Our dream was to park on the sand overlooking Ningaloo at Warroora Station. This dream was almost dashed after the horrendous wind we had experienced in the days leading up to our scheduled stay. We figured that a beach camp in 27knot winds wasn't so appealing and so sat out an extra day amidst the the school holiday crowds at Coral Bay in the hope that the weather would ease. It didn't. Determined to do what we had planned and knowing that if we didn't we would regret it, we made south for Warroora.
Tyres down and then a little bit more, we drove up and over the dirt rise and onto the white sand to once again see that distinct turquoise blue water of Ningaloo. The wind was still blowing but we knew we'd made the right decision- this was a trip 'must-do' for us.
We were greeted by the caretakers and they must have seen our enthusiasm tarnished with a hint of disappointment at the weather. They allocated us the perfect site for the conditions, on the sand but protected by the dunes (site A). The view was priceless and the $20 per night fee made it one of our cheapest to date!
We lost count of the number of times we pinched ourselves during our stay. Adam threw in a line and had a snorkel but the wind must have chased the fish away as there was none to see or catch. The girls walked along the beach collecting shells- some of the most beautiful we had seen! Noah played in the sand and we all watched the glorious WA sunset. The fire basket finally came in handy and was a requirement in order to be able to have a campfire. It was the first evening in several that the weather had eased enough to allow us to enjoy the outdoors.
Waking to the view from our caravan windows to overlook the beach is simply magic. There are no words to describe it!
Our stay at Warroora was well worth the effort and we hope to return for longer one day! Of all the places we stayed on The Ningaloo Reef this was by far our favourite! A dream come true!
CORAL BAY 💦🐟🦑🐙🐬🐡🐟
Snorkelling at Coral Bay was on another level! We made a last minute decision to jump on a glass bottom boat and snorkelling tour due to the ordinary weather and we're so glad we did!! Best $$ we've spent on our trip!!
We were taken out to the Blue Maze snorkel site about 1.5klms off shore which had to be seen to be believed... it felt like we'd been transported to an underwater palace with narrow swim throughs and hidden underwater gardens stacked with coral pillars and sea creatures of all types. Truly ahh-mazing!!
We also got to snorkel at the infamous Coral Bay 'Ayres Rock' which was a real treat!
The giant piece of boulder coral is estimated to be over 2000 years old!!
It's obvious how Coral Bay got its name! The coral is so dense and there are so many varieties. The underwater gardens of Coral Bay have to be seen to be believed!
#coralbay #visitningaloo #ningalooreef #coralcoast #gopro #goprophotography #travellingaustraliawithkids #tawk #vanlife #seeaustralia #justanotherdayinwa @ Ningaloo Reef, Coral Bay
Staying at Osprey Bay Campground in Cape Range National Park has definitely been one of our most favourite places to stay! It's easy to see why campers need to book well in advance to stay at any of the campgrounds in Cape Range. Staying right on one of the most pristine parts of the Ningaloo Reef is an absolute treat with snorkelling and an abundance of sealife to delight you, straight off the beach! There are very few tropical reefs in the world that are as accessible from land as Ningaloo which stretches almost 300klms down the West Australian coastline.
There are 3 popular snorkelling sites within Cape Range all of which can be accessed reasonably easily by the whole family but the truth is all you really have to do is don a mask and look under the water and you will see something to excite you no matter where on the reef you are.
This magical part of Australia is also host to the gentle giants of the ocean, whale sharks. Tourists from around the world visit these parts to swim with the whale sharks as it is one of the few places where they come this close to shore. We were lucky enough to become part of the 0.01% of the world's population to have swum with them after taking a day out with Ningaloo Blue Dive. We were particularly lucky because we saw them at the end of September, well after the usual end to the whale shark spotting season.
We had high expectations for our stay at Cape Range with it placing high on our list of must-dos. We booked 3 weeks in advance to ensure that we got the choice of where we wanted to stay and even then we weren't direct waterfront but we were there where many others had tried to book and missed out.
Our visit lived up to our high expectations! We highly recommend Osprey Bay Campground for its cleanliness and recently made over sites and toilets (cleanest drop toilets ever!). The campground also has a boat launch area and whilst boat fishing is not permitted in the bay, shore line fishing is. This is not the case for all of Cape Range's campgrounds. Don't miss visiting Cape Range National Park if you're visiting the Ningaloo Reef!... and book early!
This post comes a few weeks late but time has allowed us to reflect on what a truly amazing place Kakadu is and what a wonderful time we had there.
We came away scratching our heads at the old 'Kaka-don't' catch cry and can only draw the conclusion that the Kaka-don'ts didn't give Kakadu the time and respect it needs to fully appreciate it for what it is.
Kakadu National Park is huge, covering almost 20,000 square kilometres with five main landscapes (stone country, wetlands, savannah woodlands, coastal and tidal flats and the southern hills and ranges) and six recognised seasons as identified by the Aboriginal people over thousands of years. With all this in mind a couple of days isn't enough to really #DoKakadu. We spent 6 nights there and would suggest that this would be the minimum required time to experience just some of what the area has to offer. Even still there were areas that we didn't explore such as Jim Jim Falls but this was largely due to the fact that we were there late in the dry season and we had word that the water had finished flowing.
Here's a run down of our stay...
Our drive on the Arhnem Highway from Darwin to Kakadu gave us an uncomfortable reminder of the perils of road tripping as we approached the scene of a serious accident. A roadtrain had rear ended a Britz which had stopped on the bridge near the Jumping Croc cruises to take a picture. Needless to say the Britz came off second best and thankfully no one was seriously injured. The road was blocked for sometime before we were able to pass so we used the delay to familiarise ourselves with the Kakadu map.
The afternoon was hot so long walks were out of the question but we noticed that the Mamukala wetland and bird viewing area was on the drive in and decided to stop for a look. In 36 degrees of dry heat we asked another traveller if the short walk was worth a look. It was a resounding yes and so we took the hot stroll in. We came upon a large partitioned shelter and proceeded to enter. The other side was at least 10 degrees cooler with a glorious breeze and a view in stark contrast to the dry woodlands we had just walked through. In front of us was a wetland as far as the eye could see with large lilypads and pink flowers blowing as if almost in slow motion. Birds of varying species were ducking for food and flying above the wet expanse. That's all it took for us to know that we were definitely team Kakadu!
We checked into Kakadu Lodge caravan park where we stayed 4 nights. The Lodge is central to Jabiru township and a great base to explore the regions of Ubirr and Nourlangie.
Given the size of Kakadu it helps to carefully spend time planning your list of 'must-sees' to ensure you aren't backtracking unnecessarily. Our list of 'must-sees' included Cahills Crossing at high tide, Ubirr at sunset, rock art exploration and a meal of Thai food at the Border Store. We were able to work it so that we did all of these things in the space of a few hours saving us from having to drive back out to Ubirr on another day.
We had a picnic lunch at Cahills Crossing and spent almost 2 hours croc and people watching in the shade. We witnessed a Hyundai Getz make a crossing amidst the rising waters only to have a large salty slip across in front of the car. We were within an inch of witnessing horror but somehow those daring locals had it in hand and safely made it to the other side. Goodness knows they have probably done it loads of times before!
A travelling friend had recommended that we pick up a copy of David M. Welch's book 'Aboriginal Paintings at Ubirr and Nourlangie' which we did. It proved invaluable as we viewed the galleries in these areas despite taking a rock art tour with a ranger at Ubirr. It gave us a deeper understanding of the pictures and allowed us to locate and view a greater number of paintings. We were even able to estimate the age of some artworks based on the information in the book and enjoyed getting into this learning as a family. Much of the rock art at Ubirr focuses on food sources and is painted in x-ray style. There is also evidence of contact art following Aboriginal contact with Europeans.
After exploring Ubirr's galleries we climbed to the top of the lookout to take in the majestic view of the Nadab Floodplain. The scenery up there was breathtakingly beautiful and made even more wonderful as the sun went down. The night was topped off by a delicious dash to the Border Store for a feed of tasty Thai!
One of the lesser visited areas of Kakadu is Nourlangie. This is unfortunate as the rock art and landscape are as equally captivating as those at Ubirr in fact the galleries are even more impressive focusing on ancestral beings. We highly recommend that this area not be missed!
We were lucky enough to be at Jabiru when the Mahbilil Festival was on. An annual festival held in the Kurrung season (Aug-Sept) celebrating Kakadu culture and drawing people from Kakadu, West Arnhem Land, Katherine and Darwin. We can safely say that this was by far the best festival we have ever been to. It was also the richest cultural experience that we had had on our trip to date. We learnt about Traditional cooking and bush foods, weaving, painting and dancing. We were all encouraged to give it a try and we had a ball joining in. The best part was this festival was completely free and it was outstanding. If you are planning a visit to Kakadu and can time it with this festival then be sure you do. You could pay hundreds of dollars to have these kinds of cultural experiences in other places but this was as authentic and rich as you could get and it was awesome. The night was topped off on the sand dance floor as we kicked of our thongs and grooved to the funky tunes of Tijuana Cartel and local Aboriginal rock bands.
After our 4 nights at Kakadu Lodge we headed south-west to stay 2 nights at Cooinda Campground & Caravan Park. This place was a pleasant surprise and our favourite of the two caravan parks. Given our time again we would have stayed longer here. With live entertainment every night and a resort style swimming pool we thought we'd been transported back to the Free Spirit Resort in Darwin!
Despite Jim Jim being dry we didn't want to miss some of Kakadu's finest falls so visited both Maguk and Gunlom over the next 2 days. We dropped the tyre pressure and in we went. The 4x4 only road to Maguk was freshly graded and described by a fellow traveller as being 'as soft as a baby's bottom'. Gunlom on the other hand was a shocker! The road was heavily corrugated with potholes giving us a good old shake rattle and roll! We felt sorry for the many 2WD vehicles and campervans that we flew past that day on the road in! Both Maguk and Gunlom Falls were still running and both very impressive. The walk into Maguk was lovely despite being a bit of a challenging one. Similarly the climb to the top of Gunlom was very technical but rewarding.
Our time in Kakadu was topped off by cruising Yellow Water on both the sunset and sunrise cruises. This stunning waterway harbours an abundance of wildlife from estuarine crocodiles (salties) to Jabirus. With more than a third of Australia's bird species calling Kakadu home it's no wonder this place is a birdwatchers paradise! The magic of Yellow Water is captivating and the view at sunrise as the mist hovers over the lilypads in the water is nothing short of breathtaking! This is one cruise that we highly recommend!
If you want authentic experiences with wildlife in the Top End then go to Kakadu, sit at Cahills Crossing for a few hours, visit Yellow Water or take a Yellow Water cruise and observe the animals doing what they do in the wild. You will get right up close, learn loads and leave knowing more about the natural behaviour of these creatures.
We loved Kakadu and can't wait to go back and see more in the future... perhaps during a different season. It's a big Kaka-DEFINITELY-Do from us!
Here are our top 5 favs...
Adam - Sunset at Ubirr
Sharon - Maguk
Ella - Taking photographs at Cahills Crossing
Ava - Mahbilil Festival
Noah - Watching Aboriginal people dancing at the Mahbilil Festival
KNP has to be the most gnarly NP we've visited to date! We were challenged and had an awesome time every step of the way!
Check back soon for a full run down of our visit to the park, but for now check out our vid...🤘
On Tuesday we had a #kidfree date 😌 taking the half day tour from Broome to check out the amazing phenomenon that is the Horizontal Waterfalls. We really wanted to see the Falls for ourselves after our good friend, pro wakeboarder Josh Sanders rode the Falls a few years back (crazy right?!😱). 🌊🌊🌊
This tour is said to be the best in the Kimberley and we would have to agree! What a totally action packed few hours with scenery that is simply breathtaking. ✈️🚤⛰
If you're visiting the Kimberley then be sure to get out there to see one of the most remote and beautiful places in Australia! 🗺🇦🇺
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Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures #justanotherdayinwa #broome #horizontalwaterfalls
Our 6 weeks in the Territory has been nothing short of ahhh-mazing! From the Red Centre to the Top End and everything in between we have had our breath taken away time and time again. The landscape is magnificent, the wildlife tenacious, the people are courageous and quirky and we are certainly better for the experience.
The Territory is quintessentially true blue, through and through and holds the heart of the nation.
We've been to Uluru and Kata Tjuta 10 years ago, so the beauty and the connection we felt to this area was anticipated but the Top End blew us away! What an awesome place for a holiday like no other! Kicking off with a ripper night at Daly Waters then on to Mataranka, Katherine, Litchfield, Darwin and Kakadu... all are must see destinations with their own unique qualities. There's no question that the Top End is its own kind of 'exotic holiday'.
Over the past few weeks we swam daily in places that we have previously only ever dreamed about... under waterfalls, in natural infinity pools with views like no other, in thermal pools, hot springs and rock pools. Could it be that the NT is Australia's best kept secret? Not according to overseas tourists who absolutely love the Territory and for them it is Australia's ultimate destination, a rite of passage even!
No it's not the coast and yes we are hanging for our first saltwater swim in a long time BUT the Territory is truly an ahhh-mazing holiday destination not to be missed! If the world wants to see the Territory then why don't ordinary Australians have it top of their list? It wasn't at the top of ours either but we want to help spread the word that the Territory IS tops!
Here are the top 10 things the NT has taught us
Adam - Staying at Wangi Falls, Litchfield NP
Sharon - Kakadu NP (for the place), Darwin (for the many friends we made)
Ella - Staying at Uluru by sunrise free camp & Noonamah rodeo
Ava - Our night at Daly Waters Pub
Noah - Nathan Whippy Griggs' show (Mataranka), Micks Whips show (Mindil Beach)
The Territory might not be on top of your list but be sure to visit and embrace it for what it is... you will be surprised!
August Stats are in!
Here's some stats from our 3rd month on the road! Our trip totals to date are shown in brackets (ie. totals since 1.6.17 departure)...
Car: 5599klms (14635klms)
Caravan: 3052klms (9232klms)
Fuel stops: 14 (35)
Spend on diesel: $1624.29 ($3776.44)
Most expensive diesel: $1.99 (Airleron Roadhouse)
Cheapest diesel: $1.25 - Katherine (Deeragun Woolworths)
Nights: 31 (92)
Spend: $1670.50 ($4691.5)
Average per night: $53.89 ($51)
Stops (set ups): 12 (35)
Powered sites: 24 nights (60)
Unpowered/low cost sites: 7 nights (12)
Free camps: 0 nights (3)
Resorts: 8 nights (17)
Cheapest night: Wangi Falls, Litchfield NP (Cape Trib Camping Green Camp- $10)
Most expensive: Lake Argyle $68 (Big 4 Adventure Whitsundays- $122)
Supermarket visits: 7 (17)
Spend: $839.57 ($2508.52)
Alcohol: $79.99 ($554.38)
States visited: 2 (4)
Tours/experiences: 5 (19)
Spend: $785 ($4638.49)
Adam - Staying at Wangi Falls (also our cheapest stay!)
Sharon - Kakadu (for the place), Darwin (for the friends we made)
Ella - Uluru by sunrise freecamp & Noonamah rodeo
Ava - Daly Waters
Noah - Nathan Whippy Griggs' show (Mataranka), Micks Whips show (Mindil Beach)
Most exciting wildlife spotted:
Dingoes - Kings Canyon, Kakadu
Buffalo, jabiru, azure kingfisher, comb created jacana, white-bellied see eagle, magpie goose, forest kingfisher and so many other beautiful birds! - Kakadu
Water monitor - Litchfield
Uluru, Big Croc (Humpty Doo)
Car, bus, boat
Fish caught 🎣: 0 (5)
Thong blowouts: 3 (5) One being Adam's during the conga line at Daly Waters!
Tantrums & Timouts: It's been quite a settled month so not too many thank goodness!
Fiftyby50 list ticks ✔️: 2 (4)
Go to an outback rodeo
Television appearances: 1 (Today Show with Natalia Cooper) or 2 if you count Sharon's "OMG" (with a mouthful of bread roll!) heard in the footage of the Hyundai Getz crossing Cahills which was broadcast via various media outlets! 🤦♀️😝
Travelling families met this month:
Spirited Scott Clan
Wandering Woodies (again :))
Extract Black Coffee Co crew
One Day We Should
And loads of others!!
Also met during our trip:
Oz Gap Lap
Jacques on Tour
Wide Open Wanderings
Regrets: Still ZERO! 🤠🇦🇺👍
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Undara gave us an experience like no other! Did you know that Australia has the longest lava tubes in the world? Did you know that lava tubes even existed? Well before we began to prepare for our trip neither did we! When we discovered that we had these ancient earth formations in our own backyard we just had to go and see for ourselves.
The Undara Volcanic National Park story is quite an interesting one, having previously been private land before the lava tubes were discovered a deal was soon cut between the owners and the Queensland government to take back the land. The owner's received the right to be the sole tour operators.
The tubes were created from slow moving molten lava. So slow moving were they that the surface cooled and hardened leaving an underground lava river that reached for many kilometres. Once the last lot of lava had flowed through the tubes they became large underground tunnels.
Today, visitors can visit a small area of the large tunnel network which has been deemed as safe for visitors. There is a high risk of the roof caving in and this has happened in many areas as you can see in the video.
As well as lava tubes Undara Volcanic Park has a series of large craters formerly volcanos.
Undara Experience has an onsite campground with powered and unpowered sites and the famous railway carriage cabins. This bush camp was our introduction to the outback after we turned left off the east coast and it didn't disappoint. With each site having the provision for a campfire we couldn't resist. What says bush camp more than a campfire? Toasted marshmallows were on the menu before we headed down to the main muster area for some trivia with fellow campers.
A great overnight stay and a privilege to see such an ancient place that most Australians don't even know exists!
We are lucky that this was our second time visiting the World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest but this time we amped up the excitement with a course of Jungle Surfing and instead of just day tripping from Cairns decided to tow the van over to stay at Cape Trib Camping's new Green Camp. This is when having a self contained van pays for itself with accommodation costing just $10 for the family for the night on a huge grassy site!
This place has a cool chilled vibe after dark serving delicious woodfired pizzas on the verandah with a few tunes playing in the background. Cape Trib Camping also have powered and unpowered sites with full use of amenities.
Jungle Surfing had the whole family laughing and cheering through the course looking over not 1 but 2 spectacular World Heritage Areas, being the Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef. The team marvelled at how all 3 of our kidlets took the challenge by the horns without fear! Only in QLD would Mr 3 be allowed to enjoy such an activity on his own and didnt he love it!
Cape Tribulation is a truly special part of the world and our beautiful country. Be sure to include it in your next trip to the Cairns region.