I’ve been reluctant to write these last couple of posts on my Exmouth trip, and as a result I’ve been doing some Olympic-level procrastinating. But I have to say goodbye to Exmouth sometime. I’ve loved writing about it – sharing it with you has helped alleviate my Holiday Adjustment Disorder – but this is my twelfth post about this trip and you’re probably thinking Jesus, woman, move on! Yeah I spose I’d better; I could write a million more words and post a billion photos and still not do it justice anyway.
So; one last post, my favourites! The big things that make it special for everyone who visits as well as the little things that made it so special to me.
- A Great BIG Thing: The sky.
The land is flat as a tack over here; all the roads run in straight lines and right angles. The openness makes you feel like you could just start walking in any direction and not stop. Total freedom; I love the mountains and rainforests over east but they hem you in; being here, and able to see the horizon again in whichever direction I looked made me feel like I was standing on top of the world. For next time: flight in a microlight.
2. A little thing: the small country townyness.
Leaving my door unlocked. Smiles and hellos from strangers at the shops. Going over the road to the pub and not having to fight someone for the pool table. The absence of people, the peace and quiet, and the closeness to nature… (I don’t hate people, it’s just that every so often I can’t effing take them any more.)
3. A BIG thing: Ningaloo Reef!
It’s 200km long and I’ve only seen about 200 metres. And in that 200 metres there weren’t any turtles! One more for next time.
Also next time: Coral Bay. Camping with my boys near the sandy lagoon, snorkelling the corals just off the beach and watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean. I love sunsets anywhere but add in rolling surf backlit by rosy light, sand tinted pink, and a salty cool breeze in your face and they’re a religious experience.
4. A little thing: The colours!
I haven’t been anywhere else that has this azure sky and that red earth. I do miss it, and it will always feel like home to me.
5. A BIG thing: whale sharks!
The world’s biggest fish. So cuuuuute! Kind of like Australia’s version of elephants. Except submarine. And itinerant. So, spotted submarine elephants on their Aussie gap year?
For more lovely pictures of whale sharks and other Ningaloo delights: Ningaloo Reflections on the Reef by Leith Holtzman. (25 September 2015, Renbro Publishing)
6. A little thing: The tiny wildflowers.
Part of a BIG thing though – the world’s largest collection of wildflowers is in W.A… over 12000 different sorts!
I remember our family driving the North West Coastal Highway in spring and seeing pink, white and yellow everlastings carpeting the bush for miles. We’d hang them and they’d go all papery but would stay looking exactly the same as the day we picked them (hence the name). Next time: coming in full wildflower season. ROAD TRIP!!!
7. A BIG thing: Sunny days. And clear starry nights.
The warm, dry desert air. I spent many uni holidays up this way, hiding from the cold and wet of Perth. It’s technically desert here, but to me it’s an oasis.
8. A little thing: Travelling on my own like I did in my (youthier) youth.
I think this should be compulsory for mums; we all need a decent amount of time to ‘switch off’ the ceaseless parenting and recharge, and I’m not talking a couple of rushed hours to get a much needed haircut here or buy a new pair of shorts there because you caught your back pocket on the car door and ripped the arse out of your favourite ones.
Long enough for that little voice that tells you to be ready to run any second to shush. Long enough for you to remember some of the stuff about yourself that you might have forgotten. I came back feeling like I was in my 20s again; all you want from a holiday really! I could be spontaneous (what the hell is that?!), and only had myself to worry about and plan for. I also enjoyed the novelty of having to fend for myself socially, and relished the achievement of getting pissed and staying out til 1am for the first time since forever. Ever since the kids came along and I say 10pm is ‘not bad’, my inner twentysomething vomits in disgust.
9. A BIG thing: the Cape Range.
On the North West Cape there’s only four ways to get a view from more than three metres above sea level; look out the plane window as you arrive, go up in a microlight, climb a tree, or climb the Cape Range. I love the incredible colours and the ancient formations; am extremely disappointed I didn’t get to do any bushwalking on this trip.
Next time: renting a 4WD so we can get up into the range and do some hikes!
10. A little thing: deserted beaches with interesting stuff washed up on them.
We’re totally spoilt in Queensland – all those perfectly clean, golden sandy beaches – bar a few shells, the occasional pumice raft and half a tonne of lost jewellery and kids’ hats. *coughBORING!cough*
Exploring the beaches near the town and in the national park reminded me of the hundreds of times doing it growing up. Still love it, and missed it more than I realised.
Australia: rediscovered by Dutchman Dirk Hartog in 1616 and re-rediscovered by half-Dutchwoman me in 2015.
Thus concludes Exmouth 2015. I shall return…