Discovering Australia’s West Coast

We departed Broome last Sunday morning after breakfasting with Bruce and Lyn at Cable Bay. They then drove east toward their home. As we drove out of Broome, hooked a left at the Roebuck Roadhouse and south onto the Great Northern Highway, we suddenly came to the realisation that this was the start to the end of our Australian adventure.

Our plan is to arrive in Perth at the end of September. From Perth we will spend the early summer (October, November, December) in the southern part of Western Australia before heading across the Nullabor Plain and into Adelaide for Christmas. After Christmas we will spend a few weeks in northern Victoria before catching the ferry on 1 February from Melbourne across to Tasmania for four weeks. We ship back to Melbourne on the 1 March to await our NZ shipping date (yet to be confirmed but planned for mid to late March).

A shot of Eighty Mile Beach on one of our 4WD runs

A shot of Eighty Mile Beach on one of our 4WD runs

As the time draws closer for us to come home, we are often asked ‘do we think we will be able to settle when we return?’ To best answer that question we have to go back five years to the point where we made the decision to change our lifestyle.

We came from the perspective that for too long life had become totally predictable. Week in and week out we performed similar tasks, at the same time, with monotonous regularity. The thought of taking on a new life where everyday was going to be an unknown quantity actually put a spring into our step. We had no plan except to agree that our Australia adventure was going to be our first step. We learned that to travel without a plan has led to the most profound and spontaneous experiences. A far cry from our previous ‘structured’ lives.

We are now firm and privileged members of an international exclusive club. A club without structure, a club without office bearers, a club without a single paid up member but a club of thousands of like-minded people doing their own thing and who get their greatest pleasure from helping other club members. The gypsy or nomad (sometimes grey) club.

Dearne with the Jeep on one of our beach treks

Dearne resting during one of our Beach runs

Can we go back to our original lifestyle? The answer is no. Can we settle at home? The answer is yes. We are excited about our return home to Whangamata and being with family and friends again. Health permitting, we intend continuing our exploration of New Zealand in the motorhome and will visit new worldly destinations as they take our fancy. Work is always a possibility but will be on our terms.

We think it was Christopher Columbus who said ‘you can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore’. The analogy is that ‘risk can have its rewards’. We have definitely lost sight of the shore (and our common sense some may say).

We have spent the last three days at Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park on Australia’s west coast and approximately 350km south of Broome. We initially planned to be here for two days but we were so taken by the area we stayed the additional day. The Beach Marine Park covers an area of approximately 209,000 hectares, encompassing all of Eighty Mile Beach and stretching from Mulla Mulla Down Creek in the southwest to Cape Missiessy in the northeast. The seaward boundary extends to the limit of the Western Australia waters.

Sunset at Eighty Mile Beach. Stunning ends to a day.

Sunset at Eighty Mile Beach. Stunning ends to a day.

Eighty Mile Beach is also a significant nesting site for the flatback turtle. Between October and February each year the turtles nest on the beach and 7 to 8 weeks later their hatchlings emerge. Unfortunately we are a bit early to share the experience. The Beach also has an amazing variety of shells scattered from one end to the other. We spent several hours adding to our collection to bring home.

Eighty Mile Beach also provided us another opportunity to do more four wheel driving in the jeep. We are by no means experts so our speed probably frustrated many of the Aussie ‘professionals’ but we had a great time exploring the Beach. We came away without a mishap so were chuffed at our runs.

We leave here tomorrow and make our way further south. The plan is to stop for the night 83km northeast of Port Headland at the De Gray Rest Area.

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One thought on “Discovering Australia’s West Coast

  1. Hi Rod & Dearne, How we are enjoying following your travels, brings back all our great memories. Could not let the chance to comment about the De Grey Rest area pass by. When we were there Chris opened the kitchen venetians and suggested I come and look at the neighbours. We had BIG cattle surrounding us, the type we affectionately call “Bullifants” as only seen in the northern part of Australia. Have great photos somewhere in the picture file. Is the fisherperson trying to catch a Threadfin Salmon at Eighty Mile Beach? We recommend them for wonderful eating! Will email you from somewhere in SE Qld before we leave for Europe in 11 days. Best regards from Jenny & Chris H, Orewa.

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