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2020 - SNZA - Day 27

After a good nights sleep we had a make do breakfast in our room. Karen still had some porridge packets left and jolly welcome they were too. I am missing my proper porridge at home with Cacao nibs.

We had a quick catch up on the cafe Wifi before we set off to visit The Pinnacles which was the whole purpose of our trip this far north of Perth. It was a place that Karen had recalled Billy Connolly visiting on his tour of Australia. Its funny how much of the places we have visited in Oz have been influenced by him. Mind you the clip I found of him visiting the Pinnacles involved doing one of his nude runs through the desert, which was not something we planned to do today.

Before we set out we thought we would quickly drive round some more of Cervantes to make sure we hadn’t missed anything. We hadn’t. The houses we passed were all ugly and it seemed soulless.

The Pinnacles were just 17km back along the road so the journey did not take us long. We paid the $15 admission fee and decided to do the Desert drive first of all. This was a 4km drive with stopping off points. We were told not to attempt to climb any of The Pinnacles themselves as they were fragile and people had suffered serious injury when they had fallen on them. The rocks were most peculiar. Pillars of quite soft rock standing upright in the desert. I was not sure they had been worth the detour we had made to see them but I suppose they were quite impressive and Karen was very happy to have seen them.

As it was still quite early, there were not many people about which made it much more pleasant. Driving the car was interesting as the road as such was not made up and I was literally driving on the compacted desert sand, which was the colour of builders sand. We stopped several times to look at the different pillars, some tall, some short, some fat, some thin, some light and some dark (should I have used an Oxford comma then?). After a while they started to look the same to me though.

In the middle there was a viewpoint that overlooked the desert over to the sea with The Pinnacles spread out before us. Whilst scanning the vista beneath us to my delight I spotted a wild emu just sauntering between various Pinnacles minding its own business. Karen was so excited as we had never seen one in the wild before. We stood and watched it until it went out of sight.

On the way down, Karen spotted an Asian family flagrantly ignoring the rule and climbing one Pinnacle to each have their photo taken. To say Karen was mad about it was an understatement and a 5 minute rant followed which I got the full blast of. I suggested that instead of ranting at me that perhaps she should instead go and speak to them but by that time they had climbed down and got back in their car.

We continued to follow the Desert drive around and eventually came to the car park at the Visitors Centre. We had a wander round and Karen bought a magnet. Disappointingly the advertised coffee came out of a vending machine which Karen did not fancy and so the ladies in the shop suggested we go back to Cervantes to get a proper one. So we headed to one of their suggestions called the Lobster Shack.

Now we had seen this advertised and easily found it. From the outside it looked like a large Factory on the bay which processed Lobsters which essentially it was. There was a nice looking entrance to what we assumed was a restaurant.

It was like the Tardis when we walked in. It was enormous and had the capacity to seat a few hundred. It was geared up for coach trips from Perth which explained why it closed at 3pm each day. Most of the tables were already reserved for different coach parties. We wandered out the back where there were some single tables free that overlooked the sea and it was really very pleasant. The big shock was the menu prices. It was geared for tourists and gullible ones at that. Large Lobster with chips and rice was $150! As we were there and it was nice we thought we should have something so compromised on having a fresh Lobster Roll each which was still $30 each making it one of the most expensive meals of the trip.

When the food arrived (served by a young girl with a strong Geordie accent who had just arrived in Oz), it was delicious, still probably not worth the money but delicious all the same.

By now the coach parties had started to arrive and unsurprisingly they were all Asians who had not problem in each ordering the Lobster & Chips whatever the cost. Whilst we sat there for the first time this trip the clouds came over and there was a very quick squally light shower. It wasn’t enough to make us more inside but surprised us. Following a quick look at the beach itself we then headed back to the Hotel.

As the weather was now lovely again, Karen decided it was an appropriate time to go and sit by the pool for a couple of hours. I caught up with a few emails using the cafe Wifi before joining her. Karen braved the pool which was not heated. This was the first time we had properly sat in the sun the whole trip.

After a short while we went back to our room and then headed out again. Our first stop was Lake Thetis which is the site of stromatolites. I had no idea what they were and hoped to find out. When we found the turning it was up an unmade road which was very rutted. This was not great in a rented Kia Rio. We slowed down and very slowly made our way to the Lake and walked along the boardwalk.

At various points we passed information boards where we learnt that Stromatolites are layered mounds, columns, and sheet-like sedimentary rocks that were originally formed by the growth of layer upon layer of cyanobacteria, a single-celled photosynthesizing microbe. The lake is one of only a few places in the world with living marine stromatolites. I didn't understand any of that and still had no idea what they actually are. They just looked liked piles of old tarmac to me.

Anyhow it was lovely walk around the lake, although as the boardwalk disappeared for about half of the distance and we were walking through the bush I reminded Karen that Australia has a very high portion of the worlds deadliest snakes and spiders.

Back in the car we were driving slowly drove back along the unmade road when we suddenly came up to 3 wild kangaroos right on the side of the road next to us. One of them was still a Joey. Karen almost burst with excitement, especially as we got right next to them with the car windows open and they just looked in at us before hopping off.

We then drove further north up the coast to Jurien Bay. This was a small coastal town that was 3 times the size of Cervantes. It was a much nicer and more up market resort and we wished we had stayed here even though our Hotel itself was fine. The houses were nicer and it was obviously much more affluent. There was a lovely bay fronted by a pathway/promenade and a curved jetty jutting out into a very Turquoise sea (not surprising as this is known as the Turquoise coast). All of this description may be a bit over the top but in comparison with where we were staying it was very different.

Our plan was to have dinner in The Sandpiper Tavern and we thought we would have a drink whilst choosing our meals. Whilst ordering them there was a sudden noise and the tavern then lost all power. We got our drinks but they would not accept any food orders until the problem was resolved.

We enjoyed our drinks sitting in the sunshine but after 40 minutes we decided to abandon after the owner confirmed the whole town was out of power and he had no idea when it would be back. We drove the 25km back down the coast to our Hotel. We thought we might try and order a Pizza from the resorts restaurant but we found Cervantes also had the power cut as well. Therefore there was no food here either and all the shops and take aways were closed early because of it.

Back in our room, our evening meal consisted of a packet of crisps and some crackers with cheese. We had a little bit of wine left to drink but we couldn’t make a drink. The receptionist had given us some candles so we did have some light at least.

We sat and watched a programme I had downloaded onto the iPad. Then just before 9pm the power came back on. By then it was too late to go and find other food so we made do with a hot drink before bed for the night.

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