It was Paul’s milestone birthday, a good opportunity to pack a picnic lunch and go exploring. Approximately 70 kms north of Carnarvon there’s a spectacular piece of coastline with small holes in the rocky shore through which the water from the crashing waves is forced upwards. The place is aptly named, The Blowholes. Whilst the Blowholes are exhilarating to watch, it’s the rugged coastline to which the waves crash, and then wash back into the sea that I love best.
We first visited this amazing geographical feature nearly 20 years ago. A photo of the rugged coastline was used as a screensaver on our home computer for several years after. I can see our latest photo of the same shoreline will possibly end up as another screen saver, or be elevated to a framed picture for our coastal cottage wall.
Nearby is the popular campground of Quobba. We stayed there many years ago. It lacks facilities such as power and water, and a chemical toilet is needed to camp there. The location is stunning, so it draws a hoard of campers – and in our opinion, there should be caps on the amount of people allowed there at any one time. If there’s 3 metres between campers, someone will squeeze themselves in, far to many people to cope with inadequate hygiene conditions. We tried it once, but we wouldn’t stay there again.
About 60 kms north of Quobba point is another camp site popular with the surfing fraternity, Red Bluff. We’d never ventured up the rugged road to Red Bluff before. We had time, so we set off. We weren’t checking out the place for a possible future camping spot, as we were sure what we’d likely find when we arrived, a place that would make Quobba seem pristine and clean in comparison. We hoped to find a nice spot to sit and eat our picnic lunch, and hopefully there’d be some surfers, most likely with heads full of dredlocks, riding the waves to watch while we dined.
The road there was rough and we probably should have have let our tires down to make the ride a bit softer. Never mind, no harm came of it. I could sense Paul thinking that an opportunity to check out Red Bluff wasn’t going to be worth the bone shaking journey. I jollied him along by promising I’d buy him a nice cup of coffee when we got there. He took me seriously, “is there a cafe there”? he asked hopefully. Better to let him down now I thought, “don’t be stupid”, I laughingly replied. We continued on.
It took nearly an hour to get there. A sign advised all visitors must check in at the office. Paul waited in the car while I checked us in as day visitors. “Do you have a dog with you?”, she asked. Mr Tilly’s safely at home this trip with our house sitter, so, “no” we don’t have a dog with us. A few of the attractions were pointed out to me, most of which were beyond the point where dogs are allowed. The safest place on the beach for swimming, the location of the composting toilets, and – drumroll please……
Really! “Do they sell coffee”? I asked hopefully.
Wow! Indeed they do. Check out the menu:
We ordered our coffee, and explained we hadn’t anticipated a shop would be on site, would it be ok for us to eat our picnic lunch with our coffee? Absolutely. So we sat ourselves down at what must be the most amazing view from a cafe in the middle of nowhere that we’ve ever encountered.
Not only is there a small general store/cafe at Red Bluff, but the camping is spacious, and the place is immaculately clean. There’s no water or power for the campers, and there’s only drop, composting toilets – very clean. It is gorgeous, and not at all like crowded Quobba, and not a dredlock in sight. But wait there’s more, much more…..
There’s glamping tents, and these apparently do have water, and power. There’s several dotted around, including these ones on a hill overlooking the ocean.
And if that isn’t enough luxury in the middle of nowhere, there’s even a Day Spa, truly! After a hard few hours of surfing apparently an hour long ‘ surf recovery massage’ for $85 is just the thing. Or perhaps a 2.5 hour body exfoliation, full body massage, facial, & shower for $250 would appeal if time permits. The surfing fraternity has certainly changed in the 25plus years since our son, at the time sporting a good head of dredlocks, lived for the waves.
Mind you I think I’d need one of those massages after just the walk there and back to the surf break. We walked to the end of the beach where the safest place for a dip was pointed out to be. Above us we could see keen surfers eagerly navigating the track out to the surfing point. We could see the surfers on the cliff in the far distance waiting to take their turn on the waves, and we could see surfers riding the waves. They looked like dots in the distance. If you look closely at the point in the photo below you’ll see the surfers gathered. The are surfers on the waves below but I think you’ll have to take my word for that, they’re to distant for my I-phone camera to pick up.
The water gets deep very close to shore, as can be seen by the depth of blue in the photos. Apparently soon whales will be frolicking in close to shore as they head down to Antartica for the winter. What a delight it’d be to see them.
The safe spot for taking a dip was protected by a stretch of reef close to shore. It wasn’t deep enough for a swim, but the powerful waves still made for an exhilarating dip. Sitting in the water as the powerful waves hurtling towards shore before having their momentum halted by the reef, and then washing over me was great fun. The water was pleasantly warm, and some of the waves arrived to provide me with just a gentle wash. Other waves arrived with the power of an agitator washing machine, throwing me around in water not more than 1/2 metre deep. Thank goodness for the reef, there’s no way I would have braved those waves without it.
Our expectations of Red Bluff were so wrong. The place is gorgeous, and I’d love to camp there. Unfortunately though, it’s rare for us not have Mr Tilly with us, and the point at which dogs aren’t allowed to venture passed has the best of what Red Bluff has to offer. We’re so pleased we’ve seen it though, and we’ve now been told about a place a little further along the rough road that sounds even more inviting, Gnaraloo. We’ve looked it up, and next time we’re passing this way with Mr Tills, I think we’ll be letting our tires down on the caravan and Prado, and heading up the track for a week or three at Gnaraloo. I’ll look forward to telling you about sometime. In the meantime, if you’re heading up the WA coast, and you don’t have a dog on board, bypass Quobba and head up to Red Bluff. You’ll be pleased you did.