Week 35 | Whitby House Sit – Week 7

Day 239 – 245: Whitby

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

The Indiana Tea House

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Week 34 | Whitby House Sit – Week 6

Day 232 – 238: Whitby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!