27 February – 8 March. This place was definitely on our bucket list, and because there was no booking system, we knew we’d have to follow everyone’s advice and get there early. I was awake at 04:30, and we started packing by five (only because the boys woke up to go to the loo!). We were all in the car by 06:00, and arrived at the NP gatehouse at ten to seven (an absolute PB for us). First in a queue of two. Another seasoned vanner who’d been here before arrived just as the boys had scoffed a quick bowl of cereal and told us to drive straight down to the camp site and talk to the ranger. There was a hair-raising moment for me when we turned off to Lucky Bay with the other two cars driving straight on. I thought we’d made a wrong turn, but it turned out they were checking out another site (Cape Le Grand) first. With skippy-dar on high alert (we spotted many, and narrowly missed one, who was almost concussed by a side mirror), we nabbed one of the few spots that were being vacated that day. We had made it!
We had planned to stop here awhile and savour the first of our South WA stops, a lovely change after being on the move for the last few weeks. The main draw card for us were pictures of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, oh, and kangaroos on the beach.
This place does not disappoint on any account. Lucky Bay delivers a huge well protected white sandy bay with crystal clear water, surprisingly warm at about 23 degrees, surrounded by lush bush and massive granite outcrops. The weather ranged from 22 to 30, with generally sunny skies and a constant breeze, and we swam on all but the coolest days.
The sand is amazing and was so fine that it felt like cornflour slurry when it was wet (and went everywhere when dry). It was so hard that even those in normal cars were braving the beach. We discovered that this was excellent for sand sculpting and we all gave it a shot. The boys made great monster truck cities and Kris went for mermaids and a castle. I made a church – who said six years at a religious school had no influence on me!
The only draw back on the first night were some unpleasant bogans from Queensland, complete with a noisy ‘Bunning’s special’ generator, who proclaimed to some like-minded fellow campers that they were going back into town to buy some grog because they were going to have ‘a session’ that night. They were indeed up late, with foul language to match what we were expecting. Next morning we moved to another site – just a few spaces away but superior in every way – quieter, nicer neighbours, more protected from the wind and backing onto a patch of bush that housed an awesome bush tree house. We later found out we were the fourth to move away from these lovely Queenslanders.
Unfortunately generators are allowed here and they would plague us for at least a few days of our stay. The only other negative was the camping area resembled a parking lot. Just 3 large terraces with cars and caravans jammed in. Still, there were plumbed toilets, solar showers and a functional camp kitchen complete with hot water for washing up. The view alone made up for the crowded campsite.
So, what a wonderful nine days. We have spent the week chilling out, going for walks, and generally taking it easy – we have finally cracked out all our kit (including ‘UNO’ and ‘Bananagram’). Highlights were a bike ride to Thistle Cove, swimming at Little Hellfire Bay, scaling Frenchman Peak, fishing for, and catching a meal of herring (following instruction from my new best mate Barny), snorkelling, and rides along the beach.
A Belgian tourist told me that Lucky Bay had recently wrestled the title of ‘whitest sand beach’ from Whitehaven in the Whitsundays. That must have hurt! I also decided to souvenir some sand for an ‘Around Australia’ sand jar sculpture. I wonder how long this latest fad lasts?
On the morning we left, we ran into some fellow Lappas that we’d befriended in Port Lincoln. It was a shame we didn’t get to spend more time together, especially for the boys, who went ‘minecraft mental’ for an hour whilst the oldies swapped Nullarbor tales over coffee. No doubt we’ll criss cross again. As we drove away from this paradise, it started to rain, perhaps an omen to move on?