Day two of our epic adventure for the summer of 2014.
From Mt Trio we headed south-east and arrived in sunny Bremer Bay. A place that is special to us: nearly ten years ago, The Driver proposed at sunrise on the cliff tops as we watched whales cruise into the bay.
A quick fuel stop, a visit to the camping store for a sleeping bag (yet another that has been purchased on the second day of a road trip – we have three of these now) and a National Park Pass.
Bremer was booming. Peak holiday time and the boat ramp and caravan park were chockers. A quick check of the beach showed that the river mouth was months away from breaking through. The bay was that gorgeous aqua blue and there were people, dogs, jet skis, kites and 4wds everywhere! Let’s keep moving!
Our plan was to find a camp spot in the Fitzgerald River National Park where we could camp, launch the tinny and hopefully be away from others.
Fitzgerald National park is a bio-diversity hotspot of global significance. There are flora and fauna species endemic to this area that are under threat and the park itself is suffering badly with dieback.
As a result of this, many of the camp areas and tracks are now closed. Whilst we understand the justification and importance of this, to protect this wonderful piece of bush, it was disappointing. We travelled over 130 km to no avail. The only area that was open to camping was at 4-Mile on the eastern edge of the park, only 10km or so from Hopetoun.
It has to be said. What has been done to the 4-Mile campground is absolutely, appallingly dreadful. Words cannot describe it. We turned into what looked like a bitumen carpark, assuming this was an entry to a new campground. But no. This WAS the campground.
There were 10 sites and each camp area had approximately 4m x 4m of chunky blue metal rocks upon which you were to set up your tent. You parked your car on the adjacent bitumen, were separated by one or two low shrubs from your neighbours and overlooked the rest of the carpark. We have never seen anything like it. As a result of these natural and lush surrounds, the campground was empty with the exception of a few Yah-Yahs in Wicked Campers.
From here we shook our heads all the way to Hopetoun, a super cute little holiday town on the coast. Definitely somewhere we will come back to just not in peak season. The road east turns to limestone and we followed it past an assortment of campgrounds, some we had read about previously such as Mason Bay but they were all full.
A drive through the Starvation Bay campground known locally as “Starvos” unearthed a hive of activity that seemed to be all the local farming families on their annual pilgrimage to the coast. Last year, the lady at the Lake King General Store had given us the tip that Starvos was good for catching squid. We had gone on to Fanny Cove instead, so this year it was worth checking out. However, there was no room for blow-ins and frankly, it was a little too crowded for our liking.
Another 10km or so along the limestone and we followed a hunch and turned onto a little goat track to the coast. Alby wound his way capably though the sand, gravel, rock, and dry clay and brought us to a clearing sheltered behind the dunes by some coast ti-trees.
Clambering over the rocks led onto the beach. Alby didn’t quite have the turning circle we needed and he took his first clip to the chin with a chunk of paint and a scratch to the right underside of the new bull bar. Once on the beach we were fine and booted it along for a few kilometres to see if there was anywhere to camp out of the 25 knot winds.
Back behind the ti-trees we set up camp and used Alby to shelter the kitchen. It was a pretty cool and windy night so it became just a stopover. The sand was pretty black and while logic would tell you that it is clean, the brain and eyes can’t process or enjoy having black sand everywhere.