24-25 April, 2015: Onwards to ExmouthUnder the pressure of time we reluctantly left the Shark Bay World Heritage Drive, and drove further north to Carnarvon on the Gascoyne River, catching a quick glimpse of the Big Dish. The blowholes weren’t very active at Point Quobba, but many people were enjoying snorkelling in the turquoise waters. We took the drive out to pretty Coral Bay on the edge of Ningaloo Reef, before turning towards our most northerly stop for this trip, Exmouth, briefly driving through a red dust-storm.
Our hotel accommodation outside the township was novel – an upstairs unit on the refurbished Harold Holt Naval Station. Here we met up with our newest granddaughter Neko, and happily entertained one another while her parents took a tour to swim with the whale sharks. Using their hire camper, we drove first out to the radar installation, then up to Vlamingh Head Lighthouse (named for an early Dutch explorer of WA coast), which contains a Chance Bros dioptric light illuminated with vapourised kerosene as its fuel (t'was the only one in Australia). There was an anchor nearby for the SS Mildura which came aground in Lighthouse Bay, as well as storyboards about the radar installations and WWII bombings. Given the ferocity of the flies, we were grateful we had taken an opportunity to upgrade our fly hat nets to a sturdier version once a new shipment arrived in town.