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Ellendale Pool is a great place to rinse off the dust and unwind – it’s a bit of a hidden gem and well worth the trip out.

Creeping up Western Australia’s coastline

We enjoyed a little downtime in Fremantle and Perth.

Both were very beautiful and we would have liked to spend more time exploring them – hopefully we’ll get back in the not-too-distant future.

Western Australia is a massive state and while we intended to see as much as possible, there was plenty we had to miss on this trip.

When you have a timeline, the best option is to cherry pick a few places you think you’ll enjoy and go from there.

It’s always good to have a travel companion – these two got on great, most of the time. Here they are enjoying the sunset at the Pinnacles Desert.

 

If you like a certain place, try to work it so you can stay a little longer and alternatively, if things are not what you thought, don’t be afraid to pack up and leave early.

Obviously, if you have booked and paid for a caravan park, you need to weigh things up either way.

That’s why sometimes we wouldn’t even book a caravan park prior to checking the general area out, to get a feeling for the town before committing ourselves.

While this does require more planning and effort, it makes for a better and more enjoyable adventure.

As the sun sets, the array of colours over the pinnacles are amazing.

Cervantes

Cervantes was a place we day tripped to while we were free camping between it and Lancelin, which was a sweet little fishing village.

Our original plan didn’t include a stay here but as soon as we rolled into town, we took a liking to it and subsequently managed to book three nights at the caravan park on the water.

This became our base for a couple of days, which meant the kids could swim in the pool while we relaxed.

Though our time wasn’t only spent poolside, we also ventured out to Nambung National Park, the home of the spectacular Pinnacles Desert.

The coastline at Cervantes was spectacular – and you could get to the Lobster Shack via the beach or road.

 

The pinnacles are amazing natural limestone structures that were formed about 25,000 years ago.

Years of coastal breezes removed the surrounding sand and left a myriad of unique pillars exposed, which we were very fortunate to view as the sun was setting.

Early morning and evening are probably the best times to visit if you’re after an array of colours that change with the sun’s rise and fall.

You can drive around the Pinnacles Desert, and we left after the sun had set and the stars appeared.

Yum, yum, yum – not much more you can say – definitely enjoyed our time at the Lobster Shack.

 

Another attraction of Cervantes – aside from the crystal blue water and white sandy beaches – was the Lobster Shack, located only a short walk from the caravan park.

I love my seafood and can be quite particular when buying it, so I’m happy to report the food here was awesome.

So much so that we had two meals at the shack during our short stay.

Sinking a cold beverage while gazing out over the ocean possibly added to the attraction and was definitely another drawcard for the venue.

You can’t go to the Lobster Shack without getting one of these photos.

Ellendale Pool

After our fix of the finer things in Cervantes, it was back to free camping.

Our next stop was Ellendale Pools, where it cost $5 a night to stay – so, we regarded this as basically free camping.

Despite not knowing much about Ellendale Pool and reading mixed reviews, our decision to venture out was the right one.

Here you had the option of an upper and lower camping section, though they’re not sectioned off.

Nature’s Window certainly didn’t disappoint.

 

We managed to get a spot in the lower area, which was closer to the swimming pool, and what a welcomed site it was.

Often, if we were staying for only a night or planned to leave early the next day, I wouldn’t bother unhitching the caravan or putting the stabilising legs down.

Fortunately, the JB Scorpion has air bags that make levelling the van a breeze, even when hitched to the car.

It wasn’t long before we enjoyed a refreshing dip, with the kids testing out the rope swing – basically kids being kids, which is what we wanted for them during our trip.

If you’re planning on doing the loop route at Kalbarri, you’ll need to head off before 7am in the warmer months and take plenty of water.

Lucky Bay/Kalbarri

For regular readers, you may remember reading about our visit to Lucky Bay near Esperance.

Well, there is another coastal spot with the same name on the west coast.

Unfortunately, it was windy when we were there and the sand tracks were extremely soft, so we based our camp behind the big sand dunes, which were much easier to get to.

With the right conditions, it would be worth the effort to camp on the beach.

In fact, we didn’t even get in the water, which was very strange for myself and my girls.

Kalbarri rock formations have a myriad of colours that are breathtaking.

 

However, it was a nice place to explore and base ourselves because we also wanted to explore Kalbarri National Park.

Kalbarri National Park surrounds the lower reaches of the Murchison River.

The river has cut a magnificent 80km gorge through the red and white banded sandstone.

Perched on the cliff top, the two platforms of the Kalbarri Skywalk jut out over the gorge, providing incredible views.

It’s important to note that drinking water is not available in Kalbarri National Park, so always carry your own supply and remember, the daytime temperature can be intense in hotter months.

The temperature can be so extreme that the loop trail closes at 7am during summer.

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The coastline near Cape Peron had magnificent contrasts in colour – the red rocks, white sand and aqua blue water.

 

If you aren’t keen to punch out the loop or other trials, perhaps still consider visiting Nature’s Window – a hole in the rock formation high above the Murchison River.

Other attractions in Kalbarri worth exploring include Island Rock, Red Bluff and the Z Bend lookout.

There was also a nice beach break near town that allowed the kids to get their surfboards wet again.

Unfortunately, the town was still suffering the effects of Severe Tropical Cyclone Seroja, which hit in April 2021.

However, with the spectacular red cliffs, blue water, beautiful river and headlands, I’m sure people will fall in love with this place and its popularity will increase in the not-too-distant future.

Steep Point is known as a fishing mecca on the west coast and was a significant milestone on our travels.

Steep Point

Anyone who loves fishing in Western Australia will no doubt have heard of Steep Point – the western most part of Australia and home to some awesome fishing from its cliffs.

Despite not being able to take a caravan into the area, boats and camper trailers can still be towed in.

The road in was fairly good – apart from a steep sandy hill with a tight turn at the top that was hard to conquer while towing a large van.

As we didn’t have any camping gear, our only option was to day trip.

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Greta must have picked this photo – one of us looks to be carrying a few kilos and the other’s wasting away. Regardless, it was another spectacular spot on our day trip around Cape Peron.

 

We planned an early start and late return, allowing for time to travel there, enjoy it and get back to base.

On arrival, we were not disappointed – met, once again, with a glorious sandy beach, blue water and rugged headlands.

As we explored further, we came across several fishing camps well set up for pelagic angling action.

If you haven’t heard of this spot, it’s worth a search on Google – amazing fishing opportunities here.

Yet, the day we visited, it appeared to be more of a waiting game for fishos.

Not who we expected to see coming around the corner at a secluded beach near Steep Point – WA Fisheries, who were good to chat to. They also provided the author with information and regulations for the area, and a measuring sticker. Shame they got bogged trying to head to the next place.

Monkey Mia

After being off grid for a while, it was good to pull into the RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort, aptly named because of the dolphins visiting each morning.

Unfortunately, the dolphin experience was a little underwhelming for us.

I guess we’ve been spoilt over the years, with dolphins playing in our wake back in Moreton Bay or seeing them at Tangalooma and various other places around the continent.

Despite this, we were keen to enjoy ourselves and spend a few days relaxing poolside while the kids caught up with a few friends we’d met along the way.

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Though we didn’t camp at Big Lagoon, it would be worth putting on your list.

 

As well as some much-needed relaxation, we also managed to explore the area.

The nearby town of Denham was more sleepy fishing village than town, yet it was a great day trip and worth visiting.

Of note was the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery & Visitor Centre, which was playing Fire on the Water – a 15-minute three-dimensional film about the sinking of HMAS Sydney II, which occurred 77 years ago.

The Ocean Park Aquarium is another must-do when in this area.

The tour was extremely informative, providing details on a host of various marine creatures.

They even had a tiger shark in the main pool, which was awesome to see and the view from the aquarium was pretty good too.

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One of the many locals around the Monkey Mia camp – possibly more emus than dolphins.

 

If you don’t want to stay at a resort or camping ground, there are plenty of off-grid camps on the Shark Bay peninsula in the Francois Peron National Park.

We day tripped out to a mix of places, including Big Lagoon, Gregories and Cape Peron.

All were spectacular spots where rugged red cliffs met aqua blue water – a sight well worth seeing.

You do need a capable four-wheel-drive to visit these places because the tracks can be tough going at times, with plenty of soft cut-up sand.

A place I recommend visiting is the Peron Homestead Precinct, which has an artesian bore that was drilled in 1922-23.

The hot water is pumped by windmills into a ‘hot’ tub that provides a great spot to relax.

We visited this place at night and had it all to ourselves!

Click here to view last month’s article.

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