Continuing south along the coast, we spent one night at the Galena Bridge Rest Area
. It was a fairly large space with lots of room for travelers to spend the night. It had rest room facilities but nothing else but it also cost nothing; a good bargain for us in our self-contained little house. Next morning we watched a white-necked heron fishing along the Galena River.
“You will see wildflowers in Western Australia,” the infamous “they” have told us. We have despaired a little because we have seen very few. Well, we finally found flowers as we approached Kalbarri. Right now they are mostly flowering shrubs, but they have a profusion of different colors and shapes.
The first Europeans to visit Kalbarri
were the crew of the Dutch ship Batavia
, who put two mutinous crew members ashore just south of town. The next to arrive was another Dutch ship in 1712. The Zuytdorp encountered the cliffs just north of the mouth of the Murchison River and sank. Most aboard were rescued with the help of the local Aboriginal people, but they apparently blended themselves in with the natives and never returned to “civilization.” Then in 1839, Captain George Grey was exploring the area north of Kalbarri when they were struck by a cyclone. One of his three boats was destroyed. The other two made their way south just past the mouth of the Murchison River where they were smashed on the rocks when they attempted to put ashore.
Today, the town caters mostly to tourism and fishing. It is also the gateway to Kalbarri National Park
. There are several gorges along the Murchison River that are only accessible by 4-wheel drive vehicles, so we were forced to forgo them. However, we could and did thoroughly explore a number of places along the coast with colorful names like Red Bluff, Mushroom Rock, Rainbow Valley, Eagle Gorge, Island Rock, and Natural Bridge.
At one place, we encountered this little critter:
(Click on the icon.) It was a little over three inches long and about an inch in diameter. It appears to be a caterpillar-type creature that has enclosed itself with sticks which it glued into a cylinder surrounding its body. It was dragging it across the pathway (we moved it off so it wouldn’t get stepped on). Now all you Internet sleuths, see if you can find out what it is and let us know – we have no idea.
Right at the edge of town is the Rainbow Jungle
, The Australian Parrot Breeding Centre. This privately owned establishment breeds and displays all manner of parrots and their relatives from all over Australia and some from around the world. The birds have all been bred in aviaries, some for many generations, so could not survive in the wild. However, a number of them are rare or endangered due to habitat destruction or the introduction of cats and foxes. The aviaries are designed to accommodate the parrot’s length of flight which is more important than the width in relation to the size of the bird. We spent a couple of fascinating hours looking at (and being watched by) large macaws to tiny lorikeets and budgerigars – and even a whole bunch of zebra finches that live in the walk-in aviary.