Thursday, 31 December 2009

Australind, Western Australia 7-31 December 2009

We spent this period looking after Cheryl & Keith’s home while they went over East.  It was a lovely place to stay and very well kept.  The outside area is quite large and well suited to al-fresco dining and BBQ’s.  They also have a cute little fish pond which is home to 8 or 9 small Koi fish.

Got to know the area a bit while here (this is the major benefit of staying in one place for a while).  The Leschenault Estuary and Peninsula are really quite pretty, and there are plenty of places where you can drive onto the beach and up and down the coast.

We also checked out places like DonnyBrook, Capel and Boyanup.  Lovely country – both farmland and bush.  And pretty nice drives too!

Cheryl & Keith came back on the 30th, and we have a fun night of photos and movies from there trip.  The photos of the Whitsundays really made me want to return to Airlie Beach again sometime soon.

 Lovely al-fresco area Koi waiting for dinner Leschenault Peninsula Leschenault Peninsula Leschenault Peninsula

Monday, 7 December 2009

Bunbury & Australind Caravan Parks, Western Australia 1-7 December 2009

Didn’t really do a lot during this period other than cleaning and a bit of needed maintenance.  The plan initially was to stay at the Discover Holiday Park in Bunbury for the period up till the 7th when we move into Cheryl & Keith’s.  Just be on the safe side though, we only booked for 3 days.  Unfortunately, that was three days too long!!  It is quite the noisiest caravan park we’ve ever stayed in.  For starters, it was way too close to the Busselton Highway (quite a busy road).  OK, we could see that, but the manager told us we’d have a quiet site.  Way wrong!  Then he parked a big truck belonging to a cabin liver one site away from us.  This cabin person left at 05:30AM every morning, and wasn’t quiet about it.  And then, as the last straw, another cabin guy brought his truck AND chain saw home, and gaily set about pruning a couple of trees – right during Happy Hour.  ABOMINATION!!!

That same night, there was a reasonably big bush fire a little further south which made for a lot of smoke and a really beautiful sunset.

 Discovery Holiday Park, BunburySmoky sunset @ Bunbury

So, we left and went to the Australind Caravan Park.  Much better, and we had three peaceful days, mellowing out under the trees.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Grimwade Settlement, Western Australia 26 Nov – 1 Dec 2009

Grimwade Settlement Day 1

Somewhat of a disappointing morning. We first drove to Revelly Bridge but couldn’t find a suitable spot to camp that was level. The next camp spot in the book was Wrights Bridge which is now closed. There was a fire through the place last year. Next came the Heritage Cheese Company – which is closed Wednesday and Thursday (er TODAY). So then we set the TomTom GPS for Balingup Transit Centre – and found ourselves outside a house. By this stage feeling pretty damn peeved, we headed for the Visitor Centre. My teeth were gritted and I was ready to start tearing strips off someone!! Fortunately, the lady in the Visitor Centre admitted to being a very new volunteer, and was so nice I just didn’t have the heart to be nasty – after all, it wasn’t her fault. It turned out the GPS reference in Camps5 for the TomTom for the Transit Centre was wrong, and so it told us to turn left not right. Bugger!!!

After coffee (and coincidentally going into the same cafe that Jeff’s mate Eddie Stevens owns), we had a couple of “fruit” port tastings. Much better than Queensland’s efforts – a Plum port and a Cherry port. But at $30 / bottle just a little rich for our blood.

Now we’re at Grimwade Settlement. First sight was a little disappointing as the track took us past what looked like a “Feral” camp. About 8 very ugly mongrel dogs, 3 antique caravans that look as if they haven’t moved in 20 years and a lot of bits and pieces. Hmmmm!

But moving on down the track, we passed a couple of more ordinary vans and motor homes, so we are now camped alongside Mullalyup Brook for the night.  This is a lovely spot, the pond / brook is full and crystal clear.

Grimwade Settlement Day 2

OK this is a good spot, we’ve decided to stay another couple of days at least.

Interesting day. Rick got the Satellite TV operating yesterday. Once again no problems. It seems as though getting the new support legs, which raise the dish higher was a good investment. He also got the external water pump operational from the generator. This allows us to pump from a water source into either a bucket or directly into the water tanks (hopefully through the filter). Good move. We’ve also sussed out the way to set up the gas ring properly. Using the grill from the gas cooker inside as a stand, I can now cook outside without melting holes into the table! The wind shield works really well too. We had a visit from the local CALM ranger, just to make sure that we are doing the right thing i.e.  no fires, rubbish etc. He was a young fella and had a large bandage across the back of his right hand. Me being nosey, I just had to ask about it. Apparently he had just had a melanoma removed – 7 stitches. Ouch.

Weather is much better today – still cool, but the wind has dropped considerably. It was very cool last night – double quilt night and much better for sleeping.

Grimwade Settlement Day 3

Great day. Managed to get a load of washing going this morning. Having the generator plus a good water source makes all the difference. We even had showers. There’s been a lot of weekend activity today. People using the pond for boating and swimming, and generally having a great time. Bit noisy, but there you go.

Some people here have a Manchester Terrier. It looks like a cross between a Doberman and a Whippet. Lovely looking dog.Manchester Terrier

Warmer today, but still cool overnight. Beautiful.

Grimwade Settlement Day 4

Lovely relaxing day today. Spent half the morning watching a pair of Coots and their 3 chicks. The babies are only tiny, like little balls of fluff. Then a mother duck with her little brood appeared and wandered around for a while. Lots and lots of visitors here today, fishing, boating and swimming.

Grimwade Settlement Day 5

Made an early start to the day – we were up and about by 7am. Trucks and machinery have started coming through the area on the way to a new logging site. The noise isn’t too bad, but they left a lot of dust. Just as well the logging site is out of earshot.

And for the last act of the day, the batteries on the car decided they didn’t want to work, so Rick couldn’t start the car. Two hours of generator time and a jump start from the deep-cycle later, we finally got a start. Hope tomorrow is better.

This has been a lovely place to stay, and we’re both kind of sad to leave, but the time has come to head west towards Australind.

Looking at our camp from across the pond Looking down the pond View from our front door Perfectly peaceful

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Nannup, Western Australia 23–26 November 2009

Nannup Day 1

Had a nice drive today from Margaret River to Nannup, via Rosa Brook Road and Mowen Road. Going that way cuts about 40km off the route along the highways. Most of the trip was bitumen, but even the gravel road was well formed and well maintained. Lovely country, mostly bush.

Nannup is a pretty little town, but it has the look of a town in trouble. Lots of places for sale or closed.

I used the new cast iron gas ring cooker for the first time today.  We appear to have a major design issue here.  The table I use for cooking outside is plastic topped and apparently the feet of the cooker get VERY HOT!  There are now four nice air-vent holes on the top of the plastic table!!!  Woooops.  I couldn’t work out why the saucepan seemed to be tilting more and more!  Silly me??

Nannup Day 2

Very hot expected today - 34°. Took a leisurely walk up and down the Main Street first thing, before it got too warm. There are a lot of closed shops, and For Sale properties. Quiet afternoon, enjoying the air-conditioning.

Nannup Day 3

After breakfast and a bit of a clear up, we took a drive out on the Balingup Road. That’s the way we’re planning on heading tomorrow, towards Grimwade Settlement. There is a nice little spot about 11km out of Nannup – Revelly Bridge Picnic Area. We may stop there tomorrow instead of going on to Grimwade. We followed the road through the picnic spot, through the property lines and forests through the back way to Nannup. Quite a pretty drive, up and down hills, then back to the highway. Stopped at the Blackwood Cafe in Nannup and had Iced Coffees and cake, and sat and browsed paper and magazines. Lovely.

Nannup Caravan Park, on the banks of the Blackwood River, Western Australia Nannup Caravan Park, on the banks of the Blackwood River, Western Australia

Monday, 23 November 2009

Margaret River to Darling Downs (WA) 16-23 November 2009

Margaret River Day 1

Lovely day to day, well, started off that way anyway. By the time we got to Margaret River (via Augusta), it was pouring raining. Bugger. After settling in and setting up, we took a quick drive around town to get our bearings. Quite a number of people visiting Margaret River at the moment.

Had a conversation via UHF radio with Col & Debbie – WA Kedron Owners. They are travelling to Walpole to do some fishing. Not financial members because of the mainly QLD focus of the club now.  But are thinking about joining soon.

Margaret River Day 2

Took a drive over to Dunsborough this morning. We had arranged to meet Jane & Len at their home to see whether we would like to babysit their cat (Oscar) and home. They are a lovely couple, and the home is set a couple of rows back from the beach. They need us for two months starting 10th April 2010, which is pretty good timing. That will be the last one we do before the JR’s reunion.

Coming back towards MR, we checked out Taunton Farm Caravan Park. It’s lovely, and we may go there after we leave here.

Margaret River Day 3

Got woken up this morning by howling wind, pouring rain and the odd burst of thunder or two. Good start to the day. It’s being doing that on and off all day, but we’ve stayed hunkered down and dry. Went for a walk up and down the main street to see what was what and have a cup of coffee. Lots of people around including lots of kids.

Take away for tea – but haven’t decided what to go for yet.

Margaret River Day 4

Jeff & Jennie WakeCaught up with Jennie & Jeff for coffee this morning, and to decide what we’ll do over the next couple of days. We’re having dinner with them tomorrow night, so we’ll catch up properly then.

Spent the rest of the day sort of lollygagging.

Margaret River Day 5

Got caught up on some chores today – bug screens etc. Then dinner tonight. We’ve decided to book for another couple of days and then travel to Nannup. I booked into there just in case to make sure of a water connection.

Margaret River Day 6

Drove over to the coast and had a look at a couple of the beaches. Very pretty. We sat at the Margaret River mouth, watching the surfers and WHALES. There must have been a pod of them about a kilometre off-shore. Leaping, rolling, waving and generally having a lot of fun. They are migrating southwards now after having the babies up north.

IMGP1829 IMGP1828

Very quiet day, as we are both feeling just a little tired after last night’s dinner. It was a really good night, and after finishing dinner we migrated down the street to the Margaret River Hotel and had another couple of drinks. The meal was good and the company was great.


Margaret River Day 7

Took Jeff & Jennie on a Sunday drive today out to Chapman Pool where we had a lovely picnic lunch.  It’s a beautiful spot and we followed our noses getting back, hitting a couple of the 4WD tracks on the way.

   Chapman Pool, near Margaret River, Western Australia Chapman Pool, near Margaret River, Western Australia

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Time to Catch Up

Looking back on this Blog, I have been really slack for the last month and a bit.  Since starting the house minding in Joondalup, I haven’t written a thing – but they say starting is the hardest part – and I’ve now done just that.

Beautiful Bodie

In Joondalup, we looked after house & pets for Emma & John.  The pet minding was the largest part of the job – 2 cats and 1 dog, but also the most fun.  Bodie (dog) is part chocolate coloured Labrador and part mountain lion.  He’s a big dog, 5 years old and a huge sook.  However, when he barks, people tend to take notice.  His most favourite pastime was sitting on the lounge with a view out the front window.


Foxy was very shy & retiring, and spent 99% of her time up a tree outside.  Apart from one day that she spent asleep in a bedroom, the only time we saw her was at meal times.

Little Ned

Ned is the opposite.  He’s only a kitten, 7 – 8 months old, and a complete people cat.  Although he spent most of his day asleep, he was quite happy to sleep draped over the lounge or a lap.  He is also a very early riser, and most mornings I was awoken by the gentle tapping of the paw on my face, and the not quite so gentle pushing with the nose.  “Get up and get my breakfast” was the general thrust of the conversation.  It was fun though.

Ned & Bodie in a typical position

Since then, we've done some travelling around the South West.  First to Perth to get a couple of needed jobs done, and then onto Yarloop (where Kim of the HF Radio Club reprogrammed our HF Radio), Lane Poole Reserve (lovely),Lane Poole Reserve Collie (hmmmm!) and Busselton, where we spent a week.  In Busselton, we stayed at the Mandalay Tourist Resort

Mandalay Holiday Park, Busseltonwhich is a very nice, well run park.  While there, we took a Wineries tour run by Cellar D’Or.  Great tour – 5 wineriesMe & Himself at Knotting Hill Winery, a micro brewery, the Olive Oil Soap Factory (where we met Jeff’s daughter Larissa), and finally the Margaret River Chocolate Factory (my personal favourite).  Also went to the Busselton Show, and got the car serviced.  all in all, a busy week.

From Busselton, we headed to Denmark.  We spent about six weeks in Denmark in 1998 while Rick was working at the Denmark Agricultural College, so this time we headed back to the same caravan park – the River Mouth.  River Mouth Caravan Park, DenmarkIt’s a lovely spot, but the place needs a little work.  However, I think the managers may be fairly new, and they certainly appear to be trying to bring it up to scratch.

 Denmark Day 2 we drove out today to Boat Harbor. Boat Harbour, DenmarkLovely spot, 7kms 4x4 only road, but camping is “verboten”. Pity, but it’s only a small spot really. From there to the Toffee factory. Got coffee, but no purchases. Then Bartholomew’s Mead & Honey which was good. Got some honey, and some Spiced Mead. Parry Beach has a nice little camp ground, but it’s not big enough for Big Bird. Would be a very tight fit.  Then onto William bay, Elephant Rocks, William Bay, DenmarkElephant Rocks and Greens Pool. Lovely spots.


Denmark Day 3 started off off sunny, but is now overcast, cool and the rain is on the way. Totally different to yesterday.  A thunderstorm hit late in the afternoon, and moved directly over us.  One of the lightning strikes was close enough to give the entire population of  Denmark a mass heart attack, and to start a fire in the forest just behind the caravan park.  WOW!!

Denmark Day 4 is our 34th Wedding Anniversary and a beautiful day. It was cool overnight, just nice for the doona. Had breakfast today in town (anniversary you know??) and then spent the rest of the day just pottering. Beautiful. Sky is blue, breeze keeps the heat out and all is well.  As anniversaries go, this one is pretty damn good!

Denmark Day 5 we drove to Albany – initially to see how the place had changed BUT part way there, Rick noticed a large crack on his side of the windscreen.  No idea when it was formed, but it was getting bigger by the minute. After checking in with the Tourist Bureau (who were very helpful), we rocked up to Forrest Windscreens (the local Windscreens O’Brien Agent) who was able to work on it right away. Great stuff – the only down side was 3 hours spent wandering around the streets of Albany. No biggy – by the time we’d had morning tea and lunch (@ the Albany Hotel), it was time to wander back and do the paperwork. We now have a free windscreen replacement on the NRMA policy, so at least this one hasn’t cost us anything. Sadly, we also found a Dan Murphy’s bottle shop.  Imagine the fun!!  Came back to Denmark via the scenic route and I made a lovely Cottage Pie for dinner. Of course, there was enough left over for brekkie.

Denmark Day 6 was a quiet day, but we drove out to Ocean Beach and the Wilson Inlet river bar. Nice lunch at McSweeneys.

From Denmark we drove to Walpole and set up in the Coalmine Beach Holiday Park. Nice park, good service and amenities – BUT THE MOSSIES ARE REALLY FRIENDLY. Got plenty of repellent on, and then took a drive into Walpole itself. OK, so there’s not much there, but it’s pretty and quiet. Lots of tourists though. Headed out to the Valley of the Giants and the Tree Top Walk. Beautiful. First time we were here was 1984, and we have a photo of Rick standing in the boll of a tree which fell down 6 years later in 1990 . The biggest Giant Red Tingle treeThe tree was probably one of the largest seen here – big enough to park a small car in. The last time we were here was in 1998, while living in Denmark. This was just after the Tree Top Walk had opened, so it was interesting to see what had changed. (Not much from what I could see.)

IMGP1758 IMGP1728 IMGP1737 There are some absolutely staggering trees in the area, both Tingle and Karri trees.  The distinguishing feature of the Tingles is the girth of the trees at the base. Enormous.  The Karri is a Eucalypt, has a very tall, straight trunk and can live for up to four hundred years.  They are a very beautiful tree.

Today (11th November) is the 36th anniversary of the day we met, so we finally drank our bottle of Rockford’s Black Shiraz (a sparkling red) with dinner. We’ve been carrying it with us for the last six months, just waiting for the right celebration.  It was bootiful – Robert O’Callaghan can really make a good red wine.  The drizzly rain set in early this morning, and the BOM is predicting thunderstorms 15-26°.

Drove out to the Giant Tingle tree and Circular Pool before lunch. Some pretty amazing trees up there, both Tingles and Karris, and the Frankland River and Circular Pool Circular Pool on the Frankland River, near Walpole are just beautiful. Came back to Walpole for lunch and a restful afternoon. It’s been drizzling rain for a lot of the afternoon, but has ended up a lot cooler.

And now, as we make tea, the thunder is starting to rumble.Hope we don’t get it as close as Denmark – that was a little startling!

Walpole Day 2 – We had a very heavy and loud storm last night, with lots of thunder and lightning. A couple of strikes came close enough to be really loud.

Walpole to Pemberton - Managed to leave pretty early today (08:30 which is pretty early for us), and had a lovely drive through the D’Entrecasteaux National Park. Trekking through D'Entrecasteaux National Park It’s a really pretty mix of tall trees (karri) and swampy heath land, with lots and lots of wild flowers still.  Had smoko at Northcliffe, and then came straight through to Pemberton. Wonderful camp site - Pemberton Caravan Park We were set up by lunch time, ready for a trip into to town to check out the sights and get some bread.  Dinner was lovely – bacon-wrapped chicken patties – roasted in the BBQ. YUUUM.

Pemberton Day 2 - Bit of a quietish day. Went to the Fine Woodwork Gallery, both for coffee & the gallery itself. We went to the gallery 12 years ago when we were here, and it’s just as good as ever. There is a lot of really “quitchie” stuff, but many more beautiful pieces – timber, glass, pottery etc.  Spent the rest of the day sitting by the brook, feeding the ducks and ducklings ,and reading. Can’t get any better than this.

Pemberton Day 3 - Had a look at the Gloucester Tree today (no, didn’t climb it) and had a short walk around in the bush. Gloucester Tree It was really peaceful, and except for the bird calls, very quiet. Then took a drive through the forest roads and ended up at Moon’s Crossing. Moon's Crossing This is a very rocky crossing of the Warren River, about 14km away from Pemberton. It’s a beautiful spot, but the crossing was a dangerous spot (at least for a sole vehicle), so we re-traced our steps and headed back to Pemberton. Had lunch at the King Trout Cafe – BLT’s.  Roast chicken with all the trimmings for dinner, and we’re now finished with Pemberton.  Tomorrow, onwards to Margaret River, where we’ll meet up with Jeff & Jennie.  (Mr & Mrs Combat Scribes).

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Ledge Point to Joondalup (north of Perth) – 190km (6 days)

Ledge Point is a lovely, little place about 100km from Perth.  It’s apparently one of the up and coming development locations, and has grown quite a bit of late.  The Caravan Park is very new, and runs to the whole Resort style thing.  Holiday homes, cabins, playgrounds, pool etc.  Nice and friendly though.  The place needs more trees, but that near the coast it’s not easy.  Sites are good sized.

We spent three days at Ledge Point, checking out the local area as well as Lancelin just up the coast.  Nice spot.

Left there on Saturday to move into a Joondalup property that we are looking after for ten days.  We have a large dog and two cats inhabiting the place, which is making life interesting.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Geraldton to Ledge Point – 588km – 6 nights

Spent 5 days in Geraldton at the Sunset Beach Caravan Park.  Saw the local sights, e.g. HMAS Sydney II Memorial, the Mid Western Museum, out to Ellendale Pool (reconnaissance for free camping) and a wander out through the local countryside.

The Memorial is very well done and has fantastic placement, looking out over Geraldton and the sea.  When we went to the Museum, I thought I was having a déjà vu moment, because I was sure that we’d seen a lot of the exhibits before.  It turned out that the Museum was opened in late 2000, which was a good six months after we left Geraldton and headed East.  BUT, a lot of the exhibits had been on display in Fremantle – which is where we saw them.  Thank God!  I thought I was losing the plot!!

The car went in on Monday so that the brakes and shockies could be checked.  Turns out there was nothing needed.  Brakes and shockies were both fine – but there was some scratching on the inside of the wheel rim, indicating that we might have been carrying a piece of wire around for a few days.  All that hassle for nothing, but it’s nice to know that all is well.

We said good-bye to Geraldton on Tuesday, and headed for Waddi Farm Resort.  It was a bit of a disappointment really, looked very tired.  There is a lot of potential in the place, but it needs a lot of work

  View along Sunset BeachHMAS Sydney II MemorialHMAS Sydney II Memorial - Wall of Names

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Cliff Head North to Geraldton - 129km

Drove to Geraldton through Port Denison and Dongara.  Both these places have grown hugely since we left the area in 2000.  Geraldton itself is almost unrecognisable.  We got lost three times, trying to get to Geraldton 4WD, and then to Sunset Beach Caravan Park where we will stay until next Tuesday.  The car is booked in on Monday to check the rear brakes and suspension.  Hopefully the damage will not cost too much.

We did a quick run around town to re-familiarise ourselves, and then had fish and chips on the seashore for lunch.

Sunset Beach Caravan Park, Geraldton

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Jurien Bay to Cliff Head North (CAW#436) - 100km

Cliff Head North

We stopped early today, in a free camp spot right on the beach. Really lovely spot, and just the day to appreciate it. Lots of blue sky, sun and just a few fluffy little clouds.

There were only three or four other campers there, but we had our site all by ourselves, facing out to sea.

Beautiful Sunset

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

GinGin to Jurien Bay - 247km

The noise coming from the back wheel is still there, and seems to be getting louder, so we pulled into to GinGin to get it checked out.  According to the mechanic there, it’s probably a warning that the disc needs replacing in the brake.  So we’ll get it done in Geraldton.
There are lots of wildflowers still around.  It’s not a great mass of colour, but there are lots and lots of small, individual little flowers.  Lovely.
Jurien Bay Caravan Park was quite full, with lots of school kids.  I’ll be kinda glad when school holidays finished.  This is another WA park which is comparatively dear for what it is.  This is apparently typical for WA.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Australind to GinGin - 264km

It rained quite heavily last night for a while, but when we were ready to leave the sky had cleared right up.  I’ve been hearing a noise on & off since Yarloop, in the back, left wheel.  As we pulled away from Cheryl & Keith’s place, they heard it too.  We came to the conclusion maybe there was a stone in the brakes.

We were planning on staying tonight in a free camp spot – GinGin Brook Rest Area, but it is now marked NO CAMPING.  Damn.  Fortunately, just back down the road is Willowbrook Farm Caravan Park, so we stayed there instead.  It was cold and raining, but didn’t really matter.  The park itself is OK, but I thought $25 for an unpowered site was a little rich.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Yarloop to Australind - 58km

Today is Rick’s birthday – poor lamb didn’t even get a birthday card, ‘cos I was really disorganised.  I’m not going to live this one down in a hurry.  We didn’t leave Yarloop until 2pm, so it was a really slow, relaxing morning.

We stayed overnight with Cheryl & Keith, whose house we are looking after in December.  They are a lovely couple, and once again – dinner and a few drinks made for a great evening.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Still in Yarloop

AFL Grand Final today!!  Not that Port Adelaide are playing, but Rick really wanted to watch the game.  Fortunately, we have good TV reception, so he took the TV outside to enjoy the fresh air.

It got very windy last night, I thought at one stage we were going to lose the awning.  But today is beautiful – lovely & sunny.

Lovely spot to campPlenty of flowers  More flowers

Friday, 25 September 2009

Baldivis to Yarloop - 135km

After a little bit of manoeuvring, we were able to finally turn and head out of the gate at Ann & Don’s place.  Big Bird’s a big girl, and needs a fair amount of room to change direction.  Don tried to use his tractor to make the move, but it was too little, and just wanted to point the front wheels up in the air.  Looked really funny, but didn’t get us too far.  Never mind, we eventually made it, and duly arrived in Yarloop.

The HF Radio Club was holding a gathering on private property.  It is lovely country, with a large cleared area at the back of the property, big enough for probably 15 – 20 vans and motor homes.

Weather was a bit overcast, but not too cold.

Happy hour at the fire-side, followed by a nice dinner.


Kim's Place - Yarloop Camping areaCamping areaEnjoying the sun Learning from the masters  Heck of a fireplace - half an old exploding mine (thankfully minus the explosive)