Hitchhiking Australia Part 1 – Kalbarri and Exmouth

My first day of hitchhiking. I look around the service station and find another hitchhiker. Matt from Czech Republic travels to Broome. We join forces and look for a ride. He is thumbing on the road, I approach drivers at services. Matt disappears from the road, I assume he found a ride.

It takes 2 hours, but I find my first driver. Hardy takes me straight to Geraldton. 400 km through plains of scrub. We see controlled burnings in different areas. They prevent uncontrolled spread of fire. It is a serious risk. Hardy mentions a fire last year that destroyed 69 houses in New South Wales. Luckily people evacuated on time.

Western Australia plains of scrub

We pass by numerous mining sites and cattle farms. I can see numerous dead kangaroos. They approach the road and are hit by cars and road trains. The wind in these parts is strong enough to bend trees.

We approach Geraldton. I see dunes of sand forming on the coast. I walk towards the beach and lighthouse.

Point Moore Lighthouse

A friendly local gives me a lift back to centre and presents me a beer. I check local church and enjoy pizza.

St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Geraldton

Dan is my couchsurfing host in Geraldton. I enter his yard, but something is wrong. It’s the address! I can hear the owner shouting. Dan is waiting 50 metres further. We chill in his backyard, discuss travel, politics and more. It’s a bautiful evening, the sky is full of stars. Dan works with kids from aboriginal community. His passion is sailing. There is a boat parked in his backyard. He tells me about his plans and dreams. He wants to live on the boat and sail everywhere.

Dan treats me with a massive breakfast and drop me at services on the way to work. I quickly secure my ride further. Matt, hitchhiker from Czech Republic is here. This time we exchange numbers and I promise to contact him later.

Lea and Alexis already hitchhiked in South East Asia. They bought car in Perth and travel around Australia.

Daniel is a miner. He regularly travels 800 km to work. It’s taxing, but the pay is rewarding.

I visit Eagle Gorge viewpoint and hike along the coastline.

Eagle Gorge viewpoint
Island Rock
Natural Bridge

A German couple takes me to Red Bluff. The view is spectacular. Red rocks and beautiful beach nearby. A sunset compliments both.

Sunset from Red Bluff

It’s dark when I arrive to Kalbarri. I camp overnight and buy breakfast in local IGA. It is an Australian supermarket group. Individual stores are owned independently, but operate under an umbrella of a big supplier.

While walking towards the outskirts of town, I realise that I forgot to buy water. I approach random house and ask for refill. Tap water in Australia is mostly treated. The taste isn’t great, but it is not important.

I hitch with Australian couple to Kalbarri National Park checkpoint. After 20 minutes, I catch a ride with Xavier from France. A que of people surround Nature Window, the most renown attraction of the area.

Nature Window

I decide to hike the circular trail. Many people wear hats with fly nets for protection. There was not much rain last year and flies grow in numbers. The walk is relatively easy, but I take a wrong turn and spend 10 minutes looking for a way back. I don’t see much wildlife, only some birds. The trail is sometimes narrow with a rock wall close to the river. I crawl, but my bag doesn’t fit. I carefully take it off and swing it on the rock in front of me.

Circular trail in Kalbarri National Park

The thirst is real. You should bring a minimum of 2 litres of water with you. There were incidents of people perishing dehydrated in 40 degree Celsius.

Wolfgang and Beate take me to see Z – Bend Gorge and back to town.

Z – Bend Gorge

I buy supplies, rest and continue hitchhike for 3 hours with no luck. I hitchhike during sunrise and meet Lea and Alexis again. I see a beautiful rainbow.

A rainbow

Xu Peng work on Madagascar. He found it quite dangerous as many poor people choose violence. Xu Peng hit a kangaroo the previous day. His car is an average rental, the impact left a big dent. We travel together to Monkey Mia resort. I observe dolphins and birds.

Monkey Mia beach

During my rest in Dunham, I see emus. They act like they own the town. It brings a smile to my face.

Emus in Dunham

Jade travels with her dog Mayday to Carnarvon. She is trapeze artist from Exmouth. I learn few tips from her. Cattle has blue eyes, you need to slow down and avoid it. If you see a kangaroo, just hit it. Overtaking is too dangerous, you might lose the control of your vehicle. Blue fish are poisonous and can kill. Dolphins bully small sharks. Honey ants are tasty and kangaroo’s tail is delicacy.

Zack has crab fishing business. He invites me to his house and offers an overnight experience on his boat. At 3 am we pick up his crew and leve the port in total darkness. Zack has all his traps located on gps. He sets the course and enjoys a nap. He is in business 20 years. The sea is wild. Suddenly my legs are weak, my forehead is covered by sweat and nausea becomes a highlight of my trip. 22 boxes of crab are a great reward for the fishing crew.

I use laundromat in town and organise myself. Oli is a ski instructor back in Switzerland. We drive by Minilya River… the corridor is dry, there is no water visible. Elsewhere, we ride through green area, while watching the sunset. A cyclone passed by two months earlier and the scenery is breathtaking. Such a difference.

Coral Bay is busy. I find a meal and place to stay. Vodaphone has poor coverage in remote areas, I switch to Telstra. I walk to the beach and watch the sunrise. Juliet and Manu are French hitchhikers. They want to explore inland and wait for friends with a four wheel drive.

Coral Bay sunrise

Brian and Gill are white nomads. Retired locals enjoy their camper van.

Eric moved with his family from Philippines to Australia. He is an IT serviceman in Carnarvon area. We see hundreds of termite nests along the way to Exmouth.

Exmouth pigeons

I enjoy lunch and rent out snorkelling gear. A family from Tasmania takes me to Oyster Stacks in Cape Range National Park, one of recommended snorkelling points.

The wave is quite strong. I cut my foot, while entering water, but end up swimming with colourful fish. Strong current takes me down the coast. I walk back to pick up my belongings.

Dutch girls take me to Turquoise Bay. I see a big turtle. I dive and observe it eating sea plants. A stingray is aware of me and hides in sand. It’s tail is venomous, I observe it from a distance.

Turquoise Bay

Lakeside is waste of time. The place is pretty, but empty. I learn later from tourists that I didn’t go to the right spot. Possibly few hundred metres further, there is a snorkelling sign. I could see sharks and manta rays. Shit!

I catch a ride back to Exmouth. My power bank is depleted and I need to charge my phone. It’s my first night in backpackers hostel. I make new friends.

A)Perth B)Geraldton C)Kalbarri D)Monkey Mia E)Carnarvon F)Coral Bay G)Exmouth

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