Monthly Archives: April 2018

Kalbarri to Hamelin Pool WA

Monday 30th April 2018
Well the plan this morning was to leave early so we could start or hike by 8am at the latest but unfortunately our camp was in silence until at least 7am. Therefore, as we don’t like disturbing people we didn’t get away early as planned. We drove to Meanarra Lookout for breakfast. Then headed to Kalbarri National Park for our walk. The hike we were doing was recommended to start by 7am and take at least 3-4 litres of water per person. We managed to get started by 9am and with further instruction from a young NP guy we set out with 3 bottles of water each and with directive to go clockwise to make the walk easier and at least a little shady for the first part. Also the initial part of the walk if we went clockwise meant we started with the difficult sandy section. So we went with the advice and left the steeper rocky cliff section until last.

It was a beautiful walk, starting with Nature’s Window which is exactly that a rocky outcrop with beautiful red rock framing the gorge. Then down to the loop Trail which was 10km (approx 3 hours) and meandered through the gorge. The rocks were a beautiful variegated red, pink, white colour against a beautiful blue sky and green trees near the river. It was a magnificent sight. We only saw about 10 people along the walk and it was beautifully peaceful and serene. I had a swim in the gorge which was very pleasant and refreshing. There was a couple of tricky sections but all in all it was a pleasant stroll. It took us about about 3.5hours at a leisurely pace including swim and snack breaks.

We then headed to Ross Graham Lookout which unfortunately was not that impressive considering the views of the last 3.5 hours. But it was a lovely back drop for our lunch.

Then we headed towards our camp for tonight, about a 3 hour drive which we decided would be Hamelin Outback Station Stay. A 5 star homestead at Hamelin Pool which was really lovely. The pathways were shell based which was a very pleasant change from red dirt/dust. The facilities were amazing. Camp kitchen, bathrooms, sites were fantastic. We might even stay here on the way back in a couple of days.

Yallabatharra to Pink Lake to Kalbarri WA

Sunday 29th April 2018
Well off we go on another day of sightseeing. Will we reach our destination today, only time will tell. We have many points of interest to see on our way from the homestead to Kalbarri.

As we head out from the station we stop at the Lynton Heritage site which is located on the property. The Lynton Convict Hiring Depot (1853–1857) was the first convict depot north of Fremantle. It was established on 22 May 1853 with the arrival of 60 ticket-of-leave convicts and Pensioner Guards (retired British soldiers). It was established to supply labour to the Geraldine Lead Mine and to local settlers. By 1856 a store, bakery, depot, lockup, hospital, lime kiln and administration block had all been built but a lack of fresh vegetables had seen the convict population ravaged by scurvy. It was decided to close the settlement in 1857. Lynton remains the most intact example of a regional convict depot in Western Australia.

Then on to the Pink Lake in Gregory. It was very much pink on this side of the lake as opposed to last night on the other side where there was much less water. The lake has a pink hue created by presence of carotenoid-producing algae Dunaliella salina, a source of ß-carotene, a food-colouring agent and source of vitamin A. Depending on the time of day, the time of year and the amount of cloud cover, the lake changes through the spectrum of red to bubble-gum pink to a lilac purple.

From here we headed on to some lookout points along the way to Kalbarri. They wereGrandstand, Island Rock, Natural Bridge (we did a little walk between Island Rock and Natural Bridge and back), Eagle Gorge Lookout, Pot Alley, Red Bluff and finally Chinaman’s Beach for lunch. We met a couple of young German tourists with whom we exchanged travel stories and tips for each of our holidays. They were interested in how to gauge if it is safe to swim in the surf ie. how do you know if there is a shark? Anyway DB gave his usual story that it is safer in the ocean than driving a car.

Next we went and checked in to our home for the night on Murchison House Station. Another farm subsidising their income with campers. These have been our favourite sites so far as they are friendly, more rustic and peaceful than the caravan parks. Yet again, Murchison House does not disappoint. We are camped by the river which was quite lovely for an afternoon dip and refresh. After our swim, we ducked out to Kalbarri National Park and did a quick walk to Z Bend lookout where we saw a couple of gorges. Unfortunately the light was getting a little low so was half in shadow.

Next we did our usual and chased the sunset. We headed back in to Kalbarri and went to Red Bluff lookout where we got to see the sun set and the moon rise in spectacular glory. A fitting end to a great day. Slipping back in to old habits we arrived back at the campsite in the dark to cook dinner. Oh well, we are trying. At least we were checked in and knew where our site was as it would have been very difficult to choose where to stay in the dark.

Well we have had another full day, enjoyable but very busy.

Port Denison to Yallabatharra via Geraldton WA

Saturday 28th April 2018
Well I realised just before we went to bed last night that I had left my gold watch in the shower cubicle. I went to check out my luck for it still being there but was nosiree I was unlucky. It is probably the first time I have ever had a shower at 5pm, getting in before the grey nomads and the families. Unfortunately this was to my disadvantage as the watch was gone. I had a shocking sleep disappointed at my loss. Well my luck changed in the morning as someone had handed my watch in at the office. Yay!! No divorce before I even get married as it was a present from DB.

Well moving right along, we headed off to Geraldton for a swim in the 50m outdoor pool. Unfortunately it wasn’t heated and it was too cold but we did it none the less. It was a fast swim to keep you as warm as possible. The facilities in these country pools is amazing. Outdoor 50m pool with water polo pool at the end, 25m 12 lane indoor pool, hydro pool, baby pool and enclosed tunnel slippery dip into another pool. Fantastic.

Then we headed to the H magnificent HMAS Sydney II memorial, completed in 2001, has become the country’s premier site for honouring the 645 Australian sailors who were lost off the Western Australian coast during a World War II battle with German raider HSK Kormoran. The location of both wrecks remained a mystery for over 66 years until they were located in March 2008. It was quite spectacular.

Then we went to the St Francis Xavier Catholic Cathedral. This was really unusual on the inside. I have never seen the inside of a church like it.

Then onto some housekeeping, food shopping and odds and sods we need for our adventure. I finally convinced DB to buy some Maxtrax to enable us to go on to the soft, white, sandy beaches without the stress. Yay ME!!

That was about it for Geraldton, we headed on our way hoping to make Kalbarri tonight but unfortunately, yet again we didn’t make it. We visited the pink Lake at Gregory and then decided as it was 5.15pm that we would stop at Linga Longa Campground on Lynton Station so that we would be setup in the dusk light as opposed to in darkness at Kalbarri. Boy are we getting better. Quite a shock to the system.

Sandy Cape to Port Denison/Dongara WA

Friday 27th April 2018
Well we woke to a cool, windy, cloudy morning which was a shame as we were hoping to have an early morning swim. So instead we packed up reasonably early and headed to our next activity.

We travelled about 30km east to Mt Lesueur National Park for our first hike since Frenchman’s Peak in Le Grand National Park in Esperance. Another little mountain for us to climb. Only a 4km return trip with about 100m elevation, so not to tough for a start to our hiking. It is amazing how much you lose agility in the bush when you haven’t been hiking for a while but it comes back quickly thank goodness. Mt Lesueur is a mesa (flat topped hill) and it was very beautiful. One of the most important flora conservation reserves in Western Australia, Lesueur National Park erupts into colour in late winter and spring as the park’s diverse flora comes out in flower, making it a paradise for wildflower enthusiasts. Unfortunately the timing was wrong so we only saw a few flowering plants. After the walk we also drove the one-way 18.5-kilometre loop bitumen scenic drive which is a great way to enjoy the park’s many delights. Besides all the amazing scenery we also saw a couple of black emus.

After this we headed in the directions of Geraldton via Green Head and Arrowsmith via the coastal drive and finally arrived at our destination for the night at Port Denison-Dongara. Amazing for us we checked in at 3pm (almost grey nomad happy hour time). But you know us, never time to sit down and rest, we went for a bike ride along the river which was very beautiful and arrived back at camp at 5pm. It was very very windy so we have set up the gazebo so I had wind protection to cook and for a little warmth.

All in all we have had another great day. Didn’t quite make it to Geraldton but this is becoming a common theme. We are trying to accept this and just setup camp a little earlier than usual and in daylight hours. A pleasant change for us. It may mean we have to drive the last 2000 km in 2 days to get home in time for Benny’s arrival but that is OK.


Nambung to Sandy Cape WA

Thursday 26th April 2018
Well we will start today with a walk around our Station Stay at Nambung. It was a very peaceful night with only a few cow noises to disturb the night. There were only 4 campsites in total including us. It was just our style of camping. After checking out all the farm animals, including some visiting emus we headed off to our first stop which was the Pinnacles Desert in the Nambung National Park. These were an amazing sight. The Pinnacles desert covers an area of approximately 190 hectares, is around 60 metres above sea level, and contains thousands of limestone Pinnacles, some up to 5 metres high. We were pleased we made this our first stop as it was very quiet when we arrived but by the time we left it was getting very crowded.

Next stop was the Wedge Shack Town – The beach shacks were built on Crown land about 160 kms north of Perth between the 1950s and 1980s by fishermen and farmers. The small coastal communities of Wedge Island and Grey, 15 kms north of Wedge, are home to about 350 holiday beach shacks on unvested land that do not have running water or electricity. It is amazing that they have been allowed to stay as they are effectively squatters on Crown land.

We had intended to drive on the beach between Wedge and Grey but as usual as our luck would have it the tide was too high so we had to go back the same way.

Next stop Cervantes for lunch. A quick lunch at the Lobster Shack with about 100 other diners. 50% of these were Asian tourists, they obviously have many Chinese visitors as they not only sell Lobster chips and coleslaw, the other option is Lobster and fried rice. The lobster was quite nice but as usual overpriced for what it was. Also in Cervantes we went to Thirsty Point, Hansen Bay and Lake Thetis where we saw stromatalites.

Moving on from there we headed to Jurien Bay stopping at Molah Point Lookout. We went for a bike ride to the harbour which went right along the beach. There is also a snorkelling trail but we decided it was too windy for this activity today.

From Jurien Bay we decided to leave off the last item on our list for today which was a bushwalk at Mt Lesueur to ensure we arrived at our campsite before dark. This is very unusual for us but we are trying to slow down a bit this trip.

Our last stop for today is Sandy Cape Jurien Bay. A beautiful Recreation Park and campground. This is very informal and only has drop toilets and no showers but is right on the beach. We are hoping to have a snorkel in the morning if the wind drops off and it is a nice day.

Woohoo!! We are getting so good. I have finished the blog and it is only 9.11pm. YAY ME!!!

Karrinyup to Nambung via New Norcia WA

Wednesday 25th April 2018
Well we are on our way finally for the next part of our adventure. With our radiator fixed we are hoping that will be our only car trouble. Fingers crossed, maybe our toes as well.

Where to now. We decided to head to New Norcia (a monastery town) as our first point of interest. We went via the Swan Valley which most people would visit a couple of wineries but instead we went for nougat and gelato. No surprises there I am sure.

We arrived at New Norcia just in time for the town tour which was very interesting.

New Norcia is Australia’s only monastic town. Founded in 1847 by Spanish Benedictine Monks, the town has had many purposes; a mission, a monastery, a provider of education and now as a place of spiritual retreat.

The Monastery, where the monks live, work and pray, is at the heart of New Norcia. The monks of New Norcia live according to the guidance and rhythms of The Rule of St Benedict, which has been followed by monks since the sixth century AD. Monks who do so are referred to as ‘Benedictines’. Unlike many priests and nuns, monks do not join an ‘order’ as such, but instead join an autonomous monastery where they promise to remain for the rest of their lives.

After our tour of the grounds and buildings of New Norcia we headed for the Pinnacles. Hoping to arrive for sunset. As usual we were chasing our tails. Sunset today 5.45pm and our ETA was 5.48. Another surprise. Hehehe!!

With a short cut on a dirt road we managed to reduce this time to 5.20pm and headed to Nambung Station Stay to book our home for the night and then quickly to where Google said there was a Pinnacles lookout. WRONG!! It was private property and we were advised we couldn’t see the Pinnacles from here and had to travel an hour towards Cevantes to see them. Oh well we get a sleep in tomorrow instead of a dawn visit to the Pinnacles.

Nambung Station is a working sheep and cattle station and the caravan park is our home for tonight. Unfortunately the owner is away as he is known to do his own Pinnacles tour to unseen Pinnacles at the edge of his property. Oh well, looks like we have to join the tourists at the well known Pinnacles site.


Karrinyup WA

Monday 23rd April and Tuesday 24th April 2018
Well, we will spend the next couple of days organising ourselves for the next part of our journey. We packed up our little villa and set off to buy a few staples and then decide where to next. Unfortunately but luckily DB noticed a water leak in the car’s radiator so we will now be spending the next day or two getting that sorted. We will stay at Karrinyup Resort Park again so we are close to the city.

Well I spent today (Tuesday) by the lake in the caravan park, resting and reading my book whilst David took the car to have the radiator checked. Alas, a new one is required. Luckily they can do it today as tomorrow is Anzac Day. Five hours and $850 later we will now be able to resume our adventure tomorrow.

Fremantle WA

Sunday 22nd April 2018
Well we ended up with a free day today as they rushed through the carnival as the seas were supposed to reach 8-9 foot today with howling winds. A good decision as it was a yucky day and the waves were a lot bigger. So now we have an unexpected lay day.

We decided to go for a drive down the coast. We went via Cottesloe and City Beach. One of Jim’s friends was a member of City Beach Surf Club so we were given a tour of their new $6.7million facility. The size of the club, the equipment and storage areas was amazing. Something we can only dream of having at Avoca. We then headed down to Fremantle where we went for a walk from the prison down to the wharf, via Cappuccino Strip (food street). The architecture of the buildings was old as the city was founded in 1829 and is a major Australian port city in Western Australia, located at the mouth of the Swan River. We went for a stroll through Fremantle Markets, then headed down to the wharf. We went in the Round House which is the oldest remaining intact building in Western Australia, was built as a gaol between 1830 and 1831. The Round House had eight cells and a gaoler’s residence, which all opened up into a central courtyard. When the first 75 convicts arrived from Britain in 1850 to support the colony’s dwindling population, it became apparent that the Round House was inadequate to house them. The convicts built a new gaol, Fremantle Prison, which was completed in the 1850s and continued to be used as Fremantle’s prison until 1991. The Round House overlooks Bathers Beach. We then headed to the wharf where we had fish and chips at Kailis Fish Markets. Then on to Kings Park in the city. A beautiful Botanic Garden with many native plants and also an amazing viewpoint of the city.

After our day in Fremantle we had our post carnival celebrations at the Scarborough’s Sportsman’s Club. All in all the club achieved well over the weeks competition.

Scarborough WA

Saturday 14th April – Saturday 21st April 2018
Well we have arrived at Scarborough for the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships. We are staying in a little villa with Doggy and Jim at Waterman’s Bay. It is about 15mins drive from the carnival and only 100m from the beach. We will watch the Youths compete over Saturday and Sunday and then we are competing Monday and Tuesday. The surf here is a little tricky for me as there is a heavy shore dump and I am still pretty wary of the waves after my recent accident. Oh well, I will just have to do my best. After a practice in the surf on Saturday and Sunday I was feeling a little better about the waves as I managed to get out and in a couple of times without too much trouble.

Competition day arrive on Monday 16th with a chilly morning, after my warmup I struggled to get warm and ended up with every item of clothing I had at the beach on and I was still cold. Lesson learned, maybe don’t do a warmup in the cold. Today was individuals day and I did the Ironwoman 10th, Board 8th and Ski 14th, the conditions were a nasty shore break and reasonably smooth conditions out the back. DBs results were Ironman 5th, Board 5th, Board Rescue 1st with an unfortunate disqualification (OUCH!!)

Tuesday 17th was teams day. I was competing with Colleen and Kim from North Avoca as we had no girls from Avoca and I wasn’t allowed to compete with the boys. My results today were Board Relay 2nd, Ski Relay 4th and Taplin 9th. DBs results were Board Relay 2nd and Taplin Relay 8th.

The next four days we watched the Opens compete. They did really well.

Ravensthorpe to Scarborough WA

Friday 13th April 2018
Ravensthorpe to Gwelup WA – 542km 5 hrs 36mins

Well we managed to leave early today at about 8.30am for the final leg of our 4000km journey to the Australian SLS Championships. Yay we are almost there. Next time we do this journey I would love to take our time so we can see the many things left unseen on this trip. It has been a fantastic experience and we have seen some amazing scenery and features of Australia.

First stop King Lake Tractor Museum. When farmers in Western Australia’s Great Southern region could not get their hands on the four-wheel-drive tractors they needed to clear new land blocks in the 1970s and 80s, the solution was simple. They built their own.

Unable to afford commercially built tractors, the farmers cobbled machinery together from whatever they could lay their hands on, from bits of old trucks to army service vehicles and bulldozers.

Next stop was Wave Rock at Hyden. Wave Rock is a granite cliff 15 metres high and 110 metres long. Its rounded-like shape has been caused by weathering and water erosion which has undercut the base and left a rounded overhang. Water from the springs running down the rock during wetter months dissolve minerals adding to the colouring of the wave. In 1960, crystals from Hyden Rock were dated at being 2700 million years old, which are amongst the oldest in Australia.

Our final stop – A 15 minute drive north of Wave Rock is the massive granite rock formation known as the Humps. In the reserve is the ”Mulka” cave. On the cave walls are many hand stencils believed to represent adults and children. The stencils are made by placing the hand on the rock, then blowing over it with pigment. When the hand is removed, a negative impression remains.  Hand stencils were made for many reasons, but most commonly, they were used as a form of signature left by those who had rights to the area.

We then still had just under 4 hours left to drive to the coast. We finally arrived at 6pm. Our last night camping for a week as we are staying in a villa for the duration of the Aussies.

I may not post anything over the next week but will continue our travel diary Monday 23rd April when we resume our adventure. Hope you have enjoyed it so far.

Nighty night. xx