A Travellerspoint blog

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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This bucket scoop hold 70 tonnes of material, and takes just 4 scoops to fill one of the huge ore trucks.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The State Hotel
Built by the Government in 1903, partly to lessen the sly-grog trade.
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Swimming pool at the mine site.
Built in 1921 for the residents. It was the second public pool built in Western Australia.
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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.
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And spot the mistakes on this poster.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 3, 4 & 5 @ Credo Station


View Goldfield & Wildflowers on iandeborah's travel map.

WA has so much to offer. So many destinations to visit.

Day 3
Departing Boorabbin Rest Area heading for Credo Homestead, Ian noted a whiff of smoke just before we entered the highway. Jumped out of the car with his shovel in hand & doused the flames & smoke of another camper who obviously doesn't understand how bush fires start.
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An uneventful drive found us at Coolgardie where we met up with the Busselton Naturalist cohort for the next part of the trip. Coolgardie being one of the early Goldfield settlements has a few old buildings some that in a state of disrepair.
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Heading north in the convoy of 7 vehicles we stopped at Kunanalling site of the old Premier Hotel. Originally known as the 25 mile, being Kunanalling is 25 miles from Coolgardie. It was a mining town that had over 500 residents in the late 1980s by 1942 it was totally abandoned.
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We passed plenty of oversized loads on our journey coming towards us, where we had to slow down & move across to the left.
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A short time later we arrived at Credo Homestead & all set up camp. It had a wood fired donkey burner which heated water for the 2 showers & there were two sets of toilets. All in all a very clean & tidy set up. The camp hosts at the time were from Busselton & made us feel very welcome.
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We had a camp fire was outside our house on the first & the last nights. The second night was a total fire ban due to high winds.
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Day 4
An excursion was planned for the day, first stop Rowles Lagoon. It is a semi permanent water body known for birdlife. We were lucky to see a " Little Eagle," although some thought it might be a *Whistling Kite".
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Sightings of Dragonflies, various water fowl & a few flies.
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Next stop Ora Banda (band of gold)
We went cross country down a 4 wheel drive track that our leader said would take 10km off the journey, however probably added 20 minutes. But it was the adventure we were all up for. Our destination was Ora Banda Historical Inn, another old mining lease area. The Inn has been abandoned since it was burnt down in 2019. We stopped at the roadside for morning tea. Shortly after we noticed lots of security cameras around the building site, it was fenced off with signs that said, "No Trespassing, trespassers would be prosecuted." Not long after a vehicle drive by & stopped & gave us a stern vocal warning not to enter the building or compound.
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It was here we noticed a Telstra phone box & as Telstra has made phones in the phone boxes free to use. Deborah managed to ring her Mum in QLD. What a delightful find.
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A convoy headed off for lunch at Broad Arrow Tavern. Great burgers, we had the "Broady burger." No complaints from anyone.
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Day 5
After checking in at the Homestead, paying our dues, and getting some background on the history of the over 210,000 hectare station, it was time to take a look at some of the old abandoned equipment and the shearing shed. The station was de-stocked in 2017 when the government bought the station as a nature reserve, which is why the shearing shed was still in such good condition inside. There were however a few wild cattle & their calves wandering around.
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Afterwards it was another intrepid excursion into the wilds, looking for another abandoned mine. Of course you always find other abandoned things in the bush.
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After a little toing and froing, we finally came across the mini 'superpit'. We fossicked around for gold bearing ore, but the cold and drizzly weather drove everyone back to the cars and the camp ground.
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On the edge of the airstrip sits a chair with gumboots and this sign. "He finally caught his plane."
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The night was time for, probably, our last fire with the full group on this trip. And what a good one it was.
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Posted by iandeborah 10:12 Comments (5)

Goldfields and Wildflowers - Day 1 Kulin & 2 Boorabbin

Heading off on our adventure today. Today's stop is Kulin.
Tripping through Capel (with a quick stop to see Lynne, Ians sister, who's broken her ankle), onto Collie and a quick rest stop in Williams. Prior to reaching Williams we had a few animal encounters...firstly sheep, running out of a farm gate in front of us, so a hasty stop was required. The second encounter was a family of ducks, obviously being taught a road safety lesson by mum and dad as they stood on the side of the road.
Lots of bright yellow canola & green wheat on the roadsides throughout our journey.
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We arrived late afternoon in Kulin at a very lovely little, shire run, caravan park. Flat, level, large concrete pads with several drive through sites. Nice ablutions and they ask you to pay what you'd like to. In general most seem to pay $25 per night, so very economical stop. The town also has a very good free camp area, with a toilet and shower block.
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After setting up a walk into town was in order but, being a Sunday, most shops were closed. So we popped into the only shop that was open, the Pub, also known as Kulin Community Hub. Down at the bar Ian got chatting to some of the locals one of which was an ex Shire Councillor. He was asking how we found the caravan park here. He also mentioned Corrigin Caravan Park has been tarted up in the last couple of years since our last visit. We thought it was a bit worn then.

Day 2 - Next overnight stop is Boorabbin Rest Area (free camping)
It was a slow & easy start to the day. It was another quiet day on the roads, even quieter when we had to stop at culvert works. Coming from the other direction were two semis with large oversized grain bins on board. We heard on channel 39, that the truckers could not fit through on the single lane that was open. So they had to do a U turn on the narrow road which extended our stay at the roadworks.
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Not long after we came across another family of ducks in road traffic training. This time they were crossing & in the middle of the road & waddled quickly across the road into a small dam & under the farmers fence beside us.
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We notice in Narembeen a rather large Hawk sculpture at the front of the Bowl & Rec Centre.
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There are many abandoned buildings in the farming regions this is just one example of an abandoned house.
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We pulled over at a parking spot to have a look for wildflowers and came across some beautiful Spider Orchids.
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Our lunch stop today was at Merredin where we took the opportunity to walk through town & visited the Vietnamese/French Bakery. Yes I did buy a lamington. They are very inventive in Merredin, they exercise while mowing the lawns.
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We headed off through the towns and ended up at tonight's destination of Boorabbin Rest Area. Look what we found on our walk here.
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Posted by iandeborah 10:26 Comments (9)

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Tuesday 29 June
We were allowed to leave Christmas Island, and boarded a plane that had arrived from Perth without any passengers onboard. Thanks to the most recent lockdown in Perth, we had a very spacious cabin to roam around in. Of course the flight was only about 1 hour long, but we were still required to wear our face masks.
Upon arrival at Cocos Keeling, and the talk from the Australian Federal Police about obeying WA laws and the local speed limits (in town 30 km max & beyond town 50 km), we were allowed out of the airport, and we could rip off those masks!
Pictures from the plane shared & taken by Ian Clarke, with thanks
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On to our accommodation. The travel agent booked two different accommodation sites, and we had no initial choice as to where we were located. Five couples ended up in the Hotel Cocos Village Bungalows. Nice. The rest of the group went to the Cocos Beach Resort Motel. Not as nice. Our original room had large ants. The next was ok.
Our location is very good, right next to the pounding sea. Excellent. We walked outside onto the deck chairs to sit & enjoy a cuppa & watch the turtles swimming by.

Cocos (Keeling) Islands are built around the rim of an old volcano. So, as Christmas island is the tip of a volcano, and hence quite hilly, Cocos and is quite flat. In fact the airport boasts it is 10 feet above sea level. So you can ride around the island easily, if the breeze isn't blowing a gale, whereas you'd need a vehicle to get around Christmas Island.

First night dinner was pizza pre-ordered from Salty's for tonight's group gathering. We missed happy hour at the Cocos Club by 6 minutes! Anyway, drinks aren't too expensive. On our way back to the room Deborah spotted a local inhabitant, a hermit crab.
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Picture below taken & shared by Ian Clarke, with thanks
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Wednesday 30 June
Our time on the Island is mainly to recharge our batteries after the hectic pace of Christmas Island. Morning was a short stroll around the corner to the only supermarket for provisions. Milk, juice, tomato ($19 a kilo), and a tin of peaches ($9 for 700g). Also ordered a loaf of bread for the Friday baking day.

Mid morning bike ride to the South end of the Island. 5km each way Into a raging headwind. Some in the group had already attempted the ride and turned back. Deborah, Ian and another couple Paula and Keith (the Potato farmers), were made of sterner stuff. We made it to Scout beach, had a paddle and snorkel, and then ate lunch. The return bike ride was so easy...with a great tail wind.
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During our afternoon walk we came across the local public library. A joint use library with the District High School, open 2 times a week.
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Dinner that night was also at Salty's. A nice mild Malay style fish curry, and this time we made it for happy hour at the Cocos club right next door.

Thursday 1 July
Today was the planned trip to Direction Island. We had an alarm set for 6am to catch the local bus at 7.10am and then ferry at 7.30am. This was to be a day trip. Alas, weather intervened with strong winds and occasional rain squalls, so trip is delayed until Saturday.
Ian took the opportunity to try and get close to the local turtles just outside our rooms.
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We wandered over to Salty's cafe and had a quiet coffee, muffin and chocolate brownie to share.IMG_20210702_120356007_HDR.jpg
The Malay lady, from the cafe, stopped and chatted with us. She explained about cooking the curry we had the night before and a few other food items. She also waved to her husband driving past, who is the refuse truck driver, so we all waved as well. Her sister is on the front desk at our budget motel. They all do some kind of work on West Island, and catch the ferry over from Home island.
In the afternoon we took Ian's Mystery Tour. In the morning some of the others had taken the bus out for a drive around the island, so we took the bus with a few others out at 1pm. Well, that was the plan, but Ian noticed the front drivers tyre looked a little deflated. We drove everyone around to the hire house, followed the lady down to the local mechanic who promptly inflated the tyre.
Off we went up the island.
Stops occurred, during warm rain showers, at the old jetty...
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Trannies beach...a good snorkel spot...
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A easterly beach past 'The Farm', where we all had personal photos...plus some flora and fauna...
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The freshwater lake....and a few coconut palms...
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This is when Ian again noticed a deflation so, cutting the trip short we headed back to the mechanic who advised changing the wheel. We dropped everyone back at their digs and high tailed it back for a old bus tart up.

Deborah convinced others to take the bus out again in the late afternoon when Ian, and a few other hardy fools, took up the scrounger golf challenge with the locals. The golf was a hit, with the ducks. They all hit one ball towards the first green, then retreated into the 'Donga' to escape the monsoonal downpour which raced down the runway like a plane taking off and some lightening. Game eventually abandoned.
Golfing photos below courtesy of Linda de Vries.
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Dinner at Salty's, lamb kebab and fish kebab.

Friday 2 July
After a leisurely morning, again looking at the turtles swimming at the local beach, we prepared for our afternoon trip over to Home Island for the Malay cultural tour with dinner. Catching the local bus, at 50 cents each one way, we got to the jetty to take the $2.50 one way ferry across the lagoon to Home Island. This where the Malay population lives.
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Picture below supplied & taken by Ian Clarke, with thanks
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We are met at Home Island by our guide, ready to trip around in some of the local transport options. We all got to take a turn driving. IMG_20210702_155203887_HDR.jpgIMG_20210702_153239720_HDR.jpg
Deborah found one buggy she really liked. IMG_20210702_145449282.jpgIMG_20210702_145529289.jpg
The island is home to a cemetery that houses the graves of many of the Clunies-Ross dynasty...the founders of the population and industries on the Cocos and Christmas Islands. Our tour included a demonstration of traditional basket weaving. A skill, unfortunately, that is not being passed to the younger folk.
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The next demo was of coconut husking, and extraction of the flesh and water.
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We took a tour of the island facilities, and the Kampong streets. The original accommodation was traditional long houses, which have since been replaced by more western houses. They are all leased from the Cocos Shire.
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They've also had a large cyclone proof hall built, for locals to go to during wild weather. No cyclone had hit yet. It doubles as a community hall.
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Ian also found the library.
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At the end of the tour was a Malay dinner, including local curry chicken, beef rendang and roti, with a sweet drink.
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Saturday 3 July
After the poor weather on Thursday, our rescheduled trip to Direction Island was on. Beautiful blue skies and light wind boded well for our snorkeling adventure. Again a local bus trip and then ferry to the island. Direction Island is so named as it was a communication base for many years including during WWI and WWII. It was decommissioned in 1959 and much of the equipment bulldozed into the ocean.
We found a shelter to hide under from the sun whilst trying to avoid stepping on all the hermit crabs.
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Photos and videos taken & shared by Ian Clarke, with thanks
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Our ride home on the ferry. Thanks Ian Clarke for taken & sharing this photo, we were all feeling quite tuckered out after our big adventure.
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Snorkeling ensued, and many took to the infamous RIP to get swept into the lagoon and then a swim back to shore. Amazing. All sorts of large and small fish were seen, as you got swept along above the deep trench, including many reef sharks.
Deborah even went snorkeling and encountered one of these relatively friendly sharks.
Of course it wouldn't be a group adventure without some member having an incident. This time it was the group leaders wife. The 'RIP' is a rip, so warning signs do mention the facts. Our member hit the rip, floated along quite a long way into the lagoon, saw a shark underwater and in her panic promptly lost her mask and snorkel. As she Slightly floundered in the deep water, a passing fishing boat asked if she required assistance, which she gladly took. And her husband? He was oblivious to her predicament. We all laughed.

Sunday 4 July
We all headed out to Big Barge Art Centre, being shuttled in the hired bus. The Barge, built in 1970, was repurposed in early 2000's into a gallery for local art works with a cafe on the side. Nice set-up.
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In the afternoon we had a relaxing time at the motel, and Ian took the opportunity to cut down a few coconuts to get some coconut water.
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We also then took a walk along our beach to check the coral, crabs and shells. Like most of the beaches there was a selection of flotsam including old vehicle parts.
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Tonight we grabbed a Marinara pizza from Salty's and took it, and a bottle, over to the other groups bungalow accommodation for the nightly catch-up.

Monday 5 July
First up today was a trip to the clam farm run by John Clunies-Ross Jnr. His description of the process, challenges, and 'Yes Minister' bureaucracy was amusing. These blue coloured clams are a delicacy in the Asian market, but he describes the taste as being like eating algae. We quite often see these blue ones whilst snorkeling.
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We all headed to Scout Park again, to walk across the reef to Pulu Mari island to do some more snorkeling. This is also home to a Rip. Deborah took the plunge and 'ripped' around the island being guided by Sue, an experienced snorkeller, to see many colourful fish and baby reef sharks along the way.
Picture below taken & shared by Sue Morrison of the three of the least experienced snorkellers after conquering the rip. Accompanied by Carolina who also guided us through.
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Pictures below taken & shared by Leanne Green. Both Steve & Ian helping the one with a dodgy foot across to Pulu Maria Island & Deb snorkeling & loving every minute. Thanks boys.
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A quiet night having a bbq salmon with some of our Motel neighbours.

Tuesday 6 July
A morning cuppa tea watching the ocean waves and turtles playing, prior to our noon checkout. Ian was able to swap some 2 and 1 dollar coins at the Community Resource Centre. They're very happy to get as much gold coinage as they can.
Our plane is delayed about an hour, but has a perfect landing.
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So we all wait around until about 6-7pm for it to land. Of course, the Cocos Club starts happy hour at 5.30pm, so a few take advantage of a drink or 2.
Of course, if we'd stayed a little longer we could have had our next Covid Jan.
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Deb's treasured collection.
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Posted by iandeborah 12:29 Comments (4)

Christmas Island

Tuesday 22 June
Great Virgin flight over & the weather was kind for our landing. We turned back the clocks an hour to Island time.
Upon landing we were greeted by the Federal Police who gave us a talk about behaving ourselves whilst on the Island.
Most people in our group are over 59 & some even over 90 wonderful years young. Here are a couple of the young ones.
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Settled into our digs at the VQ3 (Visitors Quarters No 3).
Put on our togs & took a towel( yes I know a QLD word for what some of you know as bathers) and headed to the Sunset Lodge. Who might we meet on the balcony but 2 lovely young Ladies Alex & Rachel. The pool was refreshing.
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The photo below was taken by Linda de Vries after we had our first snorkel, thanks Linda for sharing it.
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And a video from Ian Clarke..

This beautiful photograph by Jan Clarke was taken of a beautiful butterfly on our joint verandah. It was sitting for 20 minutes showing itself in the frangipani trees.
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Ian Clarke took & shared this photograph of our shared balcony at the VQ3.
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We all went down to Let Cla Cafe & Restaurant for dinner.
Photo below was taken by Linda de Vries, thankyou for sharing it.
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The Chinese was very tasty. Ian & I took the opportunity to walk home. We noticed on the front of people's gardens quite a few small red crabs & when we arrived at VQ3 we had the first sighting of a robber crab as it crushed a coke can.

Wednesday 23 June
9am.
We all hit the shops for an early morning run & picked up a few groceries & booze which was at duty free pricing which made it very affordable. Most fresh items come to the Island from the mainland on the flights on Tuesday & Fridays. This is why tomatoes cost around $19 a kilo. You also might be paying over over $20 for a kilo of sausages in the stores here. We brought over 2 meals of frozen steaks & salads & some groceries in our luggage.

11am
We all caught to bus down to Flying Fish Cove for a swim & some took the opportunity to have a snorkel. It was our first time snorkeling & we saw some colourful fish of all different sizes & shapes. Swimming around the coral reef. We had BYO lunch at the Cove. Afterwards we headed back to the VQ3 to get changed before heading to the National Park with views over Flying Fish Cove. Unfortunately the Rainforest boardwalk walk was closed so we took the opportunity to view some of the Islands great birds & crabs.
We all had BBQ dinner & drinks at the VQ3. Our group has 27 people in it on this Island.

Thursday 24 June
7am early wake up. A small group of interested people park took. We drove to Governors House by a small mini bus to see the view on a clear morning of Flying Fish Cove. Around the buildings & along the road were lots of red crabs. There is a rule on the Island for people driving to slow down to avoid the red crabs as they are protected.
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9am we departed for the main trip of the day to The Grotto ( locally known as The Dragons Den - the noise of the ocean coming into the underwater cave.
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Next stop was the Casino. Our group has special permission to enter the area. It was a derelict white elephant. It has not been in use for over 10 years. It lost its licence when Kerry Packer got the rights to open the Crown Casino in Perth, Western Australia. It has since been left to crumble unoccupied. It is falling apart. Even though it is visible there is furniture in good condition in the rooms & vehicles left abandoned. It is such a waste of funds.

XXX Ian to add photo of casino. Remove this line.
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The pools at the Casino.
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Waterfall Bay
Location of a Malaysian Temple & some amazing blow holes.
A lovely chick, a Boobie bird.
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Ethel Beach
We took a walk down the wooden steps to the Shelly & Coral beach. Members of our group filled more than 2 large fertilizer bags full of rubbish. It contained polystyrene, things, plastic straws, plastic bottles & a myriad of unwanted stuff.
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Lily Beach
For a few brave soles took a dip in the ocean pool. We were two of them. It was so refreshing.
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Home for lunch on our balcony. In the afternoon we went out to see Parks Australia, Dr Tanya Detto who educated us & then took us through the rainforest to see the Yellow Crazy Ants. These little micro sizes ants accidentally introduced in the 1920s have recently started killing off colony's of Red Crabs. One of her tasks is to find a way to reduce or eliminate the ants. Another invader is the xxxxxxx snake. It has deviated the native reptile population. She now has to find a way to remove them from the Island.
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Photo below taken by Linda de Vries, thankyou for sharing.
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Dinner was at Seaview Fish & Chips at Poon San
WA hoo, one of the local fish was off the menu. We had local snapper & chips. We were invited upstairs to a local bar to eat our fish & chips & enjoy a beverage or two.

Friday 25 June
6.30 bus tour included a small group. We took our bus past the Governors House to Daniel Roux Cave. It was a slippery walk through the jungle past hundred of crabs, lots of fungi to the slippery steel stairwell. A few brave Soules took the stairwell climb to find the Cave had been fenced off. It was still an interesting experience.
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We took the morning to walk to the local Post Office to purchase a few postcards to send home. We visited the Information Bureau & strolled home for lunch.

We had a trip to the Phosphate Mine Office for a very interesting informative presentation on the Mine Operation rehabilitation process & some local history due to poor weather we were unable to visit the mine site today.

Dinner tonight was Pizza at the local bakery. They cook Pizzas for the town on Friday nights

Saturday 26 June
We enjoyed a leisurely day walking and exploring around the settlement.
A fish mural
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A tile collage
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Some exercise equipment on the beach front.

A bowling green, skate park, volley ball court, bbqs, tables & chairs, and clean toilets.
This Shire is certainly looking after it's ratepayers with support also by the Christmas Island Phosphate Company..
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Mid Afternoon
Deborah took her second snorkel at Flying Fish Cove & saw lots of colourful fish.

Tonight our group gathered at the local. We were told by the locals last night that the flight that came from Perth yesterday afternoon did not land as it could not see the airfield. Storms were brewing. All passengers were returned to Perth & are trying to return again on tomorrow's flight. As a consequence we caught up with Alex & Rachael again tonight. It was a lovely catch up. Looking forward to seeing you both another time back home.
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The first night we get to see the sunset was tonight. Each other night it has been overcast or raining.
Tonight's sunset was spectacular.
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Dinner was at Poon Saan at Lucky Boy Restaurant. It looked like it was well known by the locals. Nice food. Our shared cost was around $25 a head. Meet Harry & Linda..
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Sunday 27 June
6.30 am
Deborah partook in the early morning excursion to the Golf Course Lookout. It was an interesting & slightly difficult walk through an unsigned jungle track over differed terrains up hills & down dale's ensuring not to step on a crab. The view was spectacular. Christmas Island really needs to invest into at least some basic signage to help tourists find locations on the Island.
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Late Morning
We took a stroll down the main Street to find good vantage points to observe the phosphate ship " Red Titan" which had docked early in the morning to take on a load of phosphate for Indonesia. Along the way we stopped at a lookout point behind the visitor centre where we could see the bow of the ship & the loading process. It was also a great viewing platform to see local birds & butterflies. Walking further towards the Flying Fish Cove, Kampong we found a spot where we could see the stern of the ship. We strolled home stopping at a few seats along the way & in a park where there was a lovely breeze in the shade. The weather was sunny, hot & humid.
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Dinner tonight was a group bbq at the VQ3, where we are staying.
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Monday 28 June
The morning was spent down at the 'Blowholes' at the south end of the island, where a 350 metre boardwalk has been built to access this great natural wonder. Amazing. These are volcanic limestone rocks eroded by the sea creating small tunnels for the crashing waves to funnel through. An incredible sight and a blasting sound. This area of coast is one of the main sections where the red crabs move during their annual migration.
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We next drive up to the Pink House and the Lizard Lodge, to see the threatened lizards and how Parks Australia is breeding to release. The giant centipede and wolf snake have decimated the endemic population ad have the crazy ants with the red crabs.
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Afterwards a quick trip to a Toaist temple which is located next to an original water well developed for the old train line used to transport the phosphate from South end to the port at Flying Fish Cove.

Robber crabs sighted in the afternoon.
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Next stop was National Parks headquarters for the bird feeding. Injured birds are rehabilitated in a small enclosure.
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We have been amused by a rather large vessel which has been cruising backwards & forwards across the Cove. We are told it is the Border Force.

Thanks Chris Riley for mentioning the Library.
There was a Shire Library on the Island but we didn't manage to get to it. Luckily there were a few of the small local Libraries that Ian found.
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Update for Tuesday 29th June...the scheduled Virgin flight is arriving today to take us to Cocos, however due to a Covid lockdown in Perth the plane will be empty of passengers. The upside for us is we can now stay in our accommodation until closer to our plane departure time. The downside is one of our group was expecting his wife to be arriving today.
There may be further updates, but don't hold your breath.
We managed to find the Christmas Island Shire Public Library. Unfortunately it was closed at the time we visited.
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A further update on the Library situation.

Posted by iandeborah 14:10 Comments (0)

To Karrinyup Waters, then home.

As we left Dongara & The New Age Caravan Club we headed past the sand dunes. They remind me of Mr Whippy ice creams. The weather was overcast with a touch of rain here & there. We popped the seat warmers on in the car, what luxury.
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The road signs warn us to be cautious of wildlife in the area. Kangaroo's, Emu's & Echidna's were about. We saw one Emu on the roadside upright & many Kangaroos at the roadside eating the lush green grass in the paddocks as we drove by.

There were also moments of blue skies and dry roads.
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We elected for a grassy site at Karrinyup Waters on the back row behind the camp kitchen & ablution block. It had a nature reserve behind us which was quite peaceful. We enjoyed a lovely dinner with Annette the first night at the restaurant. Annette dropped in for a cuppa as she drove home from work the next day, Monday her workday. We shared plenty of laughs.
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Just one or two of the many playgrounds for children scattered through the park.
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A lake & picnic area behind the small caravans & tent sites. Th ducks certainly love the pond.
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Meet Lucy. We visited her Monday.
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Ian cooking our chops for dinner in the camp kitchen.
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One of the three pools on-site, 2 are heated. One day we will have a dip.
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Our trip home was via New Age, Perth. Where Adrian looked after us with some warranty issues. We missed catching up with Rick by ..that.. much, but we were thinking about him. We left the New Age yard by 3pm to drive home. We drove down the scenic South West Highway. We stopped at Pinjarra.
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Saw a lovely rainbow. We tried to find the pot of gold at the end, but to no avail. Next time hey.
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We noticed lots of flashing lights ahead, but couldn't work out what was going on. A little way down the road we passed them. It was 3 trucks loaded with car, the top of a crushed caravan & the last with the crushed bottom of the caravan. I hear you ask, how did we know that. Well Deborah had the cb on & heard the drivers talk to a passing truck & describe just that. It sends a chill down your spine when you see this sort of thing. Someone's misfortune. It does however keep your mind on the task with clarity & the weight you yourself are towing. Ours is 3 tonne.
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We drove past the Brunswick Peters Ice Creamery as the sun was sinking in the sky.
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We made it home by 6.30 pm Tuesday night in the dark. We hadn't backed Melba in by night before. We prepared for the reversing manoeuvre. On went all the outside lights. Windows down for the instructions. Well what can I say other than she was backed in by the professional. Yes Ian, you did it successfully again. What a legend!
That's it for this trip. Where ever your going, enjoy the journey, stay safe & remain alert.
Remember to have your rest stops along the journey.
Cheerio for now!

Posted by iandeborah 06:44 Comments (3)

Destination Dongara - we made it

Only takes one night at Guilderton & the sandbar closes over again.
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We got a bit sporty at Moore River, Guilderton.
In the van we travel with our putters & some golf balls. Guilderton just happens to have a a mini golf course. We had two rounds of golf. First round Ian scored 2 holes in 1. Second round we each had a hole in one. Ian won convincingly so Deborah had to buy the fish & chips for dinner.
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Thursday morning we headed off to Dongara for a very wet drive.
We arrived and set up in amongst another 14 New Age Vans & there owners. The park puts on nibbles for the park guests which we all partook. They also put on pancakes Sunday morning at 9am. We hope to hit the road around 8.30 so we have asked our fellow travellers to eat our share.

The Big 4 Caravan Park is right on the beach. The beach is now no longer there. A big rock wall has been put in place to prevent beach erosion. Each night we fall asleep to the waves crashing on the rocks. It's quite relaxing. Close by is the Harbour for the fishing & crayfish boats. Each day we walked along the foreshore as the sun was shining each day, it was beautiful & warm. Of a night we had a few showers.
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Deborah certainly took in the sun and sights.
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And the evenings started off fine.
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Recently the Shire of Irwin has introduced fees for camping on Indian Ocean Drive.
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We had a drive around Dongara. Ian found the library. We also visited the local opportunity shop.
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Tomorrow Sunday we head to our new Destination Karinyup Waters, Perth for 2 nights.

Posted by iandeborah 14:22 Comments (2)

Destination Dongara - the journey begins

We decided to catch up with the New Age Caravan Club @ Dongara, Port Denison.
But why not extend it we thought. So we threw out the challenge to attend the Pinjarra Festival.
Annette Smth & Michele & Gary Jones all excepted the challenge. So for the WA Day Long Weekend we all made our way to the Pinjarra Caravan Park.

Friday
We all arrived one by one to have a wonderfully relaxing weekend.
First night we cooked up Chicken, Leek & Potato soup & purchased some delicious sour dough. Yummy as.
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The great people at the park provided a huge pile of wood beside the fire pit we used throughout our stay.
It didn't take Ian long to get a very warm & welcoming fire going. Those flames are so mesmerising.
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Saturday
After our obligatory morning coffee or tea we hit the festival. There were loads of entertainment for the children, and all free too.
Very interesting displays, arts & crafts & the op shops were open in town & ready to sell you a bargain.
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Deborah even met a few of her favourite mates...
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She even got a bit cheeky.
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The Pinjarra Caravan Parks local resident.
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Saturday night we all gathered at the Jones's cabin. ( Note due to Gary's dodgy finger they were unable to bring the van. Wishing him a good recovery. ) Lasagne provided by Annette, wonderfully tasty with salads from Michele & Gary. Yum.

Sunday
After the obligatory cuppa & Anzac biscuits we all headed back to the festival to see the things we missed the day before. Including the Machinery Shed Museum, stalls & more second hand shops in town.

Then @ lunchtime we slipped into the Pinjarra Bakery for a bite to eat.

Dinner for our final night was a BBQ cooked by Gary & salad provided by the Jones's. It was an exceptional night.
Ian had the final fire stoked & warmed us. Great work Ian! That night we had beautiful clear skies & stars above.
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WA Day Public Holiday- Monday
The Jones's were the first to hit the road.
The rest of us needed a heart starter coffee, hitched up & hit the road.

Fabulous news : Everyone texted as they arrived home safe & sound. News to our ears.

We were stopping for a break just North of Two Rocks & luckily came across a Driver Reviver stop.
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We headed to Guilderton, Moore River Caravan Park for 3 nights. It's our old stomping ground.
Pay 2 & stay 3. Fabulous news to our ears.
There are about a baker's dozen of vans here. It doesn't happen very often but we arrive at Guilderton to find the sandbar open. It is both empty & quiet in the park. A great place to relax & energise.
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Posted by iandeborah 12:34 Comments (4)

Queensland trip - Part 2

Picked up some fresh fruit & vegetables from a road side market stall just past Gympie to bring back to Maxine & Neil's new home. The road trip took us about 5 hours & was a good trip.

Big day out to DFO & Costco, Brisbane. Maxine, Neil, Caroline, Ian & Deb all enjoyed a lovely day out, we all picked up a few bargains & enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Hamilton Hotel.
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Ian & I had an afternoon cuppa at Mum and Dad's, where we saw some cute photos of little Deb, her Sisters & Mum & Dad from the precious years before.
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Sunday, and Neil & Maxine took us for a scenic drive along the Sunshine Coast roads & saw Noosa which was heaving with people both on the streets & in the restaurants, pubs & clubs. We had a delicious lunch out & drove back through M'ba.
We also had a walk around Max and Neil's neighbourhood, to see all the new development. Huge numbers of new roads, parks and houses being built. Interesting that they lay polystyrene blocks under the reinforcing mesh, before concrete pouring. Most houses are also wood framed, not double brick.
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Tuesday Dad drove us to Baroon Pocket Dam, just out from Maleny which was once dominated by Bunya Pines emerging as tall as 50 metres from subtropical rainforrest. 180 million years ago, giant sauropod dinosaurs dined on Bunya nuts and spread the seeds. Fossil trees closely related to Bunyas have been found in Europe and South America. Gradually the ancient Bunyas dissapeared from around the world remaining only a few pockets of basalt soils in Queensland. Two of the biggest forests of Bunyas are in the Blackall Range and in the Bunya Mountains.

Baroon Pocket has some areas of tall eucalypt forest. Tallwwood Eucalyptus microcorys are food for Koalas Phascolarctos cinereus,considered locally vulnerable today.

We saw the butterflies, birds & a racehorse goanna nearby sunning itself & what a lovely sight to see.
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On the way we stopped to view the countryside at Gerrard & then Dulong Lookout. Both with spectacular views of the countryside.
Thanks goes to Deb's Mum for making us all a lovely picnic, thankyou Mum.
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The Dam itself is always full to overflowing as it received 2000mm annual rainfall. The water is for local household use.

We caught the brink of a sunset as we returned to Maxine & Neil's home. It is beautiful from where ever you are in the world, isn't it.
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We had a chillaxing day the next day in preparation for our trip the following day to Brisbane.

Drive to Brisbane from the Sunshine Coast
On our way down to Brisbane we took the opportunity to do a Sunland caravan Factory Tour. It's always interesting to see innovative construction methods, including lightweight composite panels, and get new ideas for our future caravanning adventures.
Special thanks to Caroline for picking us up from the car rental drop off location in Brisbane & driving us to our accommodation.

The Point hotel was our chosen accommodation, at Kangaroo Point for our 3 night stay. We enjoyed our stay here. The Staff were very acomodating.

Exploring Brisbane
We chose to take a free Ferry ride into Brisbane, followed by free bus to view the City Centre.
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Look what we found at Myers...See these new innovative items from LitmusLab.com.au
The helmet, called Livall, had 24 vent airflow, improving airflow, immediate notification of any accident you may have, indicators for left and right turn, one touch phone pick-up, communication with fellow riders, Bluetooth music and more.
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What a table! Bluetooth music and also recharge compatable phones just sitting on top of this glorious table.
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We took a Taxi to Southbank to see the Markets & street art.
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Also at the Southbank is the Epicurious garden.
A community area where fruit, herbs and vegetables are grown, and sold on a few days a week.
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Some of the street art on offer include:
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Finally, a big shout out to Maxine and Neil, for their patience, laughter and putting us up at their place.

We have arrived home to Busselton safe & sound @ 5.40pm. Thanks to Rob & Rose who picked us up and had some grocery essentials for us. How thoughtful of the.
It was a big day at the office for us both. Our trip started at 6.45 am for the travel leg. After a Caroline uber/driving us to the airport. Thanks Sis. The plane flight from Brisbane was delayed 30 minutes as a passenger boarded then decided not to fly so the airline had to find the passengers bags and offload them, then repack the remaining passengers luggage. We turned our clocks back during flight 2 hours to get back to WA time.
Lucky we had time in between our bus pickup time. We had a smooth flight. Upon entering the WA boarder with our G2G ready we were met with a posse of Police checking all of the passengers G2G passes. 50 passengers were allowed to exit the plane at any one time. Ian & I were met by one Policeman who said, Ian wasn't allowed in with that jumper. It was his Man City jumper. The Policeman was a Liverpool supporter. With our passes all in order, he had no choice but to let us into WA. We had a brief wait till the South West Coach lines bus arrived to take us home. Chris our driver got us safely back to Busselton without a hitch. Rose & Rob kindly brought us home. So after 13 hours travel we are very happy to be home.
Have a great week everyone!

Posted by iandeborah 05:05 Comments (1)

Queensland trip - Part 1

Not quite a camping or cruising trip, but we managed to get a flight out of WA to visit the relatives in Queensland. The Sunshine Coast to be precise.
There is Deb's Mum & Dad, Mary & Basil (who live in Sippy Downs, QLD) Caroline Deb's older Sister ( currently residing in New Zealand). Maxine & Neil Deb's younger Sister & hubby who live on the Sunshine Coast & us.

We enjoyed catching up over lunch at the Buderim Hotel with the folks, Maxine & ourselves while we waited patiently for Caroline to fly over from New Zealand that day. What a view from the hotel overlooking the sea and the mountains.

Maxine & Deb took a drive to the International airport to collect Caroline Monday night. Caroline & Lilly (black) & Dexter (white), Maxine & Neil's two furbabies.
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We all visited Mary & Basil for morning tea. Poor Neil, he had to work.
Mary was up early & made some fruit scones for us all. We had our favourite jam of all time as kids, Rosella Jam, made with love by our Mum. Thanks Mum, it was delicious.
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We could not help ourselves, Caravaning had to be included in our trip so we took a drive to Coolum to have a look through the Zone RV factory. A well oiled ship with interesting & unique contruction methods.
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Visit to Eumundi Markets Wednesday morning. Here are Deb's Sisters.
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After a couple of hours Ian & I headed North to Agnes Water. We had to cross a few creeks and rivers, and drive past some cane fields.IMG_20210421_151933296_HDR.jpgIMG_20210421_152559499.jpg

We stayed at the Seashells Motel & Resort. On our journey we crossed a few rivers & sugar cane fields & lots of QLD farm houses.
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Thursday we took a drive around the twin town sites. Agnes Water & Seventeen Seventy. We found a fruit liquor distillery called 1770 Distillery. The fruits in the bottle are all pure fruit, no concentrate, colourings. Yes Deborah bought a Strawberry liquor.
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As Ian's want, he found a library near the Information Centre ofcourse.
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We visited The Captain Cook Monument site of Cooks first landing in QLD. The walk beside it is home to the Migratory Blue Tiger Butterfly. We were fortunate on our walk to see these beautiful tiny quick moving Butterfies.
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Back at Agnes Water we found "workers campground" the apparently free camping area Closed.
Back to our lovely apartment to have a quick dip in the pool.
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Happy Hour then commenced on the balcony.
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Our drive Friday commences at Agnes Water through Bundaberg and leisurely through to Maxine & Neil's later in the day.

Posted by iandeborah 23:30 Comments (4)

Orcas @ Bremer Bay

Day 1. Had a scenic bus trip through Manjimup. Stopped off for a lovely coffee & walk through the Power & Timber museum. And don't forget to whistle while you work.
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We visited Jardee which is one of the original timber towns. It's a place where old cars become gardens.
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Were treated to lunch at Mt Barker Hotel where 4 generations of the one family prepared our lovely meal. Drove past Bluff Knoll and onto the Bremer Bay Resort, our home for the next four days + three nights. The first night we took a walk to the Bremer Bay Brewing shed to have a drink, and Deborah was steady enough afterwards to make it back to the Resort, Even after encountering 2 kangaroos on the footpath!
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Day 2. We headed out for a boat trip with Whale Watch WA to see a selection of marine life including the ultimate predator " Orcas".
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Blue Planet III Bremer Canyon unfolded today in picturesque weather as Orca, Sperm Whales, Offshore Bottlenose Dolphins and an exciting sighting of False Killer Whales made for an incredible day. Albatross and Shearwaters soared as we were escorted out to The Patch in their company as leaping pilchards cascaded across the waters surface. A special day ahead was set as we enjoyed the company of the worlds largest toothed predator, the incredible Sperm Whale. Today we had the opportunity to observe four different individuals who were all extremely relaxed and welcomed us to their surface preparation for their next deep dive before lifting enormous flukes high and disappearing to the depths below. One of the most beautiful moments to observe in the animal kingdom is the tail dive of a Sperm Whale and today we had four perfect examples.

Season 2021 still has surprises as for the first time this season False Killer Whales (Pseudorca crassidens) were sighted as they surged with excitement. It was a joy to observe this infrequently sighted species in these waters, their movements are not as predictable as other cetaceans so time with them is a privilege. Powerful and sleek movers, the Pseudorca are top hunters and love targeting pelagic fish and squid species which the Bremer Canyons are renowned for providing in enormous quantities. Playful and relaxed as they surrounded us, we had well over one hundred individuals as the fun level was about to step up a notch as Offshore Bottlenose Dolphins joined in with the activities. It was great to observe the Bottlenose happily travelling with the Pseudorca and the large pod of 150+ cetaceans took over an enormous area of the Southern Ocean which was a very beautiful sight. The name False Killer Whale may be used to describe this species due to their similarities to the Orca but there is nothing false about these creatures, they are genuinely beautiful and charismatic individuals who bring the ocean to life with their energy and enthusiasm.

Just to make sure the Pseudorca didn’t completely steal the show, B-Slice and his family pod reclaimed their stretch of the feeding grounds as the Orcinus Orca moved through with confidence. Relaxed and playful as the family interacted amongst each other and approached curiously. The loud bellow of B-Slice as he exhaled emanated through the still afternoon as the rest of the family pod greeted the arrival of big male Giovani. Newest pod member Millie raced towards us excitedly as the family pod regrouped and were ready for their evening ahead. Champagne on the beautiful afternoon cruise back towards Bremer Bay Boat Harbour was the perfect way to celebrate the magnificent wildlife we had the privilege of observing today. Our Blue Planet III Bremer Canyon day was completed with wonderful Australian Sea Lions as they shuffled around Glasse Island to find the perfect resting spot. Graeme Drew and his team completed a busy day with some cheeky pilchards within their newly stitched net as full bellied seabirds rested around the Ricki Jo. One of the most diverse and remarkable places on the planet to view wildlife and today was a perfect reflection of this magnificent place and some of the special creatures who reside here.
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Day 3. We take a tour of the Wellstead Homestead & museum with the owner Max Wellstead & enjoy a morning tea at the cafe. It was filled with memorabilia & artefacts from the original families through to the more present day. You may remember using some of these items.
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There was even a remnant of Skylab, a titanium cylinder.
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There was also a range of tractors, cars & motor vehicles.
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We headed off in the bus with driver Kevin & wife Jenny our tour guide to visit Tozers Bush Camp with local guide Robert Tozer & enjoy a picnic lunch, with sandwiches supplied from The Telegraph (a cafe inside what was the first telegraph station at Bremer). Robert explained the reasons behind how the camp became established. He has solar panels & batteries, rain water in tanks & water pumped by a nearby dam for showers. He runs this business totally off the grid.
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And even though it was pouring with rain at Tozers, there were still some flowers to see.
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On the way back we had a short drive through town where an x-local explained a few historical facts & showed us a few scenic sights.
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Day 4.
Heading home via Kojonup for lunch, and a nice pie from Kojonup Bakery, then through Collie to Bunbury and finally Busselton.

Posted by iandeborah 04:50 Comments (6)

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