Western Australia is awesome! In the last week we have made our way 1000km up the coast north of Perth and seen some truly spectacular scenery and more wildlife than you would see in ten years at the night safari!
After we picked up our van (which is a cross between the scooby doo van and a viz magazine, if you haven't seen the pictures) it took us a while to get going as I kept forgetting I was no longer driving an automatic. The first day we made it to Cervantes which is on the edge of the Pinnacles national park. We went to seen the crazy shaped rocks at sunset then had to drive back to the campsote avoiding many a kangaroo! You are advised not to travel once the sun goes down as a collision with a kangaroo can have seriously bad effect on your van and the roo.
We then made our way north to Kalbarri which is situated on the mouth of the Murchison river, where we had red snapper fish and chips for tea. From there we explored the spectacular coastal and inland gorges before heading further north to Shark bay where the first thing we did was have a swim in shark infested waters (don't think you would like it much Mum)!
Shark bay is at the end of 130km detour of the main road north but it is well worth the trip as it is a world heritage site with phenomenal scenery and so much wildlife. On the edge of the park are a beach full of stromolites, which are apprently the oldest living organisms on the planet(1900 million years). They created these little towers on the sea shore that looked quite bizarre. On Shark bay we stayed in Denham which is the most westerly town in Australia. It was similar to a ghost town, however we met a couple of crazy germans (that looked like Terry Nutkins and Claudio Caniggia) who kept us entertained with there stories of cycling round Australia. They could cover upto 150km a day on a bike!
From Denham we made a day trip to Monkey Mia, where wild dolphins come close to the shore each day to be fed a couple of fish by the rangers or those of us who are lucky enough to be asked to take part (see the photos!). I was probably chosen as I took close on a hundred photos of the dolphins. While in water we also saw a 3m shovel nose ray and scores of other fish while being watched by the pelicans on the beach. We also saw loads of crabs and a huge osprey eating a kangaroo roadkill. In the afternoon we went on the fastest sailboat in the southern hemisphere to view the highly endangered dugong (the elephant of the sea), although from the number we saw you would think they were nowhere near extinction. Apparently we were really lucky, we also saw a couple of massive loggerhead turtles and some more dolphins.
Yesterday we popped into Ocean Park sealife centre run by marine biologists, it was really cool as we got to see and touch the most poisoness snake in Australia. They also showed us some sharks that are found in the bay and the most poisoness thing in the world - the stone fish. After that we took the long drive up to Coral Bay nearly 600km. The roads are so straight that you get excited when you see a bend or a road sign although as dusk approaches you have to keep an eye on the kangaroos, emus and goats on the side of the road. Although it was a long drive we arrived in time to see another amazing sunset and a cold beer in the local pub.
This morning has been tough, we have been snorkling on the reef just off paradise beach (aptly named me thinks!). We saw hundreds of fish but havent ventured too far out as we are now worried about sharks, sea snakes and stone fish!