We loaded up the car for our road trip north .. and I mean loaded! Jenny Bogg … not one to travel light! We stopped for fuel, food and ice before hitting the freeway all the way until it ended. A quick right, then left and we were on the new Great Indian Ocean Drive heading out into the bush. This is how I imagined Australia to be: scrub and open countryside and vast open skies as far as the eyes could see, shimmering in the heat and bisected only by the thing ribbon of road we travelled along stretching into the distance. The odd emu crossed our path, otherwise we were uninterrupted as the kilometres sped past. The road crested a hill and suddenly the Indian Ocean appeared before us fringed by pure white dunes.
We thought it amusing to stick on some Christmas tunes: utterly incongruous to be singing Jingle Bells and Baby It’s Cold Outside as we cruised along surrounded by sunshine and baking desert. Apologies to those of you shivering in the northern hemisphere!
Cervantes is a small crayfishing town perched up the coast. Our camping site was within a stone’s throw of the sandy ocean shores where out in the bay the fishing fleet was moored. With the tent up and our home for the next two nights prepared there was only one thing to do: crack open a drink and relax under the shade of a gum tree (beer choice: Little Creatures Pale Ale)
As the sun began to descend we set off approximately 20km SE into the Nambung National Park to the Pinnacles Desert. This is an area of eerie limestone outcrops standing amidst the bush and the silver dunes like a battalion of silent sentries.
Sunset is a marvellous time to go as they change colour with the setting sun. When we first arrived they were the colour of golden honeycomb, bathed in an amber glow. By the time we explored them on foot the sun was a vast reddening orb hovering just above the distant ocean and the rocks now had a reddish pink hue to them. We followed the desert walk trail through the rocks and up onto a small hill to watch the sunset. There was not a sound, not the slightest whisper of a breeze and the ocean lay flat and still and infinite as the sun crashed into it extending a flaming glow out into the sky and towards us over the mirrored surface of the water.
Then it was gone. We were left in the gloaming of the rapidly encroaching dusk. The rocks were now shades of grey from dark slate to light ash. Darkness was falling as above us stars began to glitter and a vast pregnant full moon bathed the desert in a strange half light. Time to head back driving carefully and watching for kangaroos.
We had no food so we pitched up at the only open shop in downtown Cervantes hoping for fish and chips.
“I only have pizza”
The not exactly cheery woman behind the counter eventually informed us. Whilst waiting for our pizza we watched this scene played out numerous times much to our amusement (when it wasn’t us on the receiving end). Pure small town comedy gold! First an unsuspecting customer would enter, blinking under the striplights, only to be studiously ignored. If they hovered long enough they would get: “I only have pizza” and an ‘I dare you to order’ stare. One woman had the temerity to politely ask: “Are you still open” only to receive the reply “Not really” with hand on hip.
Pizza and wine for dinner by candlelight (wine choice: Mad Fish – too sweet!) and with no gas left in our lantern it was an early night …
… and an early dawn as I awoke at 4am to the sound of the fishing boats starting up for the day and my ribs hitting the floor uncomfortably (yes Jen your airbeds do leak – massively!).
Even waiting until 6am to get up there was still nothing stirring so nothing for it but a lovely long walk along the white sand. The ocean was still again like a big lake. We walked away from the bay to clearer, purer water, “much better for a swim” said Jen, almost enticing me in before proceeding to tell me stories of the giant stingrays that inhabit the waters and she used to spot when fishing here.
“They won’t hurt you Popes”
“They aren’t called stingrays for nothing Jen!”
So back for coffee and the best plate of bacon and egg I’ve had for a long time in the Seashells Café. Throw in a paper and a healthy dose of people watching and you have the recipe for a perfect breakfast (except for the ants in the pants episode!).
“What shall we do today?”
“Oh I don’t know sit around drinking, staring at the ocean and reading?”
So we did … barefoot, sun kissed and wind swept, chilling out by the ocean
… and it was time that should be bottled and labelled contentment …
“I like this, I’d like to live in a coastal town”
“You do you muppet”
“Oh yeah …” *giggles*
Day time drinking choice (11am start): UDL Vodka Pineapple Crush