Saturday, 9 October 2010


Kalbarri is a beautiful spot where the Murchison river meets the sea.  We initially planned on spending three nights here, but have been having such a good time seeing the sites, boating and swimming that we extended for a few more days and when we leave tomorrow we will have spent a week here.

One morning we went to see the pelican feeding on the foreshore.  It was started in the 70's by a local, Cliff Ross, who owned a shop opposite the beach and used to feed the birds his scraps after taking his boat out fishing in the mornings.  The pelicans became used to their morning treat, and on days that he didn't fish they would walk across the road to his shop that he owned looking for him, interrupting traffic and causing pelican pandemonium.

To alleviate the problem, local volunteers began feeding the pelicans on the days that Cliff didn't fish.  Sadly Cliff passed away several years ago, but the volunteers continue feeding the pelicans every morning and it's become a tourist attraction.  There was no charge to view the feeding, but donations toward the purchase of fish are appreciated.

In keeping with the ritual, Mike and I fed our left over bait to the pelicans after boating one morning.

Unfortunately the seagulls got most of it!

The cliffs overlooking the ocean are spectacular, and we spent an afternoon walking the trails to some beautiful views.

Natural Bridge

Island Rock

Rainbow jungle is another area attraction.  They have hundreds of parrots from all over the world.  They were also hosting an art exhibit set amongst the parrot enclosures and gardens.

This is one of my favorites.

The bird below's name is Hot Tuna.  As the sign on his enclosure states, he can say "Hello Hot Tuna", and "How ya going?".  He also whistles Jingle Bells and Waltzing Matilda and wolf whistles at "hot chicks".

My favourite part of Rainbow Jungle was the area where the parrots fly free.  The area is beautifully landscaped with trees, perches, birdhouses, ponds and waterfalls.

Anyone home?
Best of all was when Mike would hold out his arm and a parrot would come out of nowhere and land on it.  This, of course got the attention of other visitors "Look at that Man!  He's holding a parrot!".

A few kids came over to Mike to watch and Mike explained his "technique" to them, whereby he rubs his fingers together while holding out his arm.  One kid went off to try, but didn't have much luck.  Before long more and more people were imitating Mike's method without success.  Mike would then walk over and stick out his arm and again a bird would quickly land on it.

We had such a laugh when we looked around at one point and saw just about everyone in the place sticking out their arms and rubbing their fingers together.  It was SO funny. :)  He's always been a bit of a Dr. Doolittle!

Dr. Doolittle demonstrates his secret bird calling technique
This is an Eclectus parrot.  They're not endangered, but in the past many of their nesting sites were destroyed by poachers.

It was originally thought that there were two varieties of Eclectus parrot, a red and a green.  It took a long time before it was realised that one is the male and the other the female.  As you can imagine, early breeding efforts were not very successful.

Hello there, I'm the female.

What does bigfoot wear to the beach?  My favourite piece of art of the day.

Yesterday we went to Kalbarri National Park to see Nature's Window, a rock formation with a large hole in the center which was carved by the winds.  The result is a "window frame" rock.

The walk was only about 1 kilometer return.  What should have been a nice stroll became grueling in the intense heat.  Add a lot of climbing and a couple of million bush flies to the mix, and we were not happy campers.  Until we got there of course.  Then all was well...  until we had to make the return trip.

Keep climbing...
It's a long way down!

We made it!  Nature's Window

We've seen and photographed plenty of wildflowers in Kalbarri.  I've had a lot of trouble with our internet connection over the past couple of days, but if Telstra cooperates I'll upload some of them after this post.  Otherwise, I'll share them with you when we reach a larger town where there should be a better connection.

Oh - before I go I must tell you about the fabulous crumbed fish dinner we had last night using fresh red emperor. We're going to make it again tonight with coral trout.  I found a recipe on Epicurious which we improvised.  The crumb mixture we used was:

1.5 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons course kosher salt
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 large egg whites
1/4 cup dark ale (we used guinness)
3 tablespoons (or more as needed) olive oil

Whisk the egg whites and ale in one bowl and mix the dry ingredients in another.  Dip each piece of fish in the egg white mixture, shake off the excess and then turn fish in the panko mixture to cover all sides.  Add oil to a large nonstick skillet and cook until golden and just opaque in the center. It just takes a couple of minutes per side.

We couldn't find fresh Italian parsley so we used dried, and we also used 1 teaspoon of table salt in place of the course salt.  It still came out melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and healthier than fish and chips too.  Add a salad and you've got a meal. Give it a try! :)

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