The plan was to leave on Tuesday, but Marina had her birthday that day, so we went out to Deen’s in Northbridge on Monday night. It was a lot of fun, with lots of other backpackers, a band, and lots of drinks. Too many drinks in fact, because Jenny got completely drunk on the shots, and she was sick in bed all day Tuesday, delaying departure with one day. In retrospect that was not a bad thing, because we would have never been able to arrive at the Pinnacles on Tuesday night.
Tuesday morning I spent with some practical issues in the city: banking, getting a haircut (it is really short now, ideal for travelling), and trying to get everything in order with the Department of Planning and Infrastructure (making sure the car is actually mine). The last thing did not work out, because they had huge computer problems on Tuesday, but I got everything organised on Wednesday. Tuesday afternoon I spent in Kings Park, making a relaxing walk there.
On Wednesday morning we packed all the stuff in the car, and drove to a large shopping centre in one of the suburbs. With the idea that everything is more expensive up north, we got a whole bunch of food as well as a tent for camping. We finally hit the road in the afternoon, arriving in Cervantes around 3PM. There we checked in at the hostel and drove into Nambung National Park, where the Pinnacles are located. The Pinnacles are these weird big stones sticking out of the sand, some up to 4m high. When we got there the weather was cloudy and there were a few short showers, but at the end the sun came out and it was absolutely spectacular. Seeing the sun light these stones, throwing long shadows on the sand, contrasted by a dark cloudy sky was just perfect for pictures. When it got dark we drove back to the hostel, and went out for a late birthday dinner for Marina at the local Tavern. In the evening I played cards with the others backpackers in the hostel (“shithead” of course) before going to sleep around midnight.
On Thursday morning we drove to Geraldton, where I got some snorkeling gear, and we checked out the Cathedral and the museum. The latter was pretty good, with lots of info on the V.O.C. ship Batavia, that sunk close to Geraldton in 1629. We spent the rest of the afternoon driving on to Kalbarri, and checking out some of the viewpoints on the coast along the way. In Kalbarri the girls met some friends and we (me, another guy and five girls) all went out for a really good dinner at Finlay’s Fish BBQ. For less than 6 euro we had about 4 different kinds of fresh fish, chips, and salad. Besides, the place was BYO (bring your own alcohol), so drinks were cheap as well. The atmosphere reminded me most of Thailand, with a campfire and all wooden tables outdoors.
Today the girls went sandboarding, but knowing my own ability with boards (snowboards, skateboards, surfboards, all no success), I figured I would be better off going for a hike. So I slept in and went for a hike through the gorges of Kalbarri National Park in the afternoon. It took a bit of effort getting there (40km from town, of which 26km was a sand track), but it was well worth it, the scenery was really beautiful. It also felt good to do something active again, after spending too much time sitting in the last three of months.
The weather also seems to get better. The last week it was raining on and off, but no rain today. Aside from the weather itself getting better, we are also travelling up north into the tropics, where the daily temperature rises above 30 degrees, even in the middle of the winter.