Saturday, July 24, 2010

Greensborough, Vic

Hi Everyone,
As you can see we are safely home and toasting our toes in front of the fire. The weather is a bit chilly to what we have been used to but it is lovely to be home.
We last left you at Roma from which we thought we would have an easy drive to Lightning Ridge and the chance to look for some opals to add to my stash. Not to be. I don't know why things happen when I am driving but they seem to. We were still travelling the Great Inland Way, in other words the back roads of Queensland, which at times where a bit challenging, when I hit a cattle grid a bit hard. Another loomed up in the distance so I slowed right down thinking this one may be a bid rugged as well, and I was right, only this time even with me being careful there was a bang and smoke started pouring off the right hand trailer tyre. I thought the tyre had blown out but nothing so easy - the centre bolt on the spring had sheered, the axle had moved back and the tyre was rubbing on the guard. To cut a long story short after great improvisation Rex had realigned spring, found a bolt on the camper which would work as a centre bolt, reassembled and we were ready to continue our journey. I was impressed by the number of travellers that stopped and offered assistance. Rex now driving we arrived in Lightning Ridge in time to follow the Red Car Door Trail. Old car doors are painted different colours which lead you around the different sights of the town. The Red Car doors wound us through the opal fields, past Amigo's Castle, Astronomers Folly and then onto a collection of curiosities in a type of museum. Again there was hot springs in the area which we visited but we didn't join the locals and tourists who were soaking but went looking for something to eat after a challenging day. Moving south the next day to Dubbo there was a noticeable chill in the air. We were thinking of visiting the Western Plains Zoo but decided against it as by the time we arrived it was middle afternoon and the cost was $60.00. We had visited before when we were friends of the zoo and it hadn't cost us anything (spoilt) Overnight the frost came down resulting in an outside temperature of 1 degree which decided us to travel the last 8oo km home.
A great trip with many wonderful memories of places and people along the way. Our last photo is from Lightnng Ridge and is the Astronomers Folly. A town that exhibited its sense of humour.
Signing off
Rex and Rob

Sunday, July 18, 2010

From Roma, Qld

Hello Family and Friends,
After leaving Cairns we decided on taking the 'Great Inland Way' a new tourist route from Cairns to Sydney. Unsure where we would stay that night we just headed out through Mareeba and Atherton. It was getting on in the afternoon with no possible place to camp when we fell on Innot Hot Springs and Caravan Park. Here we found 6 built pools all varying in temperature from cool to very hot filled from the natural springs. Rex tried them all, even the very hot against the advice of the other bathers. I think he lasted about 10 secs in the very hot before the message got through to the brain and he bailed out straight into a cooler pool alongside. His lovely English white legs were tinged a bit rosy for a while. The river that ran alongside into which the springs flowed at intervals was in places even hotter. Some people had dug holes in the gravel alongside the river which filled with water in which they soaked in a more natural environment. What surprised Rex was that a short distance downstream where the water was still warm he found fish living happily. The next day we had booked into Undara Volcanic National Park known for its lava tubes. We had a lovely campsite, unpowered which didn't worry us in the business lease section of the park. This is a commercial lease that has been specifically set up for tourists. Instead of cabins there where old railway cabins fitted out as accomodation as well as modern type tents with sleeping quarters either side and a kitchen area in the middle.
There where some good walks which covered lookouts, old telephone line from the late 1800's and a replica heritage hut but the lava tubes were only accessed by paid tour at $48.00 per person. I objected seeing it was partly the reason for a national park being located there.
We went into the National Park and walked around the crater rim of Kalkani an extinct volcano and saw where the lava tubes ran right through the national park but couldn't access them. This was our only complaint we thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. Moving south fast we travelled on to Emerald. Their Botanical Gardens is a credit to them. We spent an hour exploring the different areas. I got lost in the Melalueca Maze, Rex tried an emu apple which he quickly spat out and the rainforest section was beautifully cool to walk through. We are now in Roma which is probably best known for its saleyards through which cattle are auctioned twice a week. When we went past them this afternoon there where some cattle waiting in the yards to be auctioned on Tuesday there is another auction on Thursday. Tomorrow we cross the Qld border into N.S.W our destination for the night Lightning Ridge.
Catch up again soon
Rob and Rex

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

From Cairns

Hello Followers,
Rex here updating you on our adventures. Cairns is a nice small city surrounded by mountains that are almost everday partly covered by cloud. Looking up from the city it gives you the impression of spot fires with smoke rising. To go anywhere out of Cairns you climb up through very tight narrow twisting roads to most of the tourist places. On Friday afternoon we drove up to the power station on the Barron River which is part of the electricity grid for Cairns. There was a small falls that dropped a long way from a great height called Surprise Creek Falls. Saturday we went to Kuranda known for its cable car and tourist train track around the mountains,. From the train track you can see spectacular Barron Falls. Kuranda is a tourist town that reminded us of the Dandenongs. Sunday we went to a place called Crystal Cascades where we could walk a formed path alongside as the river cascaded down the mountain, creating swirling white water with small waterfalls that in places had pools for swimming. The same day we visited Lake Morris high above Cairns which is its water supply. To get there we had to drive on a narrow road. It is the only road I have driven on that is only open 3 days of the week with the warning drive at own risk. Monday was a completely free day so we decided to head further north to the Daintree. We went into Mossman Gorge where we did a tropical rain forest walk, which was unlike aanything we had ever seen before with vines, huge buttressed fig trees so dense that the creeks seemed like tunnels through the jungle. It was here we found the Rex Swinging bridge over cascading water. We travelled on past Rex Lookout to Daintree Village. It was here we took a crocodile river boat ride, it lived up to its name; we did see big salties (crocs), tree snakes, kingfishers and a white crested eagle. We have just about covered the tourist sites of Cairns nearly as much as the sugar cane rail lines which go everwhere. Bye from Cairns.
More to Come
Rex and Rob

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

From Cardwell, Qld

Hello Family and Friends,
Tonight's entry is dedicated to my brother Terry who lost his struggle with cancer today. May he rest in peace. It was Terry who partly motivated our epic adventure around Australia the long way to catch up with him. Sadly our timing was a couple of days out.
In memory of him we will share the rest of our journey.
Since our last entry in Mt Isa we travelled to Richmond, headwind all the way and the fuel economy was way down; now I know why it is suggested to travel anti clockwise. Richmond is part of the Dinosaur triangle. The discovery centre is amazing with the skeletons of marine reptiles and dinosaurs found locally as well as the moon rocks. We immediately became avid fossickers, with map and pen knifes we started digging in the 100 million year old sea bed, in one of the alloted sites. Rex struck pay dirt quickly, uncovering good fossilised sea shells which he gave to a child fossicker. Not me I coveted everything I found; what I thought was a tooth, a piece of fossilised bone and shells all went into the collection to bring home along with the copper rocks and the iron rocks; no wonder the fuel economy is down. The photo tonight has to be of the fossilised dinosaurs bones found at Richmond.
Charters Towers was just an overnight stop but again we were fortunate to have night time entertainment. This time country and western; Golden Oldies which keep the park entertained till bedtime. Next morning we travelled further east to Townsville turning north towards Cairns stopping at Cardwell which was a good choice. We travelled through sugar cane and banana terriotory - miles of it and in the background beautiful clouded mountains with lush forest where the sun doesn't reach the ground. Fishing last night at the jetty we couldn't catch a cold but we were fortunate to see a huge, metre round, green turtle, who I think had a good feed of prawns and burley which Rex was using to tempt the fish. Today we went out to Murray Falls National Park along a winding road through sugar cane fields and banana plantations into the misty mountains. A great place to camp in the rainforest with magnificent falls and rock spa pools to cool off in as today the sun shone.
Catch up again soon
Rob and Rex

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

From Mt Isa, Sunny Qld

Hello to all our Family and Friends,
As you can see we are certainly moving fast. One week to drive through NT.
We did stop sometimes though. The first stop was only overnight at Victoria River Roadhouse. It is beside the Victoria River which was beautiful. The locals said they wouldn't swim in the river even though it was hot because of crocs; so we went looking at old Victoria River Crossing but couldn't find any. Next day saw us arrive at Katherine Gorge; campsite right beside the pool along with all the international visitors and 3 school camps, regular ant city. Did the walk around the gorge with good views finising our trek down Butterfly Gorge. Again it was very hot and we cooled off in the pool before the school kids took over. After tea entertainment at the pool was lit by strobe lights similiar to a disco with live performers. We had a ring side seat from the camper. The music started off as country and western which had a lot of crowd participation which was encouraged. A pleasant change to what most campers had been experiencing and it was appreciated. The mood turned more up beat towards the end with the schoolgirls getting up and strutting their stuff. When they did the Bus Dance Rex remembered how well Lee and Julie used to do it at birthday celebrations. Then it was on to Mataranka - Elsey National Park. We have camped here twice before so it was only a familiar stop over. Rex did go for a swim in the Roper River and tried to catch an elusive Barra but no luck; sausages for tea once again. Bonus was we did have the only site with a sprinkler so Rex stepped back into his childhood and had a shower under it. Onto another familiar spot, Banda Banda Station. A cool grass spot to stay with plenty of water so we were able to wash the car. Interesting to watch all the oldies with their super large caravans trying to back them in. Rex couldn't contain himself and had to offer assistance as two sites were being taken up by one van. Not that they were untidy or anything they just couldn't follow their lovely wifes guidance. A few domestics were happening. They were all lined up like a jagged bolt of lightning. Night time entertainment had changed to the history of Banda Banda rather than the running of a cattle station. Reason being that they don't know what will happen in the future as it is in the process of being sold. We thought our next stop would be at Barkley Station Roadhouse on the Barkley Highway that runs acros the middle from Northern Territory to Queensland but we travelled on and crossed the Queensland Border last night and stayed at lovely Camooweal where it stays light till 7.30 pm and is a cool (cold) 24 deg C. Locals were pulling out their woolly underwear. The pool was closed as this time of the year. Not much else to do so we moved on to Mt Isa. After settling into the caravan park we went up to the Look Out, similiar to Anzac Hill at Alice Springs from which we could get a good idea of the layout of the city and where the shops were. Hustling bustling busy city where pedestrians have to give way to cars, a bit strange to us Victorians. Back at our camper a helpful neighbour thought the alignment of the a frame and the camper body was out of alignment and he thought we may have a chassis problem. Just what we needed. Rex obligingly climbed underneath to set his mind at rest an said that all was fine.The camper wasn't going to fall to bits.
Tomorrow we moved on to Richmond to look for dinosaur bones.
Love to all
Rex and Rob

Friday, June 25, 2010

From Kununurra, W.A

Hello Followers,
From Broome we headed east to Derby which is known for having the highest tides in Australia. It is the place that has flights or boat trips out to see the horizontal waterfall because the tides move so quickly, not that we saw them, but we did watch the tide coming in very quickly from the pier. We also saw a huge hollow Boab Tree infamous for being used as a prison in earlier times which was located a short distance out of town. We had planned to travel from Derby to Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek but after checking road conditions learnt that the road after Windjana Gorge was pretty rough and needed a high clearance vehicle so we decided to give them a miss and went by the highway. At Fitzroy Crossing we camped at Kimberley Lodge which as we drove through the pristine grounds looked like a swish golf club. No shortage of water here and we were allowed to wash some of the red dust off car and camper. Geikie Gorge is close by and we decided to bust the budget and go on a river cruise run by the rangers. The gorge is small by comparison to Karijini but it is here we saw the wild pigs and the freshwater crocs from the boat. Returning to the camp ground we crossed the original Fitzroy Crossing 10 feet wide and 150 feet across following ground level and not a bridge structure. Next overnight stop was at Halls Creek where we picked up a new dolly wheel for the camper to replace our ailing one. In the afternoon we decided to do the Tourist Drive. We first saw a phenomena of quartz crystal stacked like a built wall that appeared in sections over the hills. It can be seen from the air appearing from the ground over a large distance. No one is sure how long it goes for as part of it is still buried in the earth. Suitably called the China Wall. There was also Palm Springs about 45 kms out of Halls Creek which formed a crystal clear pool unusual in such a dry environment - no washing of the car in Halls Creek. 7 kms on along a 4WD road - the back road into the Bungle Bungles, Lake Argyle and Kununurra and our first real creek crossing we found the promised Gorge; red cliffs and a string of deep pools with sweet water; the perfect campsite for one lucky couple who offered us a cup of tea. Returned to the caravan park as the sun slid quickly below the horizon. When the sun goes down here it doesn't mess around - 5 minutes between daylight and dark. We are sending this from Hidden Valley, Kununurra, just on the edge of the National Park which has been likened to a mini Bungle Bungles. We walked it today in mid 30 degree heat and discovered the similiar beehive shaped hills that made the Bungle Bungles famous. We were glad to cool off in the pool when we got back. We had planned to get the car serviced while we were here but Nissan can't fit us in under a week. The mileage is adding up 15,000 kms on this trip up to now. Tomorrow we move on to more adventures.
Catch up with you all again soon
Rob and Rex.
Photo Profile - Palm Springs - Halls Creek.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

From Broome W.A.

Hello from Broome to all our followers. We are well and still very much enjoing what we are doing.
The last place we left you was at Pannawonica. Since then we have travelled to Millstream - an abandoned station that has been turned into a National Park. The main feature here is water - beautiful clear green springs flowing through tropical green growth with pools, some with water lillies, manicured by the previous owners. These pools are flowing rapidly and deep into the Fortescue River creating wetlands along which the walking trails wind their way. It forms an oasis in the middle of an arid landscape. Considering the pioneers came to this country in the late 1800's the buildings and the layout is very good.We spent 2 days exploring the station and walking the walks before moving on to Karatha where we did a once around the block and said this is a mining town not a tourist resort. We moved on to Roeborne where we stayed in what we called a Happy Caravan Park. While there we visited Point Samson - the up market place to stay if travelling through this area, and Cossack - the heritage restored village open to the public. From here we travelled to and stayed at Cape Keradaun. We were fortunate to find the best campsite at the mouth of the river close to the beach. This lovely blue river wound its way over white sand as it snaked its way down to the sea. We enjoed a walk along this nice coastline beach which went for miles and it was good experience for an overnight stay. Our first downer was waking up to a flat on the front wheel of the car. The spare was under everything in the back of the truck so all had to be unloaded and had fun working out how the tyre changing worked on th new vehicle. From here we went to try and get the flat fixed at Pardoo Roadhouse. They don't do mechanical repairs and we moved on to Sandfire Roadhouse, who also didn't do repairs so on to Broome. So many stressful kilometres with the knowledge that we didn't have a spare. We arrived in Broome, booked a site and hurried on to the Tyre Service to get our tyre fixed, which we were lucky to get done, before closing time it being Saturday. After settling in and relaxing a bit we did a tour of the town which is different to when we last experienced it. It is now a thriving, bustling, recreation tourist town which has spread out and is bigger than it used to be. We revisited Cable Beach with its Camel Rides and the 4WD's driving up the beach, we went searching for the dinosaur footprints on the headland, visited town beach which seemed used by the locals rather than tourists with its historical cemetary. We did a shop and retired back to the caravan park and the pool. It is unusally hot here for this time of the year with temperatures getting close to 40 deg C.
Tomorrow we head for Derby. More to come
Luv Rex and Rob

Sunday, June 13, 2010

From Pannawonica

Hi Family and Friends,
Over the last week we have had the luxury of spending time with family as well as a trip into Karijini in beween.
This is the second time we have been to Karijini and the gorges are as spectacular as they were last time. Great gashes in the earth with a stream or pools on the floor of the gorge. Having more time this time we walked them all up to Grade 4 level. We climbed down seemingly impossible cliffs to the bed of the gorge and followed it along sometimes climbing around pools by clinging to the wall along the side. It amazed us both at how well we did. It was great to meet so many people, young and old, local or international all doing the walks. My favourite was Dales Gorge where we climbed down to the bottom of Fortescue Falls followed it downstream sometimes past quite deep pools, through what I called a fairy's garden because many people in one flat area had built stone artful stacks ( of course we couldn't pass without contibuting our creation) onto circular pool; water coming in through the rock walls with ferns growing around the edges surrounded by high cliff walls of rich reds and yellows. We returned by the steep climb out to walk along the cliff top to complete the round circuit. On the way out we met up with the group of young Americans that we had cheered on as they edged their way down to the bottom of Joffre Falls. Magic place.
We returned to Paraburdoo before going onto Onslow to visit with our nephew Cam, his wife Renee, their 2 boys, Royden and Crawford and Renee's dad Dennis. It was here that Rex was able to catch up with all the motorbike news as Dennis is a fellow biker. We spent a lovely couple of days being feed gourmet meals, (Renee is a great cook), being shown the town sites including the beach with amazing shells, old Onslow with its stone gaol still standing, and the Salt Mine where Cam works. Royden also showed me a honey bird bush; the flowers really look like birds and when you suck them they give a little nectar. Once again we struggle with which photo -the gorges, the salt mine, the bird bush or the green frog but we decided on Renee's dad leaving this morning on his bike to go to Darwin.
Love to all
Rex and Rob

Monday, June 7, 2010

From Paraburdoo in the Pilbara

Hi Family and Friends,

After 9 weeks on the road we have finally arrived at my sister Sharon's home in Paraburdoo where we are being totally spoilt by her and her husband Owen.

We travelled from Leonora to Sandstone via the old Agnew Road It is a road that is being promoted as a tourist trail although it was the only road 26 years ago. There are different points along the road highlighting the history of the area such as wells, boundary fences, gold towns etc.

Doyles Well was the site of a pub on the Cobb and Co route to the gold fields around Agnew. Not much left of what would have been a centre of activity in the early 1900's except the concrete swimming pool. Closer to Agnew is what was the township of Lawler. Everything has been levelled except the police station which is now inside mine property. It was amongst the debris here that I found a 1917 silver threepence. Then there was the cemetary full of people that had died too young. On this road we also found a rock which neither of us saw on a sidetrack around the water which covered the road. We both heard the bang as it hit and scraped all the way down crumpling the petrol tank cover. Luckily it did no major damage and was still drivable and we arrived in Sandstone safely where Rex managed to push aside and wedge the offending part that was rubbing on the tail shaft.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

From Leonora, Outback W.A

Hi Family and Friends,
We have left the rain behind and are enjoying beautiful weather. Over the last few days since leaving Kalgoorlie we have stayed at Goongarrie Station - abandoned. It has been taken over by the Department of Conservation and Environment and is available to camp or to stay in the homestead or the shearers cottage. We originally booked in for 1 day but stayed for 2 it was so beautiful and relaxing. We walked the station discovering diggings where gold had been discovered, finding old cars and machinery which Rex enjoyed and trails with interpretive signs on the trees and shrubs. The birds discovered my solar dyeing in plastic bags, thought it was lunch and tried to fly off with them, leaving holes in the bags so I had to do some repairing and replacing. From Goongarrie we travelled on to Menzies where the Council Caravan Park leaved a lot to be desired. The council garbage truck came in at the break of dawn and crashed and banged. There was a lot of permanent prospectors living in the park and we felt as though we were intruding although I did catch sight of a good size nugget of gold that one was showing his mate as we were packing up. While we were at Menzies we went out to Lake Ballard. It is the site for "Inside Australia" exhibition by Antony Gormley. It comprises of 51 sculptures spread out in the eerie setting on a salt lake 51 kms out of Menzies. A photo of one of the sculptures is our choice of photo for this update. Instead of sticking to the highway we went inland to Niagra Dam created in the early 1900's for the gold mining. We camped close to the Dam and had a beautiful view from the camper over the water. Again we explored the gold diggings looking for that elusive speck of colour. I did find some lovely rose quartz and we came across a herd of feral goats to Rex's delight. Two billy's put on a display for us by smashing their horns together. Then it was on to Leonora. I passed through this way 26 years ago with my girls and their 2 friends. It was interesting to see the changes. Apparently it had a new beginning after we passed through when it was virtually a ghost town. Another 20 years has passed and it looks like another down turn. The mine is still working but the shops in town look like most of them have gone out of business. The old boarding house where I took the girls photo 26 years ago had gone through a restoration and has now fallen into disrepair once more. I got Rex to take my photo with my head stiking out of one of the miners rooms similiar to the photo we took all those years ago. Tomorrow we go to Sandstone up the old Agnew Rd. Agnew still hasn't got any fuel but it does have its pub.
We sent our love to all our followers.
Catch up soon
Rex and Rob

Thursday, May 27, 2010

From Kalgoorlie. W.A

Hello Family and Friends,
We have finally headed north and hopefully for a bit of sunshine.
We had a great few days at Wave Rock. We climbed all over it exploring all it had to show us. I particularly like the rocks which had been sculptured by wind and rain. Rex thought the rock shape and its colours were startling with the stripes similiar to tiger stripes running down its face. Leaving Wave rock we decided to go the adventurous way to Norseman - 300kms of gravel road but we planned to do it in 2 hits. This is called The Granite and Woodlands Discovery Trail and there are places of interest highlighted along its course. Midway there are a couple of places to camp. We chose Mcdermid Rock as our overnight camp. A mini Ayres Rock. On the walk around and over this rock we found many holes holding water from recent rain and small dips in the rock in which little gardens of moss and shrubs had formed which reminded me of the structure of Japanese gardens. Had a wonderful campfire dinner. Hearing rain once again overnight we packed up quickly the next morning thinking the gravel road may hold some problems. It was an interesting trip from there on with sheets of water running down and at times right across the road. Mud and water were flying at times but we made it through to Norseman. The car and camper were red by the time we got there but the rain to Kalgoorlie has washed a bit of it off. After settling in at the caravan park at Boulder we travelled the 4kms into Kalgoorlie to buy some supplies and a new camera - the old one died at Wave Rock. Tonight we have experienced planes taking off just outside our back door. Little did we know when we checked in that the caravan park was on the edge of an airfield.
Tomorrow we plan to move on to Goongarrie National Park where there is an old homestead and salt lakes. Lets see if we can bring them rain.
Photo is Rex at Wave Rock - one of the last the camera took.
Catch up again soon.
Rex and Rob

Monday, May 24, 2010

From Wave Rock

Today we left the beautiful Stirling Ranges clouded in mist. Over the last few days we have stayed at St John Brook Conservation Park, Mt Barker and Moingup Springs in the Stirling Ranges.. On our travels out of the UP area (the reason for this name is all locations seem to end with up and we are still trying to work out why) we have seen signs of different animals such as deer rubs in Shannon national Park. Rex talked to the lass at Manimjup information centre and she suggested that he go and talk to the environment people. They were pleased to hear and took note of the location; they also mentioned there were feral pigs, goats and brumbies up around the lakes. We called in at Muir Lake observation area and were lucky enough to actually see brumbies. Another surprise by being at the right place at the right time. Over the last few days we have been experiencing wild and stormy weather - lightning, thunder and rain. The camper has shook alarmingly at times but has managed to withstand the onslaught. We arrived at Wave Rock in clearing conitions and got to have a look around. We will stay over tomorrow to see the Humps and Mulka's Cave before heading along The Granite and Woodlands Discovery Trail to Norseman - 300km of adventure. We hope it doesn't rain in the meantime and they close the road. Photo selection is tough.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

From Busselton

Hello to Family and Friends.
We are at Busselton where we got our car serviced by the lovely people at Fennesy's - the Nissen dealership arranged from Albany by the lovely Jodie. It is so nice to be taken such good care of that we decided to dedicate this blog to the friends we have made along the way.
Firstly a lovely young family which we met at Lincoln National Park at Fisherman's Point. Rex struggled up with a surf board which we found by itself on the beach thinking it had been washed up by the tide to find it belonged to a fellow camper - husband and father to 3 young children travelling around Australia. Nice family. We met up again at Cape Le Grande National Park when we were treated to a light show extravaganza in the form of lightning, thunder and rain. The lightning and thunder went all night and into the next morning as did the rain 110 mls. Apparently the campground was 8 inches deep in water during the night when the drains got blocked.The next day the wind picked up and threatened to blow you off the rocks if you were silly enough to climb on them. We stayed in bed - the only sensible thing to do in such conditions. The family went to Esperance to swim in the pool. After lunch we rugged up in our coats and gumboots and ventured out to watch 4WDs have fun on the beach.
Another friend was Hank from Perth who had travelled to Melbourne to pick up some wood working tools. Hank is a Dutchman and came to Australia 50 years ago. He was also a driver who drove the old Eyre Highway. We met him at Koonalda Homestead and told him about seeing the dingoes and hearing them call during the night. We moved on but Hank stayed the night. We met him again in Norseman and he told us the dingoes were so bad during the night around his truck he got up at 4.00am and moved on. Rex would have been in heaven to have experienced it.
Then there was an Canadian Tour Guide that we met in Albany. She had been out here before but what she like this time was that they were doing it by themselves instead of on an organised tour which they had done previously and were meeting lots of Australians doing the same thing. She has been a tour guide for 30 years in Canada taking Canadians on tour to California and Mexico.
Then there were the group of 3 walking the Bibblium Track raising money for Motor Nueron Disease. It goes a long way in 20 k sections. I take my hat off to them. The Great South West Walk is nothing compared to it. Even driving a part of it seemed exhausting.
Lastly a farmer that we met just out of Manjimup. We were having morning tea at a pool on the Donnelly River 3 kms from his farm when he came down to let go a native rat which had been running around his ceiling and he had trapped and was freeing in the forest. We started talking and it ended up by him inviting us back to his farm. Sadly we had to refuse as we had to get to Busselton that night to get the car serviced at 8 o'clock the next morning. I think he wanted me to convince his wife that travelling was fun. He had bought a camper 3 years ago and it was sitting in the shed unused.
The photo this time had to be of a character and it is the new Rex with beard. He looks like a lovable sea captain - so those that know him recognise him when home.
Tomorrow we start to backtrack to St John Brooke Conservation Park on the Way to Kalgoorlie.
To my Dye Group. I am doing some solar dyeing - lichen, sea weed and eucalypts. I also found some long pine needles in Shannon National Park to plait.
Catch up agin soon
Rob and Rex

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

From Norseman W.A

Hi Family and Friends.
We have finally made it to W.A. Our last few days in S.A were spent in remote areas - all beautiful. First was Cactus - a surfers heaven, with spectacular waves to catch. Second was Fowlers Bay; a small seaside town with 14 permanent residents. Rex caught a salmon trout and a leather jacket from the pier and dinner was on at the Heywoods not for fellow campers but for the local mice when Rex tipped some fish burley on the ground outside the camper. They came from everywhere. Lastly was Koonalda Homestead. Along the roadway they have signs to be careful of - camels, kangaroos and wombats. I said to Rob when I saw these signs that we have seen other remarkable sights but I still want to see a camel and a dingo. Further up the road we turned off into the desert scrub and made for the abandoned homestead about 20 k in. We were surprised at how good the main house and the out buildings were. This house was on the old Eyre Highway and was a mechanical repair garage in earlier times which was the reason for about 150 cars going back to earth, rusting out, having been left there years ago when they had broken down. This property got its water from a sinkhole cave about 10 k further inland. After checking out the sinkhole and on our way back to our camp we saw a red dingo which was a surprise and I said to Rob that is another of the things I wanted to see that has happened. As we pulled into our camp beside the old house, standing down the road was another dingo; an unusual white dingo and this time I managed to get a photo of it. See photo. The other thing that I was pleased to have experienced was the dingoes howling to each other during the night. Another really memorable time on this trip.
At Norseman we had time to have a look around town. It originated due to a horse picking up a bit of quartz in his hoof which made him lame and on further investigation the quartz was found to be gold bearing. The horse's name was Norseman and so a town was born. It still has a working goldmine. Tomorrow we move on to Esperance.
Catch up again soon
Rex and Rob

Saturday, May 8, 2010

From Ceduna

Hi Family and Friends,
Since last update we have stayed in some wonderful places including Coffin Bay National Park, Elliston, Walkers Rocks, Venus Bay and finally here at Ceduna. Most places Rex has caught fish. We have done some wonderful walks, and seen such magnificent scenery. We live in a beautiful country. In one such area called Talia Caves there is a ragged rockcliff face where the limestone has been eroded back leaving a granite cave 200 metres long and 80 metres round; it was called the Woolshed. Rex had an adrenalin rush while edging his way in around the side, off camber and gravelly, with the sea roaring into its mouth. Cape Labatt was another where we stood fascinated watching a colony of Australian sea lions lie and play on the rocks below us. It was a hard decision to chose a photo from all that we have taken over the last few days but we decided to show you our campsite at Walkers Rocks. An area of wild seas, rugged rocks, beautiful long beaches edged by large sand dunes. We were nestled in behind one of these sand dunes.
Catch up soon
Rex and Rob

Sunday, May 2, 2010

From Port Lincoln

Hi Friends and Family,
On the way to Port Lincoln we passed Point Gibbon which we had been told had some resident sea lions. 20 kms down corrugated dirt road that ended in high sand dunes we searched the beach. No sign but decided to walk around the point and there was 2 on the beach in front of us; we could have walked up to them. We didn't, but got some good photos. It was a hard decision which photo to use in our update but Makybe Diva won out. She is on the foreshore at Port Lincoln. Spent 3 days in the National Park enjoying the peacefulness of the area. Rex caught fish but returned them to the sea. Tomorrow we head for Coffin Bay National Park.
Our Love to All
Rex and Rob

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

From Cowell

Hi Everyone,
We are meandering our way through S.A.
We spent a couple of days in Wallaroo where Rex learnt how to catch crabs and cook them from some helpful fisherman on the pier. We also visited a historic copper mine in Moonta where I collected a pocketful of copper rocks.
While travelling on to Mt Remarkable National Park we stopped at Telowie Gorge and walked it with a lot of other people; it seemed busier than Bourke St and then on to Port Germein which boasts the longest wooden pier in the southern hemisphere. We walked it. The whole mile of it, and back. There is something about piers that makes people want to walk to the end. Finally we arrived at the campsite at Mt Remarkable and set up camp. This is a luxury national park with hot showers. The following day we decided to walk part of the Aligator Gorge walk in search of the rare and endangered Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby. We walked to Hidden Camp about 7 kms in with only a few emus making their presence known where we had lunch before the return trek. The high red rocky cliffs were magnificent. On the return trip when we had given up all hope I glanced up and there watching us was the sought after wallaby. See photo. We felt very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time.
Today we travelled on to Cowell. A small town on the Eyre Peninsula which is famous for Australian Jade. I broke the budget and bought myself some. Tomorrow we head for Port Lincoln.
Catch up with you all soon
Rex and Rob

Saturday, April 24, 2010

From Wild and Wooley Wallaroo

Hello to Family and Friends.
From Mt Gambier we had a short trip to Beachport: a nice little town with a row of shops, a servo, and a long pier with all the unloading gear for the cray fishing fleet. We camped at the Conservation Park about 6 kms out of town in a nice area of green seaside scrub, opposite a big salt lake called George - a playground for sand drivers. We visited the local Natural Trust Museum which held some interesting collections including guns, fossils, machinery, butterflies and a weaving loom. Had pie and coffee on the grass and fished off the pier - no fish. We did all the local walks seeing wild beaches, eroded cliffs and watched surf that crashed great sprays over the rocks. Night excitment was we had a critter in bed with us during the night; don't know how it got in, searched and couldn't find it in the morning so it must have got out the same way. We opened the bottle of champagne supplied by my brother Kim and toasted his birthday the next night and slept soundly.
We arrived in Robe and settled into a caravan park with great views of the sea. It was called Sea Vue - funny about that. This is where Rex got a balance problem; like being drunk without having the good time. The local doctor gave him some tablets that helped. While waiting at the doctors we noticed some knitting for the needy to be done by anyone waiting. What a great idea. Makes waiting time go much quicker. We fed the fish off the jetty bought fish and chips for tea, walked around the area seeing old gaols, blowholes in eroding cliffs, historic buildings and the Marina with cool boats. We got some wild weather while here, thunder, lightning and heavy rain. Glad to stay an extra day.
The Coroong was sadly closed due to vermin control so we travelled on to Mannum on the Murray. This place was recommended by the magazine 'On the Road' and it is free. We got a nice spot on the river, put in the shrimp net and got heaps of bait but you guessed it - no fish. The flies were terrible, so was the loud music which continued well into the night. We stayed only one night. Next morning we caught the ferry over the river and onto Innes National Park.
This place was known for its Gypsum; big industry in its day. The park has various campsites; we stayed at Shell Beach. We walked to lighthouses with trails too close to 15o -200 feet drops, walked down stairs set in the cliff to ship wrecks buried in the sand, watched dolphins in Dolphin Bay, saw squid being caught off the pier. The incident of this beautiful park was an
emu standing right in the middle of the road like a London Bobby saying holt and only moving off when we stopped. Left in rain to the safe harbour of Wallaroo where we are now still in stormy
Catch up again soon Rob and Rex

Thursday, April 15, 2010

From Mt Gambier

G'Day Rex Here.

We hope that all that read our blog are fit healthy and happy.

We travelled on from Heywood to Glenelg National Park. We passed through Portland visiting the Seal Colony where it was good to see half a dozen seals playing. Then visited the Petrified Forest; trees turned to stone. Blowholes in the rocky shoreline with a background of giant wind turbines with their giant propellers - needless to say it was windy. Down the road and in the same area a place called Tarragal Caves created by wind and erosion from the nearby surf. Further on Bridewater Lakes. We travelled on and camped at Pritchards on the Glenelg River. I was surprised at it's size. I thought it was as big as the Murray. A well laid out camp ground with jettys to fish from and everyone was catching fish. Surprise! Surprise! From the grandkids to the grandparents. Mostly undersize but plenty of them. At our evening barby we had the wildlife that had been hand feed visiting us around the fire.

From here we travelled on to Mt Gambier City. This city matches any in being updated, modern and bustling with lots of tourist attractions. We settled into a caravan park between the crater lakes and from this base we have been visiting: The lady nelson Discovery Centre, Umpherston sinkhole - larger than your kitchen sinkhole - it is 200 metres across and a 100 metres deep and has been turned into a garden with hanging vines. You can descend to the base which has been turned into lovely gardens and walking around the lakes in the area including Blue lake. Tonight we are going up to Centary Tower to overlook the lights of the city. Tomorrow on to Beachport.

Thats all for now . Catch up with you soon.

Rex and Rob

Sunday, April 11, 2010

From Heywood Victoria

We started our trip at Melville Caves. Good campsite with campfire dining. Walks were good with us getting navigationally disorientated a few times. Lucky we had the sun and the stars
if they had been required as well as a map. 4 km route march we found the camper - best sight.
Granite boulders amazing as was Melvilles Cave. Worth a visit. Magical moment - Rex whistling
in a Wedge Tail Eagle. It came down so close it looked us in the eye.
From here we went to St Arnaud National Park. No fishing, no boating, Teddington Reservoir empty apart from run off from recent rain. Memorable moments. Rex walking into a Golden Orbweaver spider; the web was spun of golden silk; the largest stumpy tail lizard I have ever seen and exploring the gold diggings. Found a water channel dug by miners similiar to that at Sheepyard Flat.
Onto the Grampians. Camped at Buandik Campsite. Here the rain really made its presence felt.
Bucketed down. We managed to climb up to the waterfalls twice with it growing more spectacular each time because of the rain. Bilimina Shelter andManjaShelter - aboriginal gathering places - took me back to imagine what it must have been like a couple of thousand years ago. The rocks with multi level caves reminded me of an ancient apartment block. We left in the rain travelling to Heywood and the refuge of a caravan park. Showers and washing attended to and later having power to catch up with our friends.
Tomorrow Lower Glenelg National Park.
Love to all Rex and Rob