflower season around here. We were here at the correct time, but as the rain hadn't hadn't come until late, this meant the flowering season was later, hence the wildflowers were just starting to cover the red earth in colour, another week and it would have been a spectacular sight!

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Wildflowers

From here, it is back on the main road (123) and to the town of Mullewa where we will stay for several nights.

Posted by balhannahrise 03:04 Archived in Australia Tagged travel australia outback scenic 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.

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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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