Dramatic Beauty – Cape Range

As previously blogged, my wife and I recently hired a camper-van and traveled up the West coast of Australia in 2015. It was a trip I originally missed out on when living in Australia back in 2007, mainly due to lack of availability of tours and money at that time. It’s funny, having traveled such a considerable amount whilst there, I kept hearing these stories about how the West Coast was unmissable. This always happens, I suppose that it’s the power of regret. I had always regretted not visiting this coast, and who better to fulfill this regret with than my gorgeous beautiful wife.

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We originally planned to travel all the way from Perth to Broome, as I wanted to share the incredible experience of Broome with my wife, but weather and time constraints made that impossible. So we headed over half way up the coast to the Cape Range National Park and town of Exmouth.

We had already had an amazing time in the Kalbarri, Monkey Mia and Coral Bay, and beating that would be a huge challenge, we had been completely spoilt. The journey had given us a break from our regular day to day routine, we were detached, isolated, driven and best of all, together.

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Driving into Exmouth, it was the first time we had seen a true town since Carnavon a few days back, it seemed a like a deserted dust-bowl town. The temperature of the midday sun had risen to nearly forty degrees, and it looks as if it hadn’t rained in months. My immediate fear was that this place had been attacked by aliens and no one was living here any longer, there was not a soul in sight. Upon the sight of a rather large prawn statue next to the tourist information we both started laughing… Not many towns in the world have giant prawn statues!

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Amazingly there was life in the dust bowl, and we were booked in to a motel for a change in pace from the camper-van. The motel was great, as the temperature was making sleeping in the van a very sticky prospect especially with no wind. However the most fantastic thing about the hotel was that it looked like something out of the 1960’s, very groovy let’s say…

The next couple of the days were spent exploring Cape Range and the Ningaloo Reef, which didn’t disappoint. Actually it was incredible, seriously incredible. The drive the park is about 30 minutes from the town, but make sure you take everything you need, as there is nothing passed Exmouth, and by nothing I mean absolutely nothing except for a tourist information centre in the park. Immediately leaving the town we encountered some wild Emus crossing the road. This is not a rare site in Western Australia, but Megan really loves Emus, so we were even more excited when the mother was followed by two babies – very cute.

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The drive takes you around a military base, and again there was not a soul in sight, and upon entering the park itself it gets even lonelier – a beautiful wilderness.

The majority of turnoffs from the main road lead to the coast, usually to deserted white sand beaches. I have seen some beaches in my time but these are something special, completely alienated from any commerciality, literally nothing in sight for miles and miles. The most commercial was that of Turquoise bay, and by commercial I mean 10-20 other people on the beach. It’s simply stunning, like something out of a dream.

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Turquoise Bay has two huge selling points atop of its stunning natural beauty, the drift snorkel and the crystal clear lagoon like cove. The cove being the selling point for families as the sea is shallow, warm and very safe. The drift snorkel however needs a bit of respect, as not paying attention can have serious consequences. If you get caught in a rip here, you are gone. There is no life guards or passing boats, its open ocean all the way to Africa! However partaking in the drift snorkel is astonishing, with reef sharks, rays, all sorts of tropical fish and even turtles, very detached and unafraid of rare human interaction. It’s probably the best snorkel I have ever done.

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Turquoise Bay is dramatically intoxicating, you could spend a few hours to a few days just chilling on the beach. It’s by far the most beautiful beach we had seen since Bora Bora and probably before that Fiji of which it rivaled. You see pictures everyday of idyllic beaches but one so remote and so amazingly clean and crystal clear is definitely something special. The sun shimmering down on the blue and greens of the water is just something out of a paradise photo.

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Towards the end of the accessible road was the gorgeous Yardie Creak, a complete contrast to the wonders of the beaches, the creek offers access to a series of gorges and canyons into the mountains. The river flowing into the sea appears green in colour and was peaceful and silent. The only movement was through the sky in the form of wild ospreys soaring overhead. Another incredible site, as these birds are becoming rarer and rarer in the wild. We were also greeted by a number of eagles on our return, just sitting on the bushland next to the road. No Australian experience would not be complete without a few Kangeroos also coming out at night to say hello.

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We planned on staying in the park the first night but unfortunately the temperatures were just so high, that the desire of a cold shower was just too great an influence. The sheer number of beaches and inlets is incredible with every beach or inlet offering a different stunning view of the cape.

I am not sure my words are doing the Cape justice, but to summarise its simply a magical place, natural beauty at its best and so devoid of any commerciality, I hasten to say heavenly. If you are looking for peace, tranquility and just sheer beauty, don’t overlook this absolutely amazing location. I would even contemplate flying directly here next time we want to visit – it left me speechless.

This could well be my favourite place in all of Australia, so peaceful, so remote, so beautiful – A real hidden gem!

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