20 July 2002
We broke camp in Kalbarri with some difficulty due to rain. We then farewelled our temporary neighbours from Coffin Bay in South Australia, and hit the road heading south. We missed the turnoff to Hut River Province, but decided to give it a miss. Not only was it raining, but the road is dirt and Susie had a migraine.
We stopped for lunch at a small town just off the highway. We had pies and sausages rolls from the local bakery, which happened to be open on Sunday. We paused at the turnoff to Cervantes to consider our position. It was 3.00 p.m. and we were not going to see The Pinnacles that afternoon. So we decided on a bush camp. We refuelled on the highway and headed West again towards the ocean.
The transformation of the landscape had been remarkable during the day’s drive. We were now amongst rolling green hills and lush bush, thick with wildflowers and banksia trees in flower. Our destination was a picnic area designated for daytime use. But it was a sheltered spot off the road, and it had pit toilets, a fireplace, and several picnic tables. When we pulled in there was no one else there, so we nabbed the best spot next to the fireplace.
We set up the tent and I went off to chop some firewood. When I got back, a carload of young European travellers had pulled in. Later, another van arrived with a young German traveller who sought reassurance from us that there would be no ranger at 7.00 a.m. in the morning to collect money from him for camping fees. We ate leftovers from Kalbarri and sat around in front of a fire playing music and singing and ignoring the intermittent drizzle. When the rain started to get heavier, Susie and I retired to bed and listened to its music on the canvas.
We were breakfasted, packed up, and out of there before 9.00 a.m. the next morning. We headed straight for The Pinnacles at the national park nearby, but on the approach we encountered a sign instructing us to leave our trailer behind in Cervantes. We found a CALM depot, but no one was there. So we unhitched the trailer, locked it to the fence that ran around the perimeter of the property, and drove back to Nambung national park. It was just a quick visit as we were going to attempt to reach Dunsborough that night.
The Pinnacles were as stunning and unusual as they were advertised to be in the CALM brochures. They are a desert full of limestone outcrops that look like a collection of odd sculptures – thousands of them, in a sea of turmeric-coloured sand where the land meets the Indian ocean. The overcast weather gave a slightly unreal touch to the light.
We played 44 Home amongst the Pinnacles. I could see why the kids were enthusiastic about this: the park provided a fabulous natural playground for hide-and-seek type games.
We took a few photos, and then went back to collect our trailer. We then drove a little further into Cervantes to buy a loaf of bread and a cloth badge, and make a phone call to Dunsborough, warning Susie’s aunt Clare and her cousin Cate of our imminent arrival.
We then set out on a long journey south.