Week 5: Tour de Oz (Shark Bay)
On the way to Shark Bay I swung past the Satellite Earth Station in Carnarvon – a 13m wide satellite dish built back in the 60’s to support NASA’s Apollo moon missions. On the day of the landing, it played the role of receiving WA’s first live TV signals from the giant dish at Parkes, NSW that was immortalised in the 2000 film “The Dish” – a great little flick if you haven’t seen it!
After 450km of extreme heat I hit Shark Bay. Bush camping is not allowed in this area so I went for the first ‘camping’ sign I saw – no matter what! And what a great choice it was …
Hamelin Pool was once a town, but now the whole place has been turned into a caravan park and is easily the coolest one I’ve ever seen. You get to camp in the middle of this ‘ghost town’ and can choose to setup camp next to the post office, or perhaps by the old-fashioned tea rooms. There’s even a telegraph station. All these choices were fair, but, due to high temperatures, I chose to go 5-star and checked in to a fine looking picnic table – yet again!
Shark Bay is one of few places in the world where you can find ‘living’ stromatolites. You can think of them as funny looking rocks that grow but, to be more precise, they’re structures somehow created by microorganisms and somehow related to fossils and early life on earth, something something 3.5 billion years ago something something (ok, that wasn’t so precise, but it’s hot, this biology stuff is going in one ear out there other, and I’ve gotta keep moving).
Shell Block Quarry
Shark Bay is all about the tiny little shells that created the coast – literally! Thirty years ago local builders came up with an idea to start using that solid shell material and started to cut shell blocks deep into the beach. There are a few ‘shell buildings’ still around – mainly in Denham. Unfortunately, within time, those shell blocks appeared to be not so durable and started dissolving.
Monkey Mia Conservation Park and Resort is the most popular destination in Shark Bay. Wild dolphins arrive virtually every day at around 8am for interaction and feeding.
The whole resort has a variety of accommodation – including a great deal for unpowered sites: camping fees + meal + beer = $20! The place was packed with backpackers and campervans … I felt a bit lost with so many people around! Also, there were plenty of emus on the camping ground too which was truly entertaining – until they started pinching the food from my side cases … but in fairness: even that was funny!
Kinga’s Tour De Oz – Supporting the Shepherd Centre
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