If you want to see a Boab Tree, head to the Kimberley region of Western Australia. This unusual looking tree is found everywhere across the region, from around Kununurra all the way down to Broome you will see these incredible trees. They are quite the sight to see and we really love these beautiful ancient trees.
Boabs are a very slow-growing tree and it takes many hundreds of years for these to grow. They love well-drained sandy soil and the Kimberley region is the perfect growing environment for Boab’s as they receive plenty of warmth and water during their growing season (which happens to be the wet season) and then during their dormant period (the winter months / dry season) they prefer the drier conditions.
The boab tree is deciduous and loses all its leaves during dormancy in winter. As these winter months are the ‘dry season’ this is the time most travellers are in the area. Therefore, it’s generally a bare brown skeleton of a tree that is seen. The new flowers usually start to open around November.
Every boab tree is unique and some of them are said to be over 1500 years old. As for the history of the trees, the Aborigines used them for shelter, food and medicine. Once the white settlers arrived they were more commonly used as meeting points, or as described later, prison cells.
We’ve heard a few stories of why the boab tree looks the way it does, but one such story is that, initially the boab was one of the most beautiful majestic trees ever created. After a while it began to boast of its beauty to the other trees. It was after this that a higher being decided to punish it and turned it upside down to expose its roots and hide its beauty forever.
Boab trees have a ‘nut’ which grows and inside the nut are seeds. As mentioned previously, the indigenous people used this tree as a food source as most parts of the tree are edible. Apparently parts of the tree are very high in Vitamin C content.
Nowadays boabs are grown commercially and the boab roots are sold and make their way into many gourmet foods. We actually purchased the most amazing mango and boab chutney while we were in WA.
Art & Craft
The nuts themselves are covered in a fine hair which, once scraped off, reveals the dark brown boab nut. In many of the art galleries and craft stores around the Kimberly you will see the most amazing carvings that have been carved out on these nuts.
Boab Prison Tree
While on our Western Australian trip a few years ago we visited to Boab Prison Tree in Derby (pictured below). This tree is said to be around 1,500 years old and has a girth of 14.7 metres. It was used as staging point for prisoners being walked into Derby in the early days. This tree is now a registered Aboriginal Site.
As the trees age, their trunks become hollow. It was said that this tree was used as a “prison cell” in the 1890s by the local police to lock up Aboriginal prisoners over night, on their way to Derby for sentencing. It’s recently been reported that there is no evidence that this particular tree was ever used as a prison, but there was also another similar one at Wyndham.
We really do love these trees, there is just something about them. At the end of the day it is just a tree, but they are all so different and there is something slightly magical about these ancient creatures. We even brought our own boab home with us which sits proudly on our front entrance.
The Great Central Road is known as “Australia’s longest shortcut” and runs from Laverton in WA to Winton in QLD.
We have done the other half of it so this time we traveled from Laverton to Uluru over the past 3 days. You do need permits to travel this road as it runs through Aboriginal land, we had to get a permit to travel on the WA side and another one to travel the NT side!
This road also happens to be home to the worlds longest geocacheing trail.
Condition wise, the road on the WA side wasn’t too bad at all, but the Northern Territory side was pretty bad, very corrugated and holes and dips everywhere! The Prado and Cub just took it in its stride though, they were both made for this!There are a few points of interest along the GCR and one of them is Lasseter’s Cave. Lewis Harold Bell Lasseter was a gold prospector in the area and became stranded when his camels deserted him in January 1931, leaving him with no provisions. He sheltered in the cave alongside the river for 25 days waiting for his rescue party, but no one came. When we crossed back over the Northern Territory border, we knew we were officially on our way home 😞The last two nights we had free camps on the side off the road. Nothing beats a good camp like this, peaceful, quiet and free! There are always plenty of places to camp, you just need to find them. We used our WikiCamps app to find these two and we were happy with both.
Free camping day 1 – This was a nice quiet spot but basically just a rest area. There was one other vehicle already there when we arrived but there was plenty of room for the both of us.
Free camping Day 2 – this spot was perfect! The view was amazing and the colours changing on the ranges as the sun set was beautiful. There wasn’t too much firewood around but we managed to make a small campfire. There was no one else around, except some dingos! We had the whole area to ourselves from when we arrived about 4pm until we left the next morning.Below is a view of our amazing campsite!
Who says you can’t eat well while camping, this was our dinner in the bush, chilli and garlic scollaps and prawns, with mango chilli chutney!
After surviving our night in Sandstone with the gale force winds, we packed up early to head to Laverton. On the way out we went to visit “Lady Di” of Sandstone! Now Lady Di is a unique character and you can’t miss her, she even yelled out to us as we were driving past and told us we had to try her pies!
She is set up in the main street just near the information centre and sells the most yummy pies and pasties cooked to order. Her dukkah is equally as good, made from bush ingredients collected locally by Lady Di and indigenous woman. Of course we bought a pie and some dukkah!Next to Lady Di is an Asian guy selling fresh homemade bread and sauces, as well as fresh veggies. The bread was yum (and huge!) and so was the BBQ sauce.Before leaving for the day we went to visit ‘London Bridge’, an attraction just out of Sandstone.Now this is when the plans changed a little, when we saw a sign for Kalgoorlie. We had both wanted to go so we quickly got out the maps and saw that it wasn’t that far out of our way so decided to detour there for the night! We found an off-road shortcut and set out on our way.
Being a quick overnight stop we didn’t have too long to explore but it at least gave us an idea of what it was like, more than you see on Kalgoorlie Cops!!The one thing we wanted to do was check out The Super Pit. This is the biggest open pit gold mine in Australia and it is HUGE! Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to do a tour so had to settle for the lookout.The other tour we would have loved to do was of Questa Casa, the oldest working brothel in Western Australia! It is known to have been operational in the early 1900’s and has had a working life of at least 115 years as a brothel….. next time! And yes they do actual tours of the joint, we weren’t intending on ‘visiting’!
Kalgoorlie is quite a large town with some lovely old buildings, particularly some of the pubs, which are basically on every corner!After a freezing cold night in Kalgoorlie, our coldest night yet, we packed up in 1 degree temperatures and headed off to start our return journey home via the Great Central Road (GCR).
On the way back up the freeway to join the GCR we stumbled across a little ghost town called Gwalia. This living ghost town is the remains of a small settlement around the Sons of Gwalia Mine that flourished in the 1890s until 28 December 1963 when it closed and put 250 men out of work. Gwalia’s population of approx. 1200 fell to just 40 in less than 3 weeks.Today, you can walk through the abandoned homes and businesses of the once thriving town.Apparently back in the day people weren’t as tall as George! He would have struggled in there houses!
A lot of you will know this story, but for those who don’t we will give you a brief overview.
The loss of HMAS Sydney II and it’s 645 crew members on the night of 19th November 1941 is still regarded as Australia’s greatest naval tragedy.
HMAS Sydney II was the pride of the Australian Navy Fleet and, although only 6 years old, she had already had many successful battles, including famously sinking the Italian cruiser, Bartolomeo Colleoni. After a heros welcome back to Australia in February 1941, she was then given the job of escorting troop ships to South East Asia, following an Indian Ocean route along the west coast of Western Australia.
Photo taken in Alexandria, Egypt after sinking the Italian cruiser, Bartolomeo Colleoni in July 1940.
It was on the return from one of these trips that the Sydney encountered the German Raider HSK Kormoran. To hide their identity, the Kormoran was disguised as a Dutch merchant vessel. When the Sydney tried to signal them and ask them to identify themselves, they purposely got it wrong and stalled in an attempt to appear that they didn’t know what was going on, as it was a widely held belief that merchant seamen were poorly trained.
During this time the Sydney had cruised so close to the Kormoran that it had lost its advantage of heavy armour and gun range. The Kormoran on the other hand was able to now catch them by surprise and at 5.30pm was said to have hoisted the German flag, dropped its disguise and begun firing, all within 10 seconds. Their first shots basically took out the bridge and command posts on the Sydney.
Within 5 minutes of battle both ships were mortally wounded, but the battle continued. The Kormoran ceased firing around 6.30pm and they watched the wounded and ablaze Sydney head off to the south, until it was seen as just a glow on the horizon. The Kormoran was also severely wounded and the captain ordered his crew to abandon ship and it sank about 12.30am.
Although neither ship survived, the Sydney lost all its men, but the Kormoran (a much smaller ship) had more than half of their men survive. Their men were subsequently picked up and kept in prison here until after the war, when they were sent home.
At the time of the sinking, the Australian Government apparently kept it a secret for 12 days before the Prime Minister finally made they announcement and the nation went into mourning.
For years the only people who knew the true story were the survivors from the Kormoran, but generally they were dismissed as being unreliable. Finally years after the battle, in 2008 the Sydney and Kormoran wrecks were found just off the coast of WA, 120 nautical miles west of Shark Bay in 2468 meters of water. It was found that these wrecks laid exactly within the area told by the Germans. The Sydney was found just over 12 nautical miles south east of the Kormoran.
Finding the wrecks would have brought closure to the families who never knew exactly how or where their loved ones had died. On 16 April the HMAS ANZAC took up position over the wreck of the HMAS Sydney II, carrying relatives of the lost crew members, for a special dawn service.
HMAS SYDNEY II MEMORIAL (Geraldton)
This memorial was constructed in honour of all the lives lost on that fateful night. The Sydney was very special to the people of Geraldton, having visited a few times during her career. The last visit to Geraldton was for R&R from 18-20 October 1941, just a month before she was lost.
These cleats had been used to tie the Sydney to during her visits to Geraldton.
This whole memorial is probably the best we have ever seen. The thought that has gone into the structure and the eerie set of circumstances surrounding a few things is very fitting for such an important part of Australian history. You can’t help but get emotional when you visit this place.
The memorial is set in a circular plan, symbolising totality, wholeness, infinity and eternity. It is set out in separate sections, all with their own meaning as shown below.
The Wall of Remembrance – These two walls are at the front of the memorial where you walk through. They are engraved with the names of all 645 men who lost their lives. This is a semi-circular shaped wall to symbolise the ‘encircling arms of the Nation’ welcoming home it’s lost loved ones.The Sanctuary & Dome of Souls This is the heart of the entire memorial. The dome is formed by 645 stainless steel gulls, one for each person who was lost. Each gull touches at least 2 other gulls, to symbolise mateship and ensure that no one is left alone. They all point upwards to symbolise that they are headed for a better place. These birds traditionally represent spirits of those lost at sea. It was actually at the dedication ceremony for the memorial that, as The Last Post was playing, a large formation of silver gulls flew over the crowd.The Podium The circular sanctuary floor is constructed using WA granite (and we believe small pieces from all over Australia to honour that the men came from all over our country).
The inscription in the black granite says “IN MEMORY OF THE MEN LOST ON HMAS SYDNEY II 19TH NOVEMBER 1941. LEST WE FORGET”
A ships propeller takes pride of place in the centre and is used as a ceremonial wreath laying altar. Above this hangs the eternal flame, in red and green, representing the ship’s Port and Starboard lights.The Stele This huge structure towers over everything else in the memorial. It is based on the historical symbolisation of standing stones as grave markers. This huge vertical element in steel basically represents the bow of HMAS Sydney II. In a bizarre coincidence, when the wreck was found in 2008, they found that the bow had actually separated from the ship before it sank. Pool of Remembrance This is the only part of the memorial to be added since the wreck was found. At the centre of the pool is a 2m high silver gull with one wingtip pointing to the exact location of the Sydney’s final resting place. The floor of the pool forms a map, 5 meters across, showing the location of HMAS Sydney II. Also engraved into the granite are the images of 644 silver gull shadows, with the 645th gull being the one that stands alone in the centre marking the co-ordinates of the wreck site.The Waiting Woman Sculpture This sculpture is fantastic and almost lifelike. This depicts a woman staring into the wind, frozen in time. You can see her pained look staring into the horizon waiting anxiously for her husband, brother, father, son to come home. You can feel her pain of loss and emptiness, a life of heartache. This statue was installed long before anyone knew what happened to the Sydney. In an eerie coincidence, following the discovery of the wreck it was found that she was looking directly to the position of where the Sydney lays.If you look straight through her arm, that’s where the Sydney lays.
This museum has a great area dedicated to the HMAS Sydney II.There are many photos on display and information on both ships. They also show video footage, including shots taken from underwater when the wreck was found.
1:400 scale models of the Sydney (the larger one) and thr Kormoran
Some of the stories told in the museum make you realise just how short life is and just how much these brave men sacrificed for our freedom. It’s a very interesting story, one we both knew a little about but have since found out a lot more. There are so many stories and unknowns still out there, but it’s definitely a very sad, but interesting part of our history. This year actually marks the 75th anniversary.
This was given to families after a loved one was lost
Tonight we are staying in a little town called Sandstone. We are both sitting in the camper because it’s so incredibly windy outside! Apparently wind gusts of up to 50km/h and wouldn’t be surprised if they are higher. Camper is going ok, but we have put out some guy ropes as even the chairs were being blown over before. Little tip, it you need pegs in the ground here, bring your drill! There is no way you are hammering into this ground!
We’ve just spent the last two days in Geraldton. Geraldton is huge compared to where we’ve been recently, it’s basically a city I guess. All the big department stores and fast food joints etc.
On the way from Kalbarri to Geraldton we visited a couple of towns, Horrocks & Northampton. Horrocks is a small little seaside beach town. It looked like it would be a nice spot to spend a few days, particularly if you like fishing and just wanted some quite time. Northampton was an old town, lots of beautiful old buildings and a fair bit of history. We visited the cemetery (of course we did!) which had a lot of old graves and also the remains of the old church.
Yesterday morning we went to see the HMAS Sydney IImemorial. At 10:30am they have a volunteer guide take you on a tour and explain the memorial and the story of HMAS Sydney II. This was great and we thoroughly enjoyed it. This memorial is probably the best I’ve ever seen, the thought that has gone into every part is amazing. We will do a seperate blog on the HMAS Sydney memorial and the shipwreck.
Looking up towards the memorial
After the memorial we went to visit the museum, mainly because they had another section on HMAS Sydney and other shipwrecks in the area.There is no entry fee to the museum as such, they suggest a $5 donation, but it’s a great little museum and we worth it. Went spent a couple of hours there.
Onto other non travel related matters! …… On Monday we were contacted by a reporter from GWN7 News here in WA to ask permission to use some photos from our latest blog. They had seen our photos of Steep Point and wanted to use them in the evenings news bulletin about a missing fisherman in the area. Secretly a little bit excited that we got contacted😀
Ever since we arrived on the west coast we keep hearing about the amazing seafood and how great the fishing is, sounds great for a seafood lover doesn’t it! Well it would be if you could find anywhere to eat it!
There are plenty of takeaway fish and chip shops, but a nice fresh seafood platter that isn’t covered in batter and deep fried is near impossible to find. Our meals at Finlay’s in Kalbarri were great, but it still wasn’t exactly what we (well mainly George!) had been looking for.
After arriving in Geraldton we went in search of a good seafood restaurant and yet again we couldn’t find one.
Yesterday we were looking through the shops and saw a sign for the Port View Restaurant and thought we’d check it out. The menu looked great, but again they didn’t have a seafood platter. The waitress said she would chat to the chef and see what he could do. Next minute the chef is out talking to us and asked what we wanted, and said he would be happy to do one for us with whatever seafood they had or could get for us.
We booked in on the spot for dinner last night! We arrived back at the restaurant a few hours later and were showed to our table and then joined by one of the owners. We chatted for a while and he explained that they had only opened a couple of weeks ago and were still settling in. He said they were more than happy to cater for our request as it was all part of the service and making their customers happy. They had even decided to add the platter to their specials menu!So the platter arrived and it looked great! George was happy! A full lobster, prawns, calamari, fish, scallops, salad and a yummy aioli. The seafood tasted amazing, so fresh.As well as the platter we also had bruschetta and a dessert each and we couldn’t fault the food, everything we had was amazing. Even the scallops, Shelly doesn’t generally eat these and she loved them! Everything seemed to have their own little twist to the flavour and they nailed it!We can’t thank the staff of Port View Restaurant enough for their food, service and willingness to accomodate our request. Go check out this restaurant if you are in Geraldton you won’t be disappointed – and the views over the water aren’t too bad either!
We wish you all the best in your new venture, you certainly have two happy and appreciative customers here!
Kalbarri is a little seaside town located on the Murchison River and surrounded by national park and it’s just beautiful. You can drive the coast road along the water and in and out of lookouts along the way, or you can drive through the national park and visit it’s inland gorges, it’s simply stunning.
The Murchison River is 820km long and is the second largest river in WA. It’s catchment area is larger than Tasmania!
We had 3 nights in Kalbarri and it was enough to see all the sights we wanted to, but had the weather been warmer it would be lovely to spend longer here and head to the beach or hire a boat or canoe to cruise around the river.
View from Ross Graham lookout
Kalbarri National Park covers an area of 186,000 hectares and the rock formations in the park are up to 400 million years old. There are a few lookouts in this park that give you a great view over the land and gorges.
View from Hawks Head lookout
A visit to ‘Natures Window’ was a definite, perfect photo opportunity as the window perfectly frames the river. We had visited a much smaller version of this in Broome.
Nearly trod on this little guy
Coastal Cliffs Drive is a lovely way to spend a few hours. The scenery along the coastline on this drive is pretty spectacular, a few of our photos are shown below, but there were a lot more than this taken!
Yes we get a little bored sometimes, the photos below are George trying to stage a ‘falling off the cliff’ photo to scare his mum! The laughter and smiles on his face in some of the photos didn’t help with making it look realistic!
View looking towards the town
While in Kalbarri we went to visit Rainbow Jungle . Now George wasn’t too excited about visiting another bird park, but he ended up enjoying it just as much as Shelly did! The owners of this park have done an amazing job, it’s just beautiful and the birds all look very happy.
As you wander around the paved pathways you see various birds from parrots to cockatiels to galahs and macaws. The park is landscaped with waterfalls and bridges and ponds, it’s very well done.George had helped one of the workers to hang up a breeding box, so as his reward he got to feed the macaws ….. which he wasn’t too excited about! For those that don’t know, George isn’t too fond of birds and their beaks as he and our old rainbow lorikeet, Marshall, didn’t really get along too well!
George feeding the macaw an almond
The park also has a maze connected to it, so being the big kids that we are, we purchased tickets to that as well. We ended up racing each other out, Shelly won. George thinks she cheated, but he just can’t face the fact that he’s a loser!
Racing each other through the maze
HuttLagoon. Thisis known as the pink lake, for obvious reasons! It gets its pink colour from the presence of the carotenoid producing algae, Dunaliella Salina. It was actually a lot pinker that it appears in the photos.
Now for weeks George has been looking for a good seafood meal, not fried fish from a fish & chip takeaway, but a good sit down seafood meal. You would think that travelling along the coast where they have awesome fishing would make this an easy find …. think again!
Anyway the other night he got his fix of seafood, and in the most unlikely place! Finlay’s Fresh Fish BBQ is hidden away in the back streets of Kalbarri, it’s like you are walking into someone’s house. This isn’t your typical restaurant dining experience, far from it!It’s all very relaxed and chilled and very rustic with lots of old bikes and motors etc sitting around the place. There is a big bonfire burning in the middle (for which they sell marshmallows to toast over there!) and there are plastic garden furniture tables and chairs scattered around. Meals come on plastic disposable plates and you simply chuck them in the otto bin once you’re done! Help yourself to the salad bar and best of all its BYO alcohol, so we went back to the car and grabbed some beers out of the fridge! This all started when the Finlay family created G.B.F, Gantheaume Bay Fisheries and proceeded to export fish globally. After some issues in the late 80’s with the pilot strike they decided to create their own market and Finlays Fresh Fish BBQ was born.Great food, well priced and good atmosphere, like nothing we’ve ever been to before, it was literally like you were at a party in someone’s backyard!
Not even sure where to start with this one, we were going to include this in our Kalbarri blog but then both agreed that it was so strange it deserved its own blog post!So yesterday we lost an hour or so of our life visiting this country we didn’t even know existed! We still don’t really understand what’s going on, it was like we visited the twilight zone!Ok, let’s try to explain this in the easiest possible way …… some of you might have heard about this from back in the 70’s, but the first we heard about it was when our camping neighbour showed us a brochure and we were so intrigued we had to take the drive out to see it.
This huge stone carving is of Prince Leonard’s head!
Basically this guy named Leonard George Casley owned land in Western Australia between Kalbarri and Northampton and was a wheat farmer. Back in the late 60’s he struggled with the Government over wheat quotas and decided to create his own country within Australia and basically after outsmarting the government he succeeded. He seceded from Australia on 21st April 1970 and the ‘Province of Hutt River’ was born and headed by ‘Prince Leonard’ and his wife ‘Princess Shirley’.The journey hasn’t always been easy one, with Prince Leonard actually declaring war against Australia at one point. He withdrew 3 days later. The government and related parties (eg ATO) have, and still are trying to bring down the prince and his country, but he’s a very smart man and seems to know what he’s doing and knows what the law is!
Princess Shirley sadly passed away a few years ago
Prince Leonard gave us permission to sit in his and the princess’ thrones in the chapel!
We met Prince Leonard and he showed us around, explained a few things and showed us some of his memorabilia. He is now nearly 91, but he seems in good health and was quite interesting once you started to talk to him, and he’s one intelligent man. He is apparently a great mathematician and has many doctorates and connections with NASA or something, if it’s all true it’s pretty amazing as he left school at the age of 14 and had limited education so is all self taught. Over the years he was also very successful in the mining, farming and property industries, as well as serving in the war.The residents of Hutt River do not pay tax. They apparently do still need to lodge a tax return, but they are treated as non residents of Australia. Of course, as they are not residents of Australia they are not entitled to Medicare or Centrelink benefits.Hutt River is a legitimate sovereign nation and they can even stamp your passport there. They even have their own flag, anthem, currency and postage stamps and issue visas. The province is apparently comparable in size to Hong Kong. It houses a Government building and Post Office and a chapel as well as a few other things that we really didn’t understand at all!Strange to think that when we visited we were leaving Australia and entering another country, all very weird!
Are we glad we visited, Yes, it is a fascinating story, although it’s really hard to get your head around it! If you are travelling through the area it’s worth the drive out there, but maybe check out their website first so you have an idea of what’s going on before you get there ….. at least you’ll be one step ahead of us!
First on our list was an early morning visit to Monkey Mia to see the dolphins.Monkey Mia is renowned for being a place where you can experience close encounters with their visiting Indo-pacific bottlenose dolphins. Every morning between 7.45am – 12.00pm, there is dolphin feeding on the beach. This is run by Department of Parks & Wildlife officers and you need to be very lucky to be picked out to feed a dolphin, and strictly no touching.We arrived early and decided to stand on the jetty to view the feeding, we’ve fed and swum with dolphins before, so thought the less crowded jetty would give a better view and photo opportunity (it did! And we also saw turtles aswell!).As the dolphins are wild, there is always the chance they won’t come in for a feed. Luckily for us quite a few dolphins came in while we were there. Up to 5 mature female dolphins are offered food the first 3 times they visit each day. If they come back again they won’t be offered food.The dolphins are only fed a small amount of food each feeding. As they are wild animals, they want to ensure that they keep hunting for their own food and teach their young this behaviour aswell. By limiting the food offered to the dolphins they can still live as the wild animals they are and won’t become reliant on humans for food.
After our early start to see the dolphins, we continued on with the day and headed into the national park for a look around. François Peron National Park covers an area of 52,000 hectares.
The park was named after François Peron in recognition of his contribution to recording Australia’s natural and social history. François documented anthropology, oceanography, meteorology and zoology during Nicholas Baudin’s 1801 and 1803 expeditions.
First we visited the Peron Heritage Precinct which included the old Homestead and also gave an insight into what life was like during the pastoral era, and how they shearers lived and worked back in the day when this was a large working sheep station.
Such an Aussie problem!
This area also had an artesian bore open to the public. Would have loved to go in this if it hadn’t of been so cold, the wind was fearce that morning!One of the things we love about travelling is that you never know what you might see each day. Well this was our first encounter with a thorny devil in the wild. This little guy was sitting right in the middle of the road having a little sunbake.Access to the park is via 4WD only and it wasn’t the best of roads in some places, but it was certainly worth it to see the views.The scenery in this area is spectacular, the dramatic colours of the rocks against the ocean are certainly a sight.The scenery throughout the whole park was ever changing and the colours changed each way you looked. This is another of those special places you need to visit to understand.One of the places to visit in the park is ‘Kraskoe’s Tank’. This was named after a one legged entrepreneur who would ride his horse from Denham to Herald Bight each week to buy pearls and collect mail. He perished trying to reach this water tank after falling off his horse and breaking his remaining good leg. How bad can your luck be! One of the highlights for us was Skipjack Point. Everything we read said to take binoculars to this lookout as there is so much to see. Well they weren’t wrong, as soon as we reached the lookout we saw a shark and from then onwards we saw turtles, rays, manta rays and whales. It was amazing to see so much.
Our last stop for the day was a visit to Ocean Park Aquarium. This place isn’t your typical aquarium, but we loved it.You are taken on a guided tour around all the tanks by a marine biologist and they explain and educate you, as well as answering any questions you may have.
We saw Nemo!
Speaking of Nemo, we found out a little bit about clownfish, go and google ‘The Truth About Finding Nemo’ …… you’ll never be able to watch the movie the same ever again!!!Also included in the tour is the shark feeding and informative talk.The whole tour goes for around an hour or so. Our guide was great, very informative and we all had a few laughs as well.
We even learned a few things …. eels have two sets of jaws, their ‘pharyngeal jaws’ are housed in the eel’s throat. When the eel’s main jaws close on its prey, its second set jumps forward into it’s mouth, grabs the prey and drags it back into the throat!We also found out that all crustaceans shed their skin, had no idea about that either! Go and google lobster shedding its skin, it’s pretty cool!
View from the aquarium
The weird things you come across sometimes!
Had to stop for traffic on the way back to town!
While in Shark Bay, of course we also had to go visit the Shark Bay Hotel, Australia’s most Westerly hotel!We also happened to be staying at the Denham Seaside Tourist Village, which is apparently the most Westerly Caravan Park in Australia!
So many great places to visit in the World Heritage Listed Shark Bay region, so to explore the area we based ourselves in Denham. Shark Bay is one of the few sites in the world that meets all four of the natural criteria to be listed as a world heritage site.
The traditional name of Shark Bay is ‘Gutharraguda’, which means two waters.
On the way in we visited the below areas.
Hamelin Pool Stromatolites So if you are anything like us, you will have absolutely no idea what stromatolites are, except that they look pretty cool in photos!Well from what we gather from reading at the site and googling, this is what stromatolites are.
Basically they are living fossils. They are layered rocks built up over millions of years by microbes. They are actually living and very slowly growing microbial colonies that may grow less than 1mm per year. Hamelin Pool is home to the most diverse and abundant examples of living stromatolites in the world and these are over 3500 million years old. Shell Beach It’s fairly obvious why this beach was named Shell Beach, it’s full of shells! In fact, the whole beach is made up of cockle shells, up to 10 meters deep. It is apparently one of only two beaches in the world made entirely from shells.
Can’t say it would be the most comfortable beach to sunbake on, but it was interesting to visit!Prior to Shark Bay becaming a World Heritage Site, the shells were mined and used for the construction buildings in Denham. We later noticed this wall in a cafe in Denham.The pic below was taken after George telling Shelly that he would have to leave her on the beach as he couldn’t take any ‘Shells’ away with him!