Saturday, August 15, 2015

Jurien Bay and the Pinnacles 10-12 August

Jurien Bay is approximately halfway between Geraldton and Perth and is another small seaside town of about 2000 people. We followed the coastline from Dongara, about 100km south of Geraldton to Jurien Bay, past heavily vegetated sand dunes and seaside shacks. We didn't see the lovely coastline at its best as it rained intermittently most of the way. However, a couple of days later the sun shone and it was worth having a better look.

Mural at Jurien Bay Jetty
The Jetty foreshore
Green Head, further north
Camp site at Sandy Cape, behind the beach. North of Jurien Bay
Our first stop in this part of the coast was to visit some more stromatolites at Lake Thetis, near Cervantes, 24 km from Jurien Bay. We were a bit underwhelmed by the first lot we saw near Shark Bay, so we thought these might be better. They were different but not necessarily better. We have since found out that they are microbial structures that are estimated to be 3370 years old so we should be more impressed.

Stromatolites at Lake Thetis
One up close
Next stop after a coffee break was the Lobster Shack for a tour of the factory which processes the western rock lobster, commonly known as crayfish, for sale. Most of the catch is exported. The lobsters are humanely stunned in icy cold water, graded for size, purged for 3 days and then packed among sawdust in polystyrene containers to be transported in temperature controlled environments. The tour was followed by the obligatory lobster lunch, not included in the tour price of course.

Inside the Lobster Factory. Each crate is full of lobsters
A size H lobster, their biggest size for grading
More interesting toilet doors. The factory is very popular with Asian tourists
Our lobster snack. Too many chips though
Nambung National Park, home to the Pinnacles is nearby. They are stone-like structures of varying sizes and shapes, some well over 3 metres tall. They are located among sand dunes, and there are thousands of them, far too many to take them all in at a glance. You can walk among them easily, and a 4km long road winds among them. They are quite amazing to see and more impressive than we expected. Scientists haven't come to an agreement as to how they were formed, but they are made of accretions of limestone.
All the little specks are pinnacles
A closer view of a small section of them
Pinnacle Hugger
Wind erosion makes strange shapes

On Wednesday we decided to visit Lesueur National Park which is north east of Jurien Bay, but not far inland. I had heard reports that it was very attractive but wasn't prepared for the diversity of wildflowers and the denseness of the vegetation. There were grass trees everywhere among the heath. Further on there were quite large trees as well. It has been unusual to find large trees in WA. In most places it is too dry for them. I took lots of photos, but won't bore you with too many.

Oops, that was probably too many!

Next we visited Stockyard Gully National Park, which has a large cave that was previously used by drovers to secure their stock at night. Unfortunately there had been too much rain for us to access the cave, so we went for a walk along the creek, turning back at the sign that said there was a risk of bee sting if we proceeded further. It was a lovely walk along the creek with interesting rocks and some quite mature trees. I think David enjoyed the drive in and out with mostly sand interspersed with a few rocks and lots of potholes to make it interesting.

It was a pleasant walk along the creek
These weirdly shaped rocks were abuzz with bees
David excelled himself again today in finding lizards on the road. He found 2 stumpy tailed lizards, or shingle back lizards, in different parks, to add to the 2 thorny devils has has found previously. In these cases tunnel vision has been useful. Now, every time he stops the car suddenly, I think he's found another lizard.

As the weather improved while we were at Jurien Bay I was finally able to get a decent sunset photo, the first for ages. It was a nice finish to our time there as there will be few opportunities for Indian Ocean sunsets from here on.

Sunset at Jurien Bay

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