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Posted by on Oct 12, 2012 in Australia, Australia & Oceania | 120 comments

Incredible Coral Bay, Western Australia

 

My first trip of 2012 began on the 2nd January and consisted of a 12 hour road trip from Perth, Western Australia to Coral Bay.

 

Highway to Coral Bay

 

With my wife and good mates Fredrico & Sasha (names changed for all government agencies out there) we took to the road at 8pm. Fredrico owns a single cab Toyota Landcruiser with a canopy on the back, loaded up to the nines with fishing gear, swags, fridges, cookers and a couple of wild turkeys. Actually a couple of slabs of Wild Turkey, which may not be as useful as the turkeys themselves if we broke down and needed to eat, or ride to a nearby town. Speaking of towns, I will tell you now that if you are in Perth, Western Australia and planning to drive for 12 hours north to coral bay, don’t expect to see many (towns or turkeys). This drive would have to be one of the most boring I’ve ever done, with the road being straight and flat for nearly the entire way. The landscape which we missed on the way up in the dark, we experienced on the way back, and I will say it is one I only need to see once. Small trees turn to shrubs, which then turn back to small trees and there is barely a hill or a bump for most of the drive.

 

Pristine beach in Coral Bay

 

On a positive note, my old mate Fredrico knew heaps about the few small towns on the way up which included the Hutt River Province, an actual country within Australia due to a cheeky cocky (farmer) from back in the forties who found a loophole in the law books and claimed his land exclusively as his own nation. Sadly it was midnight and we weren’t exactly on top of the province and we heard he has a large army of goats and boxing kangaroos so we thought it best not to bother him. Apparently though he is a great old chap who is getting on now but still stamps your passport before making you drink his home-brew and fight his kangaroos.

 

Coral Bay

 

Another place to note on the way is of course Kalbari which is a small detour to the coast and a place I will be sure to make a halfway stop next time. The seaside town is famous for pristine beaches and great fish and many other things I cannot remember since my last visit was when I was 12. You may think this is a copout but since this is a post about Coral Bay I say you’ll just have to wait.

 

Goats at the water’s edge

 

Driving through the night and keeping each other awake via the two-way radio, we reached a rest stop just outside Carnarvon by sunrise. Rolling out the swags and crashing out for a couple of hours before the morning sun warmed up, we recharged enough for the final leg. I would not recommend tackling the entire drive in one go, even with two drivers as we did on the way back. I will definitely include a stop overnight next time. Having said that, driving at night was largely a good idea, being cooler and quieter on the road, albeit for the kangaroos and foxes. Thankfully though, Fredrico drove up front and alerted us to any wildlife hovering by the roadside, I’m sure the Holden Viva would have turned in to an accordion if we hit something.

Passing through Carnarvon we tried to buy some bananas, the one thing the place is famous for, alas we did not find one farm selling them. Disgruntled and low on potassium we tackled the final stretch to arrive in Coral Bay. This one-street town is like an oasis after the 12 hours of shrubs and to see a pristine beach with ultramarine water makes it all worth while.

There are only a few options when it comes to accommodation in Coral Bay, being the back packers and a couple of caravan parks including the Bayview where options range from tent and caravan spots, to one bed villas up to multi-room dwellings. Prices are reasonable with a one bed villa with small kitchen and living room only $130 AUD per night for 4 adults. The living room has a single bed and trundle but being the bush boy that he is, Fredrico laid his swag out on the floor.

 

Seagulls on the beach

 

By the time we checked in it was close to 2 o’clock and over 30 degrees so we went down to the pool in the camp grounds and had a much deserved drink, which we were lucky to have the foresight to bring, since Coral Bay has no bottle shop. Fredrico devised a plan to load the ute up full of cartons on our next trip up here, a kind of black market import business where we can charge outrageous prices for liquor to unprepared campers.

With only a couple of days here in Coral Bay, we grabbed our snorkel gear and headed down to the beach. Ningaloo Reef runs from Coral Bay all the way up to Exmouth around 150kms north and is one of only a few places where the magnificent Whale Shark is known to frequent. Unfortunately for us, this mysterious creature can be found here from March to June so we had to entertain ourselves with the other marine life in the shallow reef off the beach. Parrot fish, Snapper, Stingrays and the odd turtle are frequent inhabitants amongst the giant purple and blue coral and seaΒ grasses. My wife dived straight back into the snorkelling since her last time in Florida almost 18 months ago and calls it: “the best snorkelling I have ever done” largely due to the great coral and marine species as well as the reef’s close proximity to the beach.

Fredrico spent a lot of his time in the water worried about being taken by a tiger shark, especially after a dusk fishing session. Over near the Coral Bay boat ramp, we parked the 4×4 on the rocky headland in a spot we scoped out earlier in the day. The half-metre deep water was teeming with schools of fish that afternoon so we thought it a spot we couldn’t go wrong. On arrival at sundown, Jen and I followed some kangaroos and wild sheep along the cliff line. Fredrico and Sasha threw a line in and caught a small reef fish in seconds. Fredrico then peed into the shallow water and minutes later the pair witnessed a 1.5 metre tiger shark move in and circle the area below them. When we returned we threw a line in, the sun now set. We spent an hour casting out and received nothing, not even a bite.

 

Coral Bay

 

We returned that night empty-handed, disappointed we were not feasting on the pink snapper we have been diving with, and resort to a diet of Wild Turkey. As any good camping trip needs, we spend the night playing UNO and board games. On our final day we do much the same, snorkelling and soaking up the sun and 30 degree weather.Β From the shark incident, Fredrico is not the same in the water and is furious when i inform him of my need to go (pee) in the water. With a final swim and no further shark sightings we say goodbye to our friends who continued on to Exmouth.

Coral Bay is an incredible place if you enjoy swimming, snorkelling and sun baking and for Jen (my wife) and I it was the perfect escape no matter how brief. If you need a bit more, Exmouth is the place to go with pubs, restaurants and better fishing. Sasha and Fredrico were lucky enough to witness the turtle egg laying season (January), where they saw 12 turtles slowly crawl on to the beach the second the moon came out. With Coral Bay providing a great escape, I know it will be a place I will return to again perhaps even this whale shark season.

Get in touch when you make it ‘down under’ my foreign friends!

 

Sunset on the drive home


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120 Comments

  1. Australia looks like a beautiful country. I would sure like to visit it someday.

    • It really is my friend, but then again isn’t the entire world amazing? Start planning that trip πŸ™‚

      • It is in a way, but tastes differ, don’t they? Australia fits my taste, I guess.

        And yes, will do. πŸ˜€

        • They do and that’s is why i love travel so much. There is something for everyone out there!

  2. It loooks beautiful, but a long long drive for a short stay. Happy fishing.

    • Hi Bridget, it is an incredibly long drive but I think half the adventure is getting there sometimes. My mate and I had so much fun rambling to each other over the 2-way radio to keep each other awake. The little things…

      • True. Us Brits have a skewed vision of distance though living on such a wee island!

        • And you have so many incredible countries right across the channel, so Jealous!

          • Anytime.

            Hope to meet you down under.

          • Me too, be sure to send us a message

  3. Wonderful photos Ardun. Sounds like your life is 100 times more interesting than mine. Enjoy your travels.

    • Oh c’mon Huffygirl, life is what you make it. I had a look around your blog, look at what is on your doorstep Lake Michigan!! Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  4. wow this is amazing. Very beautiful Great story by the way. Im just hoping that one day my wife and I can afford to do something like this.

    • Thanks so much! You guys would love it, there is so much to see!

    • Thanks Dani, I checked out some of yours too. The Bahamas look amazing!!

      • I am a sucker for beaches πŸ™‚

  5. Reblogged this on marissabrooke01 and commented:
    A really neat travel blog with scenery in pictures like you’ve never seen before that come to life with this awesome description of a trip to Coral Bay, Western Australia!!

    • WOW! Thanks Marissa! I’m glad you enjoyed it so much. I look forward to watching your blog grow πŸ™‚

      • Thank you! I appreciate you for following me!! Look forward to your future blogs now!!

  6. Never been to Australia but like I said in my bucket list, I wanna go to the opera house

    • The opera house is awesome! I’m originally from Sydney, it is a great city.

  7. Enjoyed reading this very much. I chuckled when I saw your about.me! I’m living in Chicago and there’s our beloved ‘Bean’ sculpture pictured!! MY trip of a lifetime was traveling to Australia (Brisbane and Sydney) a few years ago and snorkeling later in the Great Barrier Reef! Everything’s relative, mate!

    • Thanks Anita, I love that bean! Brissie and Sydney are great cities and the Barrier reef WOW! My wife and I travelled all through the US and just loved it! Keep an eye out for my book on that trip, coming very soon πŸ™‚

      • Best of luck with your book. I’m a great armchair traveler so I will “follow” you! I’m not a big fan of LONG airplane flights πŸ™ but my husband is always ready to fly to Australia!

        • Great, great and great! I hate the long flights too, but when I know i’m going to be out of my comfort zone in some amazing place i just have to go. Get over here and check out the west coast!

          • Someday πŸ˜€

  8. Lovely photos, great post πŸ™‚ Would love to around myself too…

    • Thanks so much! So much to see, so little time…

      • tell me about it… too little money to plan the big trips… so i m starting small…
        i ve put up some photographs of the trips in my own country.. do take a look πŸ™‚

  9. So beautiful! Gotta love the white sand, blue sky and crystal-clear water.

  10. Cool pix & a great story – thanks for sharing your experiences. Reminds me just how BIG Australia actually is. I recall driving for hours in a straight line through Queensland once, towards Emerald. Big. Dry. Spectacular. When we got there, the local bar served beer in cans, in styrene holders wiith that dreadful ‘fingers on blackboard’ sound as the can went in.

    • Haha the good old styrofoam stubby holders. Things have changed a bit, now we use wetsuit material, us Aussies are ahead of our time I tell ya Ha πŸ™‚

  11. Hey Ardun. Wow. Incredible Australia! It’s really one of my dream destinations, if only it weren’t too expensive to get there! But perhaps someday I will. And congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    • It can be expensive to get here, but there are many great people here who are happy too help out and show you around. Thanks for the congratulations πŸ™‚

  12. Wow – amazing photos and loved reading about it! I will be in Australia soon and hope my soon-to-come blog posts about it will be half as good as this! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed:)

    • Thankyou! I am hope you enjoy your time ‘down under’ il be following you. Let me know if you want to know about any places πŸ™‚

      • A very kind offer which I will definitely be taking you up on closer to the time!

      • You’re welcome Ardun.

  13. Lovely photos, great post πŸ™‚ Would love to move around myself too…

    • Thanks Steve, it is the best feeling I know.

  14. Incredible photos! I definitely want to go there one day! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks. You won’t regret it if you do. πŸ™‚

  15. I’d love to make it over to WA one day. So far my Down Under adventures have been limited to Victoria. Coral Bay looks amazing!

    • It’s a little quieter than the east coast but there is some beautiful coastline. Did you see the 12 apostles?

      • Yes, and it was wonderful. Fortunately, Victoria does have a lot of beautiful places within a day’s drive from Melbourne. Western Australia would be quite a trip, but probably worth it, I imagine!

        • Amazing! It is on my list. Things are fewer and further between but worth the effort.

  16. Beautiful pictures! I haven’t been to that part of the country yet, skipping over from Perth to Broome, but a West coast trip is on the cards one day!

  17. Sounds like Fredrico & Sasha caught the interest of the Royal Defense Forces of Hutt?

    ghost.

    • Haha i think so, they are the best in the land and have quite the spring in their step πŸ™‚ Thanks for the reblog ghost.

  18. Reblogged this on thewordpressghost and commented:
    Everyone,

    If you are truly in the middle of nowhere, you might be near here.

    It is beautiful. Even if it is a long way from everything else.

    ghost.

    • I agree Rachael, half the fun is getting away from the big cities and back to nature.

  19. Great post! I love desolate-looking places like this. If I ever manage to get some time free from the horrible city I work in, I might check out these parts.

    • Thanks SC, any chance to escape the city even for a weekend is good stress relief.

  20. Look at the blue ocean and white sand. It looks absolutely spectacular. It reminds me of a road trip few years back from Saskatoon Saskatchewan to Vancouver British Columbia where the first half consisted of driving through flat farmland and the second half consisted of driving around cliffs and mountain passes.

    • Sounds beautiful! I loved the drive from Vancouver through the Coquihalla and on to the Rockies and Banff. Such rugged country.

  21. Isolation is what we seek as backpackers traveling the world. Boring landscapes are quite often the best time to let your brain do all of it’s background thinking to help clear up all the daily chatter of new information. Great work and keep writing!

    • So true! Every landscape has something to offer. Thanks.

  22. This places looks amazing. I haven’t ventured to Western Australia yet but my husband and I plan to once we’re back home in Australia. The beaches in Australia are truly some of the best in the world!

    • Totally! The beach is my favourite thing about Oz. Make sure you check us out on the west coast.

  23. love the picture of the goats near the lake, sounds like you had an awesome time!

    • I love that one too, but that is the ocean my friend. I couldn’t believe we found goats and kangaroos so close to it!

  24. I would love to put my toes in this beach. Congratulations on making Freshly Pressed!

    • Doesn’t it look inviting, might have to get there again this summer πŸ™‚ Thanks.

  25. My twin lives in Sydney and my friend in Melbourne.
    Love love love Australia.
    Coming to visit in November.

    • Excellent! Both great cities with so much to offer. Have a great trip!

  26. I hope I could travel to Australia some day~~~

    • You won’t regret it if you do πŸ™‚

  27. Such beautiful images! Really feel like making a visit πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Saajida, its well worth the visit

  28. What a neat trip! Do you plan on going to New Zealand next?

    • Hi Beth, More of NZ will be on the cards in the future. I have been to the north island and seen some amazing things. Il do a post on Rotorua and some cool glow worm caves soon πŸ™‚

    • Hi Beth, just did a post on New Zealand for you. Enjoy:)

  29. Very nice post, and you’ve got a very fantastic photos! The beach and the white sand is enticingly wonderful! Thanks for sharing. Very well deserved!

    • Thanks Jim! There will be plenty more coming up to summer.

    • Thanks Gerard, you are so lucky to be in New York, i love that city! Nice blog too πŸ™‚

  30. These photos look absolutely majestic. Nice commentary, too. I would love to go to Australia one day.

    • Thanks Michelle, your welcome anytime πŸ™‚

  31. Oh those crystal clear waters look divine!!!

    • I can’t wait for summer again πŸ™‚

    • Yep, if you’re like me the list just keeps getting bigger! πŸ™‚ thanks for stopping by

      • Without a doubt!

      • Without a doubt! It would be sad if it didn’t πŸ™‚

    • Make sure you go for whale shark season

      • Whens that? I’ll be over from September – February

        • It’s 12 hours drive north of Perth which is the capital of western Australia

  32. Wow this bay is absolutely beautiful! It reminds me very much of a trip I took to Kauai last year….gorgeous!

  33. So very beautiful. Australia has a magical feel when photographed.

    • I agree, so many rich colours.

  34. I’ve always wanted to visit Australia! My online buddy (he lives somewhere in NSW) told me that the Gold Coast is incredible, too. I took his word (and photos) for it; might visit one day. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing and congratulations on making Freshly Pressed!

    • Your friend is right, gold coast is great but the west coast gets better sunsets (over the water). Gold coast is ore like Miami (party town) whereas Perth is a lot more laid back. Both great places though. Thanks for the congrats. Feel free to follow me, there will be plenty more coming about Australia and other great places πŸ™‚

  35. A roadtrip with a beach at the end… it’s what I dream of. Unfortunately I am yet to have the opportunity to tavel, what with society’s expectation of me to get a degree and then the need to earn money. But I shall make it to Australia one day, else I will have missed out.

    • I know right, it made the drive all worth it. Make sure you don’t let society boss you around for so long that you miss doing what you want πŸ™‚

  36. Thanks for a great post Ardun I really enjoyed reading it!!!!!

    • Good to hear Mel! Have you been?

  37. The sky around the time of sunset (photo 28) is best shown when narrated by the trees on the horizon. Great topic, one of my favorites.

  38. gorgeous photos! I went to Coral Bay with my parents when I was young & I have the most amazing shell collection to show for it! These photos reflect my memories perfectly!

    • Thanks Mel, It is such a great place isn’t it! I might have to return this xmas πŸ™‚ Feel free to subscribe for more upcoming posts πŸ™‚

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