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.

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Week 33 | Whitby House Sit – Week 5

Day 225 – 231: Whitby

After an extremely busy few days exploring the winery region we have a very late start to the morning before heading out for the weekly shopping.  Back at home there is work to be done after having a 4 day break.  Later in the afternoon it’s time to do a bit of weeding and an early night is on the agenda for both of us.

This morning we are heading into the city to see the mural on the Adnate Hotel Perth.  The hotel has been named after Melbourne artist Matt Adnate.  The mega mural is 25 stories high and is one of the worlds tallest murals.  The Perth mural includes portraits of a Noongar man, an Indian woman and a Mediterranean woman and created entirely with spray paint.

Driving along Hay Street, I catch my first glimpse of the mega mural and it certainly does not disappoint.  To say it is an amazing piece of artwork is an understatement.  I only wish we had ventured in while he was actually painting the mural, it would have been an amazing sight to see.

Today we are catching up with a very special friend, Alex Graham.  We’re having morning tea at the Dome Cafe at Byford.  Dome has an interesting story and it’s worth reading about.  They take local heritage buildings and transform them back to welcoming cafes.  The Byford cafe is currently holding an exhibition; Byford Bricks bombs and bon-bons.  It’s a really interesting collection detailing the history of the Byford area.

After lunch we decide to take a drive to Coogee Beach.  Unfortunately dogs are not permitted on Coogee Beach so we head back to Woodman Point.  There’s a lovely park with many walking tracks through the Reserve and as we head down to the beach you can see the azure blue ocean.  Fisherman are out on the jetty and people are swimming in the ocean.  Today is Perth’s hottest winter day, reaching 30 degrees.  We are loving it, it feels like home.

The weather report tells us that a week of cold weather, rain and storms are forecast.  I decide that I’ll have a work day today.  It rains on and off all day and late in the evening the rain gets much heavier and the winds pick up.

Two days of cold weather, rain and wind has driven us inside and the awning has been bought in.  I’ve been busy working and taken some time out to do some sketching tutorials.  Last nights storm skirted around us but bought plenty of thunder and lightning.  Cinta was very agitated and we all had a broken nights sleep.

The sun is shining brightly this morning and we are going to take full advantage of a beautiful day.  We’re heading out to the Lane Poole Reserve at Dwellingup.  The Reserve is about 62km from the house sit.  There’s a cute little cafe called the Blue Wren in Dwellingup and we’re more than ready for a cappucino.  The cafe is dog friendly and I love the Weekly coffee evolution drawing just above our table.

Time to head down to the reserve to the entry point and we are so fortunate to pay the seniors rate (the grey hair does it every time).  There is a lovely day use area with picnic tables and steps down into the river.  I can’t imagine swimming in the water it’s just too cold.  It’s really picturesque and we take a walk out over the rocks where the water is rushing down the river.

Lane Pool Reserve

The water is pooling beside the bank and it reminds me of our cappucino that we just had at the cafe.  Driving further through the reserve takes us to Bob’s crossing and then onto Nanga Falls.  There are plenty of camping spots within the reserve and there are quite a few walkers on the trails today.  Nanga Falls is really pretty and I take the opportunity to take a few long exposure photos on my iPhone.

There are some lovely small wildflowers growing within the reserve.  I don’t know all their names and some are difficult to find when searching the web.  I can’t help myself photographing them though.  Further around in the reserve is the caravan camping area.  We didn’t realise you could bring a caravan in and it’s very obvious that you need to come in from opposite the entry point as the dirt roads around the reserve have quite a few potholes and some of the tracks are narrow.  The caravan camping area looks fantastic, it would be great to spend a few nights here.

After leaving the park we notice a field of purple and white wild daisies just outside of Dwellingup so Andrew pulls over so I can photograph them.  Further along closer to Pinjarra there is another field of pretty pink everlastings.  We have to travel a bit further up the road and turn around to come back to photograph them.  He’s a keeper this one, always seeing the flowers before I do and always asking if I want a photo.

Pinjarra is our very late lunch stop at the Riverview Garden Cafe, it’s quite alternate and really funky and best of all dog friendly!  There’s a guy singing in the corner and all the staff have flowers in their hair.  The furniture is old and varied and they even have a community garden in the middle of the cafe.  The coffee is really good.  I just love it!  Time to head home and call it a day.

More rain is predicted today, however, we are going to put the awning back out as the winds shouldn’t be too high over the next few days.  There is a small job that needs doing in the kitchen.  We’ve had our small rubbish bin in the corner alongside the glass splash-back and it’s got quite dirty behind the glass.  There are 2 small silver domes that when removed reveal the screws to enable the glass to come off.  One dome unscrews really easy and the other just won’t budge.  We spend a good half hour trying to get it undone with no luck.  Andrew thinks we’ll have to get a hacksaw and cut it off and try to buy another one.  Not happy with that decision, while he is in the shower I keep beavering away at it and finally get the dome off.  By the time he’s out of the shower I’ve got the screws all removed and the glass off.  He is impressed and so am I!

Next up is shopping, budget and blog as we are having another wet and cold day.  It’s hard to believe that we now only have 4 weeks left at our house sit.  The time is flying by.  We’re hoping for some good weather next week so that we can start to visit the gardens and see the tulip and wildflower displays.

Wildlife:  Dead bandicoot, galahs, horses, alpacas, llamas, cattle, sheep, swans, seagulls, black cockatoos, wrens, corellas, goats.

Week 33 total expenses: $403.27 now that’s a good week!

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That’s a wrap for Week 33 of the Lap of the Map.

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Week 32 | Whitby House Sit – Week 4

Day 218 – 224 Whitby and the Margaret River

The start of a new week is always spent with a trip to the library to print out my blog for my very dear friend Florrie.  Previously I would send Florrie a post card so that she could follow our journey, but while we are in Whitby I thought it would be a great idea to go back to Week 1 and start printing out the blog so that she didn’t miss out on our adventures.

Next up is the post office and then onto the shops for groceries and home to do my 5 minutes of housework in the van.  The rest of the day is spent working and late in the afternoon a bit of weeding.  Andrew lights the fire and we try out cooking our veggies in the coals.  My timing was out a little bit, but none-the-less they were packed with flavour!  It’s so cold, Andrew tries out his beanie on Cinta – she didn’t look impressed!

I asked Andrew to take me out to two art galleries today and wouldn’t you know it both were closed on a Tuesday.  We stumbled across Churchman Brook Dam, built in the 1920’s.  It’s well known for its many beautiful picnic areas and has a catchment area of 16 square kilometres.  We walked the steep steps to the top of the dam and the view is really scenic.

On the way home we decide to treat ourselves to lunch at Avocados.  It’s set in the eastern foothills of Perth near Roleystone and Kelmscott and is set on 10 acres running along the Canning River.  Immediately I think of our friends Greg and Leanne and there is a long story about avocados fruiting and weddings.  Avocados is also a wedding and function centre and the trees were fruiting… It’s really peaceful sitting along the riverbank and our lunch is very nice.

We are heading down the Margaret River for a two day break and have booked an Air BnB right in the heart of Margaret River.  It’s a beautiful day today, 19 degrees and the drive is really scenic.  Our apartment is at the rear of a house with a forest view.  It’s very warm and welcoming and it’s dog friendly.  We have everything that we need for a couple of days.

After we are settled, we leave Cinta inside and head out to the Leeuwin Estate Winery.  It is a vivid memory for Andrew so he wants to take me there.  He was last there in 1989, the day after Dion Warwick performed.  The stage was still set up in the magnificent grounds.    Leeuwin Estate is one of the five founding wineries in the Margaret River region.  A storm was brewing and the wind was howling so we had coffee on the deck before heading inside for the tastings.  My favourite was the 2018 Siblings Sauvignon Blanc.

There is also an amazing art gallery which hosts the “Art Series” wine labels.  There are over 150 artworks, many of which were specifically commissioned.  The gallery is impressive and at the end of the room are two tables set up for tasting, how we wish we could have been seated here.

After the rain has eased we travel further onto Voyager Estate Winery.  The first vines were planted in 1978 when it was known as Freycinet Estate.  The buildings are Cape Dutch architecture and the gardens are stunning.  We wander through the rose garden which has been heavily pruned ready for the next season and there are only a couple of roses blooming, however the fragrance is alluring.  Further on is the kitchen garden where every type of vegetable and herb you can imagine is being grown here.  The gardens are spectacular and I would love to come back to be able to see it in full bloom.

The rose garden

 

Inside is warm and welcoming with a fireplace burning and comfy lounge chairs where you can sit and enjoy a glass of wine.  Further on is the spectacular restaurant, walls adorned with beautiful art works and the ladies is even just as impressive.  This is my favourite winery.

The storm is intensifying so we quickly head back to the car and make our way back to the retreat.  It’s wet, windy and only 9 degrees outside but our apartment is warm and cosy and we pick up a Thai take-away to have with a few glasses of wine.

We have a big day planned today and our first stop is the Margaret River Chocolate Co.  Wow, so many chocolates, so neatly stacked.  I can just imagine a child knocking something over and there would be chocolate everywhere!

Morning tea is in order before heading next door to the Providore. Voted one of Australia’s Top 100 Gourmet Experiences by Australian Traveller Magazine, Providore is a food and wine lovers paradise.   They have a beautiful organic garden with many flowers adorning the herbs and vegetables.

Next up is Vasse Felix established in 1967, Margaret Rivers founding wine estate.  Meandering through the tree lined road arriving in the car park, the Restaurant and Cellar Door is nestled amongst the vineyard.  The original Vasse Felix winery has been preserved as an Art Gallery and here, a seasonal program of exhibitions from the celebrated Holmes à Court Collection is shown. The gallery experience extends to the Vasse Felix grounds where gardens of local flora have been embellished with a sculpture walk comprising works by local artists.

It’s almost time for a late lunch and the Cheeky Monkey is on my radar.  It’s a brewery and restaurant and for two people who don’t drink beer, what better place to stop for lunch.   The fireplace is raging and it’s warm and cosy inside.  They have a lovely garden overlooking the lake and lunch time is the perfect time for reflection photos.  The rain has eased and the sky is cloudy and blue.

Next up is a quick look at the Margaret River Dairy Co where you can buy award winning cheeses and try the delicious yoghurt.  Travelling further north is the small quirky township of Cowaramup more commonly known to the locals as “Cowtown”.   Forty two life-sized fibreglass Friesian cows and calves have taken over the town and wander the streets, parks and shops.  The gardens are really pretty with wildflower blooms.

After an extremely busy morning out we head back home to pick up Cinta and take her for a drive to Prevelly where the Margaret River meets the Indian Ocean.  Prevelly is also known for its exceptional surfing and interesting limestone caves.  It’s blowing an absolute gale and it’s freezing cold in the wind at the lookout.  The view is spectacular though and worth every minute in the freezing conditions.  We have never seen surf that big, the waves are thunderous as they crash over the rocks.

Further along is Gnarabup Beach, the longest and most popular swimming beach in Prevelly.  The waves are supposed to be smaller here and when we arrive the skies open up.  There is a father and son putting on their wet suits and heading to the beach with their boards.  I’m intrigued and follow the pathway to snap some photos from a distance.  There is also a guy who is standing up and paddling out on his board too.  He catches the waves and the father and son are soon riding the waves too.  It’s a real thrill to watch.

After a full day we head back to the retreat for a few quiet drinks and some lovely cheese and crackers.  Cinta is snugged up on her bed and ready to call it a night.  We are not far behind her.

It’s 11 degrees as we leave Margaret River and head for Yallingup which is nestled on a ridge, surrounded by the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.  There are spectacular views over Yallingup Beach out to the Indian Ocean.  We have never seen surf that big, the waves are thunderous as they crash into the cliff face and over the rocks.  The surfers are all lined up on their boards but they are not paddling out and attempting the waves while we are there.

Next stop is Dunsborough for a coffee break and then onto Busselton for our lunch break by the beach.  Western Australia is blooming ready for spring to arrive.  There are many fields of lillies and the highways are bursting with colours of yellow, purple and white flowers.

Tonight we’re staying with our good friends Linda and Phillip who are living in Capel.  It’s so lovely to finally see where they are living and Cinta is keen to catch up with Chopper again.  Linda and I have plenty to catch up on and the boys have headed off to have a round of golf.  Happy hour is on once they get home and Linda has made a delicious roast meal followed by a lemon dessert.  It’s a late night for us all and a lovely slow start to the morning.  Time to pack up and head back home to Whitby.  We’ll be catching up again before we have to leave our house sit.

Wildlife:  sheep, galahs, horses, cattle, dead kangaroos, No 28 parrots, swans, alpacas, llamas.

Week 32 total expenses: $918.03 still under budget after having 2 wonderful nights in the Margaret River and dining out!

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That’s a wrap for Week 32 of the Lap of the Map.

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Week 31 | Whitby House Sit – Week 3

Day 211- 217: Whitby

Another week is about to start, it’s passing quite quickly since we arrived in Whitby and we have not ventured very far during our stay.  We’ve decided that we will take a trip out to Wave Rock at the end of this week.  It’s about 350km from here so we’re going to book a dog friendly cabin and leave the van here.

My work load this week is quite heavy up until Wednesday so it’s not going to leave much opportunity to do anything else.  Rain is expected most days and the temperatures are all going to be single digits each night.  I’m not looking forwarding to the alarm going off at 6.00am on Tuesday so that I can be prepped ready for the board meeting by 7.30am.

I’m set up outside to work today while there is some sunshine and my laptop had an update happen overnight so it is taking some time to open this morning.  Four hours later my laptop is still trying to open with the Windows update.  I am extremely frustrated by this time.  Eventually when it starts it’s lost it’s ability to pick up my nighthawk wifi router.  To say I am over technology today is an understatement.  Unable to resolve the wifi issue I’ve had to connect my router to my laptop with it’s cable so that I can try to get some work done.  The afternoon flies by and work is finished, time to shut this computer down and have a glass of wine.

The alarm goes off at 6.00am and it’s still dark and cold.  The heater comes on to warm the van up while we are getting breakfast and I plug in my laptop to get it started in preparation for the meeting.  The screen is blank, nothing is happening.  It’s now 6.45am and I am starting to panic as I have to be online at 7.30am for the meeting.  In desperation I decide that we should take the battery out and put it back in again and see if that helps.  Andrew unscrews it for me and we can’t get the battery out.  Now what?  Screw it back up again I say.  I’ll just have to take the minutes by hand and fly blind with everything else.  We turn it over and bingo, it’s come to life – hallelujah I say!  Stress levels are receding, take a deep breath, sit down and phone in to the meeting.  I could certainly do without all that happening again.

The afternoon is drizzly and cold so we decide to put on Netflix and spend the rest of the day tucked up on the bed relaxing.

More rain overnight and early this morning.  We are heading out to the shops to pick up some supplies for our trip to Wave Rock.  The rest of the day is spent doing more work so that I can enjoy a couple of days off.

We are waking up to 4 degrees this morning and by the time we are packed up and ready to go it’s creeped up to 8 degrees.  Driving out through the Perth Hills is very picturesque, there are fruit orchards everywhere and the fog is lifting above the hills.  Our morning tea stop is about 130km which takes us to Brookton.  A very cute little township in the Wheatbelt.  Pioneer Park is situated at the Railway Station which was built in 1899.  There’s a cute little craft shop located in the station and today there is a lady selling fresh green vegetables on the platform.  The garden is really lovely and there are several cherry blossom trees buzzing with bees near the toilet block.  We grab some take away coffees from the coffee shop across the road and enjoy them in the sunshine because it’s still very cold.

Travelling further along we see many grass trees, wattle flowering, cattle and sheep grazing and then the golden colour of canola.  Fields of bright yellow everywhere, it is really a sight to see.  Along the highway we come across a ute (picture below) and wonder what it is all about.  A quick google informs us that it is a competition of how many dogs in utes can form a procession and at the same time raising money for worthy causes.  Over $100,000 has been raised over the years.  What a great idea!

After travelling 336km we arrive at Wave Rock Caravan Park.  The staff are really friendly and within no time we have checked into our dog friendly cabin.  It’s quite spacious and has everything that we need.  The heater is turned on immediately while we unpack the esky and get ourselves organised.

Our cabin at Wave Rock

Cinta is staying in the cabin while we explore Wave Rock.  A short walk from our cabin takes us out to the rock and there are Japanese tourists everywhere posing in all sorts of positions and chattering away and giggling at one another.  We decide to do the walk to the top of the rock.  There are a few sets of steps with chain rails in between and then you can walk freely along the top of the rock by following the trail.

The view at the top of the rock is very scenic looking out over the catchment area and over the township.  The rock is a granite cliff 15 metres high and 110 metres long.  The shape of the rock has been caused by weathering and water erosion which has undercut the base and left a rounded overhang which resembles a wave.  There are lots of puddles of water on the top of the rock and they are filled with small tadpoles.  Many plants adorn the rock as well.

After descending the rock we follow the trail out to Hippos Yawn, another amazing rock formation standing approximately 12.6 metres tall.  It resembles a hippo yawning hence the name.  The trail is a flat easy 1030 metres lined with casuarina trees and once at the rock a futher 680 metre loop will take you back to the car park.  We meet a lovely couple and spend some time chatting to them before they offer to take our photo for us.

After an exhausting day we are back at the cabin, having an early dinner, heater on and tucked up in bed for an early night.

We are waking up to 3 degrees outside.  The cabin is a very comfortable 24 degrees and it’s hard to load the car up and get ourselves moving.  Cinta is even hesitant to go outside.  We are taking a short drive out to Mulka’s Cave before heading home.  The Cave is one of the most significant Aboriginal rock-art sites in Western Australia.  I’m not a fan of climbing through caves so I only go to the front of the opening to view the rock-art there.

Aboriginal rock-art Mulka’s Cave

It’s time to head back to Whitby and the temperature has crept up to 8 degrees.  Kondinin Travellers Rest is our comfort stop and there is an amazing pathway in the park with large mosaic tiles depicting the area.  This small township certainly has a lot of creative people.

There is a storm brewing this afternoon and the rain is coming in.  Hail is predicted, so we are hoping that doesn’t happen!  Overnight the winds pick up and the caravan is rocking.  There is rain on and off all night, heavy at times.  There is only 24ml in the guage when we awake, the caravan has been smattered with tiny leaves from the jacaranda trees.

Today we have our friends Alison and Greg coming over for a pizza lunch.  The shopping was done late yesterday afternoon after returning home.  We’ve had a lazy start to the morning after the storm and before we know it they have arrived and the wine is being poured.  We have given them a tour of this amazing property and then it’s time to get the pizzas in the oven.  We’re having satay chicken, pulled pork with roast pumpkin, sweet potato & roast capsicum & feta and a meat lovers pizza with beef, salami and olives.  We’ve all downed the pizza in no time and finished off with a chocolate bavarian cake (just a woolies one).  We were all so busy chatting that I forgot to get some photos.  Next time!

Another 4 degree morning, when is this cold weather going to ease up?  The sun is shining today though and we’re expecting a high of 17 so we have a few jobs planned for today.  Washing is first up along with hand washing some of Cinta’s bedding and her jacket.  I’m doing some cleaning inside the van and Andrew is tidying up outside.  I’ve pruned a couple of the raphis palms around the fish pond and Andrew has chopped some firewood for this afternoons happy hour.

Sunday is budget and blog day so the rest of the afternoon is completing those tasks.  Next week we are heading down to the Margaret River for a few days.  We are both really looking forward to that trip and on the way home we’ll spend a night with our friends Linda and Phillip in Capel.

That’s all for this week folks.

Wildlife:  horses, shetland ponnies, llama, goats, sheep, cattle, No 28 parrots, galahs, black cockatoos, pidgeons, magpies, blue wrens, dead kangaroos, pigs.

Week 31 total expenses: $542.99 happy with that especially with a trip away through the week.

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That’s a wrap for Week 31 of the Lap of the Map.

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

Week 30 | Whitby House sit Week 2

Day 204 – 210: Whitby – Week 2

Waking up this morning after a light drizzle of rain overnight and I mean light 1.5ml to be exact, the sun is shining and it’s looking like we’re going to have a lovely day.  The washing is out, Andrew is cleaning out the car, I’ve got my painting box out and all set up ready to paint.

Cinta starts to bark, there is thunder rolling around and the skies have turned a very dark grey.  The washing is being pulled in and hung up on the patio and I’m moving our chairs and Cintas bed back under the awning when the skies open up and it’s pouring down.  The awning is leaking at the seams where it is attached to the van and there is water running through over our ground mat.  I’m madly covering up my painting table and getting Cinta inside the van and her storm jacket on.  Within minutes the rain has stopped and we’ve had 8ml.  Just a drizzle really compared to back home.

The next hour is spent inside waiting for the water on the mat to drain through before we go back out and wipe all the tables and chairs down.  We set up the awning a little differently for the house sit with having the legs fully extended onto the ground instead of leaving them locked into the van.  We’re not sure if this is why so much water has leaked through, but we’ll trial locking the legs back into the van to see if it makes a difference for the next downpour.  Personally I don’t think so as it appears to me that the stitching on the awning is starting to fail and we may need to get a new awning at some point.

This week is a very busy work week for me so we won’t be venturing out too far each day.  This morning we are taking a trip to Bunnings to pick up some sealant for the awning and hopefully we’ll have a dry day at some point to see if Andrew can apply it.  He’s been googling the problem and he’s quite confident it will do the trick for now.

Today we are waking up to 4 degrees and we are all feeling cold.  The heater is on and it’s a very slow start to the day.  Cinta has her nose buried in her bed and she is not moving.  Caravans don’t  have a lot of insulation and when the temperatures drop you find yourself waking up to frosted windows and condensation all over the walls and ceiling.

We’ve had 19ml of rain since yesterday and we’re hoping to reach of top of 16 for the day.  Andrew is cleaning the pool today – well putting the robo vac in the pool anyway, that’s all he has to do.  Cinta is constantly amused by it and wanders around and around the pool and almost jumps out of her skin when it comes to the surface and rolls around the edges.  She’d certainly know it if she fell in!  The temperature in the pool is down to 10 degrees today.

Today we are off to the library to do some printing.  I’ve been sending postcards of our trip back to my very dear friend Florrie back at Mission Beach.  I know she’ll really enjoy reading my blog, so I’ve downloaded it and I’m having each week printed out at the library so that I can send a couple of copies each week while we’re here in Whitby.  Next up is the vet to pick up Cintas dog food and then IGA for a few things.  I’m making pumpkin soup again tomorrow in the slow cooker.  Andrew is doing a pork roast tonight in the ziggy and we’ll roast off all the pumpkin for tomorrows slow cooker.

Last night went down to 7 degrees and we’re in for another overcast and cloudy day.  I’ve had my woollen long sleeve shirt hanging on the clothes line for 4 days now trying to get it dry. It  can’t go in a dryer and there isn’t one here anyway.  It goes from the outdoor clothes line to the line under the patio and back again every day.  I’m hoping it will be dry soon!  I have plenty of layers that I put on each day and then I look like a sumo wrestler.  I’m very thankful that I threw in my old teddy bear dressing gown from Brisbane days as it is getting plenty of use over the top of my clothes when we are at home for the day.

Florrie knitted Andrew and I beanies and scarves before we left and Andrew’s beanie is rarely off his head.  His beanie is blue and yellow (Cowboys colours) and mine is my favourite; purple.

Cinta loves roaming the property and although Greg told us the 5 acres is fully fenced we wanted to make sure as she spends a lot of time roaming around right down the back where we can’t see her.  Andrew walked the boundary to make sure and there’s nowhere that she can get out.  He came across this beautiful tiny orchid right down the back near the fence so he had to take me down there so I could photograph it.  It’s so dainty and is no longer than 2cm.  I didn’t realise at the time but have since found out it is called the Donkey Orchid. All of the flowers and shrubs on the property are starting to bloom and each day we walk around and check on them all.  The fragrance is so aluring and I am lucky to pick fresh flowers to have in the van whenever I like.

It’s a beautiful day here today and what better way to spend a sunny day than exploring the Serpentine National Park and Dam.  On arrival we are greeted by a beaming smile of the park attendant who is pleased to see a Queensland number plate and even more pleased when we tell her we are from Far North Queensland.  She is from the Torres Strait and tells us that many people have no idea where that is.  Without asking we are charged the concession rate of $7 per vehicle.  As we travel past the entry point we both smile at each other and I say to Andrew, “the grey hair has paid off again”.

A short walk from the car park takes us to the Serpentine Falls and causeway.  The water is cascading over the sheer granite rock face.  I’d love to see the falls after heavy rainfall, I’m sure it would be far more spectacular.  The sign at the causeway says Danger, do not cross, falling rocks.  There is a father with 2 young children climbing on the other side of the causeway along the rocks.  I can’t help but think how stupid is this man and what type of example is he setting for his children about obeying signs in National Parks.  Let alone their safety.

There are several bush walks in the National Park and we decide to walk a short distance along the Baldwins Bluff walk as it is a 3 hour walk and is a grade 4.  It’s steep, rocky and some areas are quite unstable.  It’s a grade 4 for that reason.  We stop several times as we realise the terrain is far too challenging for us.  A ladies walking group pass us, they have already completed 14km.  I take my hat off to them for being so fit.  Several other couples and children pass us by and offers of help come from all of them.  While taking in the view we both have that moment when we look at each other and say; we must look old and past it!  We slowly and cautiously make our way back down the track.  We can both feel the muscles in our legs already, I sense a dose of Nurofen coming on tonight.

We are now off to see the Serpentine Dam and driving through Jarrahdale the road is lined with wattle blooming everywhere.  I’m not sure how many varieties of wattle there are but we see many different species along the way.  It is so picturesque and the farmlands and valleys are lush and green.  There is a lovely cafe at the Dam; Serpentine Cafe on the Dam and the sign also says Gallery.  The cafe is buzzing with people and the deck overlooks the dam.  We can see Kookaburras and No 28 parrots perched along the railing and the sign reads:  BEWARE;  Our Kookaburras love to swoop and steal your food, please don’t feed them. The No 28’s are busy pecking at all the seed and children are lined up on the deck with arms out and handfuls of seed waiting for the birds to settle and feed.  The No 28 is a beautiful parrot and after lunch I take the oppportunity to get a few close ups of them in the trees and along the fence and decking.

Back at home Cinta is over excited to see us return and does laps in the paddock.  The afternoon is spent relaxing in the sunshine.  Andrew is reading and I’m colouring in some mandalas.  I had forgotten that I included a book in my craft box so I was over joyed to find it and ponder on which mandala to start with.  There are many benefits of colouring in some of which include: improving your mood, relieving stress, providing an outlet for self-expression, improving hand-eye coordination and maintaining motor functions.  I’ve completed colouring 2 mandalas, the first is with the three primary colours; red, blue and yellow and the second is with the secondary colours; orange, violet and green.  I’m currently colouring a larger mandala with the tertiary colours.

Overnight has been windy and cold.  The temperature is 7 degrees when we wake and we have a very lazy late start to the day having our cuppa tucked up in bed while the wind blows a gale outside.  By lunch time the wind has died down and Andrew is outside applying the marine grade sealant to the awning.  There is no rain expected today and there is not a cloud in sight, the temperature is 18 degrees so we are both hoping that the sealant will have time to cure and stop the rain from coming in through the loose stitching on the awning.  He’s done a great job, so now we just have to wait and see…

While the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day we’re having a late pizza lunch and a glass of red.  The left overs from our roast during the week make great ingredients for a pizza.  Cheers and here’s to the closure of another week of our journey.

 

Wildlife:  horses, shetland ponnies, llama, goats, sheep, cattle, No 28 parrots, galahs, black cockatoos, pidgeons, magpies, blue wrens.

Week 30 total expenses: $658.30 Slightly higher this week due to a bulk purchase of Cinta’s dog food and a new lock for the caravan hitch.

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That’s a wrap for Week 30 of the Lap of the Map.

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

Week 29 | Whitby

Day 197 – 204 Whitby

I used to hate Mondays, the start of another working week.  Now, it’s the start of another week of our journey and it’s hard to believe that we are heading into week 29.  The time has flown by since being on the road and we are getting close to clocking up 20,000kms.

We are hoping for a high of 19 degrees today and when we awake at 7.00am this morning it’s only 7 degrees.  I’m making scrambled eggs for brekky then I’m putting on a pot of pumpkin soup in the slow cooker.  It’s washing and work day today too.  Andrew and I have both come down with mild head colds since arriving in Whitby so we haven’t ventured out a lot.  Tomorrow we are planning a big day out down to Rockingham and Mandurah.

Since arriving we’ve had 4ml of rain at Whitby, it seems so little compared to the rainfall back at Mission Beach.  Last night was quite windy and the temperature was down to 8 degrees.  Today we’re heading for a top of 22 so it’s a perfect day to be out and about touring around.

We’re heading to Rockingham which is about 33km from Whitby, it’s a lovely drive and we arrive along the beachfront.  Travelling further south we come across Cape Peron, a headland at Rockingham, at the southern end of Cockburn Sound.  Locally known as Point Peron, the cape is noted for its protected beaches, limestone cliffs, reefs and panoramic views.  It certainly was very picturesque.

Cape Peron

There are quite a few bush-walking trails at Cape Peron and we did a couple of the shorter walks out to the lookouts and then did the staircase up to the World War II gun lookout.  I had to make a couple of stops to catch my breath doing all the stairs!

We drove back into Rockingham and had a walk along the beachfront and stopped in at Spill the Beans coffee shop which is just across the road from the Jetty.  Their coffee was one of the best coffees we have had on this trip and the morning tea was absolutely yum.  We walked over to the jetty and Cinta was happy until the jetty was over the water and then her 4 paws dug into the concrete and she was not going a step further.  It is so strange as this has happened quite a few times now and on one particular walk, Andrew had to carry her over the bridge.  I did the jetty on my own while they waited on the waterfront.

Next stop was Mandurah a coastal city a further 37km from Rockingham.  We only saw a very small part of Mandurah which was around the canal area.  We stopped and had a Thai lunch in the park.  We really miss Spicy Thai at Mission Beach and we can honestly say we have not had any Thai food on this trip that matches Jacqui’s Thai food back home.  The canal area is really impressive, although I could never live in an apartment, I need to feel the sand between my toes and the grass under my feet.  It was a lovely day out and very pleasant weather.

I’m doing some work today and Andrew is washing the car and then we’ll have a relaxing afternoon.  Andrew has been down to IGA and come back with the biggest marshmallows I have ever seen.  We had been talking about having marshmallows on the fire of an evening and we are sure these ones are not going to disappoint!  They never made marshmallows like that when I was a kid.  We toasted them on the fire and they were crispy on the outside and all gooey and soft in the middle, they were so good…this could become addictive.

Cinta has taken to sleeping in one of the new garden beds, thank heavens there are no plants in there yet!  This afternoon I’ve had a bit of drone practice around the property, it’s been great to fly around and try to get used to these controls on the remote.  Here’s an aerial shot of where our van is located on the property.

Our van on the property

This morning I got my craft suitcase out from under the couch.  I forgot I had packed a painting that I had started working on before we left home.  It’s a sea turtle, so I intend to get it finished while we are here.  Stay tuned for a photo of the finished art work.

Today is another milestone, 200 days since we left home.  It sounds like a lot of days but it has gone so quickly it only feels like a few weeks since we left on this journey.  We are venturing out to the Armidale Shopping Centre to have some retail therapy.  It’s only about 20km away so it’s not far to travel.  We love people watching and there are some  interesting sights to see.  I’ll be looking for a hairdresser again soon and we came across an interesting hairdressing salon concept that had a booth at the front where you put in $12, take a number and then you get your hair cut.  I wonder what the cut would be like…Andrew always tells me you get what you pay for and I can just hear my brother Ray saying Trailer Trash hair cut.  Will I be game to try it, you’ll have to wait and see.

Today we are heading out to Kelmscott to meet my best friend Linda and her husband Phillip for morning tea.  I’ve really missed Linda since she left Mission Beach, we had some great craft mornings and retail therapy road trips and craft weekends away.  We all had a great morning catching up and we’re looking forward to going down to Capel to visit them during our stay in Perth.  Cinta will be looking forward to catching up with Chopper too.  We were chatting so much I completely forgot to get a photo!

It’s the weekend again and today we are having a relaxing day as the sun is shining and it’s looking like a beautiful day.  The days just seem to go so fast when you have a lazy late start.  I’ve made another batch of muffins today and we’ve had to clean the pool and top up the fish pond.  I’ve fertilised the orchids today too and I was so pleased to see one of them is starting to flower. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t manage to kill the plants before Raelene and Greg return from their holiday.  There is actually a bit of colour in our sunset tonight, so it was worthy of a photo.

We are heading up to the Swan Valley today to meet up with Greg and Allison.  Greg has been a friend of Andrew’s for over 40 years.  Now that statement is making us feel very old…  Wine tasting and lunch is the order of the day.  We arrive a few minutes early, it’s a drizzly cold day here in the west and we both make a dash from the car into the warm surrounds of the cellar door and restaurant.

Lamont’s is one of the States first Premium Wine and Food Families, initially in the late 70’s with Corin Lamont as Head Winemaker (one of Australia’s first female Winemaker’s) making a full range of wines under the mentorship of her late father, Jack Mann.  In 1989, Corin’s daughters Kate and Fiona added an eating experience to the Winery and the first Lamont’s Restaurant was born.

Let the tasting begin.  We start off with a Vintage Sparkling followed by a Pinot Gris, a Riesling, a Sauvignon Blanc – Semillon and a Navera-Chenan Blanc (my favourites & Allison’s where the Vintage Sparkling and the Sauvignon Blanc – Semillon).  The reds followed…by this stage I can’t remember what we are tasting except the some of the names; Pinot Monster,  Black Monster and Shiraz.  A complimentary bowl of marinated olives was on the counter too and they were delicious.

Allison and I choose a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon to accompany our lunch and the boys opt for soft-drinks as they are both driving us home.  Thanks Andrew and Greg!   Lunch is small plates and the food is really tasty.  Before long 4 hours has passed and we’ve given our jaws a real workout, talking of course.

We had a great day out and we plan to all catch up again at our property sit over the coming weeks.  Apricot Chicken has been cooking away in the crock pot while we’ve been out for the day and to be honest I don’t feel hungry at all.  That’s all for this week.

Wildlife:  wrens, llama, sheep, swans, horses, seagulls, galahs, shetland ponies, cattle.

Week 29 total expenses: $315.17 Now that’s something to strive for over the coming weeks.

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That’s a wrap for Week 29 of the Lap of the Map.

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

Week 28 | Ledge Point to Whitby

Day 190: Ledge Point

It’s our last day at Ledge Point today and with virtually no WiFi reception we are doing the washing and spending the day relaxing.  I’m doing some colouring in and enjoying using my creative side of my brain while Andrew is reading his book and Cinta is chilling out on her bed.

We’ve met some lovely people in this park and enjoyed chatting throughout the day.  The weather has come over cloudy and cold forcing us indoors early to keep ourselves warm.

Wildlife:  honey-eaters, magpies, willy wagtails, seagulls.

Day 191: Ledge Point to the Swan Valley

Most nights are now under double digits and we are really feeling the cold.  This morning is another slow start to the day before heading on the road at 9.30am.  It’s warmed up to 14 degrees and we’re expecting a maximum of 18.  Today’s journey will be 132km.

The scenery is so picturesque as we are travelling, the banksias are all out in flower, yellow and purple wildflowers in abundance and grass trees are prolific along the highway.  It seems so strange to be seeing the grass trees along the western highway.  Wineries are now in sight and the traffic is growing.   As we are coming into the Swan Valley the traffic is at a standstill while two trucks manouvre over a bridge with heavy machinery on-board.

We arrive at the Midland Caravan Park and receive a warm welcome from the receptionist and a seniors discount for our powered site.  The roads within the park are very narrow and the site is very tight to manouvre into but Andrew does really well and we are parked up in no time.   A young guy who is currently residing at the park comes over to offer assistance and we get chatting for quite some time.

It’s time to stock up on groceries and have some retail therapy time to pick up some winter woolies.  We’ve decided to buy a slow cooker and a sandwich maker as we’re missing our slow cooked meals and toasted sandwiches.  K-mart is our first stop and we can’t believe how cheap everything is; we’ve picked up everything we need.  There’s a fabulous cafe called Miss Maud’s which we discovered in South Australia so we decide to have our lunch there.

Back at the park it’s getting really cold so it’s another early afternoon in the van with the heater on to keep ourselves warm.

Wildlife:  sheep, cattle, emus, No 28 parrots, Shetland pony, horses.

Day 192: Swan Valley to Whitby

Today is the day that we head off to our house sit for 9 weeks.  How strange will that feel to be in the one place for so long.  No more setting up and packing up the van every other day or week.  To be honest, I think we are both looking forward to staying in the one place for a while.

It is 15 degrees at 10.00am and we are on the move this morning after a cold overnight of 9 degrees.  The sat nav is set and we are heading for Whitby.  Our journey today is 53km.  On arrival we are met by Greg; it’s a very warm welcome.  Greg walks us around the property to show us where he would suggest that we park the van.  He knows we’ll be chasing the sun for the warmth so he’s picked a lovely spot beside the shed with easy access to power and water.

The property is 5 acres and has an abundance of pine trees, jacaranda trees, London plain trees, palm trees, frangipani trees, fruit trees, camelias, azaleas, roses, cliveas and that is just to name a few.  It’s absolutely beautiful and we know that we will love looking after this property.  It is so peaceful.  Raelene arrives home and invites us to the house for afternoon tea.  It’s great getting to know them both.

We spend most of the afternoon setting ourselves up.  Everything is out of the car and we are set up for the long term stay.  We have access to a toilet, laundry, power and water, the swimming pool (which I can’t see us using as the water is currently 12 degrees) and the outside pavillion areas.  It’s more than we could ever ask for.  Greg has built a lovely fire pit and paved area so we can sit outside and enjoy our own fires.

Wildlife:  black cockatoos, finches, wrens, llamas.

Day 193 – 196: Whitby

Waking up in Whitby after a cold night dropping down to 9 degrees, the sun is peeking it’s head through the clouds and today is a work day for me.  Andrew spends a lot of time chatting with Greg about the property and Raelene is busy today babysitting their grandson.

After lunch I take a break and Andrew and I have a walk to nearby Mundijong.  It’s only about 3km away and easy to find.  There are wildflowers and wattle everywhere along the roadside.  We have heard trains back at the property and we soon have to cross the tracks to arrive at the Mundijong village.  There’s a lovely little community garden, an IGA, a pub, doctor, chemist and a few other small shops.  It’s a lovely walk to take when we need milk and bread.

There are a couple of strange looking succulents outside the Community Garden that we’re not sure exactly what they are.  If it’s open next time we take a walk, we’ll pop in and have a look around and see if we can find out what they are.  Back home and back to work.  I have some catching up to do given that I’ve been out of range for 4 days now.

Raelene and Greg are leaving this morning, we said our goodbyes last night as they have an early start.  Time for us to catch up on washing and time for me to do a bit more work.  Andrew has sweet and sour pork in the slow cooker and then he’ll organise some timber for the fire pit for this afternoon.

I’m feeling really cold today, the maximum is supposed to be 16 but that won’t happen until around 3.00pm.  It’s overcast and the sun just can’t peek through the clouds.  The washing is not drying so Andrew has moved it to under the patio roof.  I tried to help, but being vertically challenged, I can’t reach the clothes line outside or on the patio.  I guess that’s going to be Andrew’s job for the next 9 weeks!

Cinta is loving the freedom of being off lead.  She has sniffed every corner of this property and comes back to the van covered in leaves or dirt all over her snout.  It’s too cold for me to work inside so I’ve got Andrew lighting the fire and I’m heading out to the fire pit.  I don’t like using the reverse cycle heater all the time in the van and having a fire pit is a perfect excuse to be outside enjoying it – even if I am working!  Happy Hour is calling…

It’s the weekend and Andrew has bacon and eggs cooking outside, the smell drives me out of my warm bed.  The sun is out – hooray – time to put the washing back out on the clothes line. Andrew where are you?   We’re heading for 19 degrees today, so it should be a beautiful day.  The shopping district at Whitby is about 6km away and there is a Coles, Woolworths, IGA and Aldi so the grocery prices should be competitive.  A quick trip to pick up a few items as I’d like to make a nice pumpkin soup and buy a couple of bottles of wine.  This afternoon is spent writing this blog.

I love camellias.  We used to grow them all along our fence line when we lived in Brisbane, so seeing these in the garden here at the property makes me very happy and brings back many fond memories of Brisbane.

Last night dropped to 7 degrees and it’s currently 7.30am and only 9 degrees.  The country market is on just around the corner so we’ll take a walk down later to see what it has to offer.  It’s a small market but there are quite a lot of people here. There are lots of chickens, geese, rabbits, roosters, pigs and goats that are apparently being auctioned off later in the day.   There are a few plant stalls, lots of bric-a-brac and second hand goods and piping hot donuts.  Now who could go past a donut?

It’s turned out to be a beautiful day and we have reached our top temperature of 19 degrees by lunch time.  We’re going to try out the pizza oven today and my best friend Mr Google has told us how to cook a pizza in this flash oven.  With a garden full of fresh herbs, they will top of the pizza nicely.  There is only one word to describe our pizza today; YUM.  NB; one half with no green garnishes – that is Andrew’s half!

This afternoon has been spent watching an online video of a couple who took a dog on the Spirit of Tasmania, it’s been great to watch as it’s answered quite a few of our questions and some further research on the site has answered all the other questions about taking the caravan.  We are now booked to depart on November 13th returning on March 4th which will give us plenty of time to explore Tasmania.  The clock will be ticking once we leave our property sit at the end of September to make our way over to Melbourne.

That’s all for this week folks so stay tuned to see what we get up to while exploring the surrounding suburbs of Perth.

Wildlife:  black cockatoos, finches, wrens, doves, ducks, llamas, kangaroo, horses.

Week 28 total expenses: $632.23 – that’s starting to look a little bit better.  An additional $2,190.36 is an extraordinary expense for the ferry to Tasmania.  The return fare cost included the following:  car, caravan (both priced according to length), a cabin overnight and a kennel for Cinta.

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That’s a wrap for Week 28 of the Lap of the Map.

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

Week 27 | Port Denison to Ledge Point

Day 183 – 185: Port Denison

We are heading into Geraldton this morning as there are a few things on the shopping list that we haven’t been able to pick up in the small townships that we have been staying at.

The Port of Geraldton is a major west coast seaport.  Geraldton is an important service and logistics centre for regional mining, fishing, wheat, sheep and tourism industries. Their population is just over 32,000.  We spend the day shopping, it’s great to have a retail therapy fix.  I can’t believe I only took 2 photos for the whole day. I was amused with the rubics cube toilet block on the waterfront though.

The alarm goes off at 6.00am this morning so that I can get organised for my monthly conference call. It’s a shock to the system after sleeping in most days in this cold weather. We’ve started to use the heater in the van of a morning and it is quite effective.

After morning tea we head up to the lookout to walk along the river trail. The trail begins at the top of the hill and we take the staircase down to the river. It’s about a 3.5km walk so it shouldn’t take us long.

Irwin River Reflections

There is plenty of flora along the riverbank and the reflections are really putting on a show. I’m busy snapping away on my camera so this walk is going to take a bit longer than expected.  There are several boardwalks that go right out to the river and further along the walk the river meets the ocean. The return walk is uphill and not overly challenging. The view from the lookout is very picturesque overlooking where the river and ocean meet.

Heading back into town we decide to have a late lunch at a cute little church that has been converted to a coffee shop. It sits right beside the Anzac Memorial Park.  The Memorial Park has a beautiful rose garden, a mosaic mural and a wreath of poppies made from clay.  It is such a lovely creative tribute to our soldiers.

We have a lengthy chat with the owner who also owns another small cafe along the beachfront near the caravan park where we are staying. He gives us lots of information about nearby places to stay. Andrew orders a steak and caramelised onion turkish bread and I have the frittata. The owner picks the fresh herbs from the front garden to garnish our lunch. Both meals where absolutely delicious so if you are ever visiting Dongara make sure you visit Poppies for a meal.  Cinta was so tired she fell asleep sitting up at the table while she was waiting for us to finish our lunch!

 

Another cold morning and a late start to the day. We are both reluctant to get up as we are snug and warm in the van enjoying our cuppa in bed. I have a bit of work to catch up on this morning and then it’s time to make a few calls to family and friends.

This afternoon we take a walk along the boardwalk and beachfront where the river meets the ocean. The pelicans are sitting along the riverbank and as I slowly approach one of them throws his head right back and his beak opens wide almost like he is laughing his head off. I zoomed in as much as I could on my iPhone but I really wished that I had bought my camera with me.

We’ve met some nice people here at the park during our four day stay and Dongara is certainly a place that we could see ourselves living at. It is a very picturesque seaside village and the locals have been very welcoming.

Wildlife: cows, sheep, dead fox, alpacas, horses, black cockatoos, swans, pelicans, willy wagtails, wrens

Day 186 – 187:  Port Denison to Jurien Bay

It’s 7 degrees this morning, the heater is on again and we are slowly getting ourselves ready for the next leg of the journey. We are heading for Jurien Bay along the Indian Ocean Drive for 3 nights. We are almost ready to go when our neighbours come out for a chat. They are moving onto our site when we leave so that they can get a bit more sunshine.

It’s 9.40 by the time we get on the road and it’s warmed up to 15 degrees. We’ll be travelling 130km today. Every now and then we have a glimpse of the Indian Ocean, it looks amazing. Along the way we call into Green Head to have some morning tea. We find a small cafe at Dynamite Bay and I’m greeted by a young lad with a beautiful smile. The scone menu reads: plain, savoury, fruit, date & walnut, pumpkin. My mouth is already watering. Andrew has plain as he is not very adventurous when it comes to the palette and I have the fruit scone. It was absolutely mouth watering with big pieces of fruit throughout and fresh raspberry jam and cream.

Across the road is the lookout over Dynamite Bay so we take a walk up the hill. Wow, it is very pretty. There are kids swimming in the ocean and we can just imagine how cold that water is as we are all rugged up – they must be locals.

Back in the car and we arrive at Apex Camp Jurien just before lunch. We take a powered site at $20. The welcome is not overly friendly and the place looks very disorganised & run down. I’m taken to one site then told that’s no good there’s no water available there and then taken to another site and told to park across the front of two other vans as they are there for a couple of weeks & wont be going anywhere. I’m a bit miffed and immediately decide two nights will do here instead of three.

Andrew is trying to park the van in a difficult spot and the woman comes over & is trying to tell him what to do so we are both feeling a bit frustrated. It’s very disorganised!  We set up, have some lunch and head into town to have a look around. We find the Jetty and head out for a walk – no dogs allowed so Andrew waits near the car while I stroll out for a look. There are some lovely mosaic fish along the pathway and further along a lovely mural painted on the amenities block by the children of Jurien.

This morning we are taking a drive down to the Pinnacles, situated in the Nambung National Park.  Cinta is staying at the caravan while we take the 41km drive.  It’s 13 degrees at 9.25am when we leave and there is light rain along the way.  The entrance fee is $13 per vehicle and there is a 4km one-way drive through thousands of limestone pillars rising out of the yellow sand.  Some stand to 3.5m in height and can be jagged, sharp-edged columns and others resemble tombstones.  Watch the short video below to take a drive with us through some of the desert.

The Pinnacles are believed to have formed underground, possibly up to 500,000 years ago during the Ice Ages.  They may have remained buried for most of this time or have been repeatedly exposed and buried again over the millennia.  Evidence suggests that they were exposed around 6000 years ago but were again covered by shifting sands until only a few hundred years ago.

Heading back to Jurien Bay we take a short detour into Cervantes.  We considered staying here however the price of the only caravan park in town at $57 per night was a bit pricey for us.  We decided to check the small seaside village out anyway and stop in at the cafe on the beachfront for a very late morning tea.  The vanilla slice and carrot cake were delicious.

On the road back to the Indian Ocean Drive is an amazing 350kg Dhufish sculpture which was made by the Cervantes Men’s Shed and further along a metal weather vane.

Back at Jurien, Cinta is very excited to see us back home.  The wind is blowing a gale and the drizzling rain is setting in.  The afternoon is spent inside the van catching up on my blog.

Wildlife: 2 baby emu, magpies, galahs, horses, cattle.

Day 188-189: Jurien Bay to Ledge Point

We are packed up and leaving Jurien Bay by 9.35am. It’s warmed up to 15 degrees and we’ll be travelling 125km today.

Ledge Point is a small seaside village with one caravan park which has very good reviews on Wikicamps. It’s a really large park with beautiful green grassy sites that have plenty of room to put the awning out and park the car on the site as well. The longer you stay the better the discount. We decide to stay 3 nights as I have a bit of work to catch up on. There is only 2 other caravans here so we have the luxury of driving through the site to park. We are set up in no time and Cinta is enjoying rolling around on the grass.

Andrew sets up the TV and there is no reception here. I test the wifi connection and it’s not looking good at all. We are just over 100km from Perth and this would have to be the worst reception we have had in quite some time. It looks like there will be no work being done after all. Thanks heavens we have some Netflix shows downloaded that we can watch of an evening.

We decide to take a drive around the village to see what is on offer and head up to the lookout. The view is really picturesque overlooking the golf course, the Indian Ocean, tracks through the sand dunes and the township. With a population of around 200 people there is not a lot here. The local shop is closing down at the end of the month so locals will need to travel to nearby Lancelin for groceries. There is a country club & cafe which are both open on the weekends.

This morning we’re taking a drive into Lancelin to have a look around. We stop outside the house with the surf board fence so that I can get some photos. Next up is a drive along the beachfront and we stop at the Jetty. It’s blowing an absolute gale and starting to drizzle. Back in the car we head further along to the lookout. There is a lovely boardwalk to the top which overlooks the sand dunes and the township. It is so cold and the wind is so strong. Here’s a short clip of the view; the audio is not very good as the wind was so strong.

There’s a lovely bakery and on a cold winters day it’s time to have a nice hot pie for lunch before heading back to the park.

That’s all for this week, it’s been a relaxing a few days at Ledge Point and during next week we’ll be making our way to our 9 week property sit at Whitby.

Wildlife: dead pig, seagulls, galahs, black cockatoos.

Week 27 total expenses: $873.80 – we’re hoping to keep the expenses down during our property sit!

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That’s a wrap for Week 27 of the Lap of the Map.

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

Week 26 | Port Gregory to Port Denison

Day 176 – 179: Port Gregory

We are now starting week 26 of our year long journey and we have to pinch ourselves every day to remind each other how fortunate we are to be on this adventure.

Today is a rest day for Andrew and a work morning for me.  Telstra reception is very weak at Port Gregory and it’s a struggle to get anything done which is frustrating me to no end.  In the end I call it quits and decide to do some baking instead.  I’m making Mum’s fruit cake again as the last one I made was a total disaster and another batch of pickled cucumbers.  Today’s baking was a success, it also helps if you don’t substitute ingredients for the correct amounts.  Lesson learnt!  Late afternoon we take a walk to the beach and watch the whales breaching far out on the horizon.  How I wish I had a really good zoom lens to be able to capture the moment.

This morning we head off to Kalbarri for a drive to see what everyone raves about.  We certainly weren’t disappointed, it’s a beautiful seaside village bustling with tourists and every type of water sport you can think of.  We would love to come back (out of season) when the pace is a lot slower.

Chinamans Beach has a spectacular view of the ocean crashing over Oyster Reef and it’s exciting watching the boats navigating through the channel into the Murchison River.  At times the buoys are completely swamped by the waves. We walk further around to Chinaman Rock where I take a short video of the ocean, it is mesmerising.

There are quite a few other attractions that we are keen to visit along the coastline and Natural Bridge is the first stop.  A 750m walk along a meandering pathway on top of the cliff edge takes you out to a platform overlooking natural bridge.  The force of the Indian Ocean and decaying of the cliffs has sculpted the limestone rock into a bridge still attached to the coastline.

Island Rock is a short walk of 200m from the car park. It was once part of the natural shoreline but now stands solitary as a sea stack, it reminded us of the 12 apostles.

Next stop is Pot Alley and there is plenty of wow factor here. The view south from the cliff top truly captures the rugged beauty of the coastline. The cove below is hazardous with the ocean crashing against the cliffs, it’s a spectacular sight.

It’s been a great day exploring the natural attractions of Kalbarri.  The Western Australian coastline certainly has plenty of wow factor.

Another cold night in Port Gregory with temperatures going down to 9 degrees and another sleep in for us all.  I could get used to sleeping in till 8.00am especially when it’s cold.  Today is another rest day for Andrew and a bit of work for me.  He’s in charge of doing the washing today and I’ve changed the sheets over to our flanellette set.

We’ve met quite a few people over the past few days here at the park and it’s great to be distracted from time to time to have a chat.  There are plenty of Queenslanders travelling the coastline over here and the locals are giving us all sorts of information about the best places to stay and those to avoid.  Cinta wins everyone over, we have had many comments about how well behaved she is and how quiet she is.

I’m taking the drone up today to get some aerials over the beach and also some of the pink lake.  It’s been quite windy on and off all week, so today is my last chance before we leave.  A short walk from the caravan park and up a very steep hill is the water tanks that supply the village.  We head up there early and even though the wind is still a little stronger than I like I decide it’s now or never.

It’s a great flight and I get some good footage of the village and also the pink lake.  I’ve taken some aerial photographs too, so I’m feeling very confident and suggest we head down to the beachfront.  We meet our neighbours on the beach, they are mad keen fisherwoman so we head in the opposite direction so that we don’t disturb them.

The flight is going really well and I’ve got some terrific aerials of the beach and the pink lake.  I’m scooting up and down the shoreline (not going over the water though!) and all over the dunes and then my battery is getting low and the drone has told me that I’ve lost my compass.  Oh gosh, I’m trying to turn around and bring it back home and then a gust of wind crashes me into the sand dunes.  I try to recover but unfortunately the blades are spinning around in the tall grass and I’m going nowhere fast.

Andrew to the rescue!  Up the dunes he goes, I couldn’t stop laughing as he’s getting nowhere fast as well.  I’ve managed to turn the drone off and finally he reaches it and delivers it back to me.  Thank heavens it is not damaged!  It was a fun morning, now it’s back to the van to start editing the footage and post some photos to Facebook.  I hope you enjoy this short clip of some of the highlights of my flight.

Wildlife: whales, seagulls, honeyeater, laughing turtle dove, crows, kangaroos, sheep, pelicans, dead kangaroos

Day 180: Port Gregory to Mullewa

This morning we are packed up early and leaving Port Gregory by 9.00am, the temperature is 13 degrees.  A quick stop along the way at Northampton again to stock up on groceries and then we are heading to Mullewa which is about 168km away.  Mullewa is rich in both natural and cultural heritage and is well known for its abundance in wildflowers and is one of the few places in the world that the wreath flower grows.

The drive along the Chapman Valley Road was so picturesque with undulating hills and masses of crops being grown including lupin and legumes.  It was so lovely to see the countryside so green and to see water babbling through the small creeks.  Sheep and cattle were grazing in the pastures and the occasional horses where also sighted.

The Mullewa Caravan Park is seasonal and there is no caretaker here until August.  Bookings are made online or over the phone.  We’ve taken an unpowered site at $20 for the night.  It’s quite a large park with grassy sites and concrete pads.  There are a couple of drive through sites so we have taken one of those given that we are only here overnight and there is only 3 other caravans here.  The amenities are really old and when I open the coded door I feel like I have stepped back into the 60’s.  The walls are covered with tiles that have a green and brown bamboo print on them.  It’s quite wild!

After we set up we head into the information centre to find out where we can see some wildflowers.  We are well aware that it’s a bit early yet, but we are hoping that we will get to see some.  There are two walking trails so we head off to the Mullewa Bush Trail which has a scenic lookout over the township.   It’s a 2370m loop and we are assured that we will see some wildflowers along the way.

It’s only 17 degrees so it is a pleasant walk and we meet a family who is also doing the walk.  The track is a little rough and we are pleased to see a variety of bushes in flower.  We can only imagine how spectacular it will look in another 4 weeks when the season is in full swing.  There is no wreath flowers to be seen which is a bit disappointing but it was expected.  I managed to get quite a few photographs of different flowers so I was more than happy with the bush walk.

The remainder of the afternoon is spent back at the van relaxing and deciding where to next.

Wildlife: sheep, horses, cattle, hawk, crows, corellas, galahs.

Day 181: Mullewa to Mingenew

We have a bit of a travel plan in place after last nights discussion given that we now only have 10 days until we are due to arrive at our property sit in Whitby.  Our journey today is only 80km and after an overnight low of 8 degrees we enjoy a lazy start to the morning with a cuppa snuggled up in a warm bed.  By 9.50am when we are ready to depart it has warmed up to 14 degrees.  It feels good getting into the car with a temperature set at 23 degrees.

The drive down to Mingenew is picturesque as we are following the mid western region wildflower trail.  Rolling hills and pastoral lands are green as green as far as we can see.  There is plenty of wattle out along the road, the occasional banksias and every now and then some of the yellow and white everlastings.

We are staying at the Mingenew Springs Caravan Park.  It’s a small park and I’d hate to be reversing a caravan into some of these sites when they are full.  The sites are a good size but the road is very narrow.  The sign says to pick a spot and the caretaker will call at 5.00pm.  We do just that and after setting up we head to the main street to see what the township has to offer.

Andrew is disappointed that the bakery has a sign up saying they are closed for the next 3 days.  The local IGA is closed and only open for a few hours in the morning.  The pub is open and the Op shop is open.  We head for the Op shop to see if we can pick up a glass as we broke our favourite scotch glass.  Outside a few locals and their dogs are chatting so Andrew joins in while I have a good look around inside.  Bingo – we’ve scored a pre-loved glass.  No more drinking scotch out of a plastic cup and it was only $1.00!

The locals tell us that there is a polocrosse match on for the next 3 days so half the town is at the event.  There are around 500 people who live in the Mingenew district and there are 9 farms.  It’s a sleepy township with no one in sight as we drive around.

The Mingenew Hill Lookout has a great view over the township and pastoral surrounds and Depot Hill is the place to see all the wildflowers when they are in season.  We take a short drive out anyway just in case, but it is still too early for the wildflowers.  Back at the park we enjoy the rest of the afternoon sitting outside in the sun discussing the next 10 days travel plans.

Wildlife:  eagle, galahs, corellas, sheep, cattle horses, black cockatoos, No 28 parrots.

Day 182: Mingenew to Port Denison

Another cold overnight going down to 7 degrees and this morning we have the heater on in the van to warm ourselves up.  It’s going to get a lot of use during the property sit at Whitby.  We’ve taken our time getting started again today as the journey is only 57km.  We had planned on staying at Geraldton for a few days, however all the reviews on Wikicamps were not very impressive and our neighbours at Port Gregory had told us of a few thefts that week at Geraldton while they were there.  Given that info, we decided we’d stay elsewhere and take a day trip into Geraldton instead.

Port Denison is a crayfishing town and there is approx 3000 people here.  Dongara is on the other side of the Irwin River which meanders through both townships.  The Dongara Caravan Park which is situated at Port Denison is right on the beach and they offer a great deal to stay 4 nights and pay for 3.  We have a large grassy powered site for 4 nights at $29.25 per night.

After we have set up we head for a walk down to the beach.  The beachfront looks just like Port Gregory with ocean sea grass stacked up everywhere.  There are about half a dozen surfers further down the beachfront taking advantage of the waves and the breeze is fresh and salty on our faces.

Today is budget and blog day so here I am tapping away at the keyboard again while Andrew is watching the footy.

Our trip is going to be extended as we have managed to get a house sit in Tasmania for the Christmas and New Year period.  It will be the first time Andrew and I have spent Christmas alone and to be honest, we are looking forward to that this year.  All going well we’ll make it home for Mum’s 90th birthday in May.

Wildlife:  sheep, cattle, crows, galahs

Week 26 total expenses: $404.99, how we wish every week could be that good!  Somehow I think next week is going to be a little bit expensive with stocking up on food, fuel and grog!

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That’s a wrap for Week 26 of the Lap of the Map.

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