We arrived in Exmouth in the early afternoon of Friday, We were spending two nights so that gave us plenty of time to take a look around. What we didn’t realise is that, although it is summer time, we had arrived in the off-season. This meant that many of the tour companies were taking a break. It also meant that the whales were elsewhere along with the whale sharks who presumably were off on their holidays.
This left us to entertain ourselves, which we duly did.
On arrival at the Ningaloo Lodge we were greeted by this character …..
He was back again the following morning too !!!
During our first afternoon we went exploring and discovered Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt …..
The station provides very low frequency (VLF) radio transmission to United States Navy and Royal Australian Navy ships and submarines in the western Pacific Ocean and eastern Indian Ocean. The thirteen towers are huge, the tallest is called Tower Zero and is 387 m (1,270 ft) tall. These towers are visible for miles.
…… further along the road we arrived at a car park with access to the beach to view the wreck of the SS Mildura …..
The SS Mildura was carrying Kimberley cattle south when it foundered on the reef during a cyclone in 1907. No human lives were lost but many cattle did not survive. During WWII, allied planes used it for bombing practice.
We spent an hour or more on the beach overlooking the wreck. Paddling and just sitting in the sunshine. We were the only ones on the beach for quite some time. We did have some wild company …
The wreck can be viewed from the beach at the end of Mildura Wreck Road. As I said we had the beach to ourselves until, just before we were about to leave, three guys turned up to fish.
We watched for a while, to check out their methods. However their method entailed wading a long way out until they were waist deep, fishing with a lure until they got it caught on the rocks and lost it. Then they would wade back to shore, re-tackle, and wade back out. One of them lost his tackle several times. I think they spent more time tramping back and forth than they did fishing.
Having decided that there was nothing to be learnt we headed back to Exmouth to search out somewhere for an evening meal. We eventually settled on 5 Kennedy St.
The food here is superb and if you are ever in Exmouth I highly recommend a visit. To give you a hint of what is on offer I had Chilli Pepper Squid, Berry Vinaigrette, Chilli Lime Sauce as an entrée, followed by Lamb Shoulder, Israeli Cous Cous Salad, Baba Ganoush, Dukkah. The lamb was quite a substantial dish and I didn’t think I would make it to desert. However, I struggled manfully on to round of the meal with Churros, Chocolate Chilli Sauce, Vanilla Ice Cream.
Feeling pleasantly plump we took ourselves back to the Ningaloo Lodge for a well-earned kip to prepare for the next day.
Saturday morning saw us up and out searching for a breakfast venue. And for the early morning jump-start we settled on See Salt. Suitably fueled we set of in search of the visitor centre.
They confirmed that we were indeed visiting out of season but informed us that one tour company was still operating and that they still had spaces available. We duly booked ourselves onto a glass bottom boat trip out over the reef. Our departure time was to be 07:30 Sunday morning.
That left us with the whole of Saturday to go and explore. After studying maps and brochures we decided that we would follow Yardie Creek Road which winds its way down the western side of the North West Cape. Our target was to follow this road all the way to Yardie Creek and then to wend our way back to Exmouth, stopping off en-route to go swimming and even get in a little fishing. As always our plans are flexible and any trip is likely punctuated by numerous stops to admire the views and take pictures.
Consequently we hadn’t been on the road very long when we detoured of to visit Vlaming Head Lighthouse.
The wreck of the SS Mildura was directly responsible for the building of this lighthouse. Vlaming Head was also the site for a radar station. There is quite a comprehensive set of information boards pertaining to the history of the area and providing information about the views and wildlife that may be spotted. It is well worth the visit.
Continuing along Yardie Creek Road we did eventually reach Yardie Creek. This is pretty much the end of the paved road. To continue on requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle and the courage to cross the creek.
As you can see from the photos this area is absolutely swarming with tourists. No room to move on the beach. Honestly though, I’m sure it would be busier here if it wasn’t out of season. Would love to have taken the boat trip up Yardie Creek Gorge. Perhaps next time.
So, we managed to drag ourselves away from the creek and start our meander back to Exmouth. Although there are many tracks off Yardie Creek Road, to various beaches, we had decide to visit Turquoise Bay. We were not disappointed ……
We spent a good couple of hours here. The water was warm and very clear with loads of fish. They, the fish, were big enough to have given great sport to a fisherman. Unfortunately, fishing is not allowed here as this is a protected zone. Great for snorkelers who can observe the fish and the corals on the reef. Once again the beach was absolutely swarming with people…… not.
Alas time, as always, moved on and we had to set off back to Exmouth. As the sun sets the kangaroos and other wildlife become active and it becomes decidedly risky to drive after dark. We saw several kangaroos as we motored along and Gerry managed to get a couple of pictures ….
Back in Exmouth we again ate at 5 Kennedy St and with it being Saturday night the restaurant was very busy. The food was really good, five-star. My compliments to Dexter and his chef.