Wandering the West

Travel North from Perth.

Perth is the capital of the state of Western Australia. A visit to Perth give you a great opportunity to travel to all points of the compass to see places within easy driving reach. Of course it is a large state and there are also many places that are a long drive from Perth. But some of Western Australians great places are close enough and some are jaw droppingly spectacular!

Around 180Km to the north (about 2 hours drive) is Nambung National Park with its dramatic pinnacles. Thousands of limestone pillars up to 3.5m tall stand in a yellow sandy base. Some are mushroom like rounded rocks while others are jagged with sharp-edges rising to a point. Some even resemble tombstones in the desert.  You can book a tour to the pinnacles for around $175 per person from Perth but its a long trip there and back in a single day. So, since you’re retired, hire a car and take your time! The Pinnacles are accessible in a 2 wheel drive vehicle.

We got there on a tour bus as part of our trip to Monkey Mia.  The whole trip was spectacular and we visited the Pinnacles on the first day.  Bus travel is not my preferred means of travel but it meant I could sit back and enjoy the scenery without wondering if we were going to run into something! You can check out the tours available here.

On the way to The Pinnacles you can visit the gravity research centre in Gingin – about 90Km north of Perth. Follow this link to get there http://gravitycentre.com.au and find out about what there is to see there. You can organise a tour on the weekend but a self guided tour through the week. And you can also visit the leaning tower of Gingin. Maybe it’s not as spectacular as the one in Italy but well worth a visit if you’re in town.


The city of Geraldton is another 250Km drive to the north. Along the way there is some great coastal scenery so take your time. If you take this trip in September the wild flowers will be out and add a magnificent background to your trip.

Woman Looking out for ship at Geraldton

Woman Looking out for ship at Geraldton

At Geraldton, there is a surprisingly moving memorial, to the 645 men lost aboard the HMAS Sydney in 1941. It has 645 seagulls covering the roof, a concrete copy of the bow of the ship, and a woman who has been on the lookout for the ship for years now. There is also a propellor facing downwards and anchors as well as a list of names to remind you of this great tragedy that occurred in World War 2. The day we visited there were volunteer guides on hand to take us through the exhibition and to tell us some of the stories of the loss suffered throughout Australia when the HMAS Sydney went down. The wreck was only discovered in 2008.

From the lookout there is a good view of Geraldton township and is supposed to be the place to go at sunset.  For more information, have a look here 

Kalbarri National Park

From Geraldton a visit to Kalbarri national park a little further north is essential. Its just an hour and a half drive from Geraldton but it’s well worth the time it will take you to get there and at the right time of the year you will be astounded by the wildflowers in the area. In addition you will pass the pink lake so take the time to stop and look at this curiously coloured lake. You can read more here.

There are awesome gorges, delightful river scenery and wonderful forest vistas to see and photograph. The Murchison River, which flows through this area  has cut a magnificent 80 kilometre long gorge through sandstone and

Kalbarri national park, Geraldton

Kalbarri national park, Geraldton

resulted in towering cliffs and a natural rock arch.

The national park is around 13Km from the town of Kalbarri which is the place where the Murchison River meets the sea. A paved 1km return walk, will take you to the lookout where, from the top of the cliff, you can spot humpback whales in the right season.

If you go no further than the Kalbarri national park, you will have encountered many spectacular places in Western Australia.  However you are only a tiny way up the coast and thousands of kilometres of great things to see and do are ahead of you.  Maybe I’ll write about some of these next time.

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