What's new

Australian domestic travel I gone and dun

Gazza

Giga Poster
I've done plenty of overseas trips, helped by the fact that my sister lives in the US (And even Mum and Dad were working over there for a few years),
but I do like exploring domestically.

In 2019 I turned 30 and realised that I had still yet to set foot in Tasmania or the Northern Territory.
I had visited Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory Previously, had lived in South Australia, Victoria and Queensland, and lived within a short distance of New South Wales on two non consecutive occasions, so plenty of travel around those places...sorta.

Anyhow, during 2019 I did a 10 day trip down to Tasmania, visiting the capital of Hobart and most parts of the state.

20190420_092553.jpg
20190419_113136 (2).jpg
20190419_114215.jpg
20190419_161744.jpg
20190423_104727.jpg

20190425_113345.jpg
20190426_090447.jpg
20190428_110125.jpg
20190427_110826.jpg






And also and a long weekend in the Northern Territory later in the year, mostly spent in the capital of Darwin and surrounds.

20190830_100553.jpg


20190830_112955.jpg

20190830_093440 (2).jpg

20190831_205737.jpg
20190831_082549.jpg

20190901_150145.jpg
20190901_100546.jpg

20190830_150637.jpg
20190901_100127.jpg
20190830_105729 (2).jpg

crocgirl.jpg
With those out of the way, every state and every capital visited, I started thinking that it could be entirely possible to actually visit every substantial settlement in Australia (And some other cool places too)

So what constitutes a substantial settlement? I'd say one big enough to have a McDonalds, which typically might be around the 7000 person mark.
mcmap.jpg

Or big enough to have a Coles or Woolworths, which tend to be around the 4000 person mark.

woolies map 2.jpg
You can sort of see they both roughly correlate to where people mostly live here.

So with the goal defined then I started thinking, what are the actual broad regions of Australia I hadn't seen either, and devised myself a bit of a hit list to bring it all together.

-Outback Queensland and Northern Territory
-The Northern Parts of South Australia
-The Central West of New South Wales
-South Western Victoria
-The Nullarbor

The biggie is the Outback trip and quite frankly I felt visiting Uluru was the most fundamental Australian place I hadn't been to.

In 2019 I had managed trips to both the US and Japan, so I had resolved to not go overseas in 2020, and to finally do the outback instead.

I mapped out a trip....
-West from Brisbane to Roma
-North to Longreach for the Qantas museum
-To Winton for the dinosaur trackways,
-West to Mt Isa home of one of the worlds biggest mines
- Across the Barkly tablelands to Tennant Creek and the Devils Marbles
-Down to Alice Springs, the town in the middle of the country
- Then Uluru and Kings Canyon
-South to Coober Pedy, a town where everyone lives underground
-To Port Augusta, the crossroads of the south
-East to Broken Hill, a famous outback town featured in Priscilla Queen of the Desert
-And finally straight shooting across New South Wales back home to Brisbane.

outback trip 2.jpg

As destiny would have it, nobody would be going overseas anyway in 2020, and I felt rather smug that I didn't have to cancel any expensive overseas flights.

However this excitement was short lived. I had planned my trip for Easter onwards, but the Northern Territory closed their borders, and Queensland closed to New South Wales, making it impossible. I deferred until August.
Things had been calm for a couple of months, but another outbreak in NSW meant Queensland closed entry from there off, and as you can see from the map, there is no direct highway link from South Australia to Queensland (Unless you have a 4x4 to tackle the Oodnadatta Track).

I didn't feel like cancelling again, so I reshaped it, chopping off Coober Pedy, Port Augusta and Broken Hill, and instead doing a huge back track, and visiting a friend in Townsville instead:

outbacktrip3.jpg

The trip was a success, but for now I'll do the one that is most fresh in my mind...The N.W. of Western Australia.....
PXL_20210517_081616726.jpg
PXL_20210517_082243939.NIGHT.jpg
 

Attachments

  • 20190419_113136.jpg
    20190419_113136.jpg
    62.7 KB · Views: 4
Last edited:

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Epic - in almost every sense of the word.

That drive makes most of anything else you ever come across (even for those pesky yanks who cover far more miles than us Europeans generally do by car) seem frankly amateur, and well - the scenery isn't half bad either.

Pretty basic you're not leaving your home country, though. ;)
 

Gazza

Giga Poster
So, I'll get started on the North West of Western Australia.

Previously I've been to Perth and the Southwest, so I've got my Eurofighter cred from Adventure World and seen some nice places such as Margaret River, Albany and Esperance.

The North West is a much bigger beast, encompassing a region over 1000km long.
the northwest.jpg

You'll notice a place called Broome up the top, absolutely would have gone there, but with everyone holidaying locally, the place was booked out, hyper expensive and no spots available on tours to horizontal falls for my dates, so I opted to leave it for another time.

Instead did a loop up the coast via Geraldton, Kalbarri, Carnarvon, Coral Bay and Exmouth, across to Karratha and Pt Hedland, and then back south via the other highway, visiting Tom Price, Karijini and Newman.

So I started with a weekend in Perth....I've been there before, but since I was there last they have built an enormous state museum (Ooooh, we have a Rem Koolhaus building in Aus now!)
The place was enormous, and actually a bit odd to navigate (Backtracking necessary)
Highlight was probably the big collection of minerals from the mining industry there, and the liberal use of projection mapping.
PXL_20210508_033107780.jpgPXL_20210508_034237524.jpgPXL_20210508_035816602.jpgPXL_20210508_044333114.NIGHT.jpgPXL_20210508_053526984.NIGHT.jpg
PXL_20210508_040653911.jpg
PXL_20210508_052026540.jpg
And I got some waterslide creds at a local pool. The blue trap door slide was closed.
My first go at a Polin Space Shuttle but to be honest it was pretty sedate.
PXL_20210509_042648242.jpg
PXL_20210509_042723867.jpg
The next day I hit the road north on the Indian Ocean Drive.

Lancelin was the first stop, which is a small coastal down with some huge sand dunes you can slide down.
You can hire sand boards from the local mini mart.
PXL_20210510_033020515.jpgPXL_20210510_033918434.jpgPXL_20210510_034719477.jpgPXL_20210510_035216078.jpg

Heading further north was the Pinnacles. A collection of limestone columns in the middle of nowhere you can wander around in. In Perth you can do a day trip out to these, but they are like 2 hours away and probably not worth it for a day trip, but def worth a look if on the way north.....In other words it's interesting, but you'll have had your fill after an hour. At times with strong shadows, and at sunset it absolutely would be a photographers delight.
PXL_20210510_053337434.jpgPXL_20210510_054855796.jpgPXL_20210510_060147025.jpgPXL_20210510_054633815.jpg

There are heaps of lookouts on the way, so it's very easy to burn a fair bit of time making a lot of stops, but it is very pleasant.
The town of Cervantes near the pinnacles has a lake with Stromatolites.
PXL_20210510_042151266.jpgPXL_20210510_042304021.jpgPXL_20210510_044249457.jpgPXL_20210510_065205239.jpg
The day actually got away from me fairly quickly.
My accommodation for the night was in Geraldton, but the last main place I stopped along the way was Jurien Bay, the quintessential "sleepy coastal town" that basically exists for holidaymakers and retirees.
PXL_20210510_072909238.jpg
PXL_20210510_071907132.jpg
PXL_20210510_073047493.jpgPXL_20210510_073408771.jpgPXL_20210510_074235859.jpgPXL_20210510_075239705.jpgPXL_20210510_083931022.jpgPXL_20210510_084214052.jpg
So that's the first 3 days done......
 

cocoa

Mega Poster
so nice! my gf has been bugging me to do something similar recently...

(i want to wait until orange fire and wooden leviathan are open first tho lol)
 

Gazza

Giga Poster
I neglected to mention my stop in Dongara, which was busy having it's main street ripped up.
PXL_20210510_091158732.jpgPXL_20210510_091217739.jpgPXL_20210510_092301634.NIGHT.jpgPXL_20210510_092635781.NIGHT.jpgPXL_20210510_092746505.jpg

The town is also home to "the big crayfish", but in terms of the big things you can see in Australia, it was rather small IMO.
PXL_20210510_093100486.jpg

Heading north my stop for the evening was Geraldton.
I had a wander around the town center and dined at the westernmost McDonalds in Australia, completing my set of cardinal points (Ballina NSW, Casurina NT and Kingston TAS being the others).
They had done some interesting stuff, with quite a large number of murals, and an old department store that had been hollowed out and turned into an undercover public space. Another old building which had been burnt down had been revived as a modern shade structure built of timber battens.
PXL_20210510_103559726.jpgPXL_20210510_103906150.jpgPXL_20210510_104000759.NIGHT.jpgPXL_20210510_104102430.jpgPXL_20210510_105115945.NIGHT.jpgPXL_20210510_105330354.NIGHT.jpgPXL_20210510_111100832.jpgPXL_20210510_111140782.NIGHT.jpgPXL_20210510_111336577.NIGHT.jpgPXL_20210510_112419360.NIGHT.jpg

It's a port town of about 40,000 clinging onto some scrubby coastline. I had a good look around till about lunchtime the following day.
It actually had quite a few nice old buildings, a good water front promenade and a couple of other interesting sites such as a museum, missionary style cathedral and a memorial to a WW2 ship which went down.
PXL_20210510_234453982.jpgPXL_20210511_000030442.jpg
PXL_20210510_234303539.jpgPXL_20210511_003029590.jpgPXL_20210511_003311822.jpgPXL_20210511_005513500.jpg
PXL_20210511_024907819.jpg
PXL_20210511_025211218.jpg

The museum had a bit of info on Dutch East India company ships which went down off the WA coast, which I wasn't ever aware of.
PXL_20210511_015118879.jpg
PXL_20210511_015553786.jpg
Anyhow, after a final stop at the town lookout it was on the road again.
PXL_20210511_031421719.jpg
PXL_20210511_040511172.jpg
 

Gazza

Giga Poster
Heading north I passed through Northampton which had just been hit by a cyclone a couple of weeks prior and the damage was clear to see. Trees missing leaves, billboards blown over, houses missing roofs. The bakery was open so I grabbed a sausage roll before pressing on.
PXL_20210511_044147245.jpgPXL_20210511_045017400.jpgPXL_20210511_045512235.jpgPXL_20210511_045521068.jpg
Getting off the main highway, I made a beeline for Kalbarri, though on the way made a stop at the Pink Lake:
PXL_20210511_052859452.jpg

PXL_20210511_053054588.jpg
Hehehe:
PXL_20210511_052823731.jpg

Approaching Kalbarri are a series of clifftops you can walk along. I probably should have allowed more time for this bit, and to be fair it's "near" enough to Perth to make a return visit.
PXL_20210511_063916294.jpg
PXL_20210511_063157681.jpgPXL_20210511_062757532.jpgPXL_20210511_064511026.jpg

PXL_20210511_061422430.jpg
Kalbarri, also pretty wrecked and damaged, with local streets limited to residents only.
PXL_20210511_065954193.jpg
PXL_20210511_071347798.jpg


I pressed on to the main target of the day....Murchison Gorge!

PXL_20210511_075012499.jpg
PXL_20210511_081823573.jpg

This place needs to be on every tourist brochure. It's up there with the opera house and Uluru IMO, but the crazy thing is I hadn't heard of it till a few weeks before my trip. The pics don't capture the vastness of it.
PXL_20210511_075115749.PANO.jpg

In 2020 they built a pair of skywalks similar to the one at the Grand Canyon, albeit without a glass floor.
If you jumped around you could get the thing to shake a bit.

PXL_20210511_075436666.jpg
PXL_20210511_074654096.jpg


PXL_20210511_074757843.jpg
PXL_20210511_080241438.jpg

Another landmark at Murchison Gorge is natures window, a hole in a rock that frames a nice view.
PXL_20210511_082107833.jpg
PXL_20210511_082147778.jpg
PXL_20210511_082612772.jpg
I concluded the day with a trek down to Z bend, where I saw an echidna in the wild.
PXL_20210511_085909417.jpg
PXL_20210511_090845808.jpg

PXL_20210511_091846109.PANO.jpg
PXL_20210511_093237082.jpg
And camped out at a roadhouse for the night.
PXL_20210511_123505205.NIGHT.jpg
 

Attachments

  • PXL_20210511_074818419.jpg
    PXL_20210511_074818419.jpg
    129.8 KB · Views: 4

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Well, Murchison Gorge just got added to the bucket list. Wow!
 

cocoa

Mega Poster
yeah it looks great. I'm a bit sick of the neverending eucalypt forests in my half of australia so its nice to see we actually do in fact have other kinds of geography in this giant continent :p
 

Gazza

Giga Poster
^Indeed. The drive from Newcastle to Taree makes you want to stab yourself in the eye because it's just endless Eucalypts for 2h...

The next day on the road was a fairly long one, covering 500km to Coral Bay.

I made a decision to skip over the Shark Bay area, with Denham being a 150km deviation.
PXL_20210511_234637236.jpg
I did check out Hamelin Pool, which was only 30km off the highway. It was another collection of stromatolites, but what made it amazing was the way the stillness of the water combined with the morning mist to make it seem like they were floating in thin air.
PXL_20210512_001611323.jpgPXL_20210512_001542197.jpg

The landscape continued to change...

PXL_20210512_011240073.jpg
PXL_20210512_011942029.jpgPXL_20210512_011631261.jpg
The next town along is Carnarvon. It definitely starts to feel a bit more remote when you get out here, and certainly more humid!
Around 4000 people, it mostly exists for a strip of intensive food growing that occurs around the mouth of the Gasycoyne River, it was home to a NASA tracking station you can still visit too. Has all the trimmings you would expect from the only significant town for a distance of several hundred kilometers.
PXL_20210512_025247977.jpg
PXL_20210512_025722325.jpg
PXL_20210512_030444207.jpg
PXL_20210512_032731407.jpgPXL_20210512_033712762.jpg
PXL_20210512_043039685.jpg
PXL_20210512_051631145.jpg
PXL_20210512_035146816.jpgPXL_20210512_043458902.jpg

The space museum was "alright" but a bit of a mess in terms of presentation. Some parts looked very kiddy, though other parts like the recreation of a lounge room during the lunar landing and all the preserved nasa equipment was pretty cool!
PXL_20210512_051701778.jpg
A 'Sugar scoop' antenna
PXL_20210512_052103760.jpg

PXL_20210512_053201466.jpg
PXL_20210512_055442302.jpg
PXL_20210512_055234595.jpg

This thing was laughably bad. You basically just lay on your back and watched a video montage of the Saturn V launch. No movement or anything:

PXL_20210512_061646642.jpg
PXL_20210512_062843164.jpg

I spent a few hours looking around town before hitting the road north, crossing the Gasycoyne and passing through the fruit fields on the way out:
PXL_20210512_064247550.jpg
PXL_20210512_071334252.jpg
PXL_20210512_071106964.jpgPXL_20210512_071926048.jpg



I did have to stop and get a pic of this 😁
PXL_20210512_080639342.jpg

Approaching Coral bay you pass into the tropic of Capricorn, which means termite mounds start appearing everywhere:
PXL_20210512_090820559.jpg
PXL_20210512_091843008.jpg

I rocked into Coral bay just before sunset, and could already tell it was a little slice of heaven....More on Coral bay in the next instalment
PXL_20210512_094435767.jpg
 

Gazza

Giga Poster
So, Coral bay adjoins a section of the Ningaloo Reef.
There is a small settlement that pretty much just supports the campgrounds / accommodation units and a handful of holiday homes.
Self sufficient with wind turbines and gensets, and you can only drink water from certain taps (made the mistake of having a mouthful of bore water when brushing my teeth...yuk)
The place was paaaaaacked!
I had to camp in an overflow area and even then it was still $50 for the site.
A couple of nice relaxed looking venues to dine at, but I had already stocked up on groceries back in Carnarvon.
PXL_20210512_094125777.jpg
PXL_20210512_094728546.jpg
I got up fairly early for a morning stroll.
PXL_20210512_233343159.jpg
PXL_20210512_233541522.jpg
By the time 9am rolled around It was time for my glass bottom boat tour.
PXL_20210513_021117800.jpg
PXL_20210513_021906858.jpg
PXL_20210513_022007204.jpg
This was my first time on a glass bottom boat, and snorkelling .
The boat itself is moderately interesting but it doesnt compare to the colour and thousands of fish down there.
Spectacular.
But I wasnt quite prepared for the small amounts of salt water you inevitably swallow, which was rather burny and unpleasant.
Highly recommended anyway
PXL_20210513_035726565.jpg
There's not a whole lot to do in Coral bay other than fishing boating and snorkelling. There are other full day tours you can do to other nearby wildlife colonies but i opted to hit the road from:
PXL_20210512_233948034.jpg
To:
PXL_20210513_054435044.jpg
Just 100km away

After a short while there, Exmouth immediately became one of my favourite towns in Australia.
Located at the tip of the NW Cape, it started off as a US Navy Radio station.
So it's isolated location at "the end of the road" gives it a great vibe, everyone is there to get away from it all and have fun outdoors.
PXL_20210513_061506125.jpg
And I guess other people love the place too. Was booked out, and literally the only bed in town I could get was at a backpackers.
The town center had a microbrewery, a few nice restaurants, i definitely didn't feel like a place you'd slum it.
Very well kept, and it seems like the house prices are sky high too.
PXL_20210513_061455805.jpg
PXL_20210513_063340837.jpg
(Turns out these guys are endemic, big Pixar short vibes)
PXL_20210513_135458086.NIGHT.jpg

The town had clearly got its share of 'Royalties for Regions' funding with a new Ningaloo Reef center.
PXL_20210513_083314436.jpg
Creatures from the local cave system
PXL_20210513_081927589.jpgPXL_20210513_081849798.jpg
A moderately sized aquarium
PXL_20210513_073149111.jpg
PXL_20210513_073105839.jpg
And some good local history on the mixed American Australian community due to the radio base
(Eventually the base was handed over to Australia and the americans left, but by that point the town was established as a destination in its own right.

PXL_20210513_075220802.jpg
also a simulator of Cyclone Vance which hit the town in the 90s and was the fastest wind speed ever recorded in Aus.
PXL_20210513_074411612.jpg


I spent the remainder of the afternoon wandering around town.
PXL_20210513_085517438.jpg
PXL_20210513_092509561.jpg
PXL_20210513_092435336.jpgPXL_20210513_093258838.jpg
PXL_20210513_093854288.jpg
PXL_20210513_094124532.jpg

PXL_20210513_233657905.jpg
PXL_20210513_234749947.jpg
PXL_20210513_083812850.jpg

The next day....Cape Range National Park......
 
Last edited:

Gazza

Giga Poster
^Despite the long distances, it can be quite easy smashing out long drives due to low traffic volumes and fairly easy roads.

Next day I explored the Cape Range National Park.
The peninsular Exmouth is on has a mountain range in the middle, so you have to drive up and around the tip to see the gorges, the rest of Ningaloo reef etc.
Ends up being about 70km of driving from memory to get up and around from the town to the bottom of the national park.
exmouthdrive.jpg

I started the morning at Yardie Creek, with a fairly straightfoward walk to the top of a gorge.
PXL_20210514_011130912.jpgPXL_20210514_012829197.jpgPXL_20210514_013025878.jpg

Fossilised millipede
PXL_20210514_013339148.jpg

There are plenty of side gorges to explore, some of which need a 4x4. One of which is Pligonoman Gorge, which is home to a community of wild rock wallabies:
If you stay still and dead silent for a couple of minutes they soon start popping their heads up:

PXL_20210514_022331390.jpg

PXL_20210514_022325336.jpg

PXL_20210514_021619947.jpg

I went for a couple of snorkels.
Oyster stacks was a bit rough, and was full of Jellyfish, which were a dark maroon colour, so you could easily spot them but it made it a bit stressful having to always be on the lookout.
PXL_20210514_025116646.jpg
Turquoise bay was much more pleasant. You can drift snorkel there by just floating with the ocean current.
PXL_20210514_025125130.jpg

You can see all the dead ones
PXL_20210514_081623987.jpg

For lunch I actually headed back into town and had a huge burger at whatever the microbrewery was, and a bit of a closer look at the naval radio station:
PXL_20210514_052314572.jpg
PXL_20210514_050349409.jpgPXL_20210514_050250862.jpg


Vlamingh Head Lighthouse offered spectacular views of the cape and really made it hit home how isolated you are.
PXL_20210514_044953556.jpgPXL_20210514_044847180.jpgPXL_20210514_044248810.jpg

PXL_20210514_044958466.jpg
Up at the top of the cape is the wreck of the Mildura, a cattle ship:
PXL_20210514_085720162.jpg


With the last bit of daylight I went down into Shothole gorge, which is just north of the town. It's a amazing they dont make more of a big deal of it because it was lovely.
PXL_20210514_094857431.NIGHT.jpg
PXL_20210514_094906929.NIGHT.jpg

The next morning I hit the road further east, but it seemed I had saved some of the best for last. A local told me about another road and lookout that goes to the top of the gorge, and, well, I'll let the pics do the talking. Exmouth is one of the best place in Australia I reckon, hope I can go back in the future and spend more time.
PXL_20210514_230329645.jpgPXL_20210514_231152284.jpgPXL_20210514_231359901.jpgPXL_20210514_231550331.jpgPXL_20210514_231849905.jpgPXL_20210514_232302723.jpg
PXL_20210514_233225041.jpg

PXL_20210514_231741781.jpg
 
Top