Day 176 – 179: Port Gregory
We are now starting week 26 of our year long journey and we have to pinch ourselves every day to remind each other how fortunate we are to be on this adventure.
Today is a rest day for Andrew and a work morning for me. Telstra reception is very weak at Port Gregory and it’s a struggle to get anything done which is frustrating me to no end. In the end I call it quits and decide to do some baking instead. I’m making Mum’s fruit cake again as the last one I made was a total disaster and another batch of pickled cucumbers. Today’s baking was a success, it also helps if you don’t substitute ingredients for the correct amounts. Lesson learnt! Late afternoon we take a walk to the beach and watch the whales breaching far out on the horizon. How I wish I had a really good zoom lens to be able to capture the moment.
This morning we head off to Kalbarri for a drive to see what everyone raves about. We certainly weren’t disappointed, it’s a beautiful seaside village bustling with tourists and every type of water sport you can think of. We would love to come back (out of season) when the pace is a lot slower.
Chinamans Beach has a spectacular view of the ocean crashing over Oyster Reef and it’s exciting watching the boats navigating through the channel into the Murchison River. At times the buoys are completely swamped by the waves. We walk further around to Chinaman Rock where I take a short video of the ocean, it is mesmerising.
There are quite a few other attractions that we are keen to visit along the coastline and Natural Bridge is the first stop. A 750m walk along a meandering pathway on top of the cliff edge takes you out to a platform overlooking natural bridge. The force of the Indian Ocean and decaying of the cliffs has sculpted the limestone rock into a bridge still attached to the coastline.
Island Rock is a short walk of 200m from the car park. It was once part of the natural shoreline but now stands solitary as a sea stack, it reminded us of the 12 apostles.
Next stop is Pot Alley and there is plenty of wow factor here. The view south from the cliff top truly captures the rugged beauty of the coastline. The cove below is hazardous with the ocean crashing against the cliffs, it’s a spectacular sight.
It’s been a great day exploring the natural attractions of Kalbarri. The Western Australian coastline certainly has plenty of wow factor.
Another cold night in Port Gregory with temperatures going down to 9 degrees and another sleep in for us all. I could get used to sleeping in till 8.00am especially when it’s cold. Today is another rest day for Andrew and a bit of work for me. He’s in charge of doing the washing today and I’ve changed the sheets over to our flanellette set.
We’ve met quite a few people over the past few days here at the park and it’s great to be distracted from time to time to have a chat. There are plenty of Queenslanders travelling the coastline over here and the locals are giving us all sorts of information about the best places to stay and those to avoid. Cinta wins everyone over, we have had many comments about how well behaved she is and how quiet she is.
I’m taking the drone up today to get some aerials over the beach and also some of the pink lake. It’s been quite windy on and off all week, so today is my last chance before we leave. A short walk from the caravan park and up a very steep hill is the water tanks that supply the village. We head up there early and even though the wind is still a little stronger than I like I decide it’s now or never.
It’s a great flight and I get some good footage of the village and also the pink lake. I’ve taken some aerial photographs too, so I’m feeling very confident and suggest we head down to the beachfront. We meet our neighbours on the beach, they are mad keen fisherwoman so we head in the opposite direction so that we don’t disturb them.
The flight is going really well and I’ve got some terrific aerials of the beach and the pink lake. I’m scooting up and down the shoreline (not going over the water though!) and all over the dunes and then my battery is getting low and the drone has told me that I’ve lost my compass. Oh gosh, I’m trying to turn around and bring it back home and then a gust of wind crashes me into the sand dunes. I try to recover but unfortunately the blades are spinning around in the tall grass and I’m going nowhere fast.
Andrew to the rescue! Up the dunes he goes, I couldn’t stop laughing as he’s getting nowhere fast as well. I’ve managed to turn the drone off and finally he reaches it and delivers it back to me. Thank heavens it is not damaged! It was a fun morning, now it’s back to the van to start editing the footage and post some photos to Facebook. I hope you enjoy this short clip of some of the highlights of my flight.
Wildlife: whales, seagulls, honeyeater, laughing turtle dove, crows, kangaroos, sheep, pelicans, dead kangaroos
Day 180: Port Gregory to Mullewa
This morning we are packed up early and leaving Port Gregory by 9.00am, the temperature is 13 degrees. A quick stop along the way at Northampton again to stock up on groceries and then we are heading to Mullewa which is about 168km away. Mullewa is rich in both natural and cultural heritage and is well known for its abundance in wildflowers and is one of the few places in the world that the wreath flower grows.
The drive along the Chapman Valley Road was so picturesque with undulating hills and masses of crops being grown including lupin and legumes. It was so lovely to see the countryside so green and to see water babbling through the small creeks. Sheep and cattle were grazing in the pastures and the occasional horses where also sighted.
The Mullewa Caravan Park is seasonal and there is no caretaker here until August. Bookings are made online or over the phone. We’ve taken an unpowered site at $20 for the night. It’s quite a large park with grassy sites and concrete pads. There are a couple of drive through sites so we have taken one of those given that we are only here overnight and there is only 3 other caravans here. The amenities are really old and when I open the coded door I feel like I have stepped back into the 60’s. The walls are covered with tiles that have a green and brown bamboo print on them. It’s quite wild!
After we set up we head into the information centre to find out where we can see some wildflowers. We are well aware that it’s a bit early yet, but we are hoping that we will get to see some. There are two walking trails so we head off to the Mullewa Bush Trail which has a scenic lookout over the township. It’s a 2370m loop and we are assured that we will see some wildflowers along the way.
It’s only 17 degrees so it is a pleasant walk and we meet a family who is also doing the walk. The track is a little rough and we are pleased to see a variety of bushes in flower. We can only imagine how spectacular it will look in another 4 weeks when the season is in full swing. There is no wreath flowers to be seen which is a bit disappointing but it was expected. I managed to get quite a few photographs of different flowers so I was more than happy with the bush walk.
The remainder of the afternoon is spent back at the van relaxing and deciding where to next.
Wildlife: sheep, horses, cattle, hawk, crows, corellas, galahs.
Day 181: Mullewa to Mingenew
We have a bit of a travel plan in place after last nights discussion given that we now only have 10 days until we are due to arrive at our property sit in Whitby. Our journey today is only 80km and after an overnight low of 8 degrees we enjoy a lazy start to the morning with a cuppa snuggled up in a warm bed. By 9.50am when we are ready to depart it has warmed up to 14 degrees. It feels good getting into the car with a temperature set at 23 degrees.
The drive down to Mingenew is picturesque as we are following the mid western region wildflower trail. Rolling hills and pastoral lands are green as green as far as we can see. There is plenty of wattle out along the road, the occasional banksias and every now and then some of the yellow and white everlastings.
We are staying at the Mingenew Springs Caravan Park. It’s a small park and I’d hate to be reversing a caravan into some of these sites when they are full. The sites are a good size but the road is very narrow. The sign says to pick a spot and the caretaker will call at 5.00pm. We do just that and after setting up we head to the main street to see what the township has to offer.
Andrew is disappointed that the bakery has a sign up saying they are closed for the next 3 days. The local IGA is closed and only open for a few hours in the morning. The pub is open and the Op shop is open. We head for the Op shop to see if we can pick up a glass as we broke our favourite scotch glass. Outside a few locals and their dogs are chatting so Andrew joins in while I have a good look around inside. Bingo – we’ve scored a pre-loved glass. No more drinking scotch out of a plastic cup and it was only $1.00!
The locals tell us that there is a polocrosse match on for the next 3 days so half the town is at the event. There are around 500 people who live in the Mingenew district and there are 9 farms. It’s a sleepy township with no one in sight as we drive around.
The Mingenew Hill Lookout has a great view over the township and pastoral surrounds and Depot Hill is the place to see all the wildflowers when they are in season. We take a short drive out anyway just in case, but it is still too early for the wildflowers. Back at the park we enjoy the rest of the afternoon sitting outside in the sun discussing the next 10 days travel plans.
Wildlife: eagle, galahs, corellas, sheep, cattle horses, black cockatoos, No 28 parrots.
Day 182: Mingenew to Port Denison
Another cold overnight going down to 7 degrees and this morning we have the heater on in the van to warm ourselves up. It’s going to get a lot of use during the property sit at Whitby. We’ve taken our time getting started again today as the journey is only 57km. We had planned on staying at Geraldton for a few days, however all the reviews on Wikicamps were not very impressive and our neighbours at Port Gregory had told us of a few thefts that week at Geraldton while they were there. Given that info, we decided we’d stay elsewhere and take a day trip into Geraldton instead.
Port Denison is a crayfishing town and there is approx 3000 people here. Dongara is on the other side of the Irwin River which meanders through both townships. The Dongara Caravan Park which is situated at Port Denison is right on the beach and they offer a great deal to stay 4 nights and pay for 3. We have a large grassy powered site for 4 nights at $29.25 per night.
After we have set up we head for a walk down to the beach. The beachfront looks just like Port Gregory with ocean sea grass stacked up everywhere. There are about half a dozen surfers further down the beachfront taking advantage of the waves and the breeze is fresh and salty on our faces.
Today is budget and blog day so here I am tapping away at the keyboard again while Andrew is watching the footy.
Our trip is going to be extended as we have managed to get a house sit in Tasmania for the Christmas and New Year period. It will be the first time Andrew and I have spent Christmas alone and to be honest, we are looking forward to that this year. All going well we’ll make it home for Mum’s 90th birthday in May.
Wildlife: sheep, cattle, crows, galahs
Week 26 total expenses: $404.99, how we wish every week could be that good! Somehow I think next week is going to be a little bit expensive with stocking up on food, fuel and grog!
That’s a wrap for Week 26 of the Lap of the Map.
PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!