The great road trip 19th Jan 2009
At long last we managed to book our camper van. We took a taxi to go and pick it up and left all our belongings in the Billabong. We had to watch a DVD on how to work it,(and Emma says you can also watch it so you know what we are driving,its called Euro tourer).We decided to invest in Sat Nav, to helpfully not get lost....Ha Ha. Then excitement off we go. Emma drives back to the Billabong... but not as quickly as we should have...Guess what ? Yep we get lost, so much for the Sat Nav, but eventually we get back and transfer our belongings to our new home for the next 33 days. Its about 5pm by now so we decide to sleep in the car park and set off Tuesday.
Some of our friends we have met come out for a goodbye drink. We go to the Dean, where there is suppose to be a free BBQ and drink, unfortunately most of the food is gone when we get there, so we only get a sausage with no roll, but we do get a free drink each and two free jugs of beer to share. Four of the lads play in a pool competition, Against fierce competition only one of them makes it through to the second round. A band is playing, that s really good. Majella and I dance. Majella, Jeff and I stop on the way home for some food, that we eat back at the hostel. Emma and I go off to the camper van.
We sneak back into the hostel to use the toilets before we spend our first night in the camper.
20th Jan ( 184kms)
The alarm clock wakes us up at 8.30, I had a very restless sleep, its not as comfy as a real bed. We have breakfast in the hostel and I go up to Donna's room for a shower(The camper does have a shower and toilet but its very small and manly for emergency use only ...)
We set off on our next part of our journey and head for Bunbury. Its not too far only about 180 kms. Emma does all the driving today as im feeling lazy. We stop on route to stock up with food and essentials.We arrive in Bunbury early afternoon, check into our campsite then head across the road to the beach. Its a nice beach and the dolphins are suppose to come and swim here, but i guess it must be the wrong time of the day. After a couple of hours we head back to our camper van to cook dinner and to our amazement meet two people we had meet at the Billabong hostel Antony and Nicola. .
21st Jan (120kms)
We get up and have breakfast. Then head off to the beach to try and see some Dolphins, but yet again no luck. Then we go back to the camper and head off for Margret river. We have a shopping stop on route and i manage to buy a nice skirt for $4.50, what a bargain. Margret River is famous for its vineyards and stunning scenery. We walk down to the river and it is very pretty. Emma has a paddle, there are some canoes there, we might take one out later. Then we drive into town to explore. When we get back to our camp spot, Antony and Nicola are our neighbours...Its lucky we like one another and NO we are not stalking them. I cook our dinner while Emma chats with them( she did all the driving today, but it wasn't too far) Emma has a walk down by the river while I sit and write some postcards and try and get on line as there is Wi-Fi....but my silly computer wont go on line. We sit and chat a while before we head off to bed. While I'm making the bed, the board in the middle of the seats falls down and breaks the clamp that holds the table in place, but luckily it misses my foot!
22nd Jan (315kms)
After a good nights sleep we shower have breakfast then hit the road. Today we are heading off to Walpole with a stop at Busselton. Busselton has a heritage-listed 2km long wooden jetty,its the longest timber pier in the southern hemisphere.We stop briefly at pemberton and drink some crunchy milkshake and had some Swiss roll, but then we both felt a bit sick. I take over the driving to drive the last 120kms.,which are very twisty tunny roads. Walpole is a very nice campsite overlooking coalmine beach. The weather has been a bit cooler today with a little rain. Emma cooks a nice dinner,Penna chicken with sun dried tomato's, very nice. We both have a walk on the beach before bed.
23rd Jan (130kms)
It rained in the night and i thought we were sleeping in a tin can. We had yummy muffins for breakfast today. Our first stop today is a giant Tingle tree, at 24 metres, this is the largest girthed eucalypt known in the world. There use to be two giant trees here. they are hollow trees and you could have parked a car in it (look at photos and this will make sense...I hope). Then we drove along a very long bumpy road to see a beautiful natural pool in the Frankland river, where there where too many pesky flies. Australian flies are terrible, they love to land on your face..disgusting. Then we drove to Valley of the giants Tree top walk. The Tree top walk soars 40 metres into the Tingle canopy. The ancient empire walk meanders through a grove of veteran trees at ground level and gives another perspective of these magnificent giant trees.
The walkway is actually quite wobbly and you feel a bit seasick while walking on it. Emma buys a certificate for walking it( she is not very keen on heights).We then head off for Albany, we stop in town to have a quick look at the shops, before we head off to our campsite, where we get lost on route(our wonderful sat nav wont accept the address of our campsite) The campsite is the cheapest we have stayed at so far, $25. The campsite is set on the lovely Kalgan river, with Kangaroos playing on the golf course. Emma goes and tries to play with them after dinner.
24th jan(by Emma) (420 kms)
Today we went sight seeing in Albany. We found the natural bridge and gap, you would not want to go swimming in the water there! very impressive features and in such beautiful surroundings. we then went to the blowholes which were a bit further down the coast we walk down the cliff to near where the blow holes are. Sandra walked up to one and jumped a bit when the air came out!! I didn't get to close to the edge, there were danger signs and I'm a bit of a coward!!!
After this we stock up on petrol and head to the wave rock our longest drive so far 365 km!!! It took about 3 and half hours to drive here with both of us doing some. The campsite in right next to the wave rock you couldn't get any closer about 200 mts. After a swim in the pool so nice as it is very hot today and then tea we head to the wave rock after the hot sun has cooled down a bit!! It is very impressive it is 15 mts high and 110 mts long and some of it has been dated back to 2700 million years amongst the oldest in Australia. The shape has been cause by weathering and water erosion which has over cut the base and left a rounded overhang. So it looks like a giant wave so we of course pretended to surf on it and managed not to fall over, it is quite slippy. The rock gets its colour from the water running down it in wetter months and dissolving the minerals adding to the colour.
We then walk to the hippos yawn which used to be part of the wave but is now on its own, and funny enough looks like a hippo yawning!!! I walk to the top to get a picture of the sun setting very pretty. Sandra does not as her flip flop broke when we were walking to the hippos yawn, poor her had to walk a long way back with only one shoe on.
25th Jan (380 kms)
Today we have another big drive ahead, we are heading for Esperance, which have Western Australia's most beautiful beaches.We have another quick look at the wave rock then head off.
We arrived at our campsite about 2.30. We walk to the beach and I'm quite disappointed, the beach is lovely and sandy but there is lots of seaweed on the beach and its very windy. We go for a drive to check out the area, but as its Sunday all the shops here are closed, so we drive around to sight see and end up on a very pretty beach with turquoise sea and beautiful rocks. The sea is very rough here and there are signs warning about the Rip currents. We have a nice walk on the beach before we head back to our campsite for dinner.
26th Jan (60kms)
We wake up to a very sunny hot day. We leave the campsite at 9.30 and head off for some sightseeing along the Great ocean road. Its amazingly beautiful and the sea is very rough and turquoise. Next is Pink lake, only it isn't pink anymore, very disappointing. It lost its pink colour about three years ago. It gets its colour from Algy in the water and three years ago there was a big storm that flooded the lake, which caused a lack of the Algy. One day hopefully it will be pink again. We call in the information centre to get some more maps and plan our route and stops for the next week or so.. Then we set off to get some groceries and petrol, but because its Australia day most of the shops are closed, but after lots of searching we find a supermarket open. We then head off to our next destination, which is only about 60 kms away,Cape Le Grand, which is a National Park. This is our first stop with no electricity hookup, but we have gas in our camper van to cook with. The beach is totally awesome, with pure white sand and turquoise sea. When we get there the tide has just come in and the waves are very big. A van towing two jet skies gets stuck at the edge of the sea and had to be pulled out. First attempt was by a four by four truck, but this didn't work, so then a big fire looking truck came and pulled it out easily. Today the temp is about 44deg, so after a couple of hours on the beach we have to leave or get sun burnt. We head back to our camper van where luckily there is a slight breeze. The weather then changes and we have a small thunder and lightening rain storm, but at least its a bit cooler. Emma cooks dinner, we have steak sandwiches with mushrooms. we lye in the camper van reading, but have to go to bed earlier than usual because we don't want to drain the battery on the van by using the lights, but we both read using our torches. I decide to have an 11pm feast of blue cheese and wine.mmmm Emma laughs and says I will have nightmares.
27th Jan (635kms)
We had planned to spend a few hours at this beautiful beach before we headed off, but unfortunately its still raining, so we set off at 9am. Today is the first day of our long drives with nowhere special to stop. We drive until about 4pm and the last part of our drive was along Australia,s longest straight road 146.6 kms( 90 miles). We spend the night in Caiguna, A very basic campsite with a scary looking motel (one where people get murdered)
Emma is very pleased we have our camper...mmmm and so am I now that she has told me that....
28th Jan (677kms)
We left our campsite this morning at 8.45am, to start our long day of driving. I drove first today for a change. Our first stop was at 11.10, I got flashed by the police going in the opposite direction and thought Oh s***, but carried on going. Until he appeared behind me with flashing lights and flashed me again. I pulled over and Emma woke up, she thought id pulled over for a bush stop(to go to the toilet) but I I said the Police had flashed me. They pulled up behind me and said that I was doing 110 in a 90km limit. He asked me a few questions, one of which was, have I been drinking? So I had to blow into a white plastic tube ! Which he gave me and said all was good. He gave me the papers with a $150 fine and two points on my licence...Not good, but I only have to pay it if I want to come back to Western Australia. We continue our journey, our next stop is Eucla to look at an old telegraph station.We drive through the Nullarbor (meaning treeless plane), it was once part of the ocean bed,. Nullabor is the worlds largest flattest piece of limestone, covering an area of approximately 2000,000 sq kms and up to 300 meters thick.We also make a stop at Head bight, this is a marine National park, where you can Whale watch from June to October. The weather today is really hot, but its the breeze which is worse,that is also hot... We plan to stop at Walata but this is closed, but luckily we only have to travel another 52kms to the next service station at Nundroo.Today we have driven across the border from Western Australia into Southern Australia and gone through two time changes of 45Min's each, so now we are another 90Min's ahead,ten and a half hours ahead of U.K time.At our camp site we hook up to the electricity so we can have the air con on, but while I'm cooking our dinner(cheese and ham omelette's with jacket potato and beans, I melt...We also fill our water tank up with great difficulty taking the cap off to get the water in!
29th Jan (209kms)
Today we are heading off to Streaky Bay, but stopped on route at Smokey Bay instead. This is a very nice small camp site right next to the sea. There is always old country music in the shower block ( my parents would love it) The beach here isn't great, but the water is very clear with hardly any waves. There is only one shop in this small town. We both do our washing, then Emma goes to lie on the beach. The weather is so hot that I stay in the camper Van and read for a while, then go off and explore. This coast is well known for its fishing, crabs ( that have got blue on their claws) and oysters. The people in the campsite are all very friendly and most of the are OAPs. Emma cooks dinner tonight and gets really hot while doing it. We have Tuna bake, I go and sit in the Camp kitchen to eat where there is a slight breeze. We go for a walk on the jetty and some a guy fishing for Squid, but he didn't catch any.
30th Jan (498kms)
Today we cross the Halfway across Australia point at Kimba and drive to Port Augusta. the town is a lot smaller than I imagined.We had a look around but there wasn't a great deal to see. We had fish and chips for supper sitting in our camper in the port, we fed lots of the chips to the seagulls. We managed to get Wi-fi at the campsite, but the connection want great. The weather today is again amazingly hot ....
I didn't manage to sleep until gone 3am this morning, it was so hot in the camper. We had the doors open most of the night, but I think that's worse because it lets the heat in. Emma drives first this morning while I try to catch up on some sleep. Then Emma sleeps while I drive. We actually pull over and stop for lunch, because I start to feel sleepy. Emma drives the last 50kms , where we stop a town called Broken Hill. Its a nice campsite, where we park our camper on some nice green grass. There is a small pool where we go and sit to cool down. Its not really big enough to swim in. The people in the pool are mainly in there 60,s and are very friendly and chatty. We go for a drive around town and up on top of the hill to take some sunset pictures. Then we have dinner in McDonald's,(the first one we have visited in Oz).