After an action packed stay at Hamelin Station we, along with our mates the Leeds, were ready to move onto our next destination, Carnarvon, some 200km up the road. Carnarvon, ‘the hub of the Gascoyne’, is situated on the mouth of the Gascoyne River, between Shark Bay and Ningaloo Reef, and is renowned for its growth of fruit and vegetables. During the Winter months it supplies 70% of WA’s winter vegetables, producing over 30,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables each year collectively from its 176 plantations.
We had long heard about the Wintersun Caravan park in Carnarvon, which has a kids stay for free for the first 2 nights, so it was decided that we were heading there. We had told every other traveller about it while we were in the Shark Bay area, so really we weren’t surprised to bump into about half a dozen of them as we pulled into the park. Our stay at Carnarvon was only a short one, enough to restock at Woolies and hopefully get some fresh fruit and vegetables at the farms, catch up on laundry and school work and to have a look around town. Of course it also conincided with the caravan parks weekly Sunday morning pancake breakfast, which we attended quite enthusiastically!!! We were also pleased to see our new friends the Mols here and all the Smith, Leed and Mol kids had a ball playing on the playground.
Our first outing was to do the ‘fruit loop’ a short 20km drive around the plantations to see what goods we could gather. Unfortunately we were a bit too early in the season and most of the plantations weren’t open, however we still decided to try our luck at the few that were open. We didn’t score a lot but we managed to pick up some cheap apples, bananas, zuchinnis, beans, corn and sweet potatoe, so it wasn’t a complete lost cause. The bananas managed to last a day at least, before the girls demolished them……
As the Leeds had previously been to Carnarvon on their way south late last year, we headed out with the Mols to do some touristy stuff, with our first stop being the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum. The museum is a celebration of the role Carnarvon played in the manned space program, as well as its role in Australians communications industry. There are 2 parts to the museum, the tracking station and the OTC Satellite Earth Station. The tracking station was the last station to have communication with the space capsules as they left earths orbit and as they splashed down. It was the largest manned space flight tracking station outside of the US and at its height had about 220 staff. Whilst the OTC Satellite Earth Station was built primarily to carry communications from the NASA station to the US. Even Buzz Aldrin visited Carnarvon back in 2012 to open ‘phase one’ of the museum, then Aussie astronaut Andy Thomas opened ‘phase 2’ in 2014. Unfortunately all this was lost on the kids as they were only interested in going in the Sky lab proto type and playing with the Mars rover (which wasn’t working as he had run out of ‘special’ batteries that had to be bought in Japan……) Fiona and I enjoyed ourselves whilst we moved around the museum reading the information, however as you can see from the photos, the kids mostly enjoyed the dress ups and the 2 bigger kids enjoyed ‘space invaders’. We obviously enjoyed ourselves there as we ended up being there for over 2 hours!!!!
Afterwards we went to the foreshore for lunch, then headed to the One Mile Jetty just out of town, which boasted an Interperative centre, restaurant and the ‘Coffee Pot Train’. However as it was late afternoon on a Saturday the cafe was closing and the ‘coffee pot train’ was not in action, so we decided to make our way on foot to the end of the jetty. Unfortunately we only made it half way, as quite clearly the jetty has seen far better and sturdier days and the wind was horrendous. So we decided to find a geo, cut our losses and head back, wondering how the ‘Coffee Pot Train’ travels safely on the jetty, clearly no OH&S guidelines out here!!!
The next day the Mols packed up and headed out to Point Quobba to camp for a few days, so we decided to go out and visit them for a day trip and do some snorkeling. We finally managed to see some real life working blowholes, not huge blowholes, but blowholes none the less!!! We then went and visited the Mols at their campsite and went for a swim and a snorkel, it was a very popular spot, particuarly with the backpackers. Afterwards we went for an explore along the sandy track and not suprisingly we came across a bogged van, with the owners, an Italian, French and Mexican backpacker, standing beside it literally scratching their heads. Much to Niks delight they needed to be winched out of their predicament, and they were very thankful for it too. Nik was just chuffed he got to use the winch and I must say it worked a treat!!!!
We had a great few days in Carnarvan, we managed to complete our list of jobs to do, as well as play tourist, eat pancakes, snorkel, see blowholes, complete an international rescue with some helpless backpackers and also wash the car. However we are getting into the nitty gritty destination of our trip and we were very, very, very excited to move on towards our next destination and adventure on our OZLAP………