Thoughts on Location No 79
Eighty Mile Beach, Kimberley, Western Australia
First things first, Eighty Mile Beach is not 80 miles long. It actually stretches for 140 miles (220 kilometres) and is the longest, uninterrupted beach in Western Australia. Wow! It’s also the coastline where the Great Sandy Desert meets the Indian Ocean and, now, I completely understand why we’ve been so hot.
All the heat aside, in the space of 10 days we’ve travelled 1,425 kilometres (885.7 miles) and gone from visiting a beach made of shells (see Shell Beach), to staying at beach of a different shelly kind.
Eighty Mile Beach is incredible, and made all the more so by the huge tide variance while we visited. Not all tides changes vary so much, but we were lucky enough to witness a tide difference of more than 6½ metres (21.3 feet). At low tide the water’s edge was so far off in the distance, it appeared as a thin line on the horizon.
And at low tide there are large areas of exposed sand littered with thousands, and thousands of seashells. Ok, that calculation is a gross understatement. Considering the sheer enormity of the beach, I couldn’t begin to calculate the volume of shells to be found.
And they were incredible, in all shapes and sizes, a rainbow of colours, and they simply went on, and on, and on. Not all of the shells are broken, and treasures patiently wait to be found. There are other delights patiently waiting for you to discover also.
Like the beautiful music made by the shells in the rapidly receding tide.
My video doesn’t do the music justice, the music was actually much better the previous day, but I hope you get the idea. (Wait for the entire file to load and then press play – I tried to reduce the file size, but I think it’s still a little big.)
We lowered our tyre pressure and drove north along the beach, at one point making our own tracks, and only stopped when we spotted ‘Squirt’ making his way across the beach.
He (or she) was so cute, and hard to photograph as he ran across the sand to get to the water’s edge. This was the only baby we saw and we thought he was either an early hatcher, or a late bloomer. Most likely the latter, but we also saw evidence of a (large) turtle’s path across the beach and up into the sand dunes where no doubt she’d gone and laid her eggs.
We watched Squirt for some time, but I had to look away. There was a very long way for him to go to reach the water and I didn’t want to witness him being taken by a bird of prey. During our two days at Eight Mile Beach we saw so many birds of prey soaring above the dunes, looking for – well, I’m not going to say it, you know what they were looking for, but at least we didn’t see any nearby while we watched Squirt.
We stayed at the Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park which is reached via a 10 kilometre dirt road, but so worth the detour. We stayed for two nights before moving on and heading further north. The park is absolutely huge with large grassy, and (mostly) well shaded sites, with plenty of fresh water, something we’ve been without for a little while. It was very nice to not have bore water for a change.
There were all sorts of little things that make this park something special – a tyre pressure pump to re-inflate your tyres after driving on the beach and a car washing station. It’s been some time since the car got a good wash, so Dean made sure we left with the car sparkling.
There’s also a small War Memorial that was rather quaint and I thought it lovely to see all the sea shells laid around in a show of respect. I added a few before we left.