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!