A Land Before Time

August 17, 2018


PhotographyBobby Bense

Model/Styling/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationsShark Bay | Dirk Hartog Island | Carnarvon | Ningaloo Reef – Coral Bay | Cape Range National Park – Exmouth | Karijini National park  | Monkey Mia | Francois Peron National Park

Getting Around/Accommodation – Apollo

ToursDirk Hartog Island | Ningaloo Reef Dive | Monkey Mia Marine Life Cruise | Francois Peron Nature Safari | Blowholes Helicopter Tour

 

Outfit Details 

Dresses – Adele Dress | Ready for it Dress | Taylor Gown | Hollie Dress |  Virginia top | Frances Skirt | Joplin Jacket | Forever Me dress

Top/Pants/Skirts – Resort Culottes | Free Spirit top | Embroidered lace skirt | Poupette St. Barth Mini Skirt (Similar)

Swimwear – Cori Top | Cori Bottoms | Salvador Summer one piece | Nala Wrap Skirt | Hung up on you one piece | Ostuni Halterneck one piece

Footwear – Raye Emily Sandal | Gold flip flops

Accesssories – Je T’aime Hat | Ettika Drop Lariat | Gold Charm AnkletRiviera cap | Instax SQ6 Camera | Fairy lights

Banana Palm Pool Float | Hawaii Mens bracelet

Moroccan Cushions | Pouf | | Blanket | Rugs | Sandy Cream Cushion | Zara Cushion

 

“Nature is inherently healing. You simply need to immerse yourself in it”

Exploring the north west of WA was like traveling back through time. We learnt about the history of the land, the people who came before, the natural changes that took place to create this majestic landscape. It was within this ancient billion year old land that I felt the beginning of a healing transformation. This is one of the many wonderful gifts of travel. It opens your eyes, your mind, your heart. It allows you to breathe in new life and ignites the fire and passion within. As I lay upon these warm rocks, and swam in the deep blue, I could feel my connection to everything. I was reminded of what’s most important in life…love, compassion, kindness, connection and presence.

This trip was beyond anything I have experienced. And I highly recommend it to those who crave the open road. Western Australia has so much to offer and is honestly one of the most beautiful places to explore by road. And if you want to do it comfortably like we did, then make sure you check out Apollo Campers. We traveled in the Euro Deluxe motor home and it was such a great way to cover a lot of miles in a short time, and still immerse yourself in each place…AND do it in style. It was ultra spacious for our family of 4 that we were able to bring a few home comforts along for the ride. Each night we cooked delicious vegan meals inside our motorhome, made pancakes and smoothies in our thermomix, and feasted with our fellow campers.

First up on the trek was the Shark bay World Heritage area. We took an amazing day trip to Dirk Hartog Island with Shark Bay Dive. A day filled with so many highlights – the blowholes at full steam, home made scones at the homestead, mind blowing ocean views, humpback whales breaching right by our boat. They actually swam around us for what felt like an eternity! It was the closest I’ve ever been to whales, and I felt like I could almost touch them. It was the most magical experience of our lives. The kids especially couldn’t stop squealing and smiling.

Next we ventured further north to Wooramel River Retreat. A wonderful outback station stay where you’ll get some of the best night time views of the stars. They also have artesian bore baths naturally filled with magnesium to relax and restore. It was such a treat after driving for long stretches to soak in these warm baths. A short drive later we arrived in Carnarvon and camped out at Wintersun caravan park for a few days so we could explore the food trail, helicopter to the Blowholes and watch brilliant sunsets over the ocean. One balmy evening I saw the sky light up, and within a few seconds I gathered the family, packed up the camper, and off we set to watch the sunset. We pulled up at Pelican point on Babbage island and it was one of the best sunset spots right on the beach. We watched the sky change from golden to pastel pink to deep purple from the comfort of our motor home while the salty ocean air filled our lungs :) We finished our stay here with a must do Helicopter trip along the coast. We lucked out with perfect still conditions so Bobby decided to take the door off his side! It was definitely a bucket list adventure for him :) We saw dolphins, whales and turtles along the entire coast. Seeing these gentle beings swimming within the glassy turquoise pristine waters reminded me how important it is to take care of our beautiful oceans.

Our next stop was much further north. Driving into the night we came across so much wildlife on the road. Dingos, kangaroos, emus, and even sheep! We finally reached Exmouth and couldn’t wait to wake up and explore Cape Range National Park. We headed off early to avoid the school holiday crowds and enjoyed a lovely beach day at Sandy bay. The water was like diamonds, glistening and clear. It reminded me of the Maldives. Our time here was so short as we just couldn’t wait to get to Karijini National park. We had built up our expectations of this place. Everyone we spoke to said you must go, it’s amazing. And it truly was! It exceeded our expectations and we are still dreaming of going back. We camped just on the outskirts of the national park in Tom Price so we could power up the motorhome. We fell in love with Fortescue falls and Fern pool, which is an easy place to travel with the kids. And a great place to picnic and lay on the 2.5 billion year old rocks. This is where I felt totally transformed. As I dove into the freezing cold waters it was like a rebirth process. Somehow everything I had been holding onto, all those fears and limitations were released. I never felt more free than in this moment. This will always be my happy place, holding an anchor for these memories.

After driving and exploring for a couple of weeks we were ready to stay put in one place. Next up was Coral Bay and we spent 6 amazing nights here. And to our surprise some of our really good friends were also camping nearby which made this part of our trip so special. The kids all happily played and us adults had some time to relax and play too. Each day we snorkelled, we supped, we swam, we kayaked, we cooked together and enjoyed sunset cocktails with our tribe. We barely looked at our phones. We forgot what day it was and we were ruled by the sun rising and setting, attuned to nature :) It reminded me of my childhood camping trips, which always brought so much joy to my days.

The Ningaloo reef which stretches along Coral bay and Exmouth is one very special place. It’s worth spending more time here to explore all the incredible snorkelling spots. On Bobby’s birthday we celebrated and spent an entire day with Ningaloo reef and dive in the ocean and it was magic. We saw whales, dolphins, turtles and we swam with a manta ray! It was my first time and it was incredible! They are the most graceful and majestic beings.

Our trek continued south, slowly but surely we made our way back home. Some of the most spectacular moments of our trip happened in these last few days. Our time at Monkey Mia was particularly amazing thanks to the family of dolphins who visited each day. The dolphin experience is such a unique aspect of this area. We watched them hydroplaning (a term I never even knew existed) trying to catch fish along the shore. They were almost on top of us, yet so graceful and fast as they chased the fish. Later we took a catamaran out with Perfect Nature Cruises to experience the marine life up close and personal. It was insane! And I highly recommend this tour. It’s affordable and fun for the whole family. We saw dolphins, turtles and a dugong in the clearest and calmest water I think I’m ever seen. On the way back the kids had a blast in the boom net as the ocean created a spa experience for them! Each evening we sat by the beach enjoying the sunset reflections in the super still waters. This made for the most relaxing stand up paddle boarding experience of my life. There was no wind, just pastel skies and dolphins swimming all around me. I’m not sure there is any experience on this planet that will top this now.

Our final day we took the best 4WD tour to Francois Peron national park. The contrast between the turquoise water and red cliffs was unbelievable and truly magnificent. We ventured along the cliffs, watching the marine life below spotting dugongs, sting rays, sharks, turtles and dolphins. The waters here are filled with life! And they are so clear you can see everything! After a beautiful lunch overlooking the ocean, some 4WDing along the beach, kangaroo spotting, we ended the most perfect day soaking in the artesian bore bath at the homestead. It was one of our favourite days of our trip. The whole family was happy, our explorer hearts filled with joy.

On our journey back home we stopped at some of our favourite places. Kalbarri national park is such a beautiful part of WA and still so close to Perth. At the natural bridge you can spend hours watching whales. We spotted one within a few minutes of arriving and it was hard to leave. I could have stayed there all day :) Nature has always surprised me, though our stop at Pink Lake in Port Gregory was mind blowing. I couldn’t believe how pink the lake was. The colour is caused by an algae rich in beta carotene and it can actually change from deep crimson red all the way through to lilac. During our visit it was super candy pink and the water was absolutely so still. We were lucky enough to enjoy this spot for about half an hour before a huge storm rolled in ever so quickly. We packed up and hit the road all the way back home.

This trip, the memories, the lessons, the connections, have all changed me. Being immersed in nature in this way has a profound healing effect. It forces you to connect, to remember who you are, to feel alive!

If you’re ever in need of a reboot, a jump start, a push out of your comfort zone, then take this trip. Head into nature, connect with the earth, explore the wondrous mysteries of the world. Fill your soul and your heart with the magic. Put yourself in front of the beauty each and every single day until you remember this same beauty is also you.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

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