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CAT Day 3

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

We wake up and have a lovely breakfast and all pile into our campers to start our little caravan up again. I'm really liking this driving with walking in-between destinations. We still get enough walking in but are able to go farther.

After being on the road for a bit we turn off the main highway and end up in Northampton. It is an attractive historical town, with an outstanding National Trust building. The town lies on the North West Coastal Highway. Formerly named Gwalla after the location's copper mine, it was established by the Cornish ex-convict Joseph Horrocks. It is also the closest service town to the micronation, the Principality of Hutt River.

The town is known for its many wildflowers, and cave paintings at the Bowes River turnoff. The cave paintings show that the region has been inhabited by Indigenous Australians. Copper and lead ore were found in the 1840s, and by 1877, 4,000 tons of copper and lead were being produced each year.

Northampton was classified as a Historical Town by the National Trust of Australia in 1993 and is steeped in history.

When visiting Northampton you have a chance to visit a rich past. Before European settlers arrived here there were Aborigines in the area. You can see some aboriginal paintings in the sheltered overhangs at Bowes River Road, turn off a kilometer before Horrocks Beach.

More recently the townsite of Northampton was founded. In 1848 Welsh and Cornish miners began mining lead and by 1855 copper mining had also commenced.

The Lynton Convict Hiring Station was established in 1853 to supply labor, and Port Gregory served as the port for exporting the mined minerals.

In 1879 the first public railway of Western Australia was opened between Northampton and Geraldton. The Northampton railway station has been restored and you can visit it at the Mary Street Railway Precinct. Here you can find a display of railway memorabilia and rolling stock items. On the main street you can also see one of the old carriages.

The Northampton Visitor Centre, a stone building which was formerly the Old Police Station, quarters and courthouse, was built in 1885.

You can also visit the site of Northampton's first bank (1908), Chiverton House (c.1885). Or step into the past in the Northampton Family Store (1910) where you really can find everything. The Northampton Family Store will give you a feel of what shopping was like in years gone by with old fashioned service and original fittings.

Something unique to the Northampton area is The Independent Principality Of Hutt River. In 1970 the owners of this 18,500 acre property seceded from the rest of Australia to become a new Principality. They now have their own money and stamps so don't miss out on this unique experience, drop into the Principality of Hutt River.

We end up though at Hutt Lagoon. Hutt Lagoon is a salt lake located near the coast just north of the mouth of the Hutt River. The lake is about 14 kilometres in length along its long axis which is oriented in a northwest-southest direction, parallel with the coast. It is around 2 kilometres wide. The Hutt Lagoon comprises most of the Hutt Lagoon System, a DIWA-listed wetland system that also takes in a number of adjacent small lakes, such as Utcha Swamp.

The lagoon, or marginal-marine salina (salt lake), is an elongate depression about 70 square kilometers in area, with most of it lying a few meters below sealevel. It is separated from the Indian Ocean by a beach barrier ridge and barrier dune system. Similar to Lake MacLeod, 40 km to the north of Carnarvon, Hutt Lagoon is fed by marine waters through the barrier ridge and by meteoric waters through springs.

Due to the salina’s sub-sealevel position, seepage of seawater into the salina is continuous year round. During the winter wet season, the amount of water coming into the salina is substantially increased by the influx of meteoric groundwater. Hutt Lagoon has a Mediterranean climate; high evaporation rates (2150–2400 mm) are characteristic of the summer. There is moderate rainfall in the winter. These factors combine to form a setting within which salt is deposited seasonally and the rates and style of precipitation follow a balance between influx of water and removal by evaporation. During the summer about 95% of the salina surface is a dry salt flat.

Hutt Lagoon is a pink lake, a salt lake with a red or pink hue due to the presence of the carotenoid-producing algae Dunaliella salina, a source of ß-carotene, a food-colouring agent and source of vitamin A. The lagoon contains the world's largest microalgae production plant, a 250 ha series of artificial ponds used to farm Dunaliella salina.

Hutt Lagoon provides a commercial supply of Artemia parthenogenetica, brine shrimp. Artemia is a specialty feed used by prawn and fish farmers and the aquarium fish trade.

Aren't they cute?

I'm glad that we passed the processing plant! The 'aroma' I'm sure would have been quite huge! I have fish tanks and smelled the foods. They can be quite aromatic if you know what I mean.

Moving on we ended up in the Principality of Hutt River. There was no one there to greet us. They have their own money, stamps, and currency. They do accept all forms of payment but you cannot use your credit card. It is a cash only place. Also there is a $2.00 fee for an entry/exit Visa. But there is no tax on it. Of course that is if there is someone to give it to you.

This was the only thing there and it stuck it's tongue out at us!

Port Gregory is a small town and fishing port in the Mid West region of Western Australia.
Port Gregory, located close to the mouth of the Hutt River, was established in 1849 and named after brothers Augustus and Frank Gregory, two of Western Australia's most active explorers.

Port Gregory lies near the mouth of the Hutt River on Western Australia’s Coral Coast. This picturesque fishing village is encircled by five kilometers of exposed coral reef. Originally developed to serve the Geraldine Leadmine, the town is now a holiday hotspot for fishing, diving and offers a range of accommodation options.

Experience great fishing, swimming and windsurfing in the clean and protected natural harbor.

Visit the ruins of the historic Lynton Hiring Station, which once housed the convicts who worked on the Geraldine Mine and local pastoral stations.

We walk about stretching our legs so we don't get cramps in them. We spot many flowers and other natural life. After a bit we load back up and wander up the coast and we spot the Kalbarri National Park.

Kalbarri National Park abounds with opportunities and is one of the most exciting and spectacular in Western Australia. Marvel at nature's ability to carve the landscape. Explore the depths and heights of the river gorges and sea cliffs and admire the floral beauty of the vast, rolling sand plains.

The major geographical features of the park include the Murchison River gorge which runs for nearly 80 kilometres on the lower reaches of the Murchison River. Spectacular coastal cliffs are located on the coast near the mouth of the Murchison River and the town of Kalbarri.

Twenty-one plant species are found only in the coastal cliff tops and gorge country predominantly in the National Park. One of the best known local plants is the Kalbarri catspaw, a small yellow or red plant that is usually seen on recently burnt country from August to September. Several orchids can only be seen in and near the park, including the Kalbarri spider orchid and the Murchison hammer orchid.

Kalbarri Catspaw

Kalbarri Spider Orchid

Drakaea is an endangered genus of orchid that is native to Australia. Orchids in this genus are commonly called "Hammer Orchids". The common name refers to the shape of the orchid, and the way it moves, resembling a hammer. The genus was named after Miss Drake, a botanical artist who drew orchids and other plants to assist taxonomists in England in the 19th century. Members of the Drakaea genus are characterized by an insectoid labellum that is attached to a narrow, hinged stem, which holds it aloft. The stem can only hinge backwards, where the broadly winged column carries the pollen and stigma.

Hammer orchids have specified their method of pollination by only being pollinated by the Thynnid wasp. The female wasps being flightless wait on top of stems for the males, to fly in and carry them off. Then they will mate in mid-flight. Hammer orchids, being deceitful, mimic the female wasps; their labellum being similar in color and in structure to the female wasp's abdomen. The orchids also produce pheromones very similar to those that the female wasp produces.The female wasp produces the pheromones to attract the male. This is one of the more notable examples of mimicy in plants. When the male becomes attracted by the pheromones released by the orchid and its shape, it tries to fly away with the labellum, which makes the stem holding it move backwards. Which in turn brings the male wasp's thorax in contact with the sticky pollen packet. The male wasp will become tired of trying and fly off. In order for the Hammer orchid to be successfully pollinated, the male wasp must be fooled by another individual orchid, where it goes through the same procedure. But this time the pollen is deposited in the stigma, and so that plant has been pollinated. This form of symbiosis is not mutualistic, the wasp getting nothing in return for having pollinated the hammer orchid. This method does not always work for the plant's pollination because the male wasp does not always fall for it, especially during mating season when there are more active female wasps.

Murchison Hammer Orchid

The small-petalled Beyeria or short-petalled Beyeria, once thought to be extinct, was re-discovered in the park in 1994. The population in the park is one of only three known populations.

Beyeria is a genus of shrubs and small trees in the family Euphorbiaceae known as turpentine bushes. The genus is endemic to Australia.

Walking along the cliffs gave us new energy and we were snapping pictures all the time. I know I almost backed off the cliff trying to get the perfect picture.

We all loaded back up and made our way to Rainbow Jungle.

When we first set out to create Rainbow Jungle in 1984, we had only one ambition....To Be The Best. Rainbow Jungle is now a world leader in the breeding of endangered species and is regarded as Australias most beautiful parrot habitat.

Black Cockatoos

A walk on the wild side, where you will find the largest parrot free flight aviary in the country, with the largest flock of Purple Crowned Lorikeets in the world and many other magnificently coloured Australian parrots.

You will wander through the center along paved brick pathways, through landscaped tropical gardens, past waterfalls, fountains, stained glass windows, gargoyles and lily ponds. You will enjoy close encounters with the magnificent Australian Black Cockatoos - the red, the yellow and the local white tails. Around every corner there are parrots in every color of the rainbow, including the beautiful Eclectus parrot and the fantastic, exotic Sun Conures.

Sun Conures

After such a wonderful time in the Jungle we continue north to the town of Kalbarri. The local Aboriginal people inhabited the area for thousands of years and have a dreaming story about the Rainbow Serpent forming the Murchison River as she came from inland to the coast. The first European people to visit the area were the crew of the trading ship belonging to the Dutch East India Company, the Batavia, who put two mutinous crew members ashore near Bluff Point just south of the town. The cliffs near the river mouth were named after another trading ship, the Zuytdorp, that was wrecked there in 1712. The area became a popular fishing and tourist spot in the 1940s and by 1948 the state government declared a townsite. Lots were soon surveyed and the town was gazetted in 1951. Kalbarri was named after an Aboriginal man from the Murchison tribe and is also the name of an edible seed.

The town is geared towards tourism and fishing, with attractions including the daily pelican feeding, the Kalbarri National Park, Murchison River Gorge and the Murchison River. There are two charter boats to go on to view the Murchison River.

The Kalbarri National Park is home to a phenomenon of geography and geology known as the Z Bend, a walking track, and "Nature's Window", a rock formation overlooking hundreds of kilometers of Murchison River. Red Bluff and other coastal cliffs and formations are located south of the town.

Murchison River Gorge is a riverine gorge in Mid West Western Australia. Carved by the meandering lower reaches of the Murchison River, it is more than 80 kilometers long, and up to 129 meters deep. It begins about 13½ kilometers north-northwest of Ajana, and extends to the mouth of the river at Kalbarri.

Widely considered a site of outstanding natural beauty, it is a major tourist attraction. Specific points of interest for tourists include the Z Bend lookout and The Loop walking trail.
It is also of immense interest to geologists, as it contains outstanding exposures of Tumblagooda sandstone, an Ordovician redbed deposit that contains fossils of eurypterids, representing some of the earlier fossil evidence of land animals. Fossilised eurypterid tracks are fairly common in the vicinity of the gorge, as are the tracks of outher arthropods, possibly trilobites.

The Tumblagooda sandstone is a geological formation deposited during the Silurian or Ordovician periods, around four to five hundred million years ago that is now exposed.

The Ordovician is a geologic period and system, the second of six of the Paleozoic Era, and covers the time about 1.5 million years ago.

Eurypterids (sea scorpions) are an extinct group of arthropods related to arachnids which include the largest known arthropods that ever lived. They are members of the extinct order Eurypterida (Chelicerata); which is the most diverse Paleozoic chelicerate order in terms of species. The name Eurypterida comes from the Greek word eury- meaning "broad" or "wide" and the Greek word pteron meaning "wing", for the pair of wide swimming appendages on the first fossil eurypterids discovered. Eurypterids predate the earliest fishes. The largest, such as Jaekelopterus, reached 2.5 meters or more in length, but most species were less than 20 centimeters. They were formidable predators that thrived in warm shallow water, in both seas and lakes, in the Ordovician to Permian from 460 to 248 million years ago. Although informally called "sea scorpions", only the earliest ones were marine (later ones lived in brackish or freshwater), and they were not true scorpions. According to theory, the move from the sea to fresh water probably occurred by the Pennsylvanian subperiod. Eurypterids are believed to have undergone ecdysis, making their significance in ecosystems difficult to assess, because it can be difficult to tell a fossil moult from a true fossil carcass.[4] They went extinct during the Permian–Triassic extinction event 252.2 million years ago, and their fossils have a near global distribution.

An arthropod is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton (external skeleton), a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Arthropods are members of the phylum Arthropoda (from Greek ἄρθρο
;ν árthron, "joint", and ποδός podós "leg", which together mean "jointed leg"), and include the insects, arachnids, and crustaceans. Arthropods are characterized by their jointed limbs and cuticles, which are mainly made of α-chitin; the cuticles of crustaceans are also biomineralized with calcium carbonate. The rigid cuticle inhibits growth, so arthropods replace it periodically by moulting. They range in size from microscopic plankton up to forms a few meters long.

Trilobites are a well-known fossil group of extinct marine arthropods that form the class Trilobita. Trilobites form one of the earliest known groups of arthropods. The first appearance of trilobites in the fossil record defines the base of the Atdabanian stage of the Early Cambrian period (521 million years ago), and they flourished throughout the lower Paleozoic era before beginning a drawn-out decline to extinction when, during the Devonian, almost all trilobite orders, with the sole exception of Proetida, died out. Trilobites finally disappeared in the mass extinction at the end of the Permian about 250 million years ago. The trilobites were among the most successful of all early animals, roaming the oceans for over 270 million years.

Monkey Mia is a popular tourist destination located about 800 km north of Perth, Western Australia. The reserve is 25 km northeast of the town of Denham in the Shark Bay Marine Park and World Heritage Site.

The main attraction is the daily feeding of the bottlenose dolphins that have been coming close to shore for more than forty years. Rangers from the Department of Environment and Conservation carefully supervise the process.

Mia is the Aboriginal term for home or shelter, while the Monkey part of the name is allegedly derived from a pearling boat called Monkey that anchored at the now Monkey Mia in the late 19th century, during the days when pearling was an industry in the region.

Exmouth is a town on the tip of the North West Cape in Western Australia. The town is located 1,270 kilometers north of the state capital Perth and 3,366 kilometers southwest of Darwin. The location was first used as a military base in World War II.

After a long drive we are very happy to stop traveling and get a chance to really stretch our legs. We check in and happily go for a cranny poke in the wonderful shops that are near our hotel. I return to have dinner and a lay down after all the traveling we did today. Time to have a good sleep so I can get up early to get on the road again.


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  • JACKIE542
    How wonderful, loved the parrots, the lighthouse, dolphins. I loved it all!! Thank you for sharing all the great info, and pictures. emoticon
    1742 days ago
    emoticon It was so much fun to read your Blog and re-live our Adventure!! The Park was Beautiful and I got a lot of Pictures of the Birds to show to my Bird Watching Friends at Home.
    emoticon The Pink Lake was AMAZING, I am glad you printed out the explanation for it. I am sure I would have forgotten at least part of it when I tell my Friends about it.
    1742 days ago
    Thank you for sharing..have an awesome day!
    1743 days ago
    Woof! So much information here! emoticon blog as usual!
    Loking forward to the next installment!

    SparkPeople Quiz: How Positive is Your Body Image? | SparkPeople
    Body image affects how you feel about yourself, how you project yourself, and how you care for your own health. Answer the following questions to find out ...
    1743 days ago
    emoticon blog your research is amazing thanks Patty
    1743 days ago
    Again a great blog - some good pictures -
    We covered a lot of ground today - but that has to be done to get through the trek in the time. If its easier you can choose one or 2 special features to blog on rather than blog on everything - which ever works for you!!
    1743 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1743 days ago
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