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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s our last day at Ledge Point today and with virtually no WiFi reception we are doing the washing and spending the day relaxing. I’m doing some colouring in and enjoying using my creative side of my brain while Andrew is reading his book and Cinta is chilling out on her bed.
We’ve met some lovely people in this park and enjoyed chatting throughout the day. The weather has come over cloudy and cold forcing us indoors early to keep ourselves warm.
Most nights are now under double digits and we are really feeling the cold. This morning is another slow start to the day before heading on the road at 9.30am. It’s warmed up to 14 degrees and we’re expecting a maximum of 18. Today’s journey will be 132km.
The scenery is so picturesque as we are travelling, the banksias are all out in flower, yellow and purple wildflowers in abundance and grass trees are prolific along the highway. It seems so strange to be seeing the grass trees along the western highway. Wineries are now in sight and the traffic is growing. As we are coming into the Swan Valley the traffic is at a standstill while two trucks manouvre over a bridge with heavy machinery on-board.
We arrive at the Midland Caravan Park and receive a warm welcome from the receptionist and a seniors discount for our powered site. The roads within the park are very narrow and the site is very tight to manouvre into but Andrew does really well and we are parked up in no time. A young guy who is currently residing at the park comes over to offer assistance and we get chatting for quite some time.
It’s time to stock up on groceries and have some retail therapy time to pick up some winter woolies. We’ve decided to buy a slow cooker and a sandwich maker as we’re missing our slow cooked meals and toasted sandwiches. K-mart is our first stop and we can’t believe how cheap everything is; we’ve picked up everything we need. There’s a fabulous cafe called Miss Maud’s which we discovered in South Australia so we decide to have our lunch there.
Back at the park it’s getting really cold so it’s another early afternoon in the van with the heater on to keep ourselves warm.
Wildlife: sheep, cattle, emus, No 28 parrots, Shetland pony, horses.
Day 192: Swan Valley to Whitby
Today is the day that we head off to our house sit for 9 weeks. How strange will that feel to be in the one place for so long. No more setting up and packing up the van every other day or week. To be honest, I think we are both looking forward to staying in the one place for a while.
It is 15 degrees at 10.00am and we are on the move this morning after a cold overnight of 9 degrees. The sat nav is set and we are heading for Whitby. Our journey today is 53km. On arrival we are met by Greg; it’s a very warm welcome. Greg walks us around the property to show us where he would suggest that we park the van. He knows we’ll be chasing the sun for the warmth so he’s picked a lovely spot beside the shed with easy access to power and water.
The property is 5 acres and has an abundance of pine trees, jacaranda trees, London plain trees, palm trees, frangipani trees, fruit trees, camelias, azaleas, roses, cliveas and that is just to name a few. It’s absolutely beautiful and we know that we will love looking after this property. It is so peaceful. Raelene arrives home and invites us to the house for afternoon tea. It’s great getting to know them both.
We spend most of the afternoon setting ourselves up. Everything is out of the car and we are set up for the long term stay. We have access to a toilet, laundry, power and water, the swimming pool (which I can’t see us using as the water is currently 12 degrees) and the outside pavillion areas. It’s more than we could ever ask for. Greg has built a lovely fire pit and paved area so we can sit outside and enjoy our own fires.
Wildlife: black cockatoos, finches, wrens, llamas.
Day 193 – 196: Whitby
Waking up in Whitby after a cold night dropping down to 9 degrees, the sun is peeking it’s head through the clouds and today is a work day for me. Andrew spends a lot of time chatting with Greg about the property and Raelene is busy today babysitting their grandson.
After lunch I take a break and Andrew and I have a walk to nearby Mundijong. It’s only about 3km away and easy to find. There are wildflowers and wattle everywhere along the roadside. We have heard trains back at the property and we soon have to cross the tracks to arrive at the Mundijong village. There’s a lovely little community garden, an IGA, a pub, doctor, chemist and a few other small shops. It’s a lovely walk to take when we need milk and bread.
There are a couple of strange looking succulents outside the Community Garden that we’re not sure exactly what they are. If it’s open next time we take a walk, we’ll pop in and have a look around and see if we can find out what they are. Back home and back to work. I have some catching up to do given that I’ve been out of range for 4 days now.
Raelene and Greg are leaving this morning, we said our goodbyes last night as they have an early start. Time for us to catch up on washing and time for me to do a bit more work. Andrew has sweet and sour pork in the slow cooker and then he’ll organise some timber for the fire pit for this afternoon.
I’m feeling really cold today, the maximum is supposed to be 16 but that won’t happen until around 3.00pm. It’s overcast and the sun just can’t peek through the clouds. The washing is not drying so Andrew has moved it to under the patio roof. I tried to help, but being vertically challenged, I can’t reach the clothes line outside or on the patio. I guess that’s going to be Andrew’s job for the next 9 weeks!
Cinta is loving the freedom of being off lead. She has sniffed every corner of this property and comes back to the van covered in leaves or dirt all over her snout. It’s too cold for me to work inside so I’ve got Andrew lighting the fire and I’m heading out to the fire pit. I don’t like using the reverse cycle heater all the time in the van and having a fire pit is a perfect excuse to be outside enjoying it – even if I am working! Happy Hour is calling…
It’s the weekend and Andrew has bacon and eggs cooking outside, the smell drives me out of my warm bed. The sun is out – hooray – time to put the washing back out on the clothes line. Andrew where are you? We’re heading for 19 degrees today, so it should be a beautiful day. The shopping district at Whitby is about 6km away and there is a Coles, Woolworths, IGA and Aldi so the grocery prices should be competitive. A quick trip to pick up a few items as I’d like to make a nice pumpkin soup and buy a couple of bottles of wine. This afternoon is spent writing this blog.
I love camellias. We used to grow them all along our fence line when we lived in Brisbane, so seeing these in the garden here at the property makes me very happy and brings back many fond memories of Brisbane.
Last night dropped to 7 degrees and it’s currently 7.30am and only 9 degrees. The country market is on just around the corner so we’ll take a walk down later to see what it has to offer. It’s a small market but there are quite a lot of people here. There are lots of chickens, geese, rabbits, roosters, pigs and goats that are apparently being auctioned off later in the day. There are a few plant stalls, lots of bric-a-brac and second hand goods and piping hot donuts. Now who could go past a donut?
It’s turned out to be a beautiful day and we have reached our top temperature of 19 degrees by lunch time. We’re going to try out the pizza oven today and my best friend Mr Google has told us how to cook a pizza in this flash oven. With a garden full of fresh herbs, they will top of the pizza nicely. There is only one word to describe our pizza today; YUM. NB; one half with no green garnishes – that is Andrew’s half!
This afternoon has been spent watching an online video of a couple who took a dog on the Spirit of Tasmania, it’s been great to watch as it’s answered quite a few of our questions and some further research on the site has answered all the other questions about taking the caravan. We are now booked to depart on November 13th returning on March 4th which will give us plenty of time to explore Tasmania. The clock will be ticking once we leave our property sit at the end of September to make our way over to Melbourne.
That’s all for this week folks so stay tuned to see what we get up to while exploring the surrounding suburbs of Perth.
Wildlife: black cockatoos, finches, wrens, doves, ducks, llamas, kangaroo, horses.
Week 28 total expenses: $632.23 – that’s starting to look a little bit better. An additional $2,190.36 is an extraordinary expense for the ferry to Tasmania. The return fare cost included the following: car, caravan (both priced according to length), a cabin overnight and a kennel for Cinta.