Shark Bay - Denham and Monkey Mia
2 Nov 2014
|After Carnarvon we were planning to go to Gladstone Bush Camp on Shark Bay which we'd stayed at on previous trips but due to the high wind factor it was decided we'd give it a miss this trip. Pete arranged to give Andrea a lift to our next destination, so when we left Carnarvon Andrea was onboard. We travelled down the North West Coastal Highway about 200 kilometres to the Overlander Roadhouse before turning right onto the road into Shark Bay and headed another 137 kilometres to Denham. We stopped on the way at Shell Beach which is a beach made up entirely of billions of tiny coquina bivalve shells, there's even shell dunes, pretty impressive.
At a very windy Denham we farewelled Andrea and booked ourselves into a van park, luckily we were given a site with a bit of shelter. We watched another lovely sunset over the ocean before racing out of the wind. It looks like we are now winging about the wind , well we are.
We drove out to Monkey Mia, but had missed the two early feedings of the dolphins and guess what, the dolphins decided not to come in for a third feeding so we missed the famous 'Monkey Mia feeding of the Dolphins'. We saw some in the water happily swimming about but not being fed, we weren't too worried as we do come from "dolphinsville"(Port Macquarie NSW) . The Monkey Mia area is beautiful with lovely beaches and a great resort, we acted like real tourist sipping coffee and lounging under palm trees. We could have been in worse places.
After dragging ourselves away from Monkey Mia we drove back through Denham to place our bets on the Melbourne Cup running the next day. There were lots of emus walking about Denham with heaps of babies. We were amazed by a family of them crossing the road, father emu stopped on the road and checked on his ten chicks as they crossed the road. Who said they don't have a brain.
As we left Denham we visited the Ocean Park Aquarium which was so interesting and informative. Aquarium tours take 45min – 1 hour and run continuously throughout the day. The speakers were so passionate about marine life and the live displays of sea life were amazing. We watched as they fed lots of fish and then the sharks, it was great.
We camped the night at Fowlers camp which is right on the shore of Shark Bay, it was free in 2007, this time we had to pay $10 for a camping permit. There's nothing there except nature, we were the only ones there apart from the wind and did it blow, it looks like the extreme temperatures we have had to deal with up north are now being taken over by wild wind.
The next day Pete left me with the caravan whilst he drove back to the shark place to collect my newish sun visor which I'd left behind. I've already lost one visor this trip and so Pete insisted on collecting this one. I wasn't too fussed as we have heaps of hats floating about.
On our way out of Shark Bay we visited Hamelin Pool Stromatolites. Shark Bay is one of only two places in the world where living marine stromatolites exist. These living fossils contain microbes similar to those found in 3.5 billion year old rocks - the earliest record of life on earth. As such, the stromatolites provide a record of local environmental changes. When we understood what they were we became very interested, but if we didn't know anything about them we probably wouldn't have given them a second look and the respect they deserve. Very interesting.
When we arrived back to the North West Coastal Highway we headed south and were stopped by some people waving hands in the air as we approached, when we pulled over we discovered they were two dutch bicycle riders peddling around Australia (silly people), their faces were red and they looked very happy to see us. They flagged us down because they'd run out of water and it was a long way between road houses. We gave them water and even offered to give them a lift along with their bikes, the wife was very willing but the husband said that they would ride. They had ridden their bikes all the way from Holland, coming through many countries including China. Australia is very hard as its got such long distances of nothing whereas China has little villages along the way to refill the water and food.
We camped the night at Galena Bridge Rest Area on the Murchison River, it was a great spot with water in he river and plenty of room for lots of caravans even though there was only a few of us there. The wind was still blowing but at least we had a better nights sleep (possibly due to being totally exhausted)