Week 43 | Port Fairy to Aireys Inlet

Day 295 – 296: Port Fairy

We are camped by the Moyne River at Port Fairy. What an ideal spot to be. The river on one side and the ocean on the other. An idealistic location. Who would have thought the winds would be gusting at 35kph along the river. It’s slowly reaching our top temperature for today of 13 degrees and the drizzling rain is more of a nuisance factor than anything else.

I’m calling in for the monthly board meeting today and then spending the remainder of the day working. It’s Melbourne Cup Day tomorrow so we will take a quick trip down to the local IGA to pick up some groceries for a ploughmans lunch and afternoon grazing on nibblies.  Sightseeing hasn’t really happened due to the bad weather.

Cinta has had her coat on since we arrived. It’s been too cold to take it off and she’s getting “caravan fever” just like us. We haven’t been able to put the awning out due to the high winds and there has been quick walks outside to take her to the loo.

We are all snuggled up in the van for Melbourne Cup Day. The Spring Carnival is our favourite time of year to watch the races and the fashion on the fields. The heater is on and off throughout the day and we enjoy a bottle of wine and our ploughmans lunch. It’s a very relaxing day and tonight we are in bed early ready for our travel day tomorrow.

Wildlife: swans, pelicans, magpies.

Day 297: Port Fairy to Warrnambool

The winds haven’t eased at all so it’s a slow drive into Warrnambool even though it’s only 30km. At 10am when we leave it’s climbed to 16 degrees. We’re at our destination by 11am so we park up near the water to have our morning tea.

Figtree Holdiay Park is our destination as the weather forecast for the week is rain and wind. On arrival the friendly staff ask if we’d like an en-suite site. It’s $5 extra per night. We have a voucher from our friends (The Bingil Bay Bunch & Leanne & Greg) so I decide to lash out and have a little bit of luxury for a few days.

After we have set up I check out the en-suite and to my surprise they have heat lights inside. I am so excited, it has really made my day. In these awful conditions it will be so nice to have a nice warm room to shower in. I could get used to that…

We’re off to do a bit of grocery shopping and then Bunnings to see if we can find the sealant spray for the roof. No luck there. We’ve phoned every place here and can’t buy it anywhere. Guess we have to keep trying. Fortunately we haven’t had any more water inside yet.

Wildlife: swans, pelicans, magpies.

Day 298 – 299 Warrnambool

Last night plummeted to 8 degrees and the high for today is expected to be 14 degrees with rain and winds again. At this rate we are not going to see much at all.

We decide to drive out to the breakwater. The ocean is wild, crashing against the rocks and spraying all over the roadside. Middle Island is just offshore. The island is closed to people as the penguin population was diminishing. There are now Maremma dogs on the islands to protect the penguins from the foxes and people.  I brave the winds and get out of the car to take a photo as Andrew has spotted two of the Maremmas perched high on the island near the gate.

A short drive takes us out to Pickering Point which looks back over the Breakwaters and then around the corner to Thunder Point.  The wind was so wild today on the point.  I can only imagine how beautiful it would be on a warm summers day.

Today is looking a little brighter with the sun trying to poke its head through the clouds.  We are going to take full advantage of the fine weather with a walk around the main streets to see some of the street art.  Ngatanwarr Mural painted by Adnate stands tall on a corner building in the city and was painted in 2015.  It’s an amazing piece of work. I actually took this photo on the day we arrived and in between the windscreen wipers and the showers of rain I managed to snap it when Andrew took his second drive around the block for me!

Nathan Pye painted the giant fish in Patloch Lane.  The mural was part of an instalment of the Hidden Histories Laneway Festival which looked into untapping the potential of Warrnambool’s laneways.  The Wombat Mural is a chalk drawing by Jimmi Buscombe and I remember seeing a story on TV about this drawing.  One of the Warrnambool Council graffiti removal employees saw the drawing and decided to coat it with a sealant as it was too great to be removed.

In Spirit was painted by Jimmi Buscombe, stretching an impressive 32 metres, this mural features yellow-tailed black cockatoos against an azure sky.  Little Liebig laneway is now  home to many murals in Warrnambool.  The blue ocean-themed mural was painted by Jessica Meggs in 2015 and ties in with Nathan Pye’s fish mural.  There were many more murals that I photographed on the day.  I have a passion for wandering laneways and finding these amazing pieces of work.

After wandering around we went to the movies to see Ride Like a Girl.  It’s an amazing true story about Michelle Payne’s fight to be recognised in a male-dominated industry.  Her determination, passion and love for racing & her family is a credit to her. She will always be recognised in the history of racing and in particular the first female jocky to ever win the Melbourne Cup.

Our next stop was the Botanic Gardens.  Dogs are not allowed – sigh.  Andrew had to walk Cinta around the block while I went in to wander around.  The beds of ranunculas which overlooked the rotunda were really pretty and swaying madly in the breeze.  There were many ducks on the pond all waiting and wondering if I had something to feed them; sadly I didn’t.  I captured quite a few reflections on the pond before being driven away by the chilling winds.

Our next stop was Cannon Hill Lookout which is just behind the War Memorial, with panoramic views out to the Southern Ocean and foreshore area.  The wind was blowing a gale and it was freezing at the top of the hill.  The view was really picturesque, even with the rain happening on the horizon.

Every year Southern Right Whales and blue whales migrate from Victoria seeking warmer temperatures.  Logan’s Beach Whale Nursery is where you can spot female whales nursing their young during the months from June through to September.  I particularly loved this spot for the azure blue and aqua colours of the ocean.

While the weather was so good we took another drive out to Pickering Point and Thunder Point to take in the panoramic views of the ocean.  Spectacular coastal shorelines.

Wildlife: ducks, seagulls, water hens.

Day 300: Warrnambool to Maregno

Today marks another milestone of our journey.  300 days on the road.  It sounds so surreal.  It’s hard to believe that we have been travelling that long, it still feels like we only left home yesterday.  We are heading for the Great Ocean Road and its 9.40am and 12 degrees.

Our first stop is the Bay of islands.  The temperature has dropped to 8 degrees. It’s very overcast with a light drizzle happening and the winds are ferocious.  The Bay of Islands is situated near Peterborough.  There are two different viewing areas to see the towering limestone stacks.

Back on the road and the next stop is the Grotto.  Dogs are not permitted as most of the Great Ocean Road is a National Park.  Andrew waits patiently in the car with Cinta.  I take the 750m walk in to view the Grotto.  It’s drizzly, so for some of the walk, I’m slowly jogging.  Yes, you can believe it, I managed a jog!  I didn’t do all the steps down to the bottom as I was conscious of the weather turning sour.

The Bay of Martyrs is our next stop.  It’s 2.5 kilometers long and within the bay are two smaller bays, Crofts Bay and Massacre Bay.  The stacked rocks that rest lazily in the crashing waters are said to be the guardians of the area, limestone pillars that soar up to 10 metres high.  I took a short video here and posted it to Facebook, it was blowing an absolute gale at the lookout.

The Twelve Apostles is our next stop.  There’s a visitor centre and coffee shop here and a very large carpark.  There’s a small section for long vehicles and caravans.  We can’t believe the stupidity of some people travelling in cars that park in the long vehicle section when there is ample room for cars.  We manage to get the last long vehicle park.  Cinta is put into the van so that we can both take the underpass out to the viewing platform.  There are many tourists of every nationality, some who are particularly rude and pushy.

We are almost stopped in our tracks by the ferocious winds.  We can’t believe how hard it is to walk the pathway.  Out on the viewing platform, it’s almost impossible to stand up, let alone take a photo.  We watched 3 helicopters flying over the stacks.  There was no way we would be interested in a helicopter ride with winds that strong.  I’m determined to take a live video out on the platform.  Here it is!

Situated in the Port Campbell National Park, the massive limestone structures tower 45 metres above the Southern Ocean.  They are mesmerising.  There are now only eight remaining stacks as five have fallen since they were first discovered.  I managed to only get a couple of photos out there and I had to straighten them when I viewed them as they were on a 45 degree angle!

We’ve arrived at Maregno late after lunch.  It’s been a long winding road for Andrew to drive.  Maregno has had 3 inches of rain over the past few days and the park owner lets us go in to choose one of only 3 sites left for the night.  Most people ask for an ocean view but given the windy conditions we’re happy to be parked up by a thick hedge out of the wind and rain.  We manage to get a quick walk along the beach, but there’s no taking our shoes off and dipping our feet in the ocean today.

Wildlife: cattle, sheep, corellas, alpacas, seagulls.

Day 301: Maregno to Aireys Inlet

After a cool night we are packed up and ready to go by 9.40am.  It’s 13 degrees and overcast again.  We are getting a bit tired of the overcast, windy and drizzly weather.  The journey today is only 67km, however, the road is meandering around the coastline.

There are spectacular views around every corner and on the approach to Moggs Creek I snapped the structure pictured above leading out from a house perched on the hill.  What a sight!  We arrived at the Aireys Inlet Holiday Park just after lunch, it was a slow drive today.  They give a 10% discount for mentioning Wikicamps which is the first park we have found to do that.

After we have set up we take a drive out to see the Lighthouse.  Split Point Lighthouse stands 34 metres high. It was constructed in 1890 and illuminated in 1891 at a cost of 8057 pounds, 18 shillings and five pence. (About $20,000 today.) The lighthouse has been unmanned since 1919.

There are several cliff top walks within proximity of the lighthouse.  We take the 100 metre walk down to the beach.  There is 132 steps in total to reach the beach.  Yes, we both did it.  It was much harder coming back up the steps let me tell you.  You realise exactly how unfit you are.  The view of the limestone cliffs from the bottom is spectacular.

Back at the park, time to sit back and relax under the awning.  Cinta is having a nice time on the grass and enjoying being outside as much as we are.  We’ve packed quite a bit in this week given the extreme arctic blast that has hit the coastline. Sunday is budget day and blog day and my job is now done.  Tomorrow we will be heading into Melbourne for 2 nights before boarding the Spirit of Tasmania.  We are both really excited about the next leg of our journey.  Make sure you come back again next week to see how we faired on the ship.

Wildlife: Rabbits, cockatoos, rosellas, corellas, seagulls.

Week 43 total expenses: $535.15 – great to be under budget!

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That’s a wrap for Week 43 of the Lap of the Map.

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Week 42 | Kingston SE to Port Fairy

Day 288: Kingston SE to Tantanoola

We’ve had 2 days free camping at Kingston SE and had to spend most of the time inside the van because of the cold overcast weather. Last night plummeted to 5 degrees. We are packed up and ready to leave by 9.20am and it’s warmed up to 14 degrees.

Our journey today of 134km takes us through pine forests, grazing properties, farm lands & vineyards. The scenery is very picturesque and so green and lush. We pass two bike riders again today near a free camp just out of Millicent.

It’s morning tea time so a take away coffee is in order at the Java Cafe. It’s directly opposite the old Bank of SA which has a beautiful mural painted on it. The locals are very friendly and Andrew is chatting away to one of the Visitor Centre volunteers who stops to pat Cinta. The sun is warm but the wind is still chilling.

Tantanoola is a tiny town known for its pulp & paper manufacturing, rural farming, native & herb farming.  It’s our free camp stay for the next two nights. The camp is right beside the old train station.  It would be great to see the station restored to it’s former glory.  There’s a small post office that sells a few grocery items and a local pub (known for the Tantanoola Tiger) that is open 4 days a week.  In 1893, there were reports of a strange animal in the Tantanoola area, it was described as a tiger. The tiger prowled the district for several years. In 1895, the tiger was killed, only to be discovered that it was actually an Assyrian Wolf, and is now on display in a glass case at the Tantanoola Tiger Hotel.  Unfortunately the pub was closed during our stay so we didn’t get to see it.

Wildlife: rabbits, camels, pelicans, emus, cattle, horses, sheep, Shetland ponies.

Day 289: Tantanoola

It was pretty fresh last night going down to 8 degrees. Andrew was up early so he covered Cinta with our beach towel as she was curled up in a little ball and looking cold. That was a great move because she then slept in until 8.00am. We were both pretty happy to get a sleep in like that.

Today is a work day for me. Andrew can sit back and relax for the day. We have 2 visitors pull up beside the van. David is from the herb farm. He delivers a bag full of fresh herbs. Apparently the herb farm supplies Woolworths. He’s really friendly and we have a great chat. Later in the afternoon another old farmer pulls in. Andrew is his captive audience and I have to rescue him after the conversation looks like it will never end…

Wildlife: corellas, magpies, plovers.

Day 290:  Tantanoola to Mount Gambier

Another late start to the morning with Cinta sleeping in again. Andrew met Miranda this morning who’s travelling with her two dogs Fergus (miniature border collie)and Milo (Italian greyhound).  He’s offered her some of the locally grown herbs as we could never eat them all. Miranda is a solo traveller from Port Brighton and we enjoy quite a long chat with her.

It’s 10.45am by the time we are on the road and it’s climbed to 20 degrees. We’re travelling 35km to Mount Gambier, a big days travel! The journey takes us through all the pine forests and farming lands.

We’ve decided to stay close in the city at a Kui Park. It’s a small park, split into two sections on each side of the road. Just around the corner is the main street and shopping district.

I’ve got some more work to complete and Andrew is off to do the groceries.  Happy hour is calling at 4.00pm today so it’s time to pack the laptop away and enjoy an afternoon drink.

Wildlife: Donkeys, camels, sheep, cattle, horses.

Day 291- 292: Mount Gambier

Today is all about exploring Mount Gambier.  Umpherston Sinkhole, also known, as The Sunken Garden was once a cave formed through dissolution of the limestone. The sinkhole was created when the top of the chamber collapsed downwards.  Now, there is a beautiful terraced sunken garden which is home to a colony of possums and bees.  Hanging vines sway in the breeze and I can only imagine how beautiful the garden would look when in full bloom.

Our next stop is in the middle of town to the Cave Gardens sinkhole which is 90 feet deep  The Cave Gardens feature a beautiful sinkhole, several lookouts and a suspended viewing platform at the top. It is believed that this sinkhole was the original water source for the early settlers in this area.

Surrounding the Cave Gardens sinkhole is a beautiful rose garden.  Mount Gambier is the perfect place to grow roses.  They are everywhere to be seen and the fragrance is tantalising.  You just can’t buy roses that smell like that anymore.

We’re heading back into town today to visit the library so that I can download my blog for Florrie.  I find that I have to join the library so that I can use their printer.  There’s no cost to do this, but I have to go through the process of getting a library card & loading it with funds so that I can print my blog.  The librarians are very helpful and come to the computer to show me how to do that.  I decide to pay attention and do as instructed.  I can’t help myself and jump ahead with putting in my USB and navigating to the printing area, the librarian quickly realises she is preaching to the converted.  Once printed, I head back to the counter for my receipt and offer my unsigned card back for recyling.

We wander along the main street and find a funky cafe for morning tea.  Metro has every type of cake you can imagine.  Oh my…I’m in heaven.  Here we go, how can I possibly choose.  Andrew’s instructions were; “surprise me”.  I have chosen a red velvet cheesecake and a lemon meringue tart.  They were both amazing!

Time to walk off morning tea.  Vansittart Park is situated a short walk from the town centre.  There are two lovely rotundas and a war memorial.  The gardens are filled with roses and I just can’t help myself snapping every colour that I can see.  I think I might have to make a rose calendar.

The Blue Lake in Mount Gambier occupies one of the craters of the extinct volcano after which the city has been named.  It is a spectacular sight.  Between November and February the lake turns a magnificent turquoise blue. How lucky are we to be here at this time to see it.  The colour is amazing.  There are several lookouts around the 3.6km drive or walkway around the lake.  We decide to drive as it’s going to be 38 degrees today.

Blue Lake Lookout

The ripples you can see in the photo above are from the wind that was blowing a gale at the time when we were there.  The lake is also the main water supply to Mount Gambier.  Some interesting facts are:  Surface area; 70 hectares, Circumference; 5 kilometres, Depth; 70 metres, Volume; 36 000 million litres, Consumption; 3600 million litres annually.

We have rarely been out to dinner in the evening since beginning our journey.  Tonight we are having a belated wedding anniversary celebratory dinner at the 1862 Wine Bar & Grill at the Mount Gambier Hotel.  It’s a beautiful old hotel, originally built in 1847 by John Byng.

I have the Braised Beef Cheek and Andrew has the Josper Grilled Chicken Breast.  The meal was plentiful and extra tasty.  Not long after we arrive home a storm rolls in.  Thunder and lightning.  Cinta is not happy.  It rains on and off for most of the night.

Wildlife: magpies, plovers, ducks.

Day 293: Mount Gambier to Heywood

We’re almost ready to leave and I’m packing up the toiletries from the bathroom sink.  There seems to be a bit of water behind the tap.  Further investigation finds that my lovely little flower arrangement from Dot is soaking wet.  I open the bathroom cupboard on the wall and the 3 rolls of toilet paper are soaking wet.  Oh gosh we have a leak.  Andrew investigates the roof and looks like some of the sealant has a crack in it.  That will be his next job to fix when the sun is shining and we have a clear day.  For the time being, it’s all cleaned up and we are ready to leave by 9.50am.

Our journey today is 82km to a free camp at Heywood.  It’s overcast and 16 degrees.  Radiata pine trees are prolific along the highway.  The Victorian border is a short distance and we don’t even notice a quarantine bin.  There’s a small sign welcoming you to Victoria.  We arrive at Heywood before lunch and set up at the 48 hour self contained rest area.  It’s right beside a small creek and situated alongside the South West Road Transport Wall of Legends.  It’s a really peaceful place to stop.

Today is Derby Day and we’re both keen to spend the afternoon watching the coverage on TV.  It’s cool outside and overcast so an afternoon indoors is on the agenda.  We take several walks around the park area and settle in for a night of netflix.

Wildlife: cattle, sheep, dead kangaroos, crows, ducks.

Day 294: Heywood to Port Fairy

It’s a lazy start today after a cold night of 9 degrees and a lovely sleep in.  I was up early this morning and covered Cinta with a towel and she slept in till 8.00am.  We are packed up and ready to leave just after 10.00am and it’s climbed to 14 degrees.

Our journey today is 70km which takes us past the Cordington Wind Farm and many grazing properties.  The wind is blowing a gale when we arrive at Port Fairy.  We’re staying at the Gardens Caravan Park which is situated right on the Moyne River.  We have a lovely big grassy site backing onto the river and right under the pine trees.  Now that’s not so good for my hayfever!   The winds are 35kph and howling through the trees and there’s a few light showers as well. The awning won’t be coming out today.  Looks like another day indoors.  Welcome to Port Fairy!

It’s been lovely to have a weekend off work, however, tomorrow I’ll need to put in a big day with a board meeting first up.  Tuesday is Melbourne Cup Day so some googling is in order to see what’s on at Port Fairy for the day.

You will have to wait for next weeks blog for photos of Port Fairy as it’s too cold, wet and windy to go outside today.  Good luck if you’re having a bet on the race that stops the nation. Have a great week.

Wildlife:. rabbits, cattle, sheep, water hens, magpies, alpacas, swans, magpies, crows, dead kangaroos.

Week 42 total expenses: $538.53 – a good result this week!

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That’s a wrap for Week 42 of the Lap of the Map.

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Week 41 | Adelaide to Kingston SE

Day 281: Adelaide

Our stay in Adelaide is coming to an end. Port Adelaide has some wall mural art, so we’re taking a quick detour to have a look before we head to Hallet Cove.  There’s a striking peacock painted on the walls of the Pirate Life Brewery and other artworks have been painted during the Wonderwalls festivals.

We’re catching up with my long time friend Debbie and husband Howard. They live at Hallet Cove and it is so great to finally see where they live. Hallet Cove is about an hours drive from North Haven where we’ve been staying with Keith and Kay.  The views over the ocean are really picturesque. Debbie’s sister Deidre and husband Colin are joining us for a ploughmans lunch. It’s a really interesting lunch with plenty of laughter. It was so great to catch up again and hopefully they’ll all come to visit us in Mission Beach sometime.

There’s been a few hiccups with launching the website that I’ve been working on but at last it’s gone live! What a relief! It’s done. It’s time to celebrate. Keith actually has a small bottle of champagne so out it comes!  I can’t resist the celebratory photo.  It’s been a challenging project! Cheers!

Later in the evening I get a text from Tracey. Google is not picking up the new site, it’s still referencing the old site and showing an “oops” error. Deflated. Now I have to try to work out why googles robots are not finding the new site! Just another challenge late at night!

Wildlife: seagulls, pelicans.

Day 282: Adelaide to Murray Bridge

We’re saying goodbye to Keith and Kay today as we leave Adelaide for Murray Bridge.  It’s 9.30am and 23 degrees. We’ve had a fabulous time with these two as we always do. We feel so comfortable in their home, it’s always sad to say goodbye.

Work is on my mind as we travel today. We’ve decided to stay in Murray Bridge for two nights so I can look into the google issue. We’ve travelled 100km today.

The Murray Bridge Marina and caravan park is right on the mighty Murray. Driving down the hill it looks so beautiful and I immediately feel a sense of calm, it’s overwhelming me. Let’s stay 3 nights I say to Andrew. Angie in the office is lovely and after checking in she comes out to say hello to Cinta. We can pick our own site and they are spacious with lovely green grass. We’ve got the seniors discount making it $31.50 a night. After setting up I get straight onto the keyboard to try to resolve the google issue. Mostly out of my control but there are a few things I discover we can do to help the robots find us faster…

To my relief and also Tracey’s, google has finally found us!  Hooray!  I am very proud to say that my mission of building a website is complete.  If you’re interested you can have a look at the site here;  www.workingvisions.com.au

Wildlife: swan, ducks, cattle, horses, minor birds, magpies, pelicans

Day 283 – 285:  Murray Bridge

The weather is turning and today we’re expecting a high of 35 degrees.  What a difference to a week ago when we were waking up to 4 degrees.  We can’t believe the variance in weather temperatures that we have experienced during our journey.  It’s so very different to home where the temperature is constant.

The winds are picking up this afternoon.  We take one last walk down to the marina and feed the ducks and swans.  Cinta is having a swim and the swans are not happy with her in the water.  They make a dash for her.  Tail in the air, she back peddles out of the water pretty quickly.

It’s midnight and we both wake up to the horrendous howling of wind.  Here we are outside at midnight taking the awning in.  What a restless night.  I manage to get a bit of a sleep in until 7.00am.  What a treat!

I’m really excited today as we are taking a cruise down the Murray on the Captain Proud Paddle Steamer.  We’ve booked the 3 hour lunch cruise.  It’s very reasonably priced at $64.90 each which includes a 2 course lunch.  The paddle steamer is 42 years old and to be honest, it really could do with a lick of paint.  It would make all the difference.

I’m feeling totally relaxed today with work being the last thing on my mind. I think I’ll celebrate with a few cocktails while cruising the river.  We’re sitting with a group of 6 other people who we quickly make conversation with.  A lovely couple from New Zealand with their friends from Perth.  They’ve come up from Adelaide on the bus for the day trip.  The Captain informs us that you can view the paddles going around from the ladies loo so I head down to take this short video.

The staff are really friendly and lunch is served in the dining room on the middle level.  Andrew has the chicken schnitzel and I have the fish, chips and salad. It’s followed by apple crumble & ice cream for Andrew and fresh fruit salad & ice cream for me.  The meals were plentiful and very tasty.

The temperature has soared to 38 degrees today.  It’s hot, but thankfully the humidity is kind to us.  Back at the park we take Cinta down to the river for a swim as she’s been in the caravan while we’ve been enjoying our cruise along the river.  There’s a family of ducks with 8 babies swimming around the marina and the swans are still there too.  The ducks are very protective of their young and immediately seek shelter under the jetty.

Murray Bridge is a very pretty township.  We decide to spend another day here.  This township is full of beautiful gardens with roses in every colour you can think of.  I’ll remember it fondly for this.  There is a bit of retail therapy needed, so we head off to the shops for the morning.

Wildlife: ducks, swans, minor birds, magpies

Day 286:  Murray Bridge to Kingston SE

It’s time to pack up and get ourselves going on the road again.  We’re banking time now until we have to be in Melbourne to catch the Spirit of Tasmania.  Leaving Murrary Bridge by 9.30am at a comfortable 16 degrees we follow the Coorong.  The winds are up around 50km an hour today.  We can feel the van being buffeted.  Along the way we pass another pink lake at Meninjie.  We stop for the obligatory photo.  The drive is slow today at 80km p/hour.  Our journey is only 222km today and we’re going to be camping at the Kingston SE RV Park.

We arrive after lunch and the winds are still very strong.  The park is spacious and right by the beach and jetty.  There’s a fish n chip shop right on the beach.  It’s the first one we have seen on the beach in a long time.  There’s plenty of cars there, so that’s a good sign to us.

We get ourselves set up, pay the $10 fee for 2 nights and decide that we’ll treat ourselves to fish n chips.  It’s King George whiting and the chips are hot and crispy.  Delicious.  We are almost blown back across the road to the caravan.  It’s overcast too and a few spots of rain are falling.  Looks like an afternoon inside.  Andrew is watching the footy and I’m getting last weeks blog finished.

Wildlife: pelicans, seagulls, minor birds, magpies, cattle, sheep, horses.

Day 287: Kingston SE

A lovely sleep in till 7.00am again.  Perfect start to a windy, overcast day.  This morning we are taking a drive to see “Larry” the big Lobster.  He’s situated at the entrance to Kingston SE.  Photo time.  We decide to have a take away coffee while we’re here and I also pick up some home made peppermint slice.  Yum.  There’s not a lot to do in Kingston SE.  Driving through town, most of the shops are empty.  There are some lovely old buildings which we wander around, in particular the Post Office and the Old Gaol.

There’s a lot of new homes being constructed and we have to wonder why when there doesn’t seem to be much available in relation to services.  A lot of the homes look as though they could be holiday homes as there doesn’t appear to be any sign of life.  Windows have shutters and they are all closed.

The weather drives us back to the van and inside I am busy getting this weeks blog completed.  Two blogs in two days – now that’s a record.  I’m pleased with myself that I have been dedicated to writing a blog every week for 41 weeks now.  It’s a great sense of achievement and a great record of our journey.

A surprise skype from our neighbours Gunther and Barbara today.  It was so lovely to see their faces and hear their voices.  We couldn’t ask for better neighbours.  It was great to have a chat and a few laughs.  I know you will be reading this, we miss you two and send all our love.

The budget is done and we are ready to start another week tomorrow on another venture to a destination unknown.  Thanks for checking in and following our journey, I hope you are still enjoying the read.

Week 41 total expenses: $987.18 – just under budget!

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That’s a wrap for Week 41 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment

Week 40 | Port Lincoln to Adelaide

Day 274: Port Lincoln to Kimba

We’re up early today so that Andrew can take the car in for its service. When he arrives they advise him that they’ll be doing the recall work for our break lines. We hadn’t received any notification about the recall so we’re glad that they are on the ball.

I’ll be working all day today. Andrew has been tasked with the shopping. He’s also finding a caravan spare parts place to see if he can replace the bendy hose fitting on the van where we connect our water hose. It’s been leaking since we left Perth and we don’t like keeping the hose tap on when we camp in a park as water is so precious in some towns. We are both really pleased that he has been able to get a brass connection which should do the job.

In need of a break from work we take a drive up to the Winter Hill lookout.  The view is breathtaking over the city, bay and Boston Island. On the way home we drive along the foreshore where the life like statue of Makybe Diva is located.

Back home and back to work again. Late afternoon it’s time to have a stroll along the beachfront.  I can’t help myself snapping a few pics under the bridge.  It’s 9.30pm, time to pack the laptop up and finish work for the night.

Wildlife: dolphins, seagulls, pelicans, minor birds, magpies.

Day 275: Port Lincoln to Kimba

Today is all about chasing silo art. We’re ready to leave by 9.00am and it’s 14 degrees.

Our first stop at Tumby Bay is just over 50km. It’s home to the Tumby Bay Silo Mural. Painted by Argentinian artist Martin Ron the artwork represents Tumby Bays past present and future. The images used of the children jumping off the jetty were taken from a photograph. It covers 2200m2 and took 430 litres of paint taking 28 days to complete.

I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take a photo from my drone. I launch the drone from the picnic table and it immediately advises I’m in an unsafe area. It’s beeping and telling me I have a critically low battery. It starts to land and manages to go under the seating. Thinking the propellers would now stop I went to pick it up. Now that certainly wasn’t a smart thing to do. I immediately feel the pain of whiplash and there’s blood coming from my thumb and fore finger. You stupid idiot I tell myself. Andrew I need a bandaid and a nurofen!! The cuts from the blades are small but the pain is excruciating. I power down the drone. Clean up my fingers. Lesson learnt. My fingers throb for about another thirty minutes. My first thought when it happened; how am I going to get all this work finished by Friday. Argh!

Next stop is Arno Bay. Cousin Keith from Adelaide has a friend who owns the local pub; The West End Hotel. We pop in to meet David and have a chat. Morning tea is across the road at the local cafe.  The caravan park next door has a beautiful garden filled with extra large roses.  I can’t help myself and have to take a photo.

Next stop is Kimba. The drive is quite picturesque through rolling pastures of farming lands.  We can see a storm brewing ahead. We’re both hoping we don’t have to set up in the rain again!

Luckily the storm skirts around Kimba. We stop to view the silo. Its an amazing piece of work covering six silos.  Painted by Cam Scale in 2017 the works took 3 weeks to paint.  They stand at over 65m wide and 25m high and took 200 Litres of paint.  The artwork depicts a young local girl playing in the wheat set amongst an amazing sunset.

Kimba is the half way across Australia point and is a small community with around 1000 people in the whole district.  We are heading for the free camp in the Memorial park. There are toilets and showers ($1 for 2 minutes) and camping is by donation and allowed for 5 days. There is ample space to park. There’s a footy field, tennis & basketball courts, a pony club and a big clubhouse. This would have to be one of the best free camps we have stayed at in our whole journey.

I’ve had a lot of work come in and as we don’t have to be in Adelaide until Friday we decide to stay 2 nights. Everyone we spoke to before arriving asked why would we want to stay in Kimba? Well let me tell you. This is a progressive community welcoming the travelling RV’ers . We met Red from the Council cleaning the amenities block. His smile and cheery welcome was infectious. He told us all about what Kimba had to offer.

The wind is blowing a gale and believe it or not the flies are in full force. We sit outside for about an hour before they drive us back inside. I start work and Andrew does some reading.

After dinner we head down to see the silo lit up at night time. It’s extra special under lights. Around the corner is the big galah and the Halfway across Australia sign so we get a few pics there before heading back to the camp ground. We’ve decided we’ll stay an extra day so that I can catch up on my work. My deadline is looming for this weekend…

Wildlife: flies, lizards, magpies, crows

Day 276:  Kimba

It’s 9 degrees when we wake up this morning and the wind is blowing a gale again. After a late start I drag the laptop out and start pounding the keyboard. Lunch time rolls in so Andrew takes me down to the Kimba Gateway Hotel for a counter lunch. What a surprise inside, it’s a great atmosphere and the woman at the bar is really friendly and interested to hear all about us.  She also lets us know that Red does a pick up on Wednesday nights for the pub. We are given a 10% seniors discount on our meal as well.

The annual art exhibition is across the road and entry is $3. There is some amazing works on display from beautiful watercolours to acrylic, oils and photography. I really enjoy the exhibition and put my vote in for the people’s choice award. Around another corner is Eileen’s a lovely small coffee shop with boutique gift wares for sale. As you all already know our journey is all about the countryside and the food. We love food. Far too much. Back home and back to work. Late this afternoon we have a big walk before settling in for a night of Netflix.

Wildlife: sheep, cattle, dead kangaroos, crows, galahs

Day 277: Kimba to Lochiel

We’re waking up to 5 degrees this morning and it’s hard to get out of bed and get moving. We’ll be travelling 333km to Lochiel, a free camp beside a memorial hall. We’ll go through Iron Knob and Port Augusta, both mining towns.  We’ll then head south for Adelaide. It’s 8.35am when we hit the road and it’s warmed up to 9 degrees.  We pass another bike rider today.

The scenery today is large agricultural and grazing properties. We arrive at Lochiel just after 1.00pm. There is nothing here except for a coffee shop and a memorial hall and the public toilet block. Across the road is the Bumbungan Lake, with a slight pink hue. Half a dozen cars pull up beside us and one is a truck towing a trailer.

SunSPEC is a solar powered car. All the young guys pile out and head over to the lake for their selfies. We’re chatting to a couple of people that have pulled up to use the toilets and they tell us about the solar car race from Darwin to Adelaide. The boys from Singapore are all back and ready to head off so I can’t miss the opportunity to go over and have a chat. They tell us that their car didn’t even start the race. It caught fire on the back of the truck. $300,000 up in smoke and now landfill. Some of the cars are millions of dollars and some have back up cars too. Wow, how exciting to meet one of the teams. Photo time! I showed them our map of where we had travelled, they couldn’t believe how far around Australia we had been.

The winds are calm so we head over to the lake so I can take a drone flight. I’m far more careful when I land today and make sure that the propellers have stopped completely before I even try to pick it up!

There is 3 vans in the free camp tonight. Being right beside the highway would put a lot of people off and Adelaide is only 140km away. Miels on Wheels pulls in. We bought their book back in Carnarvon earlier in the year. On the way to the loo I have a chat with them. They’ve certainly travelled the country.  I hope you enjoy my drone flight at the lake.

Wildlife: cattle sheep, dead kangaroos, galahs.

Day 278:  Lochiel to Adelaide

It’s the middle of spring why is it so darned cold? 4 degrees, brrrr. Packed up and ready to go by 9.00am and it’s a little more pleasant at 14 degrees. We’re not on the road for long when 3 support cars for the solar car race pass us by. Andrew tells me to get my phone ready as there’s a solar car approaching. Car 70 passes us. We’re sitting on 90km. He’s easily doing 100km. The car is so low to the ground.  How exciting to actually see a car in the race.

We arrive at my cousins place; Keith and Kay just before lunch. It’s so great to see them again and to be able to spend time in their lovely home.

Wildlife:  galahs, cattle, sheep/

Day 279: Adelaide

Today is a work day for me as the website I’ve created is now finished and ready to go live. We have outsourced the final step as migrating the site and emails is out of my realm of expertise. It’s a tense day waiting for it to happen.

Andrew and Keith head out for the morning. Of course the Port Adelaide club is a stop over. Keith is a mad supporter and he’s keen to show Andrew the clubhouse.

Keith and Kay’s grandchildren are coming for a sleepover tonight so we will all know we are alive with the little ones in the house.  It’s so lovely to see the special bond that they all have together.

No luck today with the website going live…

Day 280: Adelaide

The family are all coming over for a bbq lunch today. There’s plenty to chat about. Dianne and Graham are flying to Paris tomorrow, Sandra and Steve has just returned from China and of course we’ve travelled 26,000km around Australia!

We’re meeting the 2 newest additions to the family Max and Maggie who were born just before we left Adelaide at the end of March. There is nothing quite like the smell of a beautiful baby.  Keith and Kay are blessed with 5 beautiful grandchildren.  We’ve all had a fantastic afternoon catching up and we hope that one day some of our relatives will venture up to see us at Mission Beach.  We took this pic and forgot to include Keith and Kay – oops! sorry guys!!

Graham, Steve, Andrew, Sandra, Marcia & Dianne

No luck today with the website going live.  To say it’s frustrating is an understatement.  Let’s hope tomorrow is the day!

Week 40 total expenses: $1024.04 – a good result considering we had a car service this week.

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That’s a wrap for Week 40 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment

Week 39 | Penong to Port Lincoln

Day 267: Penong to Ceduna

Our last day on the Nullabor takes us from Penong to Shelly Beach just south of Ceduna.  It’s a short trip today of around 70km.  We’re packed up and leaving by 9.30am, it’s 14 degrees with drizzly rain.

I thought I would take a quick drone flight of the windmills this morning before leaving.  The minute I took flight the winds picked up and the drizzle started. I was really disappointed.  I should have taken the flight yesterday afternoon when the sun was shining and it was so still.  Never mind.  A little bit of footage and a few not so good aerials as the wind buffeted the drone.

The remaining veggies that I boiled are now in the freezer and all the fruit has been eaten. The quarantine checkpoint takes about 5 minutes. We declare our topped & tailed onions and garlic. No problems at all and we are on our way out to the beach.

We’re staying at the Shelly Beach Holiday Park. It’s a spacious park with large drive through sites.  It’s $34.50 for a powered site.  Each site has a privacy screen or bushy hedges.  Most have concrete pads.  It’s tucked behind the sand dunes, however the winds are still chilling and blowing a gale.

We’ve stocked up on fresh fruit and veggies at the local Foodland and taken a drive around town. The afternoon is spent prepping for my board meeting.

Late in the afternoon we walk across the dunes and down to the beach. It’s strewn with sea grasses and the wind is blowing a gale. Cinta loves the beach and is happily sniffing everything in sight. She’s not interested in going into the ocean.

We have a late night catching up on some Netflix series.

Wildlife: seagulls, cattle, sheep, horses, lizards.

Day 268: Shelly Beach

There’s no rush this morning for my meeting now that we are in South Australia.  I don’t have to phone in until 10.00am.  By 11.30 I’m finished so we have a very late morning tea outside.

We take a drive into town and pick up some lunch.  There’s not a lot to do in Ceduna.  It’s so dry, water is pumped 450km away from Port Lincoln.  The yards are all gypsum.  Very few plants and no green grass around.  Most homes have a minimum of 3-4 water tanks.  We couldn’t live here.  We are so fortunate to call Mission Beach our home.

Back home the remainder of the day is spent working. Andrew has put a slow cooker on today so it’s an easy dinner. One last walk of the beach before settling in for the night and watching more Netflix.  It’s strange seeing the sun set between 7.30pm & 8pm.

Wildlife: horses, galahs, seagulls.

Day 269: Shelly beach to Streaky Bay

Rising at 7.15am this morning it’s only 6 degrees.  It’s cold so the heater goes on while we enjoy a cup of tea in bed. We’re packed up and leaving by 9.15am and the temperature has climbed to 14 degrees.  We are heading to Elliston for two nights.

Streaky Bay is 113km from Shelly Beach.  We pull in for morning tea and the view of the bay is stunning.  While we’re having our cuppa I suggest to Andrew that we stay here instead of going onto Elliston.  We’re banking time as we don’t have to be at Port Lincoln until Sunday in time for our car service on Monday.

A quick look at WikiCamps shows us a low cost camp just around the corner.  We take a drive around to check it out. It’s a large grassed paddock on the hill.  There are no facilities but it’s close to the beach and town.  We decide to stay for the night.  We get ourselves set up and have a chat with another couple who have pulled up in a big bus with a trailer.  It’s an impressive rig.  The small 4WD comes out of the back trailer.  He’s a welder and she’s a hairdresser and seamstress.  There’s a motorbike in the back of the trailer as well!  They are lovely people.  They love to ballroom dance as well and are heading to Elliston for a dance in another fortnight.

Our spot in the paddock

We’ve been keen for fish n chips and head into town to see if we can find some for lunch.  Nothing there so back to the caravan park on the beachfront as they have a cafe.  King George whiting and chips $19.  It was pretty good too, even for a fussy fish eater.  We sit under the shelter on the beachfront in our deck chairs and enjoy the serenity of the ocean view.  It’s quite windy and chilly.  Back to the van and back to work for me.  I’ll be glad when this month is over and hopefully work will settle back to a normal pace again.

Sunset is 7.40pm and the clouds are rolling in. It’s getting colder and windier by the minute.  I get some great photos before heading home and settling into a warm bed and a night of Netflix.

Streaky Bay sunset

Wildlife: pelican, seagulls.

Day 270: Streaky Bay

Waking up it’s 8 degrees.  Andrew has already been for a walk with Cinta down to the beach.  I just can’t drag myself out of bed when it’s so cold.

First up is work for me while Andrew does some reading.  We chat with the other caravanners for awhile before packing a picnic lunch for the beach again. There is no wind today and the ocean is so calm it almost looks like glass. The bay is shallow and perfect for toddlers for wading in.  Cinta goes in but she’s not very interested.  We’re at the beach for quite awhile and then I suggest to Andrew that we do the Westall Loop road, it’s only 30km and there are a few points of interest along the loop.

The loop turns into a dirt road. Andrew is not real keen but we continue on.  The views of the coastline are spectacular.  High pristine white sand dunes and rugged limestone cliffs in the distance.  Smooth Pool an eroding granite shelf is a short drive off the loop on an extremely corrugated dirt track and Andrew takes it slow driving in. Another amazing view.  The shoreline below is smooth rocks with a brilliant orange hue, it reminded us of the Bay of Fire in Tasmania.

Further along is Point Westall which was sighted and named by Matthew Flinders on 5 February 1802.  We missed the turnoff so Andrew reverses back.  Now this track is real 4WDing.  We venture in a short distance but when the track turns to large crevices we eventually manage to turn around and head back out.  Next stop is The Granites.  Down another short track where you overlook the sweeping views to High Cliffs and the Dreadnoughts.  Amazing views.  There’s a very steep staircase down to the beach but the wind is so strong that we decide to stay at the top and take in the view.

What a beautiful picturesque drive. Back home and back to work. Another sunset photo opportunity and back to a warm snug bed again.

Wildlife: fox, pelicans, seagulls, blue tongue lizard.

Day 271:  Streaky Bay to Elliston

Another cold start to the day at 9 degrees.  We’re packed up by 9.25am and it’s warmed up to 15 degrees.  This morning we’ve passed a solo bike rider, I wonder if it is the same man we passed on the Nullabor? Quite possibly. Further along two kangaroos come out of the Bush and onto the road.  Andrew slows right down and they are hopping along in front of us for quite sometime.

Today’s travel is 126km and we’re staying at the Elliston Caravan Park.  It’s a small park with large grassy sites and we can choose our own and drive through.  Tim at reception is really friendly, his dad has been running the park for 19 years.  Tim has a lot of local knowledge and tells us about all the points of interest around Elliston.

After we set up and had our late morning tea we walk across the road and down to the jetty which is situated in Waterloo Bay.  The wind is blowing an absolute gale.  There is a walking track up to the lookout which has spectacular views of the Town & Millikans Beaches.  You can also see right out to Point Wellington & Point Wellesley.

View over Waterloo Bay

Elliston is a very “arty” township.  With a population of just under 400 people the township grows to 1500 in peak season.  The local Community Agricultural Hall is painted on 3 sides of the building.  It’s a fantastic mural which depicts a lot of the locals who previously lived in the area.

Back at the van it’s an afternoon of work for me while Andrew relaxes and socialises with some of our neighbours.  We decide to head back to the jetty at sunset to get a few photos.  It’s still blowing a gale and getting pretty cold. There’s no TV reception here so we have another night of Netflix. Thank you Jules xo.

Wildlife: dead wombat, kangaroos, sheep, seagulls, galahs, squid.

Day 272:  Elliston

It’s a windy start to the day. I can’t get any WiFi reception this morning so we decide to take a drive out to Point Wellington.  There’s a great walking track along the cliff face with seats strategically placed at picturesque viewing points. The scenery is stunning and Bird Rock is just off the point.

Anxious Bay Cliff Top Drive was another recommendation from Tim. The view is absolutely stunning looking out over Point Wellesley, Cape Finniss and Anxious Bay. The ocean is shades of deep blue and aqua and the waves are crashing against the bottom of the cliff faces. Along the drive are several sculptures on the cliff face and of course Andrew has to stop at each one so I can photograph them.

Back home and back to work again. Tonight we’re having roast lamb and right now it smells delicious.

Wildlife: seagulls, galahs, lizard.

Day 273:  Elliston to Port Lincoln

It’s looking grey and overcast this morning when we wake. Andrews cooking bacon and eggs for brekkie and I’m enjoying my cuppa tucked up in bed.  A loud clap of thunder and the rain starts.  Its drizzly when we’re packing up to leave.  There’s nothing worse than having to pack up in the wet.  By 8.40am we are on the road and it’s 15 degrees. We’re heading to Port Lincoln today in time for a car service tomorrow.  The first of our travel deadlines for sometime.

Along the highway are many grazing properties.  The sheep have been clipped and I feel for them all in this wet, cold weather.  We pass the solo bike rider again.  We’re taking a 14km detour from the highway and driving into Coffin Bay for morning tea.  Approaching the bay the ocean is a cool blue colour.  The rain gets heavier.  We park alongside the oyster farm and have our cuppa inside the van.  We’re being buffeted by the wind.  There is a small break in the rain and I duck outside for a few quick photos.

Back on the highway Port Lincoln is 29km away and we are staying a further 8km out of town at North Shields.  We have a large site which is just 3 sites away from the beachfront.  It’s raining.  It’s challenging setting up in the rain when the wind is blowing a gale.  We knew it had to happen sooner or later. The park is filling quickly as there’s a Cell Caravan convention.  We’ve never heard of Cell caravans before.  The sign says: “Welcome Cell Mates”  we have a bit of a giggle.

Today marks another milestone on the road.  Nine months.  Where has that time gone?  Over 26,400km costing $5305 with the most expensive fuel in the Northern Territory at $2.04 p/litre.

Over and out from the Roving Reporter.

Wildlife: 2 emus, sheep, pelicans, galahs, dead kangaroos, kangaroos

Week 39 total expenses: $451.30 – pretty pleased to have a good week as next week will be expensive with a car service and registration in the budget.

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That’s a wrap for Week 39 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment

Week 38 | Albany to Penong

Day 260: Manjimup to Albany

The last day of the month takes us into week 38 of our journey. This morning it’s 15 degrees at 9.15am when we leave Manjimup and head for Albany.

Travelling through the Karri forest the scent of the trees is wafting through the air vents. I spot many wildflowers along the verge but their is no opportunity to stop and photograph them. The highway is narrow and winding, hard to believe the speed limit is 110 kph.

Morning tea is at Walpole, the wind is chilling so we stay in the van. Travelling on to Denmark the countryside changes to farmlands and fresh produce. There’s toffee, chocolates, cheese and wineries. A popular area for BnB’s, farm stays and chalets. The median strips in the centre of town in Denmark are a colourful display of flowers.

We are staying two nights at the Albany Holiday Park which is a short drive out of town.  It’s a smaller park with large grassy sites and level concrete slabs to park your van on.  After setting up and having a light lunch we take a drive down to the port to see the Ruby Seadragon silo art.  Painted by Singaporean street artist Sheryo, the artwork stands 35m high and 50m wide.  The mural took 17 days to paint and 180 litres of paint.  It’s quite a playful piece of artwork don’t you think?

Wildlife:  deer, sheep, cattle, crows, horses, miniature horses, donkey, magpies, parrots.

Day 261: Albany

The alarm goes off at 6.00am. I drag myself out of bed. I’m calling at 7.30am for our monthly board meeting. First job is to check my emails. Late apologies are received. I’m immediately on the phone to the Chair. After a flurry of phone calls the Board meeting is cancelled and rescheduled for next Tuesday. We had planned to be on the Nullarbor next week. Our breakfast discussion is focused on alternative plans to be in Ceduna Monday so that I’ll have mobile & internet reception.

We were going to be having a night at Ravensthorpe and 3 nights at Esperance where we would celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary. The plan now is to drive straight to Esperance arriving a day early & only stay for 2 nights. Lucky the caravan park can accommodate our request.

After a busy morning changing plans we decide to take a drive Around Albany. I’d heard about the chainsaw artist Darrel Radcliffe who sculpted old trees into magnificent pieces of art. His property is opened daily by donation for you to drive around & view the artworks. We particularly loved the animals, such detail and precision.

I received a text message from our friend Alison on the Sunny Coast to tell me about Elsie Grays. This would be our next stop. What a gorgeous fabric shop, so beautifully colour coordinated and the owner was effervescent and keen to hear why I had come to visit. My sewing friends Linda & Sharon would be in seventh heaven. We chatted for some time and I told her about my blog so she offered to take my photo amongst the fabric. This ones for you Alison, thanks for letting me know about it!

Albany is steeped with architectural history. The buildings are beautifully restored. Nearby the waterfront is the Sterling Terrace Reserve. An unsightly embankment transformed into a colourful display of flowering shrubs & trees completed in 1897 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. So wonderful to see it flourishing 122 years later.

A quick walk through town, lunch on the waterfront and back home for a couple of hours work before packing the laptop away ready for our journey tomorrow.

Day 262:  Albany to Esperance

We’re putting in a big day today of 467km so we’ve set the alarm for 6.00am (sigh) and are on the road by 7.45am. It’s 14 degrees and strangely enough we are both in shorts today. We must be coming acclimatised to the cooler weather. The scenery is very different today, dry in parts, wildflowers in abundance predominantly purple and yellow, canola fields and wheat, we even have a very brave rabbit jump across the highway in front of us – that’s a first!

Morning tea is at the Lions park at Jeeramungup where we experience flies for the first time in a long time. As the journey is long today I decide that it’s time I got back behind the wheel to give Andrew a break. I can’t remember the last time I drove the car! I’m driving 120km in to Ravensthorpe. Luckily we have to get fuel and head towards town and wouldn’t you know it another silo.

Fremantle-based artist Amok Island created the artwork, Six Stages of Banksia baxteri, a 25 metre high wildflower inspired mural painted across three silos in Ravensthorpe. The project took 31 days, 338 litres of paint and countless trips up and down the silos in a knuckle boom.  Another amazing artwork.

We arrive at Esperance around 3ish. We’re staying at the Pink Lake Caravan Park. With our Kui Park discount a powered site is $31.50. The park is quite old, however, the sites are large, grassy and have concrete slabs. Andrew reverses the caravan with ease and we get ourselves set up.

We both are feeling a bit weary after our long travel day. The laptop comes out and I immediately start working. We’re having left over spaghetti bolognaise tonight so it’s an easy reheat job.

By 8.30pm my eyes are tired so it’s an early night for us all.

Day 263: Esperance

The sun is rising around 5.30am now and we find that we are waking before Cinta. The body clock is getting ready for the trek across to the east.

I’m working to a tight deadline before we head across the Nullarbor and this morning I’m catching up with Tracey on the phone to discuss my progress on her new website. We always get off track when we catch up and the call lasts one hour 45 minutes. We had a lot to talk about! I’m happy that she’s happy with where her new site is at. I don’t want to make another website any time soon after this one is done!

Andrew has been out and done the shopping, lunch is next and then he takes me for a drive along the beachfront. The ocean is mesmerising and we stop at the Castletown Jetty ruins to feel the sand between our toes again. The wind is blowing a gale. Cinta is loving every moment of sniffing everything in sight and I’m madly tapping away taking pics on my iPhone.

On the way back to the park we detour to see the Pink Lake. Unfortunately it’s not pink anymore.  Conservation experts believe the fate of Pink Lake was sealed years ago when a highway and rail line cut off the natural flow of water into the salt lake system. Super saline conditions are needed to support the green algae that accumulates the beta-carotene pigment, the same pigment that colours carrots, which turned the lake pink.  It just looks white to me. Apparently there is another pink lake down this way but it’s only accessible by boat or plane.

Tonight we are lashing out and having takeaway Chinese. I suggest to Andrew that we order dinner and take it down to the Jetty ruins and watch the sunset. The wind is still blowing a gale so the plans are reversed and as there’s no sunset happening because of the heavy clouds, we pick up our takeaway and have it back in the van.

I work until 9.00pm when I just can’t look at a computer screen any longer. I’m done. Tomorrow will be the start of 4 days with very limited mobile reception and to say I’m looking forward to that is an understatement.

I do have one portion of work for the website that I don’t need an internet connection for so I have been saving that for the stretch across the Nullarbor. If I really have to…

Wildlife: deer, sheep, cattle, crows, donkey, rabbits, ducks, dead kangaroos.

Day 264:  Esperance to Caiguna

Andrew is up early and out walking Cinta while I lie in. By 6.20am  we’re having brekkie. A quick call to Mum to let her know we’ll be out of range for a few days and then we are both showered, packed up & leaving drizzly Esperance Behind by 8.00am. It’s 13 degrees and we are both in shorts again – impressed? You should be! Oh and Happy Anniversary to us. We have talked about experiencing this day on the road for many years and wouldn’t you know it, here it is. I did have ideas that we would be somewhere nice, by the beach sipping champagne at sunset. But alas, when you are working on the road all good plans turn to..:well you know what, I don’t need to tell you.

You’ll all be proud today as I drove again after our morning tea stop for about 2 hours. The scenery is ever changing today as we head east from Norseman. Is this the Nullarbor? There is no sign to say it is. The road isn’t even straight and narrow yet. I’m a bit disappointed actually.

There is scatters of wildflowers, woodlands where the trees look rusty coloured and waxy. Dead tree branches burst out the centre of small bushes. They look so weird almost apocalyptic. Lakes that look salty, limey and calcified. Dense bushes in every shade of green imaginable.

The clouds are grey, it’s almost like the sky is trying to cry but only a few drops of water are released.

The sign reads: 90 mile straight Australia’s longest straight road 146.6km. We can confirm it is straight. It looks and feels like you will never get to the end. We arrive at Caiguna Roadhouse 575km from Esperance.  Our biggest day of travel since starting this journey 264 days ago.

We’ve got a powered site on the dirt. $30. There is no water to hook up to, it’s a precious commodity out here. We can however have a hot shower.

We celebrate our anniversary inside the van with a couple of glasses of wine and nibblies as the wind is blowing a gale outside. We’re having left over Chinese from last night so I don’t even have to cook!

The clouds are rolling in at sunset. I was hoping for something spectacular to photograph but they are too thick and it looks like they could be bringing rain.

We’re woken by Cinta prancing around the limited space in the van and barking outrageously and then the van lights up with lightening and loud claps of thunder. There is not much rain. The electrical storm skirts around us for what seemed to be hours on and off all night. There’s not much sleep for any of us.

Wildlife: sheep, minor birds, dead kangaroo, crows, dingo.

Day 265 Caiguna to 81k Peg Test Area

Andrew is up at the crack of dawn. He’s kissed and made up with Cinta after the worst nights sleep ever. I however am not as forgiving. I can’t drag myself out of bed yet.  Why does the sun have to get up so early? I used to love it at Mission Beach. How that has changed.

We have a token each for a 5 minute shower.  Andrew is back from his shower, plenty of hot water he says. My turn. The ladies has 2 showers. One of the shower cubicles is covered with water so of course I take cubicle 2. Turn the tap on, run out and put my token in the box. No water. Turn the tap in every direction. No water. Wrap the towel around myself back out and hit the box a couple of times. No water. Sigh. Looks like a sponge bath in the sink for me. I could have gone back into the roadhouse and got another token for the other shower but by this time I just couldn’t be bothered. I phone the roadhouse from the van to let them know, I don’t want that happening to anyone else.

Andrew is ready to go. We are on the road by 7.50am and the sign says central Australia border turn clocks forward 45 mins. Oh morning tea is closer than we thought! We both chuckle.

There is so much rubbish along the highway it really is shameful.

The scenery is more what we are expecting today. Long stretches of very little plant life and then there is an oasis. Such stark contrasts. It makes you wonder how anything survives in this harsh climate. Carcasses are picked bare and only skeletons remain. There is far more road kill on this stretch of the Nullarbor.

I’m driving again after morning tea and up ahead is two bike riders. Dam, no photo, Andrew is not up to speed with getting pics on my iPhone in a hurry! Riding the Nullarbor, now that’s what I call a challenge.

Our lunch stop is at Eucla Roadhouse. We’ve parked away from the roadhouse as Caravans are lined up everywhere fuelling up. I’ve ducked over to the whale for a quick selfie.

Back on the road again and we approach the South Australia boarder and the sign says observe time zone change. We put our watches forward another 45 minutes. We’ve lost 11/2 hours today. Here goes the body clock again! Two time zones from WA to SA, crazy stuff.

Another “big thing” Matilda and her jar of vegemite stands proud beside the service station. Further along the road the verge has gone from red to almost white. We have our first glimpse of the Great Australian Bight. Wow, it looks amazing. Brilliant blue ocean and white cliffs. There are a lot of free camps along the highway so we’ve decided to do one tonight. I would have loved to have camped along the cliff face but realistically we would have been blown away. We’re tucked up in the bushes at 81k Peg Rest Area along with 3 other vans.

We’re having a roast in the Ziggy tonight. We’ll be in Ceduna or close to it tomorrow so that means no fruit or veggies allowed past the quarantine point. We’re roasting up some extra veggies and I’ve par boiled all our other veggies and put them into sealed bags. Onions and garlic are topped and tailed. Lemons and limes are cut and frozen. I’ll be having blueberries and strawberries on my Bircher muesli for brekkie and we’ll have salad for lunch.

The roast is devine. One last walk around the site, dishes are done and we settle down for an early night listening to the wind howling through the bush. It’s 7.30pm.

Wildlife: dead kangaroos, crows, dead cow, eagle, 2 emus, 4 wild horses. Lizard, goana, galah.

Day 266:  81k Peg Test Area to Penong

Andrew wakes at 7.00am. We can’t believe we have both slept for almost 12 hours. I turn my phone on. Force of habit really. I know there’s no reception. I ask him the time again. 7.00am he says. Looks like daylight savings has kicked in, my phone says 8.00am.

We’ve been really careful with conserving water over the Nullarbor so we are both going to have a quick shower this morning. I feel like a human being again, there is nothing better than feeling the hot beads of water falling over your body even if it is only until you are wet. Soap yourself up and wash it off. Ahh. It’s the simple pleasures that bring the most joy when you’re free camping. We’re packed up and on the road by 9.37am.  It’s a pleasant 16 degrees and yes we’re in shorts again.

We’ve passed our fourth RFDS airstrip this morning. The painted lines remind me of the Abbey Road zebra crossing.  Morning tea is at the Nullarbor Roadhouse.  We are having a take-away cappucino today.  The price is reasonable considering the fuel is $2.15 a litre.  Yes that’s right! We’re not fuelling up here.  I love their quirky sign about tonight’s special…

Further along the highway we pass another bike rider.  He’s travelling solo.  The wind is quite strong along the highway today and I can’t imagine how he can stay upright when the road trains pass him by.  I’m driving again after morning tea and the road trains passing me are like a vacuum sucking you closer to them.  I sit on 88km an hour, it’s a speed I feel comfortable with.

There is a section of the Nullarbor that claims to be treeless.  We saw small trees.  The scenery changes constantly again today from lush bushes, flowering wattle, spinifex grasses and the waxy rustic trees to barely nothing at all.

We’ve travelled 337km today and arrived at Penong.  I’m driving.  Andrew is checking us in.  He’s asked the guy at reception for the hardest site to reverse into.  The guy chuckles – they’re all drive throughs mate!  Ha Ha. Winner! I drive through our site and decide to go a bit further forward so that I can reverse back.  Just for practice.

Across the road is the largest Comet windmill (Bruce) in Australia.  Bruce has a span of in excess of 35 feet.  It was first owned by the Commonwealth Railways and then purchased by Coondambo Station in 1977. The fan was destroyed by high winds in 2003 and was rendered unprofitable for restoration.  The windmill was resurrected in 2016 and stands today as part of Australia’s windmill history.  The collection of windmills is a stunning sight.

Footy finals are on tonight, so Andrew is watching that on ATV, yes that’s right.  No digital TV out here in Penong.  did I mention there was only 3 channels.  Lucky the footy is on one of them.  After the game is over, Andrew is giving Cinta her last walk.  I’ve been finishing my blog all afternoon and it’s now 9.30pm. He opens the door and says, “you should come outside and have a look at the windmills, they are all lit up”.  Well who could pass that photo opportunity? Certainly not me.  Here’s the pics.

Another week is coming to a close.  We’re almost at the end of the Nullarbor.  Tomorrow will take us into Ceduna where we’ll spend a couple of nights so that I can catch up on work….again…  Over and out from the roving reporter.

Wildlife: crow, magpie, rabbit, eagle, dead kangaroos, dead rabbits.

Week 38 total expenses: $880.87 I’m pretty pleased with our expenditure this week as I expected it to be well over budget travelling across the Nullarbor.

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That’s a wrap for Week 38 of the Lap of the Map.

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Week 37 | Whitby House Sit – Week 9

Day 253 – 259: Whitby to Manjimup

I’m writing today’s blog as we travel down the South Western Highway heading for Manjimup.

Our final week of property sitting has come to an end. We have had an amazing time in Whitby which is located approx 40km south east of Perth.

We were fortunate to be accepted by owners Greg and Raelene to look after their 5 acre property. Our van was parked in the back paddock and we had access to the laundry, toilet, power and fresh rain water.

Greg had built a terrific fire pit which we enjoyed many times during the cold winter months. We watched the garden explode into an array of colour and fragrance as spring approached.

We hosted pizza lunches for our friends Greg & Alison and Phillip and Linda. We caught up with both friends on several occasions. The Perth region has many tourist destinations which we explored during our stay.

Nine weeks has flown by so quickly. We can’t thank Greg & Raelene enough for giving us this opportunity to take care of their place. Whilst I feel sad to be leaving, the excitement of a new adventure every day is calling us both.

The past week has been spent preparing the car and mobile motel for travelling again. Andrew has done a great job, with a small amount of help from me. My week has been filled with work. I’m working towards an important deadline for a colleague and hope to have the majority of this job completed before reaching the Nullabour.

Our motel on wheels has plenty of storage and it’s surprising what you can fit in and exactly what you can do without. A box for all the shoes is essential, when its full of sand or dirt just tip it out to clean.  When we are on the road the water container and our laundry bucket travel between the lounge seats. Half fill the bucket with water, throw in your dirty clothes and some wool wash and the washing is done by the time you reach your destination.  I do last out and do the sheets and towels at the caravan parks.  We have three pantry cupboards.  Two are for the smaller items and a shelf in the cupboard is handy so that everything can fit in.

We have a couple of travel deadlines to meet; Port Lincoln by the 13th October for a car service, Adelaide by the 18th October for a few days with family and Melbourne by 10th November a few days before boarding Spirit of Tasmania. I have 2 board meetings to dial into and my special project to be completed by 28th October. It’s going to be a few hectic weeks while working & travelling the 3500km.

This week we have caught up with Andrew’s dad and my Mum and sister Julie via Skype and FaceTime. It’s always good to be able to actually see them.

Today’s journey is 259km and we’re travelling through all the small towns that end with “up”; meaning “place of water”.  The scenery is so picturesque and we have passed every type of fruit orchard that you can think of.  Pink Lady & gala apples, quinces, oranges, avocados, mandarins, strawberries and the list goes on.  Pemberton is well known for its wine region, olive groves & the Gloucester Tree. Andrew climbed the tree over 30 years ago & he’s talked about it often on this trip.

We’ve checked into the Manjimup Central Caravan Park. It’s a small park and the sites are very tight. Andrew eventually gets the van in.  You can see our car and van in the middle of the picture below.

We set up, have a light lunch & leave Cinta in the van as we head 34km to Pemberton to see the Gloucester Tree. The tree is located in the Gloucester National Park. No discount here for the “grey hair nomads” we’re charged the full $15 fee.

In today’s age of WHS mayhem we are surprised to see that the tree is still open to climbers. We sit for a while and watch as the tourists negotiate the steep ladder. To our amazement a guy is coming down with his 15kg child in a harness on his chest. He looked very fit! There would be no climbing the tree for Andrew or I; we know our fitness levels.

Back at the park it’s time to take Cinta out for a long walk and then get dinner organised. The wifi reception is terrible so it looks like I won’t be doing any work tonight, phew sigh of relief!

As I say to my dear friend Florrie when I phone her, over and out from the roving reporter.

Wildlife: dairy cows, crows, sheep, magpies.

Week 37 total expenses: $722.08 – higher this week due to stocking up on groceries and fueling up ready for the next leg of the journey.

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That’s a wrap for Week 37 of the Lap of the Map.

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Week 36 | Whitby House Sit – Week 8

Day 246 – 252: Whitby

We are heading out this morning to the Serpentine Dam Cafe to have morning tea with our friend Alex.  It’s a great location sitting out on the deck watching the No. 28 parrots and wrens coming down to feed.  How can you possibly go past scones with jam and cream?  Just outside of Jarrahdale we noticed these trees in bloom, we’re not sure what they are but possibly peach trees.

I have a very busy week with work commitments so we won’t be venturing too far this week.  Needless to say, this will be a short blog.

We haven’t been to the movies in years and with Downton Abbey now showing, it’s time to enjoy a movie and take advantage of cut price Tuesday.  I really loved it.  An easy movie to watch, set in the 1920’s when everything was polite and proper.  The dresses were so elegant and the Abbey is amazing.  Have they left it open for a further series?  I certainly hope so.

While we were in Adelaide my cousin Keith gave Andrew a list of the Top 5 Vanilla Slices.  Of course Andrew is keen to try every one of them.  Honey’s Bakehouse at Roleystone is on the list, so we head out there for morning tea.  Given that it is such a cold windy day, we decide to pick up the slice and take it back home.

Here’s the report: cuts easy with a knife (a must requirement for Marcia), nice pastry that you can bite through, thick firm custard, (a little too much vanilla essence for Marcia), chocolate on the top – bonus point!  Andrew rates the slice as 9/10 and Marcia rates it at 8/10.  I’d like to add the vanilla slice from the Visitor Centre in Broome – it rated a 10/10 from me while we were there.

The garden is still giving us plenty of joy with cliveas bursting out on a daily basis.  The azaleas and camelias are almost finished now.  There’s been plenty of weeding that we have been more than happy to do.  It’s so lovely to wander the property each day to see what is coming into flower.

Today we are heading up to the Swan Valley to have our last catch up with Greg and Alison.  It’s been so great to enjoy their company on several occasions while we’ve been in Perth.  Today is our “last hoorah” and what better place to be than the Black Swan Winery.  We start off with the wine tasting then head into the restaurant that overlooks the vineyard.  We are both pleased that we are sitting inside, even though it’s going to be 20 degrees there is a bit of wind around today.

No blog post is complete if it doesn’t involve food.  We love food.  Very much.   Entree is a trio of dips with Focaccia.  Andrew has the special of the day which is roast pork belly and it looks and tastes delicious.  I can’t go past grilled barramundi with a potato croquet.  As if that wasn’t enough, we thought we would do dessert as well.  There is no way we are passing up creme brulee.  Can you here the crack as we tap the toffee?  Mmm! I had to take a photo of Greg’s dessert as the sticky date pudding looks amazing and Greg said it was delicious.

Is your mouth watering now?  It should be.  We are passing up dinner tonight, we very rarely do 3 courses.  We couldn’t possibly fit anything else in today.  The roses at the entrance to the winery are so fragrant, I couldn’t resist sniffing them all and of course taking a few pics.

Tomorrow takes us into our last week at the property sit.  It’s going to be a very busy work week again.  Andrew will be busy getting the van ready for the next leg of our journey and Sunday we’ll head off to Manjimup.  Next week’s blog may be a little late. Until then, keep smiling and enjoy every waking moment.

Wildlife:   galahs, horses, alpacas, llamas, sheep, ducks, black cockatoos, wrens, goats, corellas, No 28 parrots, crows.

Week 36 total expenses: $490.96 – great to be under budget.  We’re heading for some expensive weeks ahead as we travel towards the Nullabour.

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That’s a wrap for Week 36 of the Lap of the Map.

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Week 35 | Whitby House Sit – Week 7

Day 239 – 245: Whitby

The Spring Festival is now on at Kings Park and Botanic Garden and we are heading there to discover some of the state’s most diverse and spectacular plant groups.  September is an extravaganza for wildflower lovers.   Kings Park has been wild about wildflowers for more than 50 years.  This year, they present ‘Beauty Rich and Rare’ for the 2019 Kings Park Festival in September – a celebration of the nature and culture of Western Australia in Perth’s favourite park.

The park is just over 400 hectares, overlooking Perth city and the waterfront.  The parklands, gardens and natural  bushlands are situated on Mt Eliza.

Apart from the beauty of the wildflowers on display is the Floral Regalia installation.  Hundreds of ‘woven wildflowers’ from the crafty people of Perth are high in the sky in Kings Park!  The wildflowers have been lovingly made and sent to the park from all across the State and they sway and dance in the breeze above the grass vista.  I just love the installation, it’s creative, bright and a fantastic idea of getting the community involved in the project.

There are six walks that you can do at the Park, we managed to do about 2 and a half of them.  It was a warm sunny day and the park was full of tourists.  Pictured below is the glass bridge, Cinta would not walk over it.  It’s only glass on the sides as the rest of the bridge is actually timber, however, she was not going to set paws on it!

The displays of wildflowers are absolutely beautiful and I was amazed that the kangaroo paw comes in a variety of colours.  We saw the red, yellow, green and black varieties.  Throughout the park are large display boards displaying from seed to flower then art.   I really enjoyed looking at all the boards and seeing how artists interpreted the flowers into artworks.  We had a really great day at the park and were all quite exhausted by the time we arrived back at home.

 

The next few days are going to be beautiful warm spring days, so we are planning on starting to clean the caravan in preparation for our departure.  Time is moving on quickly and it’s surprising just how dirty a caravan can get.  Dust gets into every nook and cranny.  I’ve been suffering quite badly with hay-fever over the past few days so a trip to the chemist is in order to find some relief.  Surprisingly the chemist tells us that pollen from pine trees and grasses are the worst offenders.  I thought it was because I was sniffing all the beautiful flowers in the garden.  Some tablets and nasal spray should give me some relief within a few days.

I haven’t had the drone out for some time and as the weather is so gorgeous I decide to take a flight around the property and practice on the remote controls.  All was going well until the sun was in my eyes and I lost track of where I was flying and next thing the drone has crashed into the pine tree.  There was plenty of swearing coming from my mouth and Andrew has raced over to see what’s going on.  He’s asking how I think I’m going to get a drone out of the pine tree.  Luckily as we approach the drone is buzzing in the grass.  I have the biggest sigh of relief because there is no way we would have been able to retrieve it from the pine tree.

Today we are heading out to Cottesloe Beach.  We recently saw on the news that Taylor Swift had penned a love letter to “Ziggy” Forrest about the plans for the Indiana Tea House to be demolished so we thought we should drive out to Cottesloe to take a look.

The Indiana Tea House

The building is all locked up, it would have been great to have been able to wander inside this magnificent building which was originally built in 1910.  Couples would dance cheek to cheek on the expansive lawns and silent movies where also shown there.  Wouldn’t it be great if “Ziggy” changed his mind and transformed the building back to it’s original heritage.

Where else would you want to be on a glorious spring day?  Wandering the pathway along the beachfront, the smell of the ocean and a cool breeze on your face; heaven.  Unfortunately we can’t take Cinta down to the ocean for a swim as dogs are not allowed on the beach here.  Strangely enough there’s a random dog chasing seagulls and jumping into the waves; no owner to be seen in sight.

There is a bit of a swell and the surfers are patiently on their boards in the surf.  Some are standing up and have paddles, the others just sitting waiting for the next wave.  We sit and watch in awe for what seems to be forever.  Lunch is calamari, prawns and chips in the park under the shade of a lovely big tree.

The beach always calls us, we resonate with it.  There is nothing better than feeling the sand between your toes and smelling the salt in the air.  Of all the things we miss from home, walking the beach every day would have to be at the top of the list.

Our time at Whitby is coming closer to an end.  We have loved looking after this property.  Watching all the flowers come into bud and then bloom has been a lovely fragrant experience.  I have grown fond of the clivea watching them every day exploding from a small round ball into a magnificent bunch of blooms.  I’m not sure if they will grow at home, however, when we get back, I’ll have to do some research around that.  The paddock is alive with yellow daisies and dandy lions and the bees are working overtime.  Cinta often chases the bees and soon realises that is not a good option.

 

Another week has come to a close, it’s been lovely to have a skype today with my brother Ray who is looking after our house for us back at Mission Beach.  The shopping has been done, the budget spreadsheet has been updated and the blog is almost finished.  Time to sit back and relax for the rest of the afternoon.  As I say to my dear friend Florrie on her post cards; over and out from the roving reporter.

Wildlife:   galahs, horses, alpacas, llamas, cattle, sheep, ducks, black cockatoos, wrens, goats, swans, ibis, seagulls, pelicans.

Week 35 total expenses: $582.04 a little more expensive than last week due to a Doctors visit and medications for my hay-fever.  It doesn’t pay to be sick!

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That’s a wrap for Week 35 of the Lap of the Map.

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Week 34 | Whitby House Sit – Week 6

Day 232 – 238: Whitby

Spring has sprung!  The flowers are all singing and dancing in the rain.  We are hoping that the weather is going to fine up and the nights will become warmer.

My best friend from Mission Beach (Linda and her hubby Phillip) are coming for lunch today.  It’s quite windy, cold and drizzly, however, we are hoping for some sunshine throughout the day.  We’re making them pizzas.  We are a bit addicted to the pizza oven here at the property.  It’s a lovely few hours spent chatting and having a couple of wines before it’s time to say goodbye again.  I’m not sure when we will see each other again, but I am sure that we will remain friends for years to come.

It’s cold this morning and Cinta has seen a window of opportunity and jumped up on our bed.  We have a barrier that Andrew made before we left home so that she can’t access the bedroom section of our van.  Generally she has been very good and not taken the liberty.  I had to take this pic before I made her get back down again!

I’ve been tracking our journey on the Wikicamps Trip Planner and when you see it on the map of Australia, it’s unreal to see the amount of land that we have covered in 34 weeks.  The black circles with the numbers in them represent the amount of places that are in the app.  I wish they didn’t come up on the tracker, so perhaps I should suggest that too them.

This morning we are heading out to Wireless Hill Park, a 40 hectare park that is the location of a former Applecross Wireless Station; an early radio station in Western Australia.  The park is also a significant urban bushland area and is home to numerous wildflowers.  There are three walking tracks, one of which is the wildflower walk.  Along the track are many concrete pillars with illustrations and names of the wildflowers.  I’ve taken a photo of each one so that we can try to find them in the bush land and also identify them in my photos when we get home.

Most of the orchids are so small, if you are not looking really closely you’ll miss them.  Some are no bigger than the size of a 20 cent piece and some even smaller than that.  My zoom lens was working overtime.  I was lucky to have eagle eye (Andrew) spotting the orchids in the bush land for me.  There were so many beautiful flowers, I took hundreds of photos!

We spent over 2 hours wandering around the bush lands and finished up with a bar-b-que lunch in the picnic area.  It was a great day, even though the winds were howling through at times making it extremely cold.  We were all pretty tired when we got home.

I’ve been waiting for Spring to see the tulips at the Araluen Botanic Park.  This year the park will feature; 150,000 tulips, 20,000 daffodils, 4,000 hyacinths, 4,000 ranunculus, 4,000 anemones and 2,000 grape hyacinths amongst thousands of other bulbs.

The tulips have been planted at Araluen since 1930 with the bulbs imported from Holland until the war, when they were then imported from New Zealand.  Today the bulbs are brought in from Tesselaar Bulbs in Victoria after being grown in Tasmania.

The bulbs are actually refrigerated for eight weeks until the ground temperature reaches 12 degrees when horticultural staff and dedicated volunteers plant the bulbs, two in each hole, to create an ever-changing display of colour.  At the end of the season, the bulbs are dug up and composted in order to reduce the risk of disease.  An amazing story.

The entrance fee is $15 and we used our National Seniors Card and paid $12.  The train ride takes you around the park and there is an interesting commentary about the history of the park.  The train ride is only $5 and $3 for Seniors.  Definitely worthwhile to sit back for 20 minutes and enjoy the ride.  During spring, the park hosts many events and has pop-up food vendor stalls & musicians in the picnic areas.  We spent four hours wandering the park, some areas are hilly and some with steps.  It was a fantastic day out, we all had sore feet by the end of the day.

 

After having two wonderful days exploring the wildflowers and the tulips it’s time for me to catch up on some work.  Andrew is off to do some grocery shopping and I’m busy tapping away at the keyboard.  We had a very cold start to the day at 3 degrees when we woke at 6.30am.  We’re hoping for a sunny day and a high of 16 by mid afternoon.

Mr Squeaky; (Cinta’s favourite toy) has had his leg almost amputated today, so he’s going to have a sterilization treatment before having emergency surgery to save his leg!  We are constantly amazed that Mr Squeaky has survived 2 years of treacherous treatment however still provides comfort to Cinta when she is left alone in the caravan.

The back paddock where we are camped in our van has burst into flowering wild daisies.  Luckily we are not allergic to bees because they are working overtime.  In the very back paddock there are small wildflowers and orchids flowering in amongst the tall grasses.  They are so very tiny, but so pretty.

Waking up this morning it’s 4 degrees and the heater is working overtime again.  We’re meeting our friends Greg and Alison and heading out to The Left Bank for lunch; a pub located on the banks of the Swan River.  It’s a lovely sunny day, however, the breeze is still a bit fresh!  I’m excited to see Barramundi on the menu and can’t resist ordering it.  The meals are all lovely and complimented with a bottle of wine for the ladies.

After lunch Greg takes us for a drive to the Roundhouse.  It’s the oldest public building in Western Australia.  Opening in 1831 it was built to hold anyone convicted of a crime and was used until 1886.  It then became a Police lock-up until the 1890’s, then used as water police accommodation and later a storage facility for Freemantle Ports.  The building is now property of the City of Freemantle.

One of the volunteers at the Roundhouse tells us that you can get a great photo if you stand behind the doorway.  The photographer needs to take the photo from behind the well and you can then see all the way down the street.  We try it out after her persistence!  There was a photo shoot happening at the Roundhouse while we where there, I couldn’t help myself photographing the photographer doing the shoot.

I’ve been inspired by all the beautiful wildflowers and tulips this week and I’m desperate to do some sketching.  With 3 nights of football on tele, I get my sketch pad out and do a few YouTube tutorials.  I’ve got the bug again…

The week is coming to a close again and here I am tapping away to finish the blog, complete the budget and get myself organised for a board meeting at 7.30am in the morning.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks ramblings.

Wildlife:   galahs, horses, alpacas, llamas, cattle, sheep, ducks, black cockatoos, wrens, goats.

Week 34 total expenses: $402.71 well under budget again!

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That’s a wrap for Week 34 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!