jump to navigation

Down UnderBroometime

On 28 July 2004 from Broome, WA | comments closed

I am currently on Broometime, as the casual go-with-the-flow attitude here is called. And Broome is not a bad place to linger for a while, since daily temperatures are around 30 degrees, the skies are clear and blue, the beach has beautiful white sand and offers an Indian Ocean sunset (unlike all places on the East coast of Australia). Camping with two nice English girls is not bad either.

After my previous post on Monday we ended up spending all day around the mall and Chinatown, doing laundry and getting some nice food. We spent the evening chatting with a lone rider at the campsite.

Tuesday was Cable Beach day. Cable Beach has the beautiful white sand and we spent all afternoon there, till after sunset. Arno, Phil and Christina also joined us at the beach, and I met up with Lieke, as well as the Dutch and German girls I met on the campsite in Exmouth. I am definitely not the only only lingering around in Broome for a while. In the evening Sally, Claire, Arno, Phil and I went to the historic open air cinema to see ‘Endless Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’. The theatre was great, especially with an airplane flying over really low before landing, but the movie was rather weird.

Today Sally, Claire and I went to Gantheaume Point, where it should be possible to see dinosaur footprints at very low tide, but we were unable to see them. Afterwards we went to the local crocodile farm, to watch lots of chickens being devoured by hungry crocs, and to get educated a bit about them. After all, they are rather common in the area I will be travelling in next, so it is good to know the difference between a freshwater crocodile and a saltwater crocodile (the former will not eat you, the latter will, and likes freshwater too). But not to worry, it is easy to outrun crocodiles on land.

Down UnderGorgeous Gorges

On 26 July 2004 from Broome, WA | comments closed

In Exmouth I met Sally (23) and Claire (21), both English, when I visited the Ningaloo Club hostel (very relaxed place, but pretty expensive as well). They needed a lift to Broome and I needed passengers to go there, so that was settled pretty quick. We took off on Wednesday, and spent all day driving to Tom Price (yes, it is the name of a town). In Tom Price we went to the tourist information and supermarket, before setting up camp and having dinner at the campsite.

On Thursday morning we drove into Karijini National Park, where little streams flow through gorgeous red gorges. After setting up the tent at Savannah Campsite, we explored Weano Gorge, Joffre Falls and Knox Gorge, where I took a refreshing (i.e. very cold water) dip in the Jungle Book pool.

Friday morning we got up early to explore Kalamina Gorge. Even though the campsite was pretty full (school holidays) we were the only ones in the gorge that morning. Do not try that in Europe. Afterwards we drove to Dales Campsite (we wanted to get there early, because otherwise it might be full) and set up the tent. After lunch we walked to the Circular Pool outlook and met Arno (Dutch), Phil (English) and Christina (German) at the car park. I have met Arno and Phil in pretty much every town since Perth, so we decided to hike in the gorges together. But first Phil and I took a refreshing swim in Circular Pool, before hiking through Dales Gorge to Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool. After dinner at the campsite we played cards till bedtime (10PM in the outback, since it is pitch black after 7PM).

On Saturday Sally, Claire and I set off to Port Hedland, because we had done pretty much all the hikes in Karijini NP, and the girls needed a decent shower after a few days in the bush. Karijini was ‘red dust country’, as I like to call it, because after a few days everything was covered in a little layer of red dust. Unsurprisingly, Port Hedland had nothing else to offer besides fuel and food, so we made it a relaxing afternoon at the hostel.

We slept in a bit on Sunday, before starting the 600km drive to Broome. This drive enforced all the observations I have written before:
– Almost all the cars we encountered were 4WDs, most pulling a caravan or trailer [Observations: 4WDs].
– We saw lots of dead kangaroos besides the road [Observations: Kangaroos].
– The ‘Welcome to the Shire of Broome’ sign was put up more than 400km before the actual town [Observations: Distance & Size].

Down UnderPADI Open Water Diver

On 20 July 2004 from Exmouth, WA | comments closed

Today I finished the last three dives of my PADI Open Water Diver course. We drove out to the Tantabiddi boat ramp and launched the boat from there. The first dive was good, we spent most of the time practicing skills, and went for a swim over the coral afterwards. But then the wind picked up and it took us some time to find another good diving spot. We found a spot that was deep enough, but unfortunately there was no coral there, so our second and third dives were mainly about practicing necessary diving skills. Because the waves were pretty high and the boat was rocking quite a bit, I got fairly seasick as well, not fun at all. But we did finish the course, and I have practiced in windy conditions, giving me a better preparation for other dives.

The next dives I do will probably be at the Great Barrier Reef. I could have done some more ves here (even a free Navy Pier dive), but it is still pretty windy, and the two British girls I am travelling to Broome with wanted to leave as soon as possible. Therefore the plan is to drive to Tom Price tomorrow. The next website update will probably be from Broome, in another week or so, since there is no or only very expensive internet in between here and Broome. And I just got used to free internet at Coral Coast Dive (where I did the dive course)… If I would have had to pay for internet usage the last week, it would be at least 50 euro.

Down Under8 Months on the Road

On 19 July 2004 from Exmouth, WA | comments closed

Exactly 8 months ago I had my feet on Dutch soil for the last time. I have been to quite a few places since: 3,5 weeks in South-East Asia, 6,5 weeks in New Zealand, and 5,5 months in Australia. But of those 5,5 months, I spent only 2 months really travelling. And looking on the map of Australia, it seems I have only covered a very small part of it:
– Sydney & Blue Mountains;
– Tasmania;
– Melbourne, Great Ocean Road & Grampians;
– Perth, South-West WA, along the coast to Exmouth & Port Hedland.

There is still a lot of Australia to travel to, and since my ticket validity is a maximum of 1 year, it means I have already spent 2/3 of the available time. But at least I feel like I am really travelling now.

Yesterday I went with three Australians to Oyster Stacks and Turkuoise Bay, where we went snorkelling on Ningaloo Reef. Oyster Stacks was the better snorkelling spot, but Turkuoise Bay had an absolutely gorgeous beach, which was fairly crowded due to the winter school holidays (about 1 person every metre of beach, not 1 person every _square_ metre of beach, like on Dutch beaches in good weather, after all this is Western Australia). Even though it was a beautiful sunny day with clear blue skies, the wind was still a bit chilly, so it got cold in the water after a while. Afterwards we made a short stop at the Vlamingh Head lighthouse (yep, named by the 17th century Dutch explorers), before getting back to the campsite.

This morning we were supposed to have our last three dives on the reef, so we got our wetsuits on, went in the small boat, got out into the water, got splashed by 1,5m high waves, and turned around after getting all soaked and seasick. Obviously, the weather was too bad to go diving today. The wind was the main problem, since it was a sunny day again. At least the weather here is a lot better than in Western Europe right now, where rain and storms seem to be ruining the summer. I feel really sorry for the folks back home (but not really…).

So on the downside my diving course is taking at least another day (hopefully the wind drops tomorrow, but we will have a bigger boat to make things easier). On the upside I have more time to read my diving theory book and update this website a bit more. I also found some people to travel to Broome with, so it will not cost me a fortune in fuel.