Slow start to the morning, did some washing then went for a drive around to have a look at Broome. Cable Beach looked nice but nothing that doesn't exist in many other places. Decided to have a fish on the wharf and bought some bait at a cafe nearby, the guy said it was squid that wasn't fit to serve to customers. We started fishing and it wasn't long before we were reeling them in. Corey caught his 1st official fish, having been with Pa to a trout farm before which was deemed not to count. Brendan caught a mackerel that gave a good fight.
As it was a low tide that evening, we went searching for the dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point. At the top of the cliffs is a replica set in concrete, but we weren't here to look at those and down the cliffs we clambered to reach the low tide mark. There were a few others looking as well but Eagle Eye Glenda spotted a set after awhile. The map with the whereabouts of them is somewhat vague. That combined with the somewhat difficult climb probably deters too many people from getting to them. Our little dinosaur lover was thrilled to find them. We took our photos and climbed up back to the car. Tea was roast lamb with all the trimmings.
Big day of fishing for Nige and Keith. Went on a boat to catch some decent fish. Motored out of sight of land and trolled around as our Skipper, Scotty, thought that was the best way to catch a fish as the day before they had got nothing trying to catch reef fish. There were two lines out and two of the 7 passengers on board had the fishing belts on ready to leap into action if there was a strike. Scotty had to tell one guy several times to not hold the line as a strike on the line could cut his finger off. Murphy's Law kicked into action and it was that line that got the 1st strike. The fish, a Yellow Fin Tuna was very unlucky as "Rex Hunt" as Scotty started to call the bloke, tried his hardest to loose the fish, ignoring Scotty's advice. Eventually it was landed and put on ice. The next two fishermen took over, one being Nige. We trolled around for ages and Keith and someone else said get ready as they saw some fish swim past the boat. Seconds later there was a strike on Nige's line but it didn't take it. Keith took over and not long later both reels sang as the fish that had hit the lures took line away. Both reeled in nice Spanish Mackerel. Another mackerel was caught then Nige got to reel one in. This was another double hookup but the guy on the other rod. who happened to be the 1st blokes mate, took too long winding his in and a shark most likely took it. This took line off the reel for a long time then Scotty backed the boat up after it. Eventually whatever took the original mackerel spat it out and "Fisherman No2" reeled up what was left, a 20cm long chunk of fish flesh. This episode was a bit of a thrill but we probably would have preferred to have an extra fish to divide amongst us all. We trolled around a bit longer but then it was time for the dash home. During both trolling and the cruise out and back we got to see sea snakes, a green turtle and some saw some whales off in the distance. We divided up the fish and went back to camp.
In the afternoon we had booked to go on a camel ride. We couldn't get on the famous Sunset ride so had to do an afternoon one instead. This was both shorter at 1/2 hr instead of 1hr and cheaper, $30 for an adult instead of $55. This was good in two ways, one it was cheaper and two, 1/2 hour on a camel is better than an hour. But first we had to pack up the camper to take it to get the winch fixed properly. Left it with Ron the fixit guy and went down to Cable Beach to find our camels. The meeting point is actually on the nudist beach and there were a few people sunning their 'bits". Corey commented they were all 'skinny dipping' after learning the term when having a skinny dip of his own on the walk back from Mitchell Falls. What was amusing was the camel train had been positioned amongst several who now had about 20 people milling around waiting for their camel ride. We were allocated our camels and instructed how to get on them. Once that was accomplished, we got on and the camel train was led down the beach. The camel that Corey and Glenda was on must have liked the sunscreen that we had on as it kept sniffing Nige's leg. He thought it was going to have a chomp on his leg. On the way back, we watched a nudist fisherman catch something. We wondered what bait he had been dangling in the water!! That over, we went back to pick up the camper but it wasn't ready yet so we did a few other chores then went back and got it. We then had to take it back to the caravan park and set up again in the same spot. Tea was the fish caught earlier with chips from a fish & chip shop. It was agreed by all that it was, as the real Rex would say... MAAAAAAGNIFICENT!!!
Broome to Eighty Mile Beach (372 kms)
Pretty boring scenery during travels this morning, not much variation at all. Very windy and it seems to always be a headwind. Doesn't affect car and camper other than the fuel consumption increases. Found our way into the Eighty Mile Beach caravan park and set up before going for a walk over to the beach to access the fishing. Decided not to bother as the tide was on the way out so as it was 5pm at home we started "Happy Hour" drinks. Just before sundown we went for a walk along the beach collecting shells and taking sunset photos. Tide was still on the way out and the shoreline was now 200m or more further out to sea. We walked 150m out and the sand turned to mud as we sank down to our ankles in grey mud. The boys loved it all gooey through their toes. Took more sunset photos then back to camp for chops with vegies.
Eighty Mile Beach to South Hedland (298 kms)
Corey had another unsettled night, up to him several times. He looses the plot and doesn't know where he is and we need to wake him up enough to get some sense into him before he'll settle down. Up a bit late but packed up super quick and set a new departure time record of 8:05am. Was very windy and at morning brew we nearly got blown away. Also noticed the spare wheel carrier had broken and needed welding. Tied a strap around it in case it broke completely and we wouldn't loose it bouncing off into the scenery. We rang the friends we meet at Gunlom Falls who lived in Port Hedland to see if they owned a welder, not having much faith in getting someone to do it on a Friday afternoon. Patrick didn't have a welder but Sally rang a friend to see if they did. She rang back to say they did and we could borrow it. The guy didn't think he had any welding rods so organised to get some delivered and Sally picked them up. She also found out the name and location of a place she thought we could buy some bits of steel. Pretty good for someone who you've spent an evening around a campfire chatting to. We were intended to catch up with them anyway so we unbolted the camper bumper bar which holds the spare wheel, tied it to Keith's roofrack and organised to meet Keith and Marg at their house after we both had done a few chores. Keith needed to get a slow puncture fixed and we needed to go and pick up our replacement credit cards. Once we'd said hello, we welded the wheel carrier, reinforcing it in the process while Glenda, Marg and Sally chatted and the kids played. Sally brought out the best orange cake we'd ever tasted (must get the recipe!) and we chatted for the rest of the afternoon. The kids had great fun playing Playstation and jumping on the trampoline. Unfortunately (in our opinion at least) Sally and Patrick had the evening already organised so we said our farewells and headed back to the caravan park to refit the bumper and cook some tea, chicken snitzels and salads.
Tara, Tess, Brendan, Brody, Corey
South Hedland to Dales Gorge, Karijini N.P. (359 kms)
Picked up some supplies and met Marg and Keith outside town to continue on down the highway. Scenery was quite interesting as we got further inland. Stopped at Munjina East Gorge lookout for lunch. Continued on to the Karijini N.P. turnoff where we said goodbye to Keith and Marg who where continuing on to Tom Price then Exmouth. We were going to camp at Dales Gorge for two nights. At the park entry the lady said there were a couple of campsites left so we were lucky we weren't a bit later although we saw the overflow camping area and we thought that was fine, at least it had a water tank which the main campgrounds didn't. At the campground we queued up waiting to be allocated a campsite and I (Nige) got talking to the guy in front of us. The conversation ambled around various places and Subaru's, both of us having seen some in the Bungle Bungles which meant going through a decent water crossing. As they were establishing these Subaru's were the same ones, Lindsay mentioned they were camped near "The Griswalds" who had kept them awake half the night, and they had a kid named COREY! A bit more discussion determined that that COREY was our Corey and they were camped near us the night Corey chucked his wobbly. We had a good laugh about it but not sure if it was more embarrassing for Lindsay, putting his foot in his mouth or for us having the "Corey" that had kept them awake! Organised we'd catch up with them at some stage.
We got our campsite organised then went and set up. We then drove down to the day use parking area and had a look at Circular Pool from the lookout. Saw Lindsay and Bev again and said hello. Decided to walk down to Circular Pool which is a class 4 trail, 1 being easy and 5 being very hard. The track down was steep and rough. The walk along the gorge floor was easier but there were some tricky sections to cross the creek. We got to the end and viewed the picturesque Circular Pool. Took our photos and walked back out, drove back to camp and had tea of steak, potato salad and tossed salad. Fruit for sweets.
Dales Gorge to Weano Recreation Area and back to camp via Tom Price. (270 kms)
1st action for the day was a toilet stop for Corey. As Mum was checking he'd wiped his bum properly (it's a learning process!) he remarked there was a "poisonous spider under the seat". Glenda checked and there was a Redback spider under the bowl at the front. He must have been eye-balling it from a few centimetres away! Glenda disposed of it with a stick. As the nearest loo was occupied, I went to the other nearby for my morning twinkle. At the back of this one was the biggest Redback I've ever seen, the body of it was over a centimetre long. I thought of attacking it with the dunny brush but decided that might just make it angry so went looking for a suitable stick. Glenda saw me walking around and guessed I'd found another. Later that evening, Glenda found another at the back of the 1st toilet. Any future bush loo visits will be preceded with a spider check.
Drove to the Visitors Centre and had a look through. The building was supposed to look like a lizard and from a plane, it just might. Displays inside were quite good and there was a video running but we didn't view that. We then drove to the Weano Recreation Area which was about 40 kilometres along a dirt road. A few kilometres from the parking area we passed Lindsay and Bev. They arrived as we were coming back from the loo (no spiders to report). Had another good laugh about "The Corey Incident" and "The Griswalds". They'd been telling their camping neighbours who thought it tremendously funny. We walked the gorges with them and chatted along the way. These gorges were very different from what we had been visiting in that they are all eroded out of flat country rather than part of mountain ranges. We thought it must have been amusing for explorers walking along. Have to be careful you didn't walk over a cliff. Definitely not a activity to be done at night. While Lindsay and Bev were going to return to Dales Gorge via some other gorges we decided to go into Tom Price and have a look as the road we were going to take the next day didn't go into there.
First stop was at the service station for fuel and ice, it's important to keep the beer cold. We then drove up Mt Nameless which is WA's highest mountain with vehicle access. Maybe a small grasp at fame but it did have great views in all directions, including the Tom Price mining operation. After that we drove back to camp to pick up our bathers for a dip in the Fern Pool. We saw Lindsay and Bev and organised for them to come around to our camp for a drink and chat. The water was cool but refreshing. The fish were a bit eager to get a free feed of toes and if you hung onto the ladder for too long they started nipping your toes. This swim doubled as a wash as there were no showers at the campground. We stayed at the swimming hole longer than intended and just as we were getting back to camp, Lindsay and Bev were arriving. They stayed for a couple of hours and we had a good chat. They are taking a bit longer to get back to their home town of Kyabram so unfortunately we probably won't catch up with them again in our travels, however you never know!
Dales Gorge to Exmouth. (722 kms)
Had decided to make the large jump from Dales Gorge to Exmouth in one day as there wasn't anything in between we wanted to see. The countryside changed a bit so it wasn't completely boring. Highlight of the day was watching a good sized "Willy Willy" not far from the road. Had to stop at Nanaturra Roadhouse for fuel and bought some hot chips. They were very nice chips but the most expensive on the trip. The box at $8.95 was good value compared to a bucket for $5.95. In fact everything was exceedingly dear, ice creams almost double the price one would normally pay. Yes it's somewhat in the middle of nowhere, but there's a lot more remote places that charge more reasonable prices. Up to you to decide if you really want something, up to them to fold if no one does. No doubt the petrol sales will keep it going. There was another RFDS emergency landing strip on the highway and Glenda has another obsession with taking pictures of them out dirty car windows. Later on the road up to Exmouth, we had to stop for some anthill pictures, the driver taking pity on her attempts through the window. Stopped in Exmouth for some supplies before motoring out to the Lighthouse Caravan Park which Glenda's parents were staying at. After a long day, we were all glad to get out of the car, but the boys travelled well, playing games, drawing pictures and watching a couple of videos.
It was at this point we gave up plugging the 240V power into the van as the power was not longer getting through the circuit breaker at all. We had a power board so plugged that into the supply cable and the fridge into that. We borrowed an extension lead off Keith and used that plugged into the power board for other power requirements like laptop and microwave. The camper is still under warranty so it will go to the supplier when we return home.
Lighthouse C.P. (17kms north of Exmouth)
Drove into Exmouth to book a glass bottom boat ride in Coral Bay as we only had a couple of chances to get on and we wanted to go the 1st day we got there so that if the weather was no good, we'd have the chance to go the next day. That sorted, we went for lunch. In the afternoon the boys went fishing. As the surf rods were needed the little boys played in the sand while the big boys pretended to know what they were doing. I landed two fish, a Long Tom and something unknown quickly while while Keith fed sinkers to the rocks. That was the last of the fish and we only got a few more bites for the afternoon. Went and took some sunset photos while Glenda, Keith & Marg cooked up the remaining Mackerel caught in Broome. They cooked chips in the VVF (very versatile frypan) as we were too far from Exmouth to buy chips.
Turquoise Bay, Ningaloo Marine Park (92kms)
Drove down a place called Torquise Bay in Cape Range National Park. The Ningaloo reef comes right to the shore along this stretch and in this particular spot the ocean current runs down the beach in what they call the Drift. You jump in the water, wade and paddle out a bit then let the current drift you over the reef. You do have to be careful you don't go to far as down a bit further is a rip that will suck you out to sea. We bought a couple of foam "noodles" to help us float along. We had a great day floating around viewing the fish and reef. The corals are not as brightly coloured as seen at the Great Barrier Reef but there were many interesting shapes and colours. There were lots of fish and when we get the film developed from our underwater camera, we'll see if we managed to take a picture of some. Glenda and Keith cooked Chicken Fried Rice for tea while I tried to take a picture of the lighthouse. Just as the light was getting good a tour bus parked right at the lighthouse, wrecking an photos that could be taken. Eventually they moved on but the good light had gone.
Exmouth to Coral Bay
Drove to Coral Bay and the Peoples Park caravan park. Nice location and some green grass to walk around on. Set up and went for a walk up the street for lunch (pies & sausage rolls) then went on the Sub-Sea Explorer, a boat where you sit below the waterline to view the fish and coral. A guide gives a good commentary of what your looking out the windows at and we saw lots of fish and corals. A brief glimps of a turtle was a bonus.
Once back on terra firma, we had a lie on the beach and play in the water. After a bit of a water fight we had beach sprints, beach wrestling and some synchronised soaking. Tea was sausages in onion gravy and vegies.
Coral Bay - Quad Bike Adventure
After breakfast Glenda gave us haircuts. At one point she had two grey nomads lined up wanting a trim but they were out of luck as we had to go on a Quad Bike Snorkelling Adventure. We rode 'our' Quad Bikes up through town then out along tracks and the beach to a 'secret' snorkelling location. We had a good snorkel in this 'natural aquarium' (their description) then rode on to another spot that had a chance of seeing a turtle. We were snorkelling around when someone pointed in the direction they could see a turtle. I swam in that direction and got to see a Loggerhead turtle but he didn't like the look of me and swam away. We then road home and Glenda cut one grey nomads hair, her Dads. Marg cooked a roast for tea.
Coral Bay to Carnarvon (255kms)
On the way we stopped at the Tropic of Capricorn sign, another of Glenda's obsessions, signs marking state borders and anything else of note. After the usual set up at the van park we headed to the jetty to have a fish. Got slugged $8 to go out on the jetty as they are trying to restore it. Brendan caught a small flathead and Corey some Rock Cod thing. We moved further out to near the end of the jetty and Corey caught a small Brim. No keepers but the boys had fun. Caught the "Coffee pot" train back along the jetty. Steak for tea with strawberry pancakes for dessert. Watched Collingwood beat Sydney on the tele. The TV's been out four times, the first two nights for Glenda to watch 'her' shows and two times to watch Collingwood play.
Carnarvon to Denham (337 kms)
Marg & Keith left before us as they were heading to Kalbari and we were going to Denham to make a visit to the dolphins at Monkey Mia. Quite a few wildflowers on the sides of the road in many different colours but as they weren't as dense as you see in the brochures so we didn't stop specifically, just took a couple of photo's at our morning stop. Later we to find out that was as good as it gets, the real wildflower displays in the brochures are in a different area (inland) and although there are many species of flowers along the coast, they don't grow by the paddock full. Our next stop was Hamlin Pool, home of some stromatolites. These things are thought to be the oldest form of life and only can be found in a few places in the world. Had lunch then strolled to the boardwalk they have built to protect the stromatolites. Was pretty windy so the waves on the water made it hard to see them. There was one in a fish tank in the old telegraph station where we were parked, so you could get a good look at it there.
Next stop was Shell Beach. Here the beach is made from billions of little shells. What was interesting it that the a good portion of the shells are in fact intact and not broken up pieces of larger ones. At the carpark there was a discussion going on how to help a family that had done a head gasket on their car. A tour guide had a NextG phone so she said she'd ring as soon as she got coverage and another couple were heading into Denham so would call at the service station to see if there was a tow truck about, which left us to go on our way. As we were about to drive off we wondered if they had enough water (they had a large dog too) and Glenda wound down the window and asked. The guy said that was the one thing they didn't have much of, intending to fillup at the roadhouse down the road. We filled a container he had, probably 15 litres or so from the jerrycans we've been carting around the countryside. Later in the afternoon we saw their car being dropped off at the caravan park so they must have got some help out to retrieve them.
Denham to Monkey Mia and return (109 kms)
Got to Monkey Mia to watch the end of the 1st dolphin feeding at 8:00am. Was wandering around the shops when we heard the that there were dolphins back at the beach so we raced down to get frontline spots in the lineup. The rangers chat away for awhile waiting for more dolphins to turn up and I guess to prolong how long they are there for. Once the feeding got underway the boys got picked out to feed one which was lucky as each dolphin only gets about 3 fish each and there are a lot of people lined up. Also watched the last feeding session. Drove back to Denham for lunch and then drove out to Eagle Bluff where you may see rays and sharks in the shallows from the cliffs but we couldn't see anything. Drove back and lounged on the beach. Brendan and I had a snorkel and watched lots of crabs in their shells going about their daily business. We decided the caravan park was quite good but Denham was a windy place as both night we thought we were going to get blown away.
Denham to Kalbarri (381 kms)
Nothing much interesting between Denham and Kalbarri other than a close encounter with an Emu. A Britz campervan pulled half off the road in front of us so we sailed past on the other side of the road only for an Emu to appear from behind the campervan heading for a collision course with our car. I hit the brakes and steered away a bit but luckily it decided to turn around and we just missed it. It was close enough that I could see the fear in it's eyes. At our lunch time stop we took some wildflower pics, then carried on to Kalbarri. Once set up in the caravan park we went for a drive around town and out to a beach called the Blue Holes. Looked like a good place for a snorkel. Had fish and chips for tea with Glenda's parents.
Time for a bit of a rant about the price of Fish in these seaside towns. $9 to $10 for a piece of fish! We ordered 5 pieces of fish (snapper as at $9 it was the cheapest), 4 dim sims, 3 potato cakes and $6 of chips ended up costing $64. Ouch! Glenda and Marg were debating about having a Chiko Roll at first but decided to have fish. They were only $2.50, could have saved $13. $9 is a rip-off, but silly people like us must keep buying the stuff for them to get away with it.
After tea we drove up to a high spot to observe the lunar eclipse. Information about when it was going to occur was pretty scarce so we were standing around chatting when Glenda spotted the moon already in darkness. As it was taking a long time for the moon to come out of the eclipse, Glenda took the boys back to the camper to put them in bed while I stayed out to take some photos. These photos are cropped from the full size the camera takes to make them viewable.
Kalbarri Region, Sightseeing (112 kms)
Started the day by attending the pelican feeding that takes place on the foreshore just in front of our caravan park. The boys both had goes at throwing fish to the pelicans, even Glenda had a go. We then drove out to Kalbari National Park and viewed the local attractions, Natures Window and Z Bend. We all sat in Natures Window for the obligatory photo. At Z Bend some other tourists found out method of getting everyone (mainly the boys) to look at the camera at the same time amusing. We count "1 2 3" and look up. This lets you take photos looking into the sun which usually gets a better picture without shadowed faces and because you haven't been squinting for ages, everyone can look happy and smile.
In the afternoon we went looking for wildflowers having been given a tip that there were lots down a nearby road. We spotted many, and were heading to the Blue Holes (a beach) for some snorkelling when it decided to rain. We raced back to the camper to put up the windows that we'd left down. Snorkelling was cancelled and we started thinking of out stomachs. I had read on the internet about a place called "Finlays Fish BBQ" but we hadn't seen any adverts for it in the tourist brochures. We eventually found it on a map and went for a drive to have a look. It was a strange place with mostly an semi-outdoor eating area and we couldn't see a menu other than sweets or apple pie was $4 each. That, and Keith's love for fish, made our mind up that we'd give it a try, weather permitting. It was a blustery night so we sent the ladies in to decide if we were staying. They gave it the thumbs up so we stayed for dinner. The boys had huge kids Fish & Chips ($7), Marg had Orange Roughy and Glenda, Keith and I had the special for $19.95. This consisted of Fried fish, BBQ fish, seafood rolls, a seafood won tons, normal prawns, honey chilli prawns, mussels, chips and fried rice. Salad was a $3 option and Glenda got that as well. It was a great feed and we'd highly recommend it if you're not too fussed about fancy plates and cutlery. Also was BYO (inc glass) which is good.
Kalbarri (12 kms)
In the morning the boys went fishing off a local jetty. Pa assisted Corey and I helped Brendan, baiting their hooks. They caught about a dozen small Brim and a crab. That was Corey's 'Catch of the Day' but like the Brim, we threw it back. A pelican thought is was his lucky day when we threw him a few of the baby brim. Glenda and Marg had been shopping and luckily had bought something for lunch. Keith and I then attempted to go beach fishing but the wind was too strong and had whipped up waves too big for us to tackle. We tried fishing at the river mouth but couldn't keep a bait on a hook. We think schools of baby fish were cleaning them off as Keith floated a bait and a black cloud followed it along. In the afternoon I went to a cafe to upload an update to this website, the girls took the little boys to the a wildflower centre and seahorse sanctuary (zoo) while Keith had his grandpa sleep.
Kalbarri to Geraldton (180 kms)
The drive south to Geraldton showed a marked difference in countryside. There we lots of Banskia trees and farming was more common, with lots of healthy crops. Stopped for morning tea at Lions park in Northhampton and I found a service station that sold hot chips. They were very nice, much better than biscuits I thought. Once we made it to Geraldton we navigated our way to the H.M.A.S Sydney Memorial. As memorials go it's quite intriguing, the dome is made up of 645 seagulls, one for each of those that lost their lives. There's a bronze statue of a lady looking out to sea waiting for her loved one to return. We then went and found a recommended caravan park and the usual set up. Next we did some shopping, including another UHF aerial and collected some information at the tourist office. For tea we BBQ'd chicken kababs, accompanied with salads.
Sightseeing, Geraldton Region (80 kms)
Decided we would drive out to the historic town of Greenough and have a look. on the way we stopped to look at a leaning tree. They are not actually broken but due to the high winds in the area they get bent over and continue growing like that. Greenough (pronounced "Gren-off") was a bit of a weird place in that it's been fenced off (to make sure you pay the entry fee!) but due to the low amount of foot traffic, all the grass around the buildings is overgrown. There is basically nothing between the buildings, not even fences and there's normal road road right down the middle which is completely out of place. The Catholic church grounds were in good order as it is still used weekly, the gates opened to allow the worshippers in.
We went in search of lunch at the local Inn but there was a market being held inside so there was people everywhere and they only had about 4 tables inside (and some outside) for meals so decided to go elsewhere. Found a food court back in Geraldton so while Glenda, Marg & Keith had quiche and salad, the boys and I had Macca's. All were happy. Afterwards, Keith and I went back to the caravan park while the ladies took the kids shopping. For tea we cooked steaks, onions and tomatoes on the barby and added cauliflower with white sauce, mashed potatos, carrots and peas. Sweets was fresh fruit salad and ice cream.
Geraldton to Western Flora Caravan Park (205 kms)
Left Geraldton and drove to the Western Flora Caravan Park which is 22km north of the town of Eneabba. The park has a wildflower talk each day buy the owner. We drove around the local roads doing our own tour, spotting many flowers along the way. Back at the park Glenda and Marg went on the wildflower talk/walk and we played various games with lollies as a prize for the winner. Corey had two wins and Brendan was looking like missing out but won the final game with his last throw. Keith came by and we walked up to watch the end of the wildflower talk where the guide, Allan, showed each flower he'd collected on the walk under a microscope using a projector on the wall. It was very interesting and he explained how the plants 'operated' especially in regard to pollen transfer. He also showed several bugs that were happily going about their business unaware they were the stars of the show. After the talk was over, we moved into the dinning room as we'd booked for the dinner, cooked by Allan's wife Lorraine. We had an excellent meal and the boys ate everything on their plates. They did get special treatment by being given pumpkin soup rather than the vegetable soup the adults got. They also got extra scoops of ice-cream for sweets.
Western Flora Caravan Park to Jurien Bay (228 kms)
Marg and Keith left before us as they were going to Fremantle and we were heading to Jurien Bay to see the Pinnacles. Brendan and Corey had an invitation to see the parks resident baby kangaroo, Roxy, be fed it's morning bottle of milk so we were waiting for that when Roxy bounced over and the boys fed her some grass. Soon Lorraine called out to Roxy and she bounced over to her ready for her morning milk and sleep. The boys helped feed her the bottle of special formula and then she jumped into a bag for her sleep.
On the way to Jurien we stopped at Greenhead to have a look. We were parked at a lovely bay having our morning munchie stop when a lady from a bus tour decided she wanted to either test the water temp or more likely, touch the Indian Ocean. She was elderly and in her attempts to touch a wave, fell head first into the water and sand. Her partner in this activity tried to help her up but nearly went in too in the scramble to stand up. The old dear staggered back up the beach to the rest of the group sopping wet with a face full of sand. They dragged her suitcase out of the bus and took her up to the toilets to get her changed. We had a good laugh and she got a story to tell her family about how she "kissed" the Indian Ocean.
As it was a nice day we decided to drive to the Pinnacles for sunset. Stopped at Lake Thetis just outside Cervantes on the way to look at more stromatolites but unlike the ones at Hamlin Pool, the ones of these you could see were practically flat. At the Pinnacles we drove around taking photos and marvelling at this strange rock formation. We picked a spot to take sunset photos and I set up the camera on the tripod while Glenda cooked some sausages for tea. She used one of the Pinnacles as a wind shade. We ate our sausages in bread while snapping sunset pics. There was one other guy (taking photo's too) remaining when we left. It was quite eerie at twilight with no one around.
Jurien Bay (8 kms)
Lazy morning catching up on a few household chores. The boys played on the bouncy pillow for most of it. They love these things and it was the reason we chose this caravan park rather than going to stay in Cervantes. We went for a fish at the marina but it was very windy and started to rain. Had we been catching something then it wouldn't have mattered but since we'd caught nothing, we packed up and drove back to the caravan park. Just outside the C.P. there's a jetty so since the weather had cleared up a fraction, we decided to drown a few baits there. Once again nothing was biting until a few toadies arrived. The boys tried their hardest to catch one but they were so small they weren't actually biting the bait. Brendan eventually managed to flick one up onto the jetty. The boys had another jump on the bouncy pillow before having hamburgers for tea.
After tea, Glenda had an itch and found a tick on herself. A quick examination found several on both of us. Glenda had a look at Corey while he was asleep but couldn't find any. Brendan thought he'd removed one near his eye earlier. We left a message with Keith and Marg to check themselves. We think we must have picked them up at the Western Flora Caravan Park or surrounding countryside when looking at wildflowers.
Jurien Bay to Freemantle (295 kms)
Unsettled night as it rained heavily and the wind blew all night. Checked Corey better for ticks and found two. Packed up in a hurry as could see rain coming and managed to get away before the downpour. Corey took his jumper off and found another 'nasty' (tick) running up his arm. Glenda grabbed it and squashed it into oblivion. Uneventful run down to Freemantle other than stopping at a Macca's for lunch and their chip fryer was out of action. Decided to find another but we found the caravan park first so went in and set up camp next to Marg & Keith. We then went in search of a Macca's and found one at 3:15pm. We used this as an example to the boys that when they are screaming they are hungry and if they don't get something immediately, they won't actually die. Tea was chicken in creamy spring onion sauce with vegies. Fresh fruit salad and ice cream for sweets. As it was cold outside we ate inside the camper. This time we bought a table inside as well so Marg & Keith didn't have to balance theirs on their knees.
Day Trip to Rottnest Island
We were ready for the 9:15am courtesy bus pickup but it didn't arrive till 9:30am. We decided they told us 15mins early to make sure you were there as the bus driver didn't seem to be running late, jovial fellow that he was. The trip over was pretty good although the swell was making the ferry sway in a gentle sea-sickness inducing roll. We went outside in the fresh air. The boys seemed fine, but then they read and write in the car so are probably less prone to motion sickness than us. Once at the island, we hired bikes to ride around on. It was already 11:15am so decided to have an early lunch before setting off on our ride as there are no facilities away from the main town. After a delightful lunch of Red Rooster we set off on the bikes. Corey, who had only recently got off his trainer wheels before we left home, and hadn't sat on a bike for 2 months took off like an old hand.
We had ridden out to a place called Parker Point which had a lovely bay to use as a background for a family photo. I'd set up the camera and asked the others to line up their bikes. Brendan was a little enthusiastic and rode over but as he went over the curb, his feet bounced off the pedals and thus the brakes. He careered down a path to the beach. I started running as he disappeared around a corner then reappeared cartwheeling through the air. When I got down to the crash site, he was standing there somewhat confused but basically unhurt. His face was covered in sand so must have performed a face plant at some stage and had a graze on his stomach where he must have hit the handlebars. Luckily he did land on sand as the distance between where he landed and the rock that catapulted him into the air was 3-4 metres. In the process he bent the front rim which burst the tyre. When they hired the bikes to us, they gave us a phone number to ring so we had to ring it and get another bike delivered to us. The guy looked at the bike and decided to deduct $10 from our bond. We were happy with that as the rim was stuffed and the tube probably was too. Mobile again, we continued on.
As everyone knows, Rottnest Island is the home of the Quokka. During our bike ride (over 11kms) we hadn't seen one. We decided to ask at the tourist information office and they pointed us in the direction that we might see one. The directions were spot on and we enjoyed watching several quokka's nibbling grass.
The homeward ride on the ferry was very smooth and we were deposited back at our caravan park by the bus. We went out for tea at the Fremantle wharf area.
Freemantle to Busselton (228 kms)
Packed up under the threat of rain and just got the roof down when it started to lightly drizzle. Just after leaving the caravan park it poured down, and continued to do so for most of the way down to Busselton. We called in to the timeshare resort we were staying at for the week in the hope of leaving the camper there. They gave us directions and we unhooked before returning to meet Marg & Keith who had checked into a nearby van park. Drove down to the main part of town and had pies for lunch. Went and grabbed some groceries and then went back to the timeshare and checked in. As it was still raining Glenda started cooking her famous Pasta Bake for tea. In a rain break we dashed down and got a few things out of the camper. Another family doing a similar trip to us although taking 6 months, were doing the same thing with their camper which was also a Goldstream. Pretty funny considering they are fairly rare. Sweets were strawberry pancakes with ice cream and my secret strawberry sauce.
Busselton (75 kms)
Lots of household chores including lots of washing. Drove to a nearby town looking for a market but we had the wrong weekend. However in the town of Dunsborough there was a little market and we bought some jam, fruit and a pumpkin. Back at the unit we prepared to watch the Collingwood V Sydney footy match with a round of mini-golf. Tea was take-away chinese and it was very nice. Said goodbye to Nana & Pa (Marg & Keith) as they were heading home the next day.
Went to a local market. Quite good especially if you want fruit and vegies. We bought 2 lemons for 20 cents. We would have gone fishing but the boys had been naughty and that was their punishment. Watched Geelong beat the Kangaroos in the footy.
Slow start as I got up in the middle of the night to watch the F1 GP (motor racing) so had a sleep in. Headed down to the Bussellton jetty to do some fishing. This pier is nearly 2kms long. Had an initial go about 1/3 way along but did no good so went out to near the end. People were catching heaps of squid but we didn't have the gear needed so fished using our rods normally. Was pretty quiet until I took over Corey's fishing rod and caught a Skipjack (Silver Trevally). Brendan and Corey started catching them and we ended up catching about 18 but kept 14 better sized ones. People were stopping to look in our bucket and the boys were filling in them on who caught the most (Brendan) and the biggest (Corey). We filleted them and took them home for tea. Fried in beer batter they were delicious.
Had to get car serviced so hung around the unit until we had to go and pick it up. Did some shopping then went back and played tennis and mini golf. Had remaining fish (had kept 4 to bake but decided to fry dusted in flour) for tea with sausages and vegies.
Sightseeing From Cape Leeuwin to Cape Naturaliste (330 kms)
Another miserable day, raining and wind blowing a gale. We decided we'd drive down to Cape Leeuwin and see if we could see where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean as apparently the currents usually go in opposite directions. Today you couldn't see anything except whitecaps and that was only when you were game enough to poke you head out into the gale. Amazingly there were people wandering around the lighthouse but there was no way we were getting out of the car.
Had lunch at a bakery cafe then started driving towards Cape Naturaliste via the scenic road. Stopped at many scenic spots along the way. The surf was pounding the shore and putting on a great display. Later we discussed that it was probably a great day to go as if it had of been a flat sea it would have looked pretty much like any other piece of coastline. One spectacular spot was Canal Rocks. They have built a bridge over to some rocks and the sea was flowing under the bridge at tremendous speed. The wind was blowing so hard is was hard to hold the camera still. Another place was Sugerloaf Rock. Not sure how tall it was but several waves breaking shot water into the air higher than it. We had hoped to have Deavonshire Tea along the way but couldn't find anywhere so when we got home Glenda pulled out her old recipes and baked a batch of scones which we devoured.