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  • Day47

    Early start this morning as we went on an organised tour at 7 am into the part of the canyons, at the National Park, that are otherwise currently closed to the public. Thankfully the fog cleared shortly after we arrived and we had beautiful skies until a massive downpour on our return at lunchtime. We are really pleased that we did it, as the views into the Murchison River gauge were spectacular. First we went to the West Loop lookout where the canyon's reflection in the water was faultless. The unusual rock layers were really obvious at Nature's Window were we stood on a ridge that had a window like feature. After tasty tea and cake we were taken to the final lookout at Z Bend where the gauge does as the name suggests! We spent the afternoon back at the coastal cliffs walking along boardwalks and looking out to sea where we had some fleeting views of whales.Read more

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  • Day46

    First we stopped at the oldest town in Western Australia, Northampton, that had an old convent (photo of Louisa), a tank outside the RSL (their version of the British Legion) and other 'old' buildings much like the other places around here. Before we got to the pink lake we looked around an historical site at Port Gregory where they sent convicts to wait before they were hired out. It was aslo used as the local jail and hospital, although there isn't much left of the buildings even thiugh they are only 160 years old. The land around here continues to get more red and dusty and so amazes us how they manage to farm sheep and cattle here, as grass is non existent. We are seeing many of the small windmills in fields that are used to pump the water up for drinking and road trains that are allowed to be up to 36 meters long here. We had a look at a couple of the viewpoints along the Kalbarri coastal cliffs ad were very fortunate to spot a southern right whale coming up for air and diving down a few times, as they are only just starting to migrate past this area. As you can see from the photo, the wind really got up! Then it rained, first rain here since February! At least the kangaroos were happy as they seemed to all make a beeline for the puddles on the road.Read more

  • Day45

    We decided to stock up on food today for the next five weeks as we travel North because food shops become both more scarce and expensive. While filling the van it was confirmed that the two of us have become three (or more) as we have a resident mouse who has taken a liking to our chocolate, pasta, nuts and breakfast cereal. This is the time when we need Dave 'serial mouse killer' Warwick on the team! Instead, we have set traps and poison... This afternoon we had a personal guided tour at the Australian Meteorological Service just out of town. We saw both the traditional and modern way weather data is collected, the highlight being the release of a weather balloon that will travel up to 53 thousand feet collecting data. We then went back to both the maritime museum and the warship memorial before walking along the esplanade to see the docks, rare sea lions and sunset. We learnt about a Dutch ship that sank in the 1600's and part of the load were these ballast stones they were going to take to Jakarta to build a castle. We saw similar ones around Sri Lank and Malaysia. We also had time for a quick play in the park! Seriously we did, there is a great electronic game for two players.Read more

  • Day44

    A short drive this morning but before we got to Geralton we stopped at Greenough, a ghost town where alongside the bent gum trees (due to the wind) the stone built buildings were all built by British convicts. In Geraldton we have been busy, walking around the heritage trails, the town and a brilliant museum that we will visit again tomorrow to see more exhibits. We also went for a guided talk at a memorial for HMAS Sydney 2 that was sank off the coast here in WW2, killing all 645 crew. The memorial was very well thought out where everything there was symbolic. It was completed before they had located the position of where it was sank yet the statue of a mother looking out to sea happened to be facing the actual direction of where the ship is. The museum had some 3D photos of both that ship and German one that sank at the same time. Tonight we have had a BBQ using one of the many ones at the newly developed waterfront park (we're ashamed to admit that the sausages were actually kangaroo and really tasty!). The wind has died down now and the sun shining brightly again making it a lovely 26 degrees. Apparently the weather we have been having since we have been in Australia has been unseasonably good as it's well into Autumn here. That seems to be the first time we have heard that in our year of travels, it's usually the opposite!Read more

  • Day43

    We enjoyed views of the ocean at Cervantes before journeying up the Indian Ocean Drive to Jurien Bay where we saw a dolphin busy feeding. We enjoyed the newly developed sea front, including a game of draughts abd walking on the pier. We had a great spot for a picnic and stroll around the three bays at Green Head. Our camp spot for the night was the view we had been wanting from our time in the camper, clear views across the ocean with a great sunset.Read more

  • Day42

    Before we left Yanchep we had a final look at the koalas who thankfully were holding on tightly as the strong winds buffeted the branches they were sat on. We then did a short walk through the limestone gorge that had small caves and a natural bee hive where the honey comb was clearly visible. It was a very windy drive north (our little high top van felt it) through interesting desert / coast landscapes, including massive inland sand dunes and a tree full of flip flops! The Pinnacles are limestone formations within the Nambung National Park and scientists are unsure of how they were formed. One theory is that they were once tree trunks covered in sand and another is that they were once shells. Either way, it was interesting to walk around and the rain that had been chasing us all day didn't catch up with us until evening. While there we did spot this desert cockroach, quite different from other ones seen on our travels!Read more

  • Day41

    Today we decided to spend the day here as there are plenty of walks and wildlife to see. After visiting the 10 resident koalas we went on a walk called the Ghosthouse Walk, intrigued by the name. It turns out, half way around the 12km loop, there was a derelict building. Didn't see a ghost but heard something moving about in the undergrowth! (It was probably a kangaroo or wallaby). The weather was kind to us as bad wind and rain was forecast but it turned out really hot and sunny. It was good to see the kangaroos jumping around the campsite in the evening.Read more

  • Day40

    After leaving our friends Laura, Julie and Solana in Bunbury we headed North to the rental depot to check out our van. We'd been keeping an eye on the range and fuel consumption (something all men do at a certain age!!) and something wasn't right. We could get just over half the fuel capacity the van should have. This was a wee bit of an issue South of Perth where petrol stations are quite common, but a big issue North of Perth where we may not have the range to refuel. Delays ensued, a replacement was eventually sourced and off we went, only to find the leisure battery (the one that runs the lights/fridge etc) was dead. Too late to return that night so a trip back to the depot the next morning. They dealt with the issues fairly efficiently but still 1.5 days lost. Source of the fuel problem was previous hirer had run over something and dented the tank to such an extent it was 30 litres smaller!
    This afternoon we drove to Yanchep National Park and wetland (named Loch McNess!!) where we are spending the night. On the way we stopped at the Western Australia remote control aircraft airfield. A proper airfield in minature with 6ft long jet models and a crazy air race that takes place in a huge caged area where models fly round in circles on a tether at 140mph (look up tether racing) There are koalas in the National Park and kangaroos that hop around the area and camp ground.
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  • Day38

    Today we spent a really great day with our friends, just like old times exploring somewhere new together. We went to Bunbury Wildlife Park where the definite stars were the kangaroos that we could walk around and hand feed. After seeing so many in the wild it was lovely to be able to get so close, stroke them and feed them. They were so gentle holding onto your hands while taking their time to nibble out of your palm. After a picnic lunch we had a walk around the swamp, seeing plenty of birds, including a strange necked duck and long necked turtles. We finished the day off with more golf, jumping, drinking and chatting.Read more

  • Day37

    As we made our way out of the National Park this morning we stopped off at various spots to explore like the old quarry that is now bolted for climbing... if only we had our climbing gear, it looked great. The river bed was great to explore as it was mainly huge slabs of rock. James even felt brave enough to have a swim, although it may have been a little too cold even for him as he was out before you knew it! We made our way to Bunbury where we had arranged to meet our friends, Laura, Julie and Solana again. We are staying at the same site with our van next to th cabin. We managed some crazy golf and a bounce on the giant air pillow at sundown with a beer a before a BBQ and some catching up.Read more

  • Day36

    Headed North along the coast, trying not to be tempted by the vineyards every 500m! Visited Canal Rocks which have been carved into amazing shapes and channels, great for climbing and messing about on. After a pizza on the beach we went to the Bussleton jetty, the longest in the Southern Hemisphere at 1.8km long. A small train goes the length of the pier but we chose to walk instead, watching fishermen catching squid spraying ink on the deck boards.Read more

  • Day36

    Stayed in a quiet roadside rest area overnight called Ironstone Gully Falls, before heading inland to the Wellington National Park, with the area consisting of rolling meadows and woodland. Drove past Gnomeville, a woodland area covered with well over 50,000 gnomes (no truly accurate figure as the number increases everyday). The area was unexpected and a little bit weird....
    A relaxed lunch and walk through the woods in the sunshine started the afternoon at the discovery forest area. A short drive across the park past the dam, bought us to the Potters Gorge camp area. Right by the side of the Wellington resevoir, the huge camp area in the trees is occupied by 4 cars/vans, super peaceful and serene. A short walk through the woods wondering at huge termite queens in a broken nest (they were massive and quite gross!) before beer at sunset and cooking on the free bbq's.Read more