Manjimup-Boyup Brook-Pemberton.

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!

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Perth to Parry Beach.

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.

Parry Beach.

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Sterling Range NP

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

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Sterling Range NP

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More Photos.

Esperance to Fitzgerald River NP

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More Beautiful Beaches!

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

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Back on the Mainland!

We arrived back at Esperance two days ago and are now getting ready to go out to Cape Arid, Duke of Orleans and Cape Le Grande National Parks for a couple of weeks exploring. We totally enjoyed our time out at Woody Island and was sad to leave but time to move on and more experiences to be had!
While on the island we saw a Southern Right whale breaching out the front and had a visit from a pod of dolphins with their calves all day. We had a cruise in at the time and a few people went in snorkelling with them. Should have got in as it would have been a good opportunity and most people pay hundreds to do that but it’s still too cold! The ones in swimming said there were chunks of fish floating around which the adults must have been chewing up for the calves.
Greg went back to the mainland for two nights after he was poked in the eye with a stick while cleaning up the campground. He went to outpatients to be looked at and get some drops. All is well with no permanent damage! I spent a couple of nights on my own till there was a boat to bring him back. Only of a night was I worried about pirates but I had no visitors, thank God! Anyway, that’s all for now……….. we will probably be out of range for the next couple of weeks.
Cheers!

More Woody Island Photos.

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Red Desert to Deserted Island!

On Friday the 26th September we both finally finished up our jobs in Kalgoorlie. What a feeling! It took us all weekend to pack up and have our final farewell drinks with many of the great people and friends we made over the last twenty months but at long last on Monday the 29th we drove out of town.

First stop was at the hat tree just out of Kalgoorlie where Greg hung his hard hat up for the last time (well that one anyway) with many others who escaped as well! Then it was on to Esperance where we stayed for two nights arranging storage of the car and trailer and getting our supplies before heading over to Woody Island about 15kms south-east to live and volunteer caretake for the next month.
A cruise boat comes over some days when they have enough numbers at 11 am and stops in for morning tea which we have ready for them. We’ve now mastered the art of scone making and also laid on the Anzac biccies and muffins as well. While here they can go for a bush walk, bird watch, swimming, snorkelling or just enjoy the view and then they’re back on the boat at 12.30 and we have the island to ourselves again. The only other thing we have to do is make sure the amenities are clean and maybe a bit of maintenance or cleaning up of the overgrown or dead plants when and if we feel like it.
So far we’ve done the walks on the island, gone fishing and even went for a quick snorkel one day. Very quick, the water was freezing! But there’s heaps of coloured fish to see and apparently a couple of sunken boats as well. I’m a bit paranoid about sharks myself!
When we need more supplies we give the boat crew a list and they bring it over with the next cruise so we don’t leave the island at all till the end of October but that’s no hardship and honestly, someone has to do it!
What to do now…..go for a fish, have a siesta on the deck…..decisions, decisions! God, I miss Kalgoorlie!

Woody Island.

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Nullarbor Muster

Early April we had Greg’s mum Sue come over to Kalgoorlie for a weeks visit and was absolutely great having her here. Greg took a week off work to show her around and take her on day trips. I’m sure he wore her out! They also went on a scenic flight over the Pit and the town before she left.

We both got the week of Easter and Anzac off from work and went camping. As we have too much stuff that you tend to accumulate when nesting we had to borrow a tent! Many people told us that a great place to go was Niagara Dam about two hours north from here. So off we went and when we arrived we were both blown away by the size of it! It looked a lot bigger in the photos! We are obviously spoilt for waterways back on the east side and maybe we take them for granted as out here they get excited over a bit of water which isn’t much bigger then a yabbie dam! But we enjoyed ourselves and had a relaxing time. We did a couple of day trips to Kookynie and Gwalia which were both big bustling towns in their hey day of mining. Kookynie still have people living there and the pub is popular with travellers. When the ‘Sons of Gwalia’ mine closed down the town emptied overnight from 1200 to 40 as they all got on the train and left. The old shacks are being restored to how they were originally and is now a tourist attraction. The mine is now up and running again having being brought out by St Barbara. There is a photo here showing the mine but as it is actually an underground mine it goes down another 1200 metres which you can’t see.

On the Anzac weekend we went to a spot on the map called Rawlinna for the Nullarbor Muster. It’s about 380kms east of Kalgoorlie on the Trans Access Road which follows the Trans Continent railway line to the east. Once a year they have a rodeo as well as heaps more activities and entertainment going on from Friday afternoon till Sunday. They had about 850 people camping there which was down from the previous year as they had a bit of rain (but not enough to stop any events). We were surprised by the variety of people there from young families, grey nomads,international tourists as well as the expected groups of blokes and women. Next to us camping on one side were three young blokes from Holland who are currently WWOOFAing/working on a property at Wiluna (which is way out in the middle of no where). They all decided to have a go at the bull riding and did, not once but twice and still got up and walked away. On the other side of us camping were a retired couple travelling around Oz. They declined on the bull riding! Other events they had included skeet shooting(clay shooting), arm wrestling, iron man and women racing, boat racing (similar to the Todd River race at Alice Springs), barrel racing, charity horse race and heaps more. The whole weekend had a great atmosphere with everyone enjoying themselves. The trip home was slow as the road was getting chopped up and one car we came across only about 20kms into the trip rolled over (obviously going too fast)! They had a long wait ahead of them for a trailer to come out and get them!

Since then we’ve been back at work and Greg is now playing hockey again. We went to the races one weekend with a couple Wendy and Doug we met here at the park. They came over from Sale in Victoria to caretake Davyhurst mine which is currently mothballed till the price of gold picks up and production starts again. While at the races Wendy picked the trifecta, got excited and stepped back in a hole which you couldn’t see and broke her foot! She didn’t think it was so bad till the next day when she couldn’t walk on it and no, she wasn’t drunk! She’d only had one beer at that stage!

We had a visit from John Phillipson’s son Ben and his partner last week who are travelling Australia as well. It was great to see them and hear some of their stories and adventures as well as news from home!

We are now on the countdown till we leave in October and continue travelling ourselves. As we want to spend a couple of months down the south of WA we decided to stay here and work over winter as it will be too cold and windy now. Hopefully by the time we go the weather will be great! Till then, cheers and hope everyone is well!

Nullarbor Muster–Something You Muster Do!

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Summer in Kalgoorlie!

St. Barbara’s Day Festival.

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This album has 28 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 24/05/2014.

Since our last post we have done a few things around here as you can see from the photos. In December they had their St Barbara Day Festival where they have a big parade and bring some of the big machinery out for the day and pelt lollies at you. Actually we were on the wrong side and the wind was blowing them back at them! The dump truck in the photo here is as tall as the two storey pub on the corner.

For my birthday we did a half hour scenic flight over Kalgoorlie and the Super Pit which was great and you get to see just how big the hole is next to the town. You also get to see there is a whole lot of nothing beyond the town too!

After Xmas we went for a drive with Helen and Graeme (also from this park) up to Menzies and out to Lake Ballard (about two hours north). This is a huge salt lake with 51 sculptures spaced out on it. In the distance it looked like there was water in it but it was only a mirage. Lucky we took plenty of water with us as the day we went was about 45 degrees but out on the lake was more like 50!

Another day over the Xmas break we went to the local brothel for a tour which was well worth doing and the madam had plenty of stories to tell as you can imagine! It was only $20 for about one and a half hours opposed to $280 an hour with one of the girls!

On Australia Day weekend we drove about 400 kms to Hyden to see Wave Rock. Amazing how this just pops up out of nowhere. There’s also a salt lake which actually had water in it and is seven times more saltier than the ocean! They have made a pool using the same water so you can go for a dip and you can’t sink! You just bob around in it!

Recently we had a couple of days good rain and Kalgoorlie had a river running through it. Funny how people bring their blow up boats and canoes out and get in it! But also the lakes around here filled up with water so we went for a drive last weekend to have a look (one we went to twelve months ago was bone dry) and was surprised to see ski boats and jet skis in them.

The weather here is starting to cool down a bit with the days being around high 20’s to mid 30’s, perfect! We brought ourselves a portable air con for the hot nights and glad we did. But it probably won’t be long now before it will get cold again!

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Greg Makes The Local News!

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