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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Australia: Cape Range

Yardie Creek
Yardie Creek, home to great views and the rare black-footed wallaby

The Northwest Cape juts out into the Indian Ocean like an extended middle finger on the top-left tip of the Australian mainland. There's one town, Exmouth1, which used to be an American naval base and looks like it, and not a lot else except for Cape Range National Park. If you're going up the Cape you have to follow the road that goes up the east side, passing through Exmouth and curling round the end of the Cape before finally coming down the west side and stopping at the southern end of the Park. There's nowhere else to go: to get back, you have to retrace your skid marks. Perhaps that's why it's so beautiful.

Stunning Sandy Bay

Oz next to a tent
A rather dusty and weather-beaten Oz sheltering my tent behind Sandy Bay

The next day, though, I found a real paradise. After exploring the two gorges in the morning, where I was lucky enough to see the rare black-footed wallaby in its native environment, I decided to cool off at Sandy Bay, just down the dirt track from my campsite. Wow! The name was appropriate, the weather was cloudless, the water was warm and turquoise, and the seabed was such a gentle, sandy slope that I could go a serious distance out and still only be waist deep, just right for me and my warped phobia of deep water. But the best bit was the splendid isolation; there were no more than four of us on this beach that stretched for miles in either direction, and I just lay there and soaked up the sun, thinking how it compared with all those soggy English beaches that I doubt I'll visit again now that I've tasted the real thing.

Shothole Canyon, Cape Range
Shothole Canyon was carved out of the landscape by an ancient river

1 Pronounced as it's spelt, so that's 'Ex-mowth', rather than 'Ex-muth' as we Poms would say.