We left Coral Bay early and drove straight through to Exmouth. I don’t think we passed through a single small town along the way. On either side of the road the countryside was flat as far as the eye could see, with large termite mounds rising above the ground like the Pinnacles we saw early in our trip.
We stopped in at the tourist information centre in Exmouth for some advice on the roads to Karinjini, where we’re heading in a few days from now, picked up some take away lunch, then drove south into Cape Range National Park. The road ran between the limestone ridges to the east and the Ningaloo Reef to the west. We followed the road through to where it ended at Yardie Creek. After a quick bite to eat, Rod and Cornie headed off on the long trail along the Yardie Creek Gorge. Marg and I took the shorter option, the Yardie Creek Nature Walk.
Yardie Creek is the only creek in the area with permanent water, though it is salt water fed from the sea. There is a sandbar across the mouth of the creek preventing the water from flowing back into the sea. Erosion over centuries has cut away the gorge, leaving multi-coloured layers of rock exposed.
Nearing the end of the Nature Walk trail, we stopped to view a colony of black-headed flying foxes. They were making quite a racket, which alerted us to their presence.
Heading back towards Exmouth, we stopped at Mandu Mandu Trail. Rod and Cornie headed off along the trail, while Marg and I spent the time exploring a dry creek bed. Unlike Yardie Creek, there was no water in this creek, but its smooth pebbles and the debris piled against some of its trees indicated that it must occasionally experience flooding to a significant depth. We spotted a few fossils in the rocks. From a ridge above the creek, a naval ship was visible.
We drove back to Exmouth and checked into our accommodation. Tomorrow we’re on a cruise out to Ningaloo Reef, hoping to see some whale sharks.