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Western Australia: Rottnest Island (Day 7)

posted by Martin Rubli at 13:59

Concluding our Australia trip was an excursion to Rottnest Island, about a half hour away by boat from Fremantle where we stayed for the last two nights of our trip.

On the island the major means of transportation is the bicycle, so you get a free workout while exploring it. The reason why Rottnest Island is so popular with animal loving tourists is a tiny kind of marsupial called quokka (think mini-kangaroo). They roam freely around the island and they're not the least bit shy.

Besides quokkas there are lots of nice beaches, lighthouses, salt lakes, as well as two overpriced super markets and an even more overpriced bakery. It's therefore best to just pack your own lunch. But even if you don't you can still get decent food on the island.

We had almost another full day to walk around Fremantle but not many good photos to show, so this is the last installment of this Western Australia series. I hope you enjoyed the photos as much as we did our trip!


The Rottnest Express that we took from Fremantle to Rottnest Island (or Rotto, as people call it).

The Rottnest Express that we took from Fremantle to Rottnest Island (or Rotto, as people call it).

The view from Rottnest Island.

The view from Rottnest Island.

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathurst_Lighthouse Bathurst Lighthouse], the smaller one of two lighthouses on the island.

Bathurst Lighthouse, the smaller one of two lighthouses on the island.

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The first [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quokka quokka] that we came across on the island and the main reason why we visited to begin with.

The first quokka that we came across on the island and the main reason why we visited to begin with.

A quokka mother with its joey in the pouch.

A quokka mother with its joey in the pouch.

The little animals aren't shy at all because they have no natural enemies on the island (apart from the side effects of human civilization, that is).

The little animals aren't shy at all because they have no natural enemies on the island (apart from the side effects of human civilization, that is).

The view back to Bathurst Lighthouse with the Perth skyline in the background.

The view back to Bathurst Lighthouse with the Perth skyline in the background.

One of the many bays around the island. In the background is Longreach Bay.

One of the many bays around the island. In the background is Longreach Bay.

The island contains a number of salt lakes. This one is Lake Baghdad.

The island contains a number of salt lakes. This one is Lake Baghdad.

Lake Baghdad with [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wadjemup_Lighthouse Wadjemup Lighthouse] in the background.

Lake Baghdad with Wadjemup Lighthouse in the background.

Biking is the most common form of transportation because, apart from public transport, no motor vehicles are available on the island.

Biking is the most common form of transportation because, apart from public transport, no motor vehicles are available on the island.

The remains of a quokka.

The remains of a quokka.

The beautiful beach in Parakeet Bay.

The beautiful beach in Parakeet Bay.

The City of York Bay.

The City of York Bay.

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Pearse Lakes, one of the salt lakes at the center of the island.

Pearse Lakes, one of the salt lakes at the center of the island.

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I was originally worried we'd be eating too many burgers on our trip. But it turned out the food was one of the highlights of the trip. We had a lot of good food and good hamburgers like this just never get boring.

I was originally worried we'd be eating too many burgers on our trip. But it turned out the food was one of the highlights of the trip. We had a lot of good food and good hamburgers like this just never get boring.

Apart from the fact that you'll have a hard time reading 8 km/h on a speedometer this is an island pretty much without cars!

Apart from the fact that you'll have a hard time reading 8 km/h on a speedometer this is an island pretty much without cars!

Rainbow Lorikeets sitting in a palm tree back in Perth.

Rainbow Lorikeets sitting in a palm tree back in Perth.


Western Australia: Lake Thetis and Pinnacles (Day 6)

posted by Martin Rubli at 16:38

Day 6 was a busy day! We had over 450 kilometers and three PoIs ("points of interest" that is for the non-GPS-avid reader :-) to cover: Grigson's Lookout, Lake Thetis with its stromatolites, and the Pinnacles Desert in the Nambung National Park. The latter is among the most famous tourist destinations in Western Australia, so the expectations were high.

We had a lunch picnic at Grigson's Lookout, a small (unfortunately unshaded) viewpoint just along the highway. By merely turning your head you can see the ocean, sand dunes, and salt lakes.

When we got to Lake Thetis it was still during the hottest time of the day, so after a walk around the lake we had to stop for ice cream in the tiny town of Cervantes before hitting the road again.

People say the Pinnacles are best visited during sunrise or sunset because that allows the limestone formations to cast long shadows that make for great photos. We wanted to avoid driving at night for fear of making (or becoming) roadkill, so we couldn't leave too late with over 200 km to go to our bed & breakfast in Fremantle. But regardless of the time of day, the Pinnacles are a very impressive sight!



Grigson's lookout, a bit south of Geraldton.

Grigson's lookout, a bit south of Geraldton.

A salt lake in the distance.

A salt lake in the distance.

Lake Thetis which is famous for its [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stromatolite stromatolites] (those tower-shaped structures).

Lake Thetis which is famous for its stromatolites (those tower-shaped structures).

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Sand dunes along the highway. It was so hot that I barely had the energy to get out of the car to take a few photos. :-)

Sand dunes along the highway. It was so hot that I barely had the energy to get out of the car to take a few photos. :-)

View along the Brand Highway.

View along the Brand Highway.

Pinnacles, the drive-thru national park!

Pinnacles, the drive-thru national park!

There's really something weird about driving through the major attraction of a national park but the area covered by pinnacles is so large that it almost makes sense. Then again, I prefer having to earn my view and that's what we did after parking our car and revisiting on foot.

There's really something weird about driving through the major attraction of a national park but the area covered by pinnacles is so large that it almost makes sense. Then again, I prefer having to earn my view and that's what we did after parking our car and revisiting on foot.

The pinnacles come in all shapes and sizes ...

The pinnacles come in all shapes and sizes ...

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From this photo you can get an idea of the are covered with pinnacles. Mind you, it continues to the left ...

From this photo you can get an idea of the are covered with pinnacles. Mind you, it continues to the left ...

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Western Australia: Kalbarri to Geraldton (Day 5)

posted by Martin Rubli at 16:29

Geraldton is only about 150 kilometers south of Kalbarri and we had only pinned down two stops on the way: the coastal part of Kalbarri National Park and a suspiciously colored lake.

This left us with enough time to spend an afternoon in Geraldton and visit a few local attractions. Because it was Sunday there wasn't much else to do in town anyway. Most shops were closed, but despite that getting food wasn't a problem. Delicious burgers for lunch and Asian noodle soup (whose exact origin was impossible to determine) for dinner.

The next day was going to be another long drive back down to Perth.



The coastal area of the Kalbarri National Park is just as beautiful as the inland one.

The coastal area of the Kalbarri National Park is just as beautiful as the inland one.

This is Mushroom Rock ...

This is Mushroom Rock ...

... but somehow no matter from which side you look at it ...

... but somehow no matter from which side you look at it ...

... it looks more like a table to me. So I'll call it Table Rock.

... it looks more like a table to me. So I'll call it Table Rock.

There are all kinds of amazing rock structures along the Rainbow Valley trail.

There are all kinds of amazing rock structures along the Rainbow Valley trail.

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A Banksia tree along the highway.

A Banksia tree along the highway.

Close-up of a Banksia's flower spike.

Close-up of a Banksia's flower spike.

Hutt Lagoon, one of several pink lakes in Western Australia. The color really looks very weird and it's hard to believe that it's natural.

Hutt Lagoon, one of several pink lakes in Western Australia. The color really looks very weird and it's hard to believe that it's natural.

Of course, the sign of a large chemical company right next to the lake does make it look even more suspicious, but apparently the color is caused by the presence of a particular kind of algae.

Of course, the sign of a large chemical company right next to the lake does make it look even more suspicious, but apparently the color is caused by the presence of a particular kind of algae.

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In Geraldton the water color looks much more normal again.

In Geraldton the water color looks much more normal again.

The lookout tower along Geraldton beach.

The lookout tower along Geraldton beach.

The beach in Geraldton.

The beach in Geraldton.

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The HMAS Sydney memorial in Geraldton.

The HMAS Sydney memorial in Geraldton.

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The dome is made out of 645 steel seagulls, one for each person aboard the vessel when it sank.

The dome is made out of 645 steel seagulls, one for each person aboard the vessel when it sank.

The bronze statue of a woman looking towards the ocean, waiting for the HMAS Sydney to return.

The bronze statue of a woman looking towards the ocean, waiting for the HMAS Sydney to return.

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Western Australia: Kalbarri National Park (Day 4)

posted by Martin Rubli at 16:17

Kalbarri National Park was my personal highlight of the trip. We figured going into the national park and simply driving from parking lot to parking lot would border on an insult to nature. We at least wanted to do a bit of hiking and the ten kilometer Loop trail seemed like a good choice.

We had read the entire spectrum of experience reports: from "warm" to "unbearably hot", from "easy to get lost" to "well-designated", from "hardly any flies" to "eaten alive". We had somehow hit the middle ground: It was hot in the canyon but still bearable. The path was sometimes less than obvious but you wouldn't get lost. And the flies were annoying but far fewer than we had feared. Either way, we were prepared: Plenty of water, a good lunch, GPS, and fly nets, all of which were put to good use.

Many people primarily mention Nature's Window and Z-Bend when they talk about Kalbarri National Park. While Nature's Window is nice it is not spectacular. And if you want to have it for yourself you have to choose your time carefully (the hotter the better). Z-Bend practically wanes in comparison with the Loop, although we did hear from another couple that it gets much prettier if you descend all the way to the river, something we unfortunately didn't have time for.

Be that as it may, the Loop alone was easily worth the trip into Kalbarri National Park. Canyon views, river, trees, white sand, beautiful rock formations, and all in a single 10 km hike! But see for yourself ...



The highway into Kalbarri National Park (the paved part that is).

The highway into Kalbarri National Park (the paved part that is).

The lookout at Nature's Window and entrance to The Loop, which was destined to be our hike for the day.

The lookout at Nature's Window and entrance to The Loop, which was destined to be our hike for the day.

The Murchison river, today unfortunately in the color sand-brown because there had been some rain upstream.

The Murchison river, today unfortunately in the color sand-brown because there had been some rain upstream.

The trail towards Nature's Window and The Loop trail.

The trail towards Nature's Window and The Loop trail.

This is what Nature's Window looks like in the morning when the temperatures are still at levels that tourists can generally bear. We figured we'd just go ahead with our hike and take photos later instead of getting in line!

This is what Nature's Window looks like in the morning when the temperatures are still at levels that tourists can generally bear. We figured we'd just go ahead with our hike and take photos later instead of getting in line!

All the warnings almost make you want to turn around ...

All the warnings almost make you want to turn around ...

The Loop trail first follows the cliff before eventually leading down to Murchison River.

The Loop trail first follows the cliff before eventually leading down to Murchison River.

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The rocky trail.

The rocky trail.

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Approaching Murchison river. This is where the trail is the most beautiful.

Approaching Murchison river. This is where the trail is the most beautiful.

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Now imagine the water being blue-greenish! :-)

Now imagine the water being blue-greenish! :-)

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Somehow the rock formations along the river just kept reminding me of thousand-layer cake.

Somehow the rock formations along the river just kept reminding me of thousand-layer cake.

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I'm not sure if these "water falls" have a name but I've seen similarly tiny falls labeled with tourist information signs elsewhere in Australia. :-)

I'm not sure if these "water falls" have a name but I've seen similarly tiny falls labeled with tourist information signs elsewhere in Australia. :-)

The sandy part of the trail where there's no wind and where for every two steps forward you make one step back.

The sandy part of the trail where there's no wind and where for every two steps forward you make one step back.

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Nature's Window in the midday heat with just enough tourists to avoid a queue and always have someone to take your picture. :-)

Nature's Window in the midday heat with just enough tourists to avoid a queue and always have someone to take your picture. :-)

The gravel "highway" between Nature's Window and Z-Bend.

The gravel "highway" between Nature's Window and Z-Bend.

This gorge is called the Z Bend although it escapes our eyes why that is so.

This gorge is called the Z Bend although it escapes our eyes why that is so.

One of the many galah cockatoos in the little town of Kilbarri.

One of the many galah cockatoos in the little town of Kilbarri.


Western Australia: Perth to Kalbarri (Day 3)

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:12

The third day was more about operating a car than a camera. It took us most of the day to drive the 600 kilometers north to Kalbarri while trying not to make (or become!) roadkill.

It got clear pretty quickly why everybody advises you not to drive after dusk. The second time we saw wild kangaroos was soon after we left the larger Perth area and they were neither wild nor moving. Luckily the same couldn't be said of a pair of emus that were strolling on a stretch of highway in the middle of the day. I barely managed to pull out my camera before they ran away.

We made it to Kalbarri just in time for sunset.



A little bit of shade along Highway 1 on our way north to Kalbarri.

A little bit of shade along Highway 1 on our way north to Kalbarri.

A spray-painted mural on the side of the grocery store in Eneabba.

A spray-painted mural on the side of the grocery store in Eneabba.

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One of the two emus that suddenly appeared on the highway. You can see that they don't just put the warning signs there for fun.

One of the two emus that suddenly appeared on the highway. You can see that they don't just put the warning signs there for fun.

Australian highways may be virtually endless but they are photogenic nonetheless.

Australian highways may be virtually endless but they are photogenic nonetheless.

The beach at Kalbarri where we just arrived in time for sunset.

The beach at Kalbarri where we just arrived in time for sunset.


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