Lap of Australia - Summary: Shark Bay
After our fantastic stay at Karijini National park we packed up camp and set off back towards the coast. The landscape of this area was yet another that was so new to us and just beautiful. There was an abundance of wildflowers along the road and we are not sure we have seen so many species of purple flowers before! The purple flowers, dusty green grasses and red of the ground were spectacular together. We passed the second highest “mountain” in all of WA along the way - Mt Bruce. Check it out!
We arrived in Carnarvon right on caravan park closing time and had no luck with the first 5 we came across on the main road. We decided to stay at the Gateway Motel for the night and we happened to arrive on the night of their famous seafood buffet. The buffet was delicious! There were enough fresh and cooked dishes for us food allergy people to eat alongside all of the deep fried naughties that we wish we could eat! The fresh Oysters and a baked lemon and tomato fish dish were our favourites. The room was clean and we were dying for another hot shower. I think we both slept like babies.
Back on the road after an indulgent breakfast we spied a little guy that we were hoping to see on our trip. He was, however, playing chicken with semi-trailers on the other side of the road! We turned the truck around as quickly as possible and tried to shoo him off back into the scrub but he was totally shell shocked and wouldn’t move.
We were sure we were about to witness his little death in front of our eyes as another road train roared past, but thankfully the wheels straddled him and only blew him tumbling over and over in a straight line. After some shaky steps looking like his nervous system was fried, he finally made it off the road. We put a few drops of water near his foot and he stepped on it and seemed to calm down a bit (apparently they can absorb moisture directly through their feet!). We waited until he started to walk normally off into the scrub before getting back in the truck, turning back around and heading off to Shark Bay.
Arriving at the turn off to Hamelin Pool as lunch time approached, we decided to go and check it out to have a break from driving and have something to eat. We were surprised to find that it is home to a very rare geological formation known as stromatolites. In the modern day salt water stromatolites only exist in a handful of places in the world where conditions are optimal - high salinity and low physical disturbance. The two well-known coastal lagoons where they are found are Hamelin Pool in Western Australia and Lagoa Salgada in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. The only open marine environment modern stromatolies are known to thrive is at Exuma Cays in the Bahamas.
These cart tracks were made over 60 years ago by wagons taking loads of wool to waiting ships. Apparently it can take 30 years for these guys to grow one centimetre!
These are some healthy living specimens! Thanks to the boardwalk, everyone can have access to see them while keeping the stromatolites safe.
There is a homestead and historic post office at the site. The homestead housed a cafe, so we stuck our head in to see if there was anything we could have that took our fancy. Fish and chips was the order of the day, and they were fantastic!