• Solène Abauzit Rodrigues

The Australia Test - Part 1

Updated: Nov 30, 2018

Friday 13th, it was the date planned to leave from Perth to go to Brisbane in order to test-drive our Land Cruiser before we left Australia. As non-superstitious people and because my daddy traveller is born on a Friday 13th, I thought that we couldn’t have a better start.

The first stop was Dirk Hartog Island, but before getting to the Island, you need to drive through non-ending corrugated roads… for those who don’t know… the road looks like a corrugated roof made from tin. We could have sung exactly the same way as Edith Piaf!

Very impressively, the car did really well. Once we realised the car and its contents would handle driving at around 60kms an hour the effects of the corrugation weren’t so bad. Except from the loud noise in the cab, the drive was reasonably smooth. It is only later that we found out, corrugated roads and kitchen appliances are not good friends. When we woke the next morning to find the coffee machine was dead we had a decision to make. To cancel the trip and drive back to Perth or continue to a deserted island. Then our friends saved the day by bringing out the old manual Italian coffee maker.

One of the best parts of the island is how you get there. Kieran the traditional owner of the island pulls of on the beach with his car ferry, you drive on and he ferries you and your car to the island. The water is pristine and we were lucky enough to have a pod of dolphins welcome us by swimming along with the boat. Kieran was great in telling us the best places to see, and a bit of history of the island in the 15 minutes before being dropped back on the beautiful sandy beach and left to explore.

The island is pretty amazing with some things we’ve never seen before. From the protected eastern sides beautiful beaches and good fishing to the wild cliffs, blowholes and massive sand dunes that shape the west coast, Australia’s western most point. We could literally sit on the west coast for days watching the massive 8m swell pound the red rocky cliffs. The deafening noise of the blowholes matched with the contrasting fifty meter high rainbow caused by the pressure of the waves it’s a mesmerizing place. We found a little shack close to a natural salt river caused by the massive waves breaking over the rocks and forcing huge amounts of water to run back about 300m to the ocean. As we relaxed in the natural pools that result we were greeted by a pod of whales breaching about 200m off shore. After the stress of starting the trip, it was a pretty good way to spend the first days of a long trip.

Dirk Hartog Island - The western most point of australia

We stayed 5 days on this beautiful island which has allowed us to test the practicality of living in & with the car as we will keep moving & driving daily for the rest of this journey. We were 7 friends cooking in our kitchen, supplying on filtered water, using all appliances and showering….sometimes. And, it was pretty good, we ate delicious meals and drank delicious wine and were given delicious fish.

With generally sunny weather, we had enough power to maintain the batteries and use our appliances, and because of the REDARC installation, we knew how many days we could stay self-sufficient, very helpful. Our ferry after five days came at a good time as we had run out on water. It was time to go and get more supplies.

From there our trip sped up considerably. We completely underestimate how long it would take to see but also enjoy the Kimberley and northern Territory. We soon realised that we wouldn’t make our Brisbane deadline for the boat and postponed it by 2 weeks. Even then it was a rush. We left Dirk Hartog and made it almost to the Kennedy Ranges. We set up camp for the night and we don't know if we got lucky or if they are everywhere but we pulled off the road and into a massive field of blooming flowers. Together with incredible light show put on by the stars in such a remote place made for a pretty special night.

The Kennedy Ranges were incredible and were a bit of a highlight of the trip. As it’s not something that is spoken about much or I guess forget about thanks to the other natural wonders that the state and country are blessed with it was more of a shock to see how stunning the massive cliffs were as we drove up to them.

Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to stop and enjoy. After a quick climb we were back on the road to Mt Augustus. We arrived late on an overcast night so we didn’t really realise how close we were to it when we set up camp. We found out pretty quickly in the morning that we camped right at the beautiful rocks feet. The biggest rock in the world hidden in darkness was absolutely stunning way to wake up.

Again though, as would become regular on this trip we packed up, took a couple of photos and hit the road. This same pattern continued through Karijini National Park all the way to Broome where we made it just in time to board the Kimberley Pearl and starting cruising the Kimberley coast.

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