Call OF THE WEST

Caravan World - - Warroora Station -

When your prop­erty sits on Western Aus­tralia’s breath­tak­ing Nin­ga­loo Coast, of­fer­ing an eco-friendly ex­pe­ri­ence seems an

ob­vi­ous choice — and War­roora Sta­tion nails it

Western Aus­tralia’s Nin­ga­loo Coast is a stun­ning UN­ESCO World Her­itage Area of­fer­ing ex­cep­tional beauty, im­pres­sive ma­rine life with the rarely-sighted whale shark and stun­ning land­scapes. One prop­erty that sits proudly along this coast­line is War­roora Sta­tion, and it is a per­fect ex­am­ple of how a spec­tac­u­lar wilder­ness ex­pe­ri­ence can be sus­tained for trav­ellers.

With Coral Bay less than an hour away, War­roora Sta­tion is the per­fect place to base your­self to ex­plore this area. From here you can take day trips and en­joy all the tourist op­tions such as Manta Ray Cruises and Quad Bike Adventures in Coral Bay.

You could even head in for din­ner at one of the pubs or cafes.

War­roora Sta­tion is also one of the cheap­est places to stay in the re­gion and, al­though there are some catered

ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions, it is per­fect for those who are equipped to stay off grid.

GET­TING THERE

There are two ways to ac­cess War­roora Sta­tion (pro­nounced “Warra”) from the Minilya—Ex­mouth Road. The first is 15km south of the Coral Bay Road and where you turn if you’re head­ing to the 14-Mile Camp. The sec­ond is a fur­ther 36km south along the War­roora East Road and just be­fore the Lyn­don River West rest area. This road used to be part of the main track from Minilya to Ex­mouth and the War­roora Home­stead was a road­house ser­vice sta­tion.

If you’re driv­ing a 2WD and/or tow­ing an on-road car­a­van, mo­torhome or bus, the 14Mile Camp is for you. Care­tak­ers Les­ley and Roscoe will look af­ter you and di­rect you to the best camp­site for your setup.

This is a pop­u­lar camp and be warned, you might fall into the same trap as many

road trip­pers. You in­tend to stay a cou­ple of days and it turns into a cou­ple of weeks or more, the place is that good. There was even a cof­fee van when I was there!

For those who drive a 4WD and tow some­thing that eats up of­froad driv­ing and beach sand with ease, there are even more camp­site op­tions. But first, you must go and say “hi” to Harry at the Home­stead shop. If you’re stay­ing in one of the ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions, this is where you’ll check in. There are no EFTPOS or card fa­cil­i­ties on the prop­erty though, so you will need to carry cash. You can also buy ice-creams and drinks at the shop.

Now Harry is an amaz­ing char­ac­ter. Orig­i­nally from Swe­den, he ar­rived on Aussie shores in the 1960s. Set­tling in Carnar­von, Harry worked as a fencer on prop­er­ties up and down the Nin­ga­loo

Coast. These days he ar­rives at the start of the school hol­i­days and looks af­ter the Home­stead of­fice. While a lack of mo­bil­ity re­stricts his move­ments, Harry is full of life and happy for a chat.

OCEAN­FRONT LIV­ING

There are nu­mer­ous coastal camp­sites hid­den within War­roora Sta­tion that in­clude Sandy Point, Mag­gies, Elle’s Beach, Stevens Surf Break, Black Moon Cliff and

The La­goon. Once you’ve de­cided on which beach you’re go­ing to camp, you get a key to open the gate.

There are no fa­cil­i­ties at any of the camps, in­clud­ing 14-Mile, so you must bring every­thing you need, in­clud­ing a chem­i­cal toi­let. The Porta-Potti Pol­icy is sim­ple: sup­ply your own and if you don’t own one, you must rent one. There are des­ig­nated dump points at 14-Mile, the Home­stead and at The La­goon, and if you rent it, you must clean it.

Fires are per­mit­ted in the bar­rels pro­vided and fire­wood must be brought in from off the sta­tion or pur­chased from the Home­stead or 14-Mile. Ashes are not to be spread on the beach sand as it pol­lutes the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

Any rub­bish you ac­cu­mu­late can be dis­posed of at the tip, in­clud­ing cans that are re­cy­cled, with all money raised go­ing to the Royal Fly­ing Doc­tor Ser­vice. Cans are pre­ferred to glass bot­tles as there is no way to re­cy­cle them in the area, so you must take it with you when you leave.

Dogs are also wel­come but be aware and keep them on a leash as poi­son 1080 baits have been spread around the prop­erty to try and tackle a ma­jor prob­lem with wild dogs at­tack­ing their stock. They’ve had to tran­si­tion from sheep to cat­tle, hav­ing lost so many lambs to this ram­pant is­sue and the goats that used to add to the prop­erty’s in­come have been dec­i­mated. The is­sue isn’t as se­vere with the cat­tle, but there are still loses with cur­rently 700 or so drought mas­ter breed­ers in the herd.

CHEAP AS CHIPS

Now, you would ex­pect that the cost to camp so close to the Nin­ga­loo Coast would be ex­ces­sive, but War­roora only charges $10 per adult per day or a mere $50 per week and chil­dren un­der 16 are free! It is cer­tainly af­ford­able for most folks and one of the cheap­est stays along the Nin­ga­loo Coast.

As you close into the coast­line, the ex­cite­ment rises, as it al­ways does when ap­proach­ing the wa­ter. You climb that fi­nal dune and there it is, the In­dian Ocean stretching be­yond the hori­zon. The coast­line is still part of the Nin­ga­loo Ma­rine Park so re­mem­ber to leave only foot­prints and take only pho­tos.

As a kid, I was lucky enough to spend most of my school hol­i­days down at Apollo Bay in Vic­to­ria. My grand­par­ents had built a house across the road from the beach and fall­ing asleep to the sound of waves crash­ing was some­thing I rel­ished. I felt the same when I stayed at War­roora Sta­tion.

RE­SPECT­ING TRA­DI­TIONS

The Baiyungu peo­ple con­sider War­roora Sta­tion to be an im­por­tant part of their cul­tural her­itage and there is cur­rently a joint treaty be­tween War­roora and Baiyungu peo­ple to share in the re­spon­si­bil­ity for the man­age­ment of the land to pro­tect it for fu­ture use by the Baiyungu peo­ple.

This may oc­cur soon as the West Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment and the Baiyungu peo­ple are look­ing at tak­ing over man­ag­ing sec­tions of the Nin­ga­loo coast for pas­toral, con­ser­va­tion and tourism op­er­a­tions.

Leonie McLeod pur­chased the lease in 1994 for her sons Martin and Mur­ray Ho­rak. War­roora Sta­tion is now home to Martin and his wife Muriel and kids Sasha, Eva and Nolan. They con­sider them­selves the cus­to­di­ans of the land and pride them­selves on look­ing af­ter it. The sheep are gone, but the shear­ing shed re­mains and it is now a very pop­u­lar wed­ding des­ti­na­tion.

The Home­stead, cot­tages and shear­ers quar­ters are now all ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions, so if sleep­ing on a sandy beach is not a pref­er­ence, these op­tions will cater to your needs. If you do de­cide to stay in any of these op­tions, you do get to en­joy hot show­ers and flush­ing toi­lets.

With the prop­erty re­ly­ing on re­new­able en­ergy sources (so­lar and wind) to keep it go­ing, it is help­ful to limit your elec­tric­ity us­age. This is also the rea­son why there is no air-con­di­tion­ing in any of the ac­com­mo­da­tion.

I de­cided to check out the Shear­ers Cot­tage and en­joyed the rus­tic charms. A cou­ple of sin­gles beds graced my room and the kitchen was equipped with every­thing I needed to cook for 40 peo­ple. Thank­fully, I only had to cook for me, al­though I did share the space with Harry.

Each night we would sit around the fire pit and I would lis­ten in­tently as Harry told sto­ries about his life while en­joy­ing a can of beer and a cig­a­rette or two.

“War­roora only charges $10 per adult per day or a mere $50 per week and

chil­dren un­der 16 are free”

WHALE OF A TIME

Many who visit War­roora are there for the fish­ing. With the Nin­ga­loo reef so close, the fish­ing is fan­tas­tic ei­ther from the shore, the rocks or a tin­nie.

The prop­erty op­er­ates as a ‘wilder­ness fish­ing ethos’ and is ded­i­cated to en­sur­ing the long-term sus­tain­abil­ity of the lo­cal fish, so catches are limited to 5kg.

But that is not all: you can also en­joy surf­ing, snorkellin­g, whale watch­ing and plenty of time re­lax­ing.

Martin sug­gested that the best waves to surf are at The La­goon while Stevens

Surf Break is per­fect for an early morn­ing pa pad­dle board. Mag­gies is the best place for a swim or a snorkel and shov­el­nose sharks ca can be spot­ted at Pel­i­can Point. Sun­sets a are spec­tac­u­lar, es­pe­cially at Black Moon C Cliff and the mil­lion-star­lit night sky is u un­for­get­table.

A va­ri­ety of mi­gra­tory whales, whale s sharks and manta rays cruise the coast, and more than 300 species of coral thrive in the warm wa­ters of the Leeuwin Cur­rent that flows south to Tas­ma­nia. Nin­ga­loo also sup­ports more than 1000 fish species and three species of tur­tle. All of these can be spot­ted along the War­roora coast­line.

Martin told me how he spot­ted a great white shark gorg­ing on a whale’s car­cass — not some­thing you would ex­pect to see ev­ery day! But then did you know that or­cas visit the Nin­ga­loo Reef reg­u­larly?

An­other piece of in­for­ma­tion that few peo­ple re­alise is that the Tropic of Capri­corn reaches the In­dian Ocean on War­roora Sta­tion. While the po­si­tion is not sign­posted and ac­cess to that area of the prop­erty is re­stricted, at least you now know the an­swer for that trivia ques­tion.

On my fi­nal night, I en­joyed the hos­pi­tal­ity of Marty and his fam­ily and friends at Black Moon Cliff, watch­ing the sun go down while eat­ing fresh sushi from the day’s catch.

It just topped off an amaz­ing time spent at War­roora Sta­tion, a great des­ti­na­tion prac­tis­ing sus­tain­abil­ity as an eco-friendly wilder­ness ex­pe­ri­ence on the ex­cep­tional Nin­ga­loo Coast.

“A va­ri­ety of mi­gra­tory whales, whale sharks and manta rays cruise

the coast”

Words Glenn Mar­shalL Pics G l e n n M a r s h a l l a n d Wa r r o o r a S tat i o n

Lo­cal char­ac­ter Harry can tell a tale or two; War­roora Sta­tion is a beau­ti­ful slice of the WA coast­line; Les­ley and Roscoe are ex­cel­lent care­tak­ers at 14-Mile; the se­cret is out about 14-Mile Camp

CLOCK­WISE FROM ABOVE

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT Who'd have thought you'd see an Airstream out here?; a tin­nie is use­ful to ex­plore the Nin­ga­loo Reef; the track to 14-Mile is suit­able for all ve­hi­cles; Martin, Muriel and the chil­dren are per­fect cus­to­di­ans of the land

TOP TO BOT­TOM

Stevens Surf Break is a top spot for pad­dle-board­ing; catches are limited to 5kg to help pre­serve fish stocks

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