The drive to Kalbarri was through some nice terrain, it was a bit greener, the trees were taller and not just stunted scrub. The road was dead straight and after filling up with petrol at a roadhouse we estimated that we didn't turn the steering wheel even once for 80 kilometres.
Kalbarri is a quaint little seaside town around 600kms north of Perth, it has gorges, a national park and a stunning coastline. Two of the three gorges were inaccessible due to roadworks, so it looked like the beach was going to occupy our time.
Within 30 minutes of arriving, we'd sussed out the town, Jan decided to buy herself a fishing rod and we were on the beach, fishing in the calm water of the bay.
Whatever it was that was biting, was too quick for us to catch, but it kept us entertained for a couple of hours.
The sun set slowly, leaving a thick orange layer that lingered for 20 minutes or more between the black sea and sky.
We treated ourselves to dinner in the cafe next door and though the temperature felt Arctic, the hot food an cold cider made the chill far less important.
Back at the van, our neighbours, (a group of 6 travelling in 3 separate vehicles) invited us to join them for a game of drunken Yahtzee. We filled our glasses and went over. We spent the night a little overwhelmed but having a really good time. Being strangers in a group of close friends, despite how welcome they made us feel was hard going, it brought to the surface how much we missed our own friends, the people we could laugh with and who knew us so well that insults could be traded without fear of insulting or being insulted. Oh, and by the way, I smashed them at Yahtzee.
The coastline around Kalbarri is diverse. Long sandy beaches, miles of dunes, rocky stretches that would make entering the water impossible and sheer cliffs. We went for a short walk along the coast and saw a variety of environments in the vicinity, we sat looking out to see in the hope that we might see a humpback whale that were apparently in the area.
Of all the places we've seen on the road trip, Kalbarri is surely one of the most beautiful.
We returned to the van to grab out fishing gear, this was our last chance to catch a fish for dinner. Before my line was in the water, Jan had a bite and had a fish on her hook.
As soon as her rod bent, two huge pelicans swooped in and waited barely a foot away from her to see what they could get.
She looked terrified and the prospect of landing the fish but she reeled it in quickly, she had caught her first fish, a perfect looking bream. It was too small for the pan but it didn't matter one bit, she was so pleased with herself.
The bream was taken of hook and quickly returned to the sea, the two pelicans opened their huge beaks wide in anticipation of a feed, then somehow looked disdainfully at us when nothing was forthcoming.
For the rest of the day we had two bodyguards, one on each side of us and who came in close whenever either of us had a fish on.
Jan's bream was her first of 4fish that day not a bad day for a beginner , I taught her everything she knows about fishing.
We spent a couple of hours of our last evening with one the remaining couple we'd played dice with, we chatted away but as the cold spread through our bodies, we took turns in shivering involuntarily which cut the night short as we headed for the warmth of or respective abodes.
Our final stop, Perth lay ahead.