Climbing the Stairway (to the Moon)

When out on the road somethings are better left to chance.  When we stumbled across The Stairway to the Moon this was definitely the case!

The Trip

We had a rather unexpected trip across to Western Australia. Unexpected?? Maybe more just highly unplanned. We booked tickets Saturday and on the Sunday just before midnight we were tucked up in beds on the other side of the country. So our plans for a route, destinations e.t.c. we’re non existent. We played a lot of things by ear. We had a date that we had to be home, (tick) and we had the car that we were going to do it all in (tick).

It’s an interesting way to travel because on one hand you have no idea what your about to explore, which is amazing fresh and exciting. But then you also have no idea of those small little spots or specific timings, where you might just miss this by a day or drive right by that.
Maybe we have just stumbled upon our new favorite way to travel because we didn’t really ever toss up between two places, we hadn’t done research so we didn’t know what we were tossing up between we picked a direction and just went with it. Maybe we drove passed the prettiest beach in the world but it didn’t worry us because we didn’t know that we had driven past it. Yes, Research is key in a holiday but it’s fun leaving most of it to chance.

We did seam to have a crazy amount of luck on this trip, where I would read about something in one of the many brochures we would grab at local info sites and boom, last day to see this, or this shops only open these days!
My favorite right place right time moment would have to have been our run in with the staircase to the moon.

The Staircase to the Moon

A spectacular natural phenomenon where very specifically a full moon has to line up with an extremely low tide. The reflections of the rising full moon hitting the multiple small pools of water left on the expansive rippled mudflats, create an optical illusion of a golden staircase leading to the rising moon. Called of course The Staircase to the Moon.

We were driving from Karijini National Park (read about that here) to Port Headland when this caught my eye in the lonely planet book I was reading, so it stopped our debate as to where we should head for the night.  Almost there I came to realize the extreme conditions that are actually needed to see the beautiful Staircase to the Moon. Not wanting our night to be ruined now that we had our hopes up to see this amazing event I gave it a quick Google, It seemed like we were bang on time! Last night to see it, the moon should rise 7:05 that evening. The campground quite literally next door, had a site for us. So we were set, crossed our fingers for the weather to hold out and the waiting begun.

We decided to head down early and good thing too a crowd had begun to form, all walks of life, and lots of big expensive cameras. I was chatting with one couple who said that they had been there once before 50 or so years ago to see the moon rising (don’t panic that’s not how infrequently this happens,) it got clouded over for them last time so since they were in the area again they had to try and see it.

7.05 came and went and we still couldn’t see the moon, talks of cloud covering the moon grew louder, and couldn’t be hushed, much to our disappointment. It didn’t make much sense because the rest for the sky was clear, what was this low lying cloud doing kicking around on our horizon line. Then our memories were awoken when I overheard some one in the crowd talking about smoke, “that’s right we passed a controlled burn on the way in!” “That’s right we could smell smoke!” What a shame, we thought and we could feel people starting to move on, but just when all hope was lost that beautiful moon popped up above the smoke and treated us to a little bit of what we were hoping to see. Not quite perfect but a staircase to the moon al the same!

Hopefully it’s not another 50 years till we get to see it again and next time we can get that perfect weather!


The staircase to the moon can be seen from both Broom and Port Headland. You can find information on when the next occurrence can be seen both online and at the local visitors centres.

Port Headland:

We were told to head to 1 Goode st, but there’s not a lot there. The other end of the st 47 there is a board walk look out type thing that creates an excellent viewing platform, (this did get very crowded) or there are stairs down onto the sand.


we didn’t see it here but we’re told you could view the spectical in Roebuck bay, there was a public spot to get down
to the beach next to the broom golf club, along Port Dr.


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