The council ranger was a no-show so we kept our camping fees. We headed back through Carnarvon and out towards Quobba which is the southern extent of the Ningaloo Reef and has other exciting things to see as well. Josh, acting as chief navigator, pointed the driver onto the wrong road and we rattled our way along a rough old road – too far in to turn back once we realised we’d taken the scenic (long, extended, bumpy scenic) trail. The highlight of this….and Josh was keen to find the positives in all of this….was we saw a track to Bibbawarra Bore. Driving in we found a flowing bore that was literally steaming – apparently 65 degrees. Plenty of open space so we put the spot away as a potential campsite for tonight.
We continued on and finally (….finally….) got back on the proper track – bitumen even…would you believe. Out to Quobba and we snorkelled at the “Aquarium” a sheltered bay with fantastic coral and lots of fish. Easy access for the boys – Lach could swim himself off the beach and Cam launched underwater missions from Dad’s back. Awesome.
We found the nearby blowholes but there wasn’t much action so we decided to come back later and headed further up the coast stopping at a HMAS Sydney II memorial – this being one of the closest spots to where the Sydney and a German ship had a fierce battle resulting in both being destroyed and 645 Australians lives being lost. Pretty demoralising for the country in the early war years of 1941. We found a great spot for lunch – windy but spectacular coastline. Once we got back to the blowholes, the tide had gone down and there was some much better action.
We checked out the campgrounds at Quobba but mainly based on wind we decided we weren’t going to have a good time. We had our fall back though and we back tracked to Bibbawarra Bore and set up camp down the end of the 180 metre trough – as it turns out, the largest stock trough in the southern hemisphere – for two reasons; 1. the hot water needed to cool sufficiently for the animals to drink and 2. large flocks of sheep were herded through on the stock route and they needed to have lots of access for so many thirsty animals to drink.
We cooked up dinner – the gas guns from the nearby plantations at first concerning us that there were shooters but we realised someone was trying to keep something off something. They grow everything along the Gascoyne River at Carnarvon pumping water from under the dry, sandy river bed. It could have been mangoes or bananas or kiwifruits they were trying to protect. Once the boys were in bed we borrowed a couple of buckets of bore water and had beautiful hot showers. We settled in for some stargazing – borrowing some more bore water to soak our dusty feet. Now this is living.