We were immediately impressed by the Lancelin Sand Dunes. Kilometers of pristine white sand dunes. We almost felt like we were in a (white) desert. The temperature hit us as soon as we stepped outside. We rented a sandboard, a type of snowboard, applied sunscreen generously, and drove to the high sand dunes. We were very cautious and followed the advice to ride on the limestone rather than in the sand. We enjoyed sandboarding and had a lot of fun. Sitting, standing, with two or three people; we tried it all. After about an hour, we had had enough. Climbing up the dunes in the heat was exhausting.
We had our lunch in the shade and tried to get rid of the fine sand as best as possible. We continued driving to our next stop: The Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park. First, we briefly visited the museum, although the formation of these limestone formations remains a mystery. It was still scorching hot, so we decided to explore The Pinnacles by car. The landscape was phenomenal. A desert with hundreds, maybe even more, limestone formations reaching up to 3 or 4 meters in height. It was stunning. As the cherry on top, we saw a kangaroo hopping by. It may not be as spectacular anymore after staying here for six months, but it was still something special in this location. It was getting late, which meant being cautious of kangaroos on the road.
We continued driving to Jurien Bay. It was a good place that we had heard many good things about. By the time we arrived, it was already dusk. Setting up our tents and preparing food quickly became the priority. We decided to take a refreshing shower, but it turned out to be a very short one. It was infested with cockroaches. “No worries, it’s regional,” the Aussies often say about all the animals, but I would rather not. Linde was even more panicked because she slept on the ground in her tent. Luckily, we had purchased a whole supply of insect and spider sprays before her arrival. She used them diligently every evening.
We enjoyed a peaceful morning, taking things easy. It was delightful! We did our groceries, but the prices shocked Ely and me. They had warned us that everything (fuel, food and drinks, few to no free camping spots, …) would be much more expensive. Everything is spread far apart, with small and remote towns, and low season means everything comes at a cost. Now that we are three, we can’t carry as many supplies, but we split the costs among the three of us in the end.
We put on our swimwear and took our snorkeling gear. There was a special reef constructed in Jurien Bay, with rocks and holes where new coral could grow. Full of hope and high expectations, we entered the water. Ely and I had more snorkeling experience, so we swam deeper into the sea. Linde stayed in the shallows. We were very disappointed. The visibility was really poor. The wind caused the sand at the bottom to rise, and apart from a few fish, we saw nothing. We continued to Sandy Cape, not far from Jurien Bay but a great place to camp by the sea.
There was one spot where we could stay for free, but it was only accessible by 4WD. Ely and I have never been particularly fond of off-roading (you could call us scaredy-cats), but we felt slightly more confident with Linde with us. We gathered our courage and embarked on our journey toward the camping spot. The first part was delicate, but the second section was a different story. It was a road filled with large, thick, and pointed stones. To be safe, we checked if we could replace our spare tire with our automatic car jack. Linde and Ely got out of the car, and I navigated my way around the stones. The third and final part was sandy. We decided to cover that section on foot. It was mostly manageable with our car, but there were a few spots with deep, soft sand. We had no choice but to turn back and find a spot near the others by the sea.
Fortunately, the camping site turned out to be quite good. We were on our own. There were drop toilets but no water or electricity. We enjoyed that; back to basics. We caught a beautiful sunset on the beach with a refreshing drink and later made a delicious risotto. We played some fun games and enjoyed the evening. We were occasionally startled by flying beetles hitting our faces with our headlamps on. I spotted a spider web on one of our car wheels, and the creature had traveled with us from Jurien Bay. We used our sacred insect spray again, but the creature didn’t give up easily. We had to use almost half a can before it finally gave in. At first, I hesitated to kill the spider with my slippers, as it seemed to be a small spider at first glance. But a voice in my head repeated what every Australian says here, “Any creature in Australia can kill you.”
We slept like babies with the sound of the sea in the background. During the night, Ely and I heard something rustling around our garbage bag at the ladder of our tent. We were both too lazy to check what it was. Later, we read on Wikicamps that a fox was at the campground. We left at a reasonable hour for Cliff Head, a free camping spot by the sea that Steve & Sheila had recommended to us. We had a completely lazy day there. We tried the free shower to wash our hair, and felt somewhat clean. We lounged around for the rest of the day and did absolutely nothing. Bliss!
The following day, we drove to Geraldton, a larger city ideal for grocery shopping and finding a campsite. We arrived around noon and enjoyed a delightful shower. It had been a while since we had a proper shower, apart from the public showers, freezing cold showers at the beach, and our makeshift “shower.” We also did some laundry and went grocery shopping at Aldi for the last time on the West Coast. We had an aperitif at a nice bar and ordered some appetizers. It was clear that all three of us enjoyed being back in the civilized world.
X Inez & Ely