Friday, 7 December 2012

Coffin Bay

1 - 4 December 2012

Coffin Bay is famous for its oysters but the national park that shares its name is a whole lot more exciting than the oysters.

Disappointingly the first campground is a dud.  It smells (Yangie Bay doesn’t get much movement), the bees are a major problem and it just lacks any kind of appeal whatsoever.  To make matters worse we discovered this VERY late in the afternoon and decided to head deeper into the national park to find a better spot. 

But we couldn’t make it up the first sand hill towing our heavy trailer so we headed back into town, much to Isobel’s excitement. We stayed at the caravan park for the next 3 days and explored the national park from there. Isobel was pleased to have a playground, no bees and running water.  (And her mum was pleased with the cleanest amenities block and a new camp kitchen!).

Gunyah Beach features on many postcards of the area and we were not disappointed by the journey to reach it. We crossed a dune system like none we’d ever seen before. I drove back and it was the best fun I’ve ever had driving a car!  What a hoot.

We had a BBQ on the beach as the waves crashed in, the kids built sand castles, and Simon got to try out his new surf fishing rod.  It was blowy and cold but a perfect start to our Coffin Bay adventures.

While here I read that people have always said that the Great Australian Bight starts at Cape XXX which I suspect I could just see in the far distance further south - down near the Whalers Way.  So it was an unexpected surprise we were already touring the Bight!  We went to Cape Anxious and loved watching the waves crash on the low rocks between it and Golden Island. The beach at Anxious Bay was simply stunning.

The next day we drove up the Seven Mile Beach to reach the north-western parts of the park but we left too late to see any of it and were quite happy to settle with another beach BBQ.  It was even colder but at least we got some exercise in after lunch to warm ourselves! (check out photos).

Hugo did lots of exploring on his own and said to me later that at one point, if he didn’t look at the water on his right, or the trees on his left he thought he’d woken up in Africa in the Sahara. 

Hugo LOVED these sand dunes and didn’t tire going up them so he could pelt down them. The last time he came down them he decided to roll and ended up with a body full of sand – including up his nose and in his ears and he still smiled.

Otto was quite taken with the beached whale calf we found, but Simon almost dry reached when he dutifully got out the car to take the photo the kids wanted.

As we no longer needed to worry about an incoming tide, we could stop and explore more parts of the national park (most things were not signposted in anyway).  We stopped at one place and discovered a beautiful, beautiful quiet bay teeming with marine life.  Otto, Isobel and I took a walk and found shells and fish, crabs, a beautiful jelly fish (and a plastic bag).  Hugo and Simon did some more fishing but still didn’t have any luck.

We saw salt lakes, more beautiful hidden bays, countless sand dunes and we saw for the first time emus on sand dunes!  We even managed to get one on camera too.

Back home we met another family with a Trak Shak (our trailer) with 3 kids all the same age as ours.  They were a lovely family and Hugo and their eldest boy went fishing together the next morning on the town jetty (with Kael’s dad) and Hugo caught more fish!  By the time we’d packed up our trailer they had a bucket load of fish.  It’s hard to tell what Hugo was most excited about; his new friend or catching a salmon after having fought two cormorants also in the hunt for a feed!

To finish our Coffin Bay adventures it was only fit that we tried their oysters.  I bought them at the local shop that was the milk bar, bottle-O, servo and oyster bar!  They shucked them then and there and gave us a dozen oysters with lemon and parsley for $11 (a real bargain).  They were the best oysters I’ve ever tasted and were so creamy.  All the kids tried them but have decided the oysters are not really for them. 

Simon and I are already plotting where we’ll camp next time we visit this neck of the woods.  We may not be trying oysters again, but we will be back to see more of Coffin Bay National Park.

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