Shark Bay

Trip Leader: Glenn Bignell

When: 27/3/13 to 7/4/13 (Easter)

Location: Shark Bay

Participants: Glenn Bignell (Trip Leader), Michael Gilbert, Guy Lehman, David and Tracy Jones, Peter and Deearne Fisher, Malcolm and Trish Harrison, Richard and Helen Kingston, John and Laura Holbrook – 8 vehicles in total.

Day 1 Wednesday night – Glenn and Michael met at Lake Indoon prematurely – had to get out of the city – a full moon was beckoning an early departure for the next adventure.

Day 2 Thursday – as arranged all parties arrived at Lake Indoon 300kms North of Perth – anticipating an early departure to Nanga Bay Resort (Nanga) to beat the Easter Traffic. Early arrivals took advantage of the situation and had a walk around the lake and visited Stockyard Gully also. On arrival back at camp Glenn noticed his rear left brake drum was very hot and so investigated the cause. The rear brake shoe friction material had parted company with the metal brake shoe – bummer Glenn. As it turned out Malcolm had a drill and bits, David had some pop rivets, Malcolm had a pop rivet gun and Richard had some metal bonding glue – hard to believe! Before long the friction material was riveted and glued back in place – problem solved – thanks guys. A spare set of shoes was arranged for pickup in Geraldton – well done AutoOne.

Day 3 Friday – 07:00 departure to Nanga Bay Resort in Shark Bay, Glenn picked up his brake shoes as arranged and all fueled up for the next leg of the trip. Lunch was at Billabong Roadhouse. Arrived at Nanga by 14:00, booked in and set up camp – relax and happy hour at 16:30. For the record and in the interest of saving lots of ink, happy hour is a daily ritual and not to be missed by anyone. John and Laura arrived just in time!

Day 4 Saturday – Lazy day, investigate local area and congregate at the local beach for a swim, walks, lunch and book reading. The plan for the oncoming week was then set in stone for all to ponder.

Day 5 Easter Sunday – ‘Easter Kingston Bunny’ arrived during the night and shared Easter treats with all – also Easter buns in abundance took us all by surprise – thanks Deearne and Guy. At 09:30 we headed off to the ‘Ocean Park’ for a guided tour of the sea world exhibits – turtles, clown fish, lion fish, a sea snake, rock fish, sharks, squids to name but a few – this was an interesting and informative tour. Tracey organized a group discount for us all – thanks Tracey. On to the Denham Bakery (yes – a John King must do destination) to spend our previous discount – yum! Next destination was the Peron Homestead to see the DEC shearing shed displays and hot artesian bore swimming tub. On to Little Lagoon for lunch, swimming at the Lagoon open mouth to the ocean – crispy clear water with a strong incoming current – very refreshing. The group split up to make their own way back to camp, walk around Denham, visit the beaches, Eagle Bluff walk and Shell Beach. 16:30…. You know…

Day 6 Monday – The Iconic ‘Steep Point’ was on the agenda for today. As Michael had been there before he kindly offered to be trip leader for the day – big THANKS Michael. 07:00 all eight vehicles left Nanga in anticipation of another great adventure. We were not let down, some bitumen, limestone road then tyres down and over the sand hills to the beach front. The beach and South Passage were pristine – white sand, crystal clear blue water – a perfect spot for lunch. After lunch we pushed on to the “Steep Point – the most Westerly Point of Australia” sign – a group photo, walk to the coastal cliff and watched turtles and whale sharks frolicking. We then headed off south along the Zuytdorp Cliffs and eventually back to our original track in, but not before the only flat tyre for the trip occurred – thanks Richard for taking the pressure off Glenn. All fixed and back on the road again. We did not return to camp until 20:00 – a 394km round trip. A great day! Did we mention two vehicles had problems getting over a sand dune track? Yes, overconfidence and tyres too hard, Glenn and John had three bites and got there eventually much to the onlookers delight.

Day 7 Tuesday – a lazy day was planned after yesterday’s trek – a free for all day. Glenn, Guy and Michael headed off to Monkey Mia, as did Peter and Deearne sometime afterwards, coffee, lunch and walks were in order for the day. Richard and Helen drove into Denham to find the local tyre repair shop – thankfully the flat tyre was due to very fine powdery sand in the bead due to the acute side angles of the tracks along the Zuytdorp Cliffs – all fixed and back on the road again.

Day 8 Wednesday – An overnight stay was planned at Cape Peron National Park. Caravans, camper trailers and tents were left at Nanga and alternative ‘overnight’ accommodation was brought along including swags, small tents and a roof top tent. Malcolm and Trish stayed at Nanga as they planned to visit the cape in the next coming week. Michael again volunteered to run this trip as he recently visited the Cape – thanks again. We visited South Gregories, Gregories, Bottle Bay (set up camp) and then onto Cape Peron North and walked to Skipjack Point. This is where red sandhills meet white sand and blue water – such a stunning contrast in colour. Ask Peter about the hot sand one day – he literally had to ‘hot foot’ it up a sand hill much to onlookers entertainment. Sundowner was on the beach at Bottle Bay and back to camp for BBQ dinner, drinks and a 23:00 turn in.

Day 9 Thursday – Wake up, pack up and ‘do your own thing and see you back at Nanga’ day. Glenn and Michael headed back to the beach for lunch, swim and snorkeling and visited Herald Bight on the way out of the Park then fuelled up at Denham and Nanga by 16:00. The others visited Big Lagoon – walked the bays and also arrived back at Nanga around 16:00. Temperatures of 40 degrees were recorded on the way out of the Park. Nanga was 33 degrees – nice to be back at camp again.
Tonight was ‘Redneck’ theme party night. Everyone dressed up and by 17:00 the quiet of the park was transformed to the sound of bands like Lynard Skynyrd and Kentucky Headhunters – YeeHaaa! Guests were Orville and EllyMay Harrison, BillyBob and Tacky Jones, Richard and Helen Capper, Benny Hill Lehman, Jack Daniels Bignell, Hookear and Brolly Fisher and HillBilly Gilbert. Sumptuous food was produced, baked beans and potato gem casserole (with frankfarts of course), fish finger dippers and ‘Tick Tock’ biscuits for desert. Only the best for us! A fun night was had by all.

Day 10 Friday – John and Laura headed for Kalbarri whilst the rest of us visited Hamelin Pool Stromatolites and the Telegraph Museum. We organized a guided tour of the museum – a very interesting part of Australian history. 12:45 back at camp and everyone started pre-packing for the homeward bound trip tomorrow. Malcolm and Trish went fishing and became bogged whilst traversing a salt lake – only one wheel went down but a timely lesson for all of us.

Day 11 Saturday – 08:30 we all headed off for Geraldton except for Michael who headed for Gnarloo Station and Malcolm and Trish who headed for Cape Peron. A rest stop at Northampton and then it was arranged to all meet at Ellendale Pool south of Geraldton for our last overnight stay before heading home. Places visited were Geraldton, Greenough Historic Village and Hampton Arms Hotel before eventually arriving at Ellendale Pool at 16:00. Campsites were setup, walks, dinner and eventually bedtime.

Day 12 – Sunday – Everyone was up bright and early and headed for home. Hamburgers at Jurien Bay, a walk along the new jetty and eventually pointed the cars for home.
Another great trip with great people and great destinations – Thankyou all for you company.

Glenn Bignell.

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