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Day 2 Queensland to Western Australia

Whalan Creek to Brewarrina

We woke to a fine and sunny day after a good nights sleep at our Whalan Creek free camp.

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Time to hit the road again and travel 100kms across the Moree plains to the Spa town of Moree. This area has some of the world's richest black alluvial soils where sunflowers, safflowers, canola, mungbeans, olives, oats, barley, sorghum, wheat and cotton is grown. July, and the farmers in their huge tractors were busy ploughing the paddocks ready for the next crop.

Wheat is usually sown in late May or June, then harvested from November through to December. The wheat is then delivered by truck to local grain terminals for transportation to various mills for domestic use or seaports if being exported.
The Moree plains is the largest cotton producing region in Australia. Cotton season was over, but still balls of cotton lined the roadside. To see Cotton growing, September/October is when its planted, then picking takes place between March, April & May of the following year. Even in July it was interesting seeing the hundreds of 227kg cotton bales at the Gins waiting to be taken by Semi-Trailer to a Port where they are sent overseas for spinning. I find what ever time I come to this area, there is always something of interest to see.SAM_5962.jpgcotton bales

The road from Moree to Collarenebri was another littered with dead Kangaroos. At least we didn't see any dead Emu's, only plenty of live ones! We passed by a couple of Cotton Gins on this road and a Semi-Trailer loaded with Cotton bales. The road is wide and had more grass on the side than in the paddocks. We saw "Cattle on road" signs, meaning that some-time we would be coming across Cattle drovers. Sure enough, we passed three on this road.

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We hadn't been to Collarenebri before and were rather disappointed with the town. It's a small mainly Aboriginal town with not a lot to offer, we couldn't even find anywhere to buy lunch! Luckily I had some food in the Caravan, at least we didn't starve!

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Out this part of Australia, a lot of the towns have a large majority of Aboriginals living there. Walgett is one such town. As we had been here before, we didn't stop, just took the turn-off that would lead us to Brewarrina.
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Fish traps

Brewarrina was quite a surprise. Located on the Barwon River, it is thought to have the oldest man made structure on earth. The Brewarrina Aboriginal fish traps are estimated to be 40,000 years old. Unfortunately, many were washed away when the weir was built, so new ones were built at the weir. Obviously the Pelicans know there is fish to be found here!

On the roadside wall where the fish traps and weir are, children have told the dreamtime story by the way of descriptive Aboriginal paintings!

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There was other artwork in town, like the fish near the Tourist Information centre.

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If your after a Kangaroo hide, then head here for all sizes at pretty good prices.

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Well, time to look for somewhere to stay! The Brewarrina Caravan Park had plenty of powered sites, so this is where we stayed the night. A very pleasant Aboriginal caretaker greeted us and told us the ropes. Even though the Amenities block was old, it was clean, the showers were hot, there was a Laundry with coin operated machines and a free bbq!
All for the bargain price of $20 night for 2 people!

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Posted by balhannahrise 00:47 Archived in Australia Tagged parks park landscape new south road trip wales caravan aboriginal 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 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)

Day 28 Queensland to Western Australia

Kalbarri National Park to Chapman Valley near Geraldton

Time to pack up and start heading to Perth, but I wasn't in any hurry to leave this lovely spot.

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Pelican feeding

I had spotted a notice that Pelican feeding takes place daily at 8.45am and is run by volunteers who feed the Pelicans fish. All you have to do is wait near that sign for the wild Pelicans to waddle up from the water to be fed. A small crowd of people had gathered, unfortunately the Pelican group was small too, only five! A couple were rather nervous and flew back to the water, later they plucked up courage to come closer again. If you have never seen an Australian Pelican up close, then this is a great chance to see one, and there are plenty of photo opportunities. For me, it was disappointing that more Pelicans hadn't zoomed in on the free feeding like they have done elsewhere in Australia.

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Kalbarri

I decided to take one last stroll along the esplanade. Feeling lazy, I dawdled along taking in the pretty scene, the deserted picnic area, a fisherman and a couple kayaking. So quiet now, later it would be a lot busier, but still not too busy as many people go to the Kalbarri National Park.
The Esplanade parklands is such a nice area to sit back with a book, do some reading and to watch life go by. No wonder this is a popular winter time destination. The weather is warm and perfect then!

Caravan packed and hooked up, we were going to head south to Perth, but along the way would be making many stops.

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Murchison river entrance

Our day began in Kalbarri, at Chinaman's Rock Look-out from where we had views of the Murchison River mouth entering the Indian Ocean. The Murchison River flows for 820kms, making it the second longest river in Western Australia. At the free car park, trails led to view points, Chinaman's Beach and to Chinaman's Rock, other trails led to sheltered picnic areas. We sat here for quite a while watching the waves and looking for Dolphins, no luck with the Dolphins, then I went for a walk along the trail, not right to Chinaman's Rock look-out as I was feeling tired after a day of walking in the heat, but I did walk far enough to see and enjoy watching the rolling surf hitting the sandbar at the River entrance.

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Kalbarri coastline

Back on the road again, this time leave Kalbarri and follow the coastal road (Red Bluff Road), noticing tourist signs along the way. We begin at the first and follow everyone we see.

The first tourist sign is to Blue Holes, an area which is part of the inshore coastal limestone reef system, parts are permanently submerged by the ocean and others are exposed and have rock pools at low tide - I love exploring these. This area is a fish sanctuary, so fishing wasn't allowed, this meant an abundance of sea creatures.

Jake's Point was our next stop. It turned out Jake's Point beach was a national Surfing Reserve. As I am not a surfer, all I can tell you is what I read ....." Jake's Point is home to the iconic left-hander. Jakes breaks from two foot and up are best ridden by experienced surfers only."
Lots of the locals are surfers and people come here as it is one of Western Australia's remotest surfing breaks. Bottlenose dolphins are frequently seen playing in the water, once again, I didn't see any!

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Red Bluff

A little further along Red Bluff road was the turn-off to Red Bluff Beach. A short drive and we were at the carpark, and once again in Kalbarri National Park. Red Bluff beach is located in a small cove, with brilliant deep red rocks and cliffs surrounding it, the flat rocks in the ocean are the same colour, stunning scenery!
Above the beach is the actual "Red Bluff" which you can walk to from the beach, be warned, it is a steep and rocky climb of 1.8km return. I took the easy way and drove to the Bluff.

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Red Bluff Look-out

From the Red Bluff parking area I walked to Red Bluff Look-out. At the start of the paved footpath was an interpretive board with a map, details about Red Bluff and how to be safe, as these high cliffs have undercut edges and can be unstable, so you must keep to the track and always watch your children, its a long way to the bottom!

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Kalbarri coastline

Halfway along was more interpretive signage and an amazing view of the high cliffs along the coastline - What a dramatic coastline, no wonder there were so many shipwrecks!

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Kalbarri coastline

The red rock landscape of Red Bluff is something I cannot get enough of, the colour is amazing and even more amazing is its been around for 400 million years. These cliffs were discovered by Dutch Explorer, "Willem de Vlamingh" in 1697 and run along the coastline of the Kalbarri National park for 13 km. The Dutch named it "Roode Hooge." when translated meant "red high" an important landmark for early Explorers to use as their guide.

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Kalbarri coastline

From the look-out I could see for miles, including many of the beaches we had called into on our way here. Looking to the north was Wittecarra Creek believed to be the site of the first "permanent" landing of Europeans in Australia. The 100metre high cliffs would make it easy to spot a Humpback Whale in the ocean below.

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Wildflowers

Even though the top of the cliffs have a harsh sandstone & limestone surface, 71 native plants have been found. That was a lot, so I walked slowly and looked carefully for flowers but didn't find many, one of the prettiest was a Thryptomene in flower.

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Next, we pulled into the Mushroom Rock Trail car-park where an Interpretive sign told me it was 1.5km trail or 3km loop that would take me to Rainbow Valley, approx. 2hours to do. The Australian classification for this trail was a Class 4 which means it is one of the more difficult to do. My husband left me here and went to the other end to pick me up - That made life easy!

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Mushroom rock trail

Beginning from the car-park was the easy part, walking along a dirt track and in amongst some different wildflowers, all I had to look for were the white posts, really didn't need them as here I was on a well worn pathway. It was different when I reached the rocky gorge where I had to walk along the rocks, cross the gorge and do the same on the other side, eventually clambering to the top and out of the gorge. This is where I saw Mushroom rock, a rock so windswept it looks like a Mushroom. I saw plenty of unusual rock creations formed by the strong winds and water erosion around here.

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Mushroom Rock

I sat there for a while watching the crashing waves making their way onto the brilliant dark red rocks, I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere, it was lovely. If you come here, and your fit, do this walk as it's an excellent one!

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Rainbow Valley

I continued along the trail from Mushroom rock to Rainbow Valley and was blown away by what I saw!

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Rainbow Valley

What attracted me first, was the colours of minerals that had compacted and weathered to make a rainbow formation in the stone, although this apparently isn't why it's named Rainbow Valley, it's the Rainbows seen in the mist is where the name comes from.
I marveled at the amazing colours in Rainbow Valley, lucky there was an information board nearby to give me some information.

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Rainbow Valley

The formations along this part of the coast are made of Tumblagooda Sandstone, deposited here approx. 420 million years ago during the Silurian period when the Earth underwent considerable changes. As a result, layers of silt, sand and minerals have compacted and formed layer upon layer of different colours. It is an amazing sight to see, one I had only previously seen at Natures Window in the Kalbarri National Park

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Rainbow Valley

I went closer for a look and felt wet sand beneath my feet. Wondering where the water came from as I was quite a distance from the sea, I looked up to find a rocky overhang where water was dripping over making what looked like small Stalactites forming. I guess there is a proper name for these, but this is best I can do for description.

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Rainbow Valley

They were wet and dripping just like Stalactites in Caves, and on the ground where the drip landed, a small formation like a Stalagmite was beginning to form. This and the colours were amazing!
This would be one of the most beautiful and different natural sites I have ever seen.

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Rainbow Valley

What is the good news, is you don't have to do the whole walk like I did to see this, you can come here from the car park at this end. Don't be discouraged and think nothing is there, as you have to walk down the steps to see the coloured cliffs. Once there you will be blown away with what you see. My photos are ok, but they are nothing compared to seeing this area "in the flesh" so to speak.

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Rainbow Valley

Would you believe there is still more to see in Rainbow Valley and this was something I have never seen elsewhere either.

Have you heard of a Skolithos? Well I hadn't! The rocks in Rainbow valley are riddled with what looks like tubes or straws, once the home of the ancient worm Skolithos. They are everywhere and are in all different shapes and sizes, colours, another interesting amazing formation .

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Eagle Gorge

Still travelling along Red Bluff Road in the Kalbarri National Park, I notice a name change to George Grey Drive. It's on this section of road, where we take another turn off towards the ocean to see Eagle Gorge where wedge-tailed eagles live in the gorge and can often be seen in nests and soaring in the sky on a look-out for food.
From the proper look- out platform, I looked down onto a small beach and at the beautiful coloured rugged cliffs. The beach can be reached by foot, I didn't do this though.

Natural Bridge is a 1.4kms return walk along a proper boardwalk to a viewing platform look-out area from where there a fantastic views. This is one of many Natural Bridge's around Australia and the world.

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Natural Bridge

Here the forces of the ocean, the wind, waves and even salt spray has sculptured these landforms into a Sea-Stack and a Natural Bridge. The cliffs aren't the usual red I had been seeing, instead the beige/cream Tumblagooda coloured sandstone that is 480 million years old. Different colours of sand and silt has formed layers in different colours, then has compacted. The tops of the cliffs are a made of 2 million old white rock made from Tamala limestone. This was made from wind blown sand dunes which later converted to limestone. All of this information I found on interpretive signage at the site

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Castle cove was another 300metre return walk to where there is another proper lookout over Island Rock. It was lovely here, especially seeing it was very quiet and hardly a tourist here.
Between June - November, this is one of the good places to look for some of the 22,000 Hump-back Whales that pass by here.

The Shellhouse and Grandstand are more impressive limestone cliff formations that have been shaped by the wind and the force of the Indian Ocean. It's a short easy 200m walk to each lookout to view them.
I didn't do this, but if you have plenty of time, this area is part of the 8km Birgurda trail we begins or ends at Castle Cove and Eagle Gorge, passing by Island Rock, Grandstand and Shellhouse. The trail is named after the Bigurda kangaroo, one I have never seen, and still never did! It's only found in this region.

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Kalbarri coastline

Wow! The scenery around Kalbarri is some of the best I have seen in Australia.

We have decided to make our next stop at the "Principality of Hutt River" also known as "Hutt River Province."
The Principality of Hutt River at Ogilvie Road West, Yallabatharra was founded in 1970 by Leonard Casley and his family, or should I say "Prince Leonard and his late wife "Princess Shirley."
Hutt River Province is a Mirco nation which is not recognized, even though the principality claims to be become an independent sovereign state in 1970, it remains unrecognised by Australia and other nations.
You can buy a visa and have your passport stamped by Prince Leonard, both for entry and exit at the same time. We didn't have passports with us, he said he would still let us in!
There isn't a lot to see here and it had gone into disrepair, just too much for Prince Leonard to look after.

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Prince Leonard

We met Prince Leonard who told us his story, I was surprised to learn he was a former mathematician and physicist who worked for NASA in the 1950s, and had a star named in his honour.

The Principality of Hutt River has its own stamps, bank notes and coins. There are many postage stamps on display, most of these can be bought unless they are sold out. I bought some for myself, and posted a letter home from here.
If your a stamp or coin collector, then don't miss the Post Office! There is plenty to choose from and it is something different to take home as a souvenir.

The Chapel of Nain in Hutt River Province was officially blessed by the Rector of the Northampton Anglican Church on 29 August 1973.
We were allowed inside and found normal Church pews, religious paintings and many paintings of the Prince. His large chair was their for anybody to sit in and make out they were knighting somebody!

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In Chapel of Nain

As Prince Leonard produces all his power on the farm, we found the lighting quite dull and learnt their are often black-outs because of lack of power.

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Back in the car and heading back to Geraldton, instead we stopped at a free camp outside of Geraldton in the Chapman Valley, a good spot in a rural area with a few facilities, so we left a donation as asked for by the local council.

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Posted by balhannahrise 12:59 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes beaches birds park walking australia sunsets national scenic western wildflowers Comments (0)

Day 31 Queensland to Western Australia

Coalseam National Park

Today is a short drive to Coalseam National Park, no getting lost today as I have a map from the Mingenew visitor centre to follow. We had no trouble finding the park today.

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Driving through Coalseam National Park

Campsite

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I had read about Coalseam Conservation park and all the wildflowers and was thinking at the same time how nice it would be to camp there. To get a site it was first in best dressed and if the Miner's campground was full, then you could stay at the Breakaway Campground.
We were only coming from Mingenew, approx. a 30minute drive away, so we knew we would be fairly early and likely to get a good site.

Volunteer Rangers greeted us and booked us in, as we were early we could choose our own site and tell them the number later. Already campers were here, the lucky ones had stunning river views!

We chose one amongst the wildflowers, a nice flat area with room to sit outside the Caravan. Most of the sites were taken by the end of the day.

This is bush camping where both caravans and tents are permitted. Sites were dirt and set overlooking the river or in-between the wildflowers which is where our site was. There were toilets, bbqs and picnic tables, but no drinking water, not a problem as we always carry drinking water.
It wasn't crowded, but on weekends it's extremely busy in wildflower season, and a 3 night stay limit is in force between late July and October.

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Picnic area @ campground and Galah

What a stunningly beautiful area to stay, so peaceful, the quietness only broken by the Galahs squawking as it was their nesting season!
I rode my bike to some places, others were close to the camp so I walked, and some sites were further away, so we drove to them.

River Irwin and Fossil cliffs

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Thousands of fossils can still be found at the fossil site. We drove to this site, then walked down into the sandy, pebbly River Irwin. There was only a little water running in the river, although enough to make it difficult to cross without getting wet feet. A short walk and we found a crossing that led us to the high cliffs on the other side of the river. It is in these cliffs where the marine fossils are embedded, left-over from the Permian sea that once covered this area. The fossils are small and can be found, actually quite easily once you have found one and have an idea what to look for.

Views from Irwin Lookout

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On the same road was Irwin Lookout which had an off road car-park and a track to the cliff edge where we had magnificent views of Breakaways and over the cliff edge to the Irwin river below.

After enjoying these views, we followed the 560 metre loop trail to another area for more great views, and then back to the car park, via a track through the bush where I found some wildflowers. An interpretive board informed me Peregrine and the majestic Wedge Eagles are seen soaring around here, none were around at the time.

Wildflowers

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Across the river from our campground was the Johnson mine shaft and viewing platform, located along the Miners walking trail. The old mine shaft is fenced off for safety reasons, but you still can see way down the shaft and take photos through the wire.
Signs tell me the shaft was sunk in 1917, and that if I looked hard, I should be able to see some of the coal seam at the bottom of the shaft. The shaft once had timbered sides that went down the mine for 15 metres. Above, was a tall wooden headframe. Good coal was found here, but the seams were too thin to be mined economically!
I believe this is WA’s first coalmine.
The Miner's walking trail is 700 metres return and is estimated to take 30 minutes.

Irwin River walk

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On my bicycle was how I reached River Bend. Leaving my bike by the ford, I was able to walk along the nearly dry river bed to River Bend on the Irwin River. I loved the cliffs along here, the colours in them and the shapes carved by the wind. It was interesting seeing what type of flora could manage to grow out of them and survive!

Irwin river & cliffs

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Along here, the rock layers are exposed. I could see quite a large volume of water came down this river at various times because of the way the trees had been swept and the rubbish caught in them. This is how people get caught out, and then washed away.

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I knew no rain was expected anywhere, so it was ok. If you know storms are around or in nearby areas where the River Irwin runs through, do not walk along the river bed.

A lot of the wildlife at Coalseam is nocturnal, so is only seen at night. Animals that live here are Echidna, Euro and Red Kangaroo. Reptiles found are Stumpies or Bobtails, Sand Goannas, Western Blue Tongue lizard, Western netted Dragon, Mulga snake and a few others. How-ever, I found the birdlife to be plentiful and readily seen. It was the Galahs who were most prevalent. Coalseam has a lot of dead trees which many hollows from where branches have fallen. This is the perfect place for a Galah to nest, which is what they were doing at this time of the year.
Mum, Dad and baby Galah could be seen sitting on the dead trees, and sometimes a head was poking out from one of the hollows.

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If you couldn't see them, just head towards where the squawking was coming from. Honey-eaters love the wildflowers and I saw many of these, too hard for a photo though! Red Robins, Ringnecks, swallows, cuckoo shrikes, bronze winged Pigeons and many other birds are found here.

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Coal seams in the Irwin River

A walk alongside the Riverbed near our campground was different to the one I did at River Bend. Once again there are plenty of interesting shapes and rock, but it is the cliffs that have changed. Here, they are not the red/orange colour, but a dark brown with plenty of coal seams that can be easily seen. This rock strata includes glacial rocks which were laid down during the Permian Ice age, estimated to be 250 million years ago. During the ice age, glaciers carried huge blocks of rock gouged out by the ice and deposited them hundreds of miles away.

Irwin River

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It was another interesting walk that was worth doing.

This is one of the top places to find wildflowers in Western Australia, but the ones that put on the biggest and best show, are the Everlasting Daisies.

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These are everywhere, and are so attractive that I had to stop myself from taking too many photos. Tracks weave their way through them, a carpet of pink, gold, cream and white everlastings transforming this area to one of exceptional beauty! Look out where your walking, just in case you run into a snake!

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This Conservation Park, is among the most botanically diverse areas in the northern Wheatbelt region of Western Australia. Woody heath plants flower profusely in spring along with the spectacular everlastings. (dependent on rainfall to how good they flower).

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After a full day of walks I was ready to sit outside the caravan and enjoy the colour. This was a wonderful National Park, really, it had a little bit of everything!

Tomorrow, we are heading to Perenjori to see more wildflowers

Posted by balhannahrise 21:14 Archived in Australia Tagged animals birds cliffs park walking australia national camping western trails fossils Comments (2)

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