Cervantes

This was the first leg of our Western Australia trip. To get an idea of the size of WA, let Perth, our travel hub in Western Australia, be Phoenix, Arizona. Our trip was the equivalent in distance to driving from Phoenix, Arizona to Salt Lake City, Utah and back for the first leg, flying from Phoenix over Utah and Wyoming to Missoula, Montana and then driving to the Black Hills of South Dakota and back for the second leg, and finally flying back to Phoenix, Arizona and driving across New Mexico to Big Bend National Park in Texas and back, while the entire time remaining within Western Australia. The place is huge.

We picked a route up the coast next to the Indian Ocean. However, we soon realized that while on the map it shows the road running up the coast, the “coastal roads” are still far inland. This is what the view to the coast looks like for most of the drive. We found out later that this area explodes with wildflowers in September, their springtime. That would be something to see.

Our first stop was the town of Cervantes, a small fishing village of less than 500 folks. The town was named for a ship that wrecked nearby, but the town also knows their literature, as can be seen by the wind vane as you enter the village. I thought the metal cutouts of Picasso’s Don Quixote and Sancho Panza might be a good future project.

We stopped here to explore Nambung National Park. After picking up a 30-day Western Australia parks pass we went to check out The Pinnacles.

The colors there were striking. The ground is the color and consistency of corn meal, and the pinnacles vary in size from 1 foot to about 10 feet tall. They are the fossilized remains of palm tree root bundles from the forest that once existed here millions of years ago above this eroded ground.

There was both a walking and driving path through this large forest from the past. We did both.

We had a 4-wheel drive for this leg of the trip, a new diesel Ford Ranger. It had an integrated dash GPS that spoke to us in a nice Australian accent and kept us from getting too lost. Pam also reminded me to stay left as we entered and exited the highways.

It’s always fun to hike in sandy areas and see the tracks that the local wildlife leaves, from small lizards to dingoes, the wild dog that inhabits Australia. We came across a track with large feet and a center groove. At first, we were thinking a goanna or other larger lizard, but then realized it was a just a slow moving, grazing kangaroo track. Very cool.

The sky and ground colors made this entire place just amazing.

We didn’t expect to see any new birds here, but Pam spotted these two Galahs in the bush.

Even in bright light the fossilized rock color made the area truly unique.

Looking from the Pinnacles towards the sea you could see the white sand of the beach on the horizon to the upper right.

We drove to the beach next. The sign at the boundary of the National Park was along the road. “National Parks” in Western Australia are more like our national monuments; unique lands set aside to enjoy, but with little to no development or staff overseeing the place. Most of the locals have high gain CB antennas mounted to their vehicles due to the lack of phone signal and the remoteness of the area. Since Pam and I travel in areas outside of phone coverage alot this didn’t bother us, but you knew if you broke down it may be a long, long wait for another person to appear.

There were many roads that ran to the coast and each were equally beautiful.

The Indian Ocean was still showing signs of the weather that was off the coast, but the beaches were all pristine.

We had dinner at the local tavern one night and tried the local catch, rock lobsters. These lobsters are like the spiny lobsters found off the Pacific coast of the US. The taste was wonderfully sweet.

We waved goodbye to Don Quixote and Sancho Panza and continued north.

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