Coral Bay

A beautiful sunset

A beautiful sunset

After a great night spent free camping on the banks of the Yannarie river opposite the Barradale Rest Area, Russ and I took the shortish drive to Coral Bay. Once again, we had our free site all to ourselves while across the dry river bed, we estimated there were at least 30 vans and camper trailers etc. all crammed into the spot that is mentioned in the Free Camps Australia book. We lit a fire, ran our generator (for the heater and freezer) until it ran out of fuel around 2 am and generally had a much more private time than they’d have had.

Crystal clear waters of Coral Bay

Crystal clear waters of Coral Bay

I was quite worried this time heading into Coral Bay. Two years ago they finally got the go ahead for a resort development in town. Lots have tried and failed to get approval, but last time we were here, the earth works were started, some of the services had gone in, and they’d set up a sales office with all the flags and bunting associated with something like that.

We’ve come to Coral bay 6 times out of the last 8 winters and keep coming back because we love the feel of the place. The town (and I think it’s a bit of a stretch of the imagination to call it that) has 2 caravan parks, a pub with accommodation, backpackers hostel, a small shopping complex, 2 restaurants attached to the caravan parks and a general store and servo. A number of companies run diving, snorkelling and whale/whale shark viewing tours but even that is limited to thirteen boat licences.

The “town” generates it’s own power, desalinates the water supply and disposes of all our rubbish. The last thing it needed was more accommodation for more people.

So, as I said, I was feeling a bit sick at the thought of it, but got here to find it(the resort development) had failed. Hooray! I’m not sure of the reason, but whatever, it’s good. The only new things I’ve noticed are toilets at the boat ramp, more lighting at the boat ramp, new beach shelters, 33 houses built for seasonal staff accommodation (they currently live in a dreadful ghetto of old donga caravans, makeshift fences and shade cloth-it’s awful and an eyesore). The pub has changed hands and now has happy hour three times a week instead of two, so all the changes I can see are positives.People's Caravan Park Coral Bay

We come to Coral Bay to fish and swim and although it’s been a bit windy, we’ve already had one meal of fish and put two more in the freezer. Because we travelled through such hot temperatures earlier on to get here, we are feeling like the 28c days are not really quite warm enough for swimming-must be getting soft in our old age!. I haven’t even headed to my favourite place-the heated pool here in the park.

We really enjoyed having our friends Steve and Kathy here for a couple of nights. It was great to catch up with them yet again and sad to see them move on because we won’t see them now for around 12 months when we think we might head to QLD for a change of holiday.

I probably won’t blog much here because our days will be filled with fishing and hopefully snorkelling over the coral and I think it all gets a bit blah, blah, blah.

Last night we turned some freshly caught Charlie Court Cod into our dinner. CCC is one of my favourite fish and this meal was amazingly good!

Layered Fish and Potato Pie with Saffron Leeks

  • 450 g potatoes, peeled and cut into 5mm slices
  • 3 tablespoons light margarine
  • 400 g leeks, cleaned halved length-ways and cut into half moon slices
  • 1 pinch saffron thread
  • salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juice of
  • 450 g firm white-fleshed fish, cut to same thickness and size as potato slices
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons light cream
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 lemon, zest of

Layered fish and potato pie with saffron leeks


  1. Preheat oven to 200c.
  2. Bring a pan of water to the boil add the potato slices, return to the boil and and parboil for 3 minutes.
  3. Melt a third of the margarine in a separate pan over medium high heat; add the leeks and saffron, season with salt and pepper. Cover and sweat the leaks over medium heat for 10 minutes or until soft, add the lemon juice and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, grease an ovenproof dish with some of the margarine. Season the fish and potatoes with salt and pepper.
  5. Place half the potatoes in the greased dish, then half the fish, all the leeks, another layer of fish and lastly the rest of the potatoes overlapped across the top. Finish with a layer of sliced tomato.
  6. Sprinkle over cream, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile mix crumbs, cheese, garlic, parsley and zest together.
  8. Remove foil from fish dish top with breadcrumb mix, dot with remaining margarine.
  9. Return to oven uncovered and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown.
  10. Serve pie with vegetables or simple green salad.

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