A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: iandeborah

Lake Kepwai, South West of WA

We had been home for a few weeks after our big trip to bring "Marmalade", our new Sunland caravan, home.

Even though it was cool & rainy we decided to try out a new location we had never been to before, Lake Kepwari, just South of Collie in Western Australia. As this site is run by DBCA (Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions) we had to book online, choose the site you wanted from their map & pay your $7per person, per night.

When we arrived there we were very impressed by the layout & size of the individual sites, table & chairs & firepit on each site, the clean drop toilets & the impressive undercover gas bbq x 2 & bar seating overlooking the Lake. We enjoyed our walks along the Lakefront. The facilities also included a boat ramp area which had a couple of undercover bbqs & seating areas for picnickers.

We took a trip into Collie on Saturday. Deborah found a craft shop in town.

Inside the railway sheds we found a train carriage which serves as a cafe every second Sunday when the markets are on.

Collie has a mural trail. Here is a little chap we found in an alleyway.


On our way back from Collie to the campground we found the Collie Motorplex where they just happened to be racing.

Posted by iandeborah 08:21 Comments (2)

Bringing Sweet "Marmalade" home

21 June 22 - Tuesday, the day we start our journey home from QLD.
234 Km travelled in total, but only 184km with the van on.
We had hoped to do around 500km today.

We departed Sunland Caravans at Caboolture by 2.30pm. We decided to take the toll roads to make the journey quicker. It did assist us with a smooth drive, less traffic through the City. We made it to Maryvale, QLD by Sunset. Parked up behind the Crown Hotel free camping area. Unfortunately closed Monday and Tuesday nights for dinner but we were able to test out the inverter system to make a quick microwave meal. We tested the hot water system using the red water valve to recirculate the first few litres of water until it heats up properly. It was a bit tricky to get used to, but we will get the hang of it eventually. We were able to use the radio.
Early to bed & early to rise.

22 June 22 - Wednesday
618 km travelled today.
The alarm goes off at 6.30 am, the chooks crow on Ian's phone. We thought it was a bit cool so we tested out the gas heater and it worked a treat. It was 3 degrees outside with beautiful blue skies once again. Deborah had breakfast ready. A quick breakfast and ablute but not forgetting some photos of the location.

Some of the towns we drove through include
Big Apple Thulimbah
Stanthorpe where we had a morning tea break. Previously all of the Containers For Change we have seen were all manned or womanned. This one was a real self serve, no cash, just choose to donate to your charity of choice, or a digital refund.

We crossed into NSW.
Tenterfield, Peter Allen's hometown
Bolivia Hill, 1025metres tall on the New England Highway.
Historic Deep Water where Ian was halted by a Policeman, saying I should fine you for that number plate MANCTY FC. Then he pulled out a breathalyser for Ian to blow into. Again he maintains his Zero Hero status. We were then waved on.
There was chatter from the Truckies on the UHF, "Stop & Goes, pull em up" alerting other truckers of the situation ahead.
We went through the Killarney Gap a road which does not allow semi trailers and had some narrow U-Turn bends that could possibly rival some Tasmanian roads.

Today we were listening to the ABC radio, Conversations with author Ruth Ozeki . " The Book of Form & Emptiness. "
They mentioned Maree Condo & her Japanese background and the value of items even though you decide it has no intrinsic value. You might want to celebrate when the item is disposed of. They spoke of disposing broken sewing needles by placing them gently to rest in tofu at a temple for a soft respectful ending. If you want listen to the conversation go to abc.net,au.conversations I believe they said.
We found it very interesting.

As we passed Inverell we saw a road sign on the side of the road warning to look out for Deer. Not one was seen by our eyes alive or dead. We did however see cows on the road and slowed down to avoid them and the cow pats.

Lunch today was at Binga.

We then drove through the Killarney Gap. The drive was very scenic and peaceful not to mention slow at times.

Our stop for the night is at Coonabarabran Golf Club. We were baptised upon our arrival into town.
There were about a dozen campers that utilised the free camping area.
After a lovely sunset we wandered into the clubrooms for a drink and the most delicious Chinese meal at their restaurant Lotus. No MSG on these meals & the meals are suitable for people with Coeliacs. The service was very friendly. You can eat in the restaurant or take it away. Free camping allowed, you are asked to support the club by purchasing a drink or meal. We did both of course.
The restaurant serves lunch or dinners Tuesdays to Sundays. The campsite gave us an open view of the clear nights sky, the stars were so visible without any artificial street lights. It was certainly a beautiful night and lovely experience.

23 June 22 - Thursday
722 km travelled today.
Again we woke to the alarm, had breakfast and as we headed off just after 7am.
At 7.10 at -1 degrees, it was cold but again the heater worked well. A bit of water was need on the windscreen & the demister full blast on the windscreen to melt the ice. We drove through Collie NSW, Nevertire a little town where we stopped to have a cuppa & morning tea. We drove into the Bogan Shire where we saw cotton on the sides of the road. We drove past a big yard full of giant, hay bale size cotton wool rounds stacked awaiting transport. We drove onto Copper Mine City, Cobar & stopped to enjoy a bite of lunch.
Picked up some fuel at Wilcannia. We saw wild goats on the sides of the road, none came too close but we did slow down to avoid an incident. Stopped for the night at Dolo Hill Rest Area just before sunset & the sunset didn’t disappoint. We had a quiet night by the hill and initially were the only campers. But we woke up to find 2 trucks, a ute & a camper trailer.

24 June 22 - Friday
513 km travelled today.
Same process to wake up and get cracking when the sun rose. We viewed a lovely sunrise prior to departure. The day commenced at 5 degrees a bit warmer than we had been used too. We drove through Little Topar, and Broken Hill where they are filming the new Mad Max movie. Using Mr Google we found where Coles was and picked up some supplies, but wary of crossing the SA border we did not pick up fruit, vegetables, grape vines or plants. Not long after that we crossed into SA. The inspector asked us some questions and inspected our fridge. We were all clear. The inspector said he had confiscated lots of items already this morning purchased by travellers at Broken Hill. We gained 30 minutes so today felt quite long.

We drove to Peterborough and stretched our legs as we walked through town. It was a lovely town filled with friendly people. It has a number of quirky opportunity shops & emporiums. Unfortunately the craft shop was closed. There were several pubs in town. The town is very RV friendly even with what looked like a show ground with at least 25 vans and campers parked up and room for 4 times as many easily. It would be a great place for a club meet.

We drove through Orroroo, and past the Commercial Hotel where we stayed on the way over.

Music we heard today included:
Songs by 10cc, Don Williams, Slim Dusty, Bruce Springsteen, George Thorogood, Pink Floyd to name a few. Every hour we heard the news.

Tonight our resting place is Beautiful Valley Caravan Park at Wilmington. It is convenient with many drive through sites. Great for a 1 night stay. We have hooked up with power, water & sullage and are testing other items in the van. The air con is working on heat. We have bipassed the red water valve as we are on mains water. Our solar on arrival was at 100%. The night was peaceful apart from some of the locals dropping on the roof to party. About 2am and then again at 4am. We think the possums were tap dancing on our roof. Deborah turned on 6 outside lights so they didn’t hurt themselves when they jumped down & scurried away. They obviously had so much fun the first time they thought they would do it a second. Deborah obliged again by turning on the disco lights.

25 June 22 - Saturday
606 Km travelled today
We commenced our day in the normal fashion. 6.30 wake up by the chooks, turn on the lovely gas heater with the control right next to the bed, Ian's side. Wait a few minutes & then get up and its all action stations. Beautiful Valley, Wilmington, is quite nice with its little puppet shop & toy & car museum, rodeo in January but we had places we needed to be. Up and over the misty Horrocks Pass, with the clouds hugging the peaks, and down the other side past the renewable energy on show. The sunrise catching the blades on a still & quiet morning.

Picked up some fuel in Port Augusta and continued onwards past Iron Knob.
Our morning tea stop was in lovely Kimba with it's Silo Artwork. It was completed September 2017. It took 26 days to paint & 200Litres of paint. Artist Cam Scale. Artwork commissioned through Judy Roller by the Kimba Community Development Group as part of the Igniting Kimba Arts Program.

The last time we came through the Coffee Hut was closed, as was Workshop 26 which it is part of. We enjoyed a very nice coffee today at the Coffee Hut & then ventured into Workshop 26 which is described as industrial meets country in an abandoned tractor shed. You can meet the Artisans that have created all the items that are for sale. It is a very quirky and modern, in an old John Deer Tractor Shed filled with sea containers, made into art and display rooms. They are filled with treasures that the 5 crazy Ladies that got together over bubbles & snacks to brainstorm what can only be described as a creative hub. We were invited to come in to sit down by the fire & join in on the conversations. This garage filled our hearts with joy! Thankyou Ladies! What an outstanding business you have created & so wholesome for visitors.
If we ever come this way again, we will definitely be back, as this is a Hidden Treasure and not to be missed. And its half-way across Australia.

We stopped at Wudinna for lunch.

Occasionally, as we did coming into Ceduna, we have experienced some wide loads coming in the other direction and have pulled over to accommodate.

We reached our resting place for tonight at "Cohens Old School Site", SA. There was one other camper at the location, no others joined us for the night.

26 June 22 - Sunday
670 Km travelled today
Today another coolish morning at 3 degrees. It was the day we gained an hour and a half extra so we thought we might be able to get a few extra kms under the belt. To this end Deborah chipped in and took the wheel for an hour. We drove off today, being Sunday, listening to Macca on ABC 693AM Australia All Over.

This was the day we traversed the Nullarbor plain. We stopped a few times for fuel at different roadhouses & morning tea was at the Nullarbor Roadhouse.

We popped into Scenic lookout No 1 and viewed where the desert reaches the ocean. Magnificent cliffs & wild ocean.

Entering WA at Border Village everything stops for inspection by the quarantine officers. Both car & van were inspected & both passed with flying colours.

After being allowed back into our home state we drove a few more kms and stopped for lunch at Eucla. We passed a gentleman sitting on the side of the road, eating his lunch next to his push bike enjoying the sunshine.

Ian spied a hitch hiker on the roadside, looking a bit sheepish, needless to say we slowed down for it, but did not pick it up. Then he spotted 2 emus walking along the roadside. It must have been the day for hitch hikers.

Needing a rest our stop tonight was at "Kevs behind the truck stop". It's about 15km East of Cocklebiddy. The truck parking is beside the highway & the caravan parking is in the bush behind, way off the road. You must be self contained to stop here & enjoy free camping.

27 June 22 - Monday
587 Km travelled today
Setting off today just after 7am, it was 6 degrees & the skies were blue. By the time we reached Norseman it had reached 22 degrees. We came across many oversized trucks today. Between Caiguna and Balladonia is the longest stretch of straight road in the world. Deborah decided to take the wheel and drove through this section of our journey.

Our morning tea location today was at Balladonia Roadhouse. Heading West from Balladonia we finally leave the low endless scrub land and start driving through the trees and shrubs of the Western Woodlands.

We stopped at the Information Bureau in Norseman, WA, to pick up some Keep Australia Clean kits. We have seen our share of rubbish this trip at some of the roadside camp spots. We took the opportunity to enjoy lunch opposite a lovely park, then a stroll to IGA to pick up a few necessities and headed through Salmon Gums. Our destination today was Grass Patch Caravan Park, WA, halfway between Norseman & Esperance. Tracking well to be home on Wednesday. Grass Patch has it's grain silos, a pub currently undergoing renovation by new owners, a cornerstone/ postal agent, a works

28 June 22 - Tuesday
507 Km travelled today
We left Grass Patch by 8 this morning and it was 8 degrees outside. We still put the gas heater on for a few minutes to warm up the air.
As we drove out of town a few specks of rain appeared, also too a rainbow in the distance. Sheep could be seen either side of the road. We came across truck after truck heading East & West, so we dubbed it Truck Tuesday.

Our first town was the lovely Ravensthorpe. It has a 48 hour free camp are in town, IGA, cafes, the big lolly shop, a pub, an electric charging station and an amazing shop Deborah loves to frequent called " The Devil's Darning Needle." A must to visit for the sewing fraternity. This is what I picked up today, the middle is made from Mallee root. I can see it having great purpose with my sewing.

The street seat art is spectacular. The town is clean & friendly. Ravensthorpe holds an annual Wildflower exhibition highlighting the flora from the Fitzgerald Biosphere. We had our morning tea at a rest stop about 20km East of arriving at Ravensthorpe.

We took a photo of the Ravensthorpe Silo Art, one of 6 in WA and the second we have visited in WA during this trip. This Silo was finished in 2016. It took 338 litres of paint, 31 days to paint. The Artist is Amok Island
Ian & I appreciate the scale of each of the Silo artwork & the hours it took to create each piece of Silo Art. It covers the 6 stages of the Banksia baxteri.

Our radio station of choice today was ABC. Listening to the conversations chat about, do you live in a Silo or a Village. Ian & I feel we live in a Village in Broadwater, Busselton. Our neighbours all keep an eye out for each other, collect mail, water the gardens, mow the grass, pull out & bring in rubbish bins, send a text late at night if a neighbours garage door is left up, drinks at the end of our driveways during covid. We feel very lucky.

Lots of water at the sides of the road was seen throughout our travels today. The expanse of Lake King, means no photo could do justice of its size.

Next stop was for lunch at the Newdegate Silos, our 3rd Silo in WA on this trip. How magnificent are they?
This Silo It took 120 Litres of paint, 13 days to paint, it is a massive 25 metres high. The Artist is Brenton See.

A metal tree & leaves sculpture were a picture to behold at Lake Grace located behind the St John Ambulance Building. They have a bowls club & an Art Space.

We noticed canola and wheat growing in the field both sides of the road.

Our destination today is Dumbleyung, behind the GODI (Grande Olde Dumbleyung Inne) pub. They have the fire on too. It has a beautiful community garden which even has lettuces growing.
You must be self contained to stop here & enjoy free camping & it is polite to support the establishment. As tonight is our last night on the road for this trip we are enjoying some pub grub & some celebratory drinks. The publican offered his shower & toilet but we declined as we have ours on board & water remaining in our tanks. What an adventure we have had.
Stubbs park directly behind us is a 72 hour free camping are also both so convenient.

29 June 22 - Wednesday
285 Km travelled today

We depart our final leg of this adventure today from misty 6 degrees from Dumbleyung. Got to say we love the gas heater on these cool mornings.
Our drive today takes us through Wagin, Darkin, Arthur River, Collie, Donnybrook, Capel & home to see if Marmalade can fit under the carport.

We were following a mini bus that ended up being the school bus who stopped and was picking up the children to take them to school. It was delightful to see the happy faces of the children & their parents waving them off. We topped up with fuel at Wagin.

Donnybrook was our chosen morning tea stop. We visited the Big Apple Bakery to pick up a treat for morning tea to go with our coffee. We passed the Million dollar Apple Funpark which caters to children of all ages.

Again listening to ABC conversations on our travels. The owner Richard Kuipers & brand ambassador of 2 men & a truck, who grew their family business from a trailer up to 94 trucks. They even employed a family mediator to help navigate creating a family business with succession planning. Now the eldest daughter is the CEO & the mediator continues with the process. They set up processes, one of which entailed how each family member is to respectfully communicate with each other when at the business. The business holds regular board meetings & every 3 years the whole family, including the children/grandchildren, they all have a voice & have input for a family holiday.
Richard has written a book about it called " Inside the Box." It certainly sounds like a good book to read.

We have had a smooth trip today homeward bound. Just dropping into South West Windscreens on the way home.

We left QLD with 190L general water tank and 60 Litres in our filtered water tank. We had 2 nights at a caravan park using their water and 6 nights using the water from our tanks. The water gauges on caravans are not very accurate & the gauges on Marmadale have 5 steps on both tanks. The filtered water is still showing 5 steps available ie Full (not an indication of how much we drink) and general water shows 2 steps left. The handy option is we can flick a valve & use the filtered water tank in the shower or basins if we ran out of our general water tank. End result is we have made it through 6 night and 7 days with what we hold in water so far with our own water and power. One shower a day & washing up in the mornings. We are yet to test the full power usage off grid.

We have noticed we have quirky steps, pressing the electric step switch for them to lower, actually raises them and visa versa.
Also a pulsing pump, when left on, pulses every 1 & a half to 2 minutes.

So far we are feeling very positive of the vans performance, we just need to monitor how the batteries recharge from the solar panels & in particular the car.

Destination & final resting point today is home in beautiful Busselton, but cloudy today.
This trip we have travelled a total of 7,704.5 Km.
We arrived home by 2pm.

Now to see if our sweet "Marmalade" fits in the carport which is 3.1 metres high
We were advised by Sunlandcaravans the travel height was 3.05 metres.
Looks like our tape measure is a bit different to Sunland Caravans.

The progress is a foot to give Sweet " Marmalade" a home for when she's not off galavanting around.

Diesel costs per litre along the way in case your interested to know:
Caboolture United 221.9
Glen Innes United 226.9
Coonabarabran 226.9
Cobar Shell 239.9
Wilcania 249.9
Little Topar 224.9
Yunta 227.9
Port Augusta 231.7
Kimba 231.9
Ceduna 229.9
Penong 240.9
Nundroo 237.9
Nullabor 319
Boarder 319
Mundrabilia 265
Caiguna 285
Balladonia 282.2
Salmon Gums 242.2
Gibson 245.9
Ravensthorpe 235
Wagin 230

Our trip

Feel free to leave a comment on our blog.

Posted by iandeborah 05:57 Comments (8)

The build of our Sunland Scorpion 2022 18ft 6inch

View Picking up our Sunland Scorpion from QLD on iandeborah's travel map.

After 4791 km travel from Busselton to Caboolture we pick up our van very very soon.

This is our build progress
We decided the 18foot 6 is the size we are comfortable with. Ian wanted the alloy chassis as it was lighter but stronger. We love our separate toilet & shower. We opted for the Natures Head toilet this time round. We love the cafe seat. We have the option of taking the window cushion off for those days you have friends or family camping with you & it may just be a rainy day. The leather side cushion lifts up for ease of removal for comfortably seating 4. We love sitting outside under our awning and watching the world go by. We have a queen bed back home for our future travels. it has been custom made by Mr Mattress in Rockingham but it was not possible to bring it over in the car for our trip back home. We had a self inflatable infamous Ikea covag brand double mattress that we brought over for this trip home in the van.
We love the cupboards & slick door finish with self closing drawers. The windows are huge in this van. Ian is very happy with his big tool box which hinges from the sides up. The gas bottles are on the drivers side & easy to get too. The other side is for the travel of our Ziggy bbq.

We ordered & paid deposit May 2021. Our initial visit to the factory in April 21 where we met & talked to Tarrot (The owner Roy Wyss Jnr's Son & bossman) & Dereck.

27th May 2022
Alloy Chassis finished Friday 28 May 2022 - picture sent by text from Tarrot
The 2 wheels are factory wheels for ease of moving it around in the workshop from one team to the next.

1 June 2022
Build pictures Tuesday 1 June 2022 - picture sent on text from Michael

3rd June 2022
We received the invoice from Sunland Caravans to pay. Needless to say, that bill has now been paid & when the van is ready we can take the it home.

6th June 2022
We received a call from Tarrot advising the van will be ready 15th or 16th June, tba closer to finish. Photos arrived not long after, some from Tarrot & some from Michael both of them are involved in the sales side of the Sunland Business.

8th June 2022
We received a text from Tarrot today with a few more pictures.

9th June 2022 Factory visit - Did not disappoint. John, the Leading hand gave us a full tour of our van.
It was amazing to see our van evolve in front of our eyes.

13db2aa0-e879-11ec-b043-378912d1f78b.jpgIMG_20220609_145315344_HDR.jpgIMG_20220609_145605670.jpgIMG_20220609_145626704.jpgIMG_20220609_145642936.jpg to


Dining/ Kitchen

Ensuite & Fridge recess

Interior Ceiling

13th June 2022
Photos from Michael today. We asked about a firm date for collection, Michael said he would in the next couple of days. Tarrot said previously it would be ready 15/16 June.
Our van appears to have moved up a slot inside the workshop. It is the next to head out of the factory when finished.
The decals are on
Tanks look to be installed
Tunnel boot hatches installed
Water pump, Girard hot water system, red water valves & solar batteries look to be installed.
Fridge, roof & side vents installed. ? Gas heater under the fridge may also be installed. TB Confirmed.
? Natures Head toilet system installation.
It is coming along nicely.

16th June 2022
Photos from Michael this morning.
We have cupboard doors & drawers, a fridge, microwave, stereo, taps throughout, solar panels.
Awaiting gas hot water switch beside the bed, washing machine, maybe batteries as there are a lot of wires hanging out of that battery boot hatch, bed base, leather seats & basically the word to say it's ready for collection.

17 June 2022
Requested confirmation for a pick-up date from Michael. Response suggested most likely Tuesday mid morning.
The staff have been asked to work back late Friday & Saturday.
Today it appears we have the DRS installed, a tv antenna & our van is now sitting outside but in front of the workshop. If the batteries are installed it should be generating power when the sun is up. ETA on the QLD number plate is 001 UNA. We will change over to a WA registration sometime after we reach home in Busselton.

17th June 2022
It appears from the pictures we are waiting on electrical work to be completed. External running lights & external lights, internal fans. Not sure if the washing machine is in yet or if the Natures Head toilet is installed.

21st June 2022
Best laid plans!
No matter how you prepare. You can never prepare for the worst eventualities.
We knew Sunland had been experiencing ongoing issues. The first floods, then the second floods, Covid and it's offshoots with staff then families off work, supply chain issues, inability to hire new skilled staff. All these factors conspired to delay the delivery of our van and then we rock up on the delivery day to find the cleaner was off with Covid.

We tried to reinforce the point they need to under promise & over delivery.

We were scheduled for a mid-morning handover today at Sunland.
Received a call from Michael at 9.10 as we head off to the factory for pickup. It seems they still need to clean the van & we were informed it would be ready at 11.30. We said we would be there at 10.30 as we have told him since the pick up has stretched out further we can now not afford the time to do a little trip in QLD before we leave Brisbane to reach our deadline of being home by the end of the month. We arrived needless to say nothing goes smoothly when you want it too.

The cleaner called in sick with Covid today. The light clean had not been done on the van. Deborah will clean it up when we get home. We just need to get on the road.
Before we left underneath the bed had been cleaned by one of the staff.

The workshop guys did a great job putting on the antiflap brackets, stone stomper brackets, & Kyle that installed the towel rails & toilet roll holder.
I can say I was initially disappointed the fridge was not on. I had 2 bags of fridge & freezer items with me to pop inside for our journey home to WA. After what felt like an hour they finally turned it on. Surprisingly it did not take long to cool down. I popped all my cold goods inside just before we left the factory.

Due to the factory not having the mirror finish on the fridge upon pick up, without letting us know, Tarrot discussed on handover some alternative options with Deborah, who did choose to run with the installation of additional kitchen benchtop material as the fridge front (luckily they had some of that material in the factory or that option would not have been on offer.) The factory workers swung into action, cut to size & inserted after Deborah gave it the nod. It looks so much nicer than the black option initially given in lieu of the mirrored finish. We were advised the mirror front arrived broken & Tarrot was made aware of it an hour earlier. I did ask why were we not told then.
Tarrot advised of the reasons he does not recommend the mirror type front.
Ie. They are a heavier option & can crack when going off-road, the other was they hold condensation. I would have liked to have been told this when we opted for this change in the first instance as it was a no brainer.

Michael finished off the handover after Tarrot had to help out as Michael was busy with some new customers.
Tracy initially treated us. She added a very welcoming personal, friendly touch.

Some things we need to remember for the future include:

  • Tyre pressure for the van on road was suggested as 55psi. Offroad 25-30psi.
  • Our fridge being a compressor runs off the van batteries or 240 volts. It does not run from the car when travelling.
  • Due to the lithium battery set up it was required to have a regulated portable solar panel rather than the unregulated one Ian wanted. The order for this on the van had been on for over 12 months, we were only told this at pick up.
  • Another hold up at handover was that the screen (bought from Sunland Caravans today) in the car for the caravan rear camera was not receiving a signal/picture. After the electrical technician checked it out it was determined that it didn’t seem to be a caravan issue. So unfortunately we are travelling home without the caravan rear camera working. It will be looked at when we get home.

Deborah's UHF skills have been working very effectively with other vehicles & truck drivers.

Our Scorpion was the last made by the factory we were told. Sunland Caravans now offer 3 models of the Blue Heeler. Tarrot & cameraman Michael did a quick video of our van which they will place on the Sunland Caravans U-tube soon. You won't miss it as it is the only orange Scorpion made & we are loving it.

After a very late handover finished with a 2.30pm departure from we finally Sunland Caravans heading South through Brisbane. We chose to use tolls as we thought it would expedite us out of Brisbane & it did. After phoning the toll company to pay the toll the following day they told us to wait for the invoice to come & then pay within 3 days or we would have to pay an additional admin fee.

Today was the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.

Then off we head to Busselton, our home in the South West of WA, a place we call home.
We will be driving as many daylight hours to make it back for what is set to be a very special family event.

Amazingly, and possibly due to using toll roads, we had a very smooth run out of Brisbane.
Today our destination was as far as we could get before sunset. We arrived at Maryvale, QLD at the Crown Hotel to park up for the night. More on that on the next blog.

If you want to view the utube video Sunland Caravans have just published feel free to take a look. Here is the link
Copy and paste the line above into your internet browser to view.

Posted by iandeborah 03:01 Archived in Australia Comments (8)

Our sunny visit to Nirimba on the Sunshine Coast, QLD

Arrival late Thursday 14 June 2922 at Nirimba to find both Maxine & Neil on holidays & the loyal companions Dexter & Lilly who welcomed us open heartedly.

Friday was a rest day & washing day.

Saturday 15 June 2022 found us at Costco and both Neil & Ian found some jeans. We had a look around this huge store. This is the size gravy they sell.
Deception Bay was our destination of choice for lunch.

We took a trip overseas visit to Bribie Island, wow it's busy over here however we missed the duty free on this occasion. However on this grand visit we surprised Neil's Mum, Juanita (last time Deborah & Juanita caught up was 38 years ago at Maxine & Neil's wedding). Even though we gave her 15 minutes notice & brought afternoon teacake Juanita managed to whip us up some beautiful lemonade scones in her airfryer. They were served with a variety of jams & cups & saucers & teapot. Surprise afternoon tea was thoroughly enjoyed by us all.

Sunday 14 June 2022
Our car needed a wash after our journey over, so we took it for an auto wash then a hand wash at home. Now it is ready for the return trip home.
A bit of pot shopping was had today as Neil fills his garden with lush plants.
Our choice of venue was Maroochydore for lunch. The venue did not disappoint with beautiful views & the day was filled with blue skies.
We had a look through a plant & pot Nursery and Deborah spied a little friend. One in particular took her eye. Ian gave the nod & it was into the car with that one. Bound for WA in our garden.
A drive through the beach side suburb of Mooloolaba drive was delightful & the coastline view was very scenic.

Monday 13 June 2022
Noosa for lunch where we again had the best weather. The weather was fine with gorgeous blue skies. Ian noticed Yvonne Goolagong enjoying lunch. She definitely partook in the pokies. Deborah had $2 to spend as a budget. She spent it 1c at a time for each game. Lucky Neil walked away with $50 & Maxine had a ton of fun, winning & spending her pocket money too. Ian was doing research while we were being entertained.
The drive along the Noosa beachfront was quite scenic. There were a lot of people out enjoying this wonderful sunny day.

Tuesday 14 June 2022
Neil visited the Dentist. We took an afternoon relaxing drive along the foreshore at Dickey Beach. Wow this was stunning countryside. On our way back we took a stroll through a Menswear store looking for a bouge pair of trousers for Ian. Seems they were hiding today as we came out empty handed.

Wednesday 15 June 2022
Very early morning and Maxine & Neil picked up Juanita to take her for a medical appointment in Brisbane.
We had a relaxing sleep in & were in charge of Dexter & Lilly.
Meet Lilly
Meet Dexter

We took a drive to the Caloundra recycling centre. At home we drive through in our cars like a visit to KFC. Turn the engine off, remove our bags with containers for change (all lids removed) and pop them at the bench where the person tips each variety out, counts as they toss them into each huge rectangle bins on wheels. Glass, plastic, coffee bottles, milk cartons etc.
In Caloundra we were surprised to find such a different process. You take your bags in, wait till you are asked to move to a machine with conveyor belts either side that you place your glass on the left conveyor & on the right you place plastic containers & it adds your total up. You take your receipt & go to the cashier to either collect your money or type in a code to donate it to your chosen fund.

A hidden gem revealed as we spied a speciality coffee store & dared to enter. The service & coffee did not disappoint. The coffee beans were roasting at the time so the smell was amazing.

We did a little Woolworths shopping for when we get the call to pick up the van & head homeward bounds. We took a walk around the burbs checking the area out. What a lovely area. The parks & playgrounds have lots of swings & play equipment.

Thursday 16 June 2022
Another beautiful day with fine weather & blue skies.
Relaxing day at home.
Neil did some repotting of plants. While we soaked up the beautiful sunshine & enjoyed a cup of tea.
Neil to our surprise is a whip with his "Taste the Difference" airfryer with a lovely batch of scones, a selection of jams (including rosella jam - Deb's favourite) & even whipped up the cream. They were beautiful!
Ian soaked up some time reading.

Us kids got dropped off at Bullcock Beach & left to our own devices. We took a stroll along the boardwalk on the beachfront to Kings Beach. The view was glorious & the weather a sunny 25 degrees. What do you think?

Friday 17th June 2022
Another fine & sunny Queensland winters day. Neil & Max had to leave home early today to help their son Wade, our nephew move furniture. We took the opportunity to catch up on some washing then head out to have another fine coffee made by Cade Lincoln, at the Lincoln Coffee roasters. Just around the corner we found a couple of op shops (charities stores). Yes, you guessed it, Ian bought a book for a buck and a cd. We then met up with Maxine & Neil for a lovely family lunch at the Golden Bay Tavern, Caloundra.
It was such a beautiful day, we thought we would enjoy a relaxing stroll through the Big 4, Caloundra caravan park and around the burbs.

Saturday 18th June 2022
After a restful morning we took a drive to Montville, up in the hills. We did the tourist thing & checked out a few of the quirky shops. Ian found a couple of Australian made leather belts. We enjoyed a coffee overlooking the valley after heading back through Razorback Road.

Sunday 19th June 2022
We even watched some lawn bowls on television. Our nephew Wade, (Maxine & Neil's son) had been playing bowls last week and this coming week in the Australian Open on the Gold Coast in Queensland. Although this time we were watching his doubles partner Jay play in a round of 64 singles competition, which he ended up winning. Wade was in the stands watching the game.

Lunch destination today, the last day of Maxine and Neil's holidays, was the Buderim Tavern at the top of a hill with some sweeping views back to the coastline. Next to the Tavern was a Woolworths so we took the opportunity to pick up some items for our leg homeward bound.

Monday 20 June 2022
Natalie turns 30 today @ 2.37pm Australian Eastern Standard Time. Happy Birthday Sweetheart.

Max and Neil had to get up early to go to work today after 2 weeks off. We on the other hand are still on holidays, so we took the opportunity to grab another Lincoln coffee & we also slipped into the recycling centre to drop off some bits & bobs so they don't end up in Landfill. On the way back to our swanky accommodation we popped into one of the local parks. The Developer of this area, Stockland, is putting in some tremendous family friendly parks and separate fenced parks just for dogs, one for small dogs and the other for larger dogs. Some agility equipment is in both areas for training with the dogs.

Each of the parks are fully equipped with several bbq areas, covered tables and chairs, 28 bike racks minimum, toilets & loads of play equipment for the big and little kids.

The particular park we walked through was called Eagles Nest with large stand of eucalypt trees. We noticed what looked like some Black boys (Grass Trees) growing in the nest of trees. They seem to have thin flat leaves where as in WA ours are thin and squarish.

Deborah washed the car in preparation for the caravan pick up and journey tomorrow. Ian has packed the car with what we don't need overnight.

Tuesday 21st June 2022
This is the day we say farewell & thankyou to Neil & Maxine. We thank them from the bottom of our heart for taking such great care of us, sharing wonderful days viewing the Sunshine Coast, enjoying many great pub lunches & memorable happy hours. Neil shared his cooking expertise with the air fryer (so much so, we have ordered one) & ofcourse the movie nights. Our time with you, Dexter & Lilly have been filled with fun & loads of frivolity. I let my guard down & took off my shoes & socks in the lounge room, tucked the socks into my shoes and left them beside me, Dex took his time to set up the move, let me relax and within about 40 minutes he slid into stealth mode, snuck over & did the greatest grab & dash with one of my socks right out of the shoe. You got me!

The weather here has been so kind to us. We have worn t shirts each day since arriving. Only had one cloudy day. We were so lucky.

We are today off for a handover of our new van in Caboolture. It's time to make new memories. We hope by lunchtime we will be hit the road bound for the journey home to Western Australia, a lovely destination we are proud to call home. This is what our journey looks like on Wikicamps. We have lots of stops & options to choose along the journey.

Posted by iandeborah 05:30 Comments (6)

The trip to QLD to collect our new van

View Picking up our Sunland Scorpion from QLD on iandeborah's travel map.

Friday 3/6/22
We departed home in Busselton heading to QLD to collect our new van of choice.
Tonights Destination : Esperance
Trip 722 km

We headed off nice & early by 7.15am.
A comfort stop in Kojonup. Then a lunch & coffee stop in Ravensthorpe. Deborah resisted the craft shop on this occasion.

The next leg heading towards Esperance found a change of driver (Deb) who encountered two rather wide loads. We heard on the UHF, talk about 5.4 & on another occasion 5.5. We were both puzzled as to what that meant. But listening to further chatter we learnt it was 5.4 & 5.5 metres wide
Very wide loads. We spoke to the pilots behind & in front of the wide loads & easily overtook them.

We arrived in Esperance, checked into the Comfort Inn, Bay of Isles Motel on the waterfront. Enjoyed a walk along the foreshore & through town. Deborah (The Material Girl) found a craft shop open at 5 to 5 & had a gander (15 minutes later after it had closed) no purchases were made.

Temperature maximum today was 14 degrees.

Our choice of restaurant tonight was the Siam Thai Cuisine, a short walk away. We would highly recommend it.

Saturday 4/6/22
Tonights Destination: Madura Motel, WA
Trip 736 km
Temperature reached a balmy 16, we got very excited.

Departure was 7am.
Today we drove along the Eyre Highway. The highway has a special RFDRS (Royal Flying Doctor Service) airstrip, we dove on it & then we continued on the longest straight stretch in the world. 90 miles straight.
Morning tea today was at Balladonia & our lunch stop was at Caiguna. The roadhouse was full of big deep pot holes. It was very busy with many cars, cars with caravans & trucks. While Ian drove, and the mottled sun & shade from the gum trees on each side of the road, Deborah was lulled to a snooze or two. Ian spotted 2 mature persons riding their push bikes in an Easterly direction with the breeze at their backs. Dinner was at the Motel where the serves were large. Deborah noticed a Telstra phone box & took the liberty of calling her younger Sister, Maxine & touching base.
Today the time went forward 3/4 hour.

Sunday 5/6/22

Tonights Destination : Penong Hotel/Motel, Caroline Street.
Trip 608 km
Temperature maximum it reached a balmy 15 degrees.
We headed off by 7.30 today.

Today was a day of animal sightings. First we saw a random sheep right beside the roadside. We slowed down to safely pass him.
A little while later we saw a rabbit run out onto the road in front of us, it ran to the middle of the road, did a very quick
U-Turn & ran back to the passenger side of the road, the side it came out from. It was like it was playing chicken with us. It all happened in an instant, Ian had time to hit the brake to slow down as we were on cruise control. It ran away & we continued on our journey.
No one was injured in this instance.

Ian spied what looked like Eagles on the side of the road, so he slowed down so we didn’t spook them. Due to the inclement weather we could only snatched a murky picture of the last one taking off from the road kill.

Further on about 65km before the Nullarbor Roadhouse we spotted a sandy coloured medium sized wild dog or dingo crossing the road.
In addition to the animal sightings we also drove along several RFDS air strips drawn on the Eyre Highway.

We had a spot of morning tea, coffee from the flask & a muesli bar at the Nullarbor Roadhouse in the picnic area in a spot of sun.

Today was a drizzly day of driving in between spurts of sunshine. We crossed the boarder into South Australia, where we were not required to stop & have eaten all our fresh fruit in preparation. We were required to adjust our clocks forward another 45 minutes today.

Our lunch stop today was at Yalata.

We arrived without incident & took a walk around Penong. We found a windmill museum which wasn't here the last time we came through in 2014. They were lovely to see in action.

Wild goats being transported by truck.

The cafe/general store/ post office/laundromat is up for sale.
The laundry is well used. Being Sunday the general store was closed.

Dinner tonight was pizza @ the pub, Ian with enjoyed a stout & Deborah a shandy.
Deborah remembers staying at a pub was when she was 19 in QLD. Nothing has changed in that time.

Recollections of people from the district about the Opening Hotel.

Monday 6/6/22

Destination: Orooroo, Commercial Motel (the room was an apartment room. We would highly recommend it.)
Trip km 642 km

Temperature maximum reached a warm 15 for short periods of the day

It was dark this morning when we set off at 6.45. We were the first of the guests to depart. We went through the quarantine station at Ceduna. We were asked if we had any fruit or vegetables on board & to open the car for a search. Deb showed the boarder security the cooler bag which had ice packs in it. He was happy with that & we were sent on our way. We fuelled up & headed down the highway.

We stopped at the Kimba cafe for morning tea.

The Kimba Silos.

We came across a couple of dead goats on the side of the highway with big horns.

The traffic coming towards us today was much steadier, not as many trucks or caravans. It was a good drive until Garfield our Garmin took us on a one track road with lots of wash away dips for a 17km shortcut. We will remember to avoid this on our return journey.

We passed several clusters of windfarm turbines both on the top of the hill (turning fast) & in the low lands (turning slow.) We drove into Port Augusta for fuel top up & found a patch of sun opposite the library to sit & enjoy lunch.

Arriving in Orroroo just before 4pm after viewing A large Red Gum Tree with a 10.89m circumference & over 500 years old.

We took the opportunity to go for a walk around town where we found a car graveyard which seems typical of many country towns & a new monument to the local industry is the wool press.

Returning to our large room with ensuite in the Commercial Hotel, then mixing with the locals at the bar & then partaking in dinner. It's off to bed early tonight as we have a big drive tomorrow.

Tuesday 7/6/22

Destination: Cobar
Trip 786 km
Wednesday 8/6/22

Heading off at our normal time 7am towards the Copper City Motel in Cobar.
One of the towns we passed through, Peterborough, has a long history with steam trains. Although we didn’t have time to stop we have put it on our return agenda. It had a wonderful street library housed in an old fridge. It was notably 9 degrees @ 9am. Passing through Yunta we picked up some fuel.

Passing through a roadside hamlet "Mannahill", it also had a lovely old railway station.
Further along passing through Olary it reached 10 degrees.

We entered NSW @ Cocburn @ 10.06am where we added a further 30minutes to our watches.

Just prior to Broken Hill we spied a huge array of solar panels.

Our lunch stop was at the top of a hill, Netallia. Tables with a roof & toilets, what more could you ask for?
During our travels today we saw many sheep, wild goats & wild emus.

Flicking through the radio channels we came across one called Outback Radio 585AM frequency. It stayed with us the whole day. We listened to a wide range of music, most of which took us back to when we were children.
Bands from the Seekers, Slim Dusty, Pink Floyd.
Songs like Beautiful Balloon, Some Girl.
It was very memorable.

We reached the Silver City Motel by 4.30 & were welcomed & handed the key to our room. No 12. We quickly noticed the toilet was not flushing & there was no hot water. We reported the issues to reception who did seem to know about it. They hadn't however notified us before we were given the key. Apparently a plumber was coming. In the meantime Deborah rang around all the other motels & even the budget pub to find there were no rooms available in the town. So we waited for an update. Finally it was sorted. The flusher continued to systematic. Ian found a short term work around. Although the bed was comfy, and aircond very quiet, Make up your own mind but we are not really staying here again.

Diagonally across the road was the RSL.( Returned Services Club.) The staff were very welcoming. We shared a delicious seafood platter & as there were not mussels available Deborah scored some extra oysters. Talking to a couple of other diners we learnt there was a free camping area out the back of the RSL. Free but with the proviso campers spend some money in the club.

Destination: originally Talwood, destination Moree, NSW
Trip 719 km

Departing Cobar at 7, heading towards Bourke. We saw this painted silo.
Not long after departing Cobar we came up in a queque behind a camper van which was behind a car and caravan, which was behind a 5.4M wide load. Good UHF communication by Deborah and the wide load pilot helped us pass smoothly.

We headed onto Brewarrina, and then Goodooga. Everyone is welcome at the old church at Goodooga
We found a post office to buy a stamp to post a special person's birthday card. Looking across the paddock from the Post Office we saw about 30 caravans. We drove over to have a look & found it was a free camping area with a hot bore spring pool called "Great Artesian Bath," with tables & chairs, electric bbqs, also with toilets & hot showers, a dump point & a hybrid gym equipment outdoors & all Free. This areas rich aboriginal history remains culturally strong. It is always open & has wheelchair access to the baths.
The school has around 30 students, a Principal, 8 teachers & a teachers aide & 2 Aboriginal Education Officers.
About 200 people live in town not including farms. Town has a health clinic. The Post Office sells burgers & fish & chips & orders in food from Lightening Ridge for campers and local request.

All day we continued getting signal from our favourite radio station 585 AM. Today we heard Kylie songs, Bee Gees- Spicks and Specks, Kenny Rogers- She believes in me, Nancy Sinatra - These boots are made for walking. Can you see how we just loved listening?

However talking to one of the campers, Ken, we discovered the road we were heading onto was still closed due to flooding. At this point we came up with an altered route which meant a few extra kilometres & a change of nights accommodation. Needless to say, similar to Cobar, all accommodation in Goondiwindi was full so next option was to try Moree. Several places we called were all full. Thinking we might need to spend the night in the car, we did locate a lovely motel room at Dragon Phoenix Motel. After arriving, settling inn, checking the facilities we went for a walk around the block & ordered Thai & took it back to the room to eat & relax.

Along the sides of the roads today we came across we initially thought was fine bits of wool from the wild goats. We realised later after a truck coming from the other direction was loaded with cotton with bits floating off as it drove by.

Again we saw many sheep, wild goats, fenced farm goats, emus & even some cows today.

Lightening Ridge even had a metal emu sculpture.

Thursday 9/6/22

Destination: Nirimba, QLD via Caboolture (The Sunland Factory)
Trip 578 km

We were on the road @7am, it was 1 degrees and then dropped to -1 as we drove out of Moree headed to Goondiwindi. As we prepared to drive off Ian noticed ice on our windscreen and poured some water on the windsceen to help it defrost without cracking it. The roadside was lined with scrunchy, frosty, icy grass. It was cold.

We fuelled up at Millerran. A nice painted water tank was spied by the roadside.

We crossed into QLD today as we drove into Goondiwindi.

Driving along & listening to JPY (John Paul Young), "Love is in the air" on our favourite outback radio station, Dolly Parton & so many familiar artists until the station was too crackly to listen to. We then listened to the abc then Triple M in Brisbane. Today's drive went like clockwork.

Arriving into Millmerran for a fuel stop we came up behind a semi-trailer travelling very slowly with hazard lights flashing. It was then that we noticed that the rear section of his load of steel pipes had slipped sideways. We quickly overtook him with ample space to avoid any dangerous slippage. The UHF worked extremly well today communicating with truck drivers getting past them.

Morning tea today was just outside of Millmerrin a lovely slice of Deborah's home made fruit cake and cuppa coffee.

We drove through Toowoomba down the steep range in low gear onto wards Brisbane & Caboolture deborah noticed how the population has expanded & housing sprawl even around Plainlands.

Lunch today was at Chermside.

In many of the rivers and creek crossing we noticed high levels of water.

We arrived at the Sunland factory roughly on time around 2.30pm. The factory tour certainly did not disappoint us.They all knew we were coming and all got to meet the owners of the new orange Scorpion 18.6 van they were putting together. We had a good look through the van. Took a few pictures(the van pictures will be on another blog page), left the mattress for them to place on the bedbase after installation. There were 5 vans in total in the workshop.

Diesel prices throughout this trip were as follows:
Busselton 207.7 cents per litre
Esperance 211.9
Norseman 216.9
Caiguna 216.9
Mundrabilla 250
Ceduna. 199.9
Port Augusta 209.9
with 4c off with Woolies loyalty card & a further 4c if you had a RAA card. In WA we have RAC. We have to ask RAC to see if they will sort out reciprocal with agreements in SA.
Yunta. 202.9
Bourke. 214.9
Moree. 213.9
Milmerran. 205.9

Total km of our trip over was 4,791km.
That's all for now until the return trip.
Stay safe everyone!

Posted by iandeborah 11:23 Comments (9)

Kulin Bush Races 2021 - The trip home

We packed up & headed for Collie. Stopped at Wickepin & noticed a new children's playground being built & the location of the house that Albert Facey grew up in. Albert Facey wrote, ' A Fortunate Life.'

We stopped in Narrogin but our favourite baker shop, Fortune French Hot Bread Shop was closed. We hit the road & stopped at the Williams Wool Shed for a pie & coffee. It was school holidays & everyone stopped too. It was very busy. Our next stop was Collie for a 2 night stop. Just before we reached Collie we saw the aftermarth of an unfortunate incident. It appeared no one was hurt. But please don't try this at home.

After setting up at the caravan park & doing a load of washing we took a stroll in the bushland next to the Collie River Caravan Park & saw these lovely flowers.

Monday was an overcast day but we took the opportunity to venture out & see the Wellington Dam Mural. The mural is the biggest of it's kind in the world & spans a massive 8000 square metre surface of the dam wall. It was painted by Australian painter, Guido Van Helten. The title of the painting is 'reflections.'

Wildflowers can be found in the Wellington National Park.

  • Please remember dogs are not allowed in National Parks.

After checking in with the visitor centre we went in search of some local wildflowers & orchids at Minninup Pool. We were chuffed to find such a nice selection.

Back into Collie townsite for a late lunch & a look at some of the murals on the shop walls as part of the Collie Mural Trail. The Murals tell local stories about the Collie River Valleys living Heritage.

'Creatures Of The Night.' Painted by Ketones6000 (Jeremy Davenport)

'The Girl In The Shop Window.' Painted by Marina Lommerse & Michael Phillips.

'Pit Pony.' Painted by Shakey (Jacob Butler.)

'Jones Family's Painted by Donald Cook.

'Dorsett Motors.' Painted by Jarrad Martyn.

'Golden Crust Bakery.' Painted by Jarrad Martyn.

Coal Miners in Collie.

We drove home past Glen Mervyn Dam, Mumbelup Tavern, Donnybrook (morning tea), Boyanup, Capel & Busselton. It was a peaceful uneventful drive.
We are home now, safe & sound.

Posted by iandeborah 05:32 Comments (5)

At Kulin Bush Races 2021

A drizzly start to the day for our travels. We headed off early & were on the road before 7.15am. We passed a few salt lakes that were quite full for this time of year.
Although we left early we arrived at the entry gates just prior to 9am when the gates were due to open. However, we then waited in a queue for over an hour.
We were all waiting for the plane to fly over the Race Course to spray for mosquitoes. Unfortunately they decided that as the plane had no brakes & it was not allowed to take off. We were allowed into the racetrack to park up & were told at 5.30 pm we best lock ourselves in the caravan while the fogging took place by a fogger on the back of a ute. It eventually turned up around 6pm & looked like a jet engine spewing smoke out of it's rear end & smelt terrible. We did lock ourselves inside.

We found a lovely parking spot close to the race track and went for a walk around to explore the facilities before the crowds arrived. We parked our vehicle on the neighbouring spot as the Clark's came later that day. We set up a tent the following day on a vacant block as Di & Graham were coming that day & space was becoming a premium. Di & Graham drove in as the sun was setting. Just enough time to setup before the sun sank in the West.

Wednesday & Thursday night we had a communal fire at our patch. Ian got out our new Fireside portable popup fire pit bought from BCF weighing just 3.6 kilos.
It was a hit amongst all who sat by her. Clarke has a new one also, yet to be used, perhaps next time. A bargain at the moment for $99.99. It does have extras & ian thinks he will add to it when he has more pocket money in time.

Thursday we caught up with Farmer Andrew in Kulin for a coffee. He was on his way from Mundaring where he picked up a motorised log splitter which he was taking back to the farm.
We caught up with Linda & Harry on many occasions throughout the weekend.

Friday was also another day that we ventured to Kulin, this time to see the Quilt Fair & then tea & scones at the CWA. Due to the popularity of the scones we were told to take a walk & come back in 20 minutes whilst they baked more scones. That we did. We saw some new sculptures along the highway.

A highlight of Friday night was the auctioning & racing of the tin can horses. Money raised from this event goes to the Royal Flying Doctors.

Saturday was race day. As there was a record breaking crowd of 4,096 we decided to take the chairs trackside as the TAB was opening at 10am. Being an avid punter (he's never been inside a TAB in his life), luckily Ian got into the TAB queue early & was able to place our $2 for each race bets. We each had different horses in each race. Not long after, as the queues got longer, they reverted to the old system whereby you could only place a bet on the next race running. On raceday there were 7 races run & in one of the races, race 6, there was a horse named Bill. He had been scratched from race 1 because he needed new shoes. He was allowed to run in race 6. So we decided to do an extra bet. $2 each on Bill. Bill romped home so our $4 investment became $16. Overall we came out ahead with our betting.
There's always a good parade before the races, and the pipe band always is good value.
We didn't bet on the sheep race but that was exciting & we are sure some of those runners will be chops later.

One of the exciting moments for us is the Fireworks & after a lovely woodfired pizza we stood by a raging fire & watched the explosions in the sky before we strolled home for an early evening & pack up Sunday morning.

Coincidentally the tickets sold out with a day for the 2021 Bush Races. Deborah secured ours online just after midnight as they became available for sale. Hot tip here is to go onto the website & register. You will be sent an email informing you when the tickets become available for sale. Sit up & secure them early. Wishing all Good luck. Perhaps we might see you in 2022 @ Kulin. Plan to arrive Wednesday early to secure a great spot.

Posted by iandeborah 12:01 Comments (3)

Kulin Bush Races - The trip there

After a delicious coffee at home we packed up, hooked up, and headed off through some long weekend traffic for the first stage of our trip. Passing through Donnybrook, we stopped at our favourite fruit & vegetable store on the farmers property. On the menu today were delicious crisp pink lady apples, avocados & a small butternut pumpkin. Stopping for fuel at Arthur River we had a decadant box of hot chips. Late afternoon we arrived at Kukerin Caravan Park. We took a stroll down town but, being a long weekend, everything was closed bar the pub, so as you see we just had to go in. Unusual for a Monday night the pub was busy & noisy. We discovered the crowd were the volunteers that helped clean up after the annual Kukerin WA Creek Bed championships & Burnout competition. Apparently it was a fun filled weekend with over 1500 campers. Like the Kulin bush races this event is the major fund-raiser for Kukerin for the year.
Kukerin Caravan Park fees are $15 per night, per van & includes power, water & an ablution block. Both nights we have had only one neighbour, different one each night.

A late start saw us taking a relaxed walk around the town. This is a very quiet town. The 2016 census showed just over 60 people in the townsite. Today there would be a few less than that number. Many others living on farms surrounding the town. The town does have a few facilities that you would normally find such as a Primary School with 3 teachers & 47 students, only 2 children are from town the others come in on the school bus from the farms. There is also a Town Hall, a General Store/Post Office, 1 Pub & even a library. The children have a bouncy pillow, and a children's playground provided through Federal Government funding.

Lucky Lynne, Ian's Sister received a call when we passed a Telstra phone booth in town, this time she picked up & they had a natter.

We took a drive to the Yabby Farm, unfortunately it was closed. The Yabby owners have gone on holidays. We reached the entrance and shortly after 2 motor homes turned up wanting to enter, then to our surprise a fuel tanker stopped. The tanker wanted to deliver fuel but as the gate was locked he too was turned away.

We took the opportunity to take a drive into Dumbleyung. We walked around town and found the hairdresses open, a small memorial garden, a lovely little shop with local & eco friendly goods. We popped into the Shire offices & Deborah offered some suggestions for improvements at the Kukerin Caravan Park & Townsite. We walked through the lovely Community Gardens & into the Community Resource Centre looking for Wildflower information. With info in hand we headed down the Katanning Road until we found some flowers.

Back at the ranch, and because it was International Beer Day, we headed for a walk to the Kukerin Hotel for a pint & shandy to celebrate. We strolled home before the sunset. Tomorrow we head to Kulin.

Posted by iandeborah 05:07 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 17 @ Homeward bound

Day 17
As the sun rays streamed in from the window we realised, that although we were very comfortable laying in bed, we really had to make some moves & pack up the camp-site. We farewelled York & headed South. Ian decided he would try & find an information centre in Brookton but he had no luck. What he did spy at the CWA was a Kings Park Fashion pop up shop. Deborah jumped at the chance to sample some fashion & a fashion show.
A little further down the road we passed through Pingelly & just had to take a photo of one of the shops in town, a reminder of the old days.

Our morning tea stop was a little town called Popanyinning. The name means water hole in the local Noongar language. The town some was gazetted & became a trading post along the railway line. The station was established in 1894 but the current building is from 1913. It has some lovely cast iron air vents in the shape of a steam train.
The local general store opened in 1908 & is still open for business today.
The Railway Station Masters house was established in 1910. Now a private residence it is looking a tad unloved, but still cute.
Ian found another Telstra phone box, this time he called his Brother Neil to have a chat.

We passed through Cuballing, Narrogin, and we stopped by the roadside for a picnic lunch at Williams, then drove on to Collie where we noticed smoke in the distance where there was a prescribed burn off.

We drove through Donnybrook, Mumbie & stopped our usual fruit & veg stall to pick up some fresh produce.
Onwards we drove through Boyanup & stopped to visit Ian's Sister in Capel. Unfortunately she was out at the time, so we travelled home to Busselton. Safe travels everyone and please stay safe! Until our next adventure we say cheerio for now.

Posted by iandeborah 12:14 Comments (1)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 15 & 16 @ York

Day 15
We packed up & hit the road by 9am headed in the direction of York. We stopped down town at Perenjori on our way through town to see the cut out metal artwork.

Driving past he entrance to Ballidu townsite we had to stop to take a photo of this sculpture.

Passing through Konnongorring was reminisced about attending our friend Annette's daughters wedding at the local farm with the reception at this very hall (Colleen married David). The wedding can be found on our blog it is called A wedding country style.
It holds special memories in our heart. It was such a lovely wedding by the hay bales on Davids parents farm. Beautiful memories.

There were many vans on the roads today travelling & very few other traffic.

We chanced our luck at the Travellers Rest Caravan Park at York & are set up for 2 nights. Th sites are all drive through. Ian has checked the weather the report stated it would be 0 overnight. We are not too worried as we have our donnas & a heater if required. A sunny 20 degree day is also forecast.

We have met a few of the locals which includes a nesting wattlebird with 2 babies at our site (hard to photograph, sorry) & a nesting Tawny Frogmouth 2 doors down a Sue & Stuart's site.
We also had a very friendly butterfly visit us at afternoon tea time.
We are enjoying a quiet night in tonight with a glass or two of wine.

Day 16
A leisurely start to the day & then we headed to the York information centre, the Town Hall, which also has the Library inside. We are in search of Wildflower sighting locations. We checked out the two suggested locations, the York Golf Course, known as the we Oswald Sargent Reserve & the Orchid Reserve.
Wildflower sightings.

Back into town for lunch at the local bakery & a walk down the main street. A must do in York is a visit to "The Sock Shop." Where you can buy Australian & New Zealand made wool products & some are even made locally in York. We each bought some locally made woollen socks. Whilst checking out the new and the old free camping caravan spots we found some local straw artworks part of the Wara Art Trail. This is a Japanese technique of turning surplus straw into sculptures. The artworks included a Bilby & a Turtle.

We also found the old pharmacy building, originally used by Oswald Sargent who the Golf Course reserve is named after. Oswald came to Australia as a 6 year old in the late 1880's and trained and became a pharmacist in York. His passion was botany and native orchids in particular. A local flowering gum is named after him.

Deborah found a delightful shop called Patchwork on Avon & just had to go inside & look around. The shop closed at 2 and we arrived just after. The owner noticed my curiosity in the shop peeking through the window & kindly invited her in. Needless to say as she is a fabricologist, Deborah saw the potential and purchased some material, very special material to add to her collection for future use.Deborah also found a unique pin cushion to put to use in the future.

Tonight's menu, Tasmanian Salmon, jacket potato & steamed vegetables.

Posted by iandeborah 14:19 Comments (2)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 12, 13 & 14 @ Perenjori

Day 12
Hit the road from Muka early this morning. Following Garfield's instructions on the GPS. Things seem to be heading in the right direction. A bit further down the track Ian started to think, we might be slightly off track. Especially as the car said we were traveling SW. Once we reached Wongan Hills suspicions were confirmed.

As we passed through Koorda we stopped so Deborah could take the opportunity to say hello to a few friendly locals.

Taking everything in our stride we stopped for a late morning tea at 'Cafe of Note' (Highly Recommend) & a quick shop through town at Kanyana, the second hand shop.

We took a short break for a late lunch on the side of the road at Maya, named after a nearby spring with he indigenous name Pocanmaya. As with many farming towns the residents were Jack & Jill's of all trades with one local adapting an old Army Tank into a ploughing tractor.
Whilst at lunch we heard a toot toot. It was Shaz & Chaz from the New Age Caravan social club flying past in there blue Landrover Discovery towing there New Age Jewel. We met up with them & other members of the social club upon arrival. Soon after set up it was 5pm Happy Hour with drinks & nibbles followed by soup & crusty bread for dinner around the camp-fire.

Day 13
As usual, and not knowing how long we would be away from the camp we packed up the thermos & biscuits & went in search of Wildflowers. Using the map 'Perenjori's self drive trails' (available at all good tourist centres & the knowledgeable caravan park staff) we set off in search of Wildflowers. We decided to follow the Back Bowgada Road which was just before the railway crossing heading North West out of Perenjori. We thought we would have to drive for a few kilometres whilst keeping a look out for pink streamers attached to stakes or trees but alas a few hundred metres up the road there was a big sign saying, Wreath Flowers (Lechenaultia Macrantha). We duly followed the arrow into a gravel pit & found a lovely carpet of wreath flowers. How spectacular they were indeed.

Leaving the wreaths we headed down a few backroads, Norrish & Solomon on a very slow drive admiring the Wildflowers both sides of the road as we drove by.

Our morning tea destination was 'The Salmons' with some lovely wildflowers as we drove in. Before we stopped though we encountered some of the wild looking residents who didn't seem keen to hang around to entertain us. We stopped & immersed ourselves in the field of colours. It was a quiet & peaceful stop.

We returned to camp for a quick lunch before heading South the first stop Bunjil Rocks. This was a little difficult to find but eventually we located the turn off 2km South of the wheat bins. This does appear to be a free camping area as well.
Second afternoon stop was Caron Dam. A reminder of the golden age of a steam locomotives. It is a large corrugated iron covered dam originally built to provide water to the steam trains. It is still used for local irrigation. Here we went for a walk in the bush over hill & dale & found these lovely orchids & flowers.

Day 14
With picnic basket & thermos at the ready we headed to our first stop for the day Orchid Ridge. We followed our written directions which said 500 metres up a sand track, next to the wheat field on the right there should be wreath flowers. We saw one, stopped the car to get out & have a look. Feeling a little disappointed that we might only see one we looked upwards into the bush to be pleasantly surprised. In front of us dotted throughout the bush interspersed with other wildflowers was an amazing abundance of wreath flowers.

Our second stop 1.5km up the track was Orchid Ridge. Although it was a lovely Wildflower carpeted area the orchids were very shy & we only saw a few.

Third stop for the day was Camel Soak where we enjoyed a pleasant morning tea & home made fruit cake. This is a great spot to go free camping, it even has a toilet. This large granite catchment was sunk as a watering point for men & their camel teams working on No.2 Rabbit Proof Fence between 1903 & 1905. The pools of water attract fauna & bird life plus huge arse tadpoles. Again the orchids were shy but we did find 2 groups of specimens of Donkey Orchids.

Our final destination for the day was a little different as it wasn't primarily for Wildflower. We drove to Morawa to see the Museum which featured many windmills. It was a very neat & tidy exhibition of historical artefacts from the district ranging from wedding dresses & clothing, household goods & equipment, machinery & tractors. Militaria & personal items from local residents plus 1 shed devoted entirely to windmills. This museum is a must see & only $5 per person for entry.

Our final night with the New Age Caravan Club we all walked down into town to the Perenjori pub for dinner. The organisation was planned some time ago. The pub had not seen so many people for some time. We all arrived at 5pm onwards & ordered our meals. Our group consisted of 20 + vans. The meals came out quickly as they had there normal 6pm dinner seating for the locals that followed our group.

Posted by iandeborah 09:57 Comments (2)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 11 @ Mukinbudin

Day 11
The Busselton Naturalists were headed for an Opal fossicking trip today.
This is where we part ways. Today we head towards Mukinbudin our destination for the night.

The roads were very quiet early on, a few caravans travelling, but traffic built up as the morning went on. A bit more of a head wind than in previous days so fuel economy was a bit higher but you can't control the weather.

We had a coffee break at Boorabbin Rest Area and had a friend fly in for morning tea & a drink of water.
Back on the road we reached Southern Cross & then turned North towards Bullfinch. What can we say about Bullfinch? It has lots of old houses unoccupied & falling apart & even the pub was closed & boarded up. The driveways & lane ways were all littered with derelict cars. A car renovators heaven.

On the Post Office noticeboard it does mention there is a caravan park in town. Good on Telstra, Ian found a phone box & phoned his Sister Lynne in Capel.

We turned West towards Muka along the road and to our delight we kept on spotting Bobtail after Bobtail waddling across the road. Deborah spied what she thought was an Echidna on the side of the road, it was Kenny.

Further along the road in the distance Ian noticed a blob waddling across the road. Ian sped up to catch a closer glimpse. It was Rogers, a second Echidna. It waddled quickly off the road and up a hill at the side of the road and, as it reached the top of the side of the hill, it stopped. As if Rogers was saying " if I don't move they won't see me." Deborah leant her camera in for a close up picture, said "Geday" and left him to waddle off when he felt safe to do so. as we continued our travels.

Our journey today took past plenty of patches of colour. It wasn't easy to stop but we reached a sign about 20km from Muka for Weira Reserve. We managed to stop & take a couple of lovely colourful pictures of the sprays of Wildflowers. This reserve boasts a picturesque limestone breakaway. There is a BBQ, picnic, & free camping facilities & a toilet. Native flora & fauna abound. You can also take a sort bush walk to discover the large gnamma hole.

Arriving at the Mukinbudin caravan park after phoning as we drove along with no response. Note to self, in the Covid day & age. It's better to book way ahead of time. Bottom line, no sites available but we were able to stay in the overflow area & use the ablution block for $15. Once set up for the night we took a walk into town & a beer at the pub. Yes the publican knew how to pour a shandy for Deb, bonus.
Deborah likes visiting butchers in small towns and that we did. We came out with T-bones in hand. Ian had a look through the window into the bookstore in town as it was closed when we arrived. He did have a grin from ear to ear.
Scrubbed up back at camp & headed to a family friends house for a lovely roast pork dinner. Thanks Bron & Matt for your hospitality. Your boys are certainly getting taller very quickly. Love the spacious home you have had built. It was great catching up.

Posted by iandeborah 12:10 Comments (4)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 9 & 10 @ Kalgoorlie

Day 9
Another lovely clear blue sky a brilliant start to the day. The usual 9am start onto the road in convoy towards Kalgoorlie. We stop along the way at Cometvale mine site in search of Australian Jade then a further kilometre down the road at another mine site and picked up some gemstones.

A little further down the road we stopped at Goongarrie, previously known as 90 mile as it was roughly 90 miles NE from Coolgardie. It was established in 1893 when gold was discovered. Within 2 years a small town had been established with shops, a telegraph office & 2 Hotels. Now this is what remains on the site, a run down house.

We each drove onto to the Gold Miner's Caravan Park in Kalgoorlie to set up camp, get refreshments and prepare for a Happy Hour gathering.

Day 10
Today we each followed our own path. Ian & I drove into Kalgoorlie to the information centre to learn about some suitable places for us to explore. We took a gentle stroll up Hannan Street in Kalgoorlie and went into a shop that sold & hired Gold metal detectors & other mining bits & bobs. Entered the Natural Gold Nuggets & Jewellery store to look at some precious items. They buy gold from prospectors & sell to the public.

We took a tour of the Boulder Town Hall @ 10.30. The local historian Tim, was our guide. He tells mighty fine tales about the history behind the Town Hall.

Boulder Town Hall
The building was open for business in 1908. It has been popular for meetings, ceremonies, concerts, film nights & dances. In 1975 there was even a performance by ACDC. Built in the classical Federation Free style it features original pressed metal ceilings & wrap around upstairs gallery. The centrepiece of the stage is the Goatcher curtain, one of only 2 surviving examples of this artists stage craft in the world. As such it is considered priceless.

The clock in the tower is still wound once a week by the caretaker.

We took a walk along the main street of Boulder.

After a coffee with Reg & Merryl we drove up to the Superpit lookout for an explosive event scheduled at 1pm. What a blast!
This bucket scoop hold 70 tonnes of material, and takes just 4 scoops to fill one of the huge ore trucks.

We drove to have a gander at the Kalgoorlie Arts Centre which has very little usage considering the cost of the build. They have 2 performances a month by tribute bands. Such a waste of rate payers funds.

We took a drive to the local Arboretum then took a stroll around the lake & had a quiet moment of reflection from a wooden seat by the lake.

Posted by iandeborah 03:55 Comments (4)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 7 & 8 @ Menzies

Day 7
Leaving Lake Ballard this morning we hitched up & drove the 51km to Menzies. We got some washing out on the line, & headed by car alone to an abandoned Emerald mine that the group visited the previous day, with precise directions in search of tiny green emeralds,aquamarine & opals. With our bums in the air, & faces close to the ground, we searched for the glistening green rocks. No g- picks (geological picks) were required for this outing just a good eye for the coloured stones we were searching for. Deborah found some tiny emerald & aquamarine gem stones & of course we both found some lovely rocks we just had to bring home to add to our ever growing rock basket collections. We enjoyed a picnic lunch in dappled sunshine under the trees by the mine.

Day 8
It was an 8.30am start. We headed to an almost deserted Gwalia town site. Gwalia is still operating as a Gold Mine, however it is well known for the exodus of it's residents when the Sons of Gwalia Mine closed in 1963. The residents abandoned the small houses, some very tiny and over 1,000 people left to work on other mines including the Kalgoorlie Mine. It is now mainly a ghost town with about 15-20 people living locally. The Gwalia Mine site is of international significance as it was recommended to be developed in 1897 by American mining engineer Herbert Hoover who was later to become president of USA.
A very impressive new museum is set up to preserve the early history of the mine & townsite & includes Hoover House built as the Mine Managers house now operating as a Bed & Breakfast, & Cafe, overlooking the old open cut mine that is still operational as an underground mine.
The men only came to the office once a week to collect their pay, and they sure had to make sure it was correct weight.
Although one a few miles between the townsites of Leonora and Gwalia the electric tram ran from 1908 to 1923, a very advanced mode of transport for an out of the way place.

Many of the mine workers houses were tiny & built of materials that were cheaply available such as timber, corrugated iron, hessian walls & either dirt or brick floors.
This example was built by an Italian immigrant in the late 1930's, with basically 2 rooms...one bedroom and the other a kitchen with laundry bathroom the other room.

Mazza's Store
Built around 1910. It was truly a one stop shop selling everything from soap to oil & ammunition.
It also provided free delivery.

Patroni's Guesthome
Many miners were single & stayed at guest houses such as this. It was expensive compared to what they earned as boarders paid £5 for full board with weekly earnings in the 1940's being £7.10. There were around 16 rooms at the Patroni's guesthouse, each housing 2 single men. It did have a large kitchen to provide meals to the boarders and any other singles that might require meals.

The State Hotel
Built by the Government in 1903, partly to lessen the sly-grog trade.

Swimming pool at the mine site.
Built in 1921 for the residents. It was the second public pool built in Western Australia.

After a walk around the ghost town we drove into Leonora to the White House Hotel for a Fathers Day Pizza lunch together. There were some interesting signs on the wall.
And spot the mistakes on this poster.

On the way back to Menzies we took a detour to look in at the Kookynie Hotel & the Niagara Dam. We crossed the Dam wall and around the catchment area. There is free camping, toilets & a dump point around the Dam.
Kookynie is renowned for the horse that stands outside the hotel. Built over 100 years ago the Grand Hotel is now the only building completely left standing, although in its heyday of 1907, the town boasted a population of 3,500, eleven hotels, a turf club, several brass bands its own brewery and two sift drink makers.
Niagara dam was built in 1897 to provide water for the nearby towns. Unfortunately underground water was discovered just after its completion, so the dam was never really fully utilised. It took multiple trips by camel train to bring the resources to build the dam the 100's of kilometres up from Kalgoorlie.

Posted by iandeborah 12:26 Comments (2)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 6 @ Lake Ballard

Day 6
Saw the group split, as the majority headed north towards an old emerald mine and Menzies for 3 nights. Yours truly heading into Menzies for a fuel top up and the onto Lake Ballard for a night with Steve & Leanne Green to capture the lake and its iconic statues at sunset and then sunrise. Our journey took us past Ora Banda where Deborah was able to take advantage of the Telstra phone box, this time calling her younger Sister Maxine. We continued past Broad Arrow Tavern & on tthrough Menzies.

Lake Ballard has 51 sculptures scattered over the 10 square kilometres of Lake Ballard. The statues were created by Antony Gormley. The installation is called Inside Australia. 51 volunteers from nearby Menzies had a 3 dimensional scan of their bodies & then the metal statuettes were constructed from local raw metals.

Photo taken by Leanne Green from the top of the eldest Sister Hill. There are seven islands in the Lake, each is one of the Sisters from the Dreaming story for the seven Sisters constellation.

We both found a nice spot along the edge of the camping area overlooking the lake. A very quiet night was had around a small campfire.

When it was time to hit the lake for sunset photos we ventured onto the salt lake hoping the crust was dry, and it was. An early, before 6am, start for sunrise shots was required the next morning...
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Posted by iandeborah 12:42 Comments (4)

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