A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

In the Beginning

The Purchases

First purchase is the tow vehicle. Westland Autos in Kalgoorlie {Kal} had a,,,,,,,,,

Nissan Patrol ST 2006
3.0 Litre Manual Turbo Diesel
Tow Bar
Second battery
Trailer and Anderson plugs
Rear air bags inside normal coil springs
60,000 km's on the clock all for the princely sum of $36,000
Traded in the ole trusty Ford Courier and dodgy Holden Berlina for pretty much a 2 for 1 swap.

Next the caravan

A trip to Perth in early 2010 saw us trawling the caravan dealers on the look out for a second hand van. Eventually at 16:50 ten minutes before closing came upon one at Groper RV Mandurah,,,,,,,,,,,
Traveller Penthouse 2006 21.5'
300 litres of fresh water
2 X 64 watt solar panels
Full ensuite
Queen size bed
Washing machine
Outside BBQ
Pretty much everything we were looking for.

Van and Tug and the two guard dogs, Khan & Riley

Van and Tug and the two guard dogs, Khan & Riley

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Posted by john-trish 20:31 Archived in Australia Comments (2)


Leaving Kal

View Round Australia on john-trish's travel map.

Well it's done, the house and all our furniture has been sold off or given away and the time is nigh for the start of the trip.

First stop will be Geraldton to leave some excess gear with Trish's mum and seeing as this excess gear is piled high in the caravan, we need to make Gero in one trip.
Quickest and shortest way is Kal, Southern Cross, Bullfinch, Mucca, Cordeux, Dalwallinu, Dongara, Gero. Anyone wanting a quick scenic route there is no better than this. It gets you away from all traffic on the highway, supports small wheatbelt towns and at the right time of year the wild flowers put on their spectacular display.

Unfortunately this time we copped a howling gale just outside of Kal which turned into driving rain 300 k's from Gero. Hence a lot of fuel stops and an economy return of just 4.9 km/L or 20.5L/100km. Pretty shocking in anyones language but the foul weather had a lot to do with it. Well I hope so anyway, don't want those figures for the rest of the trip.

Left Kal at 5:00 and arrived Gero 17:00 usually takes an easy 9 hours by car, the caravan and conditions added the rest.

Posted by john-trish 21:25 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Geraldton - Denham

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Bought myself a kayak in Geraldton thanks to some birthday donations so am now the proud owner of a Mango coulered MiniX single seat kayak. Took it for a couple of paddles on the Grenough River and it is as stable as I could want. Not having been in a kayak since my teens, long long time ago, I was expecting to get pretty wet. Stayed dry as a bone.

Deadset shocking thing happened in Gero, our 14.5 year old German Shepherd Khan passed away from old age. 14 is getting on for a dog that big but you still wish they would go on forever, not to be. Riley our 11 year old Border Collie cross will have to be top dog and hopefully she doesn't pine too much for her mate. RIP Khan, you were a blokes best friend.

RIP Khan

RIP Khan

Left Gero on Friday morning 29/7 and headed for Denham. Stopped off at Hamelin Pool Telegraph station to check out the stromatolites. If you haven't seen them and are in this area, you've got to check them out. Their history, what they have done for this planet and their appearance is more than worth it.

Sunset over stromatolites

Sunset over stromatolites

One night at Hamelin Pool was enough though as the caravan park doesn't have potable water on tap and seeing as we didn't fill our water tanks before leaving Gero, this made it a bit hard to stay any longer. Not the best caravan park we've been to and it only gets 2*'s on the John and Trish 5* rating system. Yes, we will rate every park and free camp during our trip to share the love and enlighten the travelling public. Are we good samaritans or what.....

Next day we get to Denham 30/7 and check into the Shark Bay caravan park 3*'s and $27 a night if staying a week. We plan on trying to stay in each area for at least a week to check the joint out and see as much as we can.

Our week in Denham saw Trish catch her first fish and the addiction is starting to get a hold of her. The first fish? a Happy Moments from the Denham jetty. A poisonous fish with spikes that gets it's name due to the happy moment that the pain goes away from being spiked, after about 10 hours. No I didn't get spiked but would have preferred knowing about this before I picked it up and got the hook out, blind luck. I caught a few snook and was throwing them back until a fellow fisher said that it is a good eating fish and to keep them. We kept three good sized fish for dinner that night and they were shit. Full of bones and not all that nice tasteing, serves me right for believing him I suppose.

A trip out to feed the dolphins at Monkey Mia, half day on a tri hull runabout that a bloke had just bought and wanted someone to go out with him {what help I would be if we got into trouble is anyones guess, 10 years in Kal doesn't really set me up to know what to do on the water}it was more of a boat trial than fish but did manage to pull up one Pink Snapper, being throughyl outfished by Trish 2 whiting to zero, then another day fishing for whiting off the jetty and picking up three good sized that got filletted and eaten along with a fillet of Pink Snapper from the owner of the tri hull we saw at the fish cleaning table. Drives round the town saw the rest of the week out.

Dolphins Monkey Mia

Dolphins Monkey Mia

Pink Snapper

Pink Snapper

Denham has a great harbourside, there are two fish cleaning tables, grassed areas, tables, chairs and BBQ's in abundance, really well set up for the tourist. The fish cleaning table is a handy place to have a chat and swap fillet for fillet. We managed to get a snapper and estuary cod fillets just by cleaning ours and having a chat.

Posted by john-trish 22:08 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Denham - Carnarvon

sunny 28 °C
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Leaving Denham, we filled with fuel ($1.63) and headed North, next stop Carnarvon

It's been a few years since we'd been to Carnarvon, well close to 10 actually and that was just an overnight stop from Karratha to Kalgoorlie and the town hasn't changed that much. They are trying to make it nicer with a revamped foreshore but it's still Carnarvon and that aint really a compliment. Main street has a lot of closed shops and the indiginiuos population is pretty rife. A lot better than last time, the reason being a much stronger police pressence in town that wont take any sort of public drunkeness. You're pissed in public, you can sober up at her majesty's watch house.

Stayed at the caravan park closest to town, Capricorn Coast C/P and pretty nice too. One thing about staying in C/Parks and the dog area is that most people are pretty friendly, good for a chat. Stayed for a week and enjoyed the company of Keith & Sandy and Ron & Maggie both great couples making sure they don't work too hard and enjoy the warm weather. Tried fishing on the Gascoyne at a joint called Dwyers Leap and while a couple of sharks put on a good thrashing display, we didn't get anything worth cooking up, they were biting but too small. Hope this isn't a sign of things to come... Also wet a line at Miaboolya a 20 minute drive North, nice spot and caught a long nose emperor but again a bit too small.

Did the Carnarvon "Food Trail" which as far as we could see involved a trip out to Bumbak's plantation and that was it,,, interesting trail. Bought some steak sauce and tomato relish plus they had about a dozen different flavours for tasting.

One thing I have to give a rap for in Carnarvon is the fish and chip joint on the main street just down from the shopping arcade, superb, went there one night and I don't reckon we've had nicer anywhere. Fish was perfect, the squid and chips cooked brilliantly and the batter crunchy without a hint of sogginess. This joint is without a doubt the best fish n chip shop we can remember eating from. Two pieces of fish, 12 squid $2 chips resulted in 5 pieces of chips about 30 squid and a pile of chips, enough left over for lunch the next day. Reheated it the next day with a fair amount of trepidation (reheated fish and chips? yuk) but it may not have been as nice as the night before but still better than a lot of other places cooked fresh.

Couple of other places, the one mile jetty is a nice side trip (some prat set fire to it and managed to burn a huge gap in the middle of it, the restoration volunteers have fixed it up though), check out the flash houses on the new canal, UTC satelite dish that overlooks the town (currently closed for renno's) and Miaboolya for the shells, beach walking and also has four wheel drive access to the beach, oh, and Chinamans Pool, this used to be the town's fresh water supply and is now a fresh water pool, the recent floods have made access to the actual pool pretty hard though.

One Mile Jetty Carnarvon

One Mile Jetty Carnarvon

Goats and wild flowers, MiaBoolya

Goats and wild flowers, MiaBoolya

So there is a reason to stop in Carnarvon, if only for the fish and chips. Not sorry we spent a week there but probably wont rush back.

Next stop is the Blow Holes at Quobba Point for a bit of free camping then Onslow before heading back South to Coral Bay.

Posted by john-trish 21:30 Archived in Australia Tagged carnarvon Comments (0)

Carnarvon - Blow Holes Point Quobba - Barradale - Onslow

sunny 30 °C

Filled the thirsty Patrol again and headed North ($1.67/L)

We wanted to check out the Blow Holes at Point Quobba and found out that there was a shire run camp ground there. No facilities, no potable water, no nothing. Sounded like bliss so we filled the water tanks up, all 300 litres worth and set off. The turn off is pretty well sign posted about 25 k's out of Carnarvon and then another 50ish to the point.

When we arrived the camping area was almost chokkas and it took a while to find somewhere to set up, which was for the best as the deeper you head into the camping area (well the further South as all the camp spots are along the coastal strip) the more protected you are from the wind by some coastal scrub but still only a minutes walk from the beach. This turned out to be quite beneficial as the weather, although sunny was a bit windy and the ocean pretty wild. Seeing as we were there to view the blow holes, this was perfect weather.

Found our camp, set up and went to check the joint out. Point Quobba (not to be confused with Quobba station a privately owned caravan park / cattle station 10 k's North) is a beautiful little bay with a lighthouse recessed about a kilometre back on some high land, a sheltered section of reef (protected fish breeding zone) and a lot of happy campers. Our three days (should have been more and would have been if we hadn't prebooked Onslow) flew past, fishing, whale watching, scenic viewing from the lighthouse, checking out the blow holes. Bliss. Fully bitumised road going in which explains it's popularity but well worth it. The blow holes themselves were good without being spectacular but the coast in general round the blow holes was pretty rugged and great viewing.

Blow Hole Point Quobba

Blow Hole Point Quobba

near blow holes Point Quobba

near blow holes Point Quobba

Next stop Barradale half way between Point Quobba and Onslow. Barradale used to be a road house until a fire? destroyed it, it is now an overnight spot with composting toilets (trust me, the best type of long drop, no smell what so ever) and a black water dump point all on the, mainly dry, Yannarie River. Pretty dusty but for what it offers more than adequate, ants are prevalent though - be aware.

Barrowdale sunset

Barrowdale sunset

Now to Onslow. Onslow is an 85 km side trip from the North West Coastal Highway into a town of 800 odd people and lays claim to being the Southern most West Australian town to have been bombed by the Japs in WWII, three bombs were dropped on the airfield resulting in no loss of life or aircraft. Onslow was relocated from,,, wait for it,,, old Onslow to the present site after the Ashburton silted up and they couldn't get cargo ships up the river any more. Nice little town with good Bream fishing from the Beadon River jetty plus Bream and Whiting from the beaches, the only down side were the masses of sandflies, fish off the jetty, clouds of sandflies. Fish off the groyne, clouds of sandflies. Sit outside your van, sandflies. The shire is even fogging the area of an evening to try to keep the tourists and locals bite free. Met one kid that was covered from head to toe, so many red welts it was hard to determine wether he was black, white or brindle (yes I did have a bit of a chuckle as I chatted to him).

Saturday saw the local markets come to life so Trish and I decided to inject some funds into the local economy by purchaseing a locally made carrot cake (superb), a couple of books, two sausages with bread AND sauce, one star fruit (not quite as nice as FNQ's (Far North Queensland)) and a paper, but that was from the newsagent and doesn't really count.

Three days and countless bites later (I counted 30 below the knee on my left leg alone) we thought "stuff this, we're outta here". One thing about travelling in C/Parks, no refunds, you leave early - you lose your coin. Comfort or coin? comfort won out.

Onslow was a great little town pity about the sandflies. One thing to add though is the war memorial, brilliant. It has been made in the shape of the badge on an Australian slouch hat minus the crossed bayonets and placed so that the rising sun shines straight down the middle at dawn on ANZAC day, simple but very effective. Nice boardwalk, nice beaches, clean town, pub does a decent roast on Sunday night for $15, fish cleaning tables round the popular fishing spots. All in all a town that has it's council sorted out and is making the best of what they've got and those damn sandflies, well they are worse due to the rains so miss them and you should have a great time.

Onslow War Memorial

Onslow War Memorial

So the midgees won, filling up and heading to Exmouth with an overnight stop at good ole Barrowdale.

Posted by john-trish 22:47 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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