This post was inspired by Mara at The Mother of All Trips ‘Mondays are for dreaming’ posts. Expect to see a lot more of these over the coming year…
Stanfords, probably the best travel bookshop in the world, had a 3 for 2 offer on Lonely Planets the other day. Well it would have been rude not to partake, so I came home with, amongst other things, the Lonely Planet for Western Australia.
I first visited Western Australia on my last round the world trip, aged 19 and quickly fell in love with the vast, empty, red land. Most backpackers head to the East coast for surfing, partying and recovering from hangovers on the beach. Being the dweeby teenager that I was, I preferred to camp under the stars and marvel at the ginormous distances between towns, in a place where a town is often little more than a petrol station with a campsite attached. Growing up in London, the idea of all this remote nothingness was deeply and appealingly different.
I’ve dreamt of going back to Western Australia ever since and it’s been a fixture on next year’s itinerary from day one. In quiet moments this weekend I’ve been escaping to my new Lonely Planet guide, basking in the imagined warmth of the sun beating down on the red earth as I’ve plotted our route up the coast. I’ve read about incongruous Baroque Cathedrals in small outback towns; snorkelling with dolphins in turquoise waters; open cast mines where the dumper trucks are as big as houses; cooking crayfish on the barbie at the beach; watching turtle eggs hatch by moonlight; hunting for dinosaur footprints at low tide; watching films at open air cinemas with the Southern Cross twinkling overhead; abandoned, ghostly, gold rush towns in the heart of nowhere; tours of the mangrove swamps with Aboriginal guides demonstrating how to spear fish; national parks with deep gorges and thundering waterfalls; and about driving the best part of 3,000 kilometres, hour upon hour upon hour of red dirt, brassy blue skies and kangaroos.