Thursday, October 12, 2017


Our intended destination today was Geraldton, albeit with a few route diversions and stop-offs along the way to see some interesting sights. We got underway early from Wagoe Beach and headed off south towards Port Gregory.

Port Gregory is a picturesque fishing village encircled by five kilometres of exposed reef. It was originally established to serve the Geraldine lead mine and whalers, but it really wasn't suitable for large vessels. What really piqued our interest was the nearby Pink Lake. The pink colouring is due to the presence of a carotenoid-producing algae, dunaliella salina, a source of beta-carotene Vitamin A. 

The lagoon contains the world's largest microalgae production plant and a commercial supply of brine shrimp used by prawn and fish farmers.
Our first sighting of the Pink Lake
Water collected still has a tinge of pink in it. 

The lake (or Hutt Lagoon) is huge and we could catch glimpses of pink water from a long way off. Finally we came to a suitable viewing point big enough to accommodate our three vans and cars so that we could take some photos. It is indeed PINK! We even got an empty water bottle and filled it with water and you could see it was pink.  We have kept it as a souvenir to take home and share with our grand daughter.
Our vans parked at the beachfront in Port Gregory
Ian and Kathy
Steve and I
Us girls
  We drove all the way into town, stopping off to buy postcards from the one small general store and service station we saw. Then we parked at the town beach to admire the view. It is very pretty, but also very small and didn't seem to be overrun with tourists like Kalbarri. What! Not seem to be overrun? It was deserted!
A little way out of Port Gregory are the ruins of Lynton Station, home to the Governor's mansion and convict ruins which is currently undergoing restoration work. We didn't stop here, but did take some photos from the car.   Just beyond here where the road starts to climb some gentle hills we  got called up on the UHF by Barb to advise us that they were experiencing car trouble and would stop for a while and let things cook down, and then try to proceed again.  

Apparently they were struggling to get up the hill and their Jackaroo was not changing gears properly on the hills and was not running well. The Check Transmission warning light had come on

They had to  pull over a second time and we also pulled over to wait for them. After a while they tried to get going again, but the warning light came on once again.  John knew that it was going to be a long slow trip into Northampton as he could only drive in first gear at about 25kph.  He sent the rest of us into Northampton to  at least find a mechanic who might be able to look at their car for them... 

 It was a very slow journey for them, made slower by frequently pulling off the road to let other drivers past. Luckily there were no big trucks and it wasn't super busy.  Steve had asked a local for advice about mechanics in town and he relayed that information to Barb and they drove straight there. The man sucked his teeth when John described the problem and suggested they call RAC and get towed to Geraldton, as he thought it was a gear box problem requiring specialist work.

Meanwhile whilst we waited , we enjoyed morning tea in a park behind the main street of town.  Northampton is a bit of a historical town with some lovely buildings.  We sat in the park until we saw John and Barb limp into town, and whilst they were dealing with their car problems with the mechanic, we went for a walk to the Information Centre in town, and then a walk down the main street. 

 We ended up at a wonderful little café called “The Shearing Shed” for lunch.  They do home made pies and vanilla slices are their speciality.  We figured they must be pretty good as they were very busy with people coming and going the whole time we were there.  We were not disappointed, our lunch was tasty and received 5 stars from us.  

As John and Barb had to wait for the RAC to come and tow them back into Geraldton, they advised us to continue through as we all had bookings at the Belair Caravan Park in Geraldton for that night.  
Chapman Valley  scenic drive

We decided to take the scenic route into Geraldton through the Chapman Valley.   We arrived at Belair and were checking in  just as John and Barb arrived with their Jackaroo tied down  on the tray of a tow truck with their van behind.
John and Barb's car and van arrive at the Belair Caravan Park like this.
With the massive cost of replacing the gearbox in their Jackaroo,  John and Barb are no longer going to fly home in mid-November with the view of resuming their trip in the new year.  Instead they will drive home by the most direct route – a mere 4000km – and explore the sourth west of WA  another time.  They still intend to arrive home in Maleny in mid November.

We are so sad that their journey has come to an end like this and we are going to miss them dreadfully.  Still I am so thankful and feel so blessed that we have been able to take this holiday with two of my closest friends and I will always be grateful for this. 


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