Guest Post: Off the Beaten Track (by Free to Wander)

Meet Catherine and Stu, a couple of adventurers from Western Australia, in the first of my series of guest posts focused on inspiring destinations from Australia and around the world.

“My name is Cath and along with my partner Stu we are traveling around Australia, sleeping in our roof top tent. We are currently in Esperance, Western Australia soaking up the sunshine and swimming in the beautiful clear ocean water.

This trip has been a dream of ours for a very long time but finances and other commitments have always taken precedence. So we decided to deviate from the original plan, Stu continues to fly back to work every second week and I travel on by myself. We are making the most of our lives and enjoying every day.

 We hope to encourage you to choose your own path in life, follow your dreams and enjoy the beauty of this country.”

“We have always been ones to take the road less travelled. There is something very exciting about finding an unmarked track and seeing where it will take you.

I would like to share with you some of our favourite places we have stumbled across and hope it encourages you to visit somewhere new.”

Photo I Intro

1. Reef Beach

Located approximately 160km east of Albany, Western Australia. The turn off is found off Borden-Bremer Bay Road.

The road quickly turns into a 4WD track, so tyre pressure needs to be reduced and be prepared for a lot of scratches from the close shrubs that line the edges.

When you reach the end of the shrubs you pop out onto the top of a sand dune with a fairly steep descent and a view to die for.

In front of us was the beautiful blue ocean, wide sandy shoreline, untouched sand dunes and rocky cliffs. After driving the entire beach and carving up the sand dunes, we set up for a night of fishing. This is not a safe swimming beach. A massive swell and visibly strong current going in all different directions.

Photo 2_Reef Beach

Camping here is easy; there is so much space. As the sun went down we noticed someone camping below the rocky cliffs; yes it was a sheltered spot out of the wind but there is no way you would catch us sleeping under those rocks. We headed into the dunes and found a perfect place out of the wind.

Falling asleep to the sound of the ocean is something we will never get sick of.

2. Kookynie

This ghost town is situated approximately 800km north east of Perth, Western Australia. Part of the Goldfields Discovery Trail, it is accessible by 2-wheel drive, with many historical attractions along the way, not forgetting the great Aussie outback pubs, which are well worth a refreshing stopover.

Back in its hey day you would have found around 3500 people living in Kookynie, searching for the precious gold. The town boasted a public swimming pool, 11 hotels, a brewery and a train that regularly ran from Kalgoorlie.  Nowadays there are around a half dozen residents, one hotel and a very special horse named Willie.

The history of this town is fascinating and you can wander the ruins imagining what life would have been like all those years ago.

Photo 3_horse

Willie is a stubborn horse that stands at the front door of the Hotel.  He is an ex trotter who was taken in by the owners after it was found starving and dehydrated. He loves to be fed apples and carrots and is known to put his head through the car door to see what you have brought him.

Today I found out that the residents found another horse recently in a similar condition. They have been bringing it back to health as they did with Willie and she is now happily the 8th resident of Kookynie.

On the day we visited, Margaret was behind the bar. She owns the hotel with her husband and was one of the most fascinating people we have ever met. She had amazing stories and you could just sit and talk with her all day.

If you need more than beer to cool off there is the Niagara Dam about a 15-minute drive out of town. It’s a natural water catchment area and has water in it year round. It is also a free camping area with fire pits and lots of shady trees.

3. Black Point

If you are a surfer and don’t mind a bit of a walk, Black Point is the place to be. Approximately 4 hours south of Perth, Western Australia and only accessible by 4WD, camping fees are $8 per adult per night. The shady campsites are well maintained with bush toilets available.

Rock fishing from the cliffs, swimming, snorkeling, wildflowers, loads of photo opportunities.

Photo 4_Black Point

One of our favourite sights here were the hexagonal basalt columns formed 135 million years ago by volcanic lava. They have been named the stepping-stones and are truly amazing.

Upon arriving we headed straight to the water stripped off and jumped in. The cool Indian Ocean water was so refreshing after a day of driving.

Camping amongst the trees was so peaceful, listening to the branches sway in the breeze and the birds calling to each other made it very easy to fall asleep.

4. Walpole/Nornalup Inlet

We arrived in Walpole and the southerly winds were howling. Our plan was to find a sheltered camp spot along the beach, but thought it would be impossible.

Walpole/Nornalup Inlet is only a short drive from Walpole town site and is 4WD access only. When we arrived at the beach we decided to make our own tracks and headed away from the inlet to check out a small cove we had seen on the map.

The beach is extremely soft and the tide comes very close to the cliff edges that line the beach, so there was not a lot of room for error. When we reached the end we were in luck. The cove was sheltered from the wind and was perfect for camping, swimming, surfing, paddle boarding and fishing.

Photo 5_Walpole

We had the whole place to ourselves but it was short lived.

Once we had set up I jumped on my paddleboard and as I was paddling out heard a whole lot of female laughter. Very confused I turned around to see twenty or so ladies with massive hiking bags coming over the hill we were camped near. Turns out we were camped on the Bibbulmun track.

After a short break they moved on and we were back to enjoying this beautiful place all on our own.

5. Wedge Island

Only 165km north of Perth, Western Australia Wedge Island is accessible by 2-wheel drive.

Years ago the only way to get there was to drive through the Army firing range or along the treacherous coast line where incoming tides regularly swallowed up 4WDs with inexperienced drivers. It was always a lot of fun to get there.

The new access road is off Indian Ocean Drive. Wedge has managed to keep its original charm; there are no facilities only shacks, which have been in people’s families for generations.

The beach is easy to drive on with fishing and surfing a major draw card.

Photo 6_Wedge Island

Before we left Perth we would often pack the car and head up there, cooking breakfast on the beach and watching the sunrise. We would then surf all day and head home for the afternoon.

Unfortunately you are not allowed to camp here but it makes an awesome day trip.

Last panoramic pic

“We hope to encourage you to choose your own path in life, follow your dreams and enjoy the beauty of this country.”

Thanks to Cath for taking us around beautiful Western Australia, a state worthy of exploration and one I hope to see more of in the near future.  They inspire me to get out and see even more of my own country, and trust me, there’s a LOT to see.

You can follow along on their adventures on their website  Free to Wander

Stay happy and keep enjoying the journey.

Feel like more travel inspiration?  Connect with me on Facebook.

Come check out my new group for like minded travelers
Outanabout YOLO “You only live once


76 thoughts on “Guest Post: Off the Beaten Track (by Free to Wander)

  1. Miriam, a joy to see guest posts on your blog! 😀 Cath, thank you for sharing the heaven of Western Australia with us. The beaches, ocean, sky is out of this world and unbelievable that you have it all to yourself. I had to smile when the group of women walkers intruded…just for a while luckily! My husband spent a month travelling around Australia before we met and we are both tempted to visit…it’s more a matter of the long flight! Reading your post this cold and frosty morning was pure bliss.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Annika, thanks so much for dropping by and your lovely comment. Glad you enjoyed Cath’s post. Hope you and your husband both make it back out here again one day. It’s not that far! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ever since I went to Bondi Beach in Sydney, I fell in love with the beaches of Australia. I did cover the Great Ocean Road and found it to be equally spectacular.

    I would love to go by the recommendation of our friends here, especially on the offbeat beaches they found.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes Bondi Beach is definitely on our bucket list along with the Great Ocean Road. We are so lucky to have access to these amazing places.

      I hope you can make it to Western Australia one day.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi, Cath – It is a pleasure to meet you here on Miriam’s blog. I LOVE off-the-beaten-path travel. I’m inspired by the unique places that you have shared above. I especially liked your time well-spent getting into deep conversations with locals in these unique towns. I’m off to check out your blog now.
    Hi, Miriam – I’m already loving this series and look forward to reading more!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lovely to meet you to Donna.
      Thank you for your wonderful comment, your encouragement really means a lot to us. We are both having so much fun meeting new people along the way and the locals are always up for a good chat.

      I am very excited to see who is next in this series Miriam and feel very honoured to be the first guest blogger.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ann, thank you for your wonderful comment.
      Willie has definitely been a highlight of our trip so far. He was so stubborn and stood across the door way until opening time.
      When we were leaving I opened our boot and he came walking straight over to see what we had.
      Luckily we had some carrots and he enjoyed munching on them.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow what gorgeous pics and you are right Australia is very beautiful!! I hope to visit one day soon!! And Miri you will have to take me to all these wonderful beaches!! That picture of the dark clouds and sunset is amazing. The ocean is such a brilliant blue and so enticing!! What a wonderful trip! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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