Am now in Broome. Have done a 10 day tour up the west coast doing over 2500KM and am now here until Thursday before I fly back to perth for 2 nights before heading to Ayers Rock.
Last couple of days in Perth before I headed off up the coast were pretty chilled out - was nice just relaxing and doing pretty much nothing. Went out again on the Wednesday night to a local bar with the boys. The bar had free pint and bbq for $5 - bargain! Except i barely ate any of the bbq as it was a bit nasty. Word of warning to you all ... I have tried and tested the following combination of alcohol and I DO NOT recommend it! Rose wine, Wild Turkey Whisky and Cheap beer! I was absolutely battered and felt sooo poorly the next day. I only left my hostel room 3 times and every time i did some complete stranger said to me how funny i was last night - it seems the entire hostel saw me dancing and making a fool of myself - oh and I also managed to kiss a guy with long hair and a headband (Oh the shame!) ... sorry mum!
Anyway luckily for me headed off the next day at 7am on the tour. There were 20 of us in total and we got on this clapped out old mini bus that didnt look like it would last the journey! Our tour guide, Kimberley was fantastic... this absolute nutter who had done absolutely everything you could possibly imagine - she was like a butch lesbian version of crocodile dundee!!
Day 1 we travelled all day up the coast to Kalbarri. We stopped on the way to visit the Pinnacles Desert http://www.discoverwest.com.au/western_australia/pinnacles_desert.html and then later in the day headed Sandboarding. Unfortunately i dont have any photographic proof of this as it was too sandy to take the camera's. This was sooo scary... I hiked all the way to the top of this sand dune (which was a feat in itself!) and it was sooo windy at the top! the board looked a bit like a skateboard without the wheels you could either stand on it, or sit on your bum and slide down. I went for the bum option as its supposed to be easier. Well i screamed the entire way down! But i managed to stay on the board and go the furthest so was quite happy. Dont know if ill be repeating the experience though - am still unsure as to whether or not i actually enjoyed it haha!! Got to our hostel and cooked dinner with the rest of the gang. Went to the local pub to get to know each other better. Most of the group were really nice and will definitely be keeping in touch. Got on really well in particular with a girl named Sally whose 28.
The 2nd day we went on a bush walk through the Kalbarri national park - we saw some gorgeous views and gorges. When I put the pics on you'll see what I mean. Stopped off at a couple of nice beaches and view points on the way but again spent the majority of the day on the bus - its hard as you were on the bus for 12 hours and its boiling hot, cramped and the seats dont have head rests so it wasnt exactly luxury transportation! We arrived in Monkey Mia resort early evening in time for a swim in the sea. Monkey Mia is famous for the dolphins that come into the bay to be fed. After dinner that night we all took our beers down onto the beach and sat and watched the sunset and chatted. We were lucky enough to see dolphins that night which came up right close to the shore line when we were in the water. We couldnt see them that well as it was quite dark but you could see their fins and here them. It was amazing!
The next morning we got up early for the early morning dolphin feed and talk. Dolphins came right up close to us and the conservationists picked people to feed them - unforutnately i wasnt one of them. The dolphins are wild and have been coming up into the bay for years - the conservationists feed them like 1 fish each 3 times a day and then they swim back out to sea - they just come in now as they are so used to it. It was amazing to see them up close and i got a little snap happy with the camera!
We left Monkey Mia about 9:30 in the morning and headed towards Coral Bay our next stop. Today was pretty much all on the bus again (majority of long driving trips were done in these first days). We stopped on the way as our tour guide kim spotted a Thorny Devil ( see pics!) a type of reptile which was fairly small so im suprised she saw it driving down the road! We all got pics of it and got to hold it and touch it - the spikes you can see on its back in the pics, are really sharp! We passed through the tropic of capricorn as well, its really bizarre as you're driving for hours and hours and there literally is nothing just straight roads and everywhere is flat and there is just coarse shrubbery either side... there are no spectacular views or any winding roads like in South Africa. Then all of a sudden there is a little town and then nothing for maybe another 8 hours / 12 hours drive! I dont know how people could live in that kind of isolation. Some of the places we stopped along the way had some scary people in... sort of little towns that people in horror films always stop at but never come back!
The next day we went on a glass bottomed boat on the Ningaloo Reef - one of the best coral reefs in the world. It isnt colourful coral like on the barrier reef, but it is still amazing! We stopped and went snorkelling at several spots on the trip and saw loads of fish... at one point the guy on the boat put loads of bread in the water and these massive fish (spangled snapper) were all around us trying to get at it. Spent the rest of the afternoon chilling out on the beach before heading off to Exmouth for our next stop. That night we had spangled snapper and chips on the beach out of the paper - watching the sunset with a couple of carlton coldies (local beer)... was gorgeous! We were all messing about taking silly snaps too - as you can see from the ones of me, Sally and Kate jumping in front of the sunset. Sky was amazing colours!!
Next day was spent at Turquoise Bay in Exmouth so no bus... yippeee!! I had absolutely fried my back the day before though when i was snorkelling so was feeling a bit sorry for myself. Weather is craaaazy hot as you head up the east coast and almost unbearable. Put a long t-shirt on and headed into the water for some more snorkelling - saw lots of fish and some turtles which was amazing, but started to feel poorly. Think i was a bit dehydrated so spent the rest of the afternoon in the shade just chilling out, was really nice though.
The next day we headed out of the hostel to Karijini National Park - the bit of the trip everyone was looking forward to. We got to sleep out under the stars for 2 nights in swags. Was fab cooking out in the open air... but the flies had got particularly bad here (flies along with heat increase further up coast you go) Had to buy a fly net to keep them off face because they just wouldnt leave you alone. There were cockroaches everywhere too and a trip to the long drop (loo) was interesting trying to dodge them! Dinner too as a million and one bugs flew at you whilst you preparing dinner so i think we had 99.9% in our stir fry that night but it was still tasty! Was nervous about going to bed the first night and sleeping in the swag in case anything got in there , it really was just a thick sleeping blag on the ground. A few people saw dingoes that night but i didnt, but did wake up several times in the night to hear them howling near camp.
Slept well though and got up early next day as there was a lot of walking to be done. Headed into the national park area and climbed down the first gorge (handrail gorge) that said as water slid down it into the bottom of the gorge and there was a handrail and rope you had to climb down. Well... i made a right mess didnt i and slipped down it and sat on poor berts head as he tried to help me down at the end. I was soooo mortified! Unfortunately i didnt take any pics of inside the actual gorge area so you couldnt see what we had to do. Also managed to trip and fall on the way up - got a bit upset by that as everyone else seemed fine. Trouble was im such a bloody midget i couldnt get my leg into the crevise in the rock to hoist myself up - it was too far up. Managed to lose my balance and smack myself into the rocks twice - now have cuts on my elbows and knees ... ouch! Went and cooled off in Fern pool before hiking the length of the gorge which was hard work in the heat of the day. Saw some aboriginal rock art which was pretty cool and then spent the rest of the afternoon chilling out in circular pool. The waterfall you can see in the pics was fresh water so we were filling up our water bottles and drinking it - it was ice cold! That night we were all knackered! Played the obligitory s***head and had a few pineapple UDL's ( an alcoholic drink that Sally and I discovered that tastes exactly like Lilt - yum!) Cooked Fajitas that night - got into a bit of an argument with some evil cow on our tour Viv - i've not mentioned her before but she's one of those people who knows absolutely everything and has always done something better than you and is always right - nobody liked her and she was evil for the entire tour. She was a chef and insisted on taking over all the cooking and telling everyone what to do, tonight though we had a bit of a run in as she asked me to slice the tomatoes thinly for the fajitas which i did - i then passed her them and she went absolutely mental saying she said diced and was i stupid! Everyone else just looked down trying not to laugh and carried on chopping... couldnt bloody believe it! Sally went absolutely mental at her for laying into me - anyway guess you had to be there but the tour group ended up being named the "Diced not Sliced" tour after that it was such a comotion!
After a 2nd night in the swags again we headed off to 80 mile beach - our tour guide was really sick with a fever and had been up all night being sick. We later found out after the tour she had been bitten by a redback spider but hadnt realised it. Luckily it was only a female spider as if it had been a male it would have killed her. Anyway at the time obviously we didnt know what was wrong with her but she still managed to drive the 8 odd hours to our next destination - poor woman! Several stops along the way - including a flat tyre!) at shell beach and a couple of little towns which was nice to break up the journey. Slept out in our swags again- unfortunately couldnt sleep on the beach in them as the turtles are nesting this time of the year. Slept out on the grass though which was nice.
Last day of the tour - headed to Broome - all abit sad really about it being over. Spent waaay too much time on the bus which we were all glad to see the back of, (although i will miss the hours and hours of playing s***head on the bus, the only card game everyone knew!) but over the 10 days we'd become like a little family. That night we went out for dinner as a group and then off to a nightclub. Was quite a good night, except the 2 couples we had made friends with had a bit of a domestic each - always fun! So we just kind of left them to it and went home after a while. Broome (well australia in general to be honest!) seems to be crazy expensive too for drinks and everything really! But there's roughly $2.20 to the 1GBP and 2 shots of sambuca for me and sally came to $18 and then we had 2 shots of vodka and split a smirnoff ice to make it a long drink and that was $23.50 - think they were taking the piss to be fair!
Sunday was a free day which we could do what we wanted on. Kimberley gave us all a lift to town, and we all got off and looked at each other waiting for Kimberley to tell us what to do... it was quite funny really. And even though we were all free to go off and do our own thing we all stuck together!
People have started heading off on their own way now though. A couple flew off yesterday, and I said goodbye to Sally, Kate and Darren today who have gone up to Darwin. Cindy and Chris are here till the end of the week though and I am meeting up with them tommorrow night to go on a sunset Camel ride for 1hr on Cable Beach - not sure i really fancy it but thought i ought to give it a go!
Was supposed to head off to perth on Friday afternoon and stay for 1 night before heading to ayers rock on sat, but Broome is sooo quiet im changing my flight to Thursday so I can have all day Friday in Perth to chill out. Might also change my plans after ayers rock so that i can meet up with some of the people ive met on this trip who are travelling north. I dont know - we'll see. Its hard as you get to know people and become really close with them in a few days and they become like a susbstitue family and its really sad when you say goodbye and you're on your own again, you then have to start from scratch making friends and its really tiring.
Anyway - enough winging! Hope you like the pictures! I've also added some of the ones from Swaziland and our Safari in South Africa. I've tried to only add a few as i got a bit snap happy - same as with the dolphins in monkey mia!
Hope to hear from you all soon! And once again BIG congratulations to Kate and Rich on their engagement! And Becky and Keiran on their baby news!