The Wild Side of Yardie
Yardie Homestead Caravan Park, Exmouth, is situated amongst some of the oldest places on the earth in geological time. The Ningaloo coast as we see it today was actually the ocean bed of an ancient reef system, and if you take the time to look you can find fossils from prehistoric marine creatures such as the giant shark Megaladon. At 319 metres the obtrusive Cape Range dominates the landscape of Yardie Homestead. It was formed through violent tectonic uplift of various ancient reef systems. While camping at Yardie Homestead Caravan Park it is easy to look up to the Cape Range and be in awe of the forces of nature!
Over the ages of the Ningaloo Coast, a great deal has happened in evolutionary terms and today’s wild landscape has special appeal for some species, such as seabirds, which use some of the remote rocky gorges for nesting. Fish eating raptors such as osprey can be spotted returning to the gorge with their catch of the day. If you are interested in spotting these amazingly large seabirds make sure you bring your binoculars for a close up view.
Given the abundance of fish it is no surprise that the mangroves and intertidal sand flats host a variety of year round and seasonal shore and wading birds on their transequatorial migrations. These birds make their way each year along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. It is no wonder they have lost two thirds of their body weight when they arrive at Ningaloo! As the birds are largely exhausted by the time they reach our coast it is important you take care not to disturb them.
Of all the birds at Yardie Homestead Caravan Park, the most charismatic is Australia’s largest bird, the emu. Confined to the ground, mobs of emus can be spotted cruising the coastal plains of Ningaloo in search of food and nesting places. A rather unique activity of the Ningaloo emu’s is bathing in the ocean and it is not uncommon in summer to see adult emu’s taking their juveniles for a quick ocean dip. As Yardie Homestead Caravan Park hosts a regular water supply, emus can be readily spotted enjoying a cool drink from the water troughs near the front gate of the park. Emu’s generally are not shy so make sure you keep your food in a secure place!
There are many diverse bird species along the Ningaloo Coast, from shorebirds to parrots. If you are interested in learning more about our birdlife, visit www.birdsaustralia.com.au the local Department of Environment office in Exmouth or the Milyering centre.
Yardie Homestead Caravan Park is fortunate to be situated in very close proximity to extensive marine turtle breeding and nesting grounds. Around October and November each year these giant ancient mariners can be seen mating in the shallow water around the coast, so take care when boating near the shore. Quite often the exhausted females drag their massive bodies up on the beach to escape the intentions of males! If you are lucky you may be able to watch green and loggerhead turtles nesting along the coastline.
Throughout the year very large bungarras – some as large as 2 metres – can be spotted around Yardie. Regardless of their size, bungarras are very swift on their feet and if you unwittingly approach one because of their excellent camouflage it is easy to be startled! Take time to marvel at their beautiful skin patterns.
Other reptiles include snakes, lizards and geckos. See if you can spot the velvet gecko wandering the driveways at night.
Major Marsupials and Mammals
Slender grey wallabies called Euro’s are a feature of Yardie Homestead Caravan Park, and can often be seen seeking shade around our buildings and trees. Today, with few natural predators, these shy animals inhabit the Ningaloo coastline in their thousands.
During the early morning and late evening it is possible to spot giant muscular Red Kangaroos jumping through our station. These spectacular marsupials seem to defy gravity as they leap over fences and gullies in a single bound.
Black footed rock wallabies are shy, highly agile animals who are able to bound expertly through very rugged and steep areas of the Cape Range, right on our back doorstep! A feature of these elusive creatures are their long tails, which are very important for providing the balance needed to hop from one rock to another.
In summer we are also lucky enough to have a small colony of fruit bats that visit each evening to forage in our date palms!
The nearby Ningaloo Reef supports a population of around 1000 dugongs and these clumsy marine mammals can be spotted in the shallow lagoon grazing on sea grass and algal beds. As they are generally slow moving, take care when boating in the lagoon to avoid boat strike.
Whales and dolphins are regularly spotted in the marine park near Exmouth. Humpback whales (migrate annually through the Marine Park moving northward to Kimberley breeding grounds in winter (June-July) and southward toward summer Antarctic feeding grounds in August-October. We are lucky in that these migrations regularly occur within 10 kilometres of the shoreline. If you take a drive up to Vlamhing Head lighthouse you can often be rewarded with views of these spectacular mammals frolicking off the shore. More than 7 species of whale and 13 species of dolphin have been recorded in the marine park along with two species of seal and sea lion.
Australia’s enigma, the echidna is a full time occupant of Yardie Homestead Caravan Park. These spiny monotremes (egg laying mammals!) take their time in wandering our camp grounds and can be quite stubborn when approached. Arching their back and burying their head under their protective spines they seem to think we can’t see them! The secret life of echidnas has long tantalized scientists and it wasn’t for 92 years after Europeans first came across echidnas that they discovered they laid eggs! Even more interestingly, it wasn’t until 1988 that a name was developed for a baby echidna – the puggle!
Protecting the Environment
Yardie Homestead Caravan Park is committed to have the smallest carbon footprint possible, and still improving.
Firstly, we now have a hybrid power station, implementing solar energy. The next step will be to also use wind power and gas injection technology in an attempt to supply a cleaner power source without compromising reliability. Please note that because we do operate off generators, some power restrictions do apply.
All fresh water supplied to the caravan park is produced by reverse-osmosis desalination. And it tastes really good !