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Will Parker

Melbourne, Footy, Family & Celebrating Good Times.

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Outside the Heritage listed entrance to Victoria Park.

Outside the Heritage listed entrance to Victoria Park.

For as much as distance separates people, footy brings them back together coupled with the occasion of an 80 years young birthday and one has good reason to travel.

My family and I live in Broome in Australia’s North West in the remote Kimberley,  we share a love for where we live with where we come from, or more to the point the people and entities from where we once called home.

Family, friends and the Collingwood footy club http://www.collingwoodfc.com.au in far off Melbourne.

2017 has been bigger than most, three epic trips to Melbourne have been completed this year a lazy 25,000km traversed, Christmas (2016) January 2017, Easter, Anzac Day at the MCG,

MCG, Anzac Day 2017

MCG, Anzac Day 2017

MCG, Anzac Day 2017

MCG, Anzac Day 2017

 

an 80th birthday party and two other games squeezed in, not to mention a trip to Victoria Park with the kids to see where mum and dad got married.

Dad (Will) & Mum (Julie) getting married at Victoria Park Oct 1998.

Dad (Will) & Mum (Julie) getting married at Victoria Park Oct 1998.

My son, trying to visualise, the wedding day. And what it would have been like to see Pies play here.

My son, trying to visualise, the wedding day. And what it would have been like to see Pies play here.

All these occasions bring people together. People who have known each other for a long time yet have not seen each other in ages, who start talking like they saw each other only last weekend.

The footy and Collingwood footy club for me is a 40 plus year relationship, it allows me to catch up with a very special friend who I have been going to Collingwood games with for near on 30 years, Collingwood is the thread that binds us together, no matter what directions our lives take.

Emulating his idol after the Saints game in Melbourne 2017

Emulating his idol after the Saints game in Melbourne 2017

Now my 7 year old son shares my love of game and club and his sister is not shy either.

This year as a direct result of my father – in – law’s very special achievement of turning 80 years young the corresponding party saw my brother – in – law in town from America, so I took him to the footy Collingwood vs North Melbourne. Another not only introduced to the Australian game but inducted into the Collingwood family. It was a shame Collingwood’s American Pie Mason Cox was not playing that night.

Collingwood lost the first two games we attended this year, but the beauty of footy is there’s always next week and the beauty of kids is they always put things into perspective.

Essendon on Anzac Day was an event, education, experience, occasion and an eye opener for a kid from the Kimberley. Although it would have been nice to win the experience was a win just the same.

St.Kilda the next week. Well never mind, to fully understand the winning feeling you have to lose a couple, that’s how I explained it to a 7 year old.

It was third time lucky against North Melbourne, a win at last. Seeing my sons face, alight with joy I’m sure my parents remember the face well only 40 years earlier. As he sang the club song, my brother in  law, caught up in the  enthusiasm of the moment it’s the simple yet beautiful thing about footy.

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Enjoying the moment after the North Melbourne game, in Melbourne 2017.

When you live remotely like we do going back to the same place multiple times a year is a draining and expensive undertaking, however it’s not questioned or thought much about, as the relationships and bonds with people and experiences far outweigh the cost.

Thanks to all family and friends for making our Melbourne trips enjoyable this year and to the Collingwood Footy Club http://www.collingwoodfc.com.au for just being there and giving us a thrill with a win. See ya next year

Side By Side.

 

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Mercedes Cove A Kimberley Sojourn To Where Whales Frolic & Beaches are Beautifully Empty

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Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. The Dampier Peninsula stretches 220km north of Broome in Australia’s North West.

There is only one track that dissects straight up the middle of the Peninsula this is called the Cape Leveque road, all others run off it.

Known to local indigenous people as “Ardi” meaning heading north, this dusty bone rattling journey gives the adventurous a chance to experience the pristine, secluded and the unique that is the Peninsula.

To fully appreciate a location you sometimes have to embrace the journey, as the two become one to form the experience.  This is one such instance. The track will rattle and drain you while the destination will rejuvenate and repair you.

The Retreat

 

“Exclusive” What is exclusive? Limited to only one person or group of people, special, unique.

“Welcome To Mercedes Cove”.

After 190 bone rattling kilometres you arrive at the gate, “Booked Guests Only Beyond this Point”

Here at Last

it reads. A deep breath is part relief part expection as you wander down the track to the main parking area.

You’re enthusiastically greeted by Rex the resident hound who’s friendly demeanour is only surpassed by owner Pat Channing who is close behind.

You quickly realize that “retreat” is just a fancy word for relax, as you feel yourself slip into Kimberley Time as Pat & Rex sweep you away to Mercedes Cove http://mercedescove.com.au.

Check in time is 2pm and just quietly I think it’s a deliberate ploy by Pat and Hubby David, for after the drive up, their orientation tour, and settling in, you’re  just about done for the day and ready to pull up a pew at the “Whales Lookout”, sundowners a perfect conclusion.

Mercedes Cove forces you to take one step forward and two steps back, disconnecting you from the world for a while while it reconnects you with whoever you’re with, and the wilderness that is just waiting to immerse you.

Immersed in Kimberley wilderness.

There is no Wi – Fi at Mercedes Cove but the connection is better.

The retreat has uninterrupted views of the ocean, with three private and sparsely occupied sandy beaches in which to swim, fish, snorkel and explore on go for a walk and be the first to leave your footprints in the sand.

Get used to yours being the only umbrella on the beach.

Mercedes Cove possibly has the best land based whale watching in the Kimberley, June to September each year.  Humpbacks wander up and down the coast they seem to stay a little longer and a little closer at Mercedes Cove.

Let’s see a Humpback escape our attention.

A highlight of each day was taking a moment to watch the sunset each evening, seeing the sun quietly slip behind the ancient chimney rocks then dip below the horizon, the Kimberley sky fading to mauves and pastels, whales frolic and dance as lapping waves send you off to bed without a worry in the world.

You can do as much or as little as you like at Mercedes Cove it’s that type of place, you could swing in a hammock and study the backs of your eyelids listening to the lapping waves no one would blame you, however with so much Kimberley wilderness you’d be mad not to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Exploring a stack of chimney rock on remote Mercedes Cove Beach.

Whales can be awe inspiring, the fishing a bit of fun, long walks along uninhabited private beaches soul cleansing, the sunsets breathtaking.

However the thing that marries all the elements together is the exclusiveness or the small number of guests in house at any given time, and the accommodation options.

Accommodation Options 

 

Mercedes Cove is not targeted at any one demographic of people, it’s for everyone. Experience it with your partner, family or friends.

Fishing fun on the beach at Mercedes Cove.

Fishing fun on the beach at Mercedes Cove.

Passing on the knowledge soon she'll be catching me a feed.

Passing on the knowledge soon she’ll be catching me a feed.

To ensure your stay is private, peaceful and personal bookings are kept to a minimum.

Mercedes Cove have package deals available to corporate bodies, workshop groups and small social groups,  maximum number of people at any one time is 24.

All accommodation http://mercedescove.com.au/accomodation/  is fully equipped, cleanliness of the accommodation options is beaut, Pat keeps them spotless. All are well appointed and more than adequate for an overnight or a two week stay.

Two Bedroom Cabins x 2

 

These cabins are very similar to each other, one is called Seaview, the other Beach Shack. They are set to the back of the retreat a little amongst the gubinge fruit trees.

Kids having a ball climbing a Gubinge fruit tree.

That said they still get plenty of sea breeze and are within easy walking distance of everything.

The Beach Shack: Two Bedroom Air Con Cabin.

A wonderful option for families, lots of room, big verandahs and air conditioned.

Eco Tents x 2 

 

These eco tents are spacious and beautifully ventilated. With every wall screened, breeze passes through wonderfully. Inside you’ll find in addition to your bed a table and chairs, bar fridge, pedestal fan. Outside is your BBQ.

One Tent is called “Gubinge” This is the family tent it sleeps 4

The Gubbinge: Eco Tent Flanked by Pandanus & Frangipanis.

The Gubbinge: Eco Tent Flanked by Pandanus & Frangipanis.

Inside layout of the Gubbinge Eco Tent.

Inside layout of the Gubbinge Eco Tent.

 

The Other Tent is called Jirr (Meaning Sea Eagle) – Ideal for couples, Sleeps 2.

This tent is in a great location. It sits atop a small rise and has great views out to the ocean. The gubinge tree which is front and centre blocks things a little, however when it grows in a wet season or two it will not only throw nice shade but frame that view well.

 

Both Eco Tents share an abolition block.

Kids having a ball climbing a Gubbinge fruit tree.

Kids having a ball climbing a Gubbinge fruit tree.

Inside the Eco Tent Ablution Block.

Inside the Eco Tent Ablution Block.

Open Deck

 

This is the pick of the bunch. It sits out overlooking the ocean, everyone sleeps out on the deck in the open under mozzie nets.

The Open Deck

The breeze, smells, sounds, sights – its a beautiful way to drop off to sleep and a wonderful way to wake up. Its experience, memories that will not be easily forgotten.

View out of kitchen window across the deck & out to sea in the Open Deck.

This open plan design has a well appointed kitchen, great bathrooms and sensational big entertaining table on the deck.

Kitchen of the Open Deck.

Staying here just complements everything else Mercedes Cove has to offer.

TOP TIP: Every accommodation type has its own fire pit & wood so pack marshmallows.

When To Visit 

 

The retreat closes for the wet season  and, depending on weather, rain and road conditions, as a rough guide reopen around Easter. Always pays to contact Pat and run your plans by her first as a rough guide April to November.

Anytime is a good time really, the absolute sweet spot about Mercedes Cove which makes it quite different to other places is the limited number of guests at any given time. So when other places are seriously busy in July Mercedes Cove will have clean air and an empty beach.

Grab an umbrella as you pass and go find where you want to be.

That being said, the beautiful viewing of whales makes this place really special between June and early September.

If you’re not fussed on whales then the shoulder season months of May, September and October have warmer nights and less wind.

How Long To Stay

 

My mob & I could easily stay for a week and may well do so one day, however for most of everybody else I would recommend two or three nights.

This will give a bit of time to explore, rest and play.

Top Tip: On the trip up stop at Beagle Bay and check out the Sacred Heart Church, perhaps make it a morning tea break.

Top Tip: Stop at the Whale Song Cafe for lunch, then proceed to Mercedes Cove for 2pm check in.

How To Get There

 

The nearest major town is Broome. 10km out of Broome on Broome Highway is the turn off to Cape Leveque. Continue along the Cape Leveque Road for approximately 155km to the Middle Lagoon turn off, make this turn and travel another 35km until you see the signs to Mercedes Cove.

The Cape Leveque road and the Middle Lagoon road are sandy, rutted, corrugated, dippy, bumpy, rocky, narrow in places, unforgiving tracks. They demand respect and your full concentration- treat them with every respect.

Don’t try to race the road, it will determine your speed. Drive to the conditions, and let some air out of your tyres.

PLEASE NOTE: There was no google map of Mercedes Cove, that’s how off the grid and remote/alone you will be. It locates roughly between Middle Lagoon & Whale Song. Follow your nose and the signs. And it won’t take you 6 hours to get there even the most cautious will arrive in 3 hours or a tad under if they drove straight through, no stops.

Other Facts

 

  • No Wi – FI & only very limited mobile reception at Mercedes Cove, for full mobile service head round to Whale Song Cafe.

 

  • No Pets allowed at Mercedes Cove.

 

  • Check In time is 2pm / Check Out is 10am

 

  • Boats can be launched from the beach tyres must be deflated to 15psi

 

Well, what else can I say, Mercedes Cove has beautiful accommodation, set in an ancient landscape that accommodates very few modern gadgets.

Awaiting you to discover it at Mercedes Cove.

Sometimes less is more, this location offers visitors an opportunity to unplug from the everyday in a remote coastal wilderness with few others around, with wonderful indigenous local hosts.

We’ll be back and we haven’t quite left yet.

Make your own adventure and soak it all up at Mercedes Cove.

You Might Also Enjoy.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you been to Mercedes Cove recently? Perhaps you’re  planning a trip. Would love to hear from you about your experiences or any questions you might have.

 

 

 

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Barn Hill A Kimberley Station Stay with pristine views & colourful hues, worth exploring.

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Reflecting upon the colours of Barn Hill.

The Kimberley coastline is rugged and ancient, a living breathing thing, it’s pulse rises and falls with its huge tides.

Barn Hill is but a small breathtaking part of a larger picture. The beauty however is its  location –  you can easily get to it and enjoy it.

The coastal frontage of Barn Hill Station Stay is a kaleidoscope of colour, unique to the Kimberley, especially the West Kimberley.

In 1879 when Alexander Forrest wandered through on his Kimberley expedition, one could only imagine the thoughts in his mind as he tried to reconcile the contrasting wonder his eyes must have been processing as he looked over the coast when he constructed his surveyor’s cairn up top of what is today known as Barn Hill.

The Kimberley is full of characters and visionaries. 1960 saw a bloke called Alf Brown purchase Thangoo Station. From under his wide brim hat and through the Kimberley squint of his eye, he committed to memory a beautiful 50km or so stretch of coast that his 430,000 acres was blessed with and realised a vision splendour that would some day complement his 8000 head of Brahman cattle.

The local Cattle enjoying the beach at Barn Hill

In 1976 this vision materialised when a portion of Thangoo was handed over to daughter Janice, and Barn Hill Station Stay http://www.barnhill.com.au was born.

Today it’s a back to nature station stay, a relaxing tree filled place with an Indian Ocean vista close by with pristine, untouched beaches which are a kaleidoscope of colour to the senses when you first lay eyes on them.

To explore is extraordinary, contrasts so vivid one really has to see to fully absorb. Pindan cliffs with towering turrets cut imposing figures into the seemlessly endless stretches of white sands and azure ocean.

Pinnacles of sandstone like turrets of a lost city over looking the ocean.

Pinnacles of sandstone dusted in pindan, like turrets of a lost city overlooking the ocean.

Your days at the beach are then washed off under a million Kimberley stars as your mind merges between  salt water, colour and sunset and the stars above as you wash down in an open air shower.

The Beach

Once you wander away from your camp more often than not you’ll be heading to the beach, easy access is gained via a set of stairs which dissect their way down the most striking pindan cliff.

The Stairs that get you on & off the beach.

Once on the sand a quick scan is visual overload with a inviting blue ocean ahead, while in either direction white sand cuts clean against pindan cliffs.

As you enter the beach after coming down the stairs, wander right or north along the beach. Roughly 1.5km maybe 2km will bring you to the most extraordinary rock formations, stacks of sandstone laid high like turrets or pinnacles cut clean against beach, sky and water like a lost city. This area is a must   to explore, the walk is pleasant the rewards great.

Imposing & Impressive.

TOP TIP: Complete this walk at low tide. There is a small headland about 300m from the stairs which you won’t get around at high tide.  The colours and designs in the rocks are best seen at low tide, with best shell fossisking also at this time.

TOP TIP: Should you miss time the tide and get stuck on the return trip, there is a alternative route back. It snakes its way back behind the dunes, it’s a bit of goat track and a tad warm during the middle of the day as you lose the breeze, however it brings you out in the unpowered camping area.

As with most beaches in the Kimberley they are big, bold vistas with horizons that always seem to disappear over the next horizon on the horizon, especially when the tide’s out with no shade.

if you plan on spending any considerable time on the beach it’s BYO  shade.

Somewhere to escape to just for a while makes all the difference.

Rockpools

Low tide at Barn Hill is a great time to explore the beach.  North and south of the main stairs on to the beach there are some really interesting reef systems. The one slightly off to the north is the better for snorkling and exploring. My two kids spent hours combing every crevice looking for critters and treasure. It’s also a really nice place to sit on a warm day.

Looking for critters & treasures.

Looking out to sea from inside a cave.

Looking out to sea from inside a cave.

Cliffs

The cliffs that skirt the beach are not only extraordinarily colourful and striking, but ripe for exploring.

These cliffs have lots of trails and caves, nooks and crevasses littered with treasures such as driftwood, cool rocks and shells with hermit crabs in them. They were a highlight of each day for my kids and brought out their inner Malcolm Douglas and Steve Backshall as they dipped in and out of sight.

 

Fishing

Fishing is done right along the beach at Barn Hill. Using the steps onto the beach as a reference point, people were giving it a go both north and south along the beach.

Best time to go was 1.5 hours before the high tide, fishing the incoming tide. To the north of the stairs as you walk along the beach for the first 500m or so the reef is quite prominent. There is opportunity to fish along this reef flicking lures out into the drop off or deep water. http://www.barnhill.com.au/activities

Flicking lures into the deep water just over the drop off.

Once you pass the reef you will be down on a beach, somewhere close to the Lost City/Pinnacle rock formations where some bait fishing can be completed.

Heading south of the stairs it’s a much shorter walk to clear the reef area and find some beach. This is a longer section of beach with a sandier bottom, and it pays to come down at low tide to try and identify a channel.

Fishing the southern end of the beach.

Vehicles are only allowed onto the beach at Barn Hill to launch boats all boat launching is done off the beach, the track down is easy to find. However the sand is really soft at the entry / exit point, deflation of tyres is the only way to avoid getting bogged.

Target fish here are varied, however the prized fish is Bluebone. Travelly, Whiting and Long – toms or Garfish are often about.

The small kiosk at reception sells bait but no tackle.

Walk To Summit of Barn Hill

The walk to the top of Barn Hill is not too difficult for anybody of average fitness. This is no mountain just the highest point on the surround. The view is pretty good considering. As you make your way to the top please be wary of cattle and keep an eye out for Joe Blakes.

Please Note: The cairn atop Barn Hill is a historical landmark left by Alexander Forrest during his expedition to the Kimberley in 1879. Please do not tamper with or add to the cairn.

Photography

The colours are so vivid and striking at Barn Hill the challenge is to concentrate on and get right the composition of your image.

With so many opportunities at all times of the day its a location no matter where you wander you want to have a camera of some description in your bag or pocket.

Being in Western Australia you are presented with the luxury of the sun setting over the ocean which makes for great sunset possibilities there is a nice little lookout too, however don’t discard sunrise especially if you get a low tide at that time of day the reflections can be wonderful.

For that matter the reflections on the low tide can present many opportunities at anytime of day with so many vibrant colours.

Sand Art at low tide. Does anybody else see a grove of Boabs?

The rocks, rock pools, cliffs and caves provide opportunities for creativeness. Wildlife is not abundant, however opportunities may present themselves in the form of cattle, kangaroos, goannas, hermit crabs, frogs and, should you be visiting in June/July, whales, which are best spotted from the lookout on top of the cliff.

Sometimes you get more than you bargain for.

 

The tyre marks the turn off only 10km to go.

The tyre marks the turn off only 10km to go.

Where is Barn Hill Station Stay

Barn Hill http://www.barnhill.com.au is in the Kimberley of Western Australia in Australia’s North West corner. It’s 132km south of

Broome and 480km north of Port Hedland on the Great Northern Highway or Highway #1. The Caravan Park is located right on the ocean 10km or so off the Highway.  The track is pretty well maintained and all vehicles should have no trouble. Drive to the conditions, consider your vehicle and others and all should be good.

 

 

 

 

TOP TIP: This is a fully operational cattle station – close gates behind you.

 

Where to Stay

The Caravan/Camping Park at Barn Station Stay is divided into two distinct sections – the powered and unpowered areas – which are separated by the grassed communal area located out front of the reception/kiosk. This space has tables and chairs, shade and a  view of the ocean and lawn bowling green.

Looking straight through to the ocean, big shadowed area is the reception, powered sites on left.

The end of the track you will find yourself stopped looking down the barrel of the bowling green, your eye floats past what you assume is the reception to the ocean in the distance. You start to breathe as you’re falling into a relaxed state.

Where you go from here depends on what you have booked. If you have a powered site or one of the Mud Hut Chalets you will wander off to the left of where you are parked, into a shaded oasis.

The powered area of the caravan park, a shady oasis.

 

One of the Mud Hut Chalets.

 

This part of the park is a little dusty, especially if you are in swags and or tents. However the shade is heaven. This is a wonderful place to set up camp, to spend time, and to retreat to after beach time or fishing.

If you are staying in this part of Barn Hill you are only a short walk to the access stairs down on to the beach and this section is closest to the access ramp/track for vehicles wanting to launch boats.

If you choose to have an unpowered camping site you would be asked to wander off right from the car park. The unpowered area suits the more self sufficient traveller. There is little shade, however the trade- off is ocean views.

View from one of the unpowered camping sites. Note: This might be the only tree in this area!

From this camping area there is a track down to the beach however its a bit of a goat track of 500 or 600m.

Regardless of where you choose to stay the central point is the reception-kiosk area. This is in easy walking distance of just about everywhere. http://www.barnhill.com.au/rates

 

Both the powered and unpowered areas have exactly the same type of ablution blocks. You will be

enjoying the view of the Kimberley sky be it crisp blue or a thousand stars, you’ll never get sick of it and it will keep you coming back.

  • All toilets are flushing chemical toilets, do not empty porta potty’s into them, there are designated dump points for these.

 

If you are staying during the season there is no shortage of park activities to partake in. Do as much or as little as you like, this to is open to all regardless of where you are within the park.

 

Showers

Showers

The noticeboard gives you an idea of whats on offer.

The noticeboard gives you an idea of whats on offer.

Thunderbox

Thunderbox

 

Bowls was the game, 5 deep in the bleeches & a waiting list to play.

Bowls was the game, 5 deep in the bleeches & a waiting list to play

  • All power is generated on the property, each powered site has an individual overload switch. If you exceed your power limit. Your switch will throw out. This may occur if you have electric kettles, microwaves, toasters, or any high drawing appliances running simultaneously. To restore power unplug appliances and reset switch breaker in box.

 

  • Dogs are welcome, however for the safety and enjoyment of all park patrons your dog must be on a lead at your site and whilst walking. Dogs can be exercised on the beach. Dogs are not permitted on the grassed recreation area in front of the reception/kiosk. Owners responsibilty to clean up after their dog.

 

  • Rubbish – household only. All has to be bagged and placed in trailer provided, separate cans & glass bottles. No white goods, car parts, engine waste or gas bottles.

 

  • No Fires allowed at Barn Hill Station Stay.

 

Time of Year to Visit

During the dry season or the southern winter this place is seriously popular. Don’t even consider rocking up in June, July or Aug without a booking, especially in the July school holidays it’s mayhem.

For most who live south of the 26th parallel the winter climate in northern Australia is to hard to refuse. Its perfect however this perfectness comes with the trade off, of having to practice what you preach to the kids and share and show lots of tolerance and patience, you’ll have nothing to yourself.

The shoulder season periods are always a nice time to visit May, late August, September (Careful of school holidays) and if your local October.

Mulla Mulla in afternoon light, just coming into bloom in late July.

Weather is a bit warmer without being really hot, the nights a bit balmier and the crowds much, much thinner. You will have space to move and air to breathe.

How Long to Stay

Barn Hill Station Stay opens up around Easter each year and closes down around the end of October.

Length of stay is a bit like the old question how long is a piece of string. There are a lot of grey nomads who set up camp for 3-4 months, there are others who are on their way round the block who are not on the clock who come for two days and stay two weeks.

To be honest I think if your traveling and moving from place to place and keeping a schedule allow yourself 3 nights 4 days Time to explore, rest and play.

All Things Considered 

Barn Hill Station Stay is a unique and wonderful pocket of the Kimberley coast. It marries the rustic, relaxed and friendly atmosphere of being on a station with a pristine and breathtakingly beautiful slice of the Kimberley coast.

A visit to Barn Hill will leave you with  vivid memories that will be a little different for each person

What was the best bit for you Sis? And where should we hit Da up to go next.

But all reach the same conclusion – if you ever get the chance don’t drive past, drive in.

 

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Have you  been to Barn Hill recently or on past travels? Planning a trip perhaps, leave a comment.

Be interested in your thoughts.

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Lagoons of Contrasts Yours to Explore Port Smith, Western Australia

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The lagoon at Port Smith http://www.portsmithcaravanpark.com.au is the jewel in the crown of this secluded and wonderfully diverse and contrasted segment of the Kimberley.

The lagoon at #PortSmith is a 6km long bath tub and the tide is the plug. @WestAustralia #JustanotherdayinWA Click To Tweet

When the tide comes in the lagoon fills up, bringing with it all manner of marine life and the most eye catching palette of colour.

The turn of the tide the plug is pulled and everything is in a race back to the open ocean before they get caught in a pool of water and a game of survival waiting for the tide to turn again.

And so the cycle goes.

Where Do You Find Port Smith

 

Port Smith lagoon and Caravan Park is 165km south of Broome and 488km north of Port Hedland,

Sign on the highway to say your in the right spot

along the Great Northern Highway or Highway 1 and roughly 25km of these two distances is on a reasonably well maintained dirt track, into the Caravan Park and lagoon.

The lagoon, sea cliffs and surrounding area of Port Smith belong to the Bidyadanga Aboriginal Community which in a past life was the La Grange Mission.

The lagoon itself is approximately 6km long is fringed by mangroves and sand dunes.

Why You Should Visit Port Smith Lagoon

 

If you do nothing else on your visit to Port Smith it’s  worthwhile to stay long enough to see the lagoon at high tide then again at low tide the flushing of this waterway on a daily basis is to behold and a great introduction to the tidal movements of the Kimberley region.

#PortSmith Lagoon is centre of all activity all will find themselves exploring its vastness in some capacity. @WestAustralia Click To Tweet

 

Port Smith Lagoon, Crystal Clear at High Tide.

High tide is beaut to look at a joy for swimming at #PortSmith lagoon but it's low tide that you can fully explore. Click To Tweet

Give it a couple of hours after the turn of the tide on an out going tide, one starts to visualise the true contrasts of the lagoon, appreciating its vastness of sand flats all patterned with ripples, disected with footprints or the trails of critters.

Port Smith Lagoon, Low Tide.

Surrounding mangroves which fringe the lagoon like a battalion of soliders provide roosts and vantage points for birdlife, sea eagles, goshawks and kites can all be heard if not seen.

Mangroves that fringe the lagoon at Port Smith.

Teaming with fish the lagoon provides a rich daily bounty, turtles, stingrays and dolphins frequent the area and sightings are not unusual.

Port Smith Lagoon one small part of a big Kimberley Aquarium.

#PortSmith lagoon makes for a great expedition at low tide but pure delight at high tide on something that floats. @WestAustralia Click To Tweet

Dinghy’s, canoes, paddle boards or kyaks are all fine ways of enjoying the extraordinary serenity.

Perfect way to explore the lagoon.

Top Tip: Just be cautious of the wind it has a habit of picking up out of nowhere.

Walking: 

The Caravan Park at Port Smith is 600m from the lagoon beach, you have the option of walking or driving to the lagoon from the caravan park.

Walking from the caravan park to the lagoon beach is easy enough for anybody with reasonable fitness it’s a 1.2km return walk there are no hills, very little sand and only one bend.

What you will need to factor in is what your plans are once you reach the lagoon.

Should it be high tide and your plan is to enjoy a swim and relax then walking from camp even with kids is very achievable.

However if you plan to get there at low tide and explore the lagoon then this will add quite a bit to your walk also take into account the sand and in places mud will be soft so the walking does become a little more difficult and fatigue maybe be greater.

Following the tide out, exploring and having fun.

Should you decide to drive keep in mind there is limited vehicle parking, should the fishermen be out they are quick to snap up space with vehicles and trailers.

Fishing:
For many who visit Port Smith fishing is front and centre in there minds. @WestAustralia Click To Tweet

Launching of boats regardless of size is done via the lagoon at low tide, pick your track through and be sure your,

Top Tip: not attempting it too soon after the tide has gone out as the mud can suck you in and refuse to spit you back out.

Awareness of the high water line & need to park above it, might sound like common sense however many misjudge. #PortSmith @WestAustralia Click To Tweet

The waters around Port Smith provide the opportunity to catch, Bluebone, Mangrove Jack and Whiting to mention a few.

Mud Crabs:
Mangroves and mud mean mud crabs at #PortSmith Lagoon. @WestAustralia Click To Tweet

there is no drop nets allowed so it’s a dirty business of dragging them out of their holes from under mangrove roots or rocks with longs metal sticks.

Mud crab Country

Mud crab Country

His good and he knows it.

His good and he knows it.

 

4WD Track Out To Sea Cliffs:

The sea cliffs at Port Smith are small by Nullabour or Carnarvon standard but equally speckie in their own way by virtue of colour contrasts and jaggedness.

Access to this area is via a 4WD track, a pleasant drive nothing to challenging having said that the last bit doe’s get very sandy with drop off’s and jump up’s to be negotiated.

Top Tip: This section will require deflation of tyres and if you are traveling solo a set of max trax and a shovel would be worthwhile insurance.

Wildlife is prevalent especially at each end of the day with kangaroo’s, wallaby, goanna and a assortment of bush birds providing a chorus.

In spring wildflowers can be seen, the Kimberley doe’s not have the variety of mass blooms that can be found further south however wattle’s and mulla mulla are prevalent.

Top Tip: On high tide these cliffs can produce some wonderful fishing, might be an idea to make the trip out on low tide and get a feel for where the deepest holes are might save you some tackle.

This is also a wonderful location to sit and ponder awhile with a pair of binoculars especially if you are about in June / July  for this is when the whales are passing by.

The Bidyadanga Aboriginal Community have control of and look after the Lagoon and surrounding areas there are no published maps of the area and this is a directive from them, you can however if you are staying at the caravan park get a mud map to the area and the staff are very helpful with their knowledge to help you out.

Sunsets:

High tide or low makes no difference down at the beach area of the lagoon is a beaut place to catch a sunset.

Sunset Fun at low tide, Port Smith lagoon

Golf:

They say the bush has a way of evening the field, bringing out ones common sense and instinct for survival relying far less on pure skill and ability.

Well any sole who takes on this course has a chance of winning, regardless of ability its full of everything any normal course is not.

The bush course that will test your golfing resolve.

Once the ball hits the deck theres no telling where or in which direction it will shoot.

There’s no grass or even sand just rocks, bigger rocks, spinifex and bush with clearings around the pins or holes.

Where To Stay

 

The track into the Caravan Park  http://www.portsmithcaravanpark.com.au at Port Smith is a tad corrugated and sandy in places especially on the banks of the tracks which in places is right on two caravans wide. Different vehicles will have to track at different paces however all should get in with out issue.

All good things lie at the end of a ribbon of pindan.

The caravan park  http://www.portsmithcaravanpark.com.au/caravans.html  is quite large, it’s general appearance is spacious, clean and tidy with many big shady trees.

There are 100 powered sites which easily accommodate large vans, fifth wheelers, boat trailers and RV’s there are several drive through sites the streets or roads are are wide.

Example of part of Caravan Park.

 

There is plenty of shade in most parts of the park, although it is pretty dusty. Horses for courses however water is scarce and has to be pumped a fair distance personally I’ll take shade over grass nearly every time, especially in the north, the only real grass is in the unpowered camping area.

The amenities are extremely clean, the amenities block is comprised of thirty or so individual cubicles or bathrooms each one consisting of a shower, basin and toilet individual, convenient and different.

The Abolition blocks are beautifully presented on the outside & really clean on the inside.

The Abolition blocks are beautifully presented on the outside & really clean on the inside.

Inside one of the individual bathroom cubicles.

Inside one of the individual bathroom cubicles.

 

It can be! This sign sits in the breeze way of the abolition block. Anytime is a good time for a yak.

Water is gravity feed from the pump the showers will not remove your skin however they are adequate.

In addition to caravan and camping they also provide self contained accommodation.

Dongers:

Budget Rooms – This accommodation has a bed and small fridge on the inside, Linen is provided but no towels crockery or cutely. This room has a shared outside kitchen and a shared main ablution block.

Looking through the breeze way / communial area

Looking through the breeze way / communial area

BBQ - Camp kitchen

BBQ – Camp kitchen

 

In this style of accommodation there are two other sized dongers Twin Double (sleeps 2) and Family Room (sleeps 4) same deal as the Budget Room just bit more expensive.

There is a Hire Service for Towels, Crockery and Cutlery and it’s a one off payment.

Chalets:

These rooms are fully self contained with kitchen, ensuite and TV, they are supplied with all linen and towels and are air conditioned. Each chalet has one queen been and two singles.http://www.portsmithcaravanpark.com.au/chalets.html

One of several Chalets

For all forms of accommodation check IN is 2pm OUT 10am

 

Other Facilities The Caravan Park Offers:
       
Hand painted buoys hang from the reception / shop at Port Smith

Hand painted buoys hang from the reception / shop at Port Smith

 

The Park Kiosk stocks a reasonably wide range of stuff

  • Diesel and Unleaded Fuel
  • Gas Bottle Re-Fills
  • Bait
  • Ice
  • Fishing Tackle
  • Ice Creams & Drinks
  • Eftpos
  • Essential Food Stuffs

 

 

 

 

And it works good.

And it works good.

 

The park has very little mobile reception and no WIFI,

having said that it doe’s have a public telephone – old school still works.

Pets are welcome at Port Smith Caravan Park, however they have to be on a leash and controlled.

A coin operated laundry with several clothes lines is tucked neatly in behind the ablution block.

Gas BBQ’s and a camp kitchen is available for campers.

All power is underground and available 24 hours.

 

 

How Long Should You Stay 

 

The answer to this question is pretty easy if your traveling or passing through, hang about long enough to see the lagoon fill right up and empty complety out and explore both tides.

If you love your fishing and you have a boat then the lagoon is your oyster you may get lost and never be seen again you’ll have a ball.

All Things Considered

 

#PortSmith Lagoon has something for everyone for a little while & a whole lot for a few for a long while. @WestAustralia Click To Tweet

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is quite a bit to see in and around this place not all of it is evident upon first glance, if you don’t judge this book by its cover the more you dig the more you find.

Have you been to Port Smith recently? planning a visit perhaps, leave a comment be interested in your thoughts.

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Western Australia’s Longest Continuous Beach, Eighty Mile Beach How To Get The Most From Your Trip!

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220km is the distance, “The longest uninterrupted beach in Western Australia”.

As with everything in life it’s all about perspective. Most folk who visit Australia’s North West are struck by it’s vastness, remoteness and distance between towns and locations.

Us mob who live up this way and call it home are always looking for that place that’s a bit out of the way. One that can provide a little more of that uncrowded solitude we crave-after all.

Going bush is not getting away from it all it's getting back in touch with what's important. #justanotherdayinWA Click To Tweet

Most of these great places of solitude, adventure and relaxation in Australia’s North West lie at the end of a ribbon of dirt or sand. All will cause you varying degrees of grief however once accomplished time stands still.

Eighty Mile Beach, it's the 80 mile of seemingly nothing that make it really something. #justanotherdayinWA Click To Tweet

Where Do You Find 80 Mile Beach

 

For Kimberley and Pilbara locals Eighty Mile Beach http://www.eightymilebeach.com.au has long been a place of retreat-to get away from the every day for awhile. For the traveller passing through it offers a great opportunity to stop explore, experience and enjoy a relaxed northern way of life.

Where time is governed more by where the tide is at than where the hands on the clock are pointing. #justanotherdayinWA Click To Tweet

Between Port Hedland in the south and Broome in the north, stretches the big black ribbon of black top called Highway One or The Great Northern Highway. It’s pretty straight and somewhat monotonous 600km, however,

it is sprinkled with some real gold dust, gems just awaiting discovery by those who are prepared to pause and give the roses a sniff.

There are two roadhouses over the journey Pardoo and Sandfire. Sandfire Roadhouse is pretty close to being half way between Broome and Port Hedland.

The turn off to Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park is 250km north of Port Hedland,  365km south of Broome- 45km south of Sandfire Roadhouse. It’s a  further 10km into the caravan park from the highway on a dirt track which for the best part is pretty well maintained.

The Eighty Mile Beach caravan park is situated on Wallal Downs station.

Top Tip: As you near the end of the 10km dirt track in you will summit a hill, stop a moment and admire the Ocean Vista in In front of you it will set your mind on the right track for your stay.

Why Should You Visit Eighty Mile Beach

 

Eighty Mile Beach is almost a throw back to another time, it provides the setting,  the location, the rest is up to you.

On top of the dunes, now where to go.

The Beach is by far the main attraction and the centrepiece, it’s a lazy 50m walk over a sand dune from most parts of the caravan park and provides the backdrop for most of the activities.

From fishing incoming tides to shell collecting on low tide long beach walks either in solitude or romance photography at sunset or sunrise, beach cricket and footy are all popular.

Oh which one to choose

Four wheel driving and quad biking is allowed on the beach and one can disappear up or down the beach well out of sight.

 Around the caravan park itself there is loads of room for the kids to ride push bikes, while parents take a moment in the shade to somewhat relax, maybe – perhaps read that book.

 

Top Tip: The Beach is big, bold and vast with no shade. An umbrella or fold out / pop up beach tent that can provide shade especially if you have little ones will be gold and make your day on the beach a treat.

80 Mile Beach Caravan Park is not going to entertain you but it will give you the tools to entertain yourself. #justanotherdayinWA Click To Tweet

Having some shade will add hours of fun to your day on the beach.

Accessible Adventure

 

Fishing: 

 

When you look out to sea at Eighty Mile Beach and see the beautiful coloured ocean on any given day spare a thought to what is under the water, the sea bed or floor at Eighty Mile Beach.

Water on incoming tide rushing into a gutter Popeye mullet & salmon will soon follow it in.

It is pretty flat with a gentle gradient, a sandy muddy bottom made up in a series of gutters and shifting banks. Which can be seen clearly on investigation at low tide.

It’s these gutters in which the fish swim on the incoming tide, one and a half-hours before each high tide is the best time to go fishing, fishing these gutters and working your way back up the beach as the tide comes in.

Threadfin and Bluenose Salmon are the target species however it is not unusual for the Noah’s arks to frequently swim by, Shovel Nose and Tigers are common.

 

A feed of Bluenose Salmon.

Top Tip: If you plan to fish, check out the beach at low tide for where the gutters run, for this is where you’ll want to be as the tide is coming in with a bit of bony bream or mullet, perhaps prawn on a size 8 or 10 Hook.

For as long as theres light theres hope.

 

Shell Collecting & Beach Combing: 

 

Letting imaginations run wild with creation with treasures collected at low tide.

You can walk or drive either north or south along this beach a really long way and be stop starting the entire time on account of the cool stuff to be seen and found.

Sea Stars decorate the beach at low tide.

Shells are everywhere and the temptation is enormous, so many different shapes, sizes and colours you will find yourself with a collection before you know it.

Other things awaiting discovery on the low tide  sponges, sea stars, crabs, sea cucumbers, driftwood and jelly fish.

Sponge at low tide at sunset

Top Tip: Best Shell Collecting or fossicking is after the biggest tides or a cyclone.

Spare a thought for the critters of the sea, shells R homes, edit your collection only keeping best or most sentimental leave majority behind. #justanotherdayinWA Click To Tweet

 

Four Wheel Driving & Quad Biking: 

 

You can gain access to the beach from the caravan park they have a designated ramp, from here you can choose to go north or south, north is by far the more popular option.

Roughly 20km north of the caravan park is a creek, once you get to this creek you can not go any further it is generally good fishing and a nice drive people will stop at different points along the way.

To the south you can drive a bit further however depending on the size of the tide the sand can be a tad softer, due to not quite as many people getting down this way the shell collecting can sometimes be a little more bountiful, many people have their favourite fishing spots down this way too.

Top Tip: When driving on the beach let your Tyers down, make sure you have a snatch strap, shovel, maybe a set of Max Trax with spare water for all in the vehicle.

 

Photography:

 

Eighty Mile Beach offers so much for those who enjoy the challenge of capturing quality images.

Where the desert track meets the beautiful Indian Ocean.

 

The beach is going to be the centre of your attention with opportunity to capture both sunrise and sunset however don’t ignore the pastels of the pre dawn and twilight they can often be better than the sun set/rise you came for.

Both high and low tide offer good opportunity, high tide on a calm day can give the most amazing ocean colours around mid morning is best before the light becomes to harsh.

Pastels of a Dry season Twilight as kids enjoy a Kimberley mud bath.

Low tide can provide exquisite reflections, if there are

clouds about or you have a low tide with the colours at either end of the day it can be a delight.

Shoulder Season sunset, clould can bring atmosphere.

Wildlife is also about for the opportunist, while on the drive in slow down and keep an eye out for cattle and large goannas, around the camping ground especially in the slower months wallabies are about at each end of the day and down on the beach migratory sea birds are plentiful.

When Should You Visit Eighty Mile Beach

 

The caravan park is open at Eighty Mile Beach from April to December as a general guide.

As the season begins in April and as it draws to a close in November/December it is largely weather dependent as rain still looms large.

Take it as it comes, perhaps get on the dog and bone and make a call in advance of arrival.

The winter months of June, July and August is the time of year that Australia’s North West is at it’s most temperate.

It’s also the busiest time of year, you will have to share, crowds of people are just part of the deal and landscape of this time of year.

Shoulder season months May, Sep & Oct a tad warmer but will reward you with near empty surroundings in both caravan park & on the vast expanses of the beach. #justanotherdayinWA Click To Tweet

Top Tip: Be aware of Western Australian School Holidays in September, get caught up in them and any solitude you hoped to gain by coming in September will be lost and you might as well come in June/July.

An Inflatable pool perfect for keeping kids cool.

Top Tip: If you do plan on visiting in the shoulder season when it could be a bit warmer, small inflatable wading pool is invaluable. Small to store, quick to inflate kids kept cool – gold.

How Long Should You Stay At Eighty Mile Beach

 

Everyone is on the clock in one way or another.

For some 80 Mile Beach will be the final destination for others an overnight stop a place to lay there head. #justanotherdayinWA Click To Tweet

Time, how much of it have you got? And how much of it can you spare? And how well set up are you to take advantage of and enjoy some of the fringe benefits this location has to offer.

You could very well arrive one afternoon, set up camp go for a walk find a few shells catch a sunset however it comes get up next morning and leave and say you have been to Eighty Mile Beach.

However I would say you have been to Eighty Mile Beach not seen or experienced it. #justanotherdayinWA Click To Tweet

if you have the time two nights is a nice stay.

This gives you the chance to catch a couple of sunrise’s and sunsets, watch the huge Kimberley tides come all the way in and go all the way out again.

Vastness & Solitude of low tide give it a few hours it will come racing back in.

Fossicking and beach combing at low tide over a couple of days at a relaxed pace, and more than just the one high tide to catch a feed.

Accommodation: What’s on Offer At Eighty Mile 

 

Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park  has ample space and options when it comes to accomodation http://www.eightymilebeach.com.au/accommodation/

  • There are five two bedroom self contained cabins with ensuite and air conditioning, all linen and towels supplied. Book these online directly through the park.
  • Powered Sites: There are 150 of them, all 15amp (Meaning you’ll need power/extension lead with the 15amp plug on the end) the sites are grassed and well shaded each site has fresh water.
  • Unpowered Sites: There are 50 of these all grassed and shaded.

http://www.eightymilebeach.com.au/rates/

 

2 soon to be 3 toilet / laundry blocks all spotlessly clean with great hot water, delight. #justanotherdayinWA Click To Tweet

A well appointed campers kitchen with free gas barbecues, great for campers. #justanotherdayinWA Click To Tweet

Other Stuff Of Interest At Eighty Mile Beach

 

Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park has a wonderful mini mart / shop.

From April till October they stock all manner of supplies just about anything you would need in a pinch.

They have some great take aways on Friday and Saturday night’s, they are not licensed so if alcohol is important to you ensure you stock up in Broome or Port Hedland.

There is No Fuel, if you don’t have the capacity to go the journey between Broome and Port Hedland with a few side ventures, you can top up at Sandfire or Pardoo Roadhouses.

Full Telstra mobile coverage at Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park, however there is no WIFI service available. #justanotherdayinWA Click To Tweet

No Dogs are permitted in the park.

There are showers placed at each entry and exit point to the beach

There are two great fish cleaning stationsEighty Mile Beach is a marine park, although you can do as much fishing off the beach as you like, no boats or water craft allowed.

Fantastic facilities for fisho’s.

The caravan park at Eighty Mile Beach has its own cenotaph so if you happen to be around on a day of significance there’s a place to be.

 

Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park and Caravan Park, you may hear about it while traveling on the wallaby, you may have read about it somewhere, the first time you  visit may only be for a night however it never surprises when I hear people say I came for a night and stayed three or the next time I visited I stayed for a week, it has a way of giving you just enough to do while making you slow down and relax, what is it the locals say.

There are no strangers at Eighty Mile Beach just friends you haven't meet yet #justanotherdayinWA Click To Tweet

Top Tip: each year is when the turtles return to the beach for nesting this is not an exact science predicting nature so a quick call to the caravan park is advised before hitting the frog and toad.

 

 

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Hope you enjoyed reading about the destination of Eighty Mile Beach, please share if you did and  remember it’s the journey we take getting to these places that makes them so enjoyable.

Enjoy your Journey

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