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.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment

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.

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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!