Carrot and Sean on tour

Highlights from our travelling antics through Asia and Australia

West Coast Road Trip Karijini National Park

Karijini was the most Northern part of our journey and our epic finale on our road trip of Western Australia. At each roadhouse on the way we had seen beautiful photos and postcards of what we were to expect of the National park and it didn’t disappoint.  The journey from Exmouth to Karijini  was the longest so far, 750 K’s of not much, however the journey took us through some of the biggest mining sites of WA and amazing Outback scenery. There were no towns or stop-off’s but the continuous huge rolling boulders, hills and red dusty landscape provided us with plenty of “I’m definitely in Australia” moments.  

We arrived at the National Park in the early evening and set up camp in the area near Fortescue Falls, unfortunately these gorges were the only ones we could reach due to our lack of 4x4 but they were pretty spectacular and meant we got our outback gorge fix!

Wes spent a couple of days exploring the huge red layered Park, received massages from the falls of Fortescue and had magical Fern Pool all to ourselves, climbing through the cave behind the waterfall and getting our feet nibbled by the resident fish in the deep blue pool. Freezing circular pool was like being in a huge deep bottomless hole and provided a refreshing cold plunge after a warm walk through the magnificent heady gorge.  

Exmouth

We went to Exmouth primarily to swim with the Whale Sharks, but also to visit the spectacular coastline, protected by National Park and home to the Ningaloo reef. We arrived late in the evening and visited the National Park centre first thing in the morning to secure one of the limited camp spots in the park for the following two nights. The next three days were spent swimming in the turquoise coloured sea, snorkelling with turtles, stingrays and a huge array of amazing fish. The coral itself wasn’t that spectacular as it’s all hard, however the fish and diverse range of animal that inhabit it are spectacular. Turquoise Bay was without a doubt one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever visited and we wasted hours sunbathing and drift snorkelling along its coast.

The park is also home to a sizeable Gorge, where we spotted cute little rock wallabies scaling the vertical walls and huge 2 metre nests home to giant Eagles and visited the WWII lighthouse at the Westerly tip of Exmouth where we saw swarms of turtles feeding around an old wrecked cattle ship.

Swimming with the Ningaloo Whale sharks

Swimming alongside a whale shark has been on our bucket list ever since we discovered our passion for snorkelling, diving and the underwater world in Asia. The Ningaloo reef is renowned worldwide for its visiting Whale Sharks that routinely return each year like clockwork to feed on the plankton at the time of coral spawning.  Luckily we were in the area at Whale Shark season and debated for a while as to whether we would fork out the rather large fee. It was one of the most expensive things we have ever done on our travels so far but after speaking to Captain Bill of Kings Whale Shark tours, he gave us a bit of friendly backpacker discount and we were booked on the boat for the following day.

There were about 15 of us on the boat and a real mixture of people, we were split into 2 groups and set out for the great big blue. After having a practice snorkel and getting used to being in deep water we all got back on the boat and waited for the spotter planes to tell us when they had Whale Sharks in sight. We didn’t have to wait very long. Within 20 minutes we had zoomed across the ocean to where the first whale shark of the day was swimming. The first group jumped in and had their first 10 minute swim and we eagerly jumped into the water afterwards, we lined up and all of a sudden, he appeared, a huge great big 9 metre whale shark slowly sauntered on past us. After he passed we swam round the back of his ginormous tail and swam alongside the underwater giant for ages. He swam so slowly and calmly that we often had to stop swimming otherwise we would have overtaken him.  It was an unbelievable moment that we will never forget. To get to swim alongside the biggest most gentle and calm fish in the sea was incredible. Our time was up and we had to tear ourselves away from him and hop back on the boat. However we had about 10 more snorkels with 4 more whale sharks before the day was up. Each and every snorkel was an awesome experience, the sharks were so curious they actually circled around to get a good look at us small fish following them around, although the Australian guidelines state that a 6 metre distance must be kept at all times, more often than not, the whale shark would suddenly turn and provide a very personal experience, being eye to eye to these magnificent animals is something we will never forget.

We were lucky enough to have two volunteers from Ecocean on-board, the only whale shark research and tracking organisation in Exmouth, who were an absolute wealth of information and interest to all of us, eager to answer any questions we had about the big fish and other sea animals in general, they really enhanced our trip and made it worthwhile.

The afternoon was spent snorkelling in the turquoise coral shallows spotting reef sharks, turtles, colourful fish and even an Octopus! An absolutely amazing day that will stay with us forever.  

Coral Bay

Whilst in Denham we had organised to start our regional farm work at Manberry, however we had 4 days to kill before we began, and so where better to do this than at nearby Coral Bay. Home to the Ningaloo reef, migrating whale sharks and beautiful coastline, we headed to the beach!!!

We spent our days swimming, snorkelling, sunbathing and meeting new friends over hot one-pot wonder dinners in the carpark.

The Dolphins of Denham and Monkey Mia

Famed for its returning friendly wild dolphins, we made the journey to Denham and Monkey Mia for a meet and greet. Monkey Mia itself is a holiday resort that has managed to cement itself right in the middle of a National Park. The beach and sea itself at Monkey Mia aren’t that spectacular, however the dolphins arrived on cue and put on quite a show.  The Dolphins started arriving at Monkey Mia decades ago as they followed fishermen into the bay, feeding on their leftovers. They started to draw in tourists from around the world and were renowned for the feeding and interaction with wild dolphins, however they soon came to realise that by doing so they were killing baby dolphins as their parents weren’t teaching them to hunt and feed like normal wild dolphins. The staff now don’t touch the dolphins and only feed a specific 4 so that they still hunt for food. The interaction was great and very informative but we actually had more enjoyable dolphin experiences at the river by our house in Perth and in Coral Bay where we saw them up close, in the wild…properly. No food enticement or learnt behaviours. If you’ve been extremely unlucky and not seen dolphins before, then sure, head to Monkey Mia, but if you have then I would say it’s not really worth the de-tour.