Our journey through the Gascoyne and Midwest regions of Western Australia began at Cape Range National Park, famous for its proximity to the natural wonder of Ningaloo Reef and the infamous spy station at North West Cape. We continued south through Exmouth, Coral Bay, Carnarvon and Shark Bay, where we crossed the 26th parallel and so entered the southern half of the vast state of Western Australia.
The main attraction at Shark Bay was a series of unprepossessing structures called stromatolites at a location called Hamelin Pool. I had read about these many years previously in an issue of Australian Geographic, and had harboured a secret desire to go there and see one of the most primitive forms of life on earth.
We had also planned to travel to Useless Loop on the western-most tip of the continent, to mirror the starting point of our westward journey at the easternmost tip at Cape Byron in New South Wales. Because Useless Loop is a mining town, however, permission from the mining company is required, and we were not inclined to pursue that. So we had to content ourselves with a glimpse of Useless Loop from Eagle Bluff, 24 km south of Denham.
From the western tip of the continent we pressed south through Kalbarri, where we visited its eponymous national park. Our final stop before heading into the southwest corner of the continent was Nambung National Park near the diminutive town of Cervantes, which is the location of a surreal desert by the Indian Ocean that is populated by odd limestone structures called The Pinnacles.
Next post: Cape Range (Ningaloo Reef)