When we got back to Perth we spent some time catching up with friends and nest building in the van, It was good to be back in our little home on wheels again. (unfortunately there were those people we missed catching up with, sorry guys and hopefully next time.)
We spent a couple of days on the property where Angela and Simon were staying and where our van had been parked, enjoying the hospitality and company of Mark, Simon and the rest of the crowd. Thanks fellas! x Reluctantly, we dragged ourselves away as we were anxious to get on the road again, starting our journey eastward.
First stop was Coogee caravan park, just down from Freemantle and right on the beach. Then on to Albany where we caught up with more friends. We spent a few days with Matt, Clare and their little family, who are friends of Jo and Phil's. We had our "kid fix" with Lily (nearly 3) and Liam (5 months) and enjoyed sharing news and adventures with Matt and Clare who are also travelling and hoping to find jobs up north of WA. They are both nurses so will have no troubles there!
We then met up with Ellen and Bob, who we have kept in touch with. We have found each other several times since our first meeting in Seaforth, Qld. at the start of this wonderful adventure.
One of the really great thing about our travels are the people you meet. For such a huge country, we now have a network of people who we stay in contact with. We need spend only a few hours with someone, we learn more about them and feel a connection that you don't get with some neighbours who have shared the same street for years.
We check out Albany, visited Whale World, the wind farm, the Natural Bridge and the Blow Hole before bidding our fond farewells to our friends and the city. We then head for Esperance, via Bremmer Bay, an out of the way fishing spot with an interesting museum, (lots of old cars and motorbikes) before finding a great free camp at Quagi Beach, (only a $5 a night donation) where we spent three nights.
The coastline around the Esperance area is rugged and beautiful, with lots of Islands, great beaches and walks. Esperance itself, is now undergoing some changes all along it's town foreshore. This is due to erosion so is all fenced off which meant we couldn't get close to the water. There is also a new flyover being built to ease the truck traffic to the dock area so I expect that when we pass this way again we will be seeing a lot of changes in Esperance.
Our next stop was to go into Cape Le Grande National Park, only 45kms out of Esperance. We stayed first at Lucky Bay and then moved around to the Cape Le Grande camp site as the weather was beginning to improve after a few dull, damp and cool days.
We did lots of walking, from Lucky Bay to Thistle Cove and Hell Fire Bay to Little Hell Fire Bay being two of the walks. Chris did try to get me up Frenchman's Peak but after getting about a third of the way, I gave up, I really didn't want to climb it that bad! I sat on a rock for a while and became a cheerleader for others making the climb before I headed back to the car to get away from the March flies. The little horrors really love me and I come out in great lumps when bitten. Chris enjoyed the walk/climb so much that he actually did it again a few days later in sunshine, just to get better photos. Mad or what?
On leaving Cape Le Grande we were going to stop in Esperance just long enough to stock up and refuel before heading off towards Kalgoorlie but as we're got back into phone coverage again we had received a message from John and Julie from Perth, who had just arrived in Esperance. We decided to change our plans and stay the night, enjoying a pleasant evening with both old friends and new.
Next stop Kalgoorlie, and we have found a good free camp at the Centennial Gardens. It's supposed to be a 24 hr only stop but as it's a big area and not many travellers, the ranger does not seem to be too bothered so we are going to push our luck and stay a third night before heading out in the morning.
Kalgoorlie is a very old mining town, famous for it's history of the gold rush era and nowadays the huge Superpit gold mine owned by KCGM that operates 24 hrs a day just out of town. We did the tour of the mine, seeing the vastness of it, watching the giant machinery and equipment at work. We then visited the two mining museums in town and panned for gold.
We even did a tour of the last remaining working brothel in Kalgoorlie! The oldest profession thrived in the gold rush days, with all the many brothels located in Hay street. Over the years the trade has diminished considerably and now only two brothels remain.
The Questa Casa was there at the start of the town's history with 11 working girls and the madam. Now the latest madam, and our tour guide has only two ladies to oversee. An interesting and unusual tour, to say the least!
Now as we come to the end of our stay in Kalgoorlie, we contemplate our trip across the Nullabor which will be dictated by the Nullabor Links. The longest golf course in the world, with the 18 holes stretching 2000 Kms from Norseman WA to Ceduna SA. Chris has played the first 2 holes here in Kalgoorlie and is keen to complete the whole course. We have heard that some of the holes are "less than average" or "interesting" so watch this space!