WA Trip - Shark Bay and Monkey Mia

After the couple days of living it up on the luxury farm stay we got stuck at in Northampton, we were happy to get back on the road and head North.  We weren't so happy about the drive though - it was another 5 hours in an uncomfortable rental car with not much to look out the window at.  The sparse landscape slowly changed, and eventually we got to Hamelin Pool, our first stop towards Shark Bay.

Hamelin Pool is a Marine Reserve containing the most diverse range of stromatolites in the world.  And after our visit a few days prior to the stromatolites at Lake Thetis we were becoming quite the experts on bacterial blobs!  

Not far down the road we stopped at Shell Beach, a beach that, quite surprisingly from the name, is covered in itty bitty shells.  You can't really tell from far away, but zoom in and the millions of little white cockle shells are remarkable.  The beach stretches for 60 km and is only one of two beaches in the world made entirely of shells.  The water was quite …

WA Trip - The Day We Accidentally Went to a Prince's Funeral

One of the weird but must-do stops on our trip was a visit to the Principality of Hutt River, an unrecognised micro nation that was declared sovereign from Australia in the 1970s.  The "ruler" Prince Leonard didn't agree with the wheat quota the government had introduced and ended up declaring war.  He used some obscure law to claim that their lack of response meant that he could succeed from the country, and thus his kingdom was born.  The principality has its own post office, currency, and passport stamp and seems to have a very different view from the Australian government on not having to pay taxes.
A week before our trip I was looking at the principality website and discovered that the Sunday we were going to go was the 49th anniversary of the founding.  Prince Leonard died earlier this year, and there was going to be a celebration of his life that day.  It was invitation-only, but all you had to do to get an invitation was send an email.  So of course I sent that em…

WA Trip - Exploring Kalbarri National Park

The following morning we got an early start on the long drive North to Kalbarri National Park.  The views on the drive are not particularly remarkable, so we were happy to get out and stretch our legs when we finally arrived.  The park was really crowded because of the holiday weekend, but we were able to find a parking spot and took a hike down to Nature’s Window.  When we rounded the corner to the rock we were surprised to find a long line of people waiting to take their Instagram picture inside the window.  Not exactly what we were looking for in a National Park.  I was able to sneak a picture quickly in between people and then we went back to the quieter part of the trail to explore the layered rock and enjoy the views.  It’s a pretty place, but I would definitely avoid it on a holiday weekend.

After that we drove down the road and took another hike to Z-Bend.  It was not as crowded and gave some great views of the river taking sharp turns inside a gorge.  It was interesting to see…