So, the pick-up point really is the Orange Post on the corner of Wellington Street and the Horseshoe bridge. One large rucksack each and a duffel between us. The travel covers for the rucksacks make them look massive! Note to self, let the drivers see our bags and then add travel covers!
Once on board there is plenty of room for our carry-on bags stored overhead. The drivers do an excellent job of sorting out passengers, trying to ensure couples, like us, are together, and that lone females sit together.
There is a toilet on board which is a relief. Reading lights, USB sockets and air con outlet at each seat. The aircon works well and we need our blanket in the early hours. We make plenty of stops and again the drivers marshal passengers, making the most of the space available, they are also very clear about the location of toilets and time available at each stop. Progress is good and we keep to time. Nice long stop in Carnarvon where there is a Woollies to grab some brekkie. All passengers pay attention to the guidance on a bus which is apparently unusually full.
Good trip and we await stage 2 from Coral Bay to Exmouth on 14th.
Blog part 2 14th November Coral Bay to Exmouth
After a fantastic three days in Coral Bay we are making the short hop to Exmouth. While in Coral Bay we can certainly recommend taking an organised trip to swim with Manta Rays (enquire at the ticket hub) or a walk around the beach (to the right) to see Black Tipped Reef Sharks in the shark nursery. Just remember, take only photos and leave only foot prints.
Our Integrity coach turned up bang on time. Our drivers greet us with a smile and a joke, and we are at ease.
Our coach has more legroom and the seats recline further than the previous ride, fantastic! We are soon on our way. Bus is lightly loaded, plenty of room to spread out. Aircon working well so as the heat of the day intensifies, in the bus we are cool. The TV screen at the front is showing a movie but for me the scrub flowing passed the window is of much more interest. Keeping our eyes peeled for wildlife.
As our bus makes progress, now and then there is a glimpse, from the side window, of the road ahead...a seemingly never-ending black ribbon laid casually over the vastness of Western Australia. I need to find out if the termite mound looking objects are in fact termite mounds. It is without doubt quicker to fly, at the same time, so much would be missed in doing so. Not much changes in the view but as a result it is far easier to draw a sense of the enormity of God's Own Country.
My imagination wanders and I wonder if our progress is being watched from the scrub by many a venomous creature....unlikely? but an interesting thought. What resides out there will remain a mystery.
Use the time on the bus to plan your activities at each destination. There is plenty to do. Coral Bay has a supermarket, bakery, bottle shop all of which are reasonably priced. For the adventurous there are quad bike tours around the local area. Snorkelling and diving options, glass bottom boat rides to the reef....plenty to occupy your time.
The beach at Coral Bay is a sandy bottomed safe place to swim. Those confident enough can snorkel right from the beach. While we were there 2 dolphins came right into the shore and a juvenile bronze shark swam along the shoreline.
Wander down to the beach in the late afternoon, sit at one of the shaded tables, crack a tinnie and watch the day end. Kangaroos hop about in the scrub behind and an array of birds swoop overhead. Spend some time here, and chill.
There is no doubting the value that Integrity Coach Lines brings, it opens up the West Coast and provides an array of options for budget travellers like us, so thank you Integrity Team, your service is a lifeline.
For those getting off in Exmouth, plan your trip in advance. There is heaps to see and do but without a car, it is difficult. The visitors centre has a plethora of trips but if you are only in Exmouth for a few days...book in advance.
Stage 3 Exmouth to Broome 16th November.
(Note from Integrity: Check out our Exmouth destination page for tours that you don't need a car for ie: they pick up from your hotel - https://tinyurl.com/e32wbapr . As Matt advised it helps to book ahead!)
16Nov22 Exmouth to Broome Stage 3
Well you really do need lots of planning if you are going to maximise a stay in Exmouth.
The Potshot Hostel where we stayed for 2 nights is centrally located, the dorms are big, the aircon works, there is an on site bottle shop which is cheaper than the one in town. Plus, it sells ice. Plenty of shops in town, there are 2 IGAs, a bakers, bottle shop and bars.
A few things about Exmouth;-
Visitors centre - defo worth a visit but it is a bit of a walk in the sun, so go early.
Tours - Potshot arrange tours as well as the visitors centre
Beach - a long walk? No, stand with your back to the Potshot hostel, if you look to your left, you will see a track on the opposite side of the road. This leads to the beach. However, I didn't swim here so check with locals where it is safe to do so.
Public Baths - At $6 entry the local pool is excellent. 50m lanes for swimmers, plenty of space for paddlers and those wanting to cool down. Shaded seating.
Birds - look up when you are in Exmouth, the bird life is amazing. Look out for Ospreys, Galahs, Crested Pigeons....
Right, the bus has just left Exmouth. Lightly loaded, sit where you like...the drivers are getting fed up with my wife's joke about not having to sit near me. Bags stowed. Aircon on, seat reclined, Peter Pan on the TV...eyes peeled for Emus!
First stop Nanutarra Roadhouse. 40 minute leg stretch. The first European settlers walked here with 1500 sheep. It took 2 ½ years! Toilets are very clean and considering where we are food and drink is reasonably priced. Do a few exercises, touch your toes, don't get straight back on the bus or square butt syndrome will just get worse. Ice lollies are a good buy, keeps you cool but doesn't ramp up the need to pee.
Emu count = 0. Roo count = 0
Sun now sinking low, shadows are lengthening, aircon working overtime.
We make a further stop near a McDonald's, where an ice cold sprite and a loo stop are the order of the day. Then we press onto Broome make further brief stops to pick up and drop off. Bus is 90% full when we reach our final destination. Our drivers were excellent.
06.45 is early for Broome and most of the hostels have later check ins. Why not head to the Broome Aquatic centre for a dip in the pool. $5.50 to get in, plenty of shade, drinking water fountains and it is right near bus stop 14 on the Broome Explorer Bus. It is about 1.5km from the visitors centre but is an excellent option.
I will send a stage 4 - things to do in Broome
Stage 4 - Broome
We are staying at the Cable Beach Backpackers. Broome Explorer Bus is your best option to visit big supermarkets, the attractions and the town.
The 24hr $15 and 72hr $35 Broome Explorer bus tickets are excellent value. Buses only run 1 per hour in low season and do not start until 0900.
There is a Woollies and Kmart at the shopping centre, but Coles in town is cheaper.
Do visit the Broome Museum, lots of small exhibits and an excellent video on how cultures pearls are grown.
A sunset visit to cable beach is very good and easy if you are staying at cable beach!
If you are catching the 0600 Greyhound to Darwin, stay in town the night before...otherwise it is a 6km walk from Cable!
Pop into Sun Pictures outside cinema, the oldest such place in the world and a real step back in time
The Willie Creek Pearl Luggers Tour, at $30 per person, provides a really good history of the development of Broome. You also get to handle lots of artifacts and a $60000 pearl
The Saturday Court House Market was very disappointing. Pretty much usual market stuff.
Remember to take photo ID to the bottleshop...no photo ID, no bottles.
Get off the explorer bus at Town Beach, also the stop for the museum, for some excellent wildlife spotting from the jetty, turtles are almost guaranteed, as are Ospreys. And excellent way to spend an hour or more.
From Streeters Jetty you get a close-up view of the Mangroves.
Download the free Jetty to Jetty app for an excellent guided tour between Streeter's Jetty and Town Beach
We have loved our time in WA...now we are heading for Darwin in the NT.
Many thanks again to the Integrity team...we could not have done it without you