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Wednesday 29 Oct 2003
Geraldton, Australia

Kalbarri National Park

Heres something you may not be aware of: only 99.9 % of Australia is owned by the Australian government or indigenous peoples, 0.1 % is not. What do I speak of? Well today I was fortunate enough to meet HRH Prince Leonard of the Hutt River Province ("Lenny" to his friends). In 1970 farmer Lenny seceded his land from the Australian government in protest at the atrocious taxing system on his wheat crops. He successfully managed to declare his land a principality and formed his own country, with himself and Princess Shirley as the royal patrons.

Today I drove off from Kalbarri town and took the winding dusty road down to the "new country" where, upon entering, a smiling man in his 60s (with one damaged eye glinting at me) came forward and proceeded to take me on a tour of his small farmstead.. this being the Prince himself. I got my passport stamped upon entering and even bought some currency! He showed me various photos of himself and famous world figures like the Popes first in command (whom he had knighted) and various politicians and royals from across the world. Really quite incredible since he is quite humble in appearance and his friendly demeanour! I even got to sit on "the royal throne" in the church and I got a picture of myself shaking hands with the Prince... quite something considering how many famous people have done that before me.

Here I am in Geraldton.. an interesting bustling small provincial town. Very different to all the other towns in WA so far. Rather like Cairns or even somewhere in Ireland since there are less "red necks" walking around and more "hip young thangs" strutting their stuff. Actually its like a mini version of Brisbane. I guess its cuz Perth is only about 400 km further south.

On the 27th I drove off to Kilbarri town at the far end of the Kilbarri National Park. Managed to stay that night at the harbour car park (unfortunately last night I got nabbed by the ranger! Thats a first for me! Had to go to a caravan park... but I left it early enough this morning to avoid having to pay!), and then was able to use the Caravan park toilets in the morning (very easy .. no fence in sight!).

On 28th I explored Kalbarri National Park. Mainly two gorges along the Murchison River: Z-Bend and The Loop. I walked the 8km "loop" around The Loop which was ok, not particularly interesting, but good exercise. Was able to see thousands of little wildflowers though (they are in bloom at this time of year fortunately enough) and the colourful rock faces formed by the multi-coloured sands in the park. Plenty of flies too.. even more than Kakadu, but I managed to get by using my fly net THIS time!

Z-Bend, on the other hand, was quite picturesque, but I only bothered with the lookout since I was too tired to walk it!

Getting to these gorges involved driving around 70 km one-way on corrugated dirt roads (yeah I know!). Thankfully the corrugation was light so I was able to speed over the bumps fast enough to avoid vibrations in the car.

Right now Im in the library and using the net for free (on the same "search only" principals as was in Carnarvon .. but they aint watching me so I can type a bit more!!!)

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  • The Loop

    Geraldton

    Australia

    The Loop
  • Outback...

    Geraldton

    Australia

    Outback flowers
  • Z Bend

    Geraldton

    Australia

    Z Bend
  • Meeting the...

    Geraldton

    Australia

    Meeting the Prince