Kalbarri and its National Park

Kalbarri and its National Park

The town of Kalbarri sits at the point where the Murchison River meets the sea.

The Kabarri National Park has two parts to it. The area around the Murchison River Gorge and the Coastal cliffs.

I spent most of my time at the Gorge so let me start there.

The Skywalk over the gorge is definitely a highlight of the Kalbarri National Park.

The views from the Skywalk are definitely spectacular and this is by far the most accessible part of the Gorge.

Not too far from the Skywalk is Natures Window, a remarkable rock formation on a ledge overlooking the Gorge.

Of course such a rock formation invites a photo in the window !

Further on from.the Natures Window there was another lookout that looked out over the Murchison River.

Beautiful views but even better there was a steep track down into the Gorge.

The track down followed the path of a pretty much dry waterfall and was quite steep.and narrow in places.

It was beautiful down in the Gore, the river water flowing and cool and yes I did go for a swim but I will spare your dear readers an inwater selfie for now!

That night back in Kalbarri I found out that there was better access to the river further inland. That was the next days hike.

At the point the Gorge was less steep and lower but the rock formation amazingly coloured and carved by the river, which has beaches and broad deep swimming holes.

And yes how could I not resist a swim.

Hiking a little further up the river I came upon a family of black swans.

Mother, father and 5 little cygnets not long out of the nest by the size of them.

The black swan is the symbol of Western Australia and a definite sign that I was now in the more temperate parts of Australia as the Swan lives in the cooler southern parts of the continent.

Murchison Gorge was another of the amazing rivers that flow through the arid parts of Australia.

A reminder that water is life. Water is our most precious resource.

Wildlife interaction on Australia’s North West Coast – 2 Shark Bay

Wildlife interaction on Australia’s North West Coast – 2 Shark Bay

It was the May eclipse of the moon that I was on the eastern most point point of Australia and Shark Bay is at the western extreme.

And Denham is the most westerly township in Australia. Steep Point is the the western most point but very difficult to access.

The east and west extremities of Australia are like chalk and cheese. While Cape Byron in the east sits amongst moist rain forest covered mountains but in the west at Shark Bay its where the desert meets the sea.

So desert means lack of water and sparse population.

I wonder if fewer people means more wildlife.

The pelicans,

The turtles,

The old man Emu caring for his chicks.

And the beautiful wild dolphins at Monkey Mia that interact with such trust with visitors to their world.

The beaches in this special place are stunning and unique.

To create this national park now world heritage area. The Western Australian Government bought back a number of farming leases.

Sheep had been grazed on the fragile lands.

At the old Peron Station the remains of the old shearing shed still remain.

It was a bit of a trek to get to the old station along a sandy trail

But made all worthwhile by the the thermal spring hot tub at the old station.

So what else could I do.

Running south across the Wide open spaces of Western Australia

Running south across the Wide open spaces of Western Australia

Departing Broome my next major destination was Coral Bay and the beautiful Ningaloo Reef. A distance of nearly 1,400km

Western Australia is a vast State covering around 1/3 of the Australian Continent.

In the north towns and settlements are few and far between and the roads long and straight.

Mining is prevalent in this part of Australia and relics of mining are many.

This part of Australia has had significant land returned to aboriginal control under Native Title which commenced in Australia in 1993.

Native Title aims to give back to Australian Aborigines land where there has been continuous connection since colonisation.

When I rode through Roebourne 43 years ago it was a town one didn’t stop in. It was the wild west rough and dangerous.

The Victoria Hotel was a bloodhouse that you entered at great risk. Now it’s a beautiful art gallery.

That I would recommend any and everyone to stop at.

The importance and connection to country that aboriginal people have can not be underestimated or understood by us from a colonial heritage.

At the Welcome Lookout overlooking there are silhouettes of aboriginal men from the local tribes looking out on country. Emblematic of the connection.

The indiginous culture has reclaimed and so has the name Leramugadu.

From Leramugadu I headed to the coast to Point Samson and the Indian Ocean.

The coastal land offering some wonderful views and a taste of the wildflowers to come now spring is emerging.

And the lovely coastal birds

But my aim was Coral Bay and the amazing Ningaloo Reef and Marine Sanctuary.

Have had a first little swim on the edge of the reef and look forward to exploring more.

I’m here for a few days and will explore and share some more of this remote and beautiful place.

Broome – the wildlife

Broome – the wildlife

A mother Osprey guards her chicks in the nest built on the Pont Grantheaume

Broome on the shores of Roebuck Bay is a haven for birds and sea animals. In particular its home to the rare and threatened Snubfin Dolphin

Netting in the Bay had led to these dolphins coming under threat. Many of the dolphins I saw had scars on their skin or pieces out of their fins due to being caught in nets.

Since native title has been established netting has been banned and the area is now a Marine National Park. With all marine animals re establishing in the Bay.

The National Park is also home to various turtles this Flat Back Turtle an example.

Manta Rays and an amazing diversity of local and migratory birds.

Such as terns

And my favourite the majestic White Bellied Sea Eagle.

I did the cruise with Broome Whale Watching. Additional to these beautiful animals we say Dugong, other species of turtle and a Humpback Whale breaching.

Recreational fishing still part in the Bay and the local aborigines fish traditionally with spears.

Such a beautiful place.

Back heading west on the Savannah Way and a stop at Keep River National Park

Back heading west on the Savannah Way and a stop at Keep River National Park

The savannah woodlands stretched out to the horizon.

Crossing the big rivers I didn’t need a sign to say I was back on the Savannah Way.

Just before the Northern Territory/ Western Australia border there is the Keep River National Park.

About 18 km in from the Rangers station is the main camping ground.

A special part of North Western Australia is the amazing rock formations.

There are a number of walks through the rock canyons at Keep River. I will give you a taste of these beautiful rock formations.

From the lookout the rocky range stretches out through the savannah

The stunning colours of the rock and landscape.

And there is the beautiful Rainbow Bee Eater, flitting around the forest.

As the sun sets the rocks turn red reflecting the setting sun’s fire.

When the light is gone the Milky Way fills the sky.

There is nothing like the stars in the outback.

So I’m now sitting in Kununurra, in the State of Western Australia. Supplies have been purchased ready for the next outback leg of my journey.

The Gregory River, water from the ground in the harsh outback of North West Queensland

The Gregory River, water from the ground in the harsh outback of North West Queensland

I was sitting savouring my exquisite long black coffee with cinnamon and apple muffin.

As often happens the conversation started with the words ‘ Nice bike’. This one finished with direction to a local camping spot beside the Gregory River.

An oasis in the harsh dry country

Spring fed flowing crystal clear water.

Water so clear you can see the little fish in the water

A place so quiet and peaceful

The little finches, honey eaters and willie wag tails would fly down and pose nonchalantly for the camera

Water is life

This water in the Gregory River that fell in monsoons thousands of years ago, on mountains thousands of kilometres away percolates underground coming forth as a spring to bring life to the desert.

Normanton and Karumba, where the desert meets the sea

Normanton and Karumba, where the desert meets the sea

The Norman River flows through the trading town of Normanton before emptying into the Gulf of Carpentaria at Karumba.

Karumba Point provides a popular place to view the sunset across the Norman River estuary.

Normanton was original port town

The home of the Gulflander, the vintage train the runs the old line to the once gold town of Croydon.

The route passes little siding in the sparse outback.

Normanton as the old port town has a collection of historic buildings.

These days Karumba is the main port

And home to large prawn and barramundi fishing industry.

While the model of a replica of a huge crocodile caught in the Norman River announces that this is Croc Country.

It is the waterbirds that fascinated me.

At Mutton Hole Wetlands.

And in the mangroves flanking the river at Karumba.

The powerful raptors

Sea Eagle
Osprey and Kite

And the little mangrove birds

Red helmeted honey eater

Darting around the mangrove

And down around the waterline

The campground at Normanton offered the luxury of a pool and spa

And at Karumba the campers included a group of classic cars from the 1920s that had driven all the way from Melbourne

And a nightly concert of harp and guitar from my neighbouring campers.

Tomorrow I head deeper into the Gulf Country along a dirt road to the remote town of Burketown.

In Queensland it’s coal vs nature on the FrontLine Action on Coal (FLAC)

In Queensland it’s coal vs nature on the FrontLine Action on Coal (FLAC)

In North Queensland only a few hundred kilometres inland from the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef is some of the most intensive coal mining in the world.

The Stop Adani Campaign has been the headline battle to try and stop the coal behemoth swallow up the fragile land water and wildlife churn it and just spit it out as tailing and pollution

Bob Brown Stop Adani convoy 2019

And the fight still goes on at FLAC https://frontlineaction.org/

The west of Queensland is dry and outside the wet season the riverbeds are dry sand

And farmers, animals, birdlife and native flora rely on water stored underground.

It bubbles up in springs across inland Australia. The springs I swam in on the Oodnadatta Track, thousands of kilometres away are linked and fed water by the Queensland springs.

Springs like Doongmabulla Spings https://www.defendourwater.org/springs#:~:text=The%20Doongmabulla%20Springs%20complex%20is,very%20dry%20landscape%5B1%5D.&text=These%20springs%20are%20like%20oases,They%20also%20support%20remarkable%20ecosystems.

Source https://news.flinders.edu.au/blog/2019/06/12/groundwater-plan-flawed-experts-warn/

An oasis in the harsh outback of Queensland which could likely be drained to wash the coal extracted from The Adani Mine.

Water is essential to preserving the beautiful things of nature.

Beautiful birds

None of the birds above are threatened but at the Adani site, there are endangered species of birds that could be wiped out.

In outback Australia, water is life. For people, for food production, for Australia’s unique fauna and flora.

We don’t need to use it to waste it on a new coal mine when the future is in renewable energy not coal or gas.

If you can support FLAC. Visit https://frontlineaction.org/

Camped at Camp Binbee Under the Milky Way at Night

Lockdown reflections 7 – Birds in the Masai mara, Kenya

Lockdown reflections 7 – Birds in the Masai mara, Kenya

The Ostrich the largest bird in the world (followed by the Cassowary and Emu found in my home Australia)wanders the plains grassy planes of Africa including the Masai mara.

A flightless bird it sometimes crosses path with the Secretarybird

While a flighted bird it spends most of its time on the ground hunting. Unfortunately this unique bird is disappearing and is listed as vulnerable. The Secretarybird gets its name from the spikey head quills that are, I’m told, likened to the pencils that secretaries used to place behind their ear.

The Secretarybird has a featherless face and predators beak like a vulture.

The vultures featherless head and long featherless neck though is specially designed for this carrion eater.

But is was the colourful birds this I were one of the highlights of the Masai mara for me.

The brightly coloured Rollers.

And finally the most beautiful of all, the Crowned Crane.