So tomorrow we will head south to Margaret River for Karen’s birthday on the 23rd and Of course Xmas. We will be staying at Olive Hill Farm just outside the town. This is somewhere we stayed at four years ago and always swore we would go back for a longer period of time. Well that time is now and we have booked in from tomorrow the 20th of December for a month. It’s a great place run by great people.
Up to this point we have spent a bit of time in and around Bunbury. We were both surprised at how big and well served with facilities Bunbury is. We stayed at a couple of free camps. One in a tiny town called Burekup and the second in Bunbury itself overlooking the ocean. Burekup had Xmas carols, outdoor cinema, kites flying, giant bubbles and a couple of food vans. we also checked out wellington dam and Gnomesville both amazing for very different reasons.
Anyhow check out the pic’s and if you want to comment plz do. join our Facebook group – ourweejourney if you would like to. Just send a request to join as it’s a private group to keep spam out.
Been a while since we put anything on here. not bore you with words but just stuck up some photo’s. We got down to Fremantle, got the car serviced. we then drove to Mandurah which was a bit cloudy but still warm. we are now in Bunbury as we head south to Margaret River. We will be at this free camp for the next three nights. last photo is, kaz’s new bike. Hopefully the fires will be out by the time we get there.
We decided to stay in Three Springs some more. This morning was another early one as we were awakened by the soft birdsong of the Cockatiels. They sound like most Australian bird’s with their almost prehistoric squawking. Today we do some tourist stuff around the place. We drive out of town about 17km and arrive at the Talc Mine. Yes, as in Talcum Powder for baby’s bottoms. The mine is the largest in the world and the product is sent all over the world. Talc is used in some surprising things, like. Cosmetics, animal feed, cars, paper, tyres, chewing gum, pain and fertiliser to name a few. Walking up to the top of the viewpoint was amazing. We could see the entire mine stretched out in front as well as the wheat fields and the salt lakes. We didn’t’t stay here long due to the heat of the sun.We then made our way back towards town where the next stop was the amazing pink lake. These are always hard to photograph but we gave it a go. Next and last was one of the first pumps from one of the three springs. Unfortunately the handle on the pump had broken otherwise we could have had a go.
It was then back to the van for a bite to eat for lunch. As we sat there a couple arrived towing a caravan and parked next to us. Strange as the place was empty. The woman told us they had stayed here before but only stopped to have a cup of tea. She then asked us where we were from and where we were heading etc. She then talked non stop on the phone. Packing up their chairs and table before leaving without even a goodbye. She was back on the phone. We may have seemed a bit frosty to them or might have waved and we missed it.
We then took a drive to the next tiny town called Carnamah. The little towns around this area seem to have quite a bit of funding going on. Both the towns have excellent facilities and some of the heritage type building have been restored. We take a look at the caravan park. Why you would stay here and not Three Springs I don’t know.but different people prefer caravan parks. We check out a few other spots then head back to Three Springs.
I am chef for the night where we have beef stir fry with broccoli, mixed veggies in a coconut curry sauce, delicious. Normally we can get two meals from our evening meal but this time we scoffed the lot. Tonight we watch the movie The Devil All The Time starring Tom Holland.
Next day we leave this great town but not before we head to the local butcher where we spend some cash.
Today we are heading to a new town south of Three Springs called Moora. It’s one of our shortest drives and we arrive in the town and locate the camp area. It’s a free parking area behind the town council offices. Not great but in a great location right in the centre of town. The town is tiny but people here obviously love the place. Everywhere you look there are flowers, murals and some sculptures dotted around. At the rear of the Main Street there is also a full size swimming pool. We had a quick look but I think the pool doubles up as a crèche, there were heaps of kids in it.
We moved on and had a good wander, taking some photo’s as we walked. We then spotted a newsagent and decided to buy a ticket for the WA Lottery which had ballooned to 80 million dollars. We got back to the van and met a couple who were parked near us. They were doing the same as us, although only for one year. They had been on the road for the same amount of time. They were from Sydney but instead of going south, they intended to head east away from the coast. They reckoned going any further south they wouldn’t get anywhere to stay as everything had been booked out. We told them where we would be for Xmas in Margaret River and followed it up by telling them it was now booked out. They hadn’t intended to stay in Moora but on arrival thought it would be worth a more detailed look. With a dump point, toilets and potable water here and lot’s of bins it really is a good place to stop.
We stayed only one night and filled our water tanks before leaving. We then remembered we still had to check our lottery ticket. Kaz handed it over waiting for the usual “sorry” but the machine chimed and we have a winning ticket. Not 80 million but a handy $62. 80 our biggest win ever. We cash in and head out.
As we head south we are only an hour north of Perth. In Perth we will be staying just south of the city at the Fremantle Village Caravan Park. This will be the first big city we have been to in some time and the first caravan park since Broome.
Anyhow, back heading south our next stop is the tiny town of Mogumber. Again this is a free/donation site next to the town oval. Great for Max to run in although a bit hot at 36 degrees. It has flushing toilets (yes, a luxury), and hand washing facilities. After another short drive we pull in to the site. The place looks good as it has lot’s of trees providing a decent amount of shade. We scope out a spot under some massive tall trees and take a walk about. Once again there is no one else here although that may change later. Although the road is reasonably close it’s a quiet road anyway so not so many cars or road trains passing. There are a couple of rail crossings so we expect to hear some horn blowing but not at night. We head back to the van and with ten minutes Max starts barking. We take a look outside and there are two caravans arriving. Good on Max as we didn’t hear a thing. They park pretty close to us under some not so high trees.
In the afternoon the wind starts to increase so much so that smallish to medium branches start falling. As they do the noise as they hit the van roof is a bit scary. We don’t want our solar panels or our roof vents or the car windows getting smashed.
We make the decision to move which is easy as we haven’t unhooked the van and car. We move away a short distance and park in what was our second choice spot, still shaded. As usual we have annoying insects here. Tiny little fly things as well as the usual house type flies. There is also a massive amount of locusts. Shortly before we arrived we were hitting heaps of them and they were getting smashed in great numbers. Here as you walk around they are like a carpet. Some of the bigger ones arrive with a thud as the land on us. Later we here a light plane sounding as if was dive bombing and we guess they were crop spraying. A plague of locusts can wipe out years of work for the poor farmers.
In the late afternoon with me writing and Kaz reading, Max is outside on his mat. Well that’s what we thought until a woman from the two other caravans walks over with Max in tow. He had quietly walked off and joined these people who were enjoying some afternoon drinks and nibbles. Oops, must remember to put his lead on.
Kaz apologised, then got chatting. She told us there is a pub next to the camp about 300 yards away. We haven’t been in a pub since Broome and even then we had one drink. Apparently there is a huge area behind the pub where tomorrow night there will be live bull riding. Not the stuffed one seen in pubs but actual full size animals. I am not a fan of animal entertainment but as we have been starved of live entertainment we might take a walk up. Not sure what we will do with Max, but will probably have to take him with us.
Ok, scratch the bull riding. We just took a walk up to the pub to check it out. We were shocked to see that admission tonight will be $25 per head. Like I said earlier we don’t even like bull riding but would have had a beer and would’v given it a five minute look.
We will make our own entertainment and save the $50+ dollars. We will however stay here another night.
Next day arrives after a noisy night. Next to the camp is a railway siding that has a massive work shed. It has two huge extractor fans which run twenty four seven. Trains go past but only a couple of times a day. It still remains a good stop due to the location and cost.
We noted that not everyone respects the twenty four hour stop limit as we notice a car and van that drove away as we arrived yesterday then came back later and took up another spot.
Anyhow, we drive out to visit the HMS Sydney Remembrance monument. If you are ever in Geraldton, do not miss this. The place is spotless, has great information boards, statues with amazing views out to the wreck site just off the coast.
We considered going back to the same camp that day but thought against it and headed out to the Bringo Lookout just east of Geraldton. Although close to the road the camp itself is really good, spacious and has amazing views to Geraldton and the Ocean. We grab a great spot down the bottom. There are two areas one at the top and the one we park in. There was also no one else there when we arrived but we were joined by a couple of different vans and tents over the two days we stayed there. It was however peaceful with great sunsets.
Today our intention was to head further south but we thought we would stay one more night in Geraldton at the free camp again. We had to make a few phone calls and then fill our tanks again. When we arrived wee seen that the guy who wasn’t following the rules was there again. We parked up anyway then unhooked the car to do a little bit of driving around the place. We decided to only stay one night then move on.
Following morning we left town heading to Enanty Barn Mingenew. This is another free camp with the usual twenty four hour maximum stay allowed. When we stopped there, we were less than impressed. It was too close to the road, had no shade and the barn looked derelict. We decided we would drive on to our next stop at Yandanooka Town Hall. It’s a tiny town but welcomes campers to stay for free. This time the limit is seventy two hours. It has flushing toilets with paper, wash hand basin with soap and paper towels. Believe me this is very rare in our experience. It also has an amazing stargazing site at the end of the camp. We managed to stay here for the three night maximum. It was really peaceful with not another camper around. As grain season is upon us there were a few trucks during the day but at the other end of the street and caused us no issues. Max received a visit from the famed brown dog who is a regular visitor to people camped up. She was a really placid dog that Max of course had a go at. Brown dog could not give a hoot about him and carried on looking around. This seemed to trouble Max as dogs generally run from him. He was now interested and hung around her which we were amazed at. We also had a visit from a local guy who owns two houses that the dog was from. He walked over with two dogs with him. One was brown dog, another was a black dog. Max decided to have a go at the black dog, a female who showed him who was boss round here then sat under the caravan where Max usually shades himself. He was perplexed it happy to let her stay there if she wanted to. The guy was from South Africa and had lived in the area for some time. He and his wife both live on the same property but in seperate houses.
Later brown dog came back then spent thirty minutes hanging around with Max both off lead.
Later it was movie night with Bombshell the story of Fox News. If you haven’t seen it have a look.
Next morning we get an unwanted alarm at 6am but no ones fault. We hear the noise of a truck pull in reasonably close to us. I look out and there is a massive road train sitting with the driver staring at the wheels of the truck that have smoke billowing out from them. It looked like the brakes has overheated and he had to sit a while and let them cool down. We have not seen 6 am for a very long time but today we will move on from this camp anyway. Then having got back bed, we here a “good morning”, outside the van. I scramble to find my shorts and shirt before going outside. As I finally get outside I see a person on a cycle pedalling down the road. I look down and discover a box at my feet. On further inspection, the box is full of freshly picked oranges and a couple of lemons. How good is that from someone we don’t even know? Now that I am up, I stay up. Today we are driving one of our shortest site swaps. The town of Three Springs is a tiny place and just 35km south of here. We may get there and not like it and move on we thought. As we arrived in the town we were amazed how nice it was with a cute Main Street lined with shops and a pub of course. We headed to the free camp site where there was only one other couple in a small Toyota bus parked. There were groups of large tres providing great shade and three complaints fire pits complete with cooking pans then unbelievably a massive, Swimming Pool that has nine lanes. This makes it bigger than an Olympic pool as it has nine lanes!! It is also free to use complete with changing rooms and immaculate bathrooms complete with hot showers. The toilets and showers are ‘The Best’ we have seen in almost eight months of travel. Certain caravan parks who are charging a lot for manky facilities should look at themselves. We have no hesitation in recommending this place. It shows the way it could and should be done.
I took Max for a walk over to the pool later where I met a couple of ladies who told me the pool use was free, that school would be out soon and best to avoid that time. Then suggested we come back at five pm when they would be gone. The pool closes at six. Since I had Max with me she said that we could bring him as well. There was a covered grassy area off to the side he could enjoy whilst watching us swim. She would also tell the kids if there were any to stay away from him. Again really nice people. As five o’clock arrives we head back to the pool with Max in tow. there are a few kids still there but they are all in the shallow end. We place Max undercover from the sun and Kaz is in first followed by myself. This pool is both deep and wide not the warmest but we are glad to cool off. With time getting on Kaz heads off for a hot shower then I follow as she takes Max back to the van. As the sun starts to set we are outside enjoying the cool air with a refreshment. we will stay here for at least a few days.
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.
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.
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.
Having spent a glorious week in Broome we decided that we weren’t ready to leave and booked a second week. The second week followed the path of the first week although we swapped beaches on a couple of occasions to try and avoid jellyfish in the high tides.
On one of those occasions we drove on to Gantheaume Beach and noticed four police officers talking to three guys who it turned out were from a boat just off the beach which in turn was a landing craft for a much bigger boat anchored off the shore. This bigger boat looked like a rusting piece of death at sea and could be mistaken for an Indonesian people smuggling cruise ship. After a while the three of them were ordered to produce passports etc before being allowed to leave. We never did find out the true story but it made things interesting for a while.
We spent several days at this beach as the vibe was really good with everyone just laying back enjoying the heat, water temperature and of course beautiful sunsets.
On returning to the van we invited our caravan neighbours Matt and Shelly over for drinks and we sat around in the nice cool night air having a laugh. Then before we knew it it was 1am. Time passes fast when chatting and it was off to bed.
Next morning we went off to the Courthouse Market which had all the usual Beach goodies on offer and in fact Karen’s hat we bought here 4 years ago and old mate was still there looking exactly the same.
Later we went to the town beach for the staircase to the moon event but really I can’t say I was impressed by it. It might just have been that that one was not that great but others might have been superb. It’s a bit like a sunset but as the moon rises it shines on to the flats of Roebuck Bay giving the illusion of a staircase going up to the moon.
One of the days we visited the Roebuck viewpoint which gives an amazing view of the colours of the ocean. To get up the stairs to the viewing platform we walked through a group of local people which at first seemed a bit daunting but they all wished us a great day whilst referring to us as Brother & Sister. We then took in the view, took some snaps then were given the same send off from the group “enjoy Broome Brother & Sister” as we walked to the car.
It was then time for a visit to Matso’s Brewery just for a look at the menu as we fancied coming here later to eat. On the same site there is a gallery full of amazing artwork. Luckily as we have no house for some time it was easy not to buy anything. Adding to the fact that any we would have bought were priced in the thousands. The artists here also do massive street art type murals as well as canvas. Outside there was one such mural and we grabbed a pic of that one.
Later we returned to the van before taking in the sunset on Cable Beach once again. This time however we decided to splash out and went to the Life Saving Club for a cold one.
We then went back to Matso’s Brewey where we had arranged to meet our caravan neighbours Matt & Shelly for dinner. We arrived and were surprised to see a band playing. Luckily Matt & Shelly had already grabbed a table although later we did move tables as the one we were on was pretty high.
The place was really busy and when ordering food we were told it would be at least a 40 minute wait.
Eventually the food arrived and it was certainly worth the wait. I had the Seafood Linguine, both Kaz & Matt had the Snapper and Shelly the Duck Pasta then after 1 more drink we had to get back to the van as we had left Max in there. Not a worry for him with the air conditioning keeping him cool.
A Bit later Matt & Shelly returned and joined us for a natter as we would be leaving the following morning. This time there would be no repeat of the previous nights lateness as we had a relatively long drive ahead of us.
In the morning we packed up said our goodbyes and headed for the road South. We have seven days to get to the Ningaloo coast beaches as we have booked ten days on a beachfront spot that we will drive on to. We will then have uninterrupted ocean views. This one has been on our to do list from four years ago when we had to give it a miss due to time constraints.
On the way we stop at the Sand fire Roadhouse for a night. This is just what it is, a roadhouse although it does have plenty of wildlife around.
One night here was more than enough and the next day we headed for the town of Port Hedland where we stayed at the racecourse free camp. Again there is nothing fancy about the place but it is free and we stay for two days. Port Hedland is a massive mining area and everywhere you look there are white mining Utes and Land Cruisers everywhere distinguished by there yellow stripes and high red flags. You see so many of these that we wondered if anyone is actually working at the mine sites.
As usual when we come to a major town with amenities we stock up. The beauty of the racecourse is its proximity to a Woolworths/BWS supermarket allowing us to purchase the essentials as well as food.
One thing here is if you were a light sleeper you would be in trouble as all day and night the mining trains don’t stop and they are at least a kilometre each in length.
We visited the viewpoint across the road where you can see one of the only domestic beaches where turtles lay eggs. You can also count the number of iron ore and coal ships waiting to dock in to PH before heading back to China.
We only stayed here for two night b4 we headed back out on to the road South this time making our way to a spot just south of Karratha.
To the Kialrah Pool (Jones River), Roebourne-Wittenoom Road, Sherlock, Western Australia. This is privately owned but the owners allow anyone to come off the road set up on the riverfront as long as they like for free. It’s only about 185 km from PH and we would have been quicker if not for the huge mining truck being transported in front of us. This load is extra wide and if you want to pass is best to wait until told it is safe. We sit back not bothered about overtaking it and in fact pull off the road and take a break letting the wide load move further in front.
Shortly after we arrive at the turnoff and drive the 10 km rocky road arriving after 10 minutes at a great riverfront spot with only two other vans here. There is an abundance of wildlife here, unfortunately that includes snakes which we will have to keep our eyes peeled for especially for Max. Apparently the river is good for swimming in but well I don’t think we will risk it as it looks like a crocs dinner table.
Two nights will be the go here before we move on through Karratha heading for Ningaloo.
Now that we have landed in Broome we have booked in for a week with stay seven pay for five deal. this works out relatively cheap considering we are 1km from Cable Beach. we are thinking of adding another week of the same deal but will see how we go. We aren’t doing a lot mostly beach then bed maybe watch a movie on the laptop. Hope you enjoy the photos.
In what seemed no time after arriving it was time to go but not before we took a last dip in the pool. Yesterday the temperature was not that cold due to the heat in the later part of the day but this morning that had changed to be a bit more fresh. Our next swim will be at wonderful Cable Beach in Broome.
Back on the road today with a bit of a longer drive ahead of us. Luckily we were up early and made good time with no issues. We eventually got to Halls Creek where we had looked at staying for the night but we read too many horror stories about both the campsite and the town. Looking around the town it seemed the reviews were spot on. We decided to fill up with diesel then keep on driving as the place didn’t feel safe.
With the sun setting we knew we would have to break our rule of not driving at dawn or dusk due to roaming livestock. like the old joke – if you get lost in the outback, follow a Kangaroo as they always know where the road is. Whilst driving we had to swerve round a mother cow with her calf as well as a Wallaby and of course Kangaroos.
We arrived at the Mary Pool Rest area in the pitch dark but luckily our spotlights turn night in to day and having blinded some people we grabbed a spot. The maximum is a 24 hour stay but we decided to stay for two nights. The temperature was still 40+ and as we were free camping we wouldn’t have the luxury of air conditioning but we did manage to move on the second morning to a spot under some large trees for a bit of welcome shade. wemdid pick up several peices of peoples garbage which we will dump when we leave.
Next day it was back on the road to Broome where we stopped once again for fuel at Fitzroy Crossing then it was the last few km’s and we arrived in beautiful Broome.
We decided to stay at the Tarangau Caravan Park which is a 10 minute walk to the fabulous Cable Beach.
The camp is not the largest but location is so good and the facilities are spotless. We made the decision to stay here for seven days due to a deal where you stay seven but pay for five. This works out pretty cheap considering where we are plus we have power and water, so we can run our air conditioner. The temperature here is in the mid thirties but later in the week will be close to forty once again. At least we have the beautiful water to swim in at Cable Beach. We can also take the Land Cruiser on to the beach and put out our awning out for shade.
From now on we will slow down as it has been quite hectic for the past six months. Now we have crossed all the borders to reach WA time will be on our side. There are so many amazing places in WA and we have booked a spot for a month in Margaret River for Xmas. We will stay at Olive Tree Farm from December 22nd.
Anyway more updates later from our Australian Travels and thanks heaps for all the likes & interest.