Ningaloo May 2008


Whaleshark swim
West Coast 02-05-08
Murion Islands  04-05-08
Lighthouse Bay 05-05-08
Sea Kayaking 06-05-08
Monkey Mia 30-04-08
Floats 03-05-08


In May 2008 Jenny and I took the big trip over the Western Australia.  Our main goal was to snorkel with the Whalesharks which we achieved.  We also drift snorkelled, did 5 dives and a 14km sea kayak trip up the west coast, all in 5 days.

This is the story of our holiday in Western Australia.

We left Sydney early on Monday April 28 on a QANTAS flight.  The flight is long and the entertainment system does not work well.  Breakfast is some cooked concoction that I ate but did not enjoy.  The flight was long and were very glad to get out at Perth airport.  Picking up our hire car we head straight out to Fremantle (Freo to the locals).  The weather is fine, warm and sunny.  We tour the maritime museum and get a guided tour through the submarine which is on the dry dock adjacent to the museum.  It is the same class as the one at the Sydney maritime museum but the guided tour (takes about an hour) is really interesting.  We also went through the shipwreck museum and marveled at the remains of the Batavia.  Our motel is in Bayswater and the room is small and cramped and across the road from a railway station so it is noisy.  Lucky it's only one night.  We head across to Leederville to meet up with my old friend Peter.  Leederville is full of wonderful restaurants and we dine Italian with Peter and his girlfriend Marilyn.  It is good to catch up again.  Back at the motel we try to get some sleep.

The next day (Tuesday) is a long drive to Monkey Mia.  We are booked into a self service place at Denham (about 20mins from Monkey Mia). Up at 5.30am, we left at 6.20 for the long drive.  Breakfast as at the Gull CAFE on the Great Northern Highway.  This seems to be a reasonable truckies stop before the long drive up the coast.  We left at 7.10, refueling once on the way to Geraldton.  We found the scenery interesting - very different to the East cosat.  After 487km we arrived at Geraldton at 11am.  This is a large industrial town but has a really good museum that we visited on the way back.  It is also the home of the memorial to the 645 lost souls on the HMAS Sydney, and to the Batavia.   

From Geraldton up we found the scenery quite boring.  Something to watch out for is stray goats.  We saw quite a few.  We stopped at Billabong at 13:30.  There is a pub and a servo here.  We wanted to have lunch at the pub but they weren't serving lunch at the time so we settled for lunch at the cafe in the Billabong roadhouse.  We had hamburger and chips and realised that cooked food up the coast gets expensive.  The next stop is the Overlander, about half an hour's drive from the Billabong.  We stopped for fuel and the girl there told us that the road to Monkey Mia had been closed due to flooding earlier that day.   We did see a lot of water on the side of the road.  It is an hour and a quarter from the Overlander to Denham.  We finally arrive at Denham where we were staying at 16:00 after traveling 800km.  We were booked into the Oceanview at Denham for 2 nights.  Denham is just 20 mins from Monkey Mia and we have a spacious self contained unit on the water front.  We have a spectacular sunset that evening and run into a Dutch girl who is backpacking around Australia.  The units are great - quiet, lost of space and the facilities are good.  There are BBQ's, a pool and games room and laundry. 

Wednesday is Monkey Mia.

Thursday and we are packed and leave Denham just after 8.  It is a back track to the Overlander where we refuel, then head North.  There is some flooding over the road along the way and at some the causeways we are down to a crawl to get through the water.  The plus side is that with the rain the countryside is very green and lush.  We lunch at Carnarvon at 13:00, having travelling 450km. Fuel is $1.76/litre.  Off we go again for the last bit to Exmouth.  From the turnoff, there are huge termite mounds for most of the way to Exmouth.  We cross the Tropic of Capricorn along the way.  The signs are well graffitied.  As we get closer to Exmouth we pass Learmonth where the airport is and the RAAF base, and the Kaillis Fish factory where you can buy fresh fish and prawns.  They have a fishing fleet based at Exmouth.  We arrive at 15:00, having driven 670km from Denham.  We shop at the local IGA and get fresh fish from Bettsy's which is a few minutes from our motel.  The Exmouth dive centre is a 10 min walk from the Lodge and we walk down to introduce ourselves and sort out the paperwork for our dives and whale

We are staying at the Ningaloo Lodge.  It is self catering with a large well equipped kitchen, inside and outside dining, a pool and games room and a comfortable lounge.  The rooms aren't big but we weren't planning on spending much time in the room.  And with the amount of places to eat in Exmouth you can dine comfortably each meal if you don't want to prepare anything.  For us, fresh fish on the BBQ and salads were the best meals. 

Friday is our first full day at Exmouth and a 'rest' day.  We spend most of the day on the West coast.  One day is no where near enough.

Saturday we do the whaleshark swim - a wonderful experience that we will never forget.  But before that we dive Floats.

Sunday we are off to dive the Murion Islands.

Monday we dive Lighthouse Bay

Tuesday we seakayak 14km up the west coast.  What an amazing way to see the reefs, enjoy the weather and get a good work out as well.

And sadly on Wednesday, our time at Exmouth comes to an end and we have to return home.  We drive to Geralton where we spend the night and then on to Perth on Thursday, staying overnight at my friend Peter's place.  We visit Kings Park on Friday morning before making our way to the airport and back home.  12 days, 3,200km.

We have had a wonderful time in Western Australia, only just touched the surface of NIngaloo, let alone all the wonderful things that the rest of WA has to offer.  We will be back!! 

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