Quobba Station to Ningaloo Reef

Said our goodbyes to Rob and Di as we are heading north and they are going south. It’s approximately 70 miles back down the Shark Bay peninsula to join up with the North West Coastal Highway again. The name of the road sounds rather grand but is in fact a very simple 2 lane road similar to an A road at home. Most of the time it runs dead straight and flat over a mostly featurless landscape. Roadhouses (petrol stations) come about every 100 miles. There are so few vehicles that virtually everyone waves as they go past.

We stopped at Carnarvon for provisions. It was early Saturday afternoon but almost all the shops apart from Woolworths (yes, Woolworths) were closed. Woolworths in Australia sell mostly food and is a supermarket.

We had heard of a place a bit further up the coast where there are some spectacular blowholes so headed in that direction. The last 10 miles or so was on an unmade road and we found Quobba Station which is a sheep station and homestead. They have some very basic accommodation in the sheep shearers quarters and allow a few campers to stay. It’s rough and ready but just our sort of place. The camping places were right on the homestead’s beach with a reef. It was like something from a film set as was the owners wife (a very pretty, well dressed young woman – not quite what we expected). It was very windy so we managed to find a spot behind one of the sheep shearers cottages and we barbequed on the verandah of the building.

Next morning we were awoken by about 50 parrots just outside our van and in the trees behind us. After breakfast we left to visit the blowholes a few miles down the road. It appears to us that there is always something trying to kill you in Australia and this place is no exception. Here it is King Waves. There are signs up all along the coast warning you of them. Apparently, it’s a wave that only comes once every few hours and can sweep you out to sea. Blowholes are where the sea has made an underground passage under the rocks and has broken through a few metres inland. As the waves rush in first air and then spray is forced through the hole and a large spout of water shoots into the air sometimes as high as 20 metres. We were to an elderly Australian couple who told us that the lady had been caught by a King Wave and was lucky to survive. We couldn’t believe that she had come back for more.

We spent the rest of the day driving up towards Exmouth calling in at Coral Bay, a lovely spot but very busy. We found a campsite just north of Exmouth on the edge of the Cape Ranges National Park and Ningaloo Reef. The reef stretches for about 70kms and has loads of lovely bays for swimming and snorkelling. We are heading for Turquoise Bay and will be wild camping by the ocean so may be without internet access for a few days.

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