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.

Margaret River Region, WA

The last few days have been challenging. Our Tassie mates moved on as they make their long way home. We were now on our own as camp hosts. This week has been getting hotter as the week went on. Tomorrow (Friday) is set to be 40 degrees. This has already made a few leave camp as they wanted to run their generators when they liked. Since the shire put in a complete fire ban, this is not possible. we just head for the beach with our tent and swim and snorkel in the ocean.

We have got on well as camp hosts and it’s always interesting meeting people from everywhere. Can’t wait till Monday when it will drop below 30 degrees.

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.

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.

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.

Facebook Group – our wee journey

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.