Friday, August 7, 2015

Kalbarri 2 - 5 August

Kalbarri is a town surrounded by a national park of the same name. The town itself looks like a typical coastal town but it has a few more facilities than most, probably because of its relatively isolated position.

Kalbarri National Park has both a coastal section with spectacular cliffs and a gorge section surrounding the Murchison River which has the second biggest river catchment in WA. Shortly before we arrived there had been a significant amount of rain in the catchment and the river was in full spate, but a week previously the gorges were dry. The park is also well known for its wildflowers, and we saw many different types.

The coastal cliffs southbound Kalbarri are quite spectacular and are weathered into interesting formations. They have also proved to be deadly for many ships. Red Bluff is one of those, and on the day we were there it was so windy it was hard to hold the camera still enough to take a photo.
Further down the coast there are features known as The Castle, Island Rock and Natural Bridge. There is a coastal walk joining all the features but it was too windy for it to be a pleasant stroll.

Above and below, Red Bluff, the only red cliffs on this section of the coast

We decided to have a break from landforms and take a trip to the Hutt River Province, a part of Australia that seceded from the Commonwealth in 1970. Leonard Casley had a severe disagreement with the WA Wheat Board which wanted to severely reduce his quota. This disagreement led him to finally set up his own territory called Hutt River Province which is about 60 km from Kalbarri. HRH Prince Leonard will be 90 years old this month, and although eccentric is still very much alert and sprightly. His wife HRH Princess Shirley has died, but his son Prince Graeme helps him run the principality. We bought our visas for $2 each, and had them stamped. It was a very different afternoon outing.

The next day we resumed our extended tour of the gorgeous gorges of Western Australia. We started with Hawk's Head lookout,  then Ross Graham Lookout. This one was named after the first teacher at Kalbarri who was very concerned that the the gorges would be vandalised. He used to put up signs to warn people off using the the authority NAJCS, which stood for No Authority Just Common Sense.
Our next stops were the Western Loop, Nature's Window and the Z Bend Lookout. These all provided spectacular views of the layers of rock that from the Murchison River gorges. My favourite was definitely Nature's Window with its wonderful shapes and colours.
Hawk's Head Lookout

Western Loop

Ross Graham Gorge
Above and below, Nature's Window

Above and below, Z Bend

This kangaroo stayed on the road for quite a while for us to take several photos
For something else different we decided to visit Rainbow Jungle,  a parrot breeding centre with a collection of Australian birds and some exotic examples from overseas. All have been bred at the centre. The free fly aviary was definitely the highlight, but I didn't escape without being pooped on.
David with blue and yellow macaws

King parrot

Feeding frenzy

Sun conures from South America

We saw many different types of wildflowers at Kalbarri, most of which I can't identify despite my reference books. I will include a few of them, but they do create a spectacle when they are massed.

Our final photo stop relating to Kalbarri was about half an hour's drive south at Port Gregory, a sleepy fishing village whose claim to fame is the Pink Lake. The lake is pink due to the presence of an algae DunaliellaSalina which is a source of beta-carotene.

A small section of the Pink Lake, or Hutt Lagoon

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