Jurien Bay to Geraldton Western Australia 12 to 14 February 2007.
9 Mar 2007
Our journey today was not going to take us very far, just up the coast via the new Indian Ocean road, to another little fishing village called Green Head. Like all the other fishing communities along this coast it is home to a multimillion-dollar rock lobster industry. Some of the fishermen land their catch at Port Dennison and others at Geraldton. Green Bay is situated on a headland and has lovely beaches, safe swimming and snorkelling with some off shore islands which are good for scuba diving. The morning was spent catching up with some of our write ups for the web site and replying to the e-mails we had received.
After lunch I decide we would go for a bike ride, Jeff was not as enthusiastic. I think he was a little like me in the fact it must have been over 40 years since I last was on a bike and not sure how I would go, and as Jeff pointed out it was not a very flat area. However I did feel that the longer I left it the less inclined I might be to actually get on the thing. Getting them off the bike rack was the first interesting point and we managed that ok. Then it was on with the helmets, in Western Australia (not sure if it applies to all Australia) it is an offence to ride a bike without a helmet. We were colour co-ordinated with Jeff having a red one to match his bike and mine was a pink one. For those of you who know me well, no comments about that, for the rest of you pink is my least favourite colour.
We set off and I had not got out of the campsite when I realised there was something wrong with my bike, if my handlebars were straight my front wheel was going round the corner, but at least I hadn't fallen off. We stopped at the campsite office and the lady directed us to the shed where her husband was working. He produced the much needed Allen Key to rectify the fault and we were on our way. We got onto the road and straight away were faced with a hill; we must have looked in poor shape as two people passing by said we would be better going the other way. No gain with out pain, we kept going and made it to Dynamite Bay where we dismounted and sat looking at the view. With our breath caught back we set off up the trails and nearly made it to the first lookout, only having to push it up the last little bit. Neither of us could get the gears fathomed out. We called at a number of view point then headed down to another bay, had a short stop and set off for South Bay. We could not believe it but we had landed at the back of the caravan park so we knew we would not have far to go for our return trip. Having seen the view we returned to the van. Not bad for a first attempt. The rest of the afternoon was spent reading and sorting out the many photos on the computer.
Tuesday morning whilst having breakfast, a resident from the site rode past on his bike with a cockatoo on his shoulder. Jeff went out to get a photo and was informed that it was a wild parrot which he had put food out for making it semi-tame. A woman stole it and tied it up by its leg which it tried to bite off to become free. The gentleman rescued it and had it treated by a vet, now the parrot has adopted him and it goes everywhere with him. It is still free to fly off it chooses.
Before leaving the village we drove around to the harbour to have a look at it. Then it was off to the next place. The coast line between Green head and Leeman was once home to many squatters' shacks, most of these have gone but the odd one still remains. As we were arriving at Leeman a road sign invited us to try the cheapest and best crayfish roll in Western Australia. We thought we should try some of the local fare so stopped to buy one for lunch, it was a massive roll with salad also, but I cannot say I am a fan of crayfish. We drove into the village and found a tele-centre so used it to put some write ups on the site.
We continued on to the twin towns of Dongara-Denison. Port Denison is the first one you come to and it was here we found a site for the night which was right on the beach. Many people were out surfing or para-sailing, which seems very popular over here. Having set the van up we decide to go for a walk to Dongara, the path went from the caravan site along the road to a nature reserve on the banks of the river Irwin, this river separates the two towns. A boardwalk crosses the river taking you to the beach which we walked along until we reached the road into the town. A footpath with many steps took us up to a lookout point and we glad to see a seat at the top so we could catch our breath and admire the view. Suitably recovered we continued along the path which took us down to the river side, we passed trees with lots cormorants settling down for the night, we counted at least 200 in one small area and saw many more after that. It was a nice relaxing walk and brought us out close to the town centre. We walked up to the main street, Moreton Terrace which is lined with giant Moreton Bay Fig Trees most of which were planted in 1906. They provide a lot of shade and are lovely looking trees. We called in at the local hostelry to refresh ourselves before the walk back; we had covered 4 miles all ready. Much to Jeff's delight it was 'skimpy' night were the bar maid was wearing a bikini top, we got our drinks and I suggested we sat outside to admire the lovely fig trees. When we had finished Jeff returned the glasses to the bar and found out the bar maid had collected enough tips to now go topless. Jeff said he must be getting old as when she collected the glasses from him he kept eye contact the whole time; or so he would have me believe.
We walked back along the road at first then cut in to the nature reserve, on the way we passed more land set out for development, this coastline is going to change dramatically.
Wednesday morning saw us up and ready to move on. We had seen in one of the brochures that at Port Denison Jetty you could gain first hand information about the lobster industry by taking one of the live lobster tours at the factory. Having seen all the fishing boats on the way up we thought that might be an interesting trip so we drove around to the harbour. The tours are only conducted in the afternoon and as we did not want to hang around decided to give it a miss and do a tour in Geraldton, our next stopping place.
Back on to the road again, we had now joined the Brand Highway just before Port Denison and that would take us to Geraldton. Forty miles further on we came to the village of Greenough a historical settlement built on the Greenough Flats. The land was once owned by the Aboriginal People who cultivated it successfully with yams. When the Europeans arrived they tried to grow crops and it became a thriving community until the threat of rust on the wheat crops, combined with droughts and floods lead to the area's decline, the population dropped and the buildings fell into disrepair. In the 1970's the National Trust took it over and restoration work was undertaken to restore the buildings, eleven of which are now open to the public. There are two churches in the village, St. Catherine's, the Anglican Church and St Peter's, the Catholic Church. Both still hold regular services and weddings. The oldest cottage dates back from 1890 and it seemed strange walking round buildings in a museum that are younger than our own home back in Coupar Angus. The Court House and Gaol were interesting and I took a photo of Jeff standing in the dock, he got 40 years for annoying me, he said his sentence started when we got married.
After lunch we continued on to Geraldton where we found a site and settled down for a lazy evening.