Last time I talked about why you should just Say YES more when you travel. I spent around 2 months in the tiniest town I have visited to date, Northampton in Western Australia which is situated about 500km north of Perth with a population of 800. I arrived initially to find work and save for the next leg of my trip with perhaps a few good times. I certainly got a lot more than that!
As you can imagine, with such a small population, everyone knows everyone and people look out for one another. The locals are used to backpackers coming and going, spending a few months working behind the bar and then jetting off again. They also see how lonely it can be and without a car you are pretty much stuck on a single 1km road with only a handful of shops to keep you amused. So, as you can imagine you get invited out a lot!
Whenever the locals were heading off, they would always invite you along and I made a point to always say yes! So, here are just a few of my highlights from my time spent in Northampton!
JET SKIING AT HORROCKS BEACH
I had only been working at the pub for a few days and it seemed to be apparent that all the locals knew our complex two week rosta from memory. It was quiet at the bar, perhaps only 5 or so people when Shane asked me if I wanted to join him early the next morning (as I wouldn’t be starting till 11am) for some jet skiing at Horrocks.
There was not a second which passed before I yelled “YES!”. This was a no-brainer. Jet skiing had been on my bucket list since I was a kid. The only thing putting me off was the extortionate prices they charge for just an hours rental.
Shane pulls up in front of the pub around 7am and I bounce down the stairs to meet him. Bikini – CHECK. Sun cream – CHECK.
My only reserve was the fact that Australia’s Western Coast line is highly populated with man eating great white sharks. However, I was reassured that Shane had only ever come off the jet ski once. Which isn’t bad going!
We started off slow, navigating our way around the reef near land to get out to the waves, where the real fun would begin. I have never held onto someones life jacket so tight in my life! Shane isn’t about just jetting around the calm waters, because it was windy, and calm waters were a thing of dreams. Waves. Big strong waves is what we sought. Head first, throttle on full BANG. Head on collisions with mother nature, lifting us up off the jet ski into the air, only to slam us back down. I walked like John Wayne for a few days thereafter.
This part was way more fun than my attempt at driving. He pulled round to Little Bay where the water was like glass and asked if I wanted to go for a spin. This is where I hesitated but pulled myself together and said YES. I took it slow, navigating here and there at around 30km/ph. I thought I was holding onto him tightly. I think he was saying his final prayer behind me, such a confidence boost!
I later discovered that the other barmaid had been asked to go along too. She said no. She sat at home listening to music. Whereas I drank a ridiculous amount of sea water for 2 hours! Whose the winner now, huh?
QUAD BIKING AT WAGOE BEACH
Funnily enough, in life, people know other people. Crazy I know. Nutts, who dawned a florescent work shirt every day of the week asked me if I fancied going to Wagoe to have a spin on the quad bikes. Pfft, yeah, why not! Relatives of Nutts own Wagoe Beach Quad Bike Tours and with no tours happening that morning, we grabbed the buggy and took it out on the sand dunes. I couldn’t reach the peddles so my arms and back got sore quickly but just knowing that the buggies are normally only reserved for the tour guide made the day all that much more special!
A month or so later, Nutts asked me to return to Wagoe as I had been extended the offer to actually go along on one of the tours… FOR FREE (usually costing almost $100). The usual thoughts went though my mind “But I have already seen it”. “I could really do with a lie in”. But before I knew it I had agreed and an early morning pick up had been arranged.
I couldn’t have been happier to have returned. The tour was fantastic! Plus, I have plenty of experience on a quad bike so I was super comfortable!
DAY TRIP TO LUCKY BAY
Most of my trips out thus far have been little adventures here and there, but I still felt like I hadn’t seen enough of the coast. My next YES occurred after a few weeks of me being cooped up inside and I was going stir crazy! A local family had invited me to go along with them to Lucky Bay for the day. Just a note, I had only ever met these people once! They saw how crazy I was going spending all my time either working in the pub or sitting upstairs in the pub, so out of the kindness of their hearts, just took me along!
This was no ordinary day at the beach. It involved an ex-army truck, snorkelling amongst the reef and a BBQ at half way in a beach shack! It was one of the most picturesque locations I had ever seen. The sand was so white and the water oh so clear! My GoPro pretty much had an orgasm.
Not only did I have an amazing day, I also made some fantastic friends!
HARLEY RIDING THROUGH THE CHAPMAN VALLEY
Geraldton is the nearest “city” to Northampton. The reason I put city in quote marks is because even though it is officially classed as a city, Geraldton is still a tiny tiny comparison of what city life can mean in Australia. I asked one of the locals known as Jimmy, if he was heading that way on one of my days off. He wasn’t, but was happy to drive me the 40 minutes out of town to run any errands I had. I had no errands. I just fancied a day out! So we opted for the cinema. Something I rarely do when I am travelling, especially not in Australia where you can pay around $25 per ticket!
Jim asked me what form of transportation I would like to go in. I just gave him a look and he instantly knew. The following Tuesday he pulls up in his Harley and I am jumping around like a maniac.
Road trains ahead, not a problem, I brace my back as we pull around the truck and the throttle is pulled, speeding us along at an incredible speed. Harley Davidson’s are not meant to stick to the speed limit.
After a coffee and a few hours enjoying Exodus, he decides to take us back through the Chapman Valley. A stunning sweeping area of Western Australia tinted with orange and reds. The road windes through the valley and only on the back of a stunning bike which is purring under your toes can you appreciate the true beauty of this land.
PORT GREGORY: THE PINK LAKE
Seeing the lakes a vibrant pink is pot luck. It all depends on the time of day, where the sun is positioned, how many clouds are above and if you are lucky! Some days the lake appears like any other, blue, with a few hints of colour. Others, it is a deep vibrant pink, which looks like a photo which has been photoshopped for Facebook.
We were lucky enough to have passed by at the right time. I stared in awe as I couldn’t believe I finally got to see this incredible phenomenon.
Have you visited Western Australia? What would you recommend to see and do? Leave a comment below with your awesome recommendations!
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