So, apparently this blogging caper requires that I actually post blogs occasionally. As I have just been reminded by my beautiful blogging friend Fi over at Inner Pickle. Would you believe me if I told you we’ve been too busy? This country is BIG.
With three van-months under our belt we have fallen into a rhythm. A rhythm of lulling days on the big-sky highway until finally we turn off to a crescendo of corrugations and our next big adventure. A rhythm of packing and unpacking. Where Rosie and Buddy are on table, chairs and tarp duty, Mark’s domain is outside the van and mine is within. A rhythm of five nights out bush camping, then a night or two in a caravan park. We all prefer the bush camping but we need the water, power and our weekly fix of the jumping pillow.
The hours are measured by Mark’s early-morning birdwatch, butter on freshly-baked sourdough and fishing at dusk. And when the stars are out, the call for bedtime is always – always – marked by the baby toddle-sprinting to the toothbrushes where she sucks each and every one before flinging them to the ground. Gotta love a pre-sucked toothbrush.
It wasn’t too far north of Perth that we started to feel we were getting into the outback. The glorious Pinnacles at sunset was a brilliant way to kick off the next leg of this epic journey…
At Geraldton we turned right for a brief inland sojourn at ‘Gabyon’, a mind-bendingly big sheep station where the front fence alone measures 126 kilometres and you park your plane in the shed. With the days still sweltering at the 40-degree mark we were a bit early in the season, which meant we had the place to ourselves.
We set up camp beneath the gentle, rhythmic thunk, thunk, thunk of a windmill and spent three glorious days absorbing station life: bottle feeding orphan lambs, cooking tea and scones on the wood-burning stove in the shearer’s mess, playing in the old shearing shed.
Each evening the pink smudge of dusk set off the stark beauty of the corrugated tin, red dirt and white gums.
Reluctantly leaving ‘Gabyon’ we headed back to the coast, and after a bout of game fishing in Kalbarri and dolphin feeding in Monkey Mia, found our next taste of station life at ‘Quobba’. With its 80Ks of Indian Ocean coast, blowholes, whales, clifftop fishing and beach camping, ‘Quobba’ is a whole different station experience to ‘Gabyon’.
Leaving our van at the homestead, we threw the swags and a tent in the back of the car and headed to Red Bluff, a campsite at the northern end of ‘Quobba’, perched on the southern tip of Ningaloo Reef. As much as we love the van, to sleep out under the stars, to catch fish and throw them straight onto the coal fire, was magic.
Fishing at Red Bluff. Photo by Sally Henderson.
Let’s see what Highway 1 has in store for these scallywags next…