Connecting at The Duke of Orleans

We say goodbye to Hopetoun and make a final stop in town to wash the car and van. Our next stop is a free camp area at Condingup which is only 20kms from our destination but we’re not booked in at The Duke until tomorrow.

The rather regally named Duke of Orleans Caravan Park is nothing flash on the surface but it has a warm friendly vibe. The park has big sites, a well stocked kiosk (with great fish and chips) and a communal verandah with Wifi to keep in touch with the outside world. The best bit is it’s location.

Wharton Beach is just down the road and it’s the gem on this quiet coastal wilderness. It’s like a highway, four kilometres of hard, smooth white sand that’s like talc and that squeaks when you walk on it. It’s shared by four wheel drivers, surfers and even bike riders dinking their dogs along its sandy shores. We fall in love with the place and extend our stay from three nights to six.

Exploring the Area

When we’re not on the beach we’re out exploring. Well, a freelance writer’s gotta do her research! Close by the Cape Arid National Park is a four wheel drivers heaven with a smorgasbord of tracks ranging from easy to ridiculously hard.

We venture down a few easy tracks and lookouts. We find a table with a great view and enjoy Doug’s home made herb jalapeño bread and then we drive onto Yokinup Bay for a few exhilarating kilometres. There’s a bit of a river crossing to access the beach and from there you can continue around the point to reach Cape Arid. The tide’s rising so we decide to turn back. Though it would make an exciting story, I have no desire to get bogged and/or stranded.

Do I know you?

On the first night at The Duke I’m at the kiosk area, the only spot in the park where there’s reliable Wifi. My laptop’s out and I’ve just emailed my latest column for the next edition of On the Road Magazine. Then I hear my name from the table next door and I look up in surprise. “Do I know you?” I ask, feeling that I obviously should.

It doesn’t take long to realise who it is and after a few surreal seconds I find myself hugging Chris, from Life of Riley, a fellow blogger from WA. We’ve been trying to catch up for months and here finally, unexpectedly, in this out of the way beach camp we meet. I’m thrilled and we chat like old friends. We reminisce about our travels, I meet Paul and Mr Tilly and feel as though I’ve known her for ages. You can read her account of our meeting here.

We say goodbye the next day as they head back to Esperance and we agree to keep in touch. What a small world it is.

“I know you” – Kalbarri Revisited

One of our favourite and frequent drives whilst at Orleans was the invigorating stretch of sand, all the way up Wharton Beach, through the access track and then onto Victoria Harbour. The last hundred metres or so is really deep soft sand. You have to keep your foot down otherwise there’s a chance you’ll get bogged.

One time we see a few cars pulled over to the side and, sure enough, a car is bogged. We stop to see what’s happening and to offer help but a winch is already underway. One of the guys looks familiar and I do a double take. “I know you” I say. Sure enough it’s the couple we met on our lobster cruise in Kalbarri on Christmas Eve.

We catch up, talk about where we’ve been and his partner Rachel shares some footage she’s just captured from her drone off Wharton Beach. It’s a pod of 40 dolphins. So amazing.

On our last day before we’re due to leave, new neighbours arrive next door, Harry and Toni are from the Netherlands. They booked the site at the Duke a year ago along with family but life has a way of changing in a year. Their daughter is due to give birth and can’t come so they’re alone. We’re on the site their family would have been on and end up having lunch time drinks together. They’re in an RV and unable to get out to see Wharton Beach which is a few kilometres away. They don’t even realise what’s on their doorstep.

Doug and I both come to the same conclusion. We want to take them down to the beach before we leave tomorrow. When we offer later that afternoon they’re absolutely thrilled.

So we all head back down to Wharton Beach and Victoria Harbour, both of them in the back with Sasha their much loved dog in the middle. Their smiles say it all.

I think that when the dust settles, we will realise how little we need, how very much we actually have, and the true value of human connection.

Later that night Doug and I enjoy our last meal down on Wharton Beach. We cook chicken kievs and roast veggies in our camp oven, load up the car and head back down to the beach. Dinner is served under a colourful sky with the waves crashing in the background. It’s the ultimate alfresco restaurant and I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be.

This trip continues to unfold with an array of beautiful sights and souls, synchronicities and spectacular gifts from nature. I’m so grateful for it all.

Wishing you all much love, light and joy as we continue this journey of life.

Expect miracles always
My destination is no longer a place, rather a new way of seeing.

56 thoughts on “Connecting at The Duke of Orleans

        1. That happens to me from time to time. I’m not sure why followers who comment on every post sometimes get sent to spam. It doesn’t make sense.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Wharton Beach looks fabulous Miriam! And how wonderful to meet your blogger friend and take the couple on a beach tour. Kudos mate! As you mentioned, may we realize how little we need, and the beauty of nature, friendship, and connections.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The bay, the beach, the soft sand and the sunset look fabulous. I especially love the sunset shots. I checked on the map to see where you are. It looks like you’re almost home. What a delight to finally meet the blogger you always want to meet and your other friends. Your magazine readers would enjoy your road trips.

    I mentioned to you a while back that my husband and his siblings would like to go back to Australia for a visit. We met and started to make plans. We would like to go to Tasmania and Melbourne, then New Zealand. His siblings have another trip coming up, so the Australia trip will be in 18 months or so. Perhaps later on, you could recommend some places for us to stay in Melbourne and Tasmania, such as bed and breakfast or condo. We’ll be in each place for 3 or 4 days. Talk later. Enjoy your trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Miriam, yes we had a fabulous time at The Duke and those sunsets on the beach were very special. But no, we’re not close to home. We’re still in West Australia, on the other side of the country.
      Will be more than happy to help with any touring and accommodation suggestions, especially in Melbourne. Tassie is gorgeous too. Let me know as the time gets closer. Warmest wishes to you all in the meantime. 😊


      1. Thank you, Miriam! We appreciate very much of your help. When we were there last time, I saw some listing of rentals in Sydney. I doubted their they were listed internationally. The international listing is very expensive. I’ll keep you posted if our planning. The temperature is Melbourne probably is cooler than Caine. What do you think is a comfort month to go to Melbourne?

        Have a wonderful week and safe travels. 😊


  3. Fabulous blog Miriam, and what a wonderful idea to cook your dinner and transport around to Wharton Beach. It must have been the best restaurant for sure, and with food cooked by a chef you knew to be reliable. Fabulous sunset photos,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fabulous time you’re having Miriam! Thanks for sharing with us all these beautiful sights and stories along the way! I’m thrilled you met up with Chris and what a lovely thing to do to take Harry and Toni down to the beach, you are special 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The pictures are divinely gorgeous and always good bonding, hitting it off with friends cum fellas bloggers. Enjoyed reading this beautiful post and wishing you extraordinary filled with seamless happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Those photos were amazing! You were so lucky to camp near the beautiful beach, and to finally meet your blogging friend in person. Thanks for sharing your adventures….just reading about them makes me happy. And I absolutely agree that we’re coming to realize we need less things, more adventures, and most of all, more connections to people. That’s what life is really all about!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it is Ann. And our extended road trip is highlighting that more and more every day. It’s amazing how much “stuff” we don’t need. And how happy we can be amongst like minded people and without all the trappings of society.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love all the beautiful, serendipitous moments in this post, life has a way of always working out. I also love this line “My destination is no longer a place, rather a new way of seeing.” Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. In light of recent world news, your prophetic and beautiful words soothe my soul as do your stunning photos, Miriam!
    I can feel your joy and excitement, thank you so much for sharing your lovely life’s journey with us…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Miriam, this adventure matches your writing ~ full of happiness and beauty. When traveling, location is everything – when you find a good one make sure to check it out fully, and this sounds like exactly what you did with Wharton Beach. I love how you truly let your instincts and your heart move you in the right direction. You’d be fun to travel with 🙂 Wonderful photos that match the excitement of your writing. Many happy trails to you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Randall, what a lovely comment. I must admit that I do love to immerse myself in a place and I’m so glad you felt that in my post. Warmest wishes to you. 😊


        1. Oh yes, absolutely! That’s the best way to travel. Sending you lots of warm travel vibes and good wishes from afar. 😊


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