Steep Point: The End Of The West

Steep Point: The End Of The West

I just smashed a bacon egg roll for brekky, chased up by two extraordinarily sweet vanilla latte’s, and now I’m snacking on chocolate, all before 9AM. Why? Because it’s Christmas Day, and I’m camping at steep point baby! Might even have myself a brunch beer in an hour or two!

Steep point is famously known as the westernmost point of the Australian mainland, and it’s my first time here to tell you the story. The first thing I’ve got to say (and what I was warned of this time of year) is WIND. Such a windy place! Most people visit just before winter to avoid the gusts, but if you are well prepared with a sturdy shelter it’s not so bad. Speaking of shelter it’s worth noting this: there is none. Shelter bay (ironic name right?) upon which we are camped has not a single shrub above a metre high, and there is no structure to tuck your camp behind. Aside from one night, the wind has blown between about 1pm and 11pm – remaining calm throughout the night and for the morning fishing efforts.

There’s two major reasons one might like to visit this place. Firstly is the seclusion, and second (to none) is the fishing. I’ve written it before and I’ll type it again; I’m a useless fisherman. But even I have managed to land a few and even hooked a stingray! On the first day alone, Jake managed to pull up this nice Groper, I landed a few little things called butteries and one of the beach lines hooked us up to a shark!

Now the shark is an interesting story. Once it was determined to be legal, this old mate was destined for the plate. Except old mate was a female, revealed to us as such when we gutted it to find an embryotic sac containing two little fellas wriggling about; possibly only minutes from being born! Instantly our crew of four switched from amateur hunters to inexperienced midwives as we carefully removed the sac, carried it to the water and gently sliced it open; releasing the spawn into the ocean. At first they looked pretty dead…but much like a human baby taking its first breaths, the salt water touching their skin seemed to have an effect and they began to squirm. In no more than a minute they were both swimming laps around our feet before turning north and heading out to the bay. Absolutely magic!

Seeing as this blog is very much about four wheel driving, I guess I better touch on that! Tough tracks is not at all what this place is about. Rough tracks though, damn! We were lucky and came in when the main track had been recently graded, and even then it had some bad patches. Ben and Alysha (who we were travelling with) have done steep point a few times and reckon it gets way, way worse. In many places I was dropping to 10km/h, mostly for the boat and trailer which are not really designed for such abuse. The total drive from the Overlander Roadhouse to the rangers residence is 176 kilometres, some of it sealed. We were 30 k’s from camp when I noticed that the slide rails on the boat trailer had snapped through and rubbed a hole in the bottom of the tinny. Easy fixed with a bit of steel putty, but fabricating a new slider involved a power drill and some scrap wood from around the place.

If taking a few trips away from camp is your thing, the Zutydorp cliffs are only 10km from the campsite via 4wd track. These tracks are easy, requiring low range only for the steeper hills. Along the cliffs there are campsites, though we didn’t go and check them out. I imagine they would get bloody windy all the time, and king waves are a thing up here. Yep, the possibility of death or at least discomfort here is pretty high! So I reckon these camps are best left to the super keen cliff fishermen. Atop the Zutydorp cliffs is perched the sign proving the fact that you are right on the westernmost tip of the country. Photo tiiiiiiime!

Our total stay at Steep was 3 full days and 4 nights; and boy did it fly by quickly! Early morning fishing, midday naps, evening fishing and a late night movie on the projector under the shelter of our gazebos is a fine way to spend Christmas!


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