After leaving the beautiful Steep Point we headed up the coast and through the town of Carnarvon to stock up on provisions, do some washing and have a shower! We stayed the night in a very clean and comfortable caravan park called the Wintersun Park. It’s a caravan park full of grey nomads travelling north to escape the cooler weather.
From Carnarvon we drove out to Point Quobba, we saw the light house and we were met with the following sign beside the coast. A timely reminder of the power of the ocean.
At the end of Point Quobba there were a number of old fishing sheds built in the 1950s these run down sheds are all that remains of smaller scale independent fishing industry which has now been replaced by bigger fishing industry based at the Carnarvon and Karratha.
We were headed up the coast to Red Bluff on an easy unsealed road that follows along behind the sand dunes allowing on glimpses of the coast until we turned and headed up over a sand dune and we were greeted with this spectacular view of Red Bluff.
This little pocket of coast is privately owned land at Quobba Station which was once a significant sheep station in years gone by. Red Bluff has a reputation as a fantastic surf location but the surfing (when conditions are good) is out on the point surf break. We arrived and the camp managers were on a rare weekend off so we were greeted by a camper helping manage the bookings and we chose the vacant camp closest to the beach and we were pleased to find fewer flies at Red Bluff. The beach waves were not surfable, big waves that were break onto a steep beach. Aaron and I had an absolute ball riding the waves right up the beach on the boogie boards.
We had three nights here at Red Bluff which was a nice change of pace from the busier tourist trail of activities. We wet for walks, swam , watched dolphins and large manta rays and did a bit of fishing. A neighbor was catching big whiting but we only caught two little ones that we kissed and threw back.
Red Bluff has a very laid back cool feel – very surfie – there is a small store/café that has a pizza night and a few basics and the camp managers offer coffee if the sun is shining and their solar power can operate the coffee machine. There are good sized camps spots and bush loos with sawdust (which the kids found very novel) and you need to be fully self sufficient unless you are staying at one of the ‘flash glamping tents’ these have solar power, hot water showers, fridges and bbqs – amazing views and the soothing sound of ocean surf rolling in and out.
On our third night the camp managers came down with the news there was a cyclone threatening (Cyclone Quang) to hit the coast and we may be required to leave. The area had been hit by a cyclone only five weeks earlier and had suffered a fair bit of damage. At the time of the warning Quang was a category 4 off the coast and possibly a category 2 or 3 when expected to hit land. (note the highest rating for cyclones is level 4!) We called my sister on the satellite phone to get an update of the forecast directly. It didn’t sound too bad although still a risk to the area.
We did an afternoon trip up to check out Gnaraloo another station beach stay further up the coast the road in was a bit rougher. They have more facilities, flushing toilets and showers but charge a lot more and the camp ground is more densely set out. The coast at Gnaraloo was really beautiful and there was another big protected reef bay which would be great for snorkeling but it was too cold and a bit overcast so we didn’t get the chance. Gnaraloo is another famous surf destination and the surf break usually runs just off the coast near the reef ledge – it looks totally scary to me – we saw some young guys having a go but the waves weren’t too great.
We had a slightly sleepless night worrying ‘what if the cyclone came in earlier than predicted? how we would fare with only a canvas tent over our heads.’ The lovely ocean nearby was totally pounding into shore evident of the wind and turbulence at sea. Fortunately when we woke it was overcast and a bit windy but no cyclone. We decided to head back to Carnarvon and take cover anyway.
As we ate breakfast on our last morning at Red Bluff a lovely pod of dolphins were frolicking near the beach and we were all delighted by their visit. They were a totally different variety of dolphin almost black in colour and a much pointer nose.
We loved Red Bluff and would return anytime it is beautiful – a special little hidden gem.