Let's see...flat road and little of note except scrub brush and thousands of paprika colored termite mounds the size of small cars...blue sky forever...many hours of driving. Wait! A hill, with a viewpoint! Unusual cairn on top made of single castoff shoes, then another made of gnomes. Yup, gnomes of many faded shades, sitting atop an otherwise unremarkable rise. Many had cryptic messages scrawled hastily in felt pen, but none seemed particularly eloquent.
We drove on.
Billabong Roadhouse, the only stop for hundreds of kilometers, nabbed our attention briefly. Silly photo op. Tank full, we continued to Carnarvon, missed the Aboriginal Museum entirely, but enjoyed fresh produce at a privately owned produce shop of the highest order, called Morel's. Highlight! Divine papaya, crispy fresh beans, star fruit, sweet cherry tomatoes and a rather odd tray of black sapote fruit (aka chocolate pudding fruit) caught our fancy. After so much bleak,dry terrain, the fruit plantations around Carnarvon were the best treat! With some determination, we grabbed a spot at yet another overpriced caravan park and headed into town to the renowned Post Office Cafe for an early dinner. With none other than Lonely Planet's recommendation as "the best pizza in the world", we felt obliged to try. It was very good, I'll admit! I dunno about being THE best, but we enjoyed it. Not a single other thing to do in this town after 6 pm. Humph. Alex and Gina made a fine game of hurdles over a row of fence posts. Walked the streets for 20 minutes, but the appeal of hot showers soon took over.
Back to the Plantation Caravan Park for lukewarm showers ($70 bucks/night for this??) and a full moon. Gorgeous starry sky! One must focus on the bright bits. Let the dull bits fade...
From Carnarvon we continued south to Kalbarri, our longest stretch of driving. Glum travellers were not impressed by changing scenery, from dry scrub to slightly greener scrub, nor could we muster much enthusiasm within the troops for planning excursions. After a night's rest, Kees rented a small aluminum skiff and insisted that we all climb in. I had packed a light picnic lunch and off we putted, upstream on the Mighty Murdoch River. Fast it was not, nor was it deep, hence the handy oars provided. Several times our fearless captain suffered near mutinous objections as the poor li'l prop stirred sandbars to a pulp. He was happy to share the helm with Fearless Captain Gina, who also hit a few sandbars before the trip was over, but with judicious application of lumber and lumbar support, we beached and finally hiked up " Castle Rock". Great views! Snapped a few fabulously memorable photos as everyone clambered around rocky cliffs. A bit of exercise did us all a world of good!
Upon our return to Kalbarri, three teens chose kayaks for their next challenge, paddling them easily across the river's mouth to another beach, seeking whale-watching, but no luck there. Kees and I walked the opposite way, to view China Man Pools and crashing wave action oceanside. High winds and big spray! It was a refreshing break before our travels continued south, aiming for Geraldton that night.
That covers some bits. More to come after an iPhone recharge.