It was a long drive between the gorge and Hamelin Pool, long, hot and boring with most of looking like the road below. For hours and hours.
We stopped at the Billabong Roadhouse for lunch – this place is really in the middle of nowhere and offers an oasis of fuel, food and erm, a place for a much needed ‘comfort break’ They did a good range of gluten free food too, which meant Anja could at least eat well, rather than having to live on just chips (not that she would really have cared too much, she’s a starch machine)
We turned off the highway and onto the road to Denham – there’s still an hour or so of solid driving to go from that point, but we were making good time so we stopped off at Hamelin Pool, a tiny homestead and former telegraph station at the bottom of Shark Bay. It’s famous for its Stromatolites, which are rock like structures, formed from the actions of tiny cyanobacteria that grow in the hyper-saline waters, slowly trapping sand and mud which forms new layers, growing only few mm a year.
These creatures are some of the earliest life forms on the planet and and form a major constituent of the fossil record for about the first 3.5 billion years of life on earth. Using sunlight, they synthesise carbon dioxide to produce oxygen. In fact, it is thought that during those billions of years, they were pretty much solely responsible for creating the oxygen rich atmosphere we enjoy today.
It is also totally unspoiled here, being a protected world heritage zone – the place is gorgeous!
We drove the hour or so down the only road to Denham, undulating its way though the scrub like bush, before the first signs of human habitation appear and we pulled into town. Denham is a lovely little place, a few restaurants, caravan parks, a hotel or two, some supermarkets and petrol stations. Its really the only town in Shark Bay, so it has everything you could want.
Our self catering apartment was nice – basic but clean and with lots of space and only 30 seconds walk from the beach and gorgeous sunsets every night.
Next up, Shell Beach, Monkey Mia, Dolphins and adventures off road.