A Wee Update

Been a while since we posted anything.  I prefer to use Instagram and Facebook now.  

For the past month we have been back at Olive Hill Farm in Margaret River, WA.   It seems we are farmers now due to a change in circumstances at the farm.  We are looking after cows, sheep, chickens, goats, horses and learning to use the various machinery needed on a farm this size.  We are still taking care of the caravans, air b&b studio and soon Trevor the glamping bus will be back on site.  Although it keeps us busy we enjoy the vibe of this place.  There is always something to do.  Our plan is still to return via South Australia to Victoria where we will sort out some house and belongings before getting back on the road again.  We will head up the east coast at a more leisurely pace as we rushed through borders due to covid issues last time.  By the time we get to Geelong it will have been two years on the road and many more to come.  

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Steve, Kaz and Max.

Our Wee Journey – Arrives In Cue, WA

Having made the final drive to Cue, we arrive in the town around one o’clock then have  a short look about the town.  The town centre has some amazing buildings that have been restored to a very high level and others which have a bit more of an original look to them.  In the middle of the street is a restored bandstand that sits in the middle of the road across from the original bank building.  There is also a visitors centre next to the rather grand looking police station.  Across the road is the local shire offices in an equally impressive condition.

Although early in the day we decide we will head straight for the house sit that lies a couple of streets back from the Main Street.  The house is a weatherboard clad single level house which sits on a large site, that has been extended and has a huge garage at the rear.  We park up at the front of the property before we are met by Ross and Karen.  Ross tells us to drive round the rear where we can drive the van in where it will be kept in a large plot under lock and key.

With the van secured we get in to the house where we get the tour.  The house is a good size with three bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms, a toilet and the real bonus of having a spa.  We enjoy a good catchup and a laugh then before too long it’s bedtime.  The following morning at seven am we hear the rear gates open as they get ready to leave.  We get up in time to say our goodbyes and the two caravan convoy (Karen’s sister and brother-in-law are joining them) drive out and head north. 

All of a sudden we are left on our own to enjoy the house, Cue itself and the surrounding areas.  To demonstrate how remote Cue is, we are six and a half hours from Perth in a north east direction and four and a half hours from Geraldton to the east.  The slowest town is Mount Magnet at eighty kilometres south and Meekatharra at one hundred and twenty kilometres north.  We will be here for the next four months but luckily we have great internet coverage and a massive curved screen tv complete with all the apps and surround sound system.  The weather is also great in the mid twenties most of the time and sunny.  Max our Border Collie will enjoy the freedom, because we are looking after ‘Muddy’ the cat we will have to be careful.

More later as we get comfortable and start to move around the place.  Photo’s on the following.

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Burekup to Margaret River, WA

We left Burekup around 9am to make our way to Olive Hill Farm, Margaret River.  

We made a quick detour in to the town of Busselton to pick up a guitar Kaz has bought me for Xmas, i stupidly left mine in storage and regretted not bringing it. not that i can play the guitar but i keep trying. We then headed to the small town of Cowaramup to fill our water tanks.  It took us a bit of time to find the correct tap which was not signposted.  As we got to the end of filling, three more vans came in behind us.  We asked them how they knew the location of the tap and they replied, “we seen you filling up otherwise we wouldn’t have found it.

We left Burekup after having had a great last night listening to some live music at the country club and meeting some of the locals.  We will definitely return there on our way back north. 

Arriving at the farm along the the two km dirt road, we were met by the current caretaker and Helen who owns the property with her partner Benji.   Helen told us we could pick a spot wherever we liked since we would be here for the next month.  The other people who were arriving with families would be allocated a space to keep all the kids in one area.  This of course was music to our ears as Max is not a fan of screaming children or quiet ones or ones on skateboards or ones scooters.

The place hasn’t changed much in the four years since we stayed here.  We walked with Helen who gave us a suggestion of a great site and as we always follow advice we took her up on it and got the van in without issue.  We are looking forward to being in one place for so long having moved a lot in the last eight months and 21000 km crossing four borders.  We did it so quickly due to COVID and the need to get in to WA as Olive Hill Farm is the only thing we have booked in the entire journey.  We will now slow down dramatically and stay in places we like a lot longer.

Later we took a trip in to the town and found it packed with people all here for the Xmas break.  The Main Street was awash with people Xmas shopping and the sun was shining but not too hot.  We didn’t stay long and got back to the farm to see all the arrivals coming back in.

We asked Helen if Bemji was still producing haggis but she told us he stopped that some time ago.  Not good news as we were looking forward to that and we will have to get a fix somewhere else.  In no time it was late afternoon and we sat outside the van having  five o’clock cocktails whilst listening to all the bird life.  We were lucky getting a visit from a couple of male Fairy Wrens.  These things are tiny but the blue colour they have is stunning.  The females are an ordinary brown colour and it’s the males who have to look pretty.

For only the second time we will put our annex out which gives us a huge covered area outside.  I climb up on to the roof of the cruiser, open the rooftop bag and pass the four bags containing the annex down to Kaz.  It then took us 2 hours to finally set up completely but this was only the second time we have put it up and that time will fall now that we have labeled all the pieces and know what goes where.  Finally we attached the solar Xmas lights, mounted the tv and job done.  With the weather for this week being hot we can be inside in complete shade but with heaps of sun powering our two solar panels on the van plus the panel on the car.  It’s Karen’s birthday tomorrow the 23rd.  So that will be a fun day.  Then Xmas day is forecasted to be 38-40 degrees so we will end up going to the beach for a swim. 

Wishing you all a very Merry Xmas from Margaret River.

Steve, Kaz & Max. Facebook Group – our wee journey

Western Australia Travels

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.

Three Springs, WA Tourists

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.

Timber Creek to WA.  Australia 

After another hot night we we wake to a hot morning and the first rain we have had in months.  Calling it rain is a bit of a stretch as it lasts about 30 seconds and what had fallen was immediately dried out in the sun.

Having scored a drive through site we didn’t even have to unhook the van.  We only have to lock up and start the car before we are back on the road heading west to WA.

Huge stealth looking bus in camp.

The drive of around 200km takes us to the WA border where we have to show our permits and go through the usual quarantine check before being allowed in.  20 minutes later we have crossed our fourth border in six months.

We will stay in WA for four or five months before we head over another border in to South Australia.

We drive on to the town of Kununurra where we head in to the local Coles for supplies then we have the usual frustration of the north and wes where we have to wait until 12pm before we can buy alcohol.  At least its not as bad as the NT which was 2pm.

Now fully replenished we are back on the road and decide we need a nice place for a treat.  One of the best we have been to before is Lake Argyle and we cover the 70 km from Kununurra.

It’s kinda strange being back here after four years.  It seems the place hasn’t changed a bit and has retained arguably the best infinity swimming pool view in the country.

We are having to abandon our free camping purely due to the heat which is 40+ almost every day right now.  The forecast doesn’t show it changing anytime soon.  Both Max and ourselves are just about surviving by drinking a ridiculous amount of water.  Luckily Lake Argyle has power and so we run our aircon on just about permanently.

Within the park there is a walk down to the lake where you can have a beautiful swim which we decide to do.  There are 30,000 croc’s in the lake but all freshies no no worries unless you make the mistake of standing on one. This turned out to be a bit of a stuff up as my thongs decided to break half way down.  Then poor Max was getting his paws roasted from the rocks and sand.  When he got to the bottom he just sank in to the water looking like he was never going back.

 I dived in and cooled off and Kaz did the same trying not to think of how we would one, get Max back up and two, get me back up without any foot coverings.  In the end Kaz had to just grab Max and get up ASAP then wait for myself running up the hot coals to the safety of a sprinkler on a large piece of grass which helped put my foot fire out and poor Max’s paws.

Later in the afternoon we grabbed some refreshments then headed down to the pool area where Steve Case was entertaining everyone with his guitar and funny stories.

It was great to be kicking back as the sun was setting providing an amazing backdrop on the rocks and lake behind him.

We then decided to get in the pool and cool off once again before returning to Max in his air conditioned luxury.

In the evening we walked down to the restaurant/bar where we enjoyed a meal we didn’t cook on dishes we didn’t have to wash.  With the sun already gone and a nice cool breeze happening it was a treat to be people watching whilst listening to Steve Case do his more adult set of songs.

Then having had a pretty long day we returned to the cool of the van walked Max the it was lights out on a great day.

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We left Bitter Springs reasonably early but weren’t in any hurry due to the short drive we have today travelling to Katherine in the Northern Territory.

In no time we reach our destination, the Manbulloo Homestead.  

This is a working cattle station just 12km south of the main town.  It’s more of a bush setting with plenty of shade which we need as the temperatures have been around 40 degrees and are forecasted to stay for sometime.  We booked a powered site to run our aircon or Max (our Border Collie) will have a heart attack.

The place backs on to the Katherine river but as usual you can’t swim in it due to crocodiles.

We will be here for 7 nights which is a welcome change.  It also allows us the luxury of rearranging the gear we carry.  We also made the decision to sell our rooftop tent as we doubt we will use it due to having Max with us.

We placed an ad in Facebook Marketplace and within the hour a lady from Brisbane said her hubby who works in Katherine would come and have a look.  Later we received multiple requests and offers from people but Mark was first in and would get first dibs on it.  He turned up on time and we opened the tent up showed it off and he bought it on the spot.

With Mark having no roof rack yet we offered to drop it off at his place.  He then made us a very generous offer that when we drop it off he would supply a couple of beers and we could have a swim in his pool !!

We duly arrived dropped the tent off then had a glorious dip in the pool which was very much welcomed in the heat.  We then had some drinks and a great laugh before we returned to the van where we left Max enjoying the aircon which we left running.

As we will be crossing another border in to WA we have to be in the NT for 16 days before we are allowed in.  Meantime we have to go online and apply for a permit and detail all of our travel within the NT.  

We completed this pretty easily and within minutes got our acceptance and border passes.  This was great news as the only part of this journey we have booked is at Olive Tree Farm in Margaret River, WA.  We will be there for one month in mid December, our first Xmas on the road.

It will be a wee bit boring staying in Katherine as we have been here before and done all the place has to look at and experience.  We can’t complain as every day on the road is Saturday and we have lot’s of reading to do.

I also spent some time underneath the car with a hammer and screwdriver knocking out huge rocks of dust that had got collected up in Cape York.  I will then take it to the car wash for a high pressure clean.  I reckon we will be removing this dust until we hit a hard rain we have to drive through.  As it is we haven’t seen rain for months.

At the time of writing we have three more nights here then we will take a couple of long drives with one stopover to ensure we make our WA border crossing date.  This will be our fourth border through COVID restrictions in 6 months.

Normanton & Karumba.  Carpentaria Coast, Qld

After an easy drive without issue we arrived in the town of Normanton where we head straight for the Gulf land Motel & Caravan Park.  Having checked in we are shown which space we are allocated and immediately we are reunited with Karen & Helge who we last seen and actually met for the first time in Kenilworth some time ago.

We crack on and set up the van.  This time we have selected to have power and water as the the temperature is in the mid thirties and this ensures we can use the vans air conditioning whilst also charging all our various devices fully.

Later we went for a drive to have a look at the town which didn’t take long as there is not much to see.  We then headed for the purple pub for a cold one and we’re joined by Karen & Helge who have the same idea.  After a good reminisce of our time in Kenilworth plus what we have all been up to we headed back to camp.

The bathrooms are pretty quirky and we spend sometime reading the various metal signs and jokes then selecting our favourites to photograph.

In the evening we elected to dine in the camps restaurant which gets a good name.  We ordered food and drinks then two hours later we enquired how much longer the food would be and were told you only ordered drinks!!

Needless to say we were not happy as we had been looking forward to the famous Barramundi and chips and were now having a very late meal.  We had the added annoyance that we both had left our dogs in the caravans although they had air conditioning on we still were not expecting or wanting to leave them that long.

After a bit more waiting our food finally arrived and it was worth the wait.  The barramundi was huge and cooked perfectly.

We then returned to the van where we walked Max then retired for the night.

Today we (including Kare & Helge) decide to head to Karumba which sits on the Gulf of Capricornia.  The drive is 80km which takes us in the opposite direction to where we are going but we have heard good things about the place.  We have also missed out on a number of things due to dogs not being allowed in National parks and feel we need to make the effort when that is not an issue.

The drive up doesn’t have any reward due it’s remoteness but we arrive without issue at the Karumba Point Sunset Caravan Park.  Unfortunately we arrive too early to get in to our spot as departures are between 10am & 11am.  

We  walk over to the cafe up the street for breakfast.  The cafe also has a grocery within it and the business is for sale as the family have owned it for fifteen years are looking to retire.  As we chatted to them they were very emotional about leaving but were ready to do it.  They had a couple of days left before they would close the doors.  Everything in the store was half price so we had a walk round and bought a couple of things trying to help them in a small way.  The breakfast was also delicious as was the coffee.

Later we return to the park where we are allowed to enter the park once all the rules are explained.  The sites aren’t the largest considering the cost but the place has a nice pool covered with a shade sail which we dive in to as soon as we got set up.

It’s so nice to cool off from the extreme heat.

Later Karen & Helge take us to the Sunset Tavern for drinks and eats.  The place is very bust with everyone there for the Sunset but the food is also delicious.

As the sunsets the view is utterly amazing and is one of the best ones we have witnessed.  As the sun disappears along with a lot of the crowd the colours in the sky are equally stunning and we snap some pics before departing back to the park.

The four of us sit round with a few drinks and have a funny night chatting with plenty of laughs.  

In the morning we say our goodbyes and we head back down to Normanton fuelled then spent the next six hours driving to the town of Cloncurry where we stayed the night just outside of town at the Corella Dam.  This is a great spot 1km from the main road.  There is also multi levels of camps around so we cruised about then settled on a spot not very level but uninterrupted views of the water with all the bird life around it.

The place seems to be a favourite of the tweeters as they walk about with lenses trained on anything with wings and take pride in identifying the name of the feathered friend.

There are a few people with little tinies who take a put put up the dam to try their luck at fishing or just enjoy a wee bit of sailing.  

We will stay here one night b4 moving on to Camooweal via Mount Isa close to the Northern Territory border.

The Savannah Way West, Queensland

In the evening whilst at Pinnarendi Station, as nightfall descended we decided to light the fire pit in front of the van.  It had been stocked with enough wood for the evening by the owners.  When we arrived there was no one around in this area of at least two acres.

Then a couple who seemed decent looking but also looked like they were sleeping in their car and parked pretty close to us on the other side of the fire pit asked if I was aware that you can’t light fires on the ground.  I replied yes I was but the non powered side of the camp had three camp fires already designated as fire pits complete with wood, ours being one of them.  That is why we set up next to one.  He then tells me that if any smoke comes his way that I would have to extinguish the fire.  I replied, sure, 😂.  NOT.

The fire was lit and the troublemakers were in their car and lights out by 7:30 smoke free.

Thankfully the next day we woke to find them gone.  No doubt on their way to annoy someone else’s peace.  How un-Australian.

This morning we take the 3km walk around the property which is a massive cattle farm with at least three dams and it’s own airstrip!!  In fact the owner takes off in his plane to go pick up his two kids who are at school in Charter Towers.

We continue our walk getting to the Garden dam first then on to dam no2 where Max was allowed to take a dip in which he does whilst inhaling copious amount of the dam

as he runs around splashing about.

Shortly after we get to the big dam which as the name suggests is huge and was made by the property owners who want to have all sorts of  birds taking it over.

As the heat rises we head back to the the van for a large drink of water ourselves.

We then thought a treat was due so off we went to the cafe where we had great coffee, scone with Jam and cream and a piece of strawberry cheesecake all of which were delicious.

Later on there seems to have been a mass arrival, we have vans, motor homes and a tent parked around us but we are excited as the pizzas we ordered arrive and we both scoff in to them.  These are made on the property by Nadine then delivered to everyone’s sites by her two young sons.  These are magnificent with sourdough base with veg, herbs and everything else from the property then cooked in their wood oven, YUM.  There was no way we could finish them so they will be tomorrow’s dinner again.

Next day we are off and back on the Savanna Way westbound.  

We passed through the town of Mount Surprise.  The surprise to us was how small it was and we motored on.

Our intention was to stop at Georgetown but on arrival we didn’t feel any vibe about the place so once more we carried on straight through.  We would have liked to visit the Undara Volcanic National Park and the lava tubes but with dogs not allowed we had to drive past.

We took a stop off the road to visit the Cumberland Chimney and Mine for a couple of pic’s and a wee break. There is also a huge lake/dam with an abundance of birdlife.

With it getting in to late afternoon and the sun beating down at 38 degrees we arrived at the town of Croydon.  This little town is a fantastic place really trying to be bigger than it is with lot’s of things to see and do.  The people we met were just easy to talk to and pumped up about Croydon.  We headed for the tourist information where a lovely lady with a real funny quirky sense of humour talked us through the things not to miss.

We headed for the Heritage Precinct where as you would guess time has frozen the place but the original buildings etc have been restored.  Including the police station, jail and courthouse.  You can have a seat in the courtroom and listen to a trial played out on speakers.  This included the actual testimony and a few words had to be bleeped out from the defendant who was a woman  charged with being drunk and disorderly.  She was eventually sentenced to two months in jail.  There is also a museum documenting the towns mining heritage.  We then popped in to the local hotel which is the last bar standing where there were thirty eight in one street.  It was good to stay out of the heat and a the beer was so cold and refreshing.

Later we headed for the campsite a small bit out of town.  It’s nothing much with toilets, a shower and a few trees around for shade but on mostly level ground which is good.  It only costs $5.00 for two nights, good on Croydon for providing a place to stop bringing in some travellers dollars to the town.

We set up our awning then scoffed the pizza from the previous camp which were again delicious.  We were then joined by a couple of other folks travelling and we had a chat for a while before heading to bed this time with our fan blowing to help cool us off a bit.

In the morning we take a drive to the fantastic Belmore Lake two kilometres out of town.  Again a beautiful part of this place and if you are ever there do not miss it.

Later we take some pictures of the town from the viewpoint near the lake then head in to town to spend some dollars.

We grab breakfast with coffee at the little cafe in town and were served by a lovely French girl.  We then fuelled up before getting back on the Savannah Way this time we are heading to the town of Normanton where we will reunite with friends Karen and Helge we last seen in Kenilworth.

As we travel we are seeing some huge eagles flying above or feeding on the roadkill of pig’s and Kangaroos amongst others, there are plenty to choose from.