We took our time waking up on our first full day in Oz. The night had been cold, just as our friends back in KL had warned us. But Wise old folks that we are, we had rented a heater and had plugged it in the night before. A quick flip of the switch and the camper was toasty in no time. Fortunately I had kept my hoodie handy in the night, and I slipped into that and back into the sleeping bag for a few extra zees while the place warmed up.

The campsite was well equipped and we both had lovely warm showers before hitting the road. We took a few minutes to organize where things were going to go in the van and plotted out our breaks and lunch stop for the day. The day’s drive took us along the edge of the Indian Ocean. Jurien Bay was on the ocean so we had already seen it, but we weren’t prepared for the spectacular views that we saw today. We stood on a cliff 100 metres above the pounding surf, the winds just tearing through the limestone out to sea and the view quite literally took our breath away. Earlier we had taken a walk along a much gentler cliff, investigating the many blowholes and watching the tide tug at the seaweed as it receded.

The road itself meandered through the scrubby landscape, much like the Yorkshire Dales. We saw no kangaroos, at least no live ones, although among the road kill along the side of the road there were plenty. Sheep were everywhere, dotting the hills, and the few trees looked as if they were all pushed over – some of them almost flat – by the prevailing south-westerlies which are the dominant climate feature of this part of the world and serve to keep the stated temperature much colder than the thermometer reads
But everywhere we drove today it was the sea that keep luring us on: so blue it was almost electric, flecked with whitecaps from the constant wind. Finally at Kalbarri, our destination for the night, we had to take a quick dip, very quick for it was icy cold. Supper in our camper was another quiet affair: some bread and cheese, washed down with Australian wine. Lunch had been much more lush: grilled fish in a salsa sauce in a restaurant overlooking a gorgeous stretch of the ocean in one of the many –and nearly barren – seaside towns along the coast.

We love to travel this way: at our own pace, able to carry the things that we like to have along to keep us comfortable without actually having to carry them. Being able to stop whenever we like to take pictures or go for a walk. Being able to go to bed in absolute privacy anytime we feel like it and fixing our own breakfast just the way we like it. It is our idea of a holiday.

Australia is nothing like Asia. For a start there is no one here. We have driven 600 kilometres up the major road north out of Perth and we have probably passed fewer than 100 vehicles going in both directions. Kalbarri is the largest town north of Geraldton, and a lovely tourist destination. There are probably less than 100 tourists in town in total, less than 10 at this campsite. Yet the campsites are totally clean and well run, something else that is clearly not Asian. Even the flora is not Asian, scrubby and sparse. But then Australia is not in Asia is it? It is in Oceania, and that makes a difference.

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