Highway One: wildflowers of WA
Catherine Lawson and David Bristow, along with baby Maya, are doing a lap of Highway One, the road that circles Australia.
SPOTTING WILDLIFE REQUIRES PATIENCE at the best of times, but sometimes, nature doesn’t come to the party at all.
When we detoured west off Highway One to reach Kalbarri, 590 km from Perth, in Western Australia, it was to watch the daily pelican feeding that has been taking place on the town’s foreshore for decades. But to our surprise and disappointment, we discovered that the pelicans are yet to return from their annual inland migration to breed and are still whooping it up at Lake Eyre.
Instead, it’s the prolific wildflowers colouring the vast sand plains above Murchison Gorge in Kalbarri National Park that captivated us. We hiked to Nature’s Window, a rock lookout framing a snapshot of the Murchison River that meanders for 80km through the national park, following a deep path cut through startling cliffs of Tumblagooda Sandstone banded with vivid red, yellow and white layers of soft sedimentary rock.
South of Kalbarri, the national park protects a thin strip of coastal cliffs eroded to form natural bridges and amphitheatres, many linked by walking trails. Sticky flies accompany as we walk to lookouts that reward us with sightings of whales breaching and dolphins riding the breakers.
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