Onward to Port Lincoln

Leaving Ceduna behind we drove down the west coast of The Eyre Peninsular to Haslam Campground to the north of Streaky Bay. The jetty here was once used to load wool and wheat off the coast. The first blocks of land sold to settlers here at auction for €9.9.4

We weathered a thunderstorm on our first night and drove into Streaky Bay the next day to shop and buy some bait.

Streaky Bay saw a world record shark caught by rod and reel by a young local fisherman, this massive shark was a world record catch weighing 1520kg and more than 5m long. It was caught on a 24kg line in April 1990 after a 5 hour 15 minute struggle.

 

Our fishing yielded small fry with the exception of a nice squid enabling us to enjoy our first fresh caught calamari for dinner.

 

 

The local oyster farmers at Haslam have to drive well out into the shallow waters to launch and retrieve their boat on a daily basis.

 

 

Swag huts and bush shower

 

 

 

 

 

After a few days at Haslam we ventured further down the coast to Coodlie Park Farm Retreat near Venus Bay where we spent one night before driving on to Port Lincoln where we are currently at the Caravan Park at North Shields. The weather is now quite cool with maximums of 17 and 18 degrees following very chilly nights. The first couple of days were windy but now, thankfully it is much calmer.

 

A visit to Coffin Bay saw us return with fresh oysters and Dawn has bagged a very nice 46 cm flathead off the beach behind our campsite.

 

 

Welcome Swallow

 

We are here until Monday 1st of May when we fish spot hop our way up the east coast of the Eyre Peninsular.

At last phone reception and net coverage here has allowed us to bring the blog up to date even with the connection dropping out on a regular basis.

 

Kalgoorlie/Boulder and then The Nullarbor

We arrived in Kalgoorlie after a brief rest stop in Coolgardie on the way.

After a good wander around Kalgoorlie and Boulder we extended our stay here in the hope of getting a parcel from Sydney which had not arrived after allowing 10 days.

The Superpit Gold Mine is an amazing site with 3.5 klm of open cut mine. The view into and over the pit is extraordinary. With decades of production still ahead it is beyond comprehension that our government is going to allow the Chinese to buy a major share in the mine. Although with everything else they are selling to them what is one more nail in our national coffin?

The old ghost townsite of Kanowna, north of Kalgoorlie, was where we spent some time prospecting for gold. The only metals we dug up were bits and pieces of all that remains of the town of over 12,000 people and 16 pubs here back in the day.

The cemetery has graves from the 1800’s with the last burial there in 1925.

The character of Kalgoorlie and Boulder has been well retained with the original and refurbished frontages to the pubs and stores. There is still one remaining  brothel in Kal. and there are topless barmaids in some of the pubs.

 

 

 

10/04/2017 We were driving out of town after an early morning shop when the Post Office rang to say that the parcel had finally arrived!!

 

 

We drove back to pick it up and the headed for Norseman where we refuelled and headed to our first camp across the Nullarbor, Fraser Range.

 

At the western end of  unique wooded area the size of England, Fraser Range Rest Stop looked out over a salt lake.

Departing at 8 am we topped up with petrol later at Balladonia,  and drove the longest straight stretch of road in Australia, 146.6 klm. Baxter Rest Area, 67 klm west of Caiguna, was our next overnight camp. We set up the BBQ and after dinner retired early with a full moon encouraging a pack of dingoes. They were howling not far away from our camp. We had heard them before in the Northern Territory and north WA but not as many as we heard here.

Putting more klms under our belt we spent the next night at Mundrabilla, behind the roadhouse. It was only a short hop the next day to Eucla. A police car, travelling west, did a U-turn and pulled us over at 9.15 am for a breathe test as part of the Easter blitz. We spent 2 nights at Eucla and visited The Travellers’Cross Memorial and The Eyre Memorial.

Sat 15/04 saw us over the border and into SA but not before another breathalyser. Photo stops along the way included the coastline and cliffs of the Great Australian Bight and Nullarbor Roadhouse.

Arriving at Nundroo, we had to book in behind the roadhouse for 2 nights as Ceduna is booked out until Easter Monday.  Nundroo amenities are an absolute disgrace, run down and filthy. The place is run by third world immigrants and they haven’t forgotten how they lived there. The only thing  going for Nundroo is the cheapest fuel across the Nullarbor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We called in to the windmill museum at Penong where locals have restored many windmills including the largest in Australia.

 

 

 

 

Dingoes’ Lair hole on Nullarbor Golf Course

Ceduna was a breath of fresh air on Monday. We could stay only one night in Ceduna as they were booked out from Tuesday onwards until the end of the month. School holidays and a couple of caravan clubs had the town booked out.

Next we head down the west coast of the Eyre Peninsular in SA.

Mangowine Homestead near Nungarin

Leaving Merredin we headed through Nungarin to Mangowine Homestead which is a National Trust property leased by the council. We are set up here for the week and the Warden, Bob, took us for a tour of the old homestead and surrounding buildings which was very informative and full of local history.

We are the only ones staying here at present and it is a bit warmer than our previous camps although the nights are cool. The flies are still very friendly when the breeze drops.

Took a drive into Mukinbudin, which I last saw in 1970 when working in the wheat belt. It hasn’t changed very much.

We walked to the top of the rock behind the homestead and added another rock to the cairn. Visited the family cemetery on another walk around the property.

The old Inn here was a stopover for people travelling to the gold fields from Toodyay in the west. A copy of Chloe hangs on the wall.

There is a one hundred plus year old fig tree still fruiting each year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Salmon Gums have been magnificent throughout the wheatbelt with their summer colours showing their best with the sun on them

We paid a visit to the markets at Nungarin and after saying our farewells to Bob on 4/4/17 we drove via Muka, for fuel, and across to Southern Cross where we purchased a WA Miner’s Right and a pie ( as you do).

50 km east of Southern Cross we pulled in at Karalee Rocks and Dam where we camped for a couple of nights. There were about 20 vans in there for the night.

 

 

We walked around the dam bank and along the old aquaduct out to the rocks which like many of the granite outcrops through the wheat belt were used to capture the rainfall.

Butcher birds and magpies along with the mandatory flies have been our companions here.

ANYHOW HAVE A GOOD ONE

Blowing an easterly this morning so it’s sure to be a warm one.

They like it that way and will make their presence known.

Some people call them friendly when upon them they do swarm

With small, medium and large ones buzzing like a storm.

Around your head they love to be in your ears and up your nose

Covering you in such numbers you can hardly see your clothes.

The tough ones love the Aerogard so don’t you be surprised

When they feast upon it mightily and crawl into your eyes.

The March ones like the colour blue, no matter light or dark

And will bite right through the clothing and really make you smart.

The short wave sends them flying right around your hand

To buzz into your ears and mouth and come back in to land.

We walk around under the veil and eat beneath the net

We’ve tried to beat them many ways but not succeeded yet.

To áve a good weegend my friend will take successive tries

But it wouldn’t be Australia without the bloody flies.

Mangowine Homestead April 2017 © TCD

26/4/17 saw us heading for Kalgoorlie.

 

 

 

Wagin and onto Kwolyin Camp near Bruce Rock

Booked into the Wagin Caravan Park for 7 nights and with a mix of fine and showery days with temps up to 31 deg we have visited local parks, walks and the Big Ram, Baart.

We walked part of The Wait-Jen trail alongside Lake Parkeyerring and drove out to Puntapin Rock.

Another thunderstorm produced an influx of mozzies most of which we left behind when we set off for Kwolyin Camp via Narrogin where we shopped and re-fuelled on our way.

 

Arriving at Kwolyin ghost-town site we were greeted by a thousand flies and a warm afternoon. Bruce Rock council have done a good job here with flushing toilets and good camp facilities with a 72 hour maximum free stay. We enjoyed some good walks around the camp area and also The Railway Walk, Granite Gardens Walk and Cathedral Rocks. Staying here has inspired another poem which tells a bit more about this place.

KWOLYIN

A myriad stars light the dark canopy, twinkling, now the only lights over Kwolyin,

A town bereft of buildings here to see, with eyes straining in darkness to peer within.

Here and there a broken slab remains.

Remnants of a golf course tee lookout on growth regenerated where fairways once were plains.

In bush a concrete strip oft heard “owzat he’s out.” 

A footy ground with scrub fed by rains, overgrown, lost evidence of many a cheer and shout.

A nondescript grave site, with a few laid to rest in their beloved Kwolyin, looks out of place.

Close at hand an overgrown railway also at rest, its rusting rails and rotting sleepers losing pace.

Some denied the lifeblood water and a railway barracks, which saw the town displaced.

The arsonist’s burning of the pub where Kwolyin town here once had pride of place,

Now left to the bush to steadily reclaim its own.

But for a sign or two none would have known.

Carved from the bush

It returns to the bush.

March 2017 © TCD

Leaving here we drove across to neighbouring Shackleton and photographed Australia’s smallest bank building before heading through Bruce Rock to Merredin where we had a break and small shop.

Windy Harbour and Cosy Corner

We have had a mix of weather here at Windy Harbour, from calm and warm to windy and cool.

Walks have included Point DÉntrecasteaux, The Window, Tookalup Lookout, lighthouse and Salmon Beach. A visit to Northcliffe for fuel and the Understory Walk with sculptures and artwork in the bush was very good.

 

An evening fishing produced 6 nice herring which made a tasty meal and another visit to Salmon Beach produced a great flathead meal with fillets so big they had to be halved to fit in the pan. Well caught Dawn.

The camp here has been good with friendly caretakers and a memorable push button shower which gives about 15 seconds of hot water per push. Power here is limited to 10 amps  and we have had issues with our solar charged battery and some of the interior lights to the Burrow.

On 9th March, after a wet night and in light rain with a stiff breeze, we left Windy Habour driving via Northcliffe and onto Walpole. It was wet, cold and windy so we didn’t do the tree top walk, and satisfied ourselves with a pepper pie and coffee at the bakery. Further on at Denmark, we did a small shop and refuelled with LPG before driving on to Cosy Corner near Albany, where we got the last free camp spot available and will be here for a week. We were forty minutes later than anticipated as the GPS co-ordinates in Camps 8 book were incorrect and landed us in a farmer’s driveway about 15 kms away.

On the trip here from Windy Harbour we have had our first breakages, two glasses, since leaving nearly 18 months ago. Also had some water blow in through a seal at the front of the air conditioner. Hopefully, it is now fixed with some magic tape supplied by our neighbours, Kev and Lynda.

Kev and Lynda had a repeat visit ticket to the historic whaling station in Albany which they passed on to us. Our visit there was very good and we enjoyed the tour, movies  and exhibits despite extremely strong wind. We shopped and re-fuelled and arrived back at camp to find that several people had lost awnings and annexes in the blow. Fortunately again we came through unscathed as we were camped in a more sheltered corner than they were.

Had a few unsuccessful fishing trips before finally bagging a small feed of herring. Small fish and crabs were pinching bait most of the time and weed was an issue also.

12/3/17 produced an overnight thunderstorm which we weathered OK and awoke to a fine morning.

Another fish with Kev produced a small whiting and another feed of herring.

A visit to The Australian ANZAC Memorial in Albany was very good and provided excellent views over King George Sound.

 

We have decided to miss going to Esperance due to road closures and detours from storm damage and will head north via Wagin. Hopefully it will be a bit warmer than the south coast.

Margaret River Area

Our first 3 days at Gracetown have been spent with Lynne at her son’s beach house and we have been spoilt with all the running about. We have visited galleries, coffee shops, Cape Naturaliste, Prevally Beach, Margaret River and the river mouth plus so much more. Thank you Lynne.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weather was showery at best but the intrepid travelers kept at it.

When Lynne left for home we moved to Gracetown Caravan Park for a few days where our visitors included 3 kookaburras, two of which sat at our table to be fed.

 

 

A “game“of tennis proved how unfit we are.

We visited Gnomesville at Dardanup which has inspired another poem.

GNOMESVILLE

They are gathered on the banks of the creek which to them is home,

Even the one swinging back and forth and known as Metro Gnome.

The gnomes were here the gnomes were there

Wherever you looked the gnomes were there.

On the banks of the creek they were lined, with every gnome you’d hope to find,

In the hollows and on the hills too, up the trees and beside the road through.

There were cricketing gnomes and soccer gnomes, basketball, softball and badminton gnomes.

The hockey trollops they were there along with some gnomes with golden hair.

Every club and group was represented there by gnomes from far and wide.

The Turners with Mum and Dad, the kids and a dog were proudly sitting on a log.

The Farrington-Brownes from Derbyshire, with vacant stares stood around a fire.

A nursing team who were far from home were all sat listening on a phone.

A tea party of gnomes sat around a table taking tea with Aunty Mabel.

Everywhere was a gnome at home, so many it even prompted a poem.

Gnome gnome on the range where acres of little folk dwell,

Where red caps are showin’ and white beards are blowin’

Right here in this Gnomesville bush dell.

The whole affair was quite surreal and this scene in the bush had a funny feel.

There wasn’t a gnome away from home under the measured beat of The Metro Gnome.

So head out now to Dardannup and add to this story.

Bring your own little gnome for a piece of the glory.

You wont leave your gnome alone.

Jan 2017 © TCD

  On the way home we visited Busselton and Dunsborough, where we had afternoon tea with Dennis and Colleen who we met at Vince Connolly Crossing in NT and then again at Bullara Station WA. It was lovely to catch up and to enjoy some more of Colleen’s famous scones, which were all the rage at Bullara Station.

 

 

From Gracetown we had a short hop across to Wharncliffe Mill camp closer to Margaret River and in the middle of a karri forest. The bush walks were good with one of them ending up about 12km when we took a wrong turn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time has been spent exploring the Margaret River area with visits to Cowaramup, Mgt River, Augusta and Cape Leuwin. Wineries, deer farm and the cape lighthouse where the Indian and Southern oceans meet plus lunch at Colour Patch in Augusta were among our stops.

  Walks and more walks saw us slowly regain some fitness and nibble off a bit of weight.

 

 

 

 

 

Our next move was a little further south down Caves Road to Leuwin Naturaliste National Park, Conto Campground. This is a lovely camp set amongst peppermint trees within walking distance of the rugged coastline. The Cape to Cape walk from Leuwin in the south to Naturaliste in the north passes here, and the walk along the cliff tops was awesome, with great views to the sea and rocks below, and to the beach at Conto Springs where we had a dip in the ocean.

We are becoming quite reasonable bread and scone makers and Dawn has excelled with some lovely pies.

Little blue fairy wrens have been coming right up to our feet here and we have seen race horse goannas. Brush tailed phascogale , pygmy possums, ring tails and brush tail possums are returning to the area after successful 1080 baiting of foxes and feral cats for the past 20 years.

From here we head to Windy Harbour on the south coast. Hope that it doesn’t live up to its name too much so we can enjoy some good fishing.