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).