Time to pack up and start heading to Perth, but I wasn't in any hurry to leave this lovely spot.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
I continued along the trail from Mushroom rock to Rainbow Valley and was blown away by what I saw!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.