Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ghosts, ships, airplanes and islands

We decided that we needed to get away from the relentless daily blahs.  We went somewhere I hadn't been before, up the west coast.

Just a little drive in the country, really. 

We did ponder the wisdom of naming a satellite city after a ship with the history of bad luck and a legend of ghosts, general spookiness and bad karma.  Perhaps it will be a tourist attraction, like a WA Amityville Horror.

We headed to Geraldton via Lancelin, which seemed to retain it's lovely fishing village atmosphere. Quirky houses, laid back feeling. Boats.

We called into the Pinnacles. I looked for Billy Connolly, dancing about, but couldn't see him, unfortunately.  Two strange (but fully clothed) blokes had taken possession of a high spot and took endless, endless amounts of snaps of each other in various poses. Others looked on with disapproving glares.  I'm not sure if it was because of the signs saying "do not climb on the pinnacles", or because everyone else wanted to get up there and take endless snaps of each other in various repetitive poses. We certainly did. 

The Interpretive Centre paid tribute to the two great explorers who had passed by, completely oblivious to the Pinnacles. We saluted their inclusion in a site interpreting something they missed. There were frighteningly realistic taxidermied reptiles and marsupials and very small pinnacles in a glass case, which made me wonder whether it was actually some sort of incubator for baby Pinnacles.

We called into Jurien Bay only briefly, the beachside village look has been overtaken somewhat by the suburbia crawling to meet the highway. Leeman, however, looked as though it had largely missed the urban sprawl and retained more of it's original fishing village character.

Geraldton wasn't as windy as reported, and the weather held long enough for us to have a look around and head to the HMAS Sydney Memorial for sunset.  This structure has to be one of the best pieces of public art in Australia.  The light causes it to change colour, from grey to gold to silver, and the views are spectacular. 

By the time we headed North, the rain had closed in, but it conveniently confined itself largely to night time, leaving the days mostly clear, if not warm.  

                         Kalbarri was in it's off-season (just).  Apparently the population swells from 1200 to 15,000 in peak times, especially the school holidays.  We liked the quieter, less populated feel, and although we didn't get to go fishing, we did spend some time watching others fish.  They didn't seem to be catching much.

We took a flight over the gorges, the coastal cliffs and the Abrolhos Islands with Kalbarri Scenic Flights, which was just amazingly spectacular. The Islands have been added to the must see list for the future. Having recently re-read Hugh Edwards' Island of Angry Ghostsseeing the Islands was an absolute highlight.

We called in at the settlements of Lucky Bay, and Knobby Head on the way home. We overheard a person at the Tourist Bureau telling someone that it was next to nigh impossible to get into Lucky Bay, due to the road, but we managed it, as did the person who used the road during our visit and managed to scatter garbage over the whole length.  I hope they went back and picked up their mess. We had a tour of the settlement and the beach, from a long term resident, but it was a bit rough to go too far.  I am so jealous of the lucky leaseholders, I could happily live there. I guess I am a child of the 70's and a bit of a beachside hippy at heart.

Knobby Head has a more accessible beach, and the local watchdog turned out to be a big goofy puppy who wanted to fetch sticks and play.  Lucky, really, because he was the size of a small pony. He probably knew we had only come in to admire the views and vaguely resent anyone lucky enough to be able to live there.

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