Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Visiting King Neptune

Saturday, 16th April - 3pm.

Having just got home from seeing The Divergent Series: Allegiant (LOVED IT!), Chelsea and I embarked on yet another adventure, albeit one not as far fetched or potentially dangerous as the midnight drive to Northam. This time, we headed for Two Rocks, the northernmost point of the Perth Metropolitan Region.

Two Rocks sits just north of Yanchep, a coastal beach community that started as a small crayfishing settlement and was further developed in the 1970's by Alan Bond. Once considered rather isolated, today it only takes roughly a 45 minute drive along Marmion Avenue to reach. The region is home to Yanchep National Park, which offers beautiful nature and wildlife, and absolutely breathtaking views.

Loch McNess at Yanchep National Park
The reason we were heading for Two Rocks was to see the well known King Neptune statue. For a short term leading up to the 1990's, Two Rocks was home to the Atlantis Marine Park, headed up by a massive statue of King Neptune and his trident. The park went defunct and was abandoned, but King Neptune and a few other small features of the park still remain.

The drive up Marmion was cruisy, and we finally reached Yanchep Beach Road without too much fuss. A lot of the drive was spent discussing the various dramas going on in our lives, but we were having fun either way. Following Yanchep Beach Road, we eventually hit Two Rocks Road, and this was where the drive changed. Houses and suburban streets gave way to shrub covered dunes that rose and fell with the road, and every so often, the ocean would peek through between the sand dunes to greet us as we drove along. The road felt like a country road in that there wasn't much around it, but those views are unparalleled.

We came around the bend after about ten minutes driving up to Two Rocks, and lo and behold, there was King Neptune, greeting us from atop his hilly perch as he looked out over Two Rocks. I cheered happily, not really sure why, but glad to see our final destination.

After parking opposite Neptune, we walked over to the fence to discover that King Neptune has opening hours, and we were three hours too late. But deciding that we weren't going to let the long drive be for nothing, we walked around a little way and found a hole in the fence. We followed the worn path into the bush, and found ourselves standing on remains of concrete walls, asphalt paths, and a wooden bridge.

We were standing in the remains of Atlantis Marine Park.

Now, there isn't much left. But if you have a keen eye and compare the land today to an old photo of the park, judging by where we were standing in relation to King Neptune, the area in front of us was once the main dolphin pool. And off to the left, we followed the path a little further to find an open flattened plain that had clearly once been full of bush, but was struggling to regrow. This had once been a set of three or four pools.

It was pretty cool to see where the old park had been, and we did get a fright when something moved in the bush right next to my foot, but it was a fun little walkabout, and after about half an hour and a few selfies, we got back in the car to head home.

As someone who hates driving the same road if there's another road with different scenery to see, instead of going back down Marmion, We took Yanchep Beach Road all the way to Wanneroo Road. This was more like a country drive, and then deciding I would happily go a longer way, instead of heading back down Wanneroo to home, we turned left onto Joondalup Drive, which turned into Neaves Road and took us through some isolated bushland as the sun was starting to set. The contrast of the purple/grey sky with streaks of pink against the dusty green bushland was very peaceful and calming, but unfortunately, I don't have a photo.

Onto Great Northern Highway at the end of Neaves Road, we passed through Bullsbrook and RAAF Pearce. I tried to get a glimpse of the jets, but they must keep them well out of sight of the road. Not sure why. Everyone knows they have them.

It was after six and dark by the time we got back to Chelsea's, but it was a fun excursion for both of us, who had never been to Yanchep or Two Rocks. I had seen King Neptune on the news, but seeing him in person was much cooler.

Next time, we'll have to go during opening hours and get some real photos with the King of the Sea. Oh well.

This week, I am back off to Northam with another friend, Emily, only this time, during daylight hours. We'll be making a few stops along the way for some photos and a bit of history, before having lunch and dinner in Northam. So keep an eye out here for the story, and on my Instagram (right sidebar) for the photos!

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