The land of extremes

The name Turquoise Coast summons up delightful images of white sand beaches, unbelievably blue water and endless sunshine, but it doesn’t work when it’s cold wet and windy. The further south we drove, the murkier the sky became, all the way down to a freezing Geraldton. We immediately ditched the notion of the tent and booked into an inexpensive B&B. One of the perks of the computer age – instead of searching through a phone book, or hoofing around a strange town enquiring at receptions desks, we did a quick web search, paid on line, and received a text with a code to the key locker. It was an elegant old house, lovingly restored. The owner arrived later and we discovered that it was the childhood home of Randolph Stow, a famous West Australian writer. And to complete the charm, we found that we’d been given the Randolph Stow bedroom. Perfect. Hopefully some writer dust will rub off…

Next morning we braved the rain to look for tents, and rapidly decided that a heavy canvas job was not going to work, not without a couple of healthy 20 year olds along to do the heavy lifting. We were feeling a bit despondent at this point, like, what were we thinking…

We have a bit of a track record at picking the wrong time to go travelling. The last long trip we planned took us to Victoria, intending to spend three weeks in a camper trailer around the state. We thought that September/October would be perfect – warming up, no school holidays, not too much traffic. It turned out to be the coldest wettest spring in decades, so we cancelled the camper, and found a warm fireplace.  This year we thought, ah – leave Darwin as the Build Up begins, and travel slowly down the west coast so that as we move south, the weather will be warming up. Sounded logical. Except that this year WA has had its coldest wettest winter/spring on record.  And Darwin is having the BEST and longest dry season in years…

We should’ve gone east to western Qld and NSW – we would’ve broken the drought.

Feeling cold and miserable, we rang up our dear friend Helen Thistlethwaite, an ex-Darwinite, and hot-footed it inland to the pretty little hamlet of Carnamah, about 200km southeast, in the middle of canola, wheat and the wildflower trails. Since leaving Katherine we’d been travelling through remote country – all red earth, big rocks, scattered bush and scrub. Then we crested another hill, and found the green stuff. Just like this:

The green – wheat – was soon followed by scenes of gold and white – canola and lupin.

Along the way, we were seeing increasing amounts of wildflowers. At first just along the sides of the road, but occasionally we could see further into the bush. It was a taste of things to come…

Taking photos from the car is a challenge and it didn’t always work. But I really liked this messed up one – wildflower Impressionist, maybe?

Western Australia is very proud of its wildflowers, and with every justification. People come here from all over the world to see the flowers, and after the very wet winter, conditions were perfect. This is a familiar WA shot – huge expanses of pink and white :

and then white ones…

and every colour under the sun!

No wonder WA is famous for its honey – there are bees everywhere! We can’t complain about the weather any longer – the result of all that rain and cold is these stunning landscapes. And thank you Helen for introducing us to them. What an amazing place this is!

WA – the land of extremes – extreme distance, extreme isolation, and extreme beauty.



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