Towards the northern wildflowers

25th August – 4th September 2017

Friday 25th
Wow! It felt fantastic to be on the road again. The sun is finally shining! Leaving Perth we drove through the beautiful Swan Valley vineyards again. I love the look of vineyards and this area also makes life good for tourists by having chocolatiers and breweries and strawberry farms, to say nothing of the cellar door tastings and vineyard restaurants. But it was ‘look but don’t touch’ for us this morning as we headed north.
The vineyards soon gave way to grazing properties, lush and green with fat cattle, sheep and frolicking lambs, then horsey areas and crops – some mangoes and fields ablaze in bright yellow flowering canola. The wildflowers were beginning with masses of arum lilies blooming beside the road. A very enjoyable drive.
We brunched at Bullcreek – excellent little park in town, then drove through Gingin for a look. Agriculture soon disappeared and lovely wallum country with lots of banksias took its place – and mines! We’re also back on Road Train roads again. Oh how quickly one forgets!
Tonight we’re camped at Drummonds Reserve, a small free camping area in the bush with no facilities. We’re the only ones here – that’s a big difference to the last 5 weeks. We went for a walk up the road after settling in and found the Emu Downs Solar Project. There are dozens and dozens of electricity-generating wind turbines at the site and they’re now establishing a huge solar panel array. Great to see.

Saturday 26th

I woke this beautiful morning to the tree outside my window filled with (quiet) pink galahs. We moved on to Badgingarra, a tiny town with amazingly good recreation facilities (tennis courts, ovals, basketball, etc), none of which were in use this morning. What does that tell you?


Anyway we brunched here, then went for a 5 kilometre walk in Badgingarra NP where the wildflowers are blooming. The variety of plants is astounding.

Steve admiring the view from the top of the rise on our walk at Badgingarra.

Driving on to the free camp in Dongara we passed kilometre after kilometre of wildflowers by the roadside, the most prolific being banksias and wattle.

Sunday 27th

What direction do you think the winds come from?

Sunday Brunch was had at the Seaspray Cafe beside the beach. Tasty meals, good turmeric latte!

Dongara’s claim to fame – crayfish.

The Irwin River flows through Dongara and the council has created several walks along this river and down the beaches. We did a 5km circuit of the river, crossing the bridge at one end and the tidal sandbar at its mouth – lucky it was low tide. Well done council – it was a very enjoyable walk.

Walking alongside the Irwin River, at Dongara.

Today we leave Australia! We’re camped tonight at the Principality of Hutt River. The drive here was very enjoyable. The wildflowers are coming out all along the roadside, while the paddocks are a lush green with 6” high wheat, or vibrant yellow with flowering canola.

Canola fields.

We didn’t arrive until about 5pm so will explore tomorrow. The camping area is good – large, treed, heaps of room, shower (basic) and toilets – $10/night. Only two other campers and a heap of kangaroos here.

 

Hutt River Province. The Prince is in.

Monday 28th
We met the very entertaining and spritely 92-year-old Prince Leonard today who took us through the museum and talked non-stop about many of the exhibits – mostly gifts given to the Principality by overseas dignitaries. Australia still doesn’t recognise Hutt River as having seceded even though it was proclaimed in 1970. The story of the secession is one of injustice-fuelled determination leading to a legal battle with the State which Hutt River appears to have won, though ungraciously semi-acknowledged by the government.

The 92-year-old Prince Leonard welcoming us to his Principality.

In the ‘government office’ you can purchase a visa, stamps, etc. There are several other buildings, the most ‘intriguing’ being an open-air display of the very complicated mathematical formula Prince Leonard has designed to work out the number which signifies creation and spirituality of every creature … yeah, can’t say I understood it myself.
Their hassles with the government persist – apparently the government is now suing them for undeclared and unpaid GST. Seriously, I can’t see the point. We’d do better to just support them a little in their endeavours – there are bigger fish to fry then Prince Leonard and his Principality.

On the Princess’ throne.

From here we’ve headed to the coast – to Lucky Bay. The last 6km in is unsealed and badly corrugated in parts. The campground ($15/n) is situated between rows of sand dunes. New, clean toilets and very attractive shelter gazebos with picnic tables are randomly placed along a few hundred metres of camping grounds. The campsites are cleared sandy sites between low coastal foliage. We attempted a walk to the beach, but there’s no Track and lots of dunes covered in vegetation to climb over, so we abandoned that idea. We’re the only campers here tonight. If it weren’t for thunderstorms, lightning, rain and hail and the constant pounding of the surf it would be a very quiet night.

To see more of the photos from this part of our travels CLICK HERE

 

Marking Time and Grandparenting

14th – 24th August

I won’t fill you in on all the details of our respective 10 days apart. Suffice it to say that I had the most wonderful time in Brisbane playing with my delightful granddaughter Olivia, and doing fun things with daughter Laura in glorious warm, sunny weather.

Love my beautiful girls. Olivia and Laura

I also caught up with Sam and Ben, housesitting for us (house, lawns, gardens and chooks all in good order), Ric and Gill (now back in Qld), lunch with Vicki and John at Southbank, and made some exciting plans for the next couple of months with Trish and Bryan who will join us in WA sometime in October.

Thoroughly enjoying doing my nanna duty.

Steve meanwhile chilled (literally) in South Fremantle where it rained the whole time. He amused himself with movies, bike riding (between showers), the markets, the library, the Maritime museum and finding cosy coffee shops with free WIFI where he could while away a few hours.

Fremantle Markets

He also did some motorhome maintenance and took our ailing stove into Care-A-Van. Apparently the problem is a defective Electronic Control Unit and they’ve sent away to the eastern states for a new one. Fingers crossed.

After picking me up from the airport we spent another full day at Karrinyup CP getting organised for our next adventure!

For a couple more photos from this week CLICK HERE

A week in Perth

Monday 7th – Monday 14th

This week we’re spending in Perth, one night at the very good Karrinyup CP ($45/n – ouch!), 3 nights at the South Fremantle CP (functional, except for the tepid showers, $32/n) and 3 nights with our good friends Anne and Greg in Mt Lawley.

Anzac monument at Kings Park

The first few days of the week we wandered around Freo, had lunch one day at Little Creatures brewery and enjoyed walks in Kings Park, particularly the Botanical Gardens where many plants are flowering, went to the movies twice (The Magic Pill and The Big Sick), had really good tapas at Leederville and a fabulous dinner at Nina and John’s, which is where Ric and Gill are staying now. A lovely day was also spent at Kings Park.

Boab Tree at Kings Park. The story of the Giant Boab ‘Gija Jumulu’ captured world-wide media coverage during July 2008 as it journeyed over 3,200 kilometres, from Warmun in WA’s Kimberley region, to Kings Park in Perth.
Never before had a mature tree of this nature been transported across such a distance on land. The iconic tree, estimated to be 750 years old, weighs 36 tonnes and stretches 14 metres high and eight metres wide (branch span). Its trunk measures 2.5 metres in diameter.

At Anne and Greg’s we reminisced about the good old days, danced to loud music until the wee hours of the morning, solved the world’s problems, did a top bike ride around the Swan River to East Perth, crossing the Causeway and back again, lunching and coffee-ing on the way. Greg insisted it wouldn’t rain, which would be a miracle as it’s rained on and off for the last 3 weeks, and luckily for him the only time it did rain, and it pelted down then, was when we were in a café. Sunday they took us to the Swan Valley vineyards where we managed to sample our way through FIVE vineyards, lunching at Mandoon Estate.

A day of tasting wines. Steve, Denise, Greg and Ann

Bright and early Monday morning found me boarding a flight to Brisbane to spend 10 days with Laura and Olivia.

West Australia’s state floral emblem. The iconic kangaroo paw.

It seems we only took photos in Kings Park this week – remiss of us. Anyway HERE they are.

Around Perth

31st July – 7th August 2017

Despite the weather being lousy – cold, overcast or raining, windy, we’re still around the south-west. I’m booked to fly to Queensland mid August and it seems a waste of diesel to head to the warm, northern areas just to head back again. Luckily we have lots of friends to catch up with and a few places we want to go to.

Monday 31st – Wednesday 2nd August

Fran and Rick, friends for many years, live at Dardanup on a farm with grape vines and cattle. We spent two great nights there catching up on family and events and reminiscing the old days. On Tuesday we went for a drive around the local area – beautiful, beautiful rolling hills covered with vineyards or pastures with fat cattle knee-deep in grass, then to Wellington Forest for a walk around the lake and through the forest where the wildflowers will soon be blooming and finally to St Aidan’s vineyard and restaurant for a delicious lunch.

Steve, Denise, Fran and Rick.

Wednesday 2nd – Saturday 5th

Leaving Fran and Rick’s we decided to head further north to avoid the stream weather but not before a quick stop in Perth to catch up with the Hinchies –  Terry and Chris. Only time for a cuppa here though with promises to spend more time later on.

We found a bush caravan park about 100km north, ‘Back To Nature’ caravan park. Yes I did look at the description closely to make sure it wasn’t a nudist camp – much too cold!! It’s being setup by the landowner with powered campsites in amongst the trees and good views from a 3km walk along the ridge. We were happy to spend 3 nights here. ($30/n)

The view from the top of the ridge walk at Back to Nature CP.

Saturday 5th – Monday 7th

Back to Yanchep National Park for a couple of nights. There are walking paths all through the park so Sunday, with the promise of occasional showers, we set off joining a few walks together to explore. Our 7km of walks took us from hillside bush where the magnificent wildflowers have begun to bloom to the wetlands around the lake and finally to the beer garden of the Inn where there was live music and lots of families enjoying a day out. And it didn’t rain.

A lovely day.

Early days for wildflowers. Growing wild alongside our path at Yanchep NP

We’re having problems with the stove. It’s a diesel stove and has been giving us great service until now. We’re getting a ‘Glow Plug Problem’ warning light and it refuses to turn on. Luckily we have a single burner butane cylinder cooktop for just such an emergency. We’ll call the Webasto agent in the morning.

For more photos from this week CLICK HERE.