Exmouth Road Trip, Part II: Kalbarri to Monkey Mia

Hello and welcome to part 2 of my Exmouth adventure! It’s getting cold and rainy here in Perth and I’m wishing I had a warm coat and rain jacket. Australia does get cold, y’all. In this post, I revisited Kalbarri, Shell Beach, and Monkey Mia. Enjoy!

Kalbarri National Park

I didn’t really feel like I was in Australia until my visit to Kalbarri National Park. It was vast, hot, red, and swarmed with flies. Kalbarri sits like a giant crater situated in the middle of nothingness (aka the outback).

As we descended down the gorges of the Z Bend River Trail, signs warned us that “hikers have died on this trail” and to bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen, all of which I had. What the signs didn’t warn us about was the flies. Oh my God, the flies. As I traipsed across rocks and ladders and cliffs, my coordination wasn’t so much the problem as these annoying flies buzzing into my nose, eyes, mouth, and even ears. They were even attracted to our sunscreen! I later learned that an Australian wave is when you wave the flies from your face. Yup, definitely down under.

After hiking down and up the gorges, we took an easy walk over to a famous place called “Nature’s Window,” called such because of the winds that have eroded a hole in the 400-million-year-old sandstone. Looking through the “window” offers an expansive view of the gorges that lead down to the river. This place is perfect for insta-worthy photos.

Moving on (now that I’ve written an entire paragraph about the flies), Kalbarri was beautiful. What’s so incredible about places with natural beauty like Kalbarri or the mountains of north Georgia are the history and secrets they hold. The native Nanda people are recognized by the Australian government as the natural custodians of Kalbarri. The Aboriginal (native) people of Australia referred to Kalbarri as “Wurdimarlu.”

Generally, native tribes are remembered in ceremonies and in tourist information as the natural custodians of the land. It doesn’t excuse the acts of many Australian’s European ancestors, but it’s a reminder today of the country’s past. This is a heavy topic for another piece, but it’s imperative to be conscious of this as a tourist in colonized places.

After the pink lake incident, we drove to the campsite and I washed my boots. Then, we went to the pool for a bit. THEN, some mysterious bug stung me and it hurt like hell. Today is just not my day. Anyway, went to Kalbarri and did the Z Bend Trail and Nature’s Window. The Z Bend (river) trail was definitely very challenging and steep but so beautiful! I liked Nature’s Window more, though. The only bad part was the flies. I thought I was being smart by applying loads of sunscreen, but it actually seems to attract them ๐Ÿ™ƒDEFINITELY need a fly net here.

The flynet I should have brought

Cost: Entry fee is $13

Kilometers from Perth: 572 km (355 miles)

Shell Beach

On our way to Monkey Mia, we stopped at Shell Beach. The teeny tiny shells that make up the shore of the beach are the purest white and the water is turquoise blue. Beautiful, but compared to all of the beautiful beaches on the west coast, they all start to look the same. The shells are a little painful to walk on, too…

Just left shell beach. It was pretty cool but not too special. the beach was covered in tiny white shells but they hurt my feet. The water was warm-ish, too. The flies still suck, so glad I bought a flynet for my face this morning!

Cost: Free

Kilometers from Perth: 778 km (483 miles)

Monkey Mia

Monkey Mia is in Shark Bay, a UNESCO World Heritageย area. There are about 2,000 dolphins that live in Shark Bay, and about 200 in the Monkey Mia area. They have been coming to the shore since the 1960s, when fisherman began sharing their fish with the dolphins. Today, there are a select few from one of the pods in the bay that are chosen to become part of the feeding program. They are given a little snack by the rangers in the morning from about 8 a.m. until 12 p.m., then are left on their own to find food in the bay. Every day, tourists come to the shore to watch the feeding, and about 5 volunteers are chosen to give the dolphins a fish. One of my friends was even chosen!

Just steps away from the beach are affordable hostels, camping, and private villas for the more glamorous. This was one of my favorite places on the trip. Definitely worth staying for a few days!

Arrived at Monkey Mia yesterday. We’re staying at a really cute hostel called The Dolphin Resort. It’s right on the water and there’s a group of emus that roam around together, giant pelicans everywhere, and this morning, we got so close to the dolphins during the feeding time. I had a delicious coffee earlier by the beach and it felt like paradise! I could stay here forever. Today was magical, after the dolphins and coffee, we went back down to the beach and rented SUP boards. As we were getting in, a few dolphins swam right by us. We had a blast paddling around in Shark Bay. Then, Katherine and I went on a little walk and saw two sea turtles poking their heads out of the water. At sunset, I hung out with the pelicans. Also, I just offered salt on watermelon (A southern thing) to my group and they were horrified! ๐Ÿ‰๐Ÿ˜†

Cost: $13, Hostel around $30/night

Kilometers from Perth: 850 (528 miles)

I’ve just begun working as an Au Pair, but will have part 3 up in the next few weeks ๐Ÿ™‚ As always, use the contact form to send me any ideas for things you’d like to see!