Gorgeous gorges, political intrigue and a funny coloured lake.
Principality of Hutt River
Before going to Kalbarri we called in at the Principality of Hutt River and had a chat with Prince Graeme. The Principality was founded about 50 years ago when a wheat farmer called Leonard seceded from Australia after a long and bitter dispute with the Government over wheat quotas. The farm became an independent state and he became Prince Leonard. There have been many legal battles over the years, some of which remain unresolved. Sadly, Prince Leonard passed away earlier this year. His son, Prince Graeme, is now in charge. The folks got their passports stamped and posted some postcards with Hutt River postage stamps on them. Being a dog, I don’t have a passport, but I could now call myself Enzo-international-travel-dog if I wanted to.
Kalbarri is a town at the mouth of the Murchison River. It is surrounded by the Kalbarri National Park, it has rugged coastal cliffs, beautiful gorges, surfing, fishing, a nice small-town feel. There were about three caravan parks, which were only dog friendly outside school holidays. We chose the Murchison Caravan Park in the middle of town. It is an older style park with narrow streets and large trees offering shady spots and good wind protection.
The Kalbari IGA was big with an excellent range of goods, a welcome change from some of the tiny ones we had been to further north. The owners of the IGA were our neighbours at the caravan park at Monkey Mia a few days earlier. They served Sparrow when she went to the supermarket too. It’s a small world sometimes when you’re a nomad!.
The first day we walked up the river to Chinaman’s Beach. There’s an excellent park along the riverbank. Mid-way there was a big, pirate themed, kid’s playground. We walked on to the lookout at Chinaman’s Rock and then around to Back Beach for a bit of ball chasing and swimming in the rock pools. It was an excellent walk. On the way back, there was no one at the pirate park, so the Sparrow had a go on the flying fox. She’s like that sometimes!
Kalbarri National Park
The next day I had a job with Simone at Pets n Plants, this mainly involved playing with her dogs. While I was working the folks took themselves off to the Kalbarri National Park for a bit of walking, sightseeing and photography.
Pink Lake (Hutt Lagoon)
As we left Kalbarri, the Silverback said, ‘We’re going to look at the Pink Lake Enzo’. I was suspicious; he’d already tricked me the week before with ‘we’re going camping beside a river’ [it turned out to be an upside down river with underground water]. Anyhow, about 30 minutes later we pulled over and guess what? There was a lake, and it was pink.
According to the Sparrow-phone; the lake is a few metres below sea level and fed by salt-water springs. It contains algae which produce beta-carotene. This makes the water in the lake and the salt around its shoreline pink. A chemical company uses it for making food colouring and stuff. After I ran on the pink salt I was surprised that it stained my feet yellow! I missed puppy school the day they did chemistry, so I’ve absolutely no idea how that worked!
As we continued heading south, we finally left the arid desert landscape behind and drove into rolling hills with endless wheat fields swaying in the breeze. It was just on harvest-time, a couple of fields had already been cut.