Saturday, 30 April 2011


Accommodation in Esperance was fairly scarce when we arrived so we took the last site at a less than impressive park for the night which was better than the two vans which had stopped at the first park as we did and been told there were no places. We felt rather pleased to get the last place at the next park as the two men from the vans followed Ian into the office. Sometimes you are just lucky.

After the first night we moved on to another park which gave us ocean frontage and was lovely. We walked along the pier and were entertained by the antics of a very large sea lion who gave an outstanding performance for ages, anyone who thinks these creatures don’t enjoy their job at Sea World should see this fellow. I swear he is an escapee who now just does his show for fun. It probably is no coincidence that he has his main stage at the fish cleaning station on the pier, perhaps hoping for a free feed as reward.

The shops were all but closed including the supermarkets for the holidays so we had to wait until Wednesday to restock after which we decided to move on on Thursday.

We are now at Cape LeGrand National Park which is absolutely magnificent and we have an ocean frontage again and can hear the crashing of the waves against the shore. This is where Matthew Flinders moored over night, and named it Lucky Bay. It must have seemed like paradise to him and we stood on the top of the cliff and wondered how it would have looked with his ship anchored below us.
We’ve been for a couple of walks. One up along the coast and today along the beach which is renowned as having the whitest sand and is certainly is the finest sand we have seen and a little reminiscent of Fraser Island. The waves, as they crash to shore are almost translucent then jade and finally deep blue. It’s really easy to just stand and watch and lose concentration as Sue did this morning ending up swamped and sitting down in the water very unceremoniously and quite wet. (I thought I would tell this tale now so that Ian loses the enjoyment when we get home from telling everyone how ridiculous I looked!)
We’ve extended our stay until Monday morning and hopefully by then one of the women’s magazines will be out with photos of the Royal Wedding which we missed as we don’t have phone or TV in the park. We were however kept amused by the football commentators occasionally giving us updates on the progress by interrupting without taking a breath from the football and telling us “they are at the Abbey, oh, what a shot that was, and he’s kicked it”. It was so comical we hardly missed seeing it.
On to Albany after this.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Nullabor to Esperance

We’ve been on the road now for a week travelling onwards from Penong stopping at roadside camps each night and finding them to be great.  We stopped on the Great Australian Bight and took some great photos. It certainly is an awesome piece of coastline and the edges are very steep and the top of the coast so very flat.
We’ve followed the Eyre Highway stopping a little while to use up as many of our fruit and vegies before the W.A. border where we had heard they were even more particular than we had experienced earlier. One couple told us they had an old potato sack which they used as a floor mat for many years and had not seen a potato for many more before that. Gone – also an old sack used to wrap a bbq plate – gone!
However after Sue cooked up a number of vegie dishes and we ate the bananas (at $12.00 a kilo, we weren’t giving them up!) we managed a clean bill of health only losing a few potatoes and a tomato after having the car and van searched enthusiastically.
The Nullabor was a very long straight stretch especially the 147 kilometre stretch known as the longest straight stretch of road in Australia. Even after you pass that length of bitumen it seems there is still much more without too much shape. We stopped a couple of times to refuel with Ian carefully working out how much we had to buy to get to the next stretch .With prices ranging from $1.57 at Nundroo up to $1.97 in some places they were important calculations!
On Sunday night we stayed at a great campsite and joined our fellow campers for drinks at 5pm, a familiar occurrence when everyone shares their experiences and hints for the road ahead. It’s not necessary to share names at these meetings, we always forget them but on this occasion one traveller introduced himself only to be told “don’t worry about that, the men are all mates and the women are love” so took care of that!  We were joined by a young German couple who arrived in a cloud of black smoke which the mates in our group quickly diagnosed as trouble! Shortly after the car stopped the young man jumped out and crawled under the car, looking for …… absolutely no idea what, perhaps a miracle which would stop the huge clouds of black smoke emanating from his car and using twice as much fuel as he had to get to the next town. After seeming not to solve the problem he came over to us as in carefully chosen words asked if we could sell him some fuel as his fuel consumption was far in excess of what he could carry! Fortunately Ian was able to assist with the 5 litre jerry can of fuel we keep for the generator and one mate said he would look at the car in the morning before they set off. We all assured them we would not leave them stranded and would proceed in convoy to make sure they made it to Norseman.
The check of the car revealed a problem the mates couldn’t fix so the convoy set off and sure enough after some distance just when we were confident they would make it – they didn’t. One mate had a long distance aerial and help was summoned. We left them rather forlorn but at least safe as they waited for the Automobile Association.
On to Esperance for us and a park after seven nights on the road!
Temperature got to 36 degrees yesterday – beautifull!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Western Australia here we come!

Well, we’re on our way now! We packed up the van and left on Monday morning and headed for Mildura  and then on Tuesday stopped at Tarlee. On Wednesday we travelled on thru Port Augusta and stayed half way between Port Augusta and Ceduna. The days so far have been fairly uneventful, the only issue being we have had to give up our fruit and veg at the Quarantine Border station and then repurchase in Port Augusta. Thursday we travelled on to Ceduna and we stopped in Penong for an internet moment and to catch up on the blogs as we don’t always have internet at the roadside stops we are staying in.

The tourist information shelter at Penong tells us of its establishment in 1892. Penong means Rocky Waterhole where the first house sold in the mid 1890’s for 2 pounds 15 shillings! It is also the home of Gypsum. 90% of the plasterboard used in Australian homes comes from the Lake McDonnell mine just south of Penong. It also has a surfboard shop!  There is the history lesson for today!

Not much else to talk of yet as we are really concentrating on getting to WA before stopping for too long.

Did I mention the weather ……… perfect!


Well now are on our way again but as we are staying with Pete and Dawn we decided it was just as easy to leave the van at home.

We certainly had a packed programme and it was lovely to visit with them and see their block of land and the home they will build on it later this year. Although they won’t be in it before their baby arrives it will be lovely when it is completed.

Dawn is singing in a choir now and we were fortunate enough to go to one of the performances which was lovely. It was also Pete’s birthday and their 2nd wedding anniversary so quite a few very special family occasions to be celebrated.

Pete and Dawn took us down to Sydney and at Sue’s special request we went to all of the Adriano Zumbo stores to sample the very special pastries we have seen on the TV. It was well worth it and for those who know Ian’s passion for Pattersons Cakes which has closed since we moved to Shepparton and he was unable to support the shop almost single handed, this was a delight he managed very well! The cakes are sensational and we indulged!

We also went to the sinking of the former HMAS Adelaide off Avoca Beach which was spectacular even if we had to wait for the dolphins who held up the proceedings for 90 minutes whilst they fed close to the ship. It was amazing and really a very quiet affair which was all over in just a few minutes.

As the Sydney Royal Easter Show was on we had to go as Pete and Dawn had been previously and regaled us with descriptions of the pig racing which Sue really wanted to see, but it was not to be as this was the year they were not coming. However we comforted ourselves with lots of other farmyard experiences and food (again!). The chips on a stick were quite different and should not be missed if they come to a show near you.

We left the day after the show and travelled home in one day to get ready to pack the van for the trip to WA.


We decided to have a trial run before setting off on our big trip to WA and in keeping with an oft reprised New Years Resolution we visited some friends in Gippsland.

Firstly we journeyed to Warragul and met up with Rob and Maxine and saw their new home and surrounds. The country is so green and lush as we have never seen before and we brought some lovely weather with us for a change which Rob and Maxine enjoyed too! We went to the Wine and Cheese Festival at Lardner Park and enjoyed too much of all of that as we seem to do. Maxine and Rob were wonderful hosts and we are looking forward to another visit to see all of their new garden and house renovations.

Our next stop after we repaired our van tyre, the first flat ever, was to Tracey and Gene’s at Meeniyan. We pulled up at their property to the most beautiful view across the valley and understood immediately why they had swapped Shepparton for this piece of paradise. We really enjoyed catching up with Tracey and Gene and Harry, Lucas, Burke &  Farrah and walking around their property before Tracey cooked a lovely dinner, and returning to the van for the night. A very short visit but wonderful and now we will have a greater understanding when Tracey sends her very entertaining emails.

We set off early for Wilson’s Prom and set up camp before taking in the scenery and a number of walks. Our timing was perfect so it seems as too much later and we might still be there waiting for the road to be repaired from the storm shortly after we departed. It truly is a beautiful place and one to which we will return.

After three nights we made our way towards Newhaven on Phillip Island as our final destination on this sojourn to visit with Marion and Paul. Marion was Ian’s childhood friend from the age of two or three and we have corresponded over the years every Christmas but only seen each other two or three time in the ensuing fifty years! Some New Year’s resolutions are a long time fulfilled but we have finally done it and spent a lovely time reminiscing and walking around the coast with them on a wonderful walk.  Lovely dinners and relaxing at their holiday home completed our visit and we were sad to leave and journey home but so pleased to have finally made it!