Western Australia Caravanning.

After a great nights sleep at Edaggee, just north of Shark Bay we are up back on the road heading south.  The road is really quiet and continues to be so.  Since we have Max with us heading in to Shark Bay is a no no.  We had also been there four years ago so we decided to keep moving on.  After an easy drive with a single stop at the Wooramel Roadhouse for fuel and I couldn’t resist a home made Jalapeño sausage roll, I have to say that this is a new favourite of mine, bloody delicious.  We arrived at our next stop which was the Nerren Nerren rest area.  This one is a very basic site but does have toilets and wins the prize for the most bins at a stop area.  As usual with the short one nighters, we stay hooked up.  One thing we have noticed is the temperatures dropping and as such we will not drive much further south as mid to high twenties is our new minimum.

Tonight we cooked Gnocchi, cooked with crispy bacon pieces, onions, crumbled salmon in a white wine and cream sauce with Parmesan all cooked on the Camp Master, then washed it down with a nice glass of goon bag De Bortoli red.

Tonight we watched The Red Notice, starring The Rock and Ryan Reynolds.  Then lights out ready for an early start tomorrow.

Next morning we drive out south bound as usual, today’s destination is the Galena Bridge South, Murchison River.  We arrive there without any drama and find only one other van parked.  The place is huge with tarmac parking that is welcome with our clean car and van.  We drive around a bit and see there are 2 toilets blocks and four dump points and of course bins everywhere.  No excuse for the pigs around to drop their rubbish.

We take Max on a wee walk to the river over the old bridge which is dominated by the new bridge standing tall above it.  Unlike the north this one actually has water in it and to our surprise a family of black swans including six signets.  We decide on a spot at the very back which gets up far away from the road.  It has a concrete picnic table with benches and a wee roof over it for shade.  Later several caravans, motor homes, trailers the list goes on arrive.  We get a couple parked close to us but not that close with plenty of room.  As usual we have our dinner and then watch another movie before bed.  Fast asleep around midnight we are woken up by Max barking and get up to investigate.  Turns out some person who will be sleeping in their car has parked on the dirt on the other side of our table and bench.  Then proceeds to pump up an air bed at midnight!!  It’s hard not too think of Wolf Creek at this point.  He then leaves at 4am.  Good on Max our travelling security officer.  Although the mind does boggle at some people.  In the morning we have some breakfast not in any hurry today.

Our intention was to stay at a free camp by the name of Tenidewa Pioneer Well which is a bit north East of Geraldton but when we arrived we were none too impressed as it was tight to manoeuvre about and all red dust.  We decided to can this and move on to our second choice of Ellendale Well, Ellendale.  Although not free it’s only $10 per night for both of us.  We get back out on to the main road where we have two choices, one adds about an hour on, the other saves this but is cross farmland and we suspect that it might be a dirt road.  We get up to the cross country road and great, it’s tarmac so we get on it and motor on through some lovely country with wide open space.  But our joy was short lived as we had to make a right turn and yes, straight on to dirt with our freshly washed and gleaming car and van.  Oh well never mind let’s press on we said, not.  We were bloody annoyed but at this point the best plan was to forge ahead over several more dirt roads that coated both vehicles in the usual red dirt. 

When we arrived at the Ellendale Pool camp ground, we were in for a treat as the place is superb with a massive water hole on the Greenbogh river which is surrounded by a massive rock face and is an Aboriginal site of importance.  Bonus is there are only two other vans here so we can pick virtually anywhere to park.  We avoid parking to close to the water in case there are mosquitoes around and settle in.  It’s a nice peaceful place until the cockatiels arrive home and man the noise is deafening.  There has to be hundreds of them flying around like mental cases before there is silence and they have went quiet.  They then return before dark and it’s a repeat of the last time before their bedtime arrives and all is still again.  Tonight’s viewing is Joker.  We have seen this movie before  but the acting is amazing from Joaquin Phoenix.  Our intention is to stay in this spot for the next five days at least.

Now it’s day three.  The place has been pretty quiet with a few arrivals and departures.  We had a couple of hired Britt small motor homes close to us.  Which were three girls who sounded English.  They only stayed one night and had a little party night complete with fairy lights hanging.  Strangely they didn’t have any music playing and by 10pm were asleep.   Next to them was a woman on her own in the same type of van but not hired.  She was from Geraldton and was just camping for a couple of days before heading back to work.  She actually went in to the “do not swim river” talking to her she said the no swimming thing is more to with high hot summers when an algae appears but it’s ok to swim now.  She then said it’s best if you don’t drink or put your head under the water.  With that assurance we decided swimming was a no no.  The same day four locals arrived who had no fear of the water and in fact were having great fun jumping off the rocks in to the river fully submerged.  The girl said that at one time you could climb to the top of the rock but they put a stop to that after someone broke their neck having jumped off the top in to the water. She told us the aboriginal story of the serpent who lives at the bottom of the lake and the aboriginal people throw some sand in to the water to show the serpent respect and let it know you are here and mean no harm.  We had read that story but it was interesting to hear a local telling tourists the story.

Later we had a guy come to the van who we didn’t see approach but Max did and gave the guy a good barking to.  Turned out that his Nissan Patrol with all the fruit on it accessories wise wouldn’t start and asked us if we had jump leads as he had none.  He had asked a couple of other people who surprisingly didn’t have any either.  Luckily for him we have our ARB starter pack which is tiny but powerful.  He had seen these but never seen one in use.  I connected the pack to his battery he cranked it and boom, started first time as usual.  Patrol guy was so impressed he vowed that next chance he gets he will definitely be buying one.  It’s good to be helping people on the road as we have been helped as well.

Walking back to the van I could see an new arrival.  This was a huge fifth wheeler van being towed by an equally huge Chevrolet pick up.  They found a spot in seconds then the whole van opened up with solar panels, slide out sides and tv satellite raised.

They were a couple on their own who seemed to just want to be on their own.

At the camp there is a shower but it is an outside one and has only cold water.  But needs must and I go up and get under it.  I could tell straightaway that this would not be a power shower and it had a button that had to be continuously pushed in to keep the merger flow going.  There was also a slight wind blowing across it and I felt I was on the dance floor bobbing about to catch as many drips as possible.  It was good to get clean of the dust here even if it will be short lived.

Later Kaz  made dinner.  Which was Parmesan and ricotta risotto with chicken and chorizo.  It was bloody delicious.

We then watched the final episodes of the series ‘Maid’ Before lights out.

Next morning we get the usual cacophony of shrieking Cockatiels around 7am.  They are showing off their flying skills in and out of the rock face high above the river.  So it’s up and out with Max for his daily stroll where he manages to find a dead Blue Tongue Lizard being devoured by a host of insects for breakfast.  Thankfully the locusts who were flying about on mass yesterday have moved on.

The pool got very busy later with quite a few locals turning up for picnics and to have a swim.  Today seems a bit windier and we put our awning away to save getting it damaged.  Fifth wheeler didn’t read the wind and and had five, yes five solar panels out unfortunately two of them were lifted by the wind then  thrown on to the ground.  Although it didn’t look like they were moving on today that’s exactly what the did.  They packed up their solar and everything else and drove off.  Kaz spent the day reading and I spent my day writing my book.

Tonight’s dinner is Breaded Hoki with chat potatoes.  Then dishes done and on to tonight’s viewing of ‘sex education’ the tv series.  This is season three that seems a bit more risqué than season two.  It is still a good laugh though.  

Moving day arrives again and we vacate this great stop and head out on our way to Geraldton, WA.  The road starts of tarmac then bugger, becomes a dirt road thankfully only for about 8km.  It’s an easy drive and we get to the Geraldton free camp nice and early.   We are lucky to get a spot as there are only eight available and the limit is a 24 hour stopping limit.  So we will go somewhere else tomorrow.  

We are hesitant to go any further south now as the temperatures are a lot lower than we have been enjoying but still in the high twenties to low thirties.  We would have stayed longer at the other camp but our water was on the verge of running out and we really need to get a some washing done.  This Geraldton camp spot has free water, so we fill up our 120 litre tanks and a spare 15 litre container we carry.  The camp is right in the centre of town down near the boat ramp.  We park up then head straight along the road about 500 metres to the laundromat and cough up $24.00 for washing and drying.  Then off to the supermarket for a few essentials.

As we are parked right next to a huge grassy area finally Max can get a run with his frisbee.  He doesn’t last long though as his back legs are not his friends at the minute and it’s the first run he has had in about a week.  There is a beach here so he will definitely want to go there.  The beach is  his happy place and he loves a swim.

Anyhow just a catch up as we have been off grid for a while and will soon be off grid again no doubt.  

Thanks for all the interest in my waffling, more to come soon.

Ningaloo Coast – Warroora Station – 14 mile beach

The next day we went a walk down to the beach which was desert.  It seems no one was enjoying the winds off the ocean although we have stayed. Most of them seemed to have left rather than move to a different spot like us.

We enjoyed a swim in the semi rough ocean which today seemed to be cooler.

Max is not able to do much exercise so there can be no running after ball or frisbee.

We had a visit from the ranger who asked us to confirm that we had booked the spot we were now occupying and we explained we had moved due to the wind.  She then said she would note that in the system just in case someone else tried to book it.

We then spent the day relaxing, sun baking and reading books.  It’s unusual for me to read books whilst Karen seems to inhale them and has already read heaps of books on the trip so far.  I have to have an interest in the subject matter and prefer true stories or biographies.  The one I am reading is titled “Anger is an Energy” by John Lydon.  You might know him as Johnny Rotten of the punk band “The Sex Pistols.

Karen has just finished a book given to her titled “The Alchemist” by Paula Coelho which I will read next as it pretty small and easy to read but seems a bit religious.

Later we return to the other camp for five o’clock drinks with Sydney and Tasmanians.  Tonight we get a treat as John has made a sourdough loaf it’s  just out of the oven sliced and wolfed by all coated in butter, delicious.

John is also in to photography and brings out his drone which he sends up to take a photo of the sunset.  The drone is having to fight against the wind and as it comes back down John attempts to grab it one of the propellers cuts a slice across two of his fingers, Ouch.  George then goes in to paramedic mode by wrapping the cuts in bandaids.

Tomorrow the two couples will move on and we will have the entire place to ourselves.

As we are all heading in the same direction we might meet up further south.

George and Ann, the Tasmanians give us their card telling us to look them up when we get over to Tasmania which is the only State we are yet to visit but is on our radar.

Next day we wave them both goodbye and we get back to being on our own again.

I take a walk over the dunes, down to the beach and go for a run.  Not a long run as I haven’t ran for so long and it’s a bit harder in the sand as well as nothing on my feet.

Once I stop back where I started I dive straight in to the ocean to cool off and enjoy a swim with no one else around.  I did think if a shark bites me now I am a dead man.  

Later we get in to 4×4 mode heading up and over the sands and tracks to visit “Turtle Rock” which sits high on the dunes is a massive flat rock formation which gets smashed by the winds and waves.  There is also a memorial stone on the rock to a fisherman and strangely whilst standing there our phones connect and we get phone and internet service.  

We then have a walk round the rock before taking some photos and returning to the quiet of the van where our solitude is broken as we have a new van arrived but not close to us.  They have two Labradors so we are glad the are not closer.

Tonight we have our own 5 o’clock drinks and get the dominoes out for the next series of matches which is great fun.  No really try it.

After another windy night we scoff a light breakfast then drive round and on to the beach.  We take a nice long beach walk with Max jumping in and out of ocean.

We manage to walk up to the beach end that we saw from Turtle Rock then explore the rocks collecting a few shells along the way.  As we get close to where we parked the car we see a caravan, a Jeep and a guy walking quite fast towards us waving his arms.  When we get closer to him we can see that his caravan is bogged on the beach.  They have managed to get their Jeep separated from their van using Maxtracks as the Jeep was not capable of getting the bogged van out.  The two of them were so glad to see us as the wind had made lot’s of people move on.

It turned out they had dropped the tyre pressures on the Jeep but not the van.  As they both started to drop the vans tyre pressure we got the Land Cruiser in position to pull it out.  First we had to change tow bar tongues as their hitch was totally different to ours.  We then attached it to the Land Cruiser started up, put it in four wheel drive, selected the electronic power button then easily without any wheel spin pulled their van forward then turned round and towed it all the way up off the beach to a hard surface where they could reattach and find another site to park in.  They both said that they wouldn’t stay any longer having booked and paid for seven days then left saying they were heading instead to Coral Bay.  We got the impression that one of them was embarrassed that they got bogged.  We unhooked their van and left them to it.

Fast forward to Tuesday, the day we had to decide to move on or stay in this great spot a bit longer.  It’s an easy decision but first we have to fill our tanks with water.

This means we have to hook up the van then drive to Coral Bay.  This way we can get on the internet and book a site as we will stay for another five days.

We normally cut across a sandy corrugated back road with just the Land Cruiser that saves about 20km but head up the highway since we have the van attached.

This means getting the compressor out and inflate all eight tyres back up.

There is a caravan park in town who let’s you fill your tanks and for our 130 litres it costs $22.00.  

We get on the internet and this time we book a different site to the one we have been on.  This morning we had a drive around checking out the sites.  That way we could see which ones were a available.  Funny thing was when we passed one site the people next to it were stark naked!! They scurried back under cover as we passed.

We checked on the web when they would be leaving and it was Wednesday so we booked the site across from the one they will depart.

Having got that done we went on to the Netflix site and downloaded a few things to watch.  It was then time to head back but this time even though we had the van attached we decided to go back over the narrow sandy corrugated road.  This meant once again dropping all eight tyres back down before joining the track.

The drive back was done a little slower due to the van but we cruised along easily completing the drive back saving us heaps of time.

It was then straight to the camp master cooker (a fantastic thing) and spaghetti Bolognese is cooked and scoffed with a nice glass of red, yum.

It’s then settle down to watch Squid Game on Netflix before lights out out on another fabulous day on the road.  Tomorrow we will move to our new site and get set up for another five more days on Ningaloo reef.

So now Wednesday morning, moving day arrives.  There’s no need to hurry as we stayed hooked up yesterday and we aren’t going exactly far.  So 10am we vacated our current site and drove the 300 metres to the new one.  We were quite surprised driving in as the sand was pretty deep and powdery but as usual the Land Cruiser drove in without any drama and we settled in a nice level spot.  A bonus of this site is that there is more protection from the wind so we should wear less sand.  Max does his new usual by finding the shade under the van in the cool sand.

Within an hour we get a visit from the ranger asking to see our booking confirmation email.  Max walks out from under the van to have a look and bark at this stranger.  He then tells us to get Max on to his lead as per the rules.  Apparently last week a Kangaroo was found in a state having been mauled either by someone’s dog or a Dingo.  Either way the poor roo had to be put down by the Rangers.

We will now be here for  five more days before we force ourselves to leave.

In the meantime it will be more of the same thing.  Walking, swimming, sun baking, reading, Netflix and maybe a wee wine or three.  Life is tough on the road.

Well, the morning we weren’t looking forward to arriving, arrived.

We are moving today on as we travel south.  We get going pretty early having packed away most things the night before.  We attached the house on wheels to the car and headed out first on to the sand, then gravel, corrugations and finally dirt.  Then it was out with the compressor to get the tyre pressures back up for bitumen.  

Yesterday another van got bogged on the beach but we figured there were enough people there to help and carried on with our sun baking and swimming.

The drive today is about 300km to our next stop which is a free camp south of Carnarvon.  Since we are back in civilisation we of course need to replenish our supplies of food.  Yes, ok and drinks.  So it’s straight in to the local Safeway with a list.  Also on the list we have gas bottle re-fill and camping gas cans.

As we arrived in Carnarvon we spotted a Mitre-10 and said to each other “we should have stopped and got the gas filled” but having said that we drove on to a huge car/caravan wash as both the van and car had spent some time getting sand blasted, covered in dust, shit on and were absolutely filthy.  As we lined up there were a couple of oldies driving in with a motorhome who gave themselves a real work out using brushes and jet sprays.  Whilst going up and down the ladders on the walkway which gave you height to almost clean the roof but not enough for this poor couple.  They did however get it done and next it was our turn.

I managed to climb up on the rail to give myself a bit more height to spray the roof of the van first then worked my way down.  It was so good to see the van looking clean and new again.  We then moved on to the Land Cruiser which was equally as filthy and all done we rolled out with windows we could see out of for a change.

Having raided Safeway we popped in to BWS & got a couple of things but alas not the casks we were looking for.  As time was getting on we decided to head back on to the road south.  

We were maybe 20 km south when thought “GAS”.  Yep, back to Carnarvon and the Mitre-10 we passed, lesson learned.  We managed to get a re-fill and some gas cans thankfully.  

As we drove out Kaz then remembered she forgot to add a couple of things to the shopping list but luckily there was an IGA there.  We then spotted a Bottle Mart store and straight in for a look where like an oasis in the desert, there we spotted De Bortoli cask wine on the shelf.  “Hallelujah”, this stuff is our go to wine now and we have missed it so much travelling the Kimberley.

Then we headed out again, passing a station we did consider but the reviews weren’t great and we decided to drive a bit further on to a free stop that has great reviews on WikiCamps.  Arriving about 5pm there were a few vans and motor homes parked already but we easily found a good spot overlooking a paddock.  Although its pretty close to the highway as the evening gets late the road “should” be quiet.

Sherlock WA to Ningaloo

Having arrived at Sherlock camp WA which is a huge cattle station which allows people to camp for as long as they like for free.  We picked a spot away from the other two vans next to the Jones River.  It’s a beautiful view both of the river and the Myriad of birds inhabiting the area.  The river is alleged to be safe for swimming with rope swings hanging from several trees.  We decided to not bother having a dip not fully convinced and having crossed the Northern Territory where crocodiles almost outnumber people.

Our intention was to spend one night here but as it was really peaceful well away from the road where road trains thunder past we elected to make it two nights.

Strangely there is a resident rooster who visits everyone but he stopped short on the way to ours spotting Max spotting him.  

We spent the day cleaning out our home on wheels and the Land Cruiser then it was down to the business of reading books and walking the property.

The river is home to Pelicans, Herons, Egrets, Eagles and the largest groups of Cormorants who appear to be getting a good feed.

Later in the afternoon we get a visit from the van closest to us who are a couple from Rutherglen, Victoria that have been on the road for four months and were in no hurry to return to Victoria until we get on the other side of this dreadful COVID business.

John invites us over to join them later for five o’clock drinks where we can also meet his other half Louise.  Five o’clock arrives and we wander over promising ourselves that we will have one or two drinks as we are yet to eat.  As usual when you get talking to folks and it is going well with plenty laughs the two drinks turn in to a few more and before we know it it’s almost eleven pm and we are yet to and won’t now have something to eat.  We say our good nights and retire to bed.

Next morning we are up and packed ready to move on.  We say our goodbyes to John and Louise and head out on our way to the town of Karratha where we will fuel up and do some shopping.  We will also fill our water tanks in the town centre where there is a fresh water supply that costs $1.00 for fifty litres.  Whilst there who should arrive to do the same, yep John and Louise.

Back on the road and a bit later than we like we head off heading south and arrive at our next stop at the tiny place called Manilya.   There is nothing here but a road house, a bridge and the rest stop we take residence at for the night.  It’s quite a large area with a few trees providing some much needed shade.  We manage to grab a spot under one such tree and as the day goes on a few more folks pull in to stop for the night.

As we sit outside the van people watching we get a visit from the van next door again.

Mick and his wife Janet are Poms from Yorkshire in England but have lived in Australia for thirty years and have never returned.  They now call Busselton, WA home and have several kids and grandkids.  We share a few drinks and have a good laugh until a sudden gust of wind arrives and blows a massive amount of dust in to camp and everyone runs to close their windows and hide from the sudden storm.

With darkness descending we call it a night having eaten a welcome meal for a change.

In the morning we have little to do except walk Max and put our rubbish in the large bins provided before saying our goodbyes to Mick and Janet but we didn’t get the chance as we see them exit the camp and head over the bridge on to the highway.

A bit rude we thought to ourselves then having loaded Max in we get in ready to go when I spot a piece of paper on the windscreen.  It was a note which read “Give us a call when you are in Margaret River and we will come and meet you”.   Signed, Mick and Janet complete with their phone number.

Annoyed at having missed them we head out on to the highway.  We are heading for Warroora Station – 14 mile beach and the Ridge.  

This is another station but this one you can drive on to the beach sites which gives uninterrupted ocean views and access for swimming croc free but possibly sharks.

Today the drive is short.  We arrive at the turnoff and turn in to read the information board and also to drop the tyre pressures on both Land Cruiser and caravan.  Eight tyres all up and takes about 15 minutes.  The road in starts off gravel then quickly changes to corrugations and stones. As we travel further in on the one lane track we are glad we dropped the tyre pressures as we come on to the soft sand before arriving at the caretakers van.  As he was out fishing we carried on driving straight on to the beach with the ocean colour and views amazing.  We drove on through the soft sand arriving at our designates site number 25.  Here we have no one next to us or even close so visitors should be rare unless people arrive later as we will be here for the next ten nights.

We spend the day swimming, sun baking and throwing the ball in to the warm ocean for Max who absolutely loves the beach.

Later we take in the usual sunset which we never get bored with before turning in to enjoy a great nights sleep listening to the waves crash on the beach.

Next morning the wind has really increased to almost gale force coming off the ocean.  As we walk along the beach our legs are getting sand blasted and having walked Max long enough we return to the van.  There would certainly not be any swimming happening today as the ocean is pretty rough with a bit of swell and a bit of a rip just off shore.  We had read reports and feedback testifying that the wind here can be problematic but we remain hopeful that it will blow out and move on.

Having spent the last few days getting hit by strong winds we have moved off the beach in to a higher spot with we hope a bit of a barrier from the wind.  Whilst on the beach the wind had shifted the sand so much that the van and car were slowly sinking as the wind blew.  We decided we had to get out of there and might return if the dreaded wind dies out.  The site we moved to might be booked by someone and we will have to move again.  The people closest to us who are from Tasmania have done the same moving to a site they didn’t book either.  Close to them there is a couple in an ‘A’ van who also move up.  

I went down to the beach to have a look and got talking to a couple who were Australians from Thailand but were over holidaying, meeting up with friends and had been on the road for eight months.  They had made the decision to move on due to the wind but had only booked a couple of nights anyway.  A short distance from them there was a caravan that had its awning blown off, why you would put your awning out in that wind is beyond me.

Tuesday we decided to take a drive to Coral Bay and see if the wind there would be as strong.  So it was off up the road through sand, rocks and corrugations before reaching the highway and pumping the tyres back up with the compressor.  

Arriving at Coral Bay the immediate feeling was, it’s busy.  We had come from a camp with almost no one.  Coral Bay seemed like a metropolis with lots of people around crammed together in the main caravan park like sardines whilst paying at least $60.00 for the privilege.  Strangely it was still windy but not like our beach front.  We only stayed maybe an hour due to having phone coverage and listening to the Melbourne Cup on the radio.  Karen managed to pick the winner which gave us our money back.

We also wanted to check the weather forecast to see what we were in for.

We then returned to camp and once again lowered the tyre pressures.

Fast forward and it is now Wednesday morning and the wind seems to have dissipated.  We walk down the dunes to the beach only to find it empty.  We enjoy a swim but poor Max is really struggling with his arthritis (he is close to 13) which we are giving him oral injections for but he really is not good on his back legs and we are having to limit his exercise.

Last night the people in the “A van were so worried about the wind they packed their van up and slept in their car before moving on this morning.  The weather forecast is not great with a possible storm which we don’t mind as they are a real light show usually.  Speaking to the Tasmanians they are prepared to stay like us although they are only here till Friday.

A bit later in the day a Land Rover and caravan drove in and we thought here we go time to move but it turned out that Tasmania were in the site they had booked.  Land Rover said don’t bother moving as they would find another spot.  They then got bogged in the sand and Tasmania had to pull them out.  They then settled in a spot next to the one the Tasmanians were in.

In the afternoon we chatted to the Tasmanians who invited us and the Land Rover people over for 5 o’clock drinks.  We prepared our evening meal, grabbed our chairs and went over for the chat.

Land Rover were John & Anne from Sydney and Tasmania were George & Wendy.  

It’s always good to meet people and get the good oil of where is good and also places best avoided.  It was a good laugh and a couple of beers later as the sun was setting we returned to the van to reunite with Max and have tea.