|A Magical Day–Swimming with Whale Sharks!
This album has 18 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 25/08/2015.
After leaving Carnarvon we went on and camped at Warroora Station on the Ningaloo Reef for a week. Top spot for swimming, canoeing, fishing and visiting Coral Bay for snorkelling. We also went to Ningaloo Station for a few days for much of the same.
Then we went to Exmouth and Cape Range National Park. One day we canoed up Yardie Creek and saw heaps of Black Footed Rock Wallabies on the sheer red cliffs of the gorge. Amazing how they can hang on and the way they leap up the cliffs.
The great thing about Ningaloo Reef is you can just go in off shore snorkelling and see heaps of coral and beautiful tropical fish without the need for a boat. Funny how the fish know when they’re in a protected marine sanctuary because they are every where and hang around, but in the unprotected zone there’s no fish to be seen!
The highlight for us here was going out for the day swimming with the Whale Sharks. We saw three being three, four and five metres long. It was a magical and unforgettable experience! They are just so big and gentle. The next day some people camped next to us went out and they saw a nine to ten metre one which even amazed the tour guides. And then another couple went out fishing in their tinnie and a six metre one came up along side of them and stayed for awhile!
We spent a couple of days extra here snorkelling and fishing. Caught nine one afternoon but all too small. You went past the fish cleaning table in the caravan park and everyday they all had heaps of huge fish but they went outside the reef in their boats. I believe the entertainment was at the boat ramp. There is only one ramp which was also used by the tour boats. Of an afternoon, all the boaties would come in at the same time and try to get out at once. One day we know of, there was a bit of a punch up and the police and ambulance were called in. Yep, fisho’s are a weird mob!
|Warroora Station–Cape Range NP.
This album has 9 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 25/08/2015.
More photos to follow.
We are in Carnarvon at present arriving here a couple of days ago believing we would have to book into a cabin to get shelter from Cyclone Quang. The girls at the tourist information assured us it was nothing this time with only 50 mm of rain expected and around 50 km/h winds. So we ended up setting up the camper trailer with every inch pegged down and hoped for the best. The next morning woke up with no results. No wind and no rain, good! Which is better than the weather you lot have been copping on the east coast. Hope everyone is OK and no damage!
Before arriving here and since Geraldton we went to Coronation Beach, Northampton, Kalbarri and Denham. On the way we visited a couple of old homesteads dating back to the 1850’s and one (Oakabella), supposedly being haunted. We didn’t see any ghosts but the hostess was very out there and wacky! Beautiful old house but I’m not sure I would like to stay there on my own!
Kalbarri is surrounded by national park with both coastal cliffs and inland gorges on the Murchison River. All very scenic and spectacular and the Murchison River was in full flow and brown from the previous cyclone and really contrasted where it flowed into the Indian Ocean. We got up early one morning and did a 9 km walk before it got too hot, seeing ‘Natures Window’ and parts of the river and gorges.
Another thing the cyclone brought in was the bloody tiny fly’s. Thousands and thousands of them! The standard uniform for everyone is fly nets but they still manage to get in, up your nose, in your mouth, eyes and ears!
Next main stop was Denham and the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. We arrived in time for Anzac Day and got up for the Dawn Service and later went to watch the march which was very small and consisted of the police car, ambulance and about twenty people including the local kickboxing class. But the highlight was as they marched towards the Cenotaph an emu came out of nowhere and led the procession. It was the funniest thing you’ve ever seen and of course we didn’t have the camera.
While here, we went to Monkey Mia for the famous daily dolphin experience where they come in and check us humans out. Then we went on a cruise,stopping at a black pearl farm, the same one as in ‘Farmer Wants A Wife’. We also saw a dugong, manta ray, turtles, dolphins and a three metre tiger shark which they talk up as being too well fed to be interested in humans and you can almost swim with them. After you, I say!
On leaving Denham we stopped and camped at another beach called Gladstone and were going to stay three nights but ended up leaving after two as they were predicting heavy rains from the cyclone. If that happened then the road out would have been impassable and closed, meaning we would be stuck in there for some time and were low on supplies, especially beer! So now after getting the car serviced, restocking supplies and sightseeing around Carnarvon, seeing the One Mile Jetty, Quobba Blowholes and coastlines we are heading off towards Coral Bay tomorrow.
This album has 24 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 2/08/2015.
We arrived and stayed at Fremantle for about a week and a half. Nice place for a city and a lot more laid back and cruisey than Perth. There’s many old buildings and harbour side pubs, cafes, restaurants, museums, etc. The caravan park we stayed in had a bus stop out the front and it was handy and easier to catch a bus into town than driving and trying to find a car park. While we were there, we went to the Perth Caravan and Camping Show and had fun catching the train and bus back carrying a shower tent and a jockey wheel among other stuff we really had to have!
Another day we did a tour of the Fremantle Prison that was built in the 1850’s by convicts, only closed down in 1991 and the last hanging was 1984! Very cold and eerie place!
We went out to Rottnest Island for two nights (thanks Mum)and stayed in the lodge which use to be warders quarters for the ‘Quad’ that was an aboriginal prison attached (now a backpackers accommodation). Very sad history for the aboriginals and the unmarked cemetery was, until not so long ago, a campground for the tourists! Other history included the WWII defence to protect the Port of Fremantle and City of Perth with manned nine and six inch guns, lookouts, radars, etc. There are also two lighthouses to guide the ships through the reefs into Fremantle. We hired bikes for a day and rode around the island (about 22kms), seeing many spectacular beaches and sheltered coves where numerous boats and cruisers moor on the weekends and holidays. After six hours on the bikes it was a painful ride home and now we know why there are so many bikes chained up at the bus stops on the island!
Arriving back at Fremantle, we caught up with a mate we knew from both Central Coast and Kalgoorlie for lunch and afternoon drinks at Little Creatures Brewery. Very relaxing and good to see him again.
Before leaving, we also went on a Swan River cruise to Perth passing a $57 million mansion owned by a mining heiress, also Gina Rinehart and Cloughs mansions. We also passed James Packer and Gina’s luxury cruisers when we came back from Rottnest Island! Poor souls!
We have since been slowly travelling north biding our time till cyclone season is finished. We stayed at Sandy Cape for a week over Easter, visited the Pinnacles near Cervantes and went to a WA Rock Lobster packing shed for a tour and lunch. As usual, all the product goes overseas to Japan, China, Dubai, USA and anyone else who wants to pay $100 a kilo. We only get the ones with three or more legs missing!
At the moment we are at a beach camp called Coronation Beach about 25kms north of Geraldton. Tomorrow we will go in town to have some wear and tear repairs done on the awning and visit the HMAS Sydney II memorial and museum. After here we will head on to Kalbarri which is suppose to be really nice as well. And the water is finally starting to warm up!
|Fremantle-Rottnest Island-Sandy Cape.
This album has 32 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 12/07/2015.
|Augusta to Mandurah!
This album has 30 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 5/07/2015.
Augusta is a very picturesque town with a relaxed feel to it which we quite liked and stayed for three nights. We did a tour and climbed Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse which is the tallest on the mainland at 39 metres high. The views were spectacular and looks over where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet. Down below is also an old Water Wheel, built in 1895, the same time as the lighthouse, to supply fresh spring water to the above lighthouse cottages. The wheel is now completely calcified and an interesting piece of work. We also went to Jewel Cave for a tour which is one of the many large caves in this area and is magnificent with the world’s longest straw stalactites at 5.9 metres long and massive stalagmites! The cave is huge with many, many caverns and they even found a skeleton of a Tasmanian Tiger in there!
We moved on to Hamelin Bay which was only up the road 23kms but the coast was stunning and protected from the wind. With the long weekend coming up we had to book in somewhere and got the last site which was a bit tight and took some manoeuvring but we got in. There are many resident sting rays that hang around and have been here for years. You can feed fish to them and they’ll let you pat them as well. Amazing! We stayed for six nights and did some sightseeing around the Margaret River region, also seeing Prevelly Beach where they have international surfing competitions. On the weekend they had the annual Augusta River Festival so we went back there on the Sunday for a few hours watching the ‘drink can boat regatta’, parade, stalls and live music.
Our next stop was Busselton on Geographe Bay which has the longest timber jetty in the Southern Hemisphere at 1.8kms long. This bay between Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse/Dunsborough to Busselton would have to date, be the most stunning bay we have yet seen. It’s so picture perfect with the calm blue waters, white sandy beaches and brilliant blue skies.
We continued on northwards to Bunbury and stayed out at Belvedere Camp on the Leschenault Estuary where we dropped pots from the kayak for blue swimmer crabs. We caught heaps but only about half a dozen were big enough to keep. We did day trips from here to Bunbury and went on the town history tour and saw the city sights. Bunbury is the second biggest city in WA after Perth but the population is still only around 40,000.
Another day we drove out to Ferguson Valley to a place called Gnomesville. The population here would be bigger then Bunbury as there are thousands of gnomes! It started with a lady putting one on the side of the road and it just kept growing. People come from all over and even overseas and place their own gnomes there. Wish we’d had realised, we could have taken our own and called them ‘Notsogreygnomeads’! Next time round!
Our last stop before Fremantle was a camp spot called Herron Point on the Peel Inlet just south of Mandurah. We again caught blue swimmer crabs here but again only a couple big enough to keep, but yummy anyway. We managed to get dumped out of the kayak as it was fairly rough and windy. Lucky we could stand up to get back in!
We were in the area in time for the annual Mandurah Crab Fest weekend and you’ve never seen so many crabs! One photo we took of the woks is only one of many stalls selling them for lunch. There were plenty of stalls and markets as well as entertainment etc. Lots and lots of people there and many come down from Perth for the weekend but apparently numbers were down this year due to the big winds expected from the cyclone up north! Mandurah is a very modern and expensive town with many man made canals with waterfront homes and their boats parked at the door. Well worth a look!
When we got to Manjimup we camped out of town in a Karri forest for two days doing some sightseeing around the timber/logging industry. While in town we saw a poster advertising the Boyup Brook Country Music Festival which just happened to be the next weekend and is the biggest country music festival in WA! So off we went for four days, camping in the caravan park overflow paddock on the edge of town. They also turned the footy field, tennis club and school into camping grounds for the weekend. Well don’t get excited, it’s nothing like Tamworth with all the non-stop free entertainment in all the pubs and on the streets. There’s only one pub and one club! They had some entertainment and some free acts in the town centre during the day as well as the street parade with two floats and the ute and truck muster! Troy Cassar Daley and Tanya Kernigan were the big drawcards for the main concert on Saturday and as we had already seen Troy in Kalgoorlie doing a free concert, we didn’t want to pay $100 each to see him again so we just wandered around the town watching the free stuff and when we got back to camp which was only across the road from the entertainment, we could hear the concert loud and clear. An old bloke by the name of Wazza came over and invited us to watch him play later in one of the sheds in the caravan park and he was alright for an 85 year old and played some mean Johnny Cash. There was another group and a busker who performed up town earlier and were also staying in the park, that got up and did a couple of songs with him. All six of us spectators had a great night!
Just outside of Boyup Brook is Harvey Dickson’s country music and rodeo park and is worth seeing. Harvey built all the stockyards, bar, stages, amenities, sheds and statues in the paddock from huge trees and stumps. He’s also has just about every memorabilia and collectables you could imagine, most hanging from the ceiling in one of the sheds and he has every single album that Elvis ever made!
We returned to Manjimup after the weekend, had the car serviced and stayed in the camping area near Big Brook Dam for five nights. From here we went on day trips to Pemberton which is another old and still active logging and milling town and has all the original timber mill houses which are still lived in today. We went on a mill tour while here. We also saw the old fire watch trees in the Karri forests which are between 61 and 75 metres tall and you can climb at your own risk. Greg had a go but not me!
Another day we went for a drive to Northcliffe and Windy Harbour which almost got lost to the fires. People living there must have near shit themselves! There were still lots of trees smouldering when we drove through. Amazing no houses were lost, just a couple of sheds.
Next stop is Augusta.
|Karri Forests to Country Music!
This album has 30 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 30/05/2015.
Arriving back at Perth after a great Xmas (and exhausting) catching up with as many as we could, we picked up the car and trailer and stocked up again before heading to Kojonup for the Australia Day Picnic races which turned out wasn’t on and rescheduled for Valentines weekend! Bit disappointed but we stayed the night and then headed off to Denmark which is a beautiful little town and probably the next Margaret River by the look of the real estate prices. Plenty of wineries around and a cheese maker and lots of chalets,restaurants etc. We stayed about 23kms west of Denmark at Parry Beach that has a salmon fishing camp next to the campground and run by volunteers which nearly outnumber the campers and as it turned out a great place to get stranded! While there we went to Walpole and did the ‘Valley of the Giants’ Treetop Walk through the Tingle trees and a drive through the forest. A couple of days later it was closed due to the fires up north from there. We planned on going to Shannon NP next but that wasn’t to be as it went up in flames and the road west of Walpole was closed. So we stayed at Parry’s for two weeks and it was lovely and relaxing and only $50 a week! One of the volunteers, Dave had us up at 5am showing us how to catch herring and what rig we needed. Would like to catch something bigger but I don’t think there’s anything out there til the salmon come on!
Between Denmark and Parry Beach is Green Pool and Elephant Rocks which is a beautiful spot to go swimming and snorkelling and we did but after half an hour snorkelling the body went blue from the cold and it took a long hot shower to thaw out!
After two weeks here, it was obvious that the road west wasn’t going to open any time soon as the fires were still burning, the road was melted and had to be resealed. So we dragged ourselves away and
back tracked a little and drove up around the fire to Manjimup.
This album has 19 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 27/05/2015.
We are back on the east coast for Xmas but I thought I’d update the blog on what we did before we came home. We spent a few days at Fitzgerald NP in a couple of different locations and even took the canoe out on the inlet for a paddle. On the west side of the park at Pt. Ann is a stunning beach with a mountain backdrop (reminds you of New Zealand). That’s also where No.2 rabbit proof fence finished at the ocean. We found a free camp on the way to Albany called Betty’s Beach that’s actually a salmon fisherman’s camp where you can stay off season (thanks Betty). Met some nice people people here who told us about a cheap camp on someone’s property at Albany where we ended up staying for $5 a night rather than $40 a night! At Albany we visited the Anzac Centre which opened this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of where two convoys of ships left Australia for WW1 with about 41,000 soldiers and about 2,000 horses. Most would never see Australia again. We also visited the last working whaling station in Australia which only closed in 1978. What a gross occupation chopping the whales into pieces to fit in the cookers for their oil, every piece was used, none wasted! The kids of the workers used to get teased at school about where their fathers worked because of the stench! We also did the usual town walk looking at the historical buildings, gaol and a replica of the Brig Amity which brought the first settlers to King George Sound from Sydney to start a settlement in 1826. Albany is a really nice city with beautiful old buildings and lots of history surrounded by lovely bays and ports but is too cold for us!
On our way up to Perth we stopped at Sterling Range NP for three nights. We walked up to the summit of Bluff Knoll which is the second highest peak in WA at approximately 1099 metres above sea level.
The walk from the car park was three kms up which took two hours and many stops. As you got closer to the top, the mountain was covered in wildflowers and the view at the top was amazing. The descent taking one and a half hours was just as bad as the steps were quite steep and the knees and thighs protested immensely! Greg is already looking forward with anticipation to climbing Mt Meharry in Karijini NP which is 1249 metres above sea level and the highest in WA. What’s another 50 metres hey!
While at Sterling Range we met this amazing lady Christine in her forties travelling Australia on her own in a Landcruiser pulling a 21 foot van. She had no problems backing into a site and setting up. A couple of times she got herself cornered in a tight no go spot but managed to get out on her own. I take my hat off to her and wish her safe and happy travels! And good luck with the book she is writing about a women in her 40’s travelling…watch out for it!
We arrived at Perth stopping at another free camp on the way by the river. We stayed at a Seven Day Adventist Park where they have cheap storage for the car and trailer but as you drive in there’s a huge sign saying ‘no alcohol, no smoking, no drugs etc.. There were lots of coffee drinkers getting around with their mugs!
Anyway Cheers and Merry Xmas to all and have a great new year!
|Sterling Range NP
This album has 16 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 20/03/2015.
|Sterling Range NP
This album has 7 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 20/03/2015.
|Esperance to Fitzgerald River NP
This album has 17 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 26/02/2015.
Arriving at Cape Arid NP we drove up the beach about 20 minutes to a cleared spot behind the headlands that Christian from the boat cruise told us about. It was a magnificent spot that we had to ourselves with our own secluded bay and only saw one group of people the whole six days we were there. While we were there we climbed Mt. Arid and enjoyed views out to Middle Island and the Recherche Archipelago as far as the eye could see. We also had long leisurely walks on the beach everyday, went for a drive one day to check out the other beaches with the wildflowers and tried a bit of rock fishing but not even a nibble.
From here we went to Duke of Orleans Bay for three nights. Another lovely spot which is very popular in the holidays. We took the canoe out along the edge of the bay and had a heart stopping moment when something big swam under us. Up jumped a seal and it swam along with us diving in and out of the water and showing off like a puppy dog. You could almost hear it saying ‘look at me, look at me!’ Lucky there wasn’t a big white fish following it (well, we hope not)!
Next camp was at Cape Le Grande NP for another three nights. We climbed Frenchman’s Peak which is very steep and hard going but the views at the top are beautiful. We could see Woody Island and the cruise boat heading out there and texted them to wave to us! We had one really hot day where we got a swim in but otherwise it was quite windy and a bit cool so we drove round to the other beaches for a look including Lucky Bay which was voted second best beach in Australia. Not sure what number one is but hopefully we will find it in our travels!
While we were here we unfortunately received sad news of my brother and sister-in-laws middle son Luke tragically passing on. Our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to Pete, Marion, Adam & Tim.
We returned to Esperance via the beach getting bogged on the way. The waves were almost lapping the tyres and lucky another car came along and snatched us out. We saw him later and he got bogged in the same spot on the way back but could get himself out as he wasn’t towing a trailer. We stayed for a couple of days before heading west to Quagi Beach for a few nights. Greg got up with the sparrows one morning, went down to the beach with his camera and saw a pod of dolphins surfing. We did a day drive to Fanny Cove stopping at Moir Homestead on the way to see the ruins of an old sheep grazing property. At Fanny Cove we were fortunate to score a good size fish off a fisherman who came back in his tinnie with an eskie full of snapper. Easiest fish we ever caught though we didn’t get the snapper!
Went on to Munglinup Beach for another three nights which had a beautiful lagoon but the beach was so soft and hard walking. No way you would take your car on it! Starvation Bay was our next stop at another great camp we were told about and again had it to ourselves and could have a fire. Caught a couple of flatheads but they were undersized, bad luck.
We then went to Hopetoun for a couple of nights on the edge of Fitzgerald River NP before heading out to the park where we are now. We will stop at a couple of camps in the park and keep heading west probably to Bremer Bay before heading north to Perth to catch the plane back to Sydney for a month over Xmas where we hope to catch up with most of you.
There is no doubt that WA have some of the best beaches in Australia. We thought East Coast was special and it is, but they don’t go anywhere near some we have seen here with the sand so white and fine and the water so blue, but they are also damn cold down here!
|Cape Arid NP to Cape Le Grand NP
This album has 15 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 26/02/2015.