We were very sad to be leaving the super comfortable Novotel in Exmouth. Alas, it was time to start the journey south, homeward bound, with a two-night stop over at Kalbarri.
I was excited to be heading to Kalbarri as I’ve heard so much about it. The drive there was long. Really long. From Exmouth it was over eight hours in the car. The weather was glorious and the outback Australian scenery was beautiful. I was just wishing we didn’t have to look at for that long!
We stopped several times to stretch the legs, take a break, and eat our sandwiches.
There was no music because cigarette lighter used to plug in the iTrip that connects to our iPhones was being occupied by the TomTom GPS. Once we were satisfied with our trip stats – how much further to go, estimated time of arrival – which by the way was being brought forward in leaps and bounds thanks to super Autostrada speed Zorba found the car doing – we decided to get some tunes cranking. Only to find that the cigarette lighter plug had no power. Bugger. Listening to music through the phone didn’t work because we couldn’t get the volume loud enough to hear it. And the last solution of listening to music through our portable Bose speaker didn’t work either because the iPhone kept bouncing out of the console due to the bumpy roads. No radio stations in range either. No music for 8+ hours. Sigh.
My tolerance for being cooped up in a car is not very high. I was so bored at one point that I started reading the only book within my reach, my Canon 600D SLR manual. It was kind of fortunate as I learned how to do a few new things with my fancy camera and practiced them from with in the car.
Turning off the Brand Highway towards Kalbarri was so exciting. FINALLY we felt like we were getting somewhere! It was very picturesque for the first few minutes. Then the road turned and we were driving straight into the setting sun. It was bug city too with the windscreen splattered at a rate of 16 bugs per second. As you can imagine, visibility was a problem, so we had to stop a couple of times and attempt to clean the windscreen, a futile mission. It was like driving head on into an attack of miniature missiles that lasted more than 30 kilometres. Not only did bug guts hinder our vision through the windscreen, we also had the bright setting sun straight in front of us.
We drove into Kalbarri just as the red sun was setting behind the river mouth – we stopped and watched the most beautiful sunset in awe. It was spectacular. Really beautiful. My new found Canon 600D SLR camera skills came into play and I took some stunning photos, *clearing throat*, if I don’t say so myself.
The Kalbarri Edge Resort, the swankiest place in town, was adequate albeit a little dated. It would be hard for any hotel after the Novotel in Exmouth to live up to our expectations. Still, we had a lounge room, a balcony with a full size BBQ that overlooked the shade sails that covered the pool area, a king size bed and a corner spa.
We had a really delicious dinner the Grass Tree Café in town – Zorba said it was his meal of the trip. Garlic bread ($7), bottle of Barossa Valley Shiraz ($28), pork belly with scallops, garlic mash and red wine jus and creamy garlic prawns with rice and bread came to $92. Good value, good service, and delicious food. A winner.
Our exploration of the Kalbarri National Park didn’t even get off the ground. The weather turned during the night, bucketing with rain. As a result, the roads to The Loop and the Z Bend was closed. We rang the Tourist Information Centre and they told us that the roads would not be opening today and they would have to wait and see what the conditions of them were like tomorrow before making a decision to open them. With a forecast of 60% chance of rain, a front moving in, and 65km winds, we decided to cut our losses.
Disappointingly, we went back to the hotel, promptly checked out, packed up the car and started the long journey back home to Perth. With six hours of driving ahead, all we wanted to do was get home. Thankfully, two hours out of Perth the radio came into range and we were able to have some music!
We plan to return to Kalbarri one day soon and spend a few days exploring the area.
Di and Zorba signing off. Over and out!
Next trip: Italia, Barcelona, London departing 30 June.