Short Travel Stories is a special segment of the “Gone Atlas” website, where real life, short travel or backpacking stories will be shared, literally, for fun. Hope you enjoy, and if you do, leave us a comment below telling us an exciting travel story!
Chapter 2: Exploring The Australian West Coast & Elephant Rocks
The first time I saw the Elephant Rocks it was in a picture from a Buzzfeed article, I was sitting in my room in Italy and they amazed me. In that particular moment I probably thought I’d never see them, but today, I was going to.
We were on our way to Denmark, a four-hour drive from Margaret River. As soon as we leave the campsite we enter this road that’s surrounded by thick forest full of tall and skinny trees that looked more like hundreds of legs.
I’m staring out the window when my friend, Daniel, yells at me “Hey man look! An emu!” he stops the car and the bird runs away and disappears between the trees.
We keep going when we finally arrive to the rocks. However there’s an intersection that indicates the rocks to the left or a “Green Pool’ to the right. We follow our curiosity and go to the pool first, you have to go down an infinite stairwell in the bushes, when eventually you make it to the beach.
It was like a scene from the movies, when the main character is walking through the woods, then moves some leaves and appears in front of the Promised Land.
In our case it was this wonderful beach, with white sand, a huge lagoon with emerald water, full of big rocks scattered around and sticking their heads out of the water. Further away you can see even bigger rocks forming a barrier and stopping the waves and currents, thus forming the lagoon.
It’s like a paradise, there’s only like fifteen people, and we can see five kids swimming, climbing up the rocks and jumping into the water. A playground for all ages. We leave our stuff and run like two more of the children into the water. Daniel climbs up the tallest rocks and dives into the ocean. It’s my turn, but fuck man, the rock is really hard to climb and my knees are rubbing against the rocks and it hurts, but I make it. I dive and the water is so transparent, I can see the bodies of the rocks, legs of people swimming, some fish, and the sun rays illuminating everything.
A while later we go towards the famous Elephant Rocks. We go running, excited and anxious to see them. Another stairwell through the bushes, this time going up. We make it to the top of the hill and we see these massive rocks. You can’t see the elephant shapes from that angle, you have to see them from the west side of the beach, but anyways, the beach looked insane.
I’d say it’s the nicest beach I’ve seen in my whole life. The sand is super white, the water is light blue and crystal clear, and you get to swim between these rocks that are between ten and twenty meters tall, like walls creating a labyrinth.
When you see them from the proper angle, you just can’t believe it. The silhouette of the rocks is really like that of an elephant. A big, round thorax, with squared head, and then a small deformation on the rock shapes the trunks.
Same routine, we run towards the water, climb on the rocks and jump into the water. We’re swimming and I’m making a short video when all of a sudden a ray appears next to us and we swim away scared as fuck, laughing at ourselves for being so scared as it was tiny and was only swimming.
Then I’m sitting in the sand eating a sandwich and remembering when I saw these rocks for the first time, and I just can’t believe myself. Here I am, in the southwest of Australia, rejoicing at this incredible masterpiece than nature decided to give us.
I’m not thinking about anything in particular. I’m like gone, floating in my mind, only enjoying what I see, live and feel. I’m calm and smiling inside.
“When on Earth did I decide to come here”, I’m saying to myself.
We have to keep on going, and we pass through Albany and it’s great beaches, and then we make it to Esperance.
We stop at the Pink Lake, which is like a sort of dry lake that due to some chemical in the mud, it turns the water pink. It’s beautiful, but the best part of it is that you feel like in a desert, you’re walking on this white mud, the horizon is really far away and so the dimension of the things that are further away are strange, because you lose perspective.
Afterwards we head towards Bluhaven beach and this is one of the best scenic drives I’ve ever done. You drive up this hill and then you can see to your left this bay with the light-bluest water I’ve ever seen. We make it to the beach and like always, not a soul. In Western Australia you feel like you’re walking in undiscovered land all the time, as it’s you and no one else.
Sadly we have to leave West Oz. We’re on a schedule since we have to take back the car to Sydney on a certain date, and so we got to move. Ahead of us it’s the Nullabor Plain, a sort of desert ore then one thousand kilometers long.
I’m driving, the sky is like in fire, a gentle breeze is hitting us in the face, there’s not a soul in the road and we’re listening to Arcade Fire. I suddenly remember that we haven’t had a shower in two days and it doesn’t matter. We’re happy, Western Australia won our hearts and gave us even more energy to keep going.