Highway One: turtle mating season
The pristine beaches of Exmouth, on Western Australia’s mid-coast are home to nesting green sea turtles.
Catherine Lawson and David Bristow, along with baby Maya, are doing a lap of Highway One, the road that circles Australia.
SOUTH OF BROOME, HIGHWAY ONE wraps along WA’s sparsely populated coastline, providing access to some of my favourite destinations – the Pilbara’s Dampier Archipelago, Cape Range National Park near Exmouth, Coral Bay and Point Quobba north of Carnarvon.
The travel distances are huge along this stretch, with little more than the odd roadhouse or rest area to break up the drive, forcing us to clock up some long, hot days on the bitumen. All is forgotten when we reach Exmouth and travel west to a beachfront campground in Cape Range National Park overlooking a bright blue bay and the edge of Ningaloo Reef.
Trekking across the dunes, we discover a nearby beach where hundreds of green sea turtles have gathered to mate in the shallows, just metres from the water’s edge. When they tire, female green turtles rest on the sand, giving us a good look at their high-domed, heart-shaped shells that measure up to a metre and a half.
On previous visits to Ningaloo Reef we’ve raved about the clear water and pristine coral reefs, the drift snorkeling and calm seas, perfect for kayaking. But watching the turtles mate tops it all.
More Highway One stories
Top 5 great Aussie road trips
Queensland’s turtle hatchling spectacle
Life through the eyes of a turle hatchling
Australian Geographic’s top 100 icons of all time
Top 10 Autralian outback experiences
Darwin makes list of top 10 cities to visit in 2012
Australia’s 8 greatest surf spots
6 great Australian train trips
Best winter escapes in Australia
Travel photography tips
10 best kayak day trips in Australia
18 of the best day walks in Australia