With the devil firmly ensconced behind the wheel and our worldly possessions trailing faithfully, needs must and we drove North.

Having originally booked a full ten days trip, including the Karijini National Park tour, we arrived tired and caffiene deprived at the pickup location to find that as there we would have been the only two on the last five day tour, it had been cancelled. 🙁

Bugger!

We had the choice to either stay up north for an extra week or get the short-cut 2day trip back to perth. As we had flights booked to Thailand on the 6th, we had no option but to get back to Perth and kill a couple of days.. bit of a disappointment to miss out on Karijini, but shit happens and we had a cracking time anyway.. 🙂

It’s been a while since we did the tour now and dates and days are fuzzy, so I’ll just stick to the main activities and high/low lights..

We started off the tour with the Pinnacles. A bunch of rocks basically. Bit of a geological curiosity type-thing that is uncovered by the wind blowing the sand away every couple of thousand of years.. like I really give a bollocks!! Anyway, we dutifully snapped away for a couple of minutes just to prove we’d been there and clambered back into the van for another few hundred kilometers…
There were also these things called Stromatolites (sp?) on the trip at one point. More fucking inane tour fillers, these things claimed to be the root of all life. Fucking boring, bogey looking things more like. Their one redeeming feature was that they let rip a tiny bubble of oxygen every few minutes, so… well that was actually quite boring too..

As luck would have it, we ended up on the same trip as the fella who was moving into our Northbridge flat.

Joy. 🙁

There were about twelve of us in total and some cool people on board.. ( Hi to all if you read this and please take a moment to leave a comment or yor thoughts on the trip 🙂 )

Next was the sandboarding… Notice how I’m getting all the crap bits out at the beginning? 😛
Sandboarding was the one thing I was really looking forward to. I’d researched carving techniques and general info on the subject and was really up for getting stuck in and fucking myself up a bit in the name of fun.

Not to be, though.. The tour-leader produced three planks of wood ( only one of which had low enough friction with the sand to actually allow forward fucking movement!! ) and informed us that we had to sit down on them due to (a), them being crap and (b), our insurance not covering anything other than our arses 🙁

Having driven miles and seen nothing that in any way warranted even a quarter of the tour price, we hit the bottle shop, hostel, the BBQ and possibly the worst night’s sleep I’ve ever hadin my life!
Since I’ve been out here I’ve been lucky in that we haven’t really had to do the ’dorm’ thing. Single rooms or three/four-bed dorms at the worst – and between two people, you can justify the cost ok… not overly expensive, but I bedded down that night in a six bed dorm full of tired and/or pissed blokes.
The noise was unbelievable!! I know I can snore with the best of them at times, but there were a couple of dudes in there that really went for it! One fella literally snarled and snorted his way through half the fucking night. Large forest animals from miles around started responding to the grunts coming from the room and come morning – or more accurately, two hours before we were supposed to get up – I rolled out of bed with under two hours’ total sleep clawed into my system and a thousand expletives on the tip of my tongue.

The second day was the best day of the tour for me. Up before the sun, we headed for the nearby gorge ( the name’s slipped my mind for the minute… ), stopping to witness one of the most amazing sunrises I’ve ever seen, and strapped into abseiling gear. The place was pretty cool. Picturesque under a blue sky, the river ran clear through the gorge and, ignoring all of this, we lemming-ed off the appointed cliff.

First backwards, then forwards, I haven’t abseiled in ages – not since I was at school, hanging over the edge of the top of the science block with (metaphorically) shit-filled pants and the laughs of my schoolmates in my ears, but this was damned cool fun!Was a bit worried to start with, but one of the other dudes on the tour was well up for it, so my public school-instilled competitiveness kicked into gear and my hand was in the air again.
Going forwards really scares the crap out of you. At least with abseiling backwards, you don’t have the whole ’looking down’ thing. I thought I’d learnt my lesson climbing that huge bicentennial tree, but once you got going, you discover a kind of rope-faith in that even though you can see straight down to the rocks below, your weight is comfortably supported and you have total control over lowering yourself down.
Anyway.. it was fun 🙂

After that, we trekked around in the gorge and climbed up a path and ladder that would be banned, outlawed and fucking demolished, had it been back in the UK. Not sure what the deal is over here.. it’s either that Australians have better balance or maybe they just tend to wear injury better and more quietly than the whinging poms…

Back in the van and off to the next gorge.. Nature’s Window…..and a pie en-route 😈 yum! 😈

On the way up to Coral Bay, we stopped for a sunset swim in the incredibly still and clear waters at Shell Beach. Being far from civilization, the sand-flies were insane beasts, swamping your head, getting in your ears and attempting to burrow into the corners of your eyes,but the swim and scene was worth it. If there’s one thing that made the trip up the West cost for me, it was the sunrises and sunsets.

Monkey Mia’s friendly dolphins greeted us early in the morning and swam close to our bare feet and legs, inspecting us – or maybe trying to tell us about a shipwrecked boy, flipper style. Regardless, we crooned and baby-spoke to the things (hopefully not caught on video) and when the american tourists’ pushing and shoving became too infuriating, we jumped on a catamaran for a local water wildlife cruise. Suspended on rope netting with blue/green sea below and a pristine sky above, we were followed out by a leaping dolphin while Hendrix perfected the scene from the boat’s speakers. This was living!
Promised sea turtles, mantas and an abundance of sea creatures, we caught a glimpse of a distant dolphin and no more. I think I can honestly say that none of us gave two shits! 😀 Just being there and relaxing was more than enough.

The rest of the trip was not for the shy of pocket. Coral Bay and the huge manta rays and then Exmouth with their immense whale sharks, the whole place revolved around the selling of tours out to the Ningaloo reef to see and swim with the wonders of the ocean. Unfortuately, our pockets and our dispostition towards aquatic adventures kept us shorebound and we joined several others in the group sunbathing and snorkeling with some suprisingly sizeable fish in the perfectly clear water literally meters offshore.

The trip home was a muddle of dust, flies and roadhouse meat pies (not to be confused with roadkill meat pies 😈 ). The amount of crap junk food, sweets and pies we’d eaten along the trip was incredible. Driving so far, we regularly had to stop for fuel and every single time we invariably piled into the shop for a banana milk, packet of sweets or some other completely uneccessary, unhealthy expense. The only highlight of the return journey was a stop at Caversham wildlife park, where we rode camels and experienced the wombat smile, whereby the moment the fat hairy bastard was plopped into your lap and arms, you found yourself completely unable to resist grinning away like a retard with ice cream – see pic 😛