A Lot of Rocks

5 Apr

The main objective for today was simply to get from A to B – A being Cervantes, and B being Denham (Shark Bay). It would have been brutal to not break up this 5 or 600km drive (and it’s not as if we had anything special waiting for us the night we got in), so we made all the necessary stops (and then some) along the way. Much more seeing than doing, but some of the views were spectacular! First stop: Nambung National Park, home of The Pinnacles Desert.

The Pinnacles Desert

No one really knows how these limestone pillars were created, but I read a couple different theories. Only one of which really made sense to me so I’ll attempt to relate that story. So scientists know that these pillars have been buried and uncovered by sand a dozen times over. Their theory is that there were some large trees that got buried over time by sand. The tops then burned in a bushfire, leaving only their trunks to be calcified underground. When the sand retreated the area, it left these huge limestone pillars in place of the tree trunks. Then over time, the weathering has caused the limestone to crack and breakdown, giving the pillars the interesting features they have today.

limestone pillar

why Mulan is a warrior and I am not

The next stop after the Pillars was a random turnoff with promises of excellent views. So we saw them all. And they all looked pretty much the same.

Grandstand

Island Rock

Castle Cove

Natural Bridge

And now I feel obligated to explain Britt’s mystical hat. One of the  most interesting aspects of our day was the battle of Man vs Fly. There was an INSANE amount of flies along this stretch of Western Australia. At first you try to ignore them, and you laugh at the people with nets over their faces. But it’s all fun and games until one (or 3) fly up your nose. The cork-screw hat is a modern marvel. Constructed by the Aussies, this bush hat not only protects you from the intense desert sun, but the swinging cork screws deter the flies from coming too close to your facial crevices. It does not, however, keep them off you entirely.

a few hitchhikers on her cork screw hat

Our next stop along the drive was easily my favorite! Racing against the sunset, we decided it miiight still be worth it to try and see Nature’s Window in Kalbarri. So we set off down about a 30km drive, the last 10km being a red dirt road. A handful of kangaroos and even one emu later, we arrived at the trailhead. We weren’t feeling especially motivated to hike the entire trail at night, so we opted to hike as far as Nature’s Window and then return safely to our car. While we were concentrating on making it before daylight ran out, we neglected to realize just how perfectly timed our arrival was. Sunset at Nature’s Window! Woohooo!

Natures Window

Natures Window

A side note: if you click on any of my pictures, they will appear in a new window as a larger size so you can see them better.

After hustling our way back down the red dirt road into town, we stopped at The Black Rock Cafe for a very fine dinner. Everything was pretty expensive on the menu, so I decided to go all out with one of their “wow” dishes: a bed of chips (fries), topped with prawns and a creamy garlic sauce all wrapped up in a crepe, and again topped by a medium rare steak. It was pretty ridiculous. I strongly recommend anyone to attempt to recreate that masterpiece.

When Britt and I got back on the road, the sun had completely disappeared, so we were left to drive the remaining couple of hours in the dark. We learned the importance of stopping for gas whenever there is an opportunity. We passed the billabong roadhouse only to discover that it was completely closed down for the night. With a little bit of luck, we made it to the overlander roadhouse, very much in need of gas. A couple dozen kangaroos later, we arrived in Denham with our own private room waiting for us. That’s certainly one bonus you can count on when arriving at a hostel late at night 🙂

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