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18: Where Will I Park My Van Tonight

October completed...


A diary of 12 months SOLO travel around Australia

It's been a jam packed end to October😎😍😱🙄😓

October 18th and the "Rolling Solo" annual event SITMEX (Stuck In The Middle Exmouth) begins today 🎉Over 260 women, known affectionately as "Rollers", are coming to attend the week long event. Michele, who I am travelling with, is a Roller whom I met in Broome and as we had arrived yesterday, we sat back and watched...all the Rollers....roll in....from a very relaxing vantage point😎😎

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Our swimming retreat. The only place to swim at Exmouth is at Town Beach and swimming conditions depends on the tide, so we visited the CP pool regularly.

The Rollers arrived in motor homes, caravans, campers, hire cars and some flew in to get to the event, The event organiser, another Michelle, had arranged a full calendar of events, some which were free and others which were local organised tours. The idea being you could attend as much or as little as you wanted. Free activities included a meet and greet evening, burlesque lessons, workshops on using wikicamps, on caravan maintenance, laughing yoga, sunrise yoga, macrame, karaoke and a zumba inspired farewell party. Tours or extra cost activities included Ningaloo Reef snorkelling tours, Exmouth day tours, Bingo and Bolognese night, Bogan barefoot bowling and seafood cooking classes, Many wore fancy dress to the parties, which added to the entertainment. I met many women travellers from all over Australia and New Zealand, all with stories to tell and all supporting each other through the common bond of being solo female travellers. It was a fun, uplifting and inspirational week. I didn't attend everything on offer, but I still seemed to have a very full week.

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October 25th ...The "Meet and Greet" party...The theme was "under the sea"

Karijini NP was amazing, but it had been very hot, we had done a lot of walking and I had very dry lips. I was also being plagued with midgee bites, mostly on the upper arms and this was causing some very sleepless nights . I had developed cold sores on my lips😞 Something I get very rarely, so obviously my immune system was down!!! 🤨 So...The following day was spent relaxing as there was a big week looming ahead!!!

October 20th and it's my birthday🎉. I went on the Exmouth day tour bus with 80 women - 2 busloads, but I kept quiet about my birthday. First stop was Charles Knife Canyon about 21kms south of Exmouth on the Eastern side of Cape Range National Park. It's a small version of America's grand canyon, and the views are spectacular although photos again do not do it justice.

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Next was the "Mildura" Shipwreck. The ship hit reef rocks in 1907 carrying a cargo of cattle and all the cattle were left to swim ashore.. none made it!! 😢As far as I'm aware all crew survived.

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As a result Vlamingh Head lighthouse was built on the headland in 1912. Fascinating history and great views. The lighthouse no longer operates and the beacon is transmitted from a Naval Communication Station tower just north of Exmouth. I didn't get a good photo of the lighthouse so here's a link to some info

From the lighthouse you get a good view of Twiggy (Andrew) Forrest's caravan park and resort, which he purchased in 2017. The park has just closed to be redeveloped into a 6 star resort.

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He is lobbying the council/government to build a new access road to Cape Range NP and have the coastline road you can see in this photo for the exclusive use of his clientele. It will be interesting to see if his money can buy that request!!!

On the way through the National Park to Yardie Creek we saw a few kangaroos and dingo's.

And yet...another gorgeous gorge of red limestone cliffs. We stopped here for a lunch break, but I took off and walked most of the way to the top of the gorge. It was well worth it, but I had to hightail back for lunch, which I almost missed as they were packing up as I returned.

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A sensational view of the inlet and Ningaloo reef can be seen in the far distance almost on the horizon. At times on windy days the water hits the reef and the spray you see is HUGE!!! Not this day though...

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A pano of the gorge and inlet. I loved the cloud formation it produced...

Next stop was the tourist beach everyone raves about, "Turquoise Bay". Two busloads of women descended onto the beach with its beautiful white silica sand and crystal clear turquoise waters 😱🏊‍♀️🐟☀️Other bathers didn't know what had hit them!!!

I snorkelled for awhile and saw quite a few fish of decent size, shape and colour, but not a lot of reef. Just a great beach for swimming.

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To top off a great birthday I had dinner at Whalers Restaurant with two friends who knew it was my birthday, Michele and Bev. (Another Roller friend I met back in Halls Creek and have been catching up with regularly since).

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Bev bought me a champagne cocktail😍...thank you Bev

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My birthday dinner...A sumptuous seafood platter

Here's a few pic's of the fun activities during the week.

Bev, Michele and I went on a Ningaloo Glass bottom boat tour. I got very few photos from the tour as I don't have an underwater camera, but the snorkelling was sensational😀😍🤩 Probably one of the clearest and best snorkelling experiences I have ever had. I saw an amazing giant clam with a bright green fleshy inside that was opening and closing. It was amazing!!!! The reef had some beautiful coloured coral and the fish were amazing to swim with. So much more to see than at Turquoise Bay, but then this was out on the reef!!!

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Pre snorkelling...

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A late lunch on our way back to CP with a few other Rollers at "The Beach Shack on Bundegi Point beach near the Naval Communication base about 7 km north of Exmouth.

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Whalebone brewery with Michele testing out the beers and ciders. We went back to the Karaoke party after this and ...yes...I got up and sang one song🎤 I wasn't feeling 100% (midgee and cold sore plagued) and was happy to sit back and enjoy the entertainment!!!

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The Barefoot bowling team. I was the skip for my team and my opposing skip and I took it literally...we skipped between the ends.. he! he!🤪😜I got my steps up for the day!!! The opposing team won🙃

The Farewell party along with the Karaoke party were big nights. Both started around 5.30 and were meant to finish at 8.30, but they rocked on for a couple more hours. My caravan was right next to the area, so sleep was impossible until the parties just had to join them 😎🎉

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The farewell party.

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There are quite a few Osprey nest's in the area and this one had a few young in the nest. This photo was taken by Michele. Thanks Michele😍

Michele and I stayed on an extra night in Exmouth letting the bulk of the Rollers disperse from the event. We took a drive to Shothole Canyon a few kilometres south of Exmouth. I took my car, not realising there was 12kms of 4WD road😱. It was a fun drive and not dangerous, but I took it slow meandering through dry rocky creek beds up the gorge floor and we were rewarded with some amazing scenery. The Canyon gets it name after explosives left shot holes in the cliff faces during trials for seismographic studies when searching for oil in the 1950's.

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Check out the holes at the top of the hill. We thought they were caves to start with (and there are many caves within the Cape Range mountains), but many of the holes were quite uniform in shape so a google search told us why.

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We were told when it rains heavily, as it does up here in the wet season, the water flows so fast it creates these washed looking limestone rock formations. No water is absorbed into the ground, but within an hour or two the whole gorge floor is clear of water!!!

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It's now Saturday October 26th and Michele and I leave Exmouth and we park our vans at Yardie Creek camp ground with Bev and a few other Rollers for a couple of days staying in the National water, no showers and only long drop toilets😝 to see turtles😍 swim and snorkel😍

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Michele and I camped out in the hot sun and flies at Yardie Creek camp ground!!!

We walked into Jurabi Point a few times to see the turtles as it is mating season and they are starting to lay their eggs in the sand.

A Loggerhead turtle at Jurabi Point and below is Michele and Leone at one of the nests

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We checked out a few of the beaches along the Cape Range NP and tried snorkelling at "Oyster Stacks", which is noted as the best snorkelling beach...wrong move!!! There were lots of rocks and you had to enter via the rocks. The sea looked calm and some people had just entered the water at a particular point so I sat on the rocks in the shallows putting on my snorkel. The wind changed and next thing I know I'm being battered against the rocks with the waves and can't turn around easily to get out. I ended up with quite big bloody...literally...scratches on my leg and hand. I held on and when a break came we hightailed out of there and headed for a beach with easier access..."Osprey"

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A much easier sandy entry point and just a short swim out to some reef and many colourful fish😀😍

Michele and I left the National park and headed for Coral Bay on October 28th along with Bev, Leone, Susan and another Michelle. We all parked our vans at the Bayview Coral Bay caravan Park. I booked in for a week, with the others booking in for only a few days. This is where I am about to say goodbye 😢 to my new friends I've made on the road.. These "Rollers" are from Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne so we will be catching up again I'm sure.

October was a big month, with a lot of kms travelled, a lot of new friends made, a lot of parties and socialising, a lot of tours and a lot of amazing sights and experiences I'll remember for ever.

Total Distance travelled to date 22,339 kms


April .....1225km





September.... 4190km


I'm staying on another week in Coral Bay, where the beach and snorkelling are magnificent as it's a great place to recuperate (I've now got a dose of...shingles 🤬) Regardless of not being 100% I've still been doing some fun stuff...more about that in the next blog post...  

I'm loving your comments, both from the blog or the FB post. Until the next episode...I hope you continue the journey with me.