Just off the beach

There isn’t much around Cape Range National Park. It is the perfect location to enjoy walks, nature, sun and the lack of technology. Winter hitting Australia means shorter days and slightly cooler mornings on the West coast; and with the wind blowing, there is always hesitation about snorkelling. The love for spotting fish and marine life wins (almost) everytime in this corner of the world and the cold water is well rewarded with masses of coral, big bull rays, lots of schools of fish and turtles just 20mts off the beach. Worth the cold every dip in this part of the ocean. 

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Where the range meets the reef

The only water available all year around in the Cape Range National Park is Yardie Creek. It is a layer of fresh water over salt water. 
The National Park is a world heritage place because of its diversity and it is where the Range meets the (Ningaloo) Reef. In this National Park the main attraction is the second biggest reef in Australia, Ningaloo. However, there are other things to do and enjoy like walks across gorges and creeks. In these walks, you can observe the rocks which are 11 million years old. 

You can also enjoy the wildlife, which include the endangered black-footed rock wallaby. This marsupial is on the brink of extinction due to introduced pests like the feral goats and foxes. But slowly scientists and the Aussie government are re-introducing these wallabies into the wild while eradicating the pests. 

There is hope for this little hopper.

A lifetime encounter

Swimming with the biggest fish in the ocean is really an experience of a lifetime. Whale sharks grow up to 12 meters, though we swam with an adolescense male of half that size. Whale sharks live up to 100 years.  

Its blue spots are truly amazing and the pattern of the spots below its fin are its fingerprint, unique to each shark. It is this spot that tour photographers have to capture to keep their license and to help with scientific research. It is incredible how the colours of these giants blend in the blue of the ocean so much you only really realise they are there a few meters from you. 

Whale sharks are only called whales because of their size and being filter feeders of plankton. They are still sharks with a tail that moves side to side as it swims. In theory slow movers but as you snorkel trying to keep up next to the whale sharks you realise how powerful their tails actually are. Scuba diving with the largest fish is actually not permitted as it disorientates them. 

Whale sharks visit Ningaloo reef around the same time every year as part of their yearly migration around the Pacific in search of food. A journey of around 12,000km, one of the greatest migrations on the planet.

A full on, exciting experience that makes you forget everything else as you swim with the whale sharks. Truly an experience worth having. 

Decadent diving

Even though there is great spots and masses of coral, diving is not the most popular activity in Exmouth. It is, however, a self-indulgent experience starting at a very civilised time of 8:00am. After a dive with many coral fish and many colours you climb back on the boat to feast on freshly barbecued sausages. On for a second dive with just as many fish and coral. The boat ride back is full of sightings of sea snakes, tuna chasing food, dolphins and humpback whales (humpies) breaching whilst enjoying fresh fruit. Plus random stories from the skipper about swimming with blue whales, how being a deckhand is better than being a skipper and his innability to leave Exmouth as a home. The obligated dive whilst on holiday in a luxurious manner. 

Bendy roads

Sarcasm is a form of mockery I have been acquiring in the past few years from an English aquaintance. Saying that roads in Western Australia are bendy is definitely one of the ocassions when Im being sarcastic. Roads are long and straight. 

In the WA roadtrip, we left days free for us to stay or go as we go. A good decision in hindsight. After a big day out at sea fishing, we decided against driving at night and instead have an epic and decadent dinner in Kalbarri. That meant an 800km drive for a day. 

With kangaroos, wallabies and emus crossing the roads with no warning, mostly during dawn and dusk, it meant leaving before sunrise to make sure we made it without driving at night. 800km went fast but we did some random stops, like in this random cafe that had some lego that a few 8 year-olds and 40 year-olds I know would love to get their hands on!

Fish your own dinner

Just off the town of Kalbarri there is plenty of fishing. Beware of what you pack in your bag as bananas are not allowed on board. They are believed to be bad luck for fishing.

Deep sea fishing brings plenty of big fish to eat. However, there are also plenty of sharks, and sometimes the challenge is to bring your catch on board before the sharks have it for lunch. 

If you are lucky, there will be whales putting on a show. You might just even be as lucky as to see one breaching. 

To end with a good note, we pulled out crayfish pots and the last trap had 6; two of which ended up in our most decadent campervan dinner: crayfish tails, snapper and the best fish for eating, baldchin groper, washed down with nice John Kosovich Chardonnay. 

A country within a country

On the 21 of April of 1970 the Principality of Hutt River seceded from Australia as an independent state. It is roughly the size of Hong Kong (not the territories), that is bigger than Vatican city and Monaco, and in the middle of Western Australia. What I understood of the legal jargon is that in a nutshell, the Australian government was trying to impede the Prince of Hutt River from farming crops in his own land. When he fought back explaining that what the government was trying to do was in fact illegal as he owned the land, Australia’s government tried to repossess his land. An incredible act of injustice that led to H.R.H. Prince Leonard seeking independence from Australia which he obtained. 

That is still not the most disturbing fact of it all. Whats worse is the ATO (Australian Tax Office) is now seeking for the Principality of Hutt River to pay GST taxes for their income from tourism which is absurd given that they are their own country! This is despite them paying income tax on their farm earnings. In all legalities, the government as any other, is trying to force this family to comply to their interpretation of the law that of course benefits only itself. 

I felt reinvigorated and inspired by such humble people who are fighting an entire government for what is rightfully theirs. I hope they find justice and fairness in this country in which I have put my faith in.