Time is flying by so fast lately. The days, weeks and months feel like they’re blurring into one. It’s hard to believe we’re half way through October and it’s been over three months since we left Melbourne for our big road trip. Every day this journey of ours feels more and more like an odyssey.
“When you’re engaged in what you love to do, it’s like driving in the fast lane. Time flies by and more roads open up to you, alternate routes you may not have even known existed.” – T. Harv Eker
We’ve recently left the area of Denham and Shark Bay in Western Australia, a very special part of Australia’s coral coastline.
World Heritage places really are unique places on Earth and Shark Bay is listed because of its beauty and abundance and its evolving habitats and species. It’s a window in time and a wildlife refuge.
So, what can you experience when you visit there?
Amazing Coastal Camping
Imagine having a beach to yourself. With an endless horizon of sea and sky, sunset over the water, an alfresco dinner and stargazing with a glass of red. It’s like Heaven on Earth.
That’s how it was at Whalebone Bay near Denhan. We had no neighbours, only birds, and no noise except for the sound of waves close by. There are five coastal camp grounds in the Shark Bay area and numbers are limited to four vehicles a night at each one so you have a good chance of having the place to yourself.
When I think about the chaos and uncertainty around the world, nature reminds me to stop. To focus on what’s right in front of us. It’s all about connection. To feel sand under our feet, hear the lull of the waves and watch a golden sunset over the water. Life’s all about tuning into our senses, focusing on what makes us happy in the moment.
“Place your hands into soil to feel grounded. Wade in water to feel emotionally healed. Fill your lungs with fresh air to feel mentally clear. Raise your face to the heat of the sun and connect with that, fire to feel your own immense power.” Victoria Erickson
Francois Peron National Park
What an adventurous day trip we had, with a dollop of hot tub decadence at the end. The drive into Francois Peron National Park is 4WD only and over 40kms of rough track, with plenty of emus and smaller critters to look out for along the way.
Before even unhitching the van we had to stop for this blue tongue lizard and coax him off the track, so he wasn’t squashed. The sand gets very deep on the track, especially towards the end where cars were getting bogged left right and centre. But we made it through with no dramas.
At the tip of Cape Peron the colours are dazzling. Sun burnt red cliffs back onto azure waters. It’s a mesmerising sight … the ocean shouldn’t be touching a desert but it does. Here the rust red desert sand meets brilliant white beach and the bluest water merges with eternal blue skies. It stirs my soul.
“I have seen the sea when it is stormy and wild; when it is quiet and serene; when it is dark and moody. And in all its moods, I see myself” Martin Buxbaum
Nearby at the viewing platforms at Skipworth Point you can look out onto the Indian Ocean. It’s like a huge natural aquarium of sting rays, sharks, turtles, schools of fish … we can see a few on top but there’s a world of life below the surface.
Soak in an Artesian Spa
By the time we’re back at the homestead at the historic precinct, where we dropped off our van, we’re ready for the artesian spa. The water is hot, really hot at 40C, and almost too much for me but Doug, on the other hand, had to be coaxed out of it!
The hot artesian waters once supplied water to stock on the former Peron station. These days the artesian spa is a treat. It relieves any tight muscles after all that bumping around on the sandy 4WD track in.
And for the record, you don’t need to 4WD into the park to enjoy this artesian plunge at the homestead. It’s accessible at the historic precinct, at the start of the Francois Peron drive.
Eagle Bluff Lookout
Always be on the lookout for new detours, adventures and perspectives. It’s what makes life interesting.
And so it is at Eagle Bluff. This lookout and boardwalk, located off the Shark Bay Road, is perched high over the cliffs of the bay and gives breath taking views over pristine clear waters and marine life.
Sharks, turtles, manta rays and other marine life … it’s amazing what we can see. If only our photos could capture what our eyes saw in reality.
“Photography begins not in the camera but in the mind and the eye. The real work is one of noticing and appreciating, seeing things clearly and differently ….”
They say no trip to Shark Bay is complete without a visit to Monkey Mia. It’s where, for 40 years, three generations of wild bottlenose dolphins have been visiting the beach, and it’s one of the best places for dolphin interaction in the world. Visitors can watch them play as they’re being fed. It’s a very popular, touristy place and pricey too, so I wasn’t sure whether we’d visit or not.
Well, that was decided for us when we stopped to check out the Welcome to Denham signs. I started chatting to a woman and somewhere along our conversation she offered me her Monkey Mia 24 hour pass which still had five hours left on it. How lucky!
Although we missed the main dolphin feeding time we still saw a few playing in the water. They’re such joyful creatures. They remind us to glide through each day with ease and how important it is to be curious and play. I could have watched them for hours.
Stunning Shell Beach
Shell beach is one of only two beaches in the world consisting entirely of shells. No sand, just shells. It’s a pearler of a beach, literally.
This dazzling white beach is made up of billions of tiny cockle shells and was named a Top Beach by National Geographic. On a still day the ocean at Shell Beach transforms into a palette of intense greens and blues and the cockle shells sparkle. Like a child, I couldn’t resist throwing a handful into the air.
The water is incredibly salty, making it very easy to float, but we came late in the afternoon when it was windy and so we didn’t swim. I marvelled at the sight of this beach. It was dazzling.
What have I missed?
We didn’t get to the untamed wilderness of Dirk Hartog Island or drive the iconic 4WD trip to West Australia’s most western point at Steep Point.
Within the Hamelin Marine park are the oldest living fossils on earth, the Hamelin Pool Stromatolites, apparently a great sight to see. Sadly, Cyclone Seroja in April caused damage to the boardwalk out and over the stromatolites so the car park and boardwalk are currently closed.
So that’s a snapshot of Shark Bay. This pristine, wild, remote part of Western Australia with all of its incredible marine life and coastal beauty, has left yet another indelible imprint on my soul.
Wherever you are in the world, keep looking up and seek that treasure in your own backyard. We live in such a wondrous world. Remember to look out for those detours, time might be flying but it’s up to you to be the navigator.
Sending love and light