richoztrek: Richos trek oz 2013 travel blog

Our first night, at Kurrajong campsite

The warm gear comes out again, though still no shoes in the...

Pilgrumunna campsite

Getting into the water at Lakeside

Will ready to attempt this snorkelling thing

Plenty of kangaroos around

The kids check out one just behind the camper

This old roo preferred our grey water to the salt water which...

The ocean on one side of camp, the mountains on the other

Will and Patch enjoy the dunes at sunset

So much serenity!

And not a difficult view to wake up to from the bedroom...

Waiting to board the glass-bottom boat

Very attentive

A big sting ray in the sand. The boat was anchored just...

Happy snorkelers

Is synchronised snorkelling a recognised event? Sal and I with our best...

The beach just along from our campsite

All to ourselves!

Why wouldn't you be smiling?

The kids enjoy one of Kev's mazes in the sand


(Ben)

We've just finished five fantastic days in Cape Range National Park out on North West Cape, near Exmouth. What a beautiful part of the world! Our days were generally sun-filled though we also experienced some fairly full-on winds, particularly during the night.

The national park is situated on the western side of the cape and is bordered by the Indian Ocean (and Ningaloo Reef) on the west side and the Cape Range on the east. It makes for a spectacular setting - on one side amazing blues and aquas and on the other the greens and browns and reds of the mountains.

We entered the park a couple of nights earlier than we'd initially planned, so spent the first night at Kurrajong campsite, behind the dunes. We've had some nights of fairly intense winds before, but I think this one took the cake. As a result of the wind, the mornings were generally quite cool and we had to pull the warm clothes out for the first time since Alice Springs.

For our second night we moved a couple of k down the road to Pilgrumunna campsite where we had made our booking and the next four nights were spent here. A pretty special place, Pilgrumunna is nestled right among the dunes, almost on the water (in fact at the highest tides - like the night before we arrived - the water comes up to your door!) That day we also ventured down to the beach at Torquoise Bay and tried out our snorkelling gear that we'd been carting around for this occasion. One of the stunning things about Ningaloo is that you can walk off the beach and you're on the reef almost immediately.

On day three the Parkyns arrived and after they'd set up, we all headed off to another beach, Lakeside, for some more snorkelling action. The water is noticeably cooler here than it was even in Broome and we noticed the Melbournites (Parkyns) donned their wetsuits here. Alas, us Queenslanders aren't equipped with such things but we had hired some flippers and spent a brilliant afternoon seeing a great range of fish. On the whole the kids weren't quite as keen as Sal and I, although towards the end of the arvo Alice ended up taking to it with some enthusiasm!

A glass-bottom boat cruise was the only thing we'd locked in for our stay here and this happened on Monday. We enjoyed ourselves, and had the opportunity to snorkel off the boat but probably didn't see as much through the glass as we'd expected. A couple of highlights were the turtles and a large sting ray.

On Tuesday morning we walked along from our campsite to the next beach along and found an absolute gem. Stunningly white sand and beautifully cool aqua water, and not another soul there apart from us! Kids and grown ups had a great time and it was really hard to pull ourselves out of the sun. There was one less-than-peaceful incident which led to about 10 minutes of drama. Sal and I were floating around in the water with all the kids (so we thought) occupied on the beach when Tania alerted us to the fact that Pip was out in the water yelling for help. Without any of us realising, she had gone out into the deeper water to snorkel over some coral and appeared to be caught in the rip. Once the ordeal was over, we had to have a bit of a laugh: Tania was running along the beach yelling at Pip to stay calm; I'm running behind Tania saying "where is she, I can't see her" (without my glasses on) and not knowing how serious the rip is; and Sal's thinking if she swims out she'll probably be dragged off too. Anyway, thankfully it all ended well. Pip was indeed being pulled by the current but had been frozen a little with fright after snorkelling over a large sting ray in fairly shallow water, so was quite able to swim back with me once I reached her.

The kids all spent plenty of time together, often off in the dunes, playing UNO and board games, and preparing shows for the grown ups. I think it will be a spot we remember pretty fondly.



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