Monthly Archives: June 2012

Not swimming with Whale Sharks

The need for the SpareWheel to be in Exmouth for work afforded an opportunistic trip up north.  So the chauffeur drove the 1250 kms to Exmouth over a day and a ½ to collect her ladyship who flew in Saturday midday.

The plan was to spend 5 nights with Pig Pen in the Cape Range national park ( , then return to Exmouth and hotel comfort for a couple of days before heading home via Warroora Station.

For the first two nights we camped on the beachfront at Pilgramunna Camp which has only 9 sites nestled behind sand dunes.  As the campground is situated near the mouth of a creek system and open to the ocean via a small beach suitable for launching trailer boats, it can be subject to flooding.

Pilgramunna Beachside Camping

Flooding at Pilgramunna on high tide

We has the pleasure of experience this in the morning but not to the extent that its cause any inconvenience.   We were also pleasantly surprised at the excellent snorkelling off the beach, with corals and fish in abundance.

We visited Yardie Creek and did the gorge walks which offered spectacular views from the top.  We then drove across Yardie Creek – the gorge mouth was dry, and visited Boat Harbour for a snorkel and lunch.

We has booked to dive with the whale sharks on the Tuesday together with a group of friends so we were hoping to camp in the northern part of the park.  After backing up the camper and leaving it at Osprey Bay, we drove the 60 odd kms to the Tantabiddi boat harbour just north for the park – where we were told the dive was cancelled due to strong wind!  And boy! did it blow.  All Tuesday and Wednesday, with gust 30-40 knots which really put Pig Pen to the test camping in Osprey Bay right on the beach again.  Osprey Bay - before winds!The campground is situated above a rock-shelf shoreline which has small sandy enclaves exposed at low tide. The campground has arguably the best ocean views within Cape Range National Park. A sandy beach leads north to Sandy Bay.

Yardie Creek George

We did manage a long walk up though the range and a couple of snorkels, including one in beautify Turquoise Bay.  South Mandu was equally as good!

It can be notoriously difficult to find a camping spot in the national park.   There are about 100 camping sites in the National park.  One can now book most of these in advance via the DEC web site  .  Some locations can’t be booked and operate on a first come first serve basis.  For the bookable camps, the camp hosts chat each he morning and then available sites are allocated to those in the park as first priority.  Every day there is a queue of people waiting at the entrance gate awaiting any available sites which are then allocated at 8am.  So book in advance for at least the first night!  Also, the camping sites over Yardie Creek (Boat Harbour and One K Camp) are generally uncrowded due to the need to a 4×4 to get there – crossing the sand bar of Yardie Creek can be hazardous but was no challenge this time.

Roos digging for water at Bloodwood Creek

Yardie Creek Sandbar

Whilst the camp sites were full during our visit, the park was definitely not busy at the various attractions. – Fortunately most camping locations don’t have many sites so over-nighting is now overcrowded either.

Yardie – Ploughing the sandbar

We had planned a stop at Warroora on way back – it looks good and worth a visit – – with strong winds and rain forcast we instead tripped home Friday afternoon and Saturday to outrun forecast bad weather/     The call was a good one, with wind subsequent blowing 100kms plus all down the West coast.

So trip was a bit of a fizzer due to bad weather but at least Pig Pen proved itself again.   It also gave us the opportunity to test equipment and decide on what is totally necessary and what is superfluous.

Paying homage to the big prawn