Perth to Exmouth: from water world to Aussie salute

Although I’ve bombarded you with quite a few pictures over the last month, it’s already been a while since my last post. So much has happened since I left Perth; I hardly know where to start.

In the last 5 weeks alone, I’ve joined 4 very different but all so worth it guided tours (Perth to Exmouth, Exmouth to Broome, Alice Springs to Adelaide, and Kangaroo Island), so I’ll tell you a little bit about all of them in the next few days.

Perth to Exmouth: 1,800+ km in 5 days

During my trip to Esperance, I already got a first glimpse of the beautiful things the west coast has to offer. How diverse the scenery is, hit me even more when I travelled up to Exmouth (and later Broome) with Aussie Wanderer. Our 6 all-girls tour group – love you, ladies! – hardly left Perth when the temperature started rising and we felt the famous Western Australian heat.

First stop were The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park, a yellow desert full of odd limestone formations. For me, even more impressive was our destination at the end of the day: Kalbarri National Park with its massive red and white gorge, and well-known Nature’s Window. (I even went abseiling from a 25-meter-high rock wall the next day!)

Since I returned to Australia, I realise how much I love morning hikes. Getting up earlier than I would normally prefer, these walks are a perfect way to grasp nature waking up. Call me sentimental, but there’s just something about the first rays of sunlight touching the earth. Some newlyweds must have thought the same thing because they were doing a photoshoot, all dressed up in their wedding outfits, overlooking Kalbarri’s gorge. Either that, or they were just two models working on a fashion shoot. 🙂

Water sport heaven

The main attractions of trips up to Exmouth, however, are Indian Ocean related. If snorkelling or diving are your thing, it’s not only the Great Barrier Reef on the east coast that can please you; the west coast has just as many beautiful fish and coral. Add some whale watching, swimming with manta rays or whale sharks, and of course the wild dolphin experience at Monkey Mia, and every water sports addict will be drooling.

Unfortunately, nature will always be unpredictable so both our trips to swim with manta rays in Coral Bay and spot whales in Exmouth were cancelled due to risky winds at sea. Luckily, I stayed in Exmouth a few more days before moving on to Broome, which meant I could do the whale watching tour on another day. I felt really sorry for the other girls who had been looking forward to these water excursions so much because they were returning to Perth the next day.

Whale watching on a big catamaran was a great experience. A bit scared if I would conquer my seasickness after taking only one travel sickness pill, I sailed off into a very friendly sea together with two Germans, two Dutch grey nomads and the Aussie captain. At first, it seemed we wouldn’t see that many whales, but the closer we got to sunset, the more whales kept popping up. Some were really close, others further away, never to be spotted again after their first sighting.

The highlight of the afternoon was a whale mum who decided she needed some rest on her travels down south. While she was sleeping, she stayed above the water the entire time and her calf kept swimming around her; she obviously didn’t think we were a threat. On our way back to shore, they were still there. Magnificent creatures!

Snorkelling for dummies

To be honest, I’m not much of a snorkeler. The last time I voluntarily put my head underwater with a snorkel in my mouth must have been at the Whitsundays during my Australia holiday 7 years ago. It just doesn’t feel natural. The whole breathing through your mouth, eyes open, and not having to squeeze your nose to prevent water from coming in… I’m not a fan.

So the first time we rented snorkels at Coral Bay and water kept coming into my mouth every 5 seconds, I thought it was me. That I somehow didn’t hold my head in the right position or I was biting on my snorkel too firmly which might have created little holes in it or something. While the other girls swam further into the ocean to look at some nice coral, some sweet green fish with yellow tails and blue fins kept me company by swimming around my legs in the less deep water. I slowly got used to the wonderful world of snorkelling, albeit I had to continuously empty my snorkel.

How much more fun was my experience the day after, while snorkelling at the heavenly blue Turquoise Bay! Without getting water into my snorkel, I finally understood what everyone was so enthusiastic about. Though I still didn’t swim too far from the coast, it was truly a great adventure to see all the different fish and coral. (And I’m sort of glad I didn’t see the small shark the others bumped into while snorkelling further away.)

Aussie salute

One of the things I don’t recall from my trip to Oz in 2009, is the number of flies. I’m not sure if there just weren’t that many of them that year, or if I blocked them from my memory, but they are definitely here now. You might think Aussies just like to wave at you (which is actually also true – drivers still make friendly hand gestures while passing each other on the highway), but this is in fact the so-called ‘Aussie salute’.

You know when flies are trying to sit on your eye balls, lips, nose, ears, etc. and you wave your hand in front of your face to scare them off? That’s it. If you visit Western Australia, South Australia or the Northern Territory, you better start practising. Or buy a fly net, it’s up to you. Although they did annoy me from time to time, I must say the flies didn’t influence my feelings for this country too much. Even without a fly net, I was able to breathe in and appreciate the beauty around me (…while shallowing 1 or 2 flies along the way).

In a nutshell…

A trip from Perth to Exmouth means hotness, dusty red earth, green bushes, hundreds of flies, but above all: stunning white beaches and a magical world right there to admire in the clear blue ocean. Or as my lovely tour mate Becca would say: lots of peak happiness!