Reclaiming my wild nature in untamed Western Australia

For the audio-version, please click here

What are we gonna do about tonight?”, I ask my travel companion as I´m heading back to the van after a long day out at Kalbarri National Park. The cold is starting to creep up on me as the last rays of daylight are fading. Practical matters are suddenly taking center stage after a full day in non-stop-marveling-mood. “No idea“, he answers in a nonchalant way while scratching his beard. “What about checking into a hostel in town?”, I suggest. “Let´s give it a crack. She´ll be right“, he agrees wearily. Ah well, the German part of me will never get used to the Aussie spontaneity and utterly carefree attitude – but the Spanish part within just freaking loves it!

Kalbarri: Meeting persistent lovers of the law

A point in favor of German conscientiousness and over-planning: That spur-of-the-moment idea really did not work out. Like at all! All hotels, and hostels, and even camping spots, are booked out. On to the next idea! My travel-companion still doesn´t seem fazed one bit, as I suggest to just park our van in a quiet street and snooze right there.

Barely thirty minutes in, and an overeager Kalbarrian (Is that how you call an inhabitant of Kalbarri?) zestfully knocks on the driver side´s window. We get politely, yet very diligently told to f…venture off. It´s about 1 AM in the morning, so we decide to wing it and drive back to Kalbarri National Park, where theoretically, any kind of camping is kinda forbidden. And probably, practically as well.

She´ll be right“, I mumble wearily to myself. After over a year of living in Australia I know this idiom by heart now – whatever is wrong will right itself with time. After a short deliberation, I head to the back of the van and bundle myself up in my jacket and a rather scratchy blanket. Two hours later, and I wake up pretty bloody almost-frozen. A diligent ranger proves that even at 3 AM on a weekday, you shouldn´t mess with the Australian love for safety, rules, and regulations – and off we go again.

Kalbarri to Shark Bay: Dramatic sunsets and darn old Stromatolites

In the end, there´s not much sleep to be had that night – but on the upside, a pretty perfect sunset greets us while we make our way up towards the infamous Shark Bay World Heritage Area. My mates, in case you didn´t know: Western Australian sunsets are basically the VIP´s of sunset phenomena – they warrant an extra dosage of attention for their drama and the multilayered explosions of color they bring to the table.

After driving for around 4,5 hours along the North West Coastal Highway, humming along to some relaxed tunes, we reach Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Our first stop is Hamelin Pool, a protected Marine Nature Reserve. It feels amazing to say cheerio to the van, and take in some new, thought-provoking sights and sensations. If you`ve ever felt as if you are getting old – which in our warped culture can probably already happen when you are like 12 – , there is no better place to hang out than Hamelin Pool. Why?

Well, you´ll be able to visit the insanely old Stromatolites aka the oldest life forms on earth – living representatives of life over 3500 million years ago, when there was no other complex life on Earth. That´s right, even if you are currently 105 years of age, you´ll still be like a toddler compared to these so-called living fossils! How´s that for a win-win?

If you feel overwhelmed by today´s round-the-clock-availability, stop by at the Old Hamelin Pool Telegraph Station. Built in 1884 as part of the communication line between Perth and Roebourne, it will make you feel as if you just beamed yourself back to a time where communicating through the distance was quite a feat. Also, the original building is now a museum housing many curious artifacts which definitely do not overwhelm the senses.

Shark Bay World Heritage Area: Shell beach, a pristine piece of paradise all to yourself

Our next stop isn´t far away at all – 44 km away from Denham and just a short drive from Hamelin Pool, Shell Beach awaits us with millions of tiny automobiles. No, of course not, just checking you´re still with us 😛 Located within Francois Peron National Park, Shell Beach is a true gem of a beach made up off trillions of tiny cockle shells. There are even shell deposits around that are 10 meters deep in places!

Stepping out of the van, I am immediately engulfed with a sense of deep peace – it´s almost eerily quiet, and as is so often the case in Western Australia, we have the beach all to ourselves. A glorious and enlivening feeling! Playing around with the shells, admiring the deep, still, shallow waters and breathing the incredibly pure air is more than enough to get me feeling vibrant and alive after the long car ride from Kalbarri.

Shell Beach´s second characteristic besides its abundance of shells is the water´s hypersalinity, which means that the water here is twice as salty as the sea. Better not drink that stuff! Not that I usually go to the ocean to drink. Anyways, moving on. Despite feeling pretty damn alive after our visit to Shell beach, my travel mate and I decide that it´s time to head to Denham and check into our hostel for the next two nights. There are some pretty special beings to be met early the next morning, after all! And we definitely do not feel up for another frozen van night.

Monkey Mia: A different kind of beach date

Early the next morning, we get ready for a very special date. This date is a tiny bit different to other ones, though- we are about to meet a very wild, extraordinarily enchanting, highly intelligent, always optimistic, eternally kind and helpful fella after all! It´s basically the kind of rendezvous with the kind of being you get once every ten years – if you´re lucky. And boy, are we lucky indeed. Once we arrive on the agreed-upon location, the pristine and picture-perfect beach at Monkey Mia Reserve, we get to hang out around other admirers from all over the world, until our date´s PR-entourage announces his imminent arrival.

We are extremely fortunate – not only because meeting beings like him in their natural habitat and in a pre-agreed manner is a rare occurrence. But also because this being, voted the cutest mammal alive by Animal magazine for 100 years straight, does have the decency to bring all his extremely adorable friends along! As we learn through their well-briefed PR-peeps, their stunning home, the waters of Shark Bay Marine Park, host a gorgeously diverse population of animal species, from mellow dugongs to cheeky loggerhead turtles.

Keep your cool: Meeting dolphin-royalty

But it’s -obviously- the irresistibly playful Indo-Pacific bottlenose-dolphins that visit Monkey Mia nearly every morning which bring home the bacon: they draw more than 100,000 admirers to the beach each year. Some wild dolphins have been known to visit Monkey Mia since well before 1982 to be hand-fed by friendly humans – which led to a big scientific investigation of all things dolphin. Find out more about this fascinating story here.

Back to our very own dolphin-date, though: The volunteers pick a few especially hysterical, sorry, especially enthusiastic admirers each morning to feed some members of the dolphin royalty clan their favorite brand of tasty caviar, no, sorry, fish it was. Maybe my forceful, dare I say fan-girl-inspired attempt to hypnotize the dolphin-volunteer into picking me worked somehow (I swear, there was no bribery involved – they have bodyguards for that stuff) – because in the end, I have the honor of feeding a gorgeous wild dolphin. And I am positive – he winked at me! At least he smiled the whole two minutes through. And I get a tad emotional as I sense the expansive joy and profound gentleness that this exceptional wild creature irradiates through his sweet eyes, smile, and whole being.

Stay tuned for our next post, when we´ll learn more about the incredible wonders of Shark Bay, including a meeting with a highly charismatic Indigenous Australian leader and tour guide, who shares some of his ancestors secrets with us (sorry guys, just the parts that are allowed obviously!). We will also head to a far-off paradise. I swear, I am not exaggerating here! You´ll see…

Back to you, dear reader: What´s your cheekiest travel-adventure? And: Have you ever been on a road trip, and if so, where did you explore? Thanks for reading, and as always, would love to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this content, you can support A gypsy at heart here – thank you, danke, gracias, merci, grazie, arrigato, dhanywaad, xièxiè, shukraan... in advance!:)

Copyright: You can feel that one in your bones probably. Yes. Again, the rights to written words and pictures belong to meee/ A gypsy at heart. Because: You did not endure that bloody cold night in the van.

Categories: Posts in English, Reiselust- Hungry for travel, Reisen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

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39 thoughts on “Reclaiming my wild nature in untamed Western Australia

  1. This is another fun and cheeky post Maria! When I traveled the US National Parks in my 30’s I had to dance with my two sides also. More often I listened to the spontaneous side and had a blast. I had been reserved and careful for too long. One of the things I did was swim out to try and engage some wild dolphins swimming through. Sadly they didn’t engage, but it did show me how fast, wild, and surprisingly big they are (Atlantic bottlenose dolphins). I would love to swim or engage with dolphins one day. They seem to be incredibly playful and intelligent beings. Thanks for sharing your experience and joy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brad, thanks so much for your awesome and detailed feedback! I love hearing about your travel experiences in the US, a place I haven´t been to yet. Great to hear you could relate to this post, and that you chose to be spontaneous and create such memorable experiences! It must have been so amazing to swim close to some wild dolphins! Which National Park was it, Brad? Those Atlantic bottlenose dolphins sound gorgeous…all dolphins are really special, I find. Exactly, they are super playful and super smart. Fingers crossed for you to make your dolphin-interaction-dream a reality! I believe in you! Thanks for sharing, Brad 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely and Sunny there. A different world. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow.most beautiful trip of Untame d Western Australia. Meeting with Indo-Pacific battle nose dolphin,it is amazing.The turtles and description about Fossils are most most precious topic for incresing the knowledge about the Pre-Historical era.i am so much happy as you described about your tour in most wonderful way and your own experiences in tour most funny way.yeah.this time,there is most cold weather😁 and you have become as bundle in your jacket.most adventures and precious tour for all who are eager to know about Historical places.when i read your post then share all things with my students .oh my yaar!!your voice is so much sweet.first time ,i have heard you and see your ten episode type voice-clips. Marvellous.meri dost!!really you are unique girl in my sight.most love for you and your trips.most beautiful photo of you is most lovely for me,dear yaar!!Much love and big hugs,Querida amiga.💖💖💖💖💖💝💝💝💝

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hey my dear dost!! Where are you ?no reply.i feel emptiness without you,Querida amiga.🤔Much love and Big hugs.💖

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mere yaar, what a wonderful reply and reaction, thank you so much! You continue to wow me with your warmhearted generosity, openness, and kindness, I love it, muchas gracias 🙂 Also love hearing that you share this with your students – how fantastic, I am humbled and super-happy that you would choose to do that. Ah bahut bahut dhanywaad for your enthusiasm about the podcasts – it gives me so much joy to hear that. Having a friend like you is really an incredible gift! Never lose your sincerity and outspokenness, it´s so refreshing 🙂 Love ya. Big hugs and wishing you a beautiful weekend with much art and kindness all around, meri jaan 💖💖💖


    • Oh ,my yaar!! I have missed this is not on my blog .may be it is in spam folder.sorry ,dear!! I am reading your exploring works in this post again and much interesting post about of new facts in Australia.😊 I like very much that things related to History and it’s belongings.bahut bahut dhanywad,meri pyaari i am going to sleep.Shubh Ratri,my Gypsy soul.💖

      Liked by 1 person

      • Namaste meri jaan, no worries as they say in Australia:) Dhanywaad for your appreciation. So happy to hear you enjoy this post so much! That is incredibly cool. I know you love history and it´s my pleasure to bridge gaps between different cultures and transmit interesting information. Wishing you a beautiful day querida! ❤️🤗


      • Namsaste dear!! Thanks for your nice thoughts.most love and big hugs ,meri jaan !!💕💕💕

        Liked by 1 person

      • My pleasure mere dost 💕💕


  6. My dear dost!! In your post the photo of tortoise is most beautiful.much love and big hugs,Querida amiga.Shubhraatri /bounas noches.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you lovely! Yes that shot turned out alright:) Much love and hugs mere yaar!


      • My dear dost!!you know -in Pre-Historical era,Australia was the part of South India.that time giological changes in earth quickly step by step may be a volcano in Hind Mahasagar(ocean)one part of south India named Gondwana was seperated and go far from from India.that time was before dinosaur.i think -you have seen the fossils of i right my dost.Much love and big hugs,Querida amiga.Shubhratri/Buonas noches💖

        Liked by 1 person

      • Querida yaar, thats very interesting, I wasnt aware of that! I had heard of Gondwana, but didn´t know that Australia was a landmass belonging to India once upon a time. The fossils I saw in Hamelin Pool predated the dinosaurs, they were the first life-forms on earth. Basically, our all grand grand grand…..parents 😀 Lol. Love, hugs, y buenas noches meri jaan 💖


  7. Oh, my goodness, if I could plan a trip there I’d go everywhere you went! Thank you for showing me Shelley (Shell) beach – that’s fascinating and I so appreciate the callout and that you remembered I want to go there – you’re so sweet!! I bet that dolphin did wink at you to by the way! As you know I’m a virtual traveler – and your trips make my trips extraordinary, thank you for all you share! I’ll be back again to see where we’re (you’re) off to next! Hugs to you, Maria! xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Shelley, it´s my pleasure – I could not write about Shell(ey) beach and not mention you!! So happy you enjoyed our trip, and for your incredibly kind and sweet feedback. Ha ha yes, maybe the dolphin was a little cheeky after all 😉 It gives me great joy to take you along on my travels always! Keep your seat belt fastened for the next part of our trip – it´s far from over yet:) Many hugs to you, gorgeous, and a fantastic week to you xx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Maria-Elena! A wonderful adventure all the way round..except maybe that night in the van 😉. Brrrr and sleepless too! I can only imagine how amazing it must have been to be face to face with a dolphin! Wow! I confess I love rocks so those ancient stromatolites look really cool and there are so many of them. Thank you for the adventure! I love to explore! With love and hugs, suzanne ❤️🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • G´day Suzanne, how awesome to hear from you and receive your encouraging and uplifting feedback 🙂 Love that you are a fellow explorer, and so glad to hear you enjoyed this WA adventure. You are right, it was such a blessing to come face to face with the gentle and immensely intelligent dolphin creatures. They are different to all other animals I find. Thanks again for your wonderful comment, and wishing you a joy-filled week:) Much love and hugs right back at ya :❤️🤗, Maria Elena

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks a lot Suzanne 🙂 Hugs xx


  10. Ahh, my wild and adventurous amica, of course that dolphin winked at you! How could he not. 🐬 Maybe you should have winked at that ranger that shooed you off in the middle of the night, how rude of him, disturbing your slumber! 😀 Anyway, I want you to know that I actually inhaled so deeply reading this post, it was so relaxing, I felt like you transported me there. And uncannily enough, on the weekend while we were camping with our close friends who did an Australian road trip a few years ago, they mentioned both Kalbarri National Park and Shell Beach, saying that they were two of the most beautiful places they’d ever been to. And then today I read your post! I swear, it’s an omen that I have to go. I really do! It looks so beautiful. Thank you for this wonderful tale you’ve shared here my gorgeous friend. I love all your gorgeous pics and those sunsets, wow. I smiled at your yoga poses, your cheeky humour and your sparkling narrative. As always you took me with you and I thoroughly enjoyed every step of the way. So thank you lovely you. A fabulous, wonderful travel post. Sending big hugs and lotsa love to you from me in Melbourne. xxxx 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw Miriam my lovely…how lucky and blessed am I to have/ be connected to a friend like you!! I feel incredibly grateful for our friendship – your comments and posts always infuse me with joy, a hell-yeah-life-is-awesome-feeling, and just great vibes all around! Mille grazie for that, and for your fabulous and sweet and meaningful comment. Haha, yeah, maybe I should have winked at that dutiful ranger dude! Tbh I don´t even know if I know how to wink properly! It´s an art form in itself, isn´t it? Lol. As to that awesome camping trip with your friends – oh my, yep! I think you definitely need to head to Kalbarri and Shell beach/ Shark bay. Your friends are on the money – two incredible places!! I stayed in Shark Bay for almost a month at one stage, when I did the cameleering gig. Mindblowing scenery there. Love that my post stirred your soul like you described it!! So cool! Love having you with me on each and every travel journey. Thanks for all your kindness and enthusiasm! You rock lioness! Big hugs and much amore 🥰, a presto cara xox

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello again cara Maria, I feel the same way. I feel very blessed and grateful to have connected with you and for our budding friendship, though I’ll be honest, it feels like I’ve known you for ages! Isn’t that amazing, I love it! Your comments and posts do the same for me and always lift me up and make my day. Mile grazie to you too lovely.
        Yes, I would LOVE to get to that amazing west Australian coastline one day. One month cameleering in Shark Bay sounds absolutely awesome but I’d settle for a few weeks lol. Can’t wait to read more of your posts. In the mean time sending many massive lioness hugs your way. Bacioni xxx 🥰

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cara Miriam, 🥰! How lovely, yeah I know – it´s amazing when encountering that type of “instant friendship”/ anam cara/ when someone just resonates in that deep and heartwarming way. I do feel Drew really connected me up to some amazing people and soul-friends, and I feel that you and me are like two smiley peas in a pod! Pretty uncanny and cool!:) Amica, you will love the WA coast trip. Truly a special experience! I carry Australia with me wherever I go, and until I ll come back, I ll gladly explore and see more of my big love-continent through your extremely talented lioness- eyes and ways! Abrazos, hugs, y baci xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Awww, you so make me smile Maria 😊 “two smiley peas in a pod”, I love that. Yes, I’m so grateful to Drew as well. I’m glad Australia is in your heart, cos that means I’m there too. See you in our next shared blog post my friend. Big hugs and baci xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Miriam, how bloody cute are you! Of course you´re in my heart mate 😊 💖 See you very soon – I´ll stop by to read your marvelous new post muy pronto! Big hugs y besos xxx


  11. What a beautiful post!
    The dolphins are the best part. Can you believe some people eat them? Hideous!
    Best thing I did in my life was become a vegetarian. I believe if people stopped eating meat, the world would be a much more fantastic, kind, balanced place.
    Take care, dear Gypsy! xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Resa artista, thank you so much! I know, the dolphins are always the best part aren´t they! Oh no, I never heard of humans eating dolphins. They must be out of their minds- dolphins are like the most adorable beings ever! I love love love that you are a vegetarian Resa, and I congratulate you on that very kind and wise decision and commitment. As you know, I have been (95%) vegetarian for almost a decade now, and I could not agree more with your statement here. Wasn´t it Einstein who said “Nothing will benefit health or increase chances of survival on earth as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”? I think so – pretty good company to be in Resa 🙂 Hugs to Canada lovely xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Funky Fremantle Street Art walks and Gypsy update talks | A gypsy at heart

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