Into the Oz-Wild

If you want to get off the beaten path in Oz, the Indian Ocean drive along the Coral Coast north of Perth and up to Monkey Mia is definitely what you need. The keyword is wilderness - wild landscapes, wild animals, wildflowers...This region is one of Australia’s best kept secrets!

    

The landscapes along the road are all untouched by human hand and spectacular.

  

The most intriguing and alien-like of them is the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park, only a few kilometres away from the Indian Ocean.

  

Just close your eyes and imagine the surface of the moon...Thousands of huge ancient limestone pillars rising out of the austere yellow sand plain, surrounded by constantly shifting dunes.

  

These strange sentinels from another planet were formed thousands of years ago and some of them are several meters tall!

  

They resemble spires, tombstones, mushrooms or whatever your imagination can come up with...

  

Their colours vary depending on the soil types and the sun light waving over them during the day - yellow, ochre, orange, brown, golden…The variety of shapes and patterns is remarkable!

  

The weathered rock sculptures scattered across the desert look so mysterious that they were mistaken for the ruins of an ancient city by Dutch sailors off the coast in 1700! You almost feel like some of your ancestors will come up from behind the stone formations and say hi...

The landscape is so out of this world that you take it as completely normal to spot every now and then during the visit beautiful wild pink cockatoos perched on the pillars…

The magic is complete when the sun comes out after the short rain and lights the stones in strange warm colours...It is extremely difficult to convince yourself that it is time to leave…

  

While driving north from the Pinnacles, you will discover an idyllic stretch of colourful native bushland, secluded bays and white sand pristine beaches.

  

The most fascinating of them all is Shell Beach in the Shark Bay Marine Park - a 60-kilometer-long and 10-meter-deep stretch covered with billions of tiny sea shells…

  

It is one of only two beaches on Earth where shells entirely replace sand. Due to the high salinity of the seawater in the bay to which this specific species of shellfish managed to adapt, they proliferated for thousands of years without any natural predators who were unable to do the same. Then the shells were washed ashore after their natural death and a natural wonder was formed to our delight!

  

The contrast between the snow-white shells and the dreamy blue crystal clear water of the Indian Ocean is breathtaking!

  

You can have a picnic on the beach while soaking up the sun and the serenity, collect shells and use them to write messages on the sand or just walk along the calm bay almost blinded by the whiteness of the shells and having the strange feeling of crossing endless snowy hills…

Just a little bit further at the end of the Peron Peninsula lies another vast area abounding in natural beauty - the Francois Peron National Park. Venturing into the park and its soft sandy tracks requires a 4WD vehicle, a reduced tyre pressure and...an experienced driver.

  

The contrasting colours of the red sand dunes and cliffs and the turquoise Blue Lagoon are stunning!

  

Not too far away there is another peninsula leading to the most Western point of Australia, the “get away from it all” - Steep Point. There is no need to mention that you need a 4WD to reach it...On the way lies another remote but spectacular natural wonder - the False Entrance blowholes.

  

The place is completely desert and you really do not expect the grandiose phenomenon that you are about to witness, surrounded by the loneliness of the seemingly endless vertiginous limestone cliffs and the giant waves...

  

Blowholes are erosion holes formed by years of the ocean pounding the limestone cliffs from below, breaking off pieces and expanding spaces in the cliffs up to the surface. When large waves hit the cliffs, the water surges up through these holes and is forced out, sometimes with enormous power, to form a jet of seawater and mist that can be tens of metres high.

  

To see the blowholes in action is surreal and makes you feel tiny and powerless…

The best moment of a trip is when you come across, by pure luck, an amazing place which is not in any travel guidebook...For example when you stop for a break during your long drive...

  

Endless white sand dunes you are completely unaware of lie just a couple of meters away from the road. Easy to miss them and drive by without noticing them. However, something catches your attention, you spot the top of the dunes but there is no information board telling you what is out there or any visible access up. You are far away from realising the real size of the natural wonder that you are about to discover…

  

The feeling of running and gliding on giant dunes cannot be described with words...The sun, the blue ocean in the distance, the wind in the hair...This is it - the genuine childish happiness! You do not need anything else in the world at that exact moment, you have it all!

  

This part of Western Australia is also the place where you can have a close encounter with wild animals, and not just any animals but the cute bottlenose dolphins of Monkey Mia, in the Shark Bay Marine Park!

  

Even before meeting the dolphins, you will fall in love with the beach and the sea in stunning sunset colours and the silhouettes of the pelicans and the sailing ships in the falling darkness.

  

However the real magic will happen when in the early morning you see the wild dolphins timidly coming close, very close to the shore as they have done for almost fifty years...

  

While you are standing ankle-deep on the water's edge, you can hand-feed them under the supervision of the park rangers.

  

However, you cannot and should not touch them - a human contact may transfer bacterias and make them sick! Also the fish they are fed with represent only a tiny fraction of their daily dietary intake (therefore not making them dependant on humans)! 

  

They are fascinating...and the place itself which allows such a close encounter with these amazing creatures while ensuring their protection is a feat...

  

Time to head up back to Perth...Another wonder of Australia’s Coral Coast will follow you everywhere along the road - the vibrant colours of the wild flowers.

  

From August to October the roads are rambling through the rainbow of thousands of varieties of tiny delicate blooming wildflowers, displayed for the only delight of the rare visitors.

  

The national parks and the coastline are covered with wildflower beauty...The green grass, the yellow and purple flowers, the blue ocean and the golden beaches…

  

The last but not the least thing you will love there is the people and this loneliness which makes them so warm, open and...well, pragmatic. The long drive on a straight road without certainty that you are going to find a place to have dinner and stay overnight...

  

The happiness of finding a room at an elderly lady's house very late in the evening (around 6pm...yes, people go to bed early)...The innocent mistake of asking the question if there is a bakery still open in the small town with more churches than houses and hearing the amused laugh of the lady...An open bakery at 6pm...Oh dear, where do you think you are, central London?...

  

You will leave this part of Australia already dreaming of the next trip to even more remote areas further north along the Indian Ocean…

  

Before making this dream come true, we had another one on our bucket list. Another remote place of endless hikes leading to dreamy beaches but also revealing the fascinating mental strength and courage of the people who sailed to the other end of the planet, to this complete wilderness and loneliness, never saw their home and families again but managed to leave so much beauty as their legacy - come with us for a trip to Tasmania!

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