This is the website of Neil McDougall, a musician/blogger/podcaster/bookie from Ayrshire.

Neil’s Antipodean Adventure 5: Making Friends with a Crayfish

Right, let’s get on with this.  The last time we spoke we were at the end of Day 3 in Kalbarri.  We rejoin the action at the start of Day 4 – Easter Sunday, the 27th of March 2016.

Easter Sunday was a decent day.  More lovely weather (there had been intermittent rain here and there, but it never lasted long, and the general temperatures were so nice that everything dried out super-quick) and a fairly busy day ahead.  After breakfast, Gordon, Nancy and I jumped in the Land Rover and set off to visit the Murchison River gorges up close and personal, after having seen them the day before by air, as detailed in my last entry.  It was a decent wee drive out to the gorges, and we listened to an AFL game on the radio on the way there.

I hadn’t quite wrapped my head around the ins and outs of Aussie Rules by this point, and wouldn’t until a good bit later in the trip.  Looking back at the fixtures, we were probably listening to Western Bulldogs vs Fremantle.  Fremantle took a pasting, which didn’t sit well with Peter Stroud, who is an avid Dockers fan.

Viewing the gorges on land was an entirely different feeling to seeing them from 4,000ft up – the scale of some of the things I was seeing was pretty mind-boggling.  I’ve seen some nice scenery in my time – I live in Scotland, after all – but this was a totally different proposition.  Looking down into the gorge that Nature’s Window was in and seeing tiny people moving around at the bottom was wild.  I’d never really seen things like this in real life before.

We visited a few of the gorges – the aforementioned Nature’s Window, the Z Bend, the Little Z Bend, I took a bunch of photos (including what might be my favourite shot of the entire trip, the ‘tree portrait’), and I sweated my arse off.  Good thing I took water with me.  Pics of the gorges up close and personal are attached to this post, as per.

After traipsing around the spectacular scenery of Kalbarri National Park, we headed back to the Holiday Park.  That evening, we were booked to have dinner at the Pelican Cafe, but before that we sat about at the campsite and nibbled cheese, olives, crackers and other such nibbles, which was a fairly typical mid afternoon thing at the campsite for us.

By this point, the camp site was choc-a-bloc, what with it being Easter weekend, and the campsite’s wi-fi hadn’t been working for me during this entire time, which was actually a good thing, in hindsight. It was nice to just totally disconnect for once in this always-online world we live in nowadays.  I don’t think the Wifi started working properly until maybe a day or two before we left, after all the main Easter holiday crowd left.

After a bit of snacking and general afternoon laziness, a few of us set off for the Kalbarri Motor Hotel for a few beers and to catch some of the West Coast Eagles game before we headed to the Pelican for dinner.  The pub was pretty busy,  the footy was on, the weather was nice, the company was good and the beers were cold.  Just the ticket.

The food at the Pelican was nice too, incidentally.  Nice fresh produce, good friendly service.  I had quite possibly one of the nicest examples of chicken enchiladas I’ve had anywhere when I was there.  My mouth is literally watering right now remembering it.  After the Pelican we went back to the camp for more chin wagging and a few glasses of wine before bed.

The next two days were quiet ones.  I don’t recall doing a great deal during the day on the Monday, and the only pictures I have are around the campsite (including a shot or two of my sunburnt feet).  I think we might’ve went into the main part of the town to get supplies for the beach BBQ we had planned for that night and for some of the guys to get some bits & bobs for their fishing trip early the next day (of all the men on the trip, only Peter and I didn’t go on the fishing trip – I can’t swim).  That night, we all went down to the shore for a barbecue, using the BBQ facilities that were there for public use (a fairly common thing in Australia.  Try setting that up here in Scotland and a) they’d barely get used and b) they’d end up vandalised).  I managed to get some really nice sunset photos.  Some of the guys had tried to do a bit of fishing off the wharf, but hadn’t had any luck, so it was burgers and snags for all.  Not that that was a bad thing.

The next day was an even lazier one for me, all told.  A good chunk of the morning I was pretty much by myself.  Most of the guys bar myself and Peter were off braving the Indian Ocean in a quest to bring home dinner, the girls all headed off to do other stuff, so I just took it as an opportunity to just chill and do nothing.  By this point, though, the campsite wi-fi was working again, so I caught up on happenings on the interwebs and took it easy.  At least until Peter suggested we go to the pub, so we did.

A couple of shandies at the Kalbarri Motor Hotel later, we swaggered back up the road just around the time that the fishing expedition came back to base camp, with a bountiful catch.  Cobia, Red Snapper, and a nice big Crayfish, who I immediately made friends with (see pictures).  I think there might’ve been a couple of other types of fish caught as well, but I can’t remember exactly what.  We ate well that night – the Cobia was prepared in a few different ways, and the crayfish was butterflyed, grilled and done with a bit of garlic butter.  Immense.  After that, more drinking and bevvying, but not a heavy night, as we were leaving the next morning, and we had a long drive ahead of us again.

The next day?  We packed up the campsite, loaded up the trailers and set off for another 6 hour trek back to Perth.  Couple of pit stops on the way home, I snoozed listening to podcasts, and after we got home it was just a chilled out evening.

And thus ended our trek to Kalbarri.  It was absolutely lovely.  Good times, a nice vibe, some good experiences, made some new pals (shout out to Chris the mechanic and his family, who was a bit of a fixture a few sites over from us and would often come over for a blether.  Good dude.), ate some awesome food and generally relaxed.  In hindsight, it was exactly what I was needing – to just unplug from almost everything and relax.

In the next entry, I’ll cover my visit to the Swan Valley wineries and the first half of my trip across Australia to its signature city – Sydney.

This entry was written by NeiloMac, posted on September 22, 2016 at 6:02 pm, filed under life, travel. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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