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Getting itchy feet to get back on the road again. Coz of the pending rain and long weekend here, I may stay for a little while longer. I was feeling homesick last night and when that happens it can be a little tough. I just mentally plod along I say to myself "keep positive, there's so much more to see". Witnessing the strong family network here where I am staying, really pulls at the heart strings. I have done some repairs on the van but a lot more need to be done which I cannot do. I have posted some photos on the WA Pics of the Bunch site now. Today's entry will be the last on this page tomorrow the new June page will commence. Tomorrow is the 1st day June and winter.
27 to 30/5/09
Travelled into Kalgoorlie where the main street outside of the Information Tourist Bureau didn't cater for vehicles and their caravans. I was searching for somewhere to stay the night. I rang the Info Bureau only to be told there was no parking for vehicles towing vans. I would have to park some way out of the CBD of Kal. I was told not to leave anything in my car and ensure my van was locked. Neither of those I could achieve so I gave up, had a look around town, then headed on. Kalgoorlie had some wonderful buildings, incredible soil colours and stockpiles of mining minerals of various colours. Some of the piles were humungous and for a photographer (and that's not me) produced some amazing colours shapes and sizes. I tried to get THAT PHOTO but nothing I took gave it the beauty it deserved. Kalgoorlie is massive compared to Broken Hill. Broken Hill is only 1/10th in mining size compared to Kal. Every track is a mine driveway. Kal has traffic lights and round-abouts and road ragers. I sh#t myself. I hadn't seen a traffic light in ages. It was suburbia at its best with school zones and a large population. Kal isn't sign posted very well and after 6 attempts I finally found the road out. I headed toward Perth and after a few hundred additional kms I arrived in a place called Southern Cross. What a great name for a town. I found an affiliation with it immediately for the obvious reasons. I stayed in the caravan park there, found a camp kitchen, TV and had a ball. The next day I headed to Moorine Rock where I still am now. I was exhausted after that 29km drive from Southern Cross to Moorine Rock. Ha!! The previous days mammoth efforts were starting to show their mark. I am staying on this massive farm with a friend. The days are full of farmers woes, seeding, fertilizing, organising, ploughing and praying for rain. Any drop of rain will do, it all helps. I am enjoying being here and have time to socialise, take some great photos of the property, rest and catch up on some van repairs. I miss the property I used to live on many years ago and this brings back so much of those happy times with the kids. Not sure when I am leaving here yet. Have to go into Perth to get my computer, reading glasses and winch fixed. After that I shall beg on the streets for food and shelter due to lack of funds. I watched St.George flog Penrith last night. And I mean flog. Go the Dragons. This was the 1st game of Rugby League I have seen this season. My friend here has Foxtel and after some haggling (and begging) we turned on the Rugby League.
I am still adjusting to the 2 hour time difference and will keep at it until conquered. I really don't have a choice because I will be in WA for a long time. WA just had a referendum on whether they wanted daylight savings. 250,000 didn't place their compulsory vote but those who did, the majority voted against it. Goodbye daylight savings for WA. I wonder why we (NSW) never got the opportunity to vote on that? Or is my memory fading?
OK, it's coffee time for me. I have added some more photos and still have a couple more to add. Stay safe and don't forget to stop, look up and then look down. You never know what you may see.
I have just completed the journey across the Nullarbor. What a fantastic epic by me if I may say so. 475kms yesterday and 700kms today. I am now 2 hours younger now that I am on Western Australian time. I wonder where else I can go to get younger??? It's an incredible gap in my life trying to work how to handle the 2 hour time difference. In time I will become accustomed to the time change. It's so light early in the morning and dark early in the arvo.
The much talked about road trains were not even a dot on the road. I believe driving down Parramatta road is more daunting as they try and squeeze past at dangerous speeds and in narrow lanes. The Nullarbor roads are in mint condition with no issues whatsoever. Overtaking was a breeze with unlimited parking and rest bays along the way also.
I finally left Penong after a two day rest (and much needed). It gave me the strength to combat the wonderful drive along the Nullarbor. I did one night wilderness camping in the van. I just crawled in and slept on the floor without setting it up. It was very cramped and dusty but enabled me to have a quick get away this morning.
I am at Norseman now and if I turn left I will go to Kalgoorlie and right to Esperance. I will go right and stay in Kalgoorlie for a few days and then head toward Perth to visit a friend.
The sign stated cheap fuel so I was enchanted about what that meant specially being severe limitations of choice for fuel stops on the Nullarbor. $1.58p/lt unleaded, $1.71 p/lt premium and $1.08 for gas p/ltr. Those fuel prices were the dearest I have ever seen since travelling.
I have travelled to five different states in each month of this year: Jan-QLD, Feb-NSW, Mar-Vic, Apr-SA, May-WA. June will be WA also unless the government decides to change the boundaries.
The black crows own the roads stalking and waiting for the travellers to present roadkill for their dinner. They are not scared of the oncoming traffic and will not deter from getting their feed of fresh produce when presented to them on their bitumen plate.
I arrived at the Head of the Great Australian Bight wishing and praying for the long awaited whale sightings. The whale watching season doesn't start until June but I was fortunate enough to see three whales. It was a moment that left me speechless and breathless. It was a dream come true seeing the magnificent massive creatures showing off just in front of me. It was my 1st time I had ever seen them in their own habitat. I spent hours just watching and waiting for a glimpse of their body movements. I got some photos and will endeavour to see some more whales in my travels.
Three of my dreams came true in one day: crossing the Nullarbor, seeing the whales and crossing into WA. All of which I have never done before. I was exhilerated by the sheer newness of these much dreamed of experiences.
Just imagine the very bottom of the map of Australia where SA and WA meet. It's called the Great Australian Bight. Just think I was standing on that very edge of Australia, the one that is on all our maps and the very same section illustrated in the world atlases. I was there witnessing the beautiful corroded colourful cliffs, perfect blue oceans with waves perfectly crashing against the rocks with magnificent gusto. It's as though someone has taken huge bites out of our outline of Australia where the ocean and winds have caused corrosion.
I had to unpack and lift the van at the SA/WA border inspection area so that the workers were sure that I wasn't carring any items that were banned from being carried into Western Australia. It was very late in the arvo and I was pretty unhappy about doing it. They have to do it with everyone and I was no exception to the rule. My word was not good enough. You are not allowed to bring honey, fresh fruit and vegetables, peanuts in shells and some other items I now forget into WA.
I am off to bed now at 7.30pm WA time and 9.30 NSW time. I think it's going to be another long night.
I celebrated my day's achievements with a bbq dinner and a little red. Sweet dreams
The only reason I know the date, day and time because the phone and computer don't lie. You lose track of these minor events when you have no time schedules. I wonder who invented time. They have a lot to answer for. I do have one committment now. Leesa (my youngest) (thou the most sensible) (most of the time) is flying into Perth on the 29 June for a two week holiday with mwaaa. How exciting. We will do the Esperance, Margaret River, Busselton areas and then I will retrace those again after I drop her back to the airport for her return to Sydney. I have lots of people to visit on the west coast and will catch up with them mid July.
In the next day or so I will become a true westy. Can't wait to achieve that banner.
I survived the night and nothing has been stolen or violated with the exception of my sinuses. Choked up like a well stoked chimney. That's all I am saying about that.
It's still blowing like a gale here so I will hang on to the steering wheel like crazy. I am hoping the highway is opened because I want to GET OUT OF HERE NOW!!!
Once I hit Norseman I may go straight to Kalgoorlie and cut across to Perth from there. It depends on the date and how close it is to collecting Leesa from Perth. Stay tuned. You never know when you may get an update.
22/5/09 - PS
It's me again. Highway doesn't and hasn't reopened so I am bedding down in Ceduna rather unhappily I might add. The locals are restless, four passengers have been killed in the road accident and the driver is still alive with minimal injuries. I am extremely tired and with that comes irritability. There has been nowhere safe to even have a nannie nap in the car. I overheard some people say they were robbed in their caravan. I went to four caravan parks in Ceduna before I found one that I vaguely felt safe. I like this one because it is out of town and no long term tennants live here..... And there is not a pub in sight. It feels shocking to be so vulnerable. I am set up in such a contrasting campsite where traffic noise is excessive, dust is in abundance and no ocean to be seen. The temp got up to 28.5 with dust you could only read about. I am carry a very blocked nose, puffy eyes and a tired mind. Anyway, it's great to be here now. I hope the highway is opened tomorrow. The Forensic mob hadn't arrived at the accident scene yet and therefore the carnage couldn't be cleared. Absolutely terrible. Poor families. I have nothing really to complain about. Advantages about being here are: internet, phone, sleep. Yay!!!!
I had this enormous and I mean enormous huntsman in the caravan the other day. On the inside I might add. I had to do some serious self control to keep myself from screaming. Self talk, logical thinking and a lot of long arms, deep breaths, spray and a cup finally got the beggar out of the van. My worst nightmare I might add. Except for Ceduna. I had a very deep burial for it after I sprayed it almost white. Ode to the hairy one.
I am going to post some new photos now. Please enjoy. Wish you were all here with me sharing this experience.
It's been a month since I left Melbourne. Just heard the Swine flu has hit SA. I really don't want to get that especially after my last flu bout last year which lasted over 2 months and needed to be on morphine. No thanks!!! Hopefully it will go in the opposite direction to where I am going. I am just outside of Ceduna, 28 degrees, windy as all hell, dust and sand flying everywhere. This may be the last time I will get internet service as I approach the Nullarbor. I am hoping to get to Catcus Beach today but the highway has been closed due to a four person fatality. Pretty sad. I am doing really well and am feeling priviledged to have the opportunity to do this wonderful trip. Spent the past four days camped next to some great people in Streaky Bay. Did some fishing, drinking, talking, cooking and sharing fresh juicy plump oysters. Lucky me and they were only $6.00 per doz. Just parked the car out of the town of Ceduna. Cedune is predominantly an indigenous community. Walking thru the street was an eye opener as I stood out in the crowd as being in the minority of white people. I felt priviledged to walk down their street without any issues. I was extremely anxious to get back to my car too.
I can't wait to post more of my pics when the time is right. WA is awaiting me so I will be off. Don't forget to get me on the Telstra phone if you want to have a gas bag 0428152621. It is the best chance of phone service at this time. I don't think 0430186430 will work again for a while.
There are no streakers in Streaky Bay even though I came very close to it yesterday when I forgot my towel. Didn't want to frighten the fish off. Got a great recipe for catching fish and it works. Caught several yesterday and dined with delight last night on my spoils. Today is the most perfect day, cloudless sky and about 22 degrees. It's probably the best day weatherwise so far. The local school has a community library and free internet so here I am. I am using the Telstra phone now and have some credit. You may even get a reply to sms' now. It's always great to hear from you.
I will leave Streaky Bay tomorrow and head for Ceduna. Getting close to the long road to WA. Lucky me. Not too many further issues with the van thank goodness. I will post some more photos soon. I visited the sea lions yesterday. Flopping flapping and lolling about. They are very lazy looking creatures. It's the 1st time I have seen them in their own habitat. Got some close up photos. Visited Sculptures by the Sea in the middle of nowhere. People/artists displayed all different types of sculptures on the cliff faces overlooking the Elliston waters. Had a nights stay at Venus Bay, a little hamlet with extremely low tides. A photo will also be posted soon. Hoping everyone is enjoying life as I am. Always someone interesting to talk too and something new to learn. Never enough hours in the day to do everything thou. I am going to write a book called Camping/Caravanning Etikit. There are some people who think that the whol world revolves about what they want to do. Example: one couple were outside my van at 6.30am bird watching with binoculars. Mind you I don't mind that, but it was their constant talking that woke me. How would they feel if I started talking around their van at 6.30am in the morning about the colours of their van or tyres. Bet they wouldn't be happy with that. That is only one example of many. Some people are hilarious even though inconsiderate. Stay tuned for the next leg of my journey and take care xxxx
Mid may and the time and kilometers are flying by. I have visited Port Lincoln on a couple of occasions but didn't camp there. Too commerialised for me. Enjoyed camping at Louth Bay with 5 other vans. Just a loo and running water, a jetty to fish from and a community club that opened between 4 and 7pm nightly. Strange but things are very different in other communities. After three days camping at Louth Bay I headed to through Port Lincoln and onto Coffin Bay. Coffin Bay is renowned for its oysters in Australian. Alas when I went out to dinner at the pub there the oysters had to be sent back. They were disgusting. I don't think these ones were from the locals. Coffin Bay was named after its founder Captain Coffin. It doesn't have anything to do with death and its associated boxes. Before pulling up camp I headed into Coffin Bay National Park. The most unbelievable white sand and bluest of oceans. The cliffs were jagged and with colours of bright orange with variant shades of browns and off whites. And to top of this magnificent view there were about 10 dolphins swimming around. When I was Arno Bay fishing of the wharf I had to pull my fishing line very smartly because a mum and her pup were showing off in front of me at the jetty. Dolphins are majestic, calming and peaceful to watch swimming so effortlessly together. It will be whale season when I get to The Bight. I was missing my 4WD when I came across some tracks in the National Park that I couldn't explore because of the Mule. I could've stayed there for at least a week doing some ocean fishing and just chilling. Stayed two nights in Coffin Bay Caravan park instead and bumped into the Highlander 4WD Club from Adelaide. They were doing the off road trip for a week through the National Park fishing and camping. Gosh I was envious. Had another memorable Saturday night out with this group. One of the guys was an absolute scream. Gave me curry most of the night and of course I gave it back to him. My social and extremely interesting and variable. Woke up sick in the stomach again for the 100th time since I have been away. I am off fried food. And I mean it. It's not worth the agony. I was too tired to set up the caravan when I pulled up at the Caravan Park the other day so I slept in the car. Some thought I was a little strange but I couldn't go one more step. Tiredness can be so overwhelming. Had the van looked at again at Port Lincoln with minimal cost and repair thank goodness. Found myself a hairdresser in the showers at Coffin Bay and she was absolutely cornered into giving me a haircut. Thanks Jan you were brilliant. As I head to Streaky Bay and Ceduna I believe there is no way that blo@#y optusnet is going to work. I will case the internet cafes as I go. So stay tuned. I am getting close to the border of WA now.
It's 7pm and raining. When I sit a particular way in the caravan I get internet and phone service. Well blow me down. I am speechless.
Hi there. I am sitting in my car overlooking Port Lincoln bay. Port Lincoln is just like any major town except with its aquacultural industry. Its speciality is tuna farming. I have yet to taste any local blue fin yet. Been roaming aimlessly around all day trying to get bills paid, scripts filled, shopping done and getting the internet working. Achieving all my endeavours has been rewarding thou tiring. I am camped by a quiet beach 20kms north of Port Lincoln. I have caught fish which proves I am not totally useless at fishing.
I have travelled through some magnificent country outlooks since last logging on. After leaving Quorn I travelled to the Flinders Ranges. The mountainous ranges were awesome (see pic) as I travelled through the Flinders National Park. Visited Wilpena Pound as recommended by someone but felt it too commercial so I travelled on to look at Rawnsley Park Station. Some great sights from the lookout. I enjoyed the very long day visiting places I have only ever dreamt about. Stayed the night at Warren Gorge which is at the foothills of the Flinders Ranges (see pic). The next day was an even longer drive heading toward Port Augusta in the Spencer Gulf then to Whyalla then through to Cowell and finally settling for a few days in a quiet little seaside village (with a pub) called Arno Bay. Did some fishing, drinking, socialising, reading, walking and washing and not necessarily in that order. Went to the pub last Saturday and met some very friendly people. Got amongst the locals and some outsiders like me. I was a very tired girl on Mother's Day but managed to get dressed to go out for lunch. Bill and Elwin and I went to the pub for a Mother's Day luncheon. They are lovely people and didn't mind me being the third leg. Lunch was a three course meal and a box of chocs. Lucky me. The big lunch was just enough enticement for me to have a nap for about 3 hours. And then I backed up and went to bed early. I will head to Coffin Bay and beyond in a few days time. I am getting further away from home. I have done nearly 5,000kms. Unreal. Every kilometer has been exciting. I am an expert in putting and pulling up camp quickly. I call it my housework. I wish all housework was like this.
I forget a whole leg of my journey. I will now fill you in. After leaving Dartmoor on the 30/4, I hugged the South-East Coast of South Australia. I travelled through Mount Gambier (again) to get some food and then headed to Robe which is renowned for its old buildings, lobster and prawn trawlers. After a quick stop and some pics I then travelled through to Kingston SE and saw the Jaffa Lighthouse and the Big Lobster. Feeling a little tired I pulled into Granite Rock beach for the night. Some people I met in Dartmoor were camped there too. We had a little reunion which included wine and a chat and were comforted to know that we were safe here for the night together. The next day which was the 1/5 I encountered rain all day. Had a look at the Coorong but limited views and access due to the lousy weather. After an early morning start and very long day driving in the rain, I headed for Murray Bridge to camp. I didn't like the camp ground and ventured further to find Mannum. What a find. The rest of this story continues below.
Staying in Quorn another night due to the length of time it took to fix Miss Australia. She is badly bruised and so I am financially for that matter. The winder is fixed but the metal panel is not. I will patch it up with plastic and tape. The floor was rotten and did not hold the winder in place. Deep breaths. I think at this stage everything is mostly fixed. Look at the photo of the old Mill at Quorn. It's got my colours. It's now used as a Backpackers Hostel. I will head to Wilpena tomorrow.
Prior to staying at Clare I spent a few days on the Murray at a place called Mannum. I had the prime position on the waterfront. It is the birthplace of the Murray River Paddle Steamer. The Marion and Murray Princess floated past on a number of occasions. There was lots of things happening in this little town for the few days I was there. There was a small carnival atmosphere where houseboat owners had their houseboats open for inspection. A bit of music in the park and in the club at night, Lions Club doing the BBQ and pancake cooking and I had a cruise on a houseboat called Cloud 9. Pure luxury with ensuites in all the bedrooms, many TV areas and a magnificient kitchen. Upstairs a bbq and alfresco eating area, spa and sunbaking lounges. Too die for. The first Jayco Van Club which was formed in SA was holding its 30th birthday celebrations that weekend too. They all stayed in their Jayco vans (of course!!) in the same van park. There were lots of them. I have learnt from Margaret and Barry who have been members for the 30 years that vans like mine are called raggies. Probably because of the vans' canvas sides. You learn something every day. These guys were having a ball. I accepted an invitation to dine with them one night at the club. Loads of laughs and heaps of fun. They camp out somewhere once a month in SA area. Hello to you all.
I enjoyed my river frontage camping as there was always something to see on the water. I was next to two very busy vehicle/passenger ferries. I took a ride to see if the "grass was green on the other side" of the Murray. These ferries were always busy and the service only wained in the middle of the night. After a pep talk from Reg (thanks Reg) I took the plunge and went out to see a band at the local club. Had a great time and hung out with the band members family and friends. The Mule broke down as I was heading off from Mannum. A few fuel blockage and thankfully it righted itself after two hours and a flat battery. Some new campers with NSW rego pulled in just as I was leaving and I asked the million dollar question "Where are you from in NSW" when they answered "Camden" I was speechless. My neighbouring suburb. I didn't know them though. I felt a little tug at the heart strings.
I had the oldest van in the park and definitely the cutest. Lots of people ask the question "You're not travelling alone are you?" When they find out that I am, they always have lots of questions and friendships begin. It's great to get people's feedback. I met a fantastic couple in Mannum who had a similar van to mine. They have invited me back to their place in Bunbury WA when I get there. How nice is that!!!!!
Once I get the photos sorted I will have things up to date on the website. Thanks for your patience. I hope our journey will still be together after the shaky past.
Left Clare this morning and am excited about getting to the Flinders Ranges. I am camped in a place called Quorn pronounced Corn which is in the southern part of the Flinders Ranges. Having a mechanic look at the winder on the van tomorrow. If it can be fixed I will be out of here and into Wilpena. Wilpena has been on my wish list for many years. I may have to pitch the tent if the mechanic needs the van for a few days. We'll see. I can't believe I have internet service here. This new modem is the bomb. I even got excited to wash my clothes in a washing machine the other day. You appreciate many things when you are out on the road. Meeting great people has been a highlight of this trip. I held the camp kitchen hostage last night so I could watch Australian Story. Got bits of it coz some people were talking. How rude!!! I still have to fill in the gaps of my travel for the past 5 days. I will soon. Lots of interesting pics to add too. Hope you are all well.
Hi Hi Hi. Yea I am back on line. After many weeks of unsatisfactory communications, I went thru the Telecommunications Ombudsman to get some action. Finally I got the magic telephone call from Optus advising me that I could pick up a new modem from any store and they would credit my account.
I am currently camped in wine country. Clare is a beautiful town surrounded by vineyards. I am heading to the Flinders Ranges tomorrow. The Autumn leaves are in full colour.
I am having a ball. Not too many problems. Car broke down this morning, flat tyre last week and the winder on the van needs looking out. It's winding mechanism is crooked and cutting into the body of the van.
I am off to bed now. I will update the site with pictures soon. Had a big day trying to sort out this Optus issue.
Loving the photos of WA!! Glad to hear you're enjoying everything the west has to offer! Wish I could be over there with you! xo
Comment By : Chloe on 22nd Jun 2009
Fascinating!!! Wish I was there.
Comment By : John de Haan on 6th Jun 2009