Arja K

Joined February 2018
  • Day50

    The road to Ningaloo Reef

    June 10 in Australia

    Bruce joined me in Carnarvon and plans to travel with me for as long as we can both live so closely together. A challenge for us!
    Leaving Carnarvon we camped in the dunes at the blow holes and the wild weather arrived. Continuous rain and gale force winds resulted in little sleep that night. I did discover my van has a leak which meant wet bedding. - not happy.
    The following night we free camped by a dry river bed. In the morning we planned to run up the river bed. Imagine our surprise to find a fast flowing river (photo 1).
    We spent a couple of days relaxing at Bullara Station. A 250, 000 acre working station that also derives income from tourism. A very well managed and comfortable spot to chill - the coffee and scones available on site were delicious.
    Our introduction to Ningaloo Reef was camping at Mandu Mandu Beach (a part of the National Parks service) and exploring the Gorge and the beaches. Spot the rock wallaby in photo 4. I'm intrigued by how they manage to scale the face of the Gorge.
    So many beautiful sunrises, sunsets and starry nights. I'm loving the Australian outback more each day.
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  • Day41

    Kalbarri to Carnavon

    June 1 in Australia

    The weather began to improve on leaving Geraldton. We camped at a number of beach sites, caravan parks and free roadside camps on our way to Carnavon. The weekend in Kalbarri included enjoying a 8 kilometre cliff walk, in the company of dolphins in the sea below. Nine holes of golf for me the following morning then a spectacular gorge walk. We also spent a night at the Monkey Mia Resort. This gave us an opportunity to enjoy a stunning sunset and a pre dinner cocktail and fantastic dinner. It also had us on site to see the dolphins first thing in the morning. Leone was fortunate to be one of the few spectators to be chosen to feed a dolphin. One final overnight stop at Gladstone Bay before Leone flew out of Carnavon to make her way home to Adelaide.Read more

  • Day38

    Heading North

    May 29 in Australia

    After my quick trip to Syndey and Adelaide I met up with Leone (a friend from Mylor days) in Perth, who was going to be travelling with me for a couple of weeks. Before beginning the trek up North we spent our final evening Sunday 20th May in Perth with Wesley, Diana and Sophia.
    Monday we set off, sleeping our first night at the farm before exploring New Norscia, a monastic town settled by the Benedictine Monks in the mid 1800's.
    Leone and I continued up the coast finding a number of beautiful seaside free camping sites and low cost bush camps. Very peaceful and serene. Time for beach walks and watching sunsets. A brief episode of wet, windy weather saw us spend a night at Geraldton in a caravan park and gave us time to explore the town, a history rich in shipwrecks, before driving further north to Kalbarri.
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  • Day30

    Family and Friends

    May 21 in Australia

    My time since arriving in Perth has been spent between Wesley's and Diana's (nephew and his wife) home in Stirling, and at Bindaree, my brother Erik's farm, an hours drive north of Perth, then Sydney and Adelaide. All of which has been great for catching up with family and a few friends.
    The farm was a time for connecting with nature, generally relaxing and the icing on the cake, enjoying a warm sauna followed by a quick dip in the dam, under a starry sky. Absolutely fantastic experience.
    Sydney was for wining and dining, shopping and exploring the beauty of the immediate city coastline. Adelaide was for having my hair done with my fantastic hairdresser and now good friend, Trish. An early celebration of Hannah's 25th birthday and catching up with family. Enjoying a sauna with my sauna buddies and a night at the theatre seeing Hannah's friend Miranda perform in Sense and Sensibility. Sorry to those who may be put out for not knowing I was in town - hardly anyone new!
    I flew back to Perth on Sunday 20th to begin heading North!
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  • Day16

    Perth Calling

    May 7 in Australia

    First up for the day a 10 km hike through the Pemberton Karri Forests, then a sneak peak up the first 10 steps of the giant Gloucester Karri tree which is a 53 metre ladder climb to the top. My head and heart couldn't cope with the climb - heights are not my thing!
    The rain set in in the afternoon so I head for a caravan park instead of bush camping. Have a beer at the Nanup pub before settling in for the night. Wake in the morning to fog and cold air - so happy to have my diesel heater!
    By the time I reach Bussleton the sun is shining a little and I walk the longest wooden jetty (1.8km) in the world. A quick trip to The Flametree winery to taste some wines and spend some money and the another night spent under the stars in a bush camp.
    I am now only 200 odd kms from Perth and suddenly feel the need to get there ASAP so with only a quick stop in Bunbury at an old favourite cafe for coffee and cake then a lunch stop on the sea front in Mandurah I am sharing dinner with Wesley, Diana and baby Sophia (my brother Erik's son and his family). So happy and relieved to have arrived in Perth all in one piece!
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  • Day11

    Heading to the bush

    May 2 in Australia

    From Albany I head to the forest country. Found a beautiful spot to have breakfast just south of Denmark, eating with the pelicans and other water birds (photo1). A stroll around the town of Denmark and then into the pub to place a couple of bets on the races in Adelaide. Interesting crowd drinking at 10.30 in the morning just a tad to early for me!
    That night slept in a National Park forest (photos 2 & 3). Early morning climb of Mt Frankland (another form of heaven) - and another 360 degree view of the local area.
    Stepped back in time at the Northcliffe Pioneer Museum and then for some culture/art at the Understory - art in nature. Beautiful place.
    Quite an exhausting day so spent the night close by at Sids - a bush campsite with $5 hot showers - luxury. Relieved to have had no dramas with my van for a couple of days.
    Off to Pemberton and the Karri forests tomorrow.
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  • Day6

    Challenges on the road

    April 27 in Australia

    Although the places I visited and the campsites I stayed at were in beautiful locations I experienced my first bit of angst since leaving home. After stopping for a relaxing lunch I was accosted with a continuous high pitch alarm which was related to my van step. A very annoying high pitched sound to drive with. My problem solving skills let me down. Once I arrived at my destination and camped overnight, the sound disappeared. Not before I sent an 'urgent' email to Phil, my warranty manager. I did wander whether my emails were already being blocked by him, having sent him a number of emails already in the last six months.
    I camped on the edge of a river inlet to Munglinup Beach - beautiful peaceful spot. I must have been distracted when I set off on my morning walk as I missed noticing a bee hive situated in a rock face. Running, screaming from a swarm of bees, I was stung at the edge of my ear canal entrance - painful as it was I realised a bee in my ear canal would have been far worse. End of walk.
    After an overnighter in a National Park at Fitzgerald River I tested out the 4 wheel drive capacity of the
    Hilux and my skills. Needed to release the tyre pressure due to the corregated road and then use my compressor to reinflate them. I felt really clever and almost a man!!!
    But not so clever - miscalculating arrival time at campsite - arriving in the dark- I managed to scrape my side windows and my roof due to branches and then get bogged on the beach. Not good but luckily help was at hand and I had bought a good spade. I didn't panic(much). I was relieved to leave in the morning without any further issues. My van is no longer looking new.
    A quick trip to Albany to shop and view the National Anzac Centre and soldiers memorial. An episode of Atrial fibrillation - (maybe I need to listen to my heart) - relieved by medication (first one in months maybe stress related) and then I head off to find that evenings campsite. Where will I be tonight?
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  • Day3

    Heaven on Earth

    April 24 in Australia

    I feel so blessed to be staying in a succession of magical locations with minimal other human interaction and no financial cost. Perfect! Reaching Esperance and civilisation was initially jarring to my senses however the Esplanade is a beautiful spot for a morning stroll with other walker's , dogs and cyclists.
    Heading south of Esperance to Cape Le Grande National Park I found (thanks to my apps) Heaven on Earth-Dunns Rock. Crystal turquoise water with surf, white super fine sand, sand dunes and tranquility. Parking my van on the beach - new experience - and trusting the tide would not reach me, I had ocean views from every window and slept to the backdrop of the waves. The sunrise and sunsets were stunning as was the night sky. A morning visit from a emu couple and a pod of dolphins was the icing on the cake. I got it all.
    A quick hike up Frenchmans Peak for a workout and
    360 degree views before another round of chores in Esperance and then heading west to the river.
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  • Day2

    Heading West

    April 23 in Australia

    Leaving Pt Augusta tested out the 4 wheel drive by taking the unsealed road to Mt Ives Station for an overnight stop ~ 250 kms all up. Started the day with a jog up the highest peak on the station to get another 360 degree view. A great work out for my lungs and legs.
    Time for laundry duties, long hot shower, a restock and refuel at Ceduna and an early morning on the beach.
    Found another perfect spot the next day - Cactus beach with the surfers, before heading West over the Nullabor.
    The night sky, the surf, the never ending landscape and blue skies were too fantastic to describe. My heart felt overwhelmed by the beauty. I didnt want to leave however I desperately needed a dump spot, food and water.
    Highlights of the Nullabor - seeing dolphins and swimming on a deserted beach on the Great Australian Bight. Viewing the amazingly bright night sky through my roof hatch (when lying in bed), and the vibrancy of red earth.
    So sad to leave on one hand but exciting to start the next leg.
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  • Day1

    The first leg of the journey

    April 22 in Australia

    I'm almost 2 weeks into my road trip and I dont know where the time has gone. Being on the road has been exhilarating, freeing and a cornucopia of wonderful sites. I would like to share some of this with you now and over the next 12 months.
    The free camping opportunities have been varied and abundant - except in built up areas like Esperance and Ceduna. Then caravan parks become essential and useful for getting the basics like laundry done and a long hot shower. The free camps are solitude and nature and for just being. With no time pressure to leave.
    My journey started with a drive to Keynton to say hello and a goodbye to Raelene. Her relatively sudden death last year was one of the reasons for buying my van and starting the journey. She would have approved and has been encouraging me from afar.
    The 34 degree heat and strong northerly winds sent me on a path to the river bend at Swan Reach for my first night. The camp site was stunning, private and cool.
    I made my way through the Barossa to another free camping site near Alligator Gorge. Perfect again. Stunning 360 degree views including the Yorke Penninsular. A couple of days climbing and walking at Alligator Gorge and Wilpeena Pound.
    Friday night at the front bar of the Cradock pub for a counter meal and coverage of the Crows / Collingwood match. Not happy with the result.
    A quick stop at Port Augusta to fuel up with food, water and diesel. Not much else I would want to do there. To be continued.
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