First an update on our travels. 01/08 we have an early breakfast at the Three Springs Motel then hit the road for Geraldton, where Richard needs to visit a dentist, about a tooth he broke eating a nut bar. It was a very windy day with a massive cold front bearing down on the coast. Due to this we decide to book into another hotel, this time the Abrolhos Reef Lodge. As Richard attended his dentist, Deb and I went shopping at Coles, had lunch then waited out a massive downpour before making our way to our accommodation for the night. We ate dinner across the highway at the Tarcoola Tavern which is located in the Geraldton Motor Inn complex. Doggy bag of left-over pizza and some drinks are taken back to our lodge, where we sort out where to next, as the weather is too extreme for us to think about camping at Kalbarri. Unusually we can’t agree, so decide to wing it tomorrow. .
02/08 We grab breakfast from our campers, eat, pack up and head off. First up we visit the HMAS Sydney II Memorial which we found amazing and emotional at the same time. Of course, it rained whist visiting this outside memorial. Next up we checked out the windblown beach at storm tide, which only confirms our decision not to camp at Kalbarri, which is only 120 or kms north of here, as the crow flies. Leaving Geraldton, we head north to Northampton, which still shows the scares of a cyclone a few years back. This confirms tradesmen are still in short supply all over the country.
About 15mins north of Northampton, we pull into a parking bay where I take the opportunity to look in some scrub for any orchids. To my surprise some Kalbarri cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. maculata) are found. This subspecies is said to be found from Shark Bay to Perenjori and is usually marked with distinctive spots. Spent greenhoods and yet to flower spider orchids are also discovered but no photos taken.
Time to move on as we want to get a far north as possible to escape the storm front crossing the coast. A few kms north of the Kalbarri turn-off, we pull into a picnic/camping area alongside the Murchison River. Here we enjoy a lunch of left-over pizza and sandwiches. Too early to camp up so further north we venture. At the Overlander Roadhouse I look into camping options on google as we have reception. I put it to the others that we venture a few kms towards Shark Bay and stay at Hamelin Station which is a property owned by Bush Heritage, of which I am a member. Even though I am unable to contact them to book a site we venture in with the hope they will have room. Luck is on our side, as we book in for 2 nights. We settle in and finish the day with a walk along one of their trails.
Only 1 species of orchid found today and as we are near the end of the line for Southwest orchids it will likely be many days before venture into known habitat. I will pick up the trip from our next orchid encounter with a brief narrative of our travels in between.