A Travellerspoint blog

Cliff Head

First encounter with Dolphins

sunny 21 °C
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We arrived at Cliff Head North on a beautiful fine day. There are a string of camps along the beach extending for a couple of kilometres at least. They are broken up into Cliff Head Sth, Cliff Head and yes, Cliff Head North. We had heaps of options for camping spots and found a lovely one nestled into the base of the cliff. The beach wasn’t one for swimming as recent storms had brought in tons of sea grass, feet deep in some areas. From here we visited Port Denison and Dongara on our first day. We lunched on the beach at Port Denison – Wow another beautiful location that immediately has you thinking “I could spend a lot of time here”. We drove up into Dongara, which is almost a continuation of Port Denison. A quaint little main street with the obligatory beautiful historic buildings but this time with the addition of massive MoretonBay Figs lining the street. Almost every town along our trip so far has had some unique beauty about it. These two little towns were no exception.

We came ‘home’ to find our new friends (The dog people) had arrived and camped only a couple of hundred metres further north. Lesley and Steve with their dog Maggie and Nicci and Dave with their dog Jed. (LSM & NDJ) Buddy fell for Maggie right away! They were very welcoming and we joined them in the evening around a campfire.

On our second day Megan and I were walking along the beach (AKA ploughing through the piles of sea grass) when we saw a single fin in the water about 20 metres offshore. It was joined soon after by a second smaller fin as the two dolphins surfaced. Very exciting indeed as they slowly made their way along parallel to the beach. Sometimes moving away to about 100 metres only to return closer to shore. Then it appeared that they noticed Megan running along in the shallows of the water, following their progress. They both moved to within about 5 metres of the shore right near Megan. Had a bit of a look at her while travelling along for 30-40 metres before drifting slightly further away. Fortunately they continued in this pattern all the way up past our camp so we were able to alert Rory and Sue so they could take in the excitement.

Posted by slamrs 20:24 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The Pinnacles, Cervantes & Jurien Bay

all seasons in one day 20 °C
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On Saturday after making our escape from rain drenched Perth we drove north on the Brand Hwy hoping to get clear of the storms. A couple of hundred kilometres with only marginal improvement so we started to look for somewhere to camp and light a fire. We started to head back toward the coast –our aim was to camp somewhere close to the Pinnacles. We anticipated a nice warm fire but alas each stop we looked at had big ‘no fires’ signs. At the forth one, Tuart’s Reserve we found a nice little spot and decided to pitch camp. Again the rain held off until we almost had the whole camp setup and down she came again. In our rush to setup we'd come a little close to one of the beautiful Tuart Gums so the annex sort of folded around one of the branches. It made for a unique aesthetic with the branch in our 'space'. Especially as we shared this part of the tree with a large golden orb spider. He didn't seem too fussed to be sharing his space with us and incorporated our tent poles into his web.

The next morning we met two couples camped near us who are travelling together after meeting at Blazeaid after the recent fires in Yarlup. They’re dog people, (one each) and offered to look after Buddy while we went to visit the Pinnacles. They came across as very genuine so we took the punt and headed off to the Pinnacles. The weather had cleared allowing us to see the Pinnacles at their best. We even had signal so we put in a skyp call to Luke, Silvia and Emiliano in Toowoomba. Quite surreal to be standing on a platform in the middle of this moonscape of limestone piles sticking out of the ground while talking to Luke and Sivia and being entertained by Emiliano. A quick drive back through Cervantes and back to camp to check on Buddy. We couldn’t believe this was the second time we had left him in only three days.

The following day our dog sitters moved on and we took a drive up to Jurien Bay for a look around. Yet another good coffee – We’ve been so spoilt on this trip so far!! A relaxing afternoon around camp before yet another storm front moved through. It fined up early the next morning for a relatively dry pack up this time. Then we had to go back through Jurien Bay for water, a shower and of course another good coffee. You're never sure if its your last one so you can't miss the opportunity to have another one!! :)

Posted by slamrs 05:49 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Perth

Footy, Freo, Rottnest, solar panels and catching up with nephews.

all seasons in one day 22 °C
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We arrived in Perth on Thursday (11th) and booked back into the [ark we stayed at 9 days earlier. What a contrast to the quiet of our camp on the Blackwood River. I bought earplugs this time!! A caravan park does give the time to get everything washed, (including us!), restock and a fix of electronic gadgets. I’d ordered another solar panel to go with our old 80W folding one which we’ve had since 2012. We use it to charge the trailer battery, but with the fridge mainly in the car running off the auxiliary battery we need something to help it keep up with the demand, especially when we are not driving much. This new 100W panel has the cells mounted on a 3mm sheet of PVC that is just the right size for me to mount to the lid of one of our cargo boxes. Sikaflexing it on gave me a great vantage point to watch the Russian Antonov as it approached Perth airport.

On Saturday Megan and I went to watch the Saints train at Subiaco oval. We didn’t have any Saints gear so Megan got the layers to sign the grubby old white ambulance cap she was wearing. The players didn’t seem to mind. They were very relaxed. A mood that prevailed the next day when we returned to watch them get thumped by 100+ points.

Monday, we went for a look at Freemantle. We’d heard it was a beautiful place with its historic buildings but how could anything associated with the purple army look that good!! It did live up to the reputation. We wandered around the New Orleans like streets before meeting up with my nephew John to enjoy a beer of pale ale at Little Creatures. Then it was off to the house John shares with his brother Peter and another friend. A great catch up over pizza and coffee!!

The next three days were spent finishing off attaching the solar panel, getting the car serviced, shopping and to Rory’s char grin, much catching up on school work. I have to give a plug for the mechanic Graham at Auto Bahn in Midland, Perth. The car was returned to us vacuumed and washed!! Oh yeh, and serviced at a reasonable price!! I can’t remember the last time I encountered that.

On Friday we were able to spend the day at Rottnest Island thanks to nephew Peter who dog sat Buddy for us. We hired the three speed bikes the ferry people have and rode around the island. Rory decided that he would do the whole thing in 3rd gear even before seeing the terrain. To his credit he did stay in 3rd gear even when he was clearly spent. Oh to be so young and strong and determined. We all ended up a bit saddle sore but it was a great day. Quokkas everywhere of course and our lunchtime was shared with 2 quokkas, 2 lizards and 2 crows who joined us hoping to share our wares. We’ll post a picture of them; though I’m not sure it shows just how close they all came to us.

We returned ‘home’ Friday night – A beautiful clear night but there were weather warnings all along the freeway of an impending storm. Should we pack up tonight and try to book into a cabin? Too tired. Perhaps it won’t hit until later in the morning. Oh well that was a mistake of sorts. Whilst then sky was still clear at 4:00am by 6:00 it was bucketing down. It felt like a couple of inches in a couple of hours. The creek beside the park swelled rapidly enough to have us wondering. We were camped on its bank. Whilst the clouds still hung over us threatening to continue the deluge, the rain stopped for about 40 minutes. Long enough for us to throw a very sodden tent together and head north.

Posted by slamrs 05:10 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Visiting the sites

Margaret River; Augusta, Leeuwin Lighthouse and Nannup

all seasons in one day 20 °C

Each day we ventured out from our camp to take in one of the local sites. After Margaret River the first day, we took in Augusta the second day. Another quaint little town where our little Blackwood River meets the sea as a very big grand river. We parked down by the river where Sue and I left Rory and his travelling Italian tutor (aka Megan) to complete some work while we strolled along the the river bank and found our way to a nice little coffee shop - We have been spoilt so far with many good coffee locations. It will be interesting to see how we go once we start moving north and particularly away from the coast.

Sunday (8th) was horse riding - Sue uploaded a couple of photos from the location while Megan , Rory and I were out riding. It was great to be in the saddle and to see Megan and Rory both looked very comfortable throughout the ride. We lucked in with a good trail riding mob too. Good well educated horses that were a pleasure to ride. Not just those nose to tail rides that I loathe.

Monday we headed back down through Augusta to Leeuwin peninsula and the lighthouse. A great climb/tour up the lighthouse along with a guided audio history of the peninsula.

Tuesday we decided to visit Nannup. We missed it on the way up to Perth and it lies a bit east of where we're camping. Another town with heaps of history and of course very pretty. Hardly anyone about though - For a weekday. We found a coffee shop - not so good this time - but it did provide a good feed of chips. Interestingly the general feel of the place wasn't as welcoming as we had found in the other towns like this. We might have just met the wring people that day.

Wednesday was a chillout day at camp. Time for canoeing, swimming (for me anyway), and reading books. Sue had to take a small trip out to find a signal so Rory could ring in for his Italian lesson. This has to happen every two weeks. On one occasion when we were a Eucla we had no signal but there was a public phone box. It looked right out of the 80s. Sue fed it coins while Rory chatted away in Italian to his teacher. The weather this day was near to perfect. Its hard to move on from this camp, it has been a pearler. Time to head back to Perth for a look around before we start the next stage of our adventure - Heading North ......

Posted by slamrs 06:41 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Blackwood River

1 night turned into 7!!

all seasons in one day 20 °C

After a great night sleep in amongst this huge forrest on the banks of the river we ventured into Margaret River via Alexandra Bridge camp area. Another beautiful spot but they wanted even more per night than Sue's Bridge. Anyway, Megan and Rory were insisting on staying put for at least another night. We spent some time in and around Margaret River and drove south along Cave Road as far as Karridale. That's where our road home came out onto the Bussell Highway. That second night we decided to have a fire. Rory, was doing a great job chopping wood. No shortage of dead and dry wood around here. Just as we lit the fire down came the rain. We've got a bit of a record of doing this so far - Arriving one day, beautiful weather then day 2 or 3 and down comes the rain. Not windy this time but quite a lot of rain overnight. Megan and I hurriedly dug a few channels to direct the water away from our camp. Mmmm I wonder how flood tolerant this river is?! I put a level marker in and developed a "Quick, get out of here!! Evacuation plan" in my head. God knows how many times I went over it in my head overnight but I finally decided I could go off to sleep and stay there as there hadn't been any encroachment on the river level marker! Too wet to pack up - Better stay another night! By the 3rd day we'd all fallen in love with this beautiful spot. Even the drive in and out was part of the entertainment with washaways, gullies and water across the road. We even regularly encountered emus who would run along the road away from us before scooting off into the thick undergrowth. Sue and the kids had one day when two of them ran along for a couple of Ks before finally leaving the road.
The river was perfect for canoeing with only a gentle flow with occasionally narrows and 'rapids'. Rory and I ventured about 3 Klm down river before coming back while Megan and Sue went upstream until a set of rapids stopped them. Finally after 7 nights we decided to head back towards Perth to have a look around before commencing the trips next stage - Heading North.

Posted by slamrs 20:34 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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