Sunday, August 28, 2011

Continuing South Aug 2011

 From the Maitland River we moved down to the Robe River  Rest area after a quick trip into Karratha . At Karratha I visited a wonderful Craft shop with everything in it except what I wanted. I had decided to make more bags that hang over the arms of chairs for crafty people, but they didn't have any nice strong fabric to make them with.

Camp area at Robe river at dusk
 At Robe river we had been told of a nice spot on the other side of the road from the rest area and so we turned off down the track and found quite a nice spot. It was much more rockier than the Maitland with not such good access to the water.

 Robe River at dusk
 Having water access is great as it means I can keep up with the washing and we can have regular showers, if water is restricted or not available we only shower every second day.

Our camp at Robe River
 A fire also saves the gas for heating water as we then use the 12 volt camping shower that drops into a bucket of water. Anything that saves our drinking water is great. We also enjoy cooking on the fire for things like casseroles, roasts and corned beef all of which take a while to cook of course. Slow cooked meals always taste better cooked on the fire.

 Continuing south we stopped at the Barradale rest area next.  This was a huge area but there was no water in the Yannarie River . There were about 40 rigs etc camped there that night.

Barradale Rest area

Friday, August 26, 2011

Heading South Aug 2011

  After 9 weeks at Barn Hill it was time to move on.But before we went we paid a last visit to the Sunday Market .
 We really enjoyed our time here and there was so much to do with organised activities and just going for walks on the beach or having a go at fishing.

Sundowners at Barn Hill

 Our first stop on the highway south was for M/T at Goldwire which is one of the Main Roads rest areas that they have upgraded over the past few years. They are quite big areas with toilets and dump points at most of them.  The next one down the road at Stanley was even bigger but we didn't stop and went onto Sandfire roadhouse for our first  taste of "take away" in quite a while.
 Our night stop was at De Gray River where we eventually found a place to set up up from the river a bit. It was very crowded and very shaded down by the river and as we rely on solar we opted for a spot out in the open. We actually spent 2 nights here  before heading into Port Headland and stocking up the larder.

Sunset at De Gray
 Our next stop was at the Yule river where there is only a small area and because we were fairly early we managed to get a spot and then had a nice evening with some other travellers . We only had about 12 rigs in for the rest area which was a big change to the 30- 40  rigs that were at Barradale where we stopped for the night  further on .

 Lynn and Sam chatting at De Gray
 From the Yule River we moved on to Karratha and after a brief visit to a fabulous craft shop we wandered on to Miaree Pool  at the Maitland River where we had lunch. There was a large No Camping sign so we started to go on further and then spotted another track that led down to the river, so after parking the van and taking a walk we found a lovely spot with grass and water access.
Maitland river

Miaree Pool

  While we were there Rob appeared and had a quick fish in the river and got a small bream which he said he would use for bait and was talking about his travelling companion Deb who it turned out was at Sheringa Beach with us in SA.
Unfortunately often idyllic spots don't last and the wind came up and was blowing the dust from the road behind the van so that everything was covered in red dirt. 
 The bird life at the river was really something with lots of budgies in the tall gum trees and Ducks on the river.
The budgies came in quite close and were sometimes seen on the ground picking at seeds, but the ducks roosting in the trees was really amazing .

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Adelaide Trip July 2011

 Luke and Mahlia
 As followers of our blog will know earlier this year my younger daughter had twins ( Mahlia and Kallie). Well as their mother ( Lisa ) wanted to take them to Adelaide to show them off to the rest of the family  I offered to go too as she needed another adult to go so that there was an adult to go with each infant. She very kindly offered to pay for my fare from Darwin to Adelaide so I only had to get myself from Broome to Darwin and back.

 It was because of this upcoming trip that we only went as far as Barn Hill and stayed so long there. We decided that it would be a good place for Lynn to stay with the van , as I would be away about 3 weeks.

The flight to Darwin was interesting as I flew Skywest and they stopped at Kununurra on the way. I had a couple of days in Darwin which enabled me to catch up with a few friends and go to The Multiple Birth Club playgroup as well as having some retail therapy. My original booking had been cancelled so I was glad of the extra few days.

 We flew out of Darwin at the ungodly hour of 2.45 am . It was a good trip as the babies slept most of the way.  We arrived to a very cold and wet Adelaide about 6.30 am . After adding extra strapping to the baby car seats we eventually made our way to the northern suburbs near Tea Tree Gully.

 We had a good time in Adelaide despite the cold and wet and it was great to spend time with the family. I stayed with my older daughter who has 3 boys, while  Lisa and the girls stayed with her father about Iklm away.

 As all the children were on school holidays we took them to the Monarto zoo and other activities including the Drive Inn and Ice skating. We also went to visit my auntie at her nursing home .  She turned 90 earlier this year and was thrilled to see the babies.

Kallie and Mahlia in Darwin
The twins and Tehlita ( big sister) in jumpers and beanies I knitted

  My girls with a twin each ,Lisa nearest camera

Auntie Olive with the girls

Ready for bed in our really warm pjs

 Tehlita,Ryan and Bradley budding pool players

 Ryan and Bradley "mad scientists"

 Cup cake heaven

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Barn Hill station Stay May 23 2011

 It was with much reluctance that we bid our friends farewell  in Broome and moved on to Barn Hill station stay. We had been past this place many years ago and had always promised ourselves that we would stay here,especially since we had received such good reports over the last year from friends and acquaintances that had been there.

One of many beautiful sunsets

We arrived after about 1.5 hours from Broome and 142 klms. The last 9 klms are over a roughish dirt road that has a 50 klm speed limit and you really need to stick to it otherwise you do all sorts of damage to your rig. We were very surprised to see how busy it was and how many vans were in the powered section. We opted for the unpowered section that allows the use of generators as we planned to stay a while. Down in our section there were plenty of sites to choose from and we picked a site facing the water  and about half way to the amenities.

Looking across to the unpowered area with Barn Hill in the background

The sunsets are just magnificent and when we went for a walk along the beach we found some great sandstone formations. These are locally known as the "Pinnacles ". There are 2 beaches here which are divided by rocky headland but at most tides it is easy to walk from one beach to the other. The only problem is that the far beach from us has the wooden stairway and the nearest has a "goat track".

one section of the Pinnacles
 Many fishermen and women catch fish, mainly whiting from the beach . There is also access for boats but they are launched from the beach and there is quite deep sand ,so tyre pressure must be lowered. Lynn caught a nice mackerel and some smaller fish.

We have also partaken in some of the other activities that are offered here, IE Sunday night roast and entertainment provided by fellow travellers. The Sunday morning markets are always interesting as they are constantly changing as the people here change.

 Sea snake we found on the beach, he made it back to the water

Caterpillar train

 We have had a wonderful time here. I have been doing Tai Chi most mornings and craft group most  afternoons. We have met some wonderful friends here and Kerry and Mike came for a week before they continued on their travels and Paula and Bruce (Tassie Friends) came out for a day trip from Broome.

Cape Leveque May 2011

Cape Leveque had been on our "bucket list " for some time. Our last trip to this area was about 6 years ago when we did the Gibb River Road  back to back.

On that trip we found Middle Lagoon and had always wanted to go back to this little piece of paradise. We also wanted to go on further and explore the Cape  itself and visit One Arm Point and Lombardina.

Not long after arriving in Broome we started planning our trip. We planned to be away for 4-5 days and instead of putting the van into storage we decided to leave the van on site and connected to power . We had several good friends who offered to keep an eye on it so we felt it would be safe.

 Late afternoon at Middle Lagoon at low tide

We left on Friday morning and headed off to Middle Lagoon  with a morning tea stop at Beagle Bay. We arrived at the campground  about lunch time and found a lovely spot back under the trees but still with lovely views over the second bay. and only a short walk to the beach. Putting up the new tent was a bit of an exercise and we opted not to put the outer covering on  as we had set it up too close to the vehicle. Once we were set up we found that an important item hadn't been packed in the form of pillows so had to do without.

 Our camp : note blue box on roof rack


 Once we were set up  I went for a walk around to check out any changes from our last visit but apart from a new amenities block in our area and the sites on the top of the bank overlooking the water being marked so that vans had to back in instead of lining up along the bank the place looked to be basically unchanged. Even the road in had not been upgraded and was still as sandy and corrugated as it was on our first trip. One thing we really appreciated was being able to have a fire and that night we certainly appreciated it as it was quite cool.
  It was great to just relax as we had been on the go quite a lot in Broome. The next day we moved the tent to give us enough room to put it up fully as when the outer cover is on there is another area created at the front which allows for gear to be stored out of the sun or rain.

 On the way in we came across signs that  advertised camping at Whale Song  campground so we decided to check it out on our way out. It meant about a 9klm detour. We were very disappointed when we got there as another sign said it was closed but as the gate was open we decided to check it out for future reference but were very disappointed as when we finally reached the camping area there seemed to be no access to the beach . It was a lovely beach but there was severe erosion at the back of the beach which was why there was no access.

 Erosion at Whale Song camping area
 Continuing north we were glad of the bitumen road that runs from Beagle Bay to One Arm Point. However the road to Beagle Bay is diabolical with lots of corrugations and when we went north there were lots of places where water had been over the road causing washouts.

We reached Cape Leveque about lunchtime and were again disappointed that the last 5 klms were very rough with deep sand corrugations. It might be a Wilderness resort but a half decent road would improve matters.
After some discussion we opted to stay at the resort as it was rather expensive for the facilities available.

 During the afternoon we went for a drive to the beach and then walked along the beach which offered views to Leveque Island which is just offshore from the Cape. There were quite a few tourists in swimming but it was far too cold for us after being used to the warm waters of Darwin.

Cape Leveque and Leveque Island

Looking from the beach to the Lighthouse at Cape Leveque

When we booked in we were advised that a visit to the Trochus Hatchery was worth a visit ,so on Monday morning we made One Arm Point our destination to visit the Hatchery. We were the only visitors at the time so had a good look around until it was time for the guided tour when we were joined by another couple a few minutes into the tour. The tanks contained quite a variety of creatures , including barra and barramundi cod as well as turtles and trochus .  The hatchery has recently received a license to export anemones.

Trochus Hatchery at One arm Point
 As we were about to leave a private tour group arrived in an unusual boat which took the passengers direct from the water to the shore with out leaving the boat. We saw this boat again when we went to the Cygnet Bay pearl farm.
Polishing trochus shell

Barramundi cod
 After visiting the hatchery we drove over to the other side of the peninsular and visited the Pearl Farm at Cygnet Bay. We decided not to do any tours but had a lovely mango smoothie in their outdoor cafe and checked out the Gallery. We also got another look at the all terrain boat which is used at the Farm to transport tourists. We had seen this boat at the hatchery and I was very intrigued by it.

 On our last afternoon at the Cape I went for a walk up the boardwalk running from the campground to the beach. About half way it stops at the Lighthouse, but on the way was an interesting storyboard with the local birds on it which I found useful for identifying some of the birds we had seen.

 On our way back to Broome we took a detour and ended up on the coast at a Lookout but on the way had passed another campground so decided to investigate on our way and came across a lovely place that was like an oasis. The family that owned and ran it were very hospitable and we spent a lovely hour or so chatting and having cuppas.

 Me talking to Veronica ( owner)
 We had planned to spend another night camping but when we stopped at Quandong Point
we found all the good spots were taken so headed back to Broome.