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Australia

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.
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1 June 2022
Build pictures Tuesday 1 June 2022 - picture sent on text from Michael
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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.
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8th June 2022
We received a text from Tarrot today with a few more pictures.
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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.
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Exterior
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Bedroom
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Dining/ Kitchen
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Ensuite & Fridge recess
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Interior Ceiling
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
https://youtu.be/W5Xbzj0241A
Copy and paste the line above into your internet browser to view.

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

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

Newdegate Silo's & surrounds


View Silo Art of Western Australia & Silo Art in WA on iandeborah's travel map.

June 2018 saw 'Brenton See' painting native Western Australian wildlife on the Silo's at Newdegate. Brenton had to conquer his fear of heights to paint the 20 Metre high murals.

The murals feature a shape resembling a drop of water, which is half-white & half teal, the white represents the salt lakes & the teal represents the freshwater lakes & the rain.In the background are coloured squares showing how the land appears from above, green for the bush land areas & brown, orange & red for the dirt & rocks.

A Mallee Fowl, which is another local bird of the area, is a symbolic depiction of the Region.

The Red-Tailed Phascogale, which is a rare marsupial found only in the Wheatbelt area and a Thigh Spotted Tree Frog.

Litres of paint used = 120
Surface Area Painted = 600M²
Days spent painting = 13
Silo Height = 20 M
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First we visited the Silos at Lake Grace as seen above. We then took a drive out to see a ghost town near Lake Biddy.
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Lots of desolation at the abandoned townsite.
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We visited the Newdegate cemetery and found a lovely chap sunning himself.
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A drive past the many salt lakes & beside the wheat fields, with a storm brewing.
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Went on an exploration south of Newdegate to find some gnamma holes. Permanent water holes the first Australians used. These were along the Holland track.
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On our walk around Lake Grace we noticed this delightful metal tree at the back of the St John ambulance building.
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Also a tile pathway leading up to the hospital and the old Inland Mission Hospital telling it's history & mosaic's children made now installed as a pathway around the hospital.
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Painted murals on the buildings in town, depicting local women who have influenced the region.
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In honour of Ian's birth year they brought water to Lake Grace in 1958.
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Back home for a cuppa & rest as a storm hit before our last night at Lake Grace.
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Posted by iandeborah 05:40 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Perup Natures Guesthouse


View Hopetoun, Western Australia on iandeborah's travel map.

After leaving Borden travelling along the Northern side of the Stirling ranges we came across a few more free range emus, at least these ones ran in front of us but away into the bush unlike others we have seen that run at you. The views as we travelled through the Stirling Ranges was spectacular.
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On our way home from Borden we caught up with the Busselton Naturalist group for a 2 night stay at the Perup Natures Guesthouse.
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The majority of the group stayed in onsite accommodation, we on the other hand stayed on our mobile accommodation. We mingled with the group during the day. The first night, Friday we went on a spotlighting walk & managed to see Kangaroos, Brushtail Possums, one with a baby on its back, a Woylie & the Tawny Frogmoth. Whilst sitting in our caravan enjoying a cuppa a couple of Tammar Wallabies.
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Saturday took us on a morning walk through the Native Reserve, unfortunately it rained & our walk was cut a little shorter.
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In the afternoon we all went for a short drive to the Tone River Bridge Rest Area which is also a free camping spot. We found some amazing orchids.
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Saturday we had a communal shared nibbles, dinner & a happy hour that went for a few hours. Needless to say wine, port & whiskey were shared also.

Sunday, we all headed home. Ian & I drove through Donnybrook & stopped for a late morning tea at the Donnybrook Transit Park. We drove home through the Tuart Drive in the Tuart Forrest, such a relaxing comfortable drive.
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We are now home safe & sound from another feel good relaxing holiday & hope you are all enjoying a lovely weekend.

Posted by iandeborah 01:15 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Borden overnighter (Free camping)


View Hopetoun, Western Australia on iandeborah's travel map.

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A quick morning tea stop in Ravensthorpe. The other intrepid couple Margôt & Andrew caught up & said a final good bye as they headed North. We took the opportunity to take a couple of photos of the Seat Art Project.
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Our overnight stop tonight is Borden. This is a one shop town although it also has a Tavern which is our dinner destination. The friendly general store Lady directed us towards an area near the sports oval where there had been some sightings of Wildflowers & Orchids. Borden is never mentioned as a place to view Wild Flowers but boy did we see some flowers. If you like flowers put it on your list of places to visit.
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Was thinking of picking up some fuel, but Pump said no...and they're very safety conscious in Borden.
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Borden street Artwork
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The primary school had this lovely Lady.
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Posted by iandeborah 23:15 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Horseing around on Kulin Bush Races race day

The night before race day was showery and windy. The rain helped soften the track a little, even if it didn't bring a smile to the farmer's faces.
It is the races 25th anniversary.
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The tin can horses built to be auctioned off with prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd. 8 horses line up for their own race. The remainder of the proceeds is donated to the RFDS.
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You can vote for the best new Tin Horse. Winners will join the Tin Horse Highway.
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And there are many vans, campers and tenters onsite

Spot the van with the triangle
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The horses were a impressive sight.
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Dust kicked up by the horses was an ever present hazard.
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Of course the New Zealanders were catered for...
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After the races are finished you can warm yourself by some fires, while the band plays.
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Or you can watch the fireworks...

Sunday morning saw us heading off to an unplanned location. Before we got onto the main road we were in a gridlock, full of caravans and horse floats.
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And what caused this traffic jam you may ask? A random breathe test station, with one officer doing the testing!

We picked up some morning tea and lunch at Narrogin, at the only place open in town, but supposedly the best pie place. Ran into the bus load of football guys from Busselton, who also had been at Kulin for the races. Some were still a bit the worse for wear, and a couple had trouble staying upright.
Walking back to our home on wheels we came across a couple enquiring about our van and car. They were a couple from Tasmania, who asked where are all the caravans coming from as they were coming from the opposite direction. We enlightened them about the Kulin Bush Race weekend. They also have a New Age van, and a jeep grand cherokee.

Lunch at Collie, where we made the decision to head for Bunbury and the free camping area at Wyalup-Rocky Point. Unfortunately the Info Centre, where you should pick up a permit, was closed so just heading to the parking bay anyway!
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The camping area provides you with a great sunset view, and access to beach activities.
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Dinner for the last night of this adventure was a Bunbury restaurant with a view, Back Beach Cafe.
Home tomorrow to get Deborah to work on Tuesday.

Posted by iandeborah 05:14 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Shakedown day 2

After the weather cleared up a little we took a drive over the estuary to the Bunbury city markets, and picked up some Capel mandarins plus some yummie marinated prawns and scallops. Returning them to Melba we indulged in a coffee before heading off again, but this time walking.
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We found the kids playground on the koombana foreshore, the local sculpture, and a few relaxing chairs along the beach walkway.
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As we headed into town for lunch we came across some wall artwork.
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Lunch was at The Rose Hotel. Ribs and a stir-fry of sweet potato glass noodles with beef and mushrooms. Plus a ginger beer and Guinness.
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As we walked back to Melba we noticed another van we recognised. Lynne & Missey came to stay also. Of course we got together for a cuppa & a chat.
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We are heading back home tomorrow.

Posted by iandeborah 05:25 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Shakedown with Melba

rain

We emptied most of the weight from Melba, water, gas etc...and she then appeared, after a tow ball weight check, to be light enough for Squiggle to tow.
So we decided to do a quick, short, shakedown trip using our freebie Discovery Parks voucher. Bunbury Foreshore here we come.
Great weather, not! But it's the adventure we were craving.
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Even managed a cuppa when we arrived.
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Of course this is a shakedown trip, so we are coming across things we need to refine, such as Ian remembering to bring the spirit Level, although he did load an app which has worked a treat.
Also those pots n pans we swore were induction cooktop compatible....

Posted by iandeborah 04:13 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Moore River adventure

semi-overcast

We headed off for our annual trip to Moore River. We decided to add a couple of nights.
First stop was at the Pinjarra rest area.
The Premier Hotel Skimpys were on Thursday so missed them!
We had 4 other campers overnight. The trains kept a coming along the track, we even saw the Australind pass by. It was a lovely quiet night.
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We were not the last to leave & took off after a leisurely start towards Camillo, Perth where we celebrated Courtney's 21st Birthday at lunch The Willow Pond, Canning vale. We had parked up at Rick, Roz & Marks for the night. The boys & I watched some soccer. In the morning we waved to Mark out of the caravan window (where we heard Mark say Goodbye, in a soft voice) as he was heading off for work @5.30am. Rick went out for his morning glory walk then came back home. We didn't hear Roz leave but it was after 6am. Departed after catching up with Rick and popped into New Age Beckenham for a technical adjustment. All sorted within the half hour & on the road to Moore River, Guilderton. We picked up some salad at Drovers along the way.

Arrived at Guilderton/Moore River just after 12.30, had an easy set up (aren't caravans just the best) and relaxed into our holiday. We added some fairy lights to our site which the children & adults love (also helps keeps them off our patch). The weather was perfect, with the usual sunset.
Tuesday we had a swim across the river with our noodles. The weather has sprung up with strong winds so time for a nanny nap & catching up with our emails. A quiet afternoon inside. The pelicans are the only ones in the water this afternoon.

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Woke up to a fabulous sunny Wednesday with a very light breeze. We had a relaxing kayak up & back along the river which took for about an hour. We saw lots of birds, fish & a few hawks. Then noodled around in the river & cooled down. Ian is relaxing doing a crossword he found in the laundry. Off to make another cuppa now. We are really enjoying our view as we overlook the beach in front of the river.20190109_120619.jpg20190109_120502.jpg

Posted by iandeborah 04:43 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Christmas Road Trip - Day 1

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The 23rd December and we head off on the Christmas road trip. This year we are able to visit Chuck and Anne and their new addition, Windsor the puppy.
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We are staying at the Estuary Hideaway Caravan Park, on an un-powered site for 2 nights. IMG_201712..0321952_HDR.jpg
Of course Paddington is along for the ride, with Father Christmas and a gnome.
IMG_201712..5719643_HDR.jpg A gnome you ask? Well, don't ask. Just go with the flow. It is Christmas after all, so good will to all.
Happy hour must be coming soon ??

Posted by iandeborah 00:13 Archived in Australia Comments (3)

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