Friday, April 11, 2014

On the Road Trip - Australia - Peaceful Bay, Western Australia

After doing some fairly long days of driving over the previous weeks, it was a leisurely and enjoyable two hour drive south from Pemberton, to the remote coastal spot known as Peaceful Bay. Mr G and I had heard about Peaceful Bay, from a couple we had met at a lunch, at the Noosa Food and Wine Festival last year. We had decided to visit Peaceful Bay on their recommendation and had booked ten nights in the caravan park right on the bay.

Just a ten minute drive, off the main road that runs along the bottom of the coast of WA, it turned out to be wonderfully remote. Peaceful Bay Caravan Park was one of the larger parks we stayed in on our trip and being January summer holidays it was also very busy. Fortunately the camp sites were a good size, well spaced apart, with lots of green grass and surrounding bushland.

This is a place to visit if you love 4WDriving, boating and fishing activities, as well as having a safe protected bay for swimming, meaning it is a popular camping spot for families.
After unpacking, setting up campsite and checking out the surrounding coastline, we tucked into some camp made burritos, for our first evening in Peaceful Bay.

The next morning we hooked up the boat and headed to Nornalup Inlet, about a twenty minute drive from Peaceful Bay to see if we could catch some fish. Unfortunately, much to Mr G's disappointment there was nothing biting, it was a gorgeous day on the water regardless, with some idyllic scenery and there were plenty more fish to be caught in the days ahead.

The Adventurer, as he will now be known, (also known as boat boy, but the Adventurer sounds much more exciting and varied) our third child, travelled with us for the first four weeks of our roadtrip. He was now due in Perth the next day, to fly home to Sydney for a week, before returning again with his older siblings the following week! It is a very long story as to why, but the most important detail is that Mr G and I now had seven nights at the bottom of Western Australia alone! What followed for us was a smorgasbord of boating, fishing, surfing, snorkelling, sightseeing, eating, relaxing and discovering the vast beauty of the South West together. Simple meals for two with a glass of local wine and plenty of time to read and enjoy the camp fire in the cool of the evening.

A day trip to Denmark, a picturesque and quite alternate town about forty minutes drive from Peaceful Bay was our next adventure. Discovering Ocean Beach, where my surfboard finally came off the roof racks and into the water was definitely a highlight.

A patrolled beach with a resident surf school and a little kiosk open over the summer months, selling a simple menu of burgers, bacon and egg rolls and toasted sandwiches, we stayed the whole day here!
Later that afternoon we discovered Lights Beach, just five minutes drive from Ocean Beach, at the end of a dusty, dirt road.

I had read in a tourist magazine that Lights Beach was a great spot for catching bream and that being Mr G's speciality we gave it a go! It was about 5pm when we arrived and being just the two of us, there were no time restrictions, we had nowhere we had to be, this in itself became the greatest joy of our holiday experience.
We both cast our lines in and at first nothing much was biting, half an hour without success is the length of my fishing patience. Instead I found a warm spot in the fading sunlight, with my book and my camera at the ready, whilst my man kept at it.

Within a few minutes of getting myself settled, I heard squeals of joy and the call of my name, to come see the bream Mr G had snared.

What followed was a happy, happy afternoon and evening, as the sun set on the horizion and the bream just kept on biting! If only you could bottle the joy on Mr G's face every time he reeled another one in!

Before we knew it, distracted by an abundance of bream and a breathtaking show of colour across the vast stretch of ocean and sky, it was suddenly dark. We scrambled around to gather our things and clambered back up to the car park around 9pm. Mr G would have stayed longer but I was able to convince him, that eight bream for two people was more than enough. Like two naughty children lost in their own little world and not getting home before dark, we giggled about such fortune, as we drove back to our campsite.
The following day we decided to take the boat out together on Irwin's Inlet, just a five minute drive up the road from Peaceful Bay. The staff at the caravan park office told us there was a rough boat ramp where we could put the boat in, but we would need to be careful as it was quite shallow. This information was more than accurate and once the boat was in, we must have waded out more than 100m before we could safely start the motor. We must have looked a sight as Mr G walked through ankle deep water, pulling our boat with me on board, behind him for the first ten minutes, before actually jumping on board and motoring our way further into the inlet.

Although we were not successful in catching any fish this day, (like we needed more fish!) we stumbled across some incredibly beautiful waterways and sandy flats, where we anchored our boat for a walk and swim. At the mouth of the inlet where it flowed out to the ocean, many 4WD adventurers had set themselves up for the day on the water's edge. The fact that this spot could only be accessed by boat from the ocean or Irwin Inlet or by 4WD across the sand dunes of Peaceful Bay made it all the more special.

Peaceful Bay was indeed just that, its remote location, simple life, very little mobile or internet reception, abundance of sea life and magnificent coastline, means even the busiest of folk can find some element of peace here. Maybe that is why many families return to this spot year after year. Our time here was now drawing to a close, however the South West had captured our attention and we would have the privilege of returning again in just a couple of weeks time, on our way back east. But for now it was time to pack up the camp and drive three and a half hours north to the Margaret River region. Here we would meet up with our three darling offspring, for two weeks of precious family time and road trip goodness in that part of WA.

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