No monkeys but plenty of Pinnacles??
17.10.2010 - 02.11.2010
Mia is an Aboriginal word meaning "place." Despite what one might think, this is not "the place of monkeys." The Monkey was the name of a ship which brought surveyor Henry Ommanney to Shark's Bay to check out the fishing prospects. The spot where Ommanney's ship docked became known as "Monkey Mia."
The day we arrived the ocean looked like a lake! It was late afternoon and people were sitting on the beach 'cocktailing' and watching the sun set - as you do!
Monkey Mia is actually the name of the resort where you go to feed the dolphins - like Tangalooma is, in our neck of the world. The area is national park and the ocean around there is Shark's Bay. We stayed 3 nights there and went to view the dolphin feeding once. It is done a bit differently to Tangalooma. At a certain time in the morning you are asked to stay away from the water's edge until you get 'the call' from the rangers to move towards the sea. We are waiting for the arrival of the dolphins who have already been there earlier and people have seen them.
Once they have been spotted we can then move to the shallows of the ocean - ankle depth only because the dolphins don't like it if you go in too deep. They have a habit of nibbling/biting you.
Unfortunately only 5 people (out of the hundreds that are there) are selected to feed the dolphins and then they only get one fish to give them. Very controlled. What is nice though is that you can view them from the shallows of the ocean up close. The dolphins follow the ranger whilst she is giving her talk up and down the crowds. They also like to show off to people. There are only about 4-5 dolphins that can be fed and 2 babies. Not as many as Tangalooma has.
This happens 3 times a day in the mornings when the dolphins appear and if you are persistent enough and hang around you might get a chance to feed one sometime during the morning.
The next day I went on a boat cruise to see guaranteed sightings of dugong. There are huge areas of seagrasses here at Shark's Bay and I was not disappointed. They are rather difficult to photo and very shy so this is the best I can do on a photo.
We also had the dolphins follow us. Another thing was the floating farm - 'black pearl'. This was the workplace of 'farmer Jamie' from the show 'Farmer wants a wife'. There was a young, blonde girl helping out there in the shop which I think ended up being the farmer's choice. I guess if you have to live on a farm then a pearl farm is not a bad way to go!
Another unusual sighting on the beach.
Apart from the dolphins which attract the tourists, this place is another 'gem' on this coastline.
When you arrive and leave Monkey Mia there is a lot of beautiful National Park and coastline to see. The road is a mini version of the 'Great Ocean Road'. A small town of Denham has fantastic views of the ocean and there is a lot of new housing going up. Well worth an investment if you had spare cash. One unusual building was made of cockleshell bricks.
We also drove into a place called Hamelin Pool that had stromatolites. What are they? They look like rocks, you'd think they were rocks
but they are in fact living things, believed to be the oldest living organisms on earth.
I also visited an aquarium with a huge collection of live sea life caught by the guides themselves who were marine biologists or similar science degree.
Our next destination was Kalbarri.
We missed out on 'wildflower' season by a month due to the early summer weather they have been experiencing here. I went to a wildflower park and took some photos. Beautiful and also amongst the dunes. A unique scenery.
Kalbarri also enjoys stunning views and you can walk in the heathland along the cliffs. This was also the first beach on our whole trip that had surfable waves. We also had delicious fish and chips here. It is a small fishing village where the Murchison river meets the ocean. It is surrounded by National Park and heaths with all the wildflowers. We could see the ocean from our caravan park. Again a rugged coastline and beautiful lookouts to see all this.
I also went to a place called 'Parrotiso'. This place has the largest collection of parrots in Australia. Some can talk and my favourite was a 'Cocky' at the entrance. He could say so much and was a real character. He had all the tourists in stitches. If you weren't in the area he would call at the top of his voice 'Mum' and expect a reply. If you say 'what do you want' he would reply 'come here'! Hilarious. Another parrot says 'hello beautiful' when you aren't expecting it - I thought it was Geoff talking to me!
and then there were the unusual sculptures
After leaving Kalbarri we also have to mention the unusual 'Pink lake'. My photo doesn't do it justice but it is full of beta carotene and this gives it the colour. Hopefully our video will have captured it better.
Going down the coastline - Geraldton is a larger town which is being developed big time! It is also a port for iron ore. The memorial for the people who lost their lives on HMAS Sydney during WW2 was well done.
After leaving Geraldton we stopped in at Cervantes where the Pinnacles are. I thought it would be just another bunch of rocks. They were unique and once again unusual. They were in the middle of the heaths and wildflowers and there was this desert full of these rocks that look a bit like all the termite mounds we have been seeing in our travels. There were thousands of them in this area.
You can 'tiptoe' through the Pinnacles which come in all different shapes and sizes.
At this point we have to mention the flies which were driving everyone crazy. There was a lot of 'Aussie saluting' going on.
We could have sold our nets several times and made a fortune. If we had known we would have bought a box load! You can also drive through the Pinnacles which goes for 4 kms.