Wednesday, 26th September – Kalbarri

As we now had the wherewithal to prepare our own breakfast, this was a leisurely affair. As we had no appropriate facilities in the room, I opted to use the barbecuing shed not 50 feet from our front to grill some bacon, Aussie style:
We also got the washing done using the self-help laundry facilities on site. These things are important, you know…..
Took off in the car to visit Kalbarri National Park in more detail. Turned left into the park and stopped at the park gates to pay for our day ticket. The following exchange ensued:
Gatekeeper: “Morning”.
Me: “Morning. 2 tickets for park entry, please.”
Gatekeeper: “One car?”
Me: “Yes”.
Gatekeeper: “Got an old fart’s card?”
Me (trying not to laugh): “Well, we’re both over 65 years old if that’s what you mean, but we’re from England”.
Gatekeeper: “So an English old fart, not an Aussie old fart. Sorry, mate, that’ll have to be $13 for the car as a day ticket”.
(By way of explanation, as in the U.K., those of a certain age with the right Australian credentials can get discounted tickets in many places. If an Aussie, we would have paid only $7).
I spent the next few minutes trying to visualise the same conversation happening in England at a National Trust site and failing miserably. I’m still laughing now! Aren’t Australians wonderful…..
We carried on our way into this magnificent small national park to two fantastic viewpoints. Firstly, Nature’s Window. Bloody crowded, particularly again with large groups of Asians getting in everybody’s way and taking photos from every conceivable angle of themselves and each other. The flies were also a bloody nuisance, but we had invested in some fly nets to cover our faces. Not a good look, but effective nonetheless. However, the view was stunning:

Next up was Z Bend, so called because of its position at a bend in the river. Fewer people here, but again some amazing scenery:

Then some 25 km further on, two more viewpoints. The first, Ross Graham Lookout, was a bit disappointing, but Hawk’s Head was well worth the effort, despite the continued attention of the flies.

Back into Kalbarri town and made our way to a beach with some great scenery and magnificent breakers:

Table booked at a recommended fish restaurant for tonight, so we’ll see how that goes.
Answer – idiosyncratic. Strange place called Finlays, off the beaten track a bit, but it was rammed when we got there. It’s all outdoors, and sports all sorts of odd stuff like old dinghies suspended in mid-air, old weighing scales, peculiar seating arrangements dotted all over a surprisingly large area, and – live music. Reasonably good guitarist, shame about the vocals.  The whole vibe was probably best described as “funky”. Loads of families as it’s still the school holidays.
Food had to be ordered at the bar, and paid for in advance, which was a bit chaotic. We arrived at 7 p.m. but I couldn’t place the order until 7.15 as people were milling about everywhere (including the now ubiquitous Asians). We then had to wait an hour for the food, and the temperature was getting steadily lower. This was the first time since we arrived in Australia that we went out to eat in long trousers, shoes, socks and a jacket.
When the food finally arrived, it was very good and most welcome, but again I’ve had better fish and chips. Coupled with the cold and the long wait, not the greatest experience. Oh, well….
Anyway, tomorrow should again be a straightforward drive down to Cervantes, where we’ll be stopping for a couple of nights before we return to Perth, where we will start our epic train journey across the Nullabor Desert to Adelaide.

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