Week 5: Tour de Oz (Ningaloo Marine Park)
Running away from the heat …
Well I’ve finally left the North-West and even though I was kind of used to Pilbara temperatures, riding in 44 degree heat and near 100% humidity was really exhausting – it’s like someone sticks you in an oven and sets the fan to full strength!
I had to keep my visor down because the air was burning my face, drink about 5 litres of water every few hours, and limit the number of stops so I don’t get cooked in all that gear!
A couple of hundred kms from Karratha, a bush fire blocked off the road so I had to chill for half an hour … did I say chill? I mean fry in the sun! After that, I started going way over the speed limit thinking “the faster I go, the cooler I’ll feel, and the faster I’ll be down south where temperatures are much more pleasant.” Well, that theory didn’t work out so well – and I had to pay BIG BUCK$ for a speeding ticket. Unfortunately, this time my charming, innocent little Polish smile and a “who … me? Speeding?” didn’t work!
Ningaloo Marine Park
From Karratha, I headed straight down south to Exmouth which, from what I had heard, has extremely expensive accommodation … so I was lucky – a friend let me crash for the night in a donga in their work yard. The next morning I quickly packed and went to Ningaloo Marine Park. After watching the sunrise from the top of Vlamingh Head Lighthouse, I headed down to the highlight of the region – Turquoise Bay, which is apparently ranked number 28 in world’s most beautiful beaches. I must say, even for someone like me who thinks ‘a beach is just a beach’ … this was a breath taking moment: pure white sand and still, turquoise water … truly a perfect picture!
There are lots of camping spots around the park but unfortunately you can’t camp next to Turquoise Bay itself (fair enough too – else everybody would like to camp in this little heaven!) so I made my way to Neds Camp – a pretty good spot right next to the beach, shaded by trees and frequented by kangaroos. Lots of kangaroos. The temperature was so high I decided to sleep on a picnic table, hoping that I’ll get a little bit of a breeze at night. That worked out well, except for the kangaroos: they wouldn’t leave me alone! After hours of being bugged, I caved in, wore some ear plugs and managed to finally get some sleep.
I didn’t have to go far to my next stop, Coral Bay. An easy 170km cruise from Turquoise Bay, this small, relaxed town has two caravan parks and a hotel, and is famous for diving with whale sharks. Bush camping is not allowed in this area, so I didn’t really have a choice but to stay overnight in one of the very pricey caravan parks: People’s Park charges $40 just for an unpowered site! But I can’t say I regret it – after a few hours of snorkelling on this coral beach, nothing else mattered …
Next stop: Shark Bay … stay tuned!
Kinga’s Tour De Oz – Supporting the Shepherd Centre
Please sponsor my ride at: http://everydayhero.com.au/onherbike