How far would you go? (HLD 378)

5 April 2021

For a nice beach? Or somewhere special?

I’m not talking distance as in “get on a plane for a couple of hours and go to a different country” sort of thing. I’m talking about a trip you’d make, preferably within your own state, county or province. To a special place.

We have done this trip to Exmouth quite a lot over the last almost 40 years. We prefer doing it in one day – leaving at half past stupid o’clock, and arriving as the sun is setting and the kangaroos start to appear worryingly a little closer to the road. If we have more time on our hands, we might break up the trip by an overnight stay in one of the towns on the way. But it’s definitely do-able in a day.

It is well and truly worth it – the coral reef is accessible from the beaches, there are gorgeous gorges, and the most glorious weather you can imagine. It is genuinely one of my very favourite places in the world, and the concept of losing a day travelling here is not a worry. Interestingly enough, one of my OTHER favourite places, Karijini National park, is a further 675 km up the road.

The countryside that you get to look at on the drive up, makes you realise how remote this place is. Petrol stations are few and far between, and towns even more so. We spend maybe 80% of the trip without mobile phone coverage, and radio stations are so hit and miss that having your own music supply is a must.

Some people travel for hours in aeroplanes to see the Great Barrier Reef, and rightly so – it’s lovely. But when you are there, you are usually accompanied by the equivalent of the population of India, or China. And you will need to be on a boat tour of some description to get out to where the reef can be best viewed.

At our Ningaloo Reef, you may just find yourselves the only people on a particular beach. Just you and a couple of thousand fish, a handful of turtles, and heaps of soft white sand. But, it should be noted that this is unlikely to happen if you are here during the Easter/School holiday time. We are currently sharing beaches with about half the population of WA…. but we still found a beach today where it was just us and one other family.

To put our 1248 km beach trip into context, I offer up the following distances which are comparable in length:

Length of UK: 1407km

New York to New Orleans: 1300km

Cape Town to Johannesburg: 1397km

Adelaide to Sydney: 1375km

Length of NZ: 1500

Length of Rhine river: 1230km

The state I live in is a big one, but sparsely populated apart from the south west pocket, and even then predominantly near the coast. To travel from top to bottom of Western Australia (Esperance to Kununurra, which the purists will tell me is not exact, but I like to give purists something to complain about to prove their superior knowledge) you would need to travel 3381km.

Australia is a big place, and Western Australia comprises nearly a third of the main land mass. We are quite used to having to travel for quite some time to get to our favourite spots within our own state.

By golly it’s worth it.

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