Exmouth and the North West Cape

Thoughts on Location No 77

Exmouth, Pilbara, Western Australia

From the southern end of the Ningaloo Marine Park to the northern end, and into hotter territory.

I thought that couldn’t be possible, but was horribly wrong as the mercury continued to rise.

The one saving grace was the temperature being cooler near the water than it was inland and we took this opportunity to visit Turquoise Bay in the Cape Range National Park.  There were no tours to join, no tour company operating and willing to take our money, but that’s ok.  We’ve become accustomed to taking ourselves on tour.

Arriving early, we had Turquoise Bay all to ourselves for more than an hour and a half and were surprised at the number of people arriving as we were leaving.  The day was already oppressively hot by 10:30 am, too hot for me to be exposed to the harsh rays of the sun even with 50+ SPF sunscreen, and finding shade had become a top priority.

By then though, we’d already enjoyed the bay.

The waters of Turquoise Bay are gentle and calm and it was a delight to sit there with the fish swimming all around.  There were lots of bright yellow and black stripped convict surgeonfish, and quite a few black-spotted dart, and all of them were very friendly and tame.  I’m guessing people feed them and their behaviour was because they thought we had food.

There were lots of other fish of all types and sizes and although I tried to photograph some, I failed.


We took ourselves up to Lighthouse Hill Lookout to see the lighthouse and enjoy the view of the setting sun.  A little cloud would have gone a long way to adding some colour, but I think the photos are nice all the same.  At the extremity of the lookout is the position where the ruins of the World War II aircraft warning radar once stood.  Today a replica of the warning radar stands, the original was sent to the Maritime Museum in Fremantle.

From up there you can also see the VLF towers that are part of the Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt (North West Cape).  The station provides very low frequency (VLF) radio transmission to United States Navy and Royal Australian Navy ships and submarines in the western Pacific Ocean and eastern Indian Ocean.

This structure is very impressive and you can click here to see it on Google Maps.  Below are photos of the VLF from the lookout and the information plaque found there.

It is interesting to note that the town of Exmouth was built at the same time as the communications station to provide support to the base and to house dependent families of U.S. Navy personnel.


We stayed at the Ningaloo Lighthouse Caravan Park at the foot of Vlamingh Head Lighthouse. (Or Vlaming Head, it’s hard to pinpoint the correct spelling).  The park was nice enough, and absolutely huge – to cope with all the influx of tourists during the cooler months.  While we were there, 90% of the park was closed, and this meant the 1/2 dozen people there were lucky enough to be sitting in each other’s hip pockets, only adding to heat.  I understand.  But I don’t understand.

It was nice to visit the area, I’m only sorry it was too hot to see more of the national park.  I guess that’s another thing I can add to my “Next Time” list.  Dean as hoping he might have found a surfable wave, but that didn’t happen either. 

 

10 Comments

  1. It’s definitely a region most people would ave on their “must revisit list”.The Turquoise Bay photos are just stunning. There were lots of little skates swimming about our legs when we were there and you’re right, feeding of the fish went on every evening.

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      1. We didn’t join the feeding frenzy but after the crowds left the skates and some other fish came to us, maybe they’d missed out though the skates just seemed very, very curious.

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          1. We made the mistake of leaving our snorkelling gear home when we went to WA, learnt our lesson so made sure we had it when we went to Qld this last holiday but the water was too cold to get more than a toe wet!

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          2. I know exactly what you mean, although I have been in the water over the last week or so, it’s still cool and takes me some time to get wet. Back home in Qld, I only swim between November and February – the water is too cold for me every other time of the year.

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