The wild flower trail of Western Australia

The wild flower trail of Western Australia

Moving inland from Kalbarri I hit the inland wild flower trail.

Wild flowers in Western Australia (WA) are unique and can be found from Kalbarri to Esperance. 1200km of colour! Some flowers and shrubs are unique to a region other more wide spread.

These wreath flowers, are regionally unique to the the northern section of the wildflower trail.

I found these wreath flowers in Perenjori.

Out near the rabbit proof fence made famous by the movie of the same name. A movie based on the plight of aboriginal children stolen from their families.

The Kangaroo Paw is another endemic plant of the state.

Then there are the native orchids, orchids with spidery antenae and other with thick petals like cow lips.

And oh the Banskia candles

Gevillia, daisies, lillies, colourful flowers in the scrub. I’ve taken hundreds of photos of these beautiful wild flowers that I could fill a hundred blogs.

Lost in their beauty as I travelled thousands of kilometres in many ways awe struck by these onders of nature.

So I will finish with a selection of nature colour.

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.

On to Broome and completing the Savannah Way

On to Broome and completing the Savannah Way

Leaving Halls Creek there were sights to see but I had my heart set on Broome.

A stop at the big Boab on the side of the road.

It 43 years since, as a young man, since I was last riding a motorcycle up in north Western Australia, the Kimberley.

The road was unsealed and rough then.

Remnants of the old road still exist. Including the old corrugated iron shed that was the garage.

When I had some bike problems all those years ago. The owners let me use a corner of the workshop to replace the head gasket on my Norton Commando!

Finally Broome and the end of the Savannah Way crossing the north of Australia from the Pacific to the Indian Oceans.

And swim at Cable Beach. My first swim in the ocean since late June in Queensland.

With its Camel Rides,

Sunsets,

Coastal birds

And the Stairway to the Moon.

Given Western Australia’s covid free status and Broome’s beautiful weather it’s crowded and I had to camp 25km out of town for a couple of nights.

It was a good place to give the Steinbock a wash.

In company with the bush birds like this little Sparrowhawk

Now I have a room in a hostel in the town of Broome which is in the throws of its annual festival, the Shinju Matsuri.

But more on that next post.

The World Heritage Purnalulu National Park aka the Bungle Bungles.

The World Heritage Purnalulu National Park aka the Bungle Bungles.

The Purnalulu National Park contains a number of unique rock formations one of which is the Bungle Bungle Ranges.

It’s 53 km from the Northern Highway into the Park and I have to say possibly the most challenging 53 km I have ridden this trip.

The road was extremely rough with 4 water crossings 2 quite deep.

As this 4wd came through the first water crossing (above) my heart started thumping as I thought this is a challenge.

At the third, and deepest crossing I thought I was beaten. I let a 4wd go through. The next thing it was stopped at the top of the embankment and the driver is down into the water.

“You can do it. I’m.a biker too. Keep to the left side there are less rocks”

“This is the deepest part” he said, standing thigh deep in water. “You can do it”

And I did as he talked me through the crossing.

I set up camp at the Kurrajong campground and the view of the Bungle Bungles at sunset told me the ride in was worth it. I was looking forward to riding out to the walking areas the next day.

The Bungle Bungles are unique rock formations formed around 300 million years ago.

The colours and contours of the landscape just breathtaking.

At the northern end there are huge gorges of red firey rock

The Northern walk (above) are is named Piccaninni after the creek that cuts through the land scape and is noted for its dome shaped rock formations and steep gorges. Cathedral and Whip Snake were the ones I visited.

The southern walks are characterised by amazing chasms. Echidna chasm is a thin passage through the 200 metre high cliffs.

The southern chasm entrances provide the perfect environment for the Livinstona Palm

Especially in the Palm Valley.

Purnalulu was a special way point on this trip and what an overwhelming beautiful place to visit.

I was even lucky enough to have a fellow biker for company.

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.

Nitmiluk National Park 4 -some final observations

Nitmiluk National Park 4 -some final observations

The Cutta Cutta caves limestone caves may not the most colourful but are an amazing insight to the forming of the artesian springs in the Northern Territory.

In the wet season this cave and others like it act as funnels collecting the monsoonal rains to flow through the limestone and into the artesian basin.

The water heats up and flows out at thermal springs at Mataranka and Katherine.

The sunset over the Katherine with the bats taking off into the night ( look closely at the photo just above)

The birdlife is abundant but at Edith Falls there was something special.

This Great Bower Bird singing his full repertoire of songs. (The Great Bower Birds are amazing at mimicking sounds which they include in the songs. Other birds calls, engines starting, towels fluttering are all included.)

His singing was successful as he seduced this female into his carefully constructed Bower.

How wondrous is nature.

Nitmiluk NP 3 – the Arnhem Land Plateau and Aboriginal Rock Art

Nitmiluk NP 3 – the Arnhem Land Plateau and Aboriginal Rock Art

There are significant sites of rock art all around the Nitmiluk NP.

There are sites in the public access areas of the Gorge

There are remote areas accessible only by helicopter

And special areas only accessible with aboriginal guides, in remote communities. Unfortunately due to Covid 19 access to remote aboriginal communities is not available.

The Arnhem Land Plateau is amongst the oldest exposed rock in the world.

Being formed 1,600 million years ago.

In the wet season the sandstone acts as a giant sponge soaking up the flooding waters that flow as springs and waterfalls in Nitmiluk and Kakadu in the dry season.

We landed at a spring atop the Arnhem Land Plateau

Around the spring were six galleries of aboriginal art

This was a place for dreaming hence the yellow Mimi spirit, catching fish, and giving birth.

I can’t capture the galleries painted thousands of years back are.

In the main Gorge the rock art is more accessible

For us, non aboriginal people this art are interesting images.

For aborigines they tell a story of how the land was formed and changed over tens of thousands of years

How to find food and water in the wilderness.

How to live as one with the land.

Nitmiluk National Park 2 – colours of Katherine Gorge

Nitmiluk National Park 2 – colours of Katherine Gorge

Katherine Gorge is the tourism centre piece of the Nitmiluk National Park.

The Gorge is over 16km long. In the dry season it is made up of 13 separate gorges each separated by natural rock rapids and waterfalls.

In the wet season, the monsoon, the water depth is, average 7 metres higher and the Gorge is one rushing torrent of water.

I was there in the dry season.

From a kayak there is a water eye view of the steep cliffs and the little barriers that separate the 13 sub gorges.

On an evening boat cruise at sunset the colours and the reflections take on a more reddish hew.

And after the sun has set

If your lucky the full moon rises

And of course there are the inhabitants of Katherine Gorge

The fresh water crocodiles

The colours of Katherine Gorge are indeed beautiful!