It was quite a drive out to the peninsula on which Denham sits, but from the moment we turned off the highway, we were fascinated by the landscape, and captivated by glimpses of turquoise blue waters. We arrived in town and it was a hive of activity. Boats, caravans, people swimming right by the promenade, people cleaning their catch at the fish cleaning bays. The nautical themed adventure playground on the main street is nothing short of brilliant. The Legend turned a lot of heads, and the kids were waving at everyone.
The dog friendly Denham Seaside Caravan Park had welcomed us with a powered site for two nights and had some great suggestions for activities in the area as well as sights to see. The kids were intrigued by the fact that the sites are covered with semi crushed shells, and our allocated site had a fabulous view across to the blue seas of the bay.
After setting up the Jayco, we decided to head out for a bit of sightseeing. Eagle Bluff was recommended for the views into the shallow waters, which often sees visitors discovering some of the wildlife that inhabit there. It was absolutely perfect weather, the ocean a mirror in the absence of any wind. Within five minutes of peering down into the water from above, sure enough we spotted a few small sharks. The kids nearly peed themselves with excitement, and Kirstine was pretty chuffed too! Our eldest daughter scoured the information board, and quite confidently identified each and every shark as either Lemon or Nervous variety, much to the amusement of other visitors there. A Shovel-Nosed Ray and several beautiful sting rays were also seen. Watching their wings ripple as they swim is truly beautiful!
Paul was able to get the Mavic into the air for the first time in ages and seeing the smile in his eyes afterwards was fabulous. Flying the drone for Paul is therapeutic, so Kirstine now seeks any and all opportunities for him to fly!
The next day we explored the town, taking in the Shark Bay Visitor Centre’s film and exhibit – Fire on the Water. You really must see this if you are in town! It’s free, and utterly captivating as the 3D movie takes you deep to the sea floor, the final resting places of both ships. Taken from the write up on the Shark Bay Visitor Centre;
“We are delighted to announce the opening of Fire on the Water – the new 3D film and exhibit tells the story of the battle between the HMAS Sydney II and HSK Kormoran, tracing the events of their World War II battle off Shark Bay.
Astonishing deep-sea 3D imagery from the 2015 expeditions to the wreck sites, under taken by Western Australian Museum, Curtin University, and DOF Subsea have been used to create a timeline of the battle and to offer insights into what happened when the ships met off Shark Bay 77 years ago. “
This ties in the haunting memorial to the HMAS Sydney II out the front of the centre, which lists all the names and roles of the 645 souls lost – the entire ship’s company. We drove past the memorial in the afternoon, and the sun shining directly over the memorial takes on the effect of sunlight refracted through deep water. It is completely breathtaking and poignant.
A trip just out of town to Little Lagoon gave the kids a chance to paddle and play, and there were other travellers there enjoying the shallow waters and scenery too. Luna completely forgot herself, transforming again into an excited MerDog as she ran laps around the kids, and chased the Mavic as Paul flew it.
We didn’t want to leave Denham. There is so much to explore! Monkey Mia, Francois Peron National Park, Dirk Hartog Island .. it would have taken time that we didn’t have, but we will most definitely be back.
After dwindling our pantry supplies while in Denham, Kirstine was looking forward to a “big” supermarket again when we got to Carnarvon. The drive from Denham to Carnarvon retraced our steps back out to the mainland, before heading north. It’s not the most exciting drive, unless you’re counting feral goats, but it’s well maintained highway, so it’s easy to drive, particularly if you’re towing.
Wintersun Caravan & Tourist Park was fabulous, with slab sites and plenty of green grass! We were greeted warmly and offered the spontaneous opportunity to speak to an audience of campers before a music performance in the recreation room that night. We had thought of taking them up on the offer, and then some concerns with the Legend kept us totally preoccupied as we formulated contingency plans and discussed options.
The next day we were relieved when the Legend showed no further signs of tantrums, and Paul organised her next service for when we reach Karratha. Kirstine drew up a meal plan and shopping list, ready to take Woolworths by storm. The kids caught up on some school work.
Carnarvon at this time of year has a beautiful climate. Warm during the day, cool in the evening, and though a relatively small town, is quite a hub for travellers on the coast. Apparently in month’s time, most caravan parks will be full of travellers escaping the winter chill for warmer climes. We felt a little like we were back in Queensland, with banana plantations and fruit trees on the roads leading into and out of town. We could easily have stayed longer. This is a sentiment we are finding more and more as we push the trip up along the coast of Western Australia. We are into the last weeks of our journey, and as one of our sponsors pointed out today on the phone, we have quite an adjustment to make when it is all said and done, and we finally say, “this trip is finished”. Even typing those words feels wrong. So often we have been told “come back and see us again”, or “can you come to MY town and talk with us?”, or we simply feel that there is more to be done in certain places, or communities we haven’t gotten to visit. This trip may be drawing to a close, but our journey, our story will continue.