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Bluest of blue!

Hi! I’m writing this under our annexe overlooking the blue water of Cape Keraudren, north of Pardoo. I have never seen such turquoise blue water and we can’t wait to go swimming tomorrow! We have set up and relaxing after a week of no-so-great holidaying!

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We packed up from Shark Bay and were hoping to check in at an AirBnB in Coral Bay but alas, ’twas not to be (for the fact Coral Bay has bugger all AirBnB’s) so we decided to camp at Warroora Station. We stocked up on supplies in Carnarvon and one of my brother’s rang and suggested we visit Gnoolara Station so we set off there.

Turning right at big sign saying ‘KING WAVES KILL’, we drove the second most corrugated road we had ever driven! Arriving at the camp, we looked around in dismay at the dusty, windy, crowded campsite swarming in surfies while overlooking reefy, rough ocean. We’d come this far, it was getting dark and had to camp the night. Not happy Jan.

The place was interesting if wind surfing, surfing and whatever else is your cup of tea. But for Tim and I, give us swimmable water and beach access any day of the week. So we stayed one night listening to the howling wind batter out camper, packed up the next morning and took off like a bat out of hell. Our number plate ripped off so Tim had to tie is back on with zip ties! That’s how corrugated the road was!

The blowholes down the road were awesome and we had a look at the lighthouse and humpy camp over the other side.

Planning on camping at Warroora Station, we stopped at Milynup Roadhouse where I made the executive decision to drive straight through to Exmouth and stay in a cabin for a couple of nights to feel a bit more civilised!

Exmouth is a gorgeous town with amazing crystal beaches and so much to do. We had plans to snorkel, go on a glass bottom boat, fish and swim swim swim! However that afternoon I started to feel lethargic and achy. Over the next two days, it developed into a stomach bug where I was left with horrible abdominal cramps and … let’s just say, ‘the tummy bug stuff’. We did go for a drive to have a look around and watched the sunset one night which was beautiful. Tim went out by himself one afternoon and saw whales breaching in the ocean.

After three nights in Exmouth, I started to feel slightly more human and we set off to Miaree Pool for the night on our way to Broome. We left there this morning and are now at our current spot.

The place we are camping now is pretty quiet with beautiful views overlooking the ocean. The tide comes in and out regularly, with the next high tide due, according to our neighbours, tomorrow around 2.30pm. We’ve just had a walk down to the water with the tide out and the sand feels like that magnetic sand and really sinky! Tim and I had a race back which was hilarious with our feet sinking deep into the sand with each step!

It was nice staying in a chalet for a few nights but it’s also nice being back on the road especially in such glorious weather. And feeling well and healthy is not something I will take for granted! We have just over 3 weeks to make the trek to Darwin in time for my graduation ceremony and there is a lot we want to see on the way so getting north of Broome is something we’re keen to do. But until then, we’re just enjoying each day and night.

Tim and I get along well, most of the time. Spending 100% of our time together can wear a bit thin and we have our moments, but overall we know we’re stuck together (plus Tim says he keeps the car keys in his pocket so I don’t do a runner! haha). Snappy words are often just left to dissipate in the air rather than arguing over. Travelling and camping together, just the two of us, has taken co-existing to a different level and as much as we can irritate each other, we rely on each other, both for our skills and company. Trying times are overcome when we find somewhere that is paradise and we celebrate pushing through the annoyances of getting there.

We have both gone through the feeling of ‘gee it would be nice just being in a house for a while’ but when we spent time in the chalet, it was nice being back on the road camping under the stars and listening to all sorts of bird life, crickets, frogs and random cars driving past in the middle of the night!

I have found camping/travelling pages on Facebook really helpful and have made a couple of new friends who I will meet when we start our grad programs in Alice Springs.

One FB page of a new friend is: Seeking the Serenity – Travelling Aus which is an awesome and inspiring page of travelling! Check it out!

Keep in touch and stay posted! Love your comments and support xoxoxoxo

 

 

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The ocean beckons!

I’m sitting at our trusty camp table listening to the canvas of the camper trailer get tickled by the wind coming off the ocean. We are back on the coast and it feels wonderful!

We had a really nice few days in Tom Price, a nice little town which likes to have green trees and grass and plants because the residents seem to constantly have their sprinklers on, even in the dead heat of the day. The Tom Price caravan park we stayed at was brilliant. We paid $32/night for an unpowered site which was directly across from the amenities block. We chose a site with a beautiful shady tree at our door step which helped with the heat. The facilities were clean and the crystal clear swimming pool was just divine!

We did some touring, drove past the house I lived my first 4 years of life in and generally relaxed. We drove up Mt Nameless which is the highest point you can drive a car in WA at 1016m. The views were beautiful and we even tried to find a geocache hidden there but no such luck.

After spending most of our last day in Tom Price doing laundry and sorting the car, we left after three nights to go to Hamersley Gorge. We had envisioned another Wittenoom Gorge where we could meander along the gorge until we came to our own little spot but Hamersley Gorge is more like the gorges in Karijini park; you can’t camp anywhere except designated spots and then hike down to the gorge. Too touristy. So we had a look at the gorge and decided to drive to an abandoned homestead called Tambrey Station and call that home for the night.

The campsite at Tambrey Station was very dusty but flat and open with a camp fire ready to go once we found some firewood. We arrived mid-afternoon so set up and relaxed. I made spaghetti bolognaise in the camp oven which was delicious (if I do say so myself!).

The next morning we were up at 6.30am to pack up the camper before the heat kicked in. Then we walked around the ruins of the old homestead. The house was made of red mud-brick and was solid. Even the fireplace was made out of mud-brick. There was a grave on site for three people, the farmer Thomas Cusack who died aged 43, his wife Dosh who lived until she was 90 and their youngest daughter Prudence Leake who only died 6 years ago. On Prudence’s grave plaque was written ‘I must go back to the Tableland, Where life can be rough and hard, Let me return to the mud brick house, Of heat & drought & the worry of debt, Then the joy in the coming of rain, I must go back to the Tableland and have my share of it’.

The Roebourne-Wittenoom Rd is the worst road we have driven on so far! Diabolical! The corrugations were deep and constant and the road had so many small floodways which you couldn’t see until you were almost upon then and had to brake sharply to slowly cross. The Karratha – Tom Price Rd wasn’t much better but it at least turned into bitumen.

We left to head north to Karratha and as we were listening to an audio book we rattled past a sign saying ‘Python Pool’. Anything that sounded remotely like it has water in or near it was much needed. We drove east for 20km to the most beautiful and inviting waterhole we have seen so far! Neither of us had our bathers but the site of the water drew us in and we leapt in fully clothed! The water had a lot of minerals in it and was very buoyant. Tim and I floated around on our backs looking up at the gorge walls rising high above us. As we swam, we chatted to another couple who had travelled from NSW.

We got to Karratha and had lunch at a tavern. We found a car wash and hosed the car and camper off. I used the BP toilet and was unpleasantly surprised to find there was no toilet paper anywhere. And this wasn’t a shake and shimmy kind of dunny trip either. So I sat poised, waiting for another customer to leave the bathroom before I jimmied my pants and scooted into the next cubicle! God help anyone who walked in in the middle of my crab-walk!

We then headed to a place called 40 mile beach which is a 53km drive south of Karratha. The caretaker is very friendly and we are now set up in a beautiful private campsite with our very own access to our very own part of the beach!

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Wikicamps is actually coming in handy despite us doubting it when we first started. And as usual, talking to the locals is the best way to find great places. We are now heading back south until we reach Shark Bay then we’ll come back up the coast to Darwin exploring the coast further north of Karratha.

I’m writing this in a Word document because I only have one bar of reception and it’s just too damn slow. Ugh, first world problems!

Talk to ya soon! Xoxoxo

P.S Check out the Outback Traveller Magazine on Facebook! It’s starting up and will be amazing!

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The place of birth

G’Day from Tom Price! I’m sitting here in clean clothes with clean hair after having my first shower in 4 days – ahhhhhh heaven!

But let’s start back when we left Meekatharra.

26th August 2018 (Sunday): Due to our campsite in Meekatharra being so close to the main highway, road trains barrelled past constantly, some sounding like they were heading straight for our camper!

We packed up and decided to drive to a place called Bilyuin Pool, a campsite we found on WikiCamps. We took a turn-off as directed by Apple maps and drove along a dirt road until we came across signs saying ‘KEEP OUT!’, ‘TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED!’ and ‘NO UNAUTHORISED ACCESS!’. By the third sign we felt maybe we shouldn’t keep going, not sure why, gut feeling perhaps, so we turned around and headed back to the main highway. We decided to just drive straight to Newman.

Newman is a fairly bustling mining town with most cars carrying orange lights and every second person wearing hi-vis uniforms. We didn’t want to stay at another caravan park so found a free camp at a place called Rhodes Ridge Rest-stop, 50km north of Newman.

Rhodes Ridge is a wide open area slathered in fine red dust and scattered with low scrub and spots of campfires. We set up our camp for the night, by now our process is well-oiled and now, well-dusted.

27th August 2018 (Monday): The next morning I went to the loo, the chemical toilet of which Tim set up in the open air down the side of the camper. Looking up from my book, my eyes met the eyes of a dingo standing directly in front of me merely 10 metres away from where I was sitting in all my glory! After hesitating for a second, I leapt up, my book flew into the air and landed in the dirt and I scarpered into the camper still trying to pull my pants up! Tim thought it was funny and said the dingo would just be hanging around for scraps and they are more dangerous in packs. We both peered out the window to see the dingo still standing in the bush, patiently waiting for any remnants of last nights dinner.

We packed up the camper and headed north to Wittenoom where we set up camp in Wittenoom Gorge. Our campsite was absolutely beautiful with the gorge wall on our right and a short but turquoise clear waterhole all to ourselves. We spent the first evening practising our ‘Coo-ee!’ bounce around the gorge walls and echo back to us from a different direction. It was amazing!

28th August 2018: We were awake early listening to the birds greet each other good morning.

Pressure points on each corner of the camper trailer canvas had become unstitched leaving gapes on either side. If not addressed, they would soon tear open leaving an entire front wall missing. Tim spent the morning patching up the seams with spare canvas and kwik-grip with me as his trusty, yet day-dreaming T.A!

In the afternoon we paddled our kayaks up our waterhole admiring the slate slab construction of the wall, all intricately pressed together. There were some gaps in the slabs resembling a half-played game on Jenga. The colours of ochre, maroon, slate grey and, dare I say it, dark asbestos blue, made up the colour scheme of this part of Wittenoom Gorge.

Willy wagtails, finches and ibis danced on tree branches around us welcoming but unsure of why we were there. As we lay back in our kayaks, the sun warming our sunscreen lathered legs, we watched at least 5 other 4WD’s lumbering up the track, through the water crossing and roaring up the hill and away from us. This is our campsite for today.

29th August 2018 (Wednesday): After breakfast we packed up and got going to have a look around Wittenoom then venture into Karijini National Park.

Wittenoom is a ghost town. During the 1940’s-1960’s it was Australia’s only supplier of blue asbestos used in items such as roofing, fences and when woven or mixed with cement, would be resistant to fire and heat. The use was extremely popular however it was eventually found to be a direct cause of lung diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. The mine was shut down in 1966 and the status of it being a town was removed in 2006. Tim and I (both aware of the risks) looked through some vacant houses, many often left as if the tenants put their knives and forks down, the children put their boardgames pieces to the side and they all just walked out.

According to Wikipedia, there are still 3 people living in Wittenoom and although a few houses looked like they were inhabited, not a soul was seen.

In Karijini National Park there are only two campsites (known to travellers), Dale’s Gorge Camping ground and Karijini Eco- Retreat. We were, perhaps naively, hoping we may find a secluded area to camp in rather than either of the two main camping grounds, but no such luck. It was becoming late afternoon so we decided to head to the Eco-Retreat.

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On the way along the very corrugated dirt roads, I heard a bumpity bump bump and in the rear view mirror, a flash of green and yellow shot away from the car – the kayak’s fallen off! Fortunately it was undamaged but just an inconvenience.

We wandered into the campsite paying $40/night for an unpowered campsite. It was really windy when we were setting up our camp with canvas flying everywhere and seemingly aiming at Tim to add to his already jolly mood.

30th August 2017 (Thursday): Packing up once again, we drove to some of the gorges to have a look around. Tourists scrambled everywhere and most carparks were full. The gorges however, were gorgeous haha.

We are now in Tom Price, the town where I was born almost 35 years ago and left when I was 4 years old. I wonder if anyone recognises me? We’re staying here for a couple of nights and going to have a game of 9 holes of golf tomorrow. 9 holes of golf in the town of my birth. Fore!

I wrote a poem:

13 Days

Rough starts, unforeseen and grating, although every box we drew we checked. 

We wanted someone or something to blame for our troubles, a culture inside us we’ve not let go.

Kilometres of bitumen, gravel and dirt. Corruated, smoothed or firm. 

We have no-one’s company but each other’s and our own.

The drone of an audio book keeps the drivers mind active; alert. While the sleepy passenger comes and goes between what is real and what isn’t. 

Red dirt, ochre dust fluffs and billows behind the vehicle. When it is idle, the dust gently lays on every surface like an ethereal permeating cloak. 

Two bodies flop out of the car, stretch and take in the scenery. Before long, hitches are unhitched, trailers stop trailing and a house is unfolded.

Methodically and purposefully the two bodies work in unison. Then planting bottoms in chairs, wiping perspiration from the brow.

Eyes watch as the Australian sun settles behind the hills. The moon is anticipating its nightly return for all who admire it. 

The sky is red, orange, purple, pink then grey. Dingoes lift their heads, noses twitching at smells of steak and onions frying. 

Should they creep later and check for morsels?

Bodies retire, one by one and the loud zipper shatters the outback silence. 

It will all be done again tomorrow.

 

Catch ya soon! 🙂