I spent a fair part of the winter seeking out less-travelled corners with my boyfriend, Adam, away from the crowds, hassles filled lineups and phone reception or wifi. Western Australia was the main spot on our agenda! Both of us have pretty crazy schedules through the summer with competing, Adam is one of the top riders on the World Windsurfing Tour and I’ve been competing on the World Qualifying series. Winters are really the only time we get to spend a good couple of months together so we needed to find somewhere that would allow us to be together and keep our training up.
We spent two months living in a lil’ Ford Econo van, GG that we kitted out with a bed, solar panel, fan and a fridge (she came with an epic sound system which made the long journeys fly by). This meant that we didn’t need to rely on campsites and could spend time off of the grid. It was is perfect as everything is very spread out, some days we would drive for hours and only see a couple of other cars, we’d think we were finally reaching a town and it would essentially just be a little fuel station! My favourite spot has to be the Ningaloo reef area. I loved the adventure of stocking up on all the food, water and fuel we would need and set off through amazing, desolate scenery on bumpy dirt/ sand track in search of epic reef breaks.
I may have gotten the van stuck in a sand drift along these tracks but thankfully after 15 minutes of digging a truck came along, the guys were pretty delighted to test out new winch and pull us out. We were hundreds of miles from the nearest town with only salty bore water showers and the odd whiff of phone reception. I surfed some of the longest left-hand point breaks I’ve ever surfed, with just Adam or a couple of others out. Ningaloo Reef is a nature reserve, it was amazing to see the clear blue water teeming with turtles, fish and baby sharks swimming around on the colourful live coral reefs below you. I’d surf every morning until about 11 am when the wind would pick up and Adam would head in and sail.
Before sunset, the wind would drop and I’d run in for a few last waves. It was perfect for us!
West Oz may not be everyone’s cup of tea though. Yes, the rumours are true there are plenty of snakes, spiders, sharks, flies and of course, there is the fear of running out of fuel/ water in the unrelenting sun …. they don’t call it the Wild West for no reason! I think within an hour of me arriving we’d accidentally run over a snake as it was relaxing on the warm evening tarmac. Adam freaked out (snakes are his worst nightmare!) pulled over the van and timidly searched it all over… I thought he’d lost it! But it’s common for them get caught in the wheel arches, find a way into the van that and just appear when you least expect.
Saying all this, around the southwest, Margret River area there is much more going on. Although its a lot chillier there’s a big variety of waves, towns, vineyards, some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches I’ve ever seen, lots of national parks and incredible things to see and do. After exploring and falling in love with the west coast we set off in GG for another adventure on the east coast. 55 hours of driving over 5 days….. but that’s a whole other story.