The Coral Coast is a plentiful place so we continued our adventure by following the coastline in the direction of Coral Bay. The area is known for its stunning beaches with turquoise waters and great wildlife. The only sizeable town in the area is Exmouth where there are some basic shops for supplies as well as a gas-station. In the South of the national park is the only creek of the area which is a popular hiking destination when the sun is still low.
We pulled up at the edge of Coral Bay in the morning and made our way to the busy beach. The beach was great but the weather was turning for the worse (again). The water looked too tempting so I went in for a little snorkel adventure anyways. A decision I regretted less than three minutes later when the wind picked up. The combination of wind and waves made snorkelling impossible. Low visibility and a chance of sharks popping up at any moment made me surrender quickly.
To get some insight into the area’s highlights we strolled by the local visitor centre. The centre is run by two friendly volunteers, one of which turned out to be a former Dutchie. After chatting for some time he said that his wife would have a surprise for us. It wasn’t before long when she pulled out a adorable months-old Joey from her handbag. Wrapped in a towel for heat this little guy stole our hearts in no time. We took some photos and went for a hug before going back to the beach for some chilling.
We said our goodbyes to the delightful beach and baby roo and drove North towards Exmouth. As we didn’t plan ahead we found out that all camps in the national park were full for the entire week. Luckily for us a campground just outside the park still had several spots available, which we turned into our home-base.
The next day we got off to an early start and had a full day planned with perfect beaches and turquoise waters. Our first beach of the day, Turquoise Bay is one of the most famous beaches in the area and looked stunning. White sand and turquoise waters, everything we had hoped for and more! Unfortunately on closer inspection of the water, we noticed the water was crawling with jellyfish. Due to the currents and wind these buggers arrived by the thousands, each different in colour and size. To avoid contact with something that could kill us we decided to get the heck out of the water and relaxed on the beach instead. Lots of people came out with serious stings, luckily we were spared the bad ones.
After lunch we drove to the nearby Lakeside Beach where we were quick to spot colourful stingrays in the shallows. These animals have amazing bright blue and orange circles on their skin that change colour to adapt to the environment. The beach had far less jellyfish and therefore I put on my snorkel and went for a swim. As soon as I got into deeper waters large chunks of coral started to appear. This was followed by giant schools of fish and later by an amazing reef shark who slid by. Regardless of knowing they would never attack you, it did go through my mind more than once!
In the late afternoon we prepped dinner from the back of the van while being watched closely by the local birds. The next morning we had a quick breakfast before driving to the other side of the park to see the only creek of the park. Yardie Creek is dominated by high red cliffs on both sides of the slow-flowing creek. On our short hike we came across an eagle overlooking the waters below and a group of bats hidden in the trees. Most intriquing of the walk was the appearance of a snake that hurled up between the rocks when we passed by. Snakes are not to be messed with in Australia so we kept our distance.
The sun was getting at its highest point when we got back to the car, so we decided to go to the Oyster Stacks, which can only be visited on high tide. As this is the only time of day you can actually go in the water there it was pretty crowded. I took my time as there was lots of wildlife hiding in the crevices.
To finish off our Coral Bay Adventure I wanted to go snorkelling one more time at the Lake Side beach and it didn’t disappoint. Lots of rays and wildlife that really made this spot my favourite of all. We will continue our adventures heading further north – next stop Karijini NP!