1
Murrayville

Yesterday we finally left to go on our trip to Central Australia & WA that has been in the planning for \24018 months.

We left home (in the care of our house sitter Zoie) & headed off & ended up staying at a free camp just before Murrayville in the pine forest.

It was Brian’s birthday so we lit a fire in the piggy pot, had a plate of nibbles & opened a bottle of sparkling and settled ourselves in. Then a Shepherds Pie finished of his birthday day

Brian had lots of phone calls from family & friends, so that kept him pretty busy for a few hours

Got very cold so put on the diesel heater which was lovely & toasty. Decided to turn it off when we were ready to go to sleep - big mistake as when we tried to put it on at 3 am it wouldn’t go. Tried to get Brian out of bed to give the pump a tap but surprise, surprise, he wouldn’t do it. So therefore we froze for the rest of the night. Then we discovered the gas bottle we thought was half full was in fact empty, thankfully the other bottle was full. So a quick changeover was needed there. Next, the lights suddenly went out (12 volt); we thought - is someone telling us to go home.

All these things were rectified easily so off we went on our 2nd day

Headed towards Loxton where the bakery does g/f pies. (Which are pretty good). Had an early lunch then headed toward Overland Corner where we were planning to stay the night. Even though we used google maps we managed to get ourselves a little lost on a couple of occasions - Loxton does not have great road signage we discovered.

Finally arrived here and settled in behind the pub. The pub is an old fashioned country pub that has the reputation of being haunted.

Met up with another couple, Jon & Bev who pulled in the same time as us. Had a nice little afternoon drink or two with them then arranged to meet them for dinner

When we met up with them Bev handed Brian a little goodie bag for his birthday. We had a lovely night with them but they head home to Adelaide tomorrow so we won’t see them again.

Back in the van now, diesel heater working very well & time to go to sleep

There is supposed to be a ghost in the left hand corner of this photo, unfortunately the photo doesn’t show it very well

Camp site at Overland Corner. The pub is behind the van over the hill.

Front door of the pub

Jon & Bev, some new mates

The birthday show bag & contents

Brian’s birthday card from Jon & Bev

2
Shoreline Caravan Park

Left Overland Corner this morning ( after a good nights sleep where the diesel heater behaved itself all night - it was lovely and warm ) & headed off \240to Port Augusta. Had a really good trip, took us about 4.5 hours with a couple short stops but it went quickly.

Booked into the Shoreline Caravan Park & already we are getting the signs everywhere to lock up valuables etc.

They lock the gates here at 9.30pm, open at 7am, and there are high fences with barbed wire all around us.

Having a bit of a rest day today. Tomorrow we’ll have a look around & buy some supplies.

Still haven’t purchased any vege’s yet so tonight’s dinner is Butter Chicken & rice that I made at home. Looking forward to some veges tomorrow night.

Shoreline Caravan Park. \240 - $70.60

Crystal Brook - fuel. - $198.00

No grass here but a nice concrete slab that stops gravel trekking into the van

Note the high fence & barb wire

Dinner tonight.

Had a bit of a sleep in, breakfast then a walk. Unfortunately we didn’t get far as Brian’s hip kept playing up. He can ride his bike for ages but walking doesn’t do him much good at all. I have suggested that he use the hiking pole but he’s not real keen on that. He thinks it makes him look like an old man !!!

Hit the supermarket & stocked up on fruit & veges, then had a drive around. Not much here to really look at.

Went to Jarcar to find out why Mary’s terabyte wasn’t working. Apparently out TV is too small and doesn’t have enough ‘something’s’ for it to work. We’ll just have to watch normal tv or watch a DVD.

Getting cool now after a lovely day, time to prepare some of those veges for tea

Magnificent sunset tonight, think it’s going to be getting a little warm soon.

Beautiful sunset

Groceries - $61.00

3
Woomera Traveller's Village & Caravan Park

Left Port Augusta in good time and we decided to head for Lake Hart salt lake to free camp for the night. Rang Tom for his 70th birthday (poor dear is sick with a bad cold and is home bound) and he said to go to Woomera and stay there. He & Marg were here a while back & said it was interesting to see all the space stuff.

So we changed plans & arrived at Woonera to find that it is Saturday & everything eg, museum, information centre, heritage centre is closed. We still had a look around at the outdoor exhibits & drive around the town. This place in 1967 when it was established was booming with a population of over 5000. Now it’s almost like a ghost town with MANY houses unoccupied . There is now only about 150here & they are mostly defence personnel.

We were going to ride our bikes up the street to look at the exhibits but there’s bindi around & it would be just my luck to get a puncture

Caravan park is a bit quirky. The fellow at reception was fine with me but Brian didn’t take to him very well. Apparently the bar opens at 4pm but I’m not sure whether we’ll head down there or not.

It’s starting to get a lot warmer during the day, night it’s still cool. Into shorts & TShirts today.

Beautiful looking BBQ area

Wasnt game to look in here.

5 star bar area !!!

Some of the space equipment recovered

Woomera Travellers Village & Caravan Park. \240 $25

Ended up going to happy hour, met another couple who just happen or be hairdressers who are going our way.

Hopefully they’ll be around in 6 weeks when I need another haircut.

4
Lake Hart Rest Area

Today ended up being a bit of a slow day for us. We left Woomera at 9am & didn’t get to Coober Pedy \240until 3pm. Why did it take us 6 hours to go 367kms you may ask? The reason was we visited many rest stops as I apparently ate something yesterday that totally disagreed with me & I needed frequent stops. God I hate this Coeliac thing.!!

Thank god \240for caravans with toilets & I still can’t work out what it was that caused such a reaction.

Stopped at Lake Hart salt lake to have a look - this was where we were going to camp but decided to go to Woomera. Lucky we did as the campsite was very ordinary and quite small, so we probably would have been lucky to get in there. It was quite a walk from the carpark to the lake so we opted out of that walk as I wasn’t feeling very well

We finally arrrived at the Oasis Tourist Park which is \240supposed to be the better of the parks. It’s nothing to write home about, but then the impression you get as you drive into Coober Pedy is one of shambles. There are lots of heaps of dirt everywhere, lots of abandoned equipment & general untidiness everywhere.

Set up, Brian went for his customary ride( by the way I think he has a puncture from those dreaded bindi’s from Woomera) . Decided we would go on a tour tomorrow to look around & organised that with Noble Tours.

Quite night tonight as I’m still feeling a bit off - it feels like I’ve been glutened badly but I know I haven’t eaten any gluten. Who knows with this horrible disease

Looking forward to a sleep in in the morning as our tour doesn’t start until 1 pm

Lake Hart Salt Lake

Oasis Tourist Park - $111.00 & $7 for water

5
Coober Pedy SA 5723, Australia

Very windy today, lucky we are not travelling. Went up the street for a few groceries, have to be careful as we go through quarantine again Wednesday going into the NT.

Still feeling off in the tummy, don’t know what affected me but it’s done a good job. I’m almost afraid to eat anything. In fact I’m not having any lunch before our tour, just in case.

We were picked up \240at 1pm to start our tour. Normally we would do The Breakaways last & watch the sunset but the Gahn bus was in town so we had to do that first (therefore missing the sunset) . After being held up by roadworks on the Oodnadatta Rd for some time we made it to the Dog fence. This looks like it is not very high from the bus but it is actually 5 ft high. I measured it by standing beside it & yes, it is 5 ft.

Continued on to the Moon Plains which really weren’t anything except a lot of barren ground. Apparently several movies , Mad Max, Priscilla Queen of the Desert have been made here using this landscape.

Next onto the Breakaways where we were offered a glass of bubbly. The wind out here was twice as bad as in town. When we were on top of the hills we were almost blown away. Very interesting rock formations with the different colours from the sediment of the soil

On we went to inspect the minefields. It just seems strange that there are pile upon pile of heaps of diggings everywhere & they just leave it all there. They are not allowed to fill in the holes in case someone walks on it & falls into the shaft. Also once a mine is abandoned, someone else can register for that claim. It makes the whole place look very untidy and unkempt, but I suppose that is what Coober Pedy is all about. We found out that the name of the town was named by the Aborigines. In their lingo it is ‘white man in a hole’

Next was a mine tour at Unooma mine where we went underground. We saw how they had dug out their homes, plus the digging of the tunnels. What do you know, the tour ended in the Jewellery shop. We didn’t succumb to buying anything although there were some lovely pieces there.

A miner coming down his shaft in the early days

A dugout lounge area

About 20 years ago Brian was asked to go to Coober Pedy & drive a bus load of school kids back as the driver had run out of hours. Yesterday he went looking for the place he stayed at & today we found it at Unooma. While he was trying to sleep during the day ( so he could drive all night) the school kids used his bedroom door as a backstop for their cricket game

That’s the room he tried to sleep in under the veranda on the right

Onto the Serbian church which was very well done. There is only about 120 Serbians left here now so the parish population is severly depleted.

Very interesting stained glass windows.

Aaron, our driver & guide was fantastic . The tour was well worth doing as I’m sure we wouldn’t have been able to see all that we did if we had done it on our own. Aaron was also very tall, about 6ft 5”. I couldn’t resist getting a photo beside him

The wind has dropped a bit now. Hopefully it goes tomorrow as everything feels all gritty with a layer of dust \240everywhere

Noble Tours - $150

Groceries - $14.50

Blew a gale & even rained a bit overnight. Just enough to put dust spots over the cars. We accidentally left a window partly open so dust was everywhere inside the Prado. A lesson well learnt. Won’t do that again.

Brian did have a puncture on his bike from the Bindi so he repaired that this morning. Walked up the street, had a look in a couple of jewellers & aboriginal art places. Both were very nice but the cost was unbelievable - especially the artwork. Nothing is coming home with us. While walking we bought some ‘Slime’ which is stuff you put in your bike tyres to prevent punctures. We’ll see if it works !!!

Made some pumpkin & vege soup for lunch out of the few bits I had left as we go through quarantine tomorrow. It was actually quite tasty, bit different to what I normally do

Bit of salad left but we’ll get rid of that tonight & tomorrows lunch before we get to the border.

At least we won’t have to worry about this for a while.

Drive around after getting fuel, saw the Old Timers mine but didn’t go in as a couple of tourist buses were there & it was probably the same as we saw yesterday.

Walked past the Opal Bug, Brian had to take a photo. Notice the old Leyland with the driller on it. Old trucks like that are everywhere (along with all the rubbish)

Early start tomorrow as we have to go about 500kms.

Fuel - $206.70

‘Slime’ (for bikes) - $21.00

6
Erldunda Cpa/Desert Oaks Resor, 19668 Stuart Hwy, Ghan NT 0872, Australia

Really cold again through the night & a much cooler day today. Left Coober Pedy at 8.30am, pretty good for us

Brian was disgusted that his nice clean car & van have already been covered in red dust due to the high winds we’ve had while at Coober Pedy. Thank goodness today was nice & calm. Lovely roads, straight & flat.

Had a lovely uneventful trip, 500kms but the hours passed by quickly by listening to all the oldie songs on the IPod.

( no coverage for the radio or Spotify)

We had disposed of all our veges etc by making soup & salads yesterday in preparation for quarantine today. Only there was NO quarantine. We expected to be stopped & searched but there was nothing at the NT \240border. Pretty slack !!! Peeved off as I could have bought veges at Coober Pedy, they had a great little supermarket there, for half the price that it will cost at Uluru.

Arrived at Erldunda campground where we are one of about 70 vans. Had a wander about, saw the sunset - partly obscured by clouds and had a quite night.

Missed the Red Moon, to busy playing cards. I was teaching Brian to play Phase 10. I taught him too well - he won.

Nice drive through sites, not much grass around though. Lots of that red dust.

Off to Uluru tomorrow . Apparently there are camel races there Friday night so that might be something to see.

Erldunda Caravan Park - $38

Marla Roadhouse - $6. ( Brian wanted to use the toilet in the roadhouse but felt he had to buy something - \240that was junk food. Any excuse!!! )

Erldunda Roadhouse - $1.50 - for an aboriginal lady who was trying to get Brian to give her money for ‘fish & chips for the family’ He bought her a dim dim instead .

7
Ayers Rock Campground

Woke up this morning at 3am to the most disgusting smell of sewerage. Immediately thought that something had gone wrong with our toilet but after investigating decided that the problem wasn’t with us.

It was a cold night night so the atmosphere was obviously pushing the smell down, just \240enough to push it through our partially open bedroom window. ( The smell was coming from the caravan parks toilets)

Filled up with fuel again as fuel at Uluru is very expensive. It wasn’t to great at Eldrunda either- it was $1.90 per litre.

Arrived at Uluru to a queue to be registered. Thank god we booked ages ago as they were turning people away. We ended up getting a great site - No 1 which was on the edge of the camps . We haven’t \240got anyone beside us on our awning side plus a nice view of the pool & playground. Very happy.

Set up and while we were having lunch we had a little show put on for us by a family of swallows. Mummy bird had her 3 babies on the tree in front of us and was flitting around finding seeds to feed them. They warbled their appreciation & we found them very entertaining

Brian had a ride on his bike to view the lay of the land !! Then we had to go shopping for veges etc . Pleasantly surprised with the IGA here, prices weren’t so bad. Only bought enough to get us through the next few days.

As we were driving to Uluru today I looked at my bookings & realised that we had actually booked into Uluru for 5 days & not 4 as we had thought. I’d forgotten that May had 31 days & not \24030. Never mind, there’s plenty to do here.

Tom told us to walk up the hill to watch the sunset & see a pleasant surprise. We were a little early for the sunset but the surprise was a wonderful view of Uluru

Weather has been almost cool, which was nice. No flies at this stage which is unusual for here. Usually everyone has their fly nets out. Nights are very cold. Still have the heater on at night

Tomorrow we’ll visit the visitors centre, then go for a ride around Uluru. That should be very interesting as I haven’t been on my bike since I had my knee done. I’ll report tomorrow the outcome !!

Our set up here, notice the absence of any grass.

The Olga’s from our spot on top of the hill

Just a very small portion of the park

Uluru campground - 5 nights. - $208

Groceries - $54.80

Fuel - $162.26

Another cold night followed by a chilly day. Brian got my bike out today to put the ‘slime’ in the tyres & to make sure it was charged up. For a while we thought something was wrong with the battery as it wouldn’t turn on. After about 1/2 hour we realised we hadn’t turned the key on!!!!!

After that senior moment we headed out to Kata Tjuta to have a look. Drive was about 50 kms but they were \240incredibly impressive when we got close

Stopped at the viewing platform to take this photo

We did the Walpa \240Gorge walk which was about 2.4 km. Very stony and not so easy but we both managed it with no problems. I wore shorts as I thought I would get hot walking - big mistake, it was actually freezing. Temp was only about 12 degrees out there plus the wind factor was very high. Head wind walking to the end and a tail wind going back. We both managed to stay on our feet though.

Met a couple, Wendy & Leigh in the carpark that we have run into a few times before so we headed off together. Leigh had a sore knee so he was slower but notice that my darling husband took off with Wendy & left me to fend for myself.

Photo doesn’t really show just how rocky it was. Only a few paths but they were rocky as well

The platform at the end, then you have to walk back

Shows just how big these ‘rocks’ are.

Going out there we got stopped at the entrance to the NP to check we had a pass. He wasn’t concerned about the pass ( we did have one) but we got the inquisition about where we’ve been, are we from Melb, have we been to Melb in the last 14 days etc but didn’t ask for any ID. They see Victorian number plates & think we are all infected.

The sheer size of the walls are immense.

Heading back on one of the small amount of paths, but even so it was very stony & uneven to walk on.

I had meant to take my hiking pole but I forgot about it until we started going up.

At the entrance is a beautiful log seat that I presume was made from local wood, probably by the locals. Love to have one home in the garden. The wood was very shiny from everyone sitting on it over the years.

Went around to the other walk - Valley of the Winds but didn’t do the walk as it was about 7+ kms & Brian’s hip wouldn’t have made it. Not sure I would have either!!

On the way home we called into Uluru, drove around the perimeter and worked out were we had to go on Sunday when we go out to ride around it.

Had a quick look through the cultural centre.

Next stop was the Camel Farm where the Camel Cup is being run tomorrow. \240Found out we can get a bus from the campground which come & go all day, so we’ll do that.

They were very busy setting everything up

Back home, quick late lunch of soup and a bit of a rest before we head off to the Field of Lights tonight.

Had to have a little ride in my bike to make sure all was well for our big ride around the rock on Sunday.

Did very well, didn’t fall off which was good as I haven’t ridden it since I had my knee done.

Last night we went on the Field of Light tour. An incredible masterpiece spread over approx 12 acres, although it looked like it was much much bigger. We were picked up by the bus, a 80 seater and all seats were full by the time we finished. Took a while to gather everyone from all the various accomodations so by the time we got to the field it was very dark. We walked around a path with solar lights directing the way - was a bit awkward when some of the solar lights weren’t working and you had to stay on the path. Spent about an hour there. Not sure it was really worth the money but it was something we probably would not \240see anywhere else.

Field of Light passes - $88.00

They seemed to be in a circle with a central point with wires going off that. It’s said that there are over 50,000 lights there. I’d hate to put them out and also to remove them when it’s all finished in 2027

Today we had a bit of a different experience. We went to the Uluru Camel Cup. When we booked here we had no idea it was on but decided that it’s something we’ll probably wouldn’t see again.

Best part was that they had Hop on Hop off buses all day to the races so we didn’t have to drive. They picked us up right outside the campground.

First off you had to change real money into ‘camel money’ . Clever idea as what you don’t spend is not refundable.

Had a couple or three James Squire apple \240ciders which were actually very nice. Next surprise was lunch. I assumed there would be nothing for me but surprise, surprise, they had a Paella stall that was g/f. It must have been ok as I haven’t had any reaction.

This is Tex who won the Cup

This is Tim Tam who we were barracking for but unfortunately he’d run his race and came 4th.

Helicopters were buzzing around taking joy rides so we decided we’d have a go. Was a tad expensive for 5-7 mins but it was good to have an aerial view.

The view of the Cup from the air.

Weather was a bit better today, although the nights are still very cool. We resorted to the diesel heater this morning as it was so cold. It’s on now and is a toasty 18 degrees.

This is me on my 3rd apple cider. The sun was shining in my eyes so I ‘borrowed’ Brian’s hat

What we had left of the camel money.

Helicopter ride - $140

Camel money - $70. Drinks & lunch

Big day today, we are going to ride around Uluru. Got the bikes organised in the car - mine , & Brians on the bike rack & off we went to the big Rock. Just a useless bit of information but did you know that for the size of the rock above ground, there is 5 times this beneath the ground. Bit like an inland iceberg.

So off we go on the bikes, apparently 10.6 kms around. Was surprised that there weren’t all that many walking or riding around, just enough so they didn’t get in the way. Only went a short way and we had to stop for repairs. Brian had pumped the tyres up pretty tight so we had to let them down to cope with the sandy trail.

Continued on, the bikes made it easier to go around but I think walking might have been better to actually look at the different aspects of the rock at a closer level. I wasn’t all that game to look much as I was concentrating on not falling off in the sand. We did stop frequently & looked at different bits of interest

This was the teaching cave where the young boys were instructed by the elders.

Cruising along we were looking for a place to stop to have a picnic lunch but before we knew it we were back at the carpark. It took us about 1.5 hrs to go around, that was with quite a few stops. So we sat on the stools in the carpark and ate our lunch, watching all the people either start or get back. Incidentally, this was where you could climb the Rock up until 2019.

See the whiter strip, that was the path to climb. The chain rail has since been removed. I think you’d have to be insane to even attempt to climb that, never mind trying to get back down. It is actually steeper than the photo suggests, especially the top section.

Back at the caravan now, bit of a rest afternoon. We’ll walk up the hill at the back of the campground later to check out the sunset over Uluru.

Unfortunately there was a fair bit of cloud cover so the sunset photo didn’t turn out as good as we thought.

Quite a few of us up there at the lookout & we all had a bit of a chat and laugh

Still pretty cool here, diesel heater on again tonight. Certainly different to what we thought the weather would be like. We expected cool nights but not cold days but it will get better as we go up.

Brian was a very good boy this morning and got up to take a photo of the sunrise from the lookout behind us. I opted to stay in bed and just look at the photos!!!

Unfortunately we had cloud cover again so the shot wasn’t as good as it should have been , but it still looked ok

The sun coming up over the campground

Today we had the pleasure of dog sitting next doors little bulldog, Cooper. \240They were going on a helicopter ride and were going to leave him in the van but we said we’d mind him as our pass is finished and we weren’t planning on doing much except household duties & packing up for tomorrow. He’s a very old dog who is also not all that well. He behaved himself admirably, didn’t hear a peep out of him. They were so appreciative that they gave us a box of chocolates (Brian can eat those) & a cooked chicken. They were going down to the supermarket to get one for themselves & we asked them to pick up one for us. Shouldn’t have done that as they wouldn’t let us pay for it.

We’ll have a drink later with them.

Had to hit the supermarket again for a few things re Kings Canyon. Got there at 9.45am only to find they didn’t open until 10am. Strange!!!

Groceries - $42.65

8
Kings Canyon

Sad to leave Yulara Campground, we really enjoyed it there.

I was never really an advocate of going up the middle of Australia, but \240Brian was, so as \240a good little wife I agreed to go. I have to now admit that I have enjoyed every bit of it so far.

Arrived at Kings Canyon about 1pm, settled in. Unfortunately the toilet block across the road is under renovations, so it looks like the caravan bathroom will get a work out for the next two days as the next toilet block is a far distance away.

After lunch and a little walk around the park we headed of to the Kings Creek Walk. This is only a small walk of a couple of kms and fairly easy going.

This was just a bit of a practice for the big walk tomorrow - the Kings Canyon Rim Walk. This walk starts with 500 steep rock steps before it hits the top and goes for about 6kms . We think we will be ok doing it - let’s see.

At the lookout these were on the rocks. Looked real momentarily until you got closer

Gorgeous little birds on the fence.

The walls of the inner canyon

The start of the walk

The flies have finally hit us. First day with the fly nets. Not sure I really like them, the nets or the flies

These are the steps that we have to climb tomorrow, all 500 of them

Got back from our walk & decided we might go out for dinner tonight at the Outback BBQ. They had lamb rump roast on the menu that sounded pretty good. Wouldn’t you know it, it was the only thing not g/f so I settled for NT Barramundi. Brian had the lamb & thoroughly enjoyed it. My barramundi was ok but could have been cooked a bit more. Sat at a table with a couple from Anglesea who happen to own a B & B, Noel & Kaylene and chatted on for a while.

Actually got dressed up a bit for dinner.

The last bit of Brian’s lamb.

Home again, played a round of cards, Brian won again, now off to bed.

Kings Canyon Resort. - $108

Outback BBQ - $68 plus bottle of sparkling $29

Wildflowers are out due to a decent rain they have had here recently. The same ones were very abundant at Uluru

This was a tree/shrub at the lookout, it had lots of flowers on it

The Kings Canyon Rim Walk

Got to the Rim Walk about 10am full of energy. The weather was perfect, a balmy 20 degrees, a bit of a breeze and no flies. We thought - we can do this, it will be easy once we get up these 500 steps that head upwards at a very steep incline.

Whoever said it was easy must have been at least 30 years younger. It was definitely challenging but we made it around. Estimated time of completion is 3-4 hours, we completed it in 3.15 hours. Not bad for two old seniors

As we were going up the killer steps we met up with another couple, who were in their early 60’s, Paul & Lisa. We stayed together for the whole trip around, assisting each other when necessary ( and with my little legs I would have been stuffed if Brian wasn’t there to help me up and down rocks that were bigger than my legs). Along the way a young couple, Dane & Cathy caught up with us. They were really thoughtful and tended to stay close to the four of us to make sure we were all ok. They could have easily finished a lot earlier but they stuck with us.

Half way up the killer steps looking down

At the top of the steps. We thought, thank goodness we’ve done that, but unfortunately there was a lot more to come

In the centre of the Rim, too much sunlight didn’t help the focus

Right at the top, we felt like we were on top of the world

Inner canyon

These were a bit worrying. Thankfully we didn’t need a rescue helicopter. We did wonder how many times it’s been needed though

Photos simply do not do justice to the immense rock edges of this canyon.

A ravine that had a little bridge over it. That’s as far as I was going.

About the half way mark - finally got to the South side after climbing MORE steps.

This rock face looked like it had been cut with a laser cutter. The edge was so smooth. Makes you wonder how many years ago this would have split apart.

And this is what we did. Yellow marker was yesterday’s very easy walk. Blue marker is todays monumental effort.

It was only 6 kms in total but realistically it felt like 16. At one stage we thought we were well over half way until we came across a sign saying we were at the 2 km mark. That knocked our socks off a bit. But we had to keep going as you weren’t allowed to go back. Probably because the initial 500 steps were too steep to go downwards.

Headed back to the park, first stop was the Bar for a very refreshing beer for Brian & Cider for me.

Had lunch, then a well deserved rest.

Today we almost made a monumental mistake. We nearly ran out of diesel. We had fueled up when we left Erldunda last Thursday and had estimated we didn’t need to fill up until we got back here today. The big mistake we made was all the running around we did without the van - trip out to Kata Tjuta, Uluru a couple of times, Kings Canyon twice.

When we left Kings Canyon Brian didn’t even think about getting fuel - we only had 276kms to go. Three quarters of the way here he muttered something about fuel. He happened to glance at the gauge and it was nearly on empty & we still had 88 kms to go. Ooops. But our trusty little Prado did \240a great job & we got here with 6 litres in hand. Filled the car up with 174 litres. Gave us both a worrying time for a little while. Thought about going on to Alice Springs today but we decided to stay here at Erldunda. We’re not booked into Alice until tomorrow anyway & I doubt that they would have been able to get us in earlier.

We both woke up this morning with stiff calves from our walk yesterday but otherwise we pulled up pretty well. Not bad for a couple of oldies.

Yesterday when we went to the bar for a drink after the walk we ran into a couple of people from home - Gerard Dodd & Angela Lynch. Small world. Saw them briefly before we left this morning. They are heading to Alice also the day after tomorrow so we might run into them again. They were doing the rim walk today, wonder how they went.

View of Kings Canyon from the campground

This one hurt but at least we made it, just

Fuel - $334-06

Erldunda Caravan Park - $38

9
Erldunda Cpa/Desert Oaks Resor, 19668 Stuart Hwy, Ghan NT 0872, Australia

As we were leaving Erldunda this morning I looked over to the fence & saw a bush of Sturt Desert Pea. It was a magnificent display & courtesy of the recent rains.

Arrived in Alice Springs about lunchtime. Very pleasant 2 hour drive.

3 years ago when Tom & Marg did this trip they stopped at Stewart’s Wells & discovered they sold g/f pies & sausage rolls. I was highly excited to be able to buy a sausage roll for morning tea. Walked in the roadhouse,which was actually pretty quirky ( we could \240have camped there overnight instead of Erldunda if we had of known about it); asked if they had g/f sausage rolls - the guy looked at me strangely and said ‘what’s that’ !!! Well there went my sausage roll.

Of course, Brian had to sample one if their home made non g/f sausage rolls, just to see if they were any good.

I wasn’t all that impressed watching him eat it while I had a dry biscuit. Ever mind, that’s how life as a Coeliac goes.

The landscape has changed incredibly leaving Erldunda, we are now in the midst of the Macdonnell ranges. They are very spectacular and are just as interesting as the ranges we’ve come \240through before.

Settled in to the G’day Mate Park. Yesterday they rang to ask a lot of \240questions about how long we have been in NT & told me we had to produce border passes for \240SA & NT.

Had everything ready when I went into reception. She didn’t ask to see anything.

Went for a tour of the town centre, its bigger than you think in the city part. Went to Coles to stock up, this one was a big one as supplies were running pretty low. We’ve used up a lot that we brought from home.

Went to buy some Cider but we were rejected from the \240bottle shop by the police as we couldn’t prove where we were staying. We had to have the receipt from the caravan park which was, of course, in the caravan. First time we’ve not been allowed to buy alcohol. We’ll go & try again tomorrow

Back at the van, Brian went for \240his customary ride around while I unpacked the groceries.

Quiet night tonight watching the footy. Brian is \240pleased to have TV again after 3 nights without it. We kept \240ourselves amused by playing cards & watching the Doctor Blake mysteries on DVD.

We have grass, kind off. It’s a bit dry and needs a good water but it’s better than red dirt. Good to have the awning out at last.

Groceries - $174.00 ( prices are a bit more expensive up here - our first big shop since we left home)

G’day Mate Tourist Park - $200. \240(5 nights);

10
G'day Mate Tourist Park

Did the washing & some housework, how I wish housework at home was so easy!!!

Went into town to the information centre, didn’t get a lot of satisfaction there, very few pamphlets, but we did find some indigenous ladies selling their paintings on the church lawns. We actually had no intention of buying one but one caught our eye & we decided to buy it for $50. It’s not a large one but we don’t have anywhere to put a large frame. This one, once framed will go in the study.

From there we walked to KMart to replenish our stock of gluten free lollies. These are a very important part of driving as when Brian gets tired, I start feeding them to him. They have to be g/f so I can have some as well.

Finally got into Liquorland only to find they didn’t stock the Cider I wanted. Went to BWS and had to go through the security process again. Fortunately they did have the James Squire Cider. I’ve taken a bit of a liking to it lately.

Stewie Egan from home lives here in Alice now with Roxanne & their boys. He came around this afternoon for a chat. We’re planning a lunch tomorrow when we can catch up with Roxy & Jet. Billy, their eldest is away in the army.

A fish man came into the park later this afternoon, so we bought 3 nice pieces of NT barramundi which we had for tea tonight. Very nice, although a bit of lemon would have been nice.

After Stewie left we went next door to the Brewery. Brian had a stout & I had a cider. We thought about going back for pizza tomorrow but I think I’ll make my own . Less CC to contend with.

Quiet night watching the footy. Come on Essendon.

BWS - Cider & Wine. $35

Lollies -$7

Brewery- $21 \240 \240pretty expensive for glass of stout & a can of cider. We only had the one each.

Fish man - $16 for 3 large pieces of barramundi

Indigenous painting- $50

Today’s activity was the Truck Drivers Hall of Fame Museum. Obviously something very dear to Brian’s heart, but I did enjoy it also.

Firstly we saw the ‘old Gahn’ train as we entered, very different to the up market one of today.

We were keen to get to the actual Hall of Fame to see if we could find some identities from St Arnaud. We found Stan Schodde & Leo Pickthall but after looking for ages we couldn’t find Ron Reyne. We now think he must be in the Darwin one.

Spent a few hours here looking around all the different types of old & newer trucks. The Kenworth exhibition was very good with lots of modern trucks in it.

We also found a truck donated by Bill Fitzpatrick from Charlton, another icon of the trucking fraternity

Home for a bit of lunch. Stewie & Roxanne came around mid afternoon for a bit of a chat. We caught up with Stewie yesterday but it was good to see Roxy today.They seem to be very happy here and will stay for a while yet.

Tomorrow we have a big day doing touristy things.

Entry to Hall of Fame. - $30

Started today by going to Standley Chasm where we walked a easy walk to look at the chasm.we got there about midday which was a good time as the sun came through the Chasm & highlighted both sides

Unfortunately I am having trouble transferring photos from my phone onto my IPad so I can’t include the photos at the moment, until I work out what is wrong. It’s only happened here at Alice so hopefully it might fix itself when we leave.

Had a picnic lunch there in the shade , was very pleasant.

On the way back we called into Simpsons Gap and again walked an easy walk to the gap. Photos to come

Headed back & somehow missed the road to the caravan park & ended up in town. We were going to do a bit of shopping to get us through the next week before we get to Darwin, tomorrow, \240so decided to do it today. Biggest expense was the bottle shop, first purchase other than my Cider we’ve had since we left home. Stocked up on more more veges at Woolies, then to the butcher Stewie recommended. Bought a couple of extras not on the list, Mussels for Brian plus a huge stuffed mushroom from the butcher which Brian will have for lunch tomorrow. He couldn’t resist them. I think I’m better shopping by myself.

Before we went out to the Chasm we went via the airport to look at all the planes that are being held there over COVID. There were apparently lots more but they have started to retrieve them for domestic use.

Couldn’t get very close as you aren’t allowed in the airport, but this gives you a bit of an idea. There are lots & lots more on the far side that you can’t see!

On the way back home we passed a car wash. Brian couldn’t resist washing the Prado as it has a slight red tinge to it. First time he has ever been through an automatic car wash. He was like a kid with a lolly.

BUT it’s all in vain. Tomorrow we’ve decided to go and watch the Finke boys doing their practice for a while. Guess where we have to go, out along the dirt roads.

Looks like yet another trip to the car wash!!!

Hopefully I’ll get these photos on soon.

Standley Chasm entry - $20

BWS - $143-50. \240Beer, Wine & Cider ( yes more, it’s nice)

Woolies - $56.26

Car wash - $15

Milner Meats - $56.13

We seem to have spent a lot here but we have lots to keep us going until we get to Darwin in 9 days time.

The West MacDonnell ranges

Walking the path to Standley Chasm, lot better path than we’ve had before. The maintenance here was excellent. Everything was very tidy

Beautiful ferns growing in the rocks

Standley Chasm at midday

Quirky looking tree, obviously burnt years ago but kept growing

Pathway to Simpsons Gap. Another good pathway, easy walk

Simpson’s Gap

We couldn’t get over the vegetation growing out if the rocks up the rock face. Looks healthy so must be getting moisture from somewhere. Amazing to think where the roots even lodge in the rock.

A lot of the motorbike people staying at the park were leaving this morning so we followed them to make sure we were on the right road. Called into a few campsites to watch what they were doing, preparation etc and then sat on the side of the track they ride the race on and watched them all go past. The track already is like bull dust so by Sunday, the start of the race, it will be worse. Most of the riders seemed to stand up rather than sit. It’s going to be a long 200 odd kms

Getting ready to ride off

Here comes one, look at the dust, there is another rider right behind him. How can they possibly see where they are going with all that dust. Makes you want to be in the lead.!!!

Here’s the second bike

Brian standing on the track. Gives you a good idea of what they are riding on.

We went out about 40 kms on dirt roads so, what happened. Our nice clean Prado got very dirty again. So off to the car wash again. 2 in 2 days is a bit much. It was dirtier today than when we went yesterday. The car was actually a lot dirtier than it looks, it had red dust all over it.

Home for lunch, Brian had his big mushroom, I had salad of course.

Packed up ready to leave in the morning. Heading to Devils Marbles, about 400kms away.

One of the ‘hot rod ‘ type cars. Don’t exactly know what they are called . They go like hell though.

On our own Finke track

The sign into where they start the race. Couldn’t get in as they are still preparing for Sunday

Brisn just came back from his last ride, 10kms with a bowl of strawberries. Very nice, we’ll have them for dessert after our Corn Beef & veges.

11
Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve, Stuart Hwy, Davenport NT 0872, Australia

Left Alice Springs this morning. 5 days wasn’t really enough time to stay, we could have seen a few more things but we were happy with what we did.

The plan today was to go to the Devils Marbles Hotel to stay, unhook, then drive to the Devils Marbles for a look & walk around. This is one of the places I hadn’t booked. Bad mistake, they were full. Apparently if you don’t book, you don’t get in. Went out to the actual campground at Devils Marbles. It too was full (except for the selfish people who took up 2 campsites, one for their van & the other for their table & chairs, or the WizzBang who was parked over probably 3 sites & had completely taken over the little shelter)

Goodbye Devils Marbles, we didn’t get to walk around as we thought we’d better keep going & find somewhere to stay. About 29kms up the road we came to a Roadside stop where a few vans had pulled in, so in we went. Found a pretty good spot beside a fireplace & set up. Very easy, no unhitching & only the chairs out. Brian had to do a few repairs on the non return valve for the water pump as it wasn’t working properly but all is good now. Handy to have a clever husband.

Very late lunch, bit of a rest then we’ll light our little fire. Tonight I’m spoiling Brian with Mussels in Tomato & Garlic sauce. I’m having curry & rice, just have to work out how I’m going to heat mine up !! In the weber sounds like a good idea.

Small part of the Devils Marbles

And again

Entrance to the Devils Marbles campground

Our campsite at the road side stop

Big windmill here

You don’t see signs like this in Victoria. Here the speed limit is 130 & you have to slow up for the corners

Lit the fire, love free camping.

Bit of a sunset.

Brian about to get into his mussels.

12
Daly Waters Historic Pub

We managed to get up early this morning, something we don’t do very often , had a quick breakfast then headed off at 7.30am. A record for us. We had 500 kms to do today & we were determined to get to Daly Waters before it was full. 100 kms up the road we stopped at Tenant Creek to refuel, again, as we weren’t sure where we would get the next lot. When I went to pay the lady she gave me a seniors discount without asking if I was a senior. Must be having a bad day today & looking my age!!!

It was a long drive, Brian did a great job with only a couple of stops. I was thoroughly sick of sitting in the car by the time we got here. We usually try to keep the days kms to a max of 400 or less, that last 100 was a bit too much.

Got here, unhooked, had lunch & a rest then went over to the bar for our free drink each ( part of the caravan park package)

Then we drove up to the pub, about 6 kms away. It was packed. People everywhere. Bought a drink & when we went into the beer garden, there was nowhere to sit. A couple sitting on their own, Noel & Sharon invited us to sit with them. Had a great meal - Brian had Beef & Barra & I had Lamb blackstrap. Both were yummy. You wouldn’t want to eat there too often as the prices were fairly hefty.

Returned home to the van to a message from Skylar (my niece who is teaching up here) to find we’d missed her by a few hours. She came through Tenant Creek a few hours after we’d gone through. \240She’s on her way to Alice for Finke.

Tucked up in bed now, reading - it’s all of 8.30pm. Another early start tomorrow to Mataranka- I really dislike these places you can’t book at & take pot luck to get in. Fortunately tomorrow’s drive is only 176kms so we should get there early & get a spot.

All the bras in the bar. I wasn’t leaving mine there, they are too expensive

Came across this dud, he’s supposed to be the owner of the Pub. If he is, he’ll be making lots

The entertainers, they were good.

Museum across the road that Brian took a fancy to

The iconic front of the Pub

The men’s toilets were a bit different

As were the names

Our ‘new friends’ - you certainly meet a diverse style of people when you are travelling. They were good company for a couple of hours. They are heading south, while we are heading \240north

Hi-Way Inn \240Caravan Park. - \240$28 ( with this you get a free drink each at the bar);

Daly Waters Pub, meal & drinks \240- $106

Fuel - Tenant Creek. - $137

No TV reception so Brian decided to read That’s Life. I buy one occasionally to do the crosswords but Brian tells me the stories are very interesting

13
642 Homestead Rd, Mataranka NT 0852, Australia

Arrived at Mataranka this morning nice & early along with dozens of other vans. We got in ok, had to find our own site, which was the difficult part. Found a nice shady spot that unfortunately was on a bit of a decline. Our a-frame is nearly on the ground, but we are settled nicely for the next couple of nights.

Had a swim in the thermal pool. It was lovely & warm floating around, until you got out & it was pretty cold

After dinner we went to the reception area were they had a couple of shows. We missed the first part of the musical group, The Repeat Offenders, but they were pretty good.

Next was Nathan ‘Whippy’ Griggs, a whip cracker. Great show, he certainly could crack a whip & was highly entertaining as well.

Brisn was interested in getting a whip as he broke his just before we left. The quality of this one is not nearly as good as his old one but it’s a rememberence. He’ll get his old one repaired when we get home .

Big consultations with Nathan

Signing the whip.

Home to put the diesel heater on & off to bed. We’re late tonight, we’re usually in bed by 9.30pm but the show didn’t start until 9pm.

Mataranka Homestead Tourist Park - $70

Had a well deserved sleep in this morning, I’ve made Brian get up early the last few days. It was nice to just relax a bit after a few hectic days. We went into Bitter Springs to float down the river on the thermal waters. Was very relaxing. You hang on to the noodle & the current slowly takes you downstream. Then you walk back on the concrete path & do it all again. I did it twice & Brian went for an extra one.

Lots of people around but we still had plenty of room.

Back at the van for lunch & an easy afternoon. I actually was able to read some of my book.

The little boy just near us lost his first tooth this morning but unfortunately dropped it in the dirt before he could show his Mum. All afternoon we’ve been trying to find it, but too no avail. He’s writing a letter to the Tooth Fairy explaining what happened. Hopefully she’ll leave him something tonight.

Bought some steak in Alice Springs from Stewies butcher & had that tonight. Ok, but not a patch on Cookies meat.

Listened to the band again from our van, we’re not far from reception where they are playing. Same as last night but still entertaining.

Packed up ready to leave tomorrow to go to Litchfield NP. Thank goodness we booked as it is a long weekend here as well and everything is booked out.

Fuel - $140.51

PS - the Prado now has a film of red dust over it again, so Brian wasted his money getting it washed twice.

Our little spot under the trees.

The male \240Peacock surveying his territory. The girl in the background is the Mum looking for the tooth

The female peacock. Poor female looks quite drab while the male is all glossy & colourful

Brian trying out his new whip this morning until some \240old biddy came out of her shack & told him off - it was upsetting her dog!!!

Brian floating down the river

This is what it looked like

14
Banyan Tree Caravan & Tourist Park

Departed Mataranka about 8.30am, we’re getting pretty good at this early departure. Had about 370kms to do today but as we had a booking we weren’t too worried about rushing. Stopped at Adelaide River to get a coffee for Brian as he was feeling like he needed a rest, looked like a nice little town. The pub was definitely pumping away. Looked like a great spot for a Sunday lunch. Live band and all.

When I directed Brian off the highway to come \240into Litchfield NP, he wondered where in the hell I was taking him. We finally arrived at the Banyen Tree Caravan Park.

Thankyou to Danny & Kirsten for showing us this park on their Instagram

No reception, you book in at the bar. Pretty casual around this place. We couldn’t get into a site with Power & water tonight, so opted for just power. Tomorrow we are supposed to move to another site with both power & water but the site we are on is pretty good & we have enough water onboard to see us through the next 2 days, so we might stay here.

After we settled in we went to the pool for a swim.

Yes, the heat has finally caught up with us. It was 33 degrees when we got here. The diesel heater has been put into hibernation now until we head over the Nullarbor I think.

Met a nice couple in the pool & chatted away. Had drinks tonight with them at Happy Hour.

Tomorrow we will go exploring Litchfield NP.

Banyan Creek Caravan Park - $75

The Banyan tree the Park is named after. Its huge & covered the whole beer garden

Brian at happy hour.

Beautiful hand crafted tables all around the place. Someone has a lot of talent. They look great.

The pool was very cold but oh so good.

We stopped at Katherine to buy some milk & bread at Woolies. They have a seperate caravan parking area that was full. Lot more caravans now on the road.

15
Picnic Grounds

Litchfield National Park

Headed off a bit later than we wanted too as we had to decide whether to move sites or not. Ended up staying here as it’s nice and shady with green grass. The other site was shady but no grass. We can top up with his water to our tanks later.

First stop was the Magnetic Termite Mounds. These things are truly enormous. Makes you wonder how many termites are around here, there are thousands of these mounds everywhere, some huge, some small. And they obviously don’t eat the trees as there are loads of them also

You can see how big the mound is by the people standing beside it.

The workers at work on just one that we got close too.

Next stop was Florence Falls. Car park was full so had to do the circuit a few times before we could even park. It was just a ‘gentle’ walk down 135 steps to reach the plunge pool where we were very eager to get into. By this stage the temperature had reached about 34 degrees. Lots of people but we squeezed in. Very cold but lovely & refreshing. Fantastic waterfall.

Taken from the lookout. You can see how high it is on the top, then we walked down to the plunge pool.

Back up the steps, didn’t take us very long, I must be getting fitter. As we were about to go up the steps we had to wait for an elderly gent to come down. We were very worried about him as he was a large gentleman and he was visibly struggling to come down the steps. We don’t know how he would have got back up them.

Then off to Buley Rockhole. Had a bit of lunch here before looking at the Rockholes. Didn’t have a swim here.

Next off to Tolmer Falls. No swimming here, you can’t get down to the bottom ( or if you could I certainly wouldn’t)

Walked to the Observation Deck & Lookout.

Long way down there. - Tolmer Falls

On a roll now, we headed for Wangi Falls. Beautiful waterfall but unfortunately no swimming as they’ve had a croc lurking about for a while. The water is apparently higher than normal which allows the crocs to get in.

We didn’t do the longer walk to the top of the falls as it was very hot by this stage but we did fortify ourselves with a nice Weis Bar from the cafe.

Decided that was enough so made our way back to the caravan. I’ve run out of Ciders ( it’s hot here, you tend to drink more!!!) so went to the bar to see if they had any. They had a James Squire Ginger Beer so I thought I’d try that. The biggest shock was that it was $12 for 1 can. I nearly died. If she hadn’t opened it they would have got it back. Needless to say, I’ve only had the one.

Swim in the pool, changed & then to Happy Hour.

Yesterday we met a couple in the pool from NSW who we had a drink with at happy hour & we’d arranged to meet again. They also had done the tour of Litchfield but being younger they had done more than us. The arriving just before 6 so we decided after dinner we’d meet up for a couple more drinks at our van. They were staying in a cabin. They arrived with extra drinks for us, and we chatted on until about 10.30pm. ( Thats why I didn’t do the blog last night)

Wangi Falls

No swimming here.

16
Banyan Tree Caravan & Tourist Park

Rest day today. Filled up the tank with water, did some washing but it’s nice to have a nothing day.

Tomorrow we head to Darwin.

  • Our setup in the shade

This is Brisket \240He just roams around like the chickens. They try & come into the van

The owner of the caravan park is called Johno. He’s a renowned rodeo rider, along with his wife and knows the Flanagan’s from St Arnaud. Small world isn’t it.

Our resident chook coming for a visit, she actually came in the van and had a good look around.

Interesting sign at the \240entrances to the Beer Garden.

17
BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park, 170 Whitewood Rd, Howard Springs NT 0835, Australia

Regrettably left Banyan Tree Caravan Park. It was a great little park & we would have liked to stay longer. However we have commitments to keep so off to Darwin we go.

Arrived at Howard Springs Holiday Park about 11am. It’s hot here & the humidity today is at 91 per cent. Settled in when the guy next door popped over to say hello. He is a bit of a caravan mechanic & installs fans to your fridge. We have actually been talking about doing this for a while but couldn’t be bothered taking the van to Bendigo/Ballarat to have it done. So Frank is doing it for us. He’s encountered a few problems but it’s almost finished.

The boys at work

While they were busy doing that, I was busy spending money. I have organised a trip on the Adelaide River tomorrow & a Sunday Sunset Tour on the harbour.

The boys finally finished, Brian had to go for a refreshing swim while I prepared dinner. We had crumbed fish & chips but no salad as we didn’t have time to go to the supermarket. We’ll do that tomorrow after our River cruise - I’m out of cider !!!

While Brian was at the pool he ran into a couple from Charlton. You can’t escape from anyone

Howard Springs Holiday Park. - $302

Adelaide River Cruise - $350

18
BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park

Adelaide River Tours.

We were picked up by their little bus at 8.15am by Kelly & Alex. \240Had to go back as we inadvertently left 2 girls behind. Took us about 3/4 hour (after picking up 3 more at another park) to get to the Adelaide River.

Hopped on board the boat and we were off. Plenty of crocs around for a start as we were in the section of the river that the Jumping Crocs tour uses. The crocs are used to being fed so hang around there.

We toured down the river about 25 odd kms, which doesn’t sound much, but on water it was a fair trip. We saw lots of crocs, some sun baking on the mud and others in the water. There was also an abundant bird life around.

Stopped for Morning Tea, I was very well catered for thanks to Kelly. I had g/f banana bread & the others a variety of muffins.

They were very good at spotting the crocs so we saw lots.

Lunch was a BBQ on the bank of the river. Bit scary getting off the boat but Alex checked to make sure we were croc proof. They had a little shelter there with everything they needed.

Onto Goat Island, which is the only privately owned island in the Territory. It’s run by a guy called Kai who lives there alone. He’s an incredibly brave man as he’s surrounded by crocs. He runs a pub there would you believe. Fishermen drop in, as does this tour & everyday he has helicopters flying in with customers. 3 came in while we were there. We had a couple of drinks and a chat with Kai.

Back on the boat & headed for home. By this stage we were all feeling a little weary.

Back on the bus, we decided to stop briefly at the Humpty Doo Pub. This is supposed to be an iconic pub, but it looked pretty ordinary to us.

Got home at 5.30pm - big day, went for a swim and had a light tea. We were going into the market in town but we’ll leave that until Sunday.

On Goat Island - it’s actually a land mass in the middle of the river.

‘Nosey’ - he had a chunk of his snout bitten off by another croc years ago.

This one is called Casey- she is Kai’s pet at Goat Island

King Kai.

And his gorgeous little dog, Muddy. Muddy liked to sit on the table & help people drink their drinks.

Saw this croc sunbathing. He’d got himself very comfortable by leaning against a branch. This one was quite light in colour while some were darker or even greener

Getting a bit close now.

Moving on the mud banks

The web of the Golden Orb spider. The spiders are very large and their webs are incredibly strong. Imagine walking through that!!!

Feeding the birds.

Our bus

The Humpty Doo Pub. Not much to look at. It’s fame to claim was that the bar was featured in Crocodile Dundee at one time

And these are supposed to be the biggest horns in the Territory

19
1 Wilmot St, The Narrows NT 0820, Australia

Brian started off the day by riding 15 kms on his bike. As usual he left his phone at home so god help him if he needs to contact me.

I did our passes into WA today, what a lot of bull dust they are. We are approved to go through so that’s all we were worried about.

Spent the morning doing household duties, changing sheets, washing, housework etc.

Brian has been making noises about seeing the V8 cars that are on this weekend but upon investigating the price I decided he didn’t need to do that.

Darwin has been quite expensive in one way or another ( the new doona cover I bought didn’t help) so the V8’s are out.

This afternoon we went into town to have a look around. Found Garv’s old house in The Narrows, unfortunately it was not looking as Garv had left it

Went from there to look at Fannie Bay, Brian has fond memories of riding Garvs motorbike all around this area many years ago.

Then to the Waterfront. It’s a beautifully done area.

This is the Wave pool. Unfortunately we didn’t see it in action, would have been good.

Had a Cider at Lola’s before we went to dinner at Seafood on Cullen . Nice view of the harbour

I asked for a small Cider, look at the size of it.

This sign is quite prominent here in NT!!!!

Went to the buffet at Seagood on Cullen for \240dinner. Brian was very excited to able to have unlimited oysters & prawns, among lots of other things. Was a lovely meal, not a lot of g/f options but I had enough to be satisfied.

Had a good table for viewing the sunset

The first

And the last.

Doona cover. \240- $200

Seafood on Cullen. - $118

20
BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park

Nothing much to report today. Went for a drive to the supermarket to stock up for the next week or so. Food is pretty expensive up here but we haven’t much choice. Add gluten free stuff as well, that makes it expensive as well.

I made Brian go to 3 different alcohol outlets but I can’t find my James Squire Apple Cider anywhere so had to settle for another one - Mr Finch, it’s not too bad, it will have to do.

Home for a little rest, then Brian went touring around on his bike for what seemed like ages. He found a new track, 10 kms this morning & 18kms this afternoon so he was a happy boy. He really loves riding that bike.

He did actually get back before dark, but I forgot to take a photo

Put the new doona cover on, we are happy with it

Quiet night watching the footy, unfortunately the Blues are getting thrashed at the moment

Supermarket. - \240$160

Alcohol - $50

Our plans changed today, as they invariably do. Brian wanted to watch the V8’s - he actually really wanted to go to them as they are just up the road, but he settled for watching them on tv. By the time it had finished at 5pm \240I couldn’t be bothered \240going anywhere. Lucky we saw the sunset the other night.

Brian’s gone for a ride instead. Goodness knows when he’ll be back.

Tomorrow we are going into town to the Qantas Museum. It’s here we think/hope that the memorial to Ron Reyne is located.

Nothing else to report today.

Back into town today to have a ride around the waterfront and to check out the Qantas Museum.

Got the bikes out of the car, only to realise that I’d left the key to mine back at the van. That was certainly a ‘blonde’ moment . Brian went for a ride around while I people watched for a while.

Walked to the Waterfront Precinct and watched the Wave Pool again. This time we actually saw the waves, which I’m sure would have been great if you were in there.

Decided to treat ourselves to a Senior lunch at the Tavern which was very nice. We then headed towards the Qantas Museum. Unfortunately it wasn’t the place we were looking for where Ron & Nancy were recognised for their contributions to the rebuilding of Tom Kruze - the mailman, Leyland truck.

Brian saw it many years ago when he was here with Garv. It’s just disappeared now.

The display was actually quite interesting though.

Brian had this exact motorbike about 25 years ago - he bought it off Lossy Hamilton

My size little car. The hardest part was getting in it.

Home for a bike ride up the road. Brian had to restrain himself from his 20 odd kms to accomodate me. We only went about 5kms. Quick swim then changed to go out for Dinner at Berry Springs, 30kms down the road, \240with some people we met at Coober Pedy. They are staying here for a while and we are leaving, so probably won’t see them again.

Tomorrow we’ll pack up to leave on Wednesday.

21
BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park

Last day here in Darwin, we feel like we need to stay another week to cover what we didn’t get around to seeing. It’s lovely & relaxing & the weather has been fantastic. Only had one really hot & humid day, the rest has been magnificent.

Pamper day today, Brian had a haircut and I had my toenails done. Feels lovely to have nice shirt toenails again. They were getting a bit long. And they are a nice sparkly rose gold instead of my usual red.

Had a swim & now Brian has gone for a last ride before he packs the bikes away. I was supposed to go but I decided it was too warm & Brian goes a lot further when I’m not there.

We’ll pack up a bit tonight but we’ll do the rest in the morning. We have to be out by 10am as they lock you in if you’re any later.

Heading south to Katherine. This is as far north as we can come.

Haircut - $20

Nails - $15

Relaxing after our swim.

22
Riverview Tourist Village, 100 Victoria Hwy, Katherine South NT 0850, Australia

Sad to leave Darwin this morning. We really enjoyed our brief time there and didn’t get to see all that we wanted. So, we have decided to go back next year but for a longer stay. We’ve started to organise next years trip before this one is finished. Instead of going up the middle, we’ll go via the East coast then across to the Stuart Highway via the 3 ways to Darwin. Then home down the middle. More planning to come.

Arrived in Katherine just after lunch. Park is ok but no grass, we have a slab which is good, rather than dirt. Humidity has been high today so after setting up we had a swim. The water was extremely cold but oh so nice.

At 5pm tonight the park put on a bit of a show, a country singer called Graham Rodger. His fame to claim was that he’s written a few songs for Slim Dusty over the years. He was actually not too bad. Brian bought a CD from him. Usually the CD’s you buy aren’t all that good so we’ll see what it’s like when we leave Friday.

Graham Rodger \240playing his music.

Brian finally had his lamb chops tonight so he was a happy camper.

Riverview Tourist Park. \240- \240$85.50. 2 nights.

23
Riverview Tourist Village

Katherine Gorge.

Went on a Gorge cruise down the river this afternoon and it was very good. Unfortunately we had lots of cloud cover so didn’t get to see the sun shining of the sides of the gorge but the bonus was we didn’t have the sun shining down on us. ( the temp was still 35 degrees )

Did the first gorge, then disembarked to walk about 400 metres to another boat to do the second gorge. Apparently there are 9 gorges but only two are accessible during this time of the year. To see the whole 9, you have to go up in a chopper.

Katherine Gorge

Boat had about 60 odd people on board and they do at least 4 of these each day. Not a bad money spinner.

As we were walking down to the boat ramp we couldn’t believe the amount of Fruit Bats (flying foxes) that were in the trees. The footpath was covered in their waste and the smell was pretty offensive.

The bats ‘resting’ in the trees. This was one tree, there were lots and lots of them, all with bats in them.

Full contingent on the boat.

Going from the first gorge to the second.

A bit of aboriginal art, couldn’t get a very good photo due to the angle and trees in the way

The deepest part of the gorge - estimated about 40 metres deep.

Showing the sheer cliff edges. Photos don’t do it justice. It’s amazing what water can do to rocks. A lot of them look like a chainsaw has cut neat little cubes here & there.

During a normal wet season the water goes up to half way of the first bigger cave. When they have a super flood the water goes as high as the top smaller cave. Amazing how much water can flow through there.

Coming back to the ramp at the end there were a lot of bats flying around, unusual as they normally don’t fly during the day. There is a sea eagle around who loves to eat the bats, so they fly away from it when it’s around.

The cage that they catch the saltwater crocs in when they manage to find themselves in the gorge. They relocate the crocs to farms for breeding purposes.

Back to the park, I’ve done a bit of cooking to use up fruit & veges etc as we go through quarantine on Sat. The fridge is nice and full so I won’t have to cook much the next couple of nights.

A beautiful day lily not far from our van.

Thus poor bat had been attacked by a magpie and had fallen out of its tree and got tangled in the sign. Fortunately the staff \240released it and it was on its way again.

Nitmiluk Gorge Tour. - $198

Fuel - $103

24
TIMBER CREEK HOTEL / FOGARTY'S STORE / CIRCLE F CARAVAN PARK

Left early from Katherine as we couldn’t book at Timber Creek, it’s whoever gets there first gets in. Arrived here about lunchtime and had no worries getting a site. They were still coming in at 5pm tonight. There are about 70 vans here tonight and guess where 95% of them are going tomorrow- that’s right - Lake Argyle.

It looks like we are unlikely to get into Lake Argyle as they are completely booked every night and people are queuing for hours to get in. If we were able to get there about 7am we might have a chance but we are not willing to travel in the dark as there is far too much wildlife on the roads at night to risk it.

Rang a few parks at Kununurra to see if we could go there ( we are booked in there Monday) but they are also completely booked out. So at this stage we’ll leave at 7am when the sun comes up, \240travel 250kms, \240go through Quarantine - which is reported to take 1.5 hours & wait in a queue to see if we can get in. If we can’t we’ll free camp somewhere. School holidays have just started here which makes the situation worse.

Driving today we saw lots of different scenery, we felt like we were in a crater of mountains for lots of the time.

Didn’t do much this afternoon, there’s not much to do here. Had a walk around, had a drink & a chat with some people we’d met in Katherine, then dinner and an early night.

All lined up

Magnificent Boab tree in the park.

Timber Creek, home if many ‘freshies’. We didn’t see any but they are there apparently.

Today was very much cooler, only got to about 24 degrees. Very overcast and we had a few spots of rain. Almost had to put a jumper on!!!

Timber Creek Park - $35

25
TIMBER CREEK HOTEL / FOGARTY'S STORE / CIRCLE F CARAVAN PARK

Today we set a record, we left one camp to go to another while it was still dark. First time ever and hopefully the last.

We had to get from Timber Creek to Lake Argyle very early if we had any hope of obtaining a site. Up at 5.45am (NT time), left by 6.30am.

After driving for about 50 kms I had a sudden thought that I had left my stool behind. I couldn’t for the life of me remember putting it in the van when I locked the door. Asked Brian to stop so I could check but he wouldn’t. ( he knew all the time I had put it in as he had checked around the van before we’d left). So I stressed for the next 150kms until we got to the border & had to stop for our G2G checks & Quarantine. I was very relieved to open the caravan door to find them there. Just as well because when we set up it was on quite a slope and I would never had been able to get in the door without them

As it was, we had to put both lots of steps there for me to get in. I have to be very careful getting in & out. Brian’s worried I’ll break my leg or arm or something!!!

Arrived at Lake Argyle at 8am (WA time, 9.30 NT time) so thought we’d have a good chance to get in easily. How wrong we were. We were number 60 in the queue. They took our particulars & said they’d ring us in a couple of hours. They finally rang at just after 1pm. We had given up getting in & resigned ourselves to staying across the road in the parking bay and trying tomorrow.

I think we were nearly the last van to get in. We didn’t care what site we had, just that we were able to get in here. The site we have is pretty good except for the slope, but we are here.

By the way, we had no trouble at the border, everything was in order, both with the passes & quarantine.

Brian, as usual got his bike of & toured the park. His normal practice. I strolled around & looked at the pool area etc.

The infinity pool, haven’t been in it yet as it was a bit cool here today. Hopefully tomorrow will be warmer.

View from the park

Lots of choppers offering rides. I think it’s something like $150 each for 15 mins. We’ll give this one a miss

At 4.30pm there was a young singer, Steve Case performing near the pool so went for a listen. He was good.

After we had dinner we walked down to the bar area where he was performing again. He had the whole crowd entertained. Might even buy a CD tomorrow.

Chef Brian cooking sausages

A sea plane came into land at one stage during Steve’s performance

Us waiting for 5 hours in a queue. This was only a small amount of the vans waiting.

Brian couldn’t resist the backpackers. He took this photo.!!!!

Lake Argyle Tourist Park \240- $75

26
Lake Argyle Resort

Had a lovely Sunday sleepin. Even better as we are 2 hours behind Victoria, so it was still early when \240we got up.

Took a drive out to the dam wall. It’s a magnificent structure, the waters of Lake Argyle were beautiful blue and calm.

The dam wall

Lake Argyle

Showing both sides of the wall

The outlet valves going into the Ord River were in full stream this morning

The Ord River

How the wall was formed

We bought a video about how the lake was made so we are looking forward to seeing that when we have some power.

After the dam we went to the Durack Homestead. This homestead was actually relocated when the lake was made as it was in its path. Great exhibition of early Australia and the struggles they had back then .

It’s been a bit modernised with the new tin roof.

Great looking fence,

The family grave yard.

Back to the van, a bit of lunch & now a rest before we tackle this very cold pool. It’s quite mild here today so I think the pool is going to be extra cold. Brian has hurt his shoulder again so I’m making him rest it to try and ease the pain a bit.

Video - Lake Argyle. \240- $22

Steve Case DVD - $25

27
Discovery Parks - Lake Kununurra, Lakeview Dr, Kununurra WA 6743, Australia

Took our time this morning packing up which was a change. Normally we’re up early and get going as quick as we can but today we only had 80kms to travel so there was no rush.

Arrived at Kununurra to be pleasantly surprised by the town. We both thought it would be a smaller, older place but it’s actually a very pretty little place.

Booked in for 4 nights, it is one of the most expensive parks we’ve stayed at - $60 a night.

Hit the supermarket to stock up on fruit & veges. Haven’t had any for the last couple of days since going through quarantine so it will be good to have some fruit etc.

Our site is a lakeside one so tonight we ventured over to the lakes edge along with heaps of others for a pre dinner drink. Had a chat to a few & realised one couple , Les & Wendy, who live in Bendigo, are doing the Horizontal Falls on the same day as us.

We thank our lucky stars that we came across the border on Saturday as we don’t think we would have been allowed if it was any later. WA has shut its borders to all from NT. We seem to be keeping just ahead of all the trouble, hope it stays that way. Although I wouldn’t have minded being stuck at Lake Argyle

Early night tonight, we are still getting used to the 1.5 hour time change. The next two days are going to be busy for us with our Triple JJJ tours.

The view in front of our van

Happy hour

Vans are packed in pretty tight here.

This is the boat we’ll be on tomorrow.

Discovery Tourist Park \240$240. - 4 nights

Supermarket $98. \240 (Prices are very expensive here)

Thirsty Camel - $70. ( yes, more alcohol)

28
Discovery Parks - Lake Kununurra

Today we went on our Ord River Cruise. It was fantastic to be on the different waterways and Dylan, our captain & guide was extremely informative. The boat had 2 x \240350 horsepower \240Honda motors which certainly had a lot of grunt. We learnt lots about the Ord River Scheme & the making of the dam at Lake Argyle. We saw lots of different birds, from Kites, Kettles?, Sea Eagles, Jesus Birds( so named because they actually walk on water), pelicans & lots more that I can’t remember the names off.

Stopped in the middle of nowhere for afternoon tea. Brian had pumpkin scones with jam & cream, carrot muffins & fresh paw paw. They catered well for me with a couple of g/f muffins & paw paw.

We went 55kms down the river, which is a long way on the water. Took us 4 hours to get to Lake Argyle but only about 1.5 hours to get back. Dylan treated us to some fine driving of the boat - wizzing around bends at high speed. We were all enthralled. There was 48 of us on the boat.

Highky imformative tour which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Back at the park we had happy hour & another chat with our new friends from Bendigo. I think we’ll keep in touch with these two, we seem to have lots in common.

Dylan giving us our little lesson on the Ord River Scheme.

Going down a subsidiary creek, note all the water Lily’s. This is where the Jesus birds live. They walk all over the Lily’s. And a bird, can’t remember it’s name, photoshopped my photo.

A crevice that had been formed by a waterfall over many million years.

Cruising down another creek. It was so peaceful

Saw a few ‘freshies’ sun baking on the banks

Our afternoon tea stop in the middle of who knows where. Was very well set up

Dylan preparing afternoon tea.

Our boat load, all 48 of us.

Those twin outboard motors

In front of the dam wall at Lake Argyle. The hair style was courtesy of

Sunset

And it’s gone.

This rock is called Elephant Rock, can you guess why

Dropping us back at the park

29
Discovery Parks - Lake Kununurra, Lakeview Dr, Kununurra WA 6743, Australia

Today we did the second part of our Triple J Tour - the seaplane flight over the Bungle Bungles, Lake Argyle & The Argyle Diamond Mine.

We were picked up by bus at 8am and taken to the seaplane.

Strang looking planes, aren’t they.

Taking of was really quite different to a normal plane. Up in the air it was amazing to see the agricultural area where the production of mango crops & sandalwood were very prevalent

Vast amount of mango trees, unfortunately it’s not mango season yet so there are none around.

Sandalwood trees.

We left behind the farming area & headed toward Lake Argyle. What took us 4 hours yesterday in the boat took us 15 mins this morning. We passed over 2 stations. Both were covering enormous ground. How they find their stock is unimaginable. The ground looked like it was very arid with a lot of \240dry creeks. \240During the wet season they run very freely. They obviously have means to conserve the water.

Extremely mountainous terrain in lots of places.

And then we arrived at Lake Argyle. From the ground you think, yes the lake is big but from the air it’s enormous. You just couldn’t imagine the quantity of water in this water system. The pilot was telling us that there is the equivalent of the volume of Sydney Harbour going into the lake each day during the wet season. Obviously the level of the lake increases, as you can see from the photo

See the water line, doesn’t look like it rises much, but that would be a huge volume if water.

We cruised over the caravan park that we stayed at

You can just see the infinity pool

Then we headed to the Bungle Bungles. These are a amagnificent rock formation resembling striped honey pots, caused by wind mostly. The whole area was heaps bigger than we imagined. Truly beautiful area

You can see the striped areas and the bee hive effect.

One of the many ravinesaround the area.

Gives you a small idea of the area they cover.

Flew then over the the Argyle Diamond Mine. It’s not operational any more but there was some activity going on. They produced the largest amount of pink diamonds in the world when it was operational. Pink diamonds are very expensive so we won’t go looking at any of those, unfortunately.

Immense amount of tiers, looks great from the air.

Flew over Crocodile Rock, wonder why it’s called that?

Time for morning tea on our own uninhabited island in the middle of Lake Argyle. We had a welcoming committee when we flew in.

Morning tea stop

Hello there all you people. This is my island, not yours. We had to shoo him away before we could get out of the plane

Good shot of the seaplane.

Here we are with our life jackets firmly secured around our waists. Morning tea was a bit disappointing for me. All I got was a g/f protein ball (not all that nice either) while the rest got Choc Brownies & Mango Cake. Not as good as yesterday’s.

Homeward bound now, flew back to base.

Once we were bused back to the park we decided to go to The Pumphouse next door for lunch. Very delicious mixed with a couple of glasses of bubbly.

This was a working pump house until they put in the Diversion Dam. Some enterprising person changed it into a restaurant. The original motors are still there in case one day they have to start her up again.

Back to the van for a little nanny nap, then down to Happy Hour. This holidaying is quite exhausting.

30
Discovery Parks - Lake Kununurra, Lakeview Dr, Kununurra WA 6743, Australia

Had a bit of a slower start today. We’ve been pretty busy the last few days so it was nice to rest up a bit.

Went out to Ivanhoe Crossing to do the iconic drive over the bridge covered with water. It was actually a fair bit deeper than we thought. Didn’t see any crocs though.

Water was running very fast

The signs either side of the crossing

Crossing over. I took a video but this app doesn’t allow me to put that on. It gave a much better view of the car.

Home for lunch, which was actually last nights dinner.

Onto the Sandalwood factory where we watched a very informative video on the making of the oil. I didn’t realise that they harvest the wood, chop it up into wood chips, boil the hell out of those wood chips & that creates the oil.

Bought some products - some essential oil, cream for Brian’s heat rash on his forehead that doesn’t seem to want to go away & some deodorant.

Next was the Hoochery. This is a Gin distillery that has other liqueurs as well. Nicely set up as a function for events.

We tried a paddle of 3 drinks, which cost us $12. We tried a Gin, a Whiskey & an Aniseed liqueur. The gin tasted just like Gin. The whiskey was lovely & smooth & the liqueur, I thought was great as I love aniseed, don’t think Brian was all that keen on that one.

Each bottle was at least $80 plus so we decided to give them a miss.

Back to the van for a little rest, the over to Happy Hour. Tonight the park put on Pulled Pork & Salad Sliders for $5 each. I couldn’t have them as the pork was cooked in gravy that wasn’t g/f - I even had a roll out of the freezer in case I could. They smelt terrific & Brian enjoyed his.

2 lots of us are leaving tomorrow so we had a farewell with the others. We’ve really enjoyed meeting lots here at Kununurra and again we could have stayed longer.

Back at the van, packed up a bit to head of early tomorrow

Notice how much we got for our $12!!!!

Part of our Happy Hour Group

The beautiful lab is Elly May. Every night we commandeered this beautiful slab of rock called Crocs Rock. Dave, Judy & Elly May always got there early to save the spot for us. (Elly looks sad there but she’s normally very happy)

These were the two videos but they don’t seem to work here.

Video 2, still can’t get it to run.

31
Spring Creek Rest stop and free camping area, National Highway 1, Ord River WA 6770, Australia

We were sorry to leave Kununurra, it was a town that totally surprised us. We expected not much but received a lot from this place in the middle of nowhere. Met some great people, some of them we will catch up with down the track a bit.

Easy 250 kms to Spring Creek Rest Stop today. Got here about 11.30am to find about 5 vans already here. By tonight there was 20 in this section. Don’t know how many were in the top part of the rest area.

Met up with 4 families with kids. They were all parked around us. It was great to interact with all the kids, assuming our grandparent roles again. We’ve been missing all you kids. \240A fire was lit in the fireplace & everyone contributed some wood. We all had a very pleasant evening, nothing like a good fire to get everyone talking.

One if the little girls, Emma, has been making bookmarks & very kindly gave us a couple.

Getting the fire going

Different coloured flames, due to a packet of something one of the guys threw in.

All parked up

Spring Creek just down from us. Unfortunately it was a haven for mossies, so I stayed clear.

A Bowerbirds courting nest we spied in the bushes.

Steve, one of the guys, strung up a swing for his little girl - Klohe. She had no fear when he swung her very high.

The little teardrop van next to us in Kununurra. It was a really cute van but I’d rather our big van any day.

32
Mary Pool

Another free camp tonight, Mary Pool. We are enjoying the freedom that free camping gives us - able to have a fire, people seem to be friendlier etc

Arrived here about 11am, not too many about. Found a nice shady spot. Within an hour they all started to roll in, tonight there are about 100 vans here.

A couple just down from us, Inneke & Gary cane up for a chat. They had been collecting wood for a fire and invited us back for a fire tonight. Gary us a newbie at caravanning and asked Brian to give him a hand with a couple of things that he was a bit unsure off. Of course Brian was in his element helping him.

Had a great night chatting, they come from Adelaide and had lots of similar interests.

Tomorrow we have another free camp before we arrive in Derby on Monday.

Inneke & Gary from Adelaide.

33
National Highway 1, Mount Hardman WA 6765, Australia

Another free camp tonight at Lake Ellendale. There are 2 camps at Ellendale, the first one is a rest area. We called in there & quickly left as it was very crowded and quite a small area. And very smelly, from overcrowded bins & a smelly toilet. We took a risk & went onto the second one hoping that it would be better. This one is actually on a \240private property who allow campers to stop at for no cost as long as they are fully self sufficient. It is on a small lake and is a great camp. There is no signage to go into it & we actually went past it. Lucky for WikiCamps, otherwise we wouldn’t have known where to go. Glad we left the other one to come here, so much better.

Set up, Brian had been having withdrawal symptoms from not riding his bike, so that came of the car and he rode around chatting to lots of people.

We both went for a walk to check out the area.

Lit a fire, it was actually nice to be on our own tonight.

We bought some local barramundi from Kununurra and had that tonight with a nice lemon sauce. On of the nicest fish we’ve tasted.

Fuel - Fitzroy Crossing. -$204.00

Groceries - $60

Great little camp site here with no one really close to us. Good views of the little lake

Not a bad spot

A boab tree we found on our walk in the bush, unusual that it had leaves on it at this time of the year

Love having a fire while free camping. When we stay at parks we usually can’t have a fire so we take advantage while we free camp.

Tomorrow we go to Derby to get ready for our Horizontal Falls experience.

34
Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park

Yesterday Brian, on his travels on the bike around the lake befriended two girls who are riding their e-bikes around Australia. They call themselves ‘2sheilasonabike’ on Facebook. He arranged for them to stop at our van on their way out and he’d ride with them for a bit. He ended up riding 5kms on the highway with them before he thought he’d better turn around and come back to me. He got quite a few strange looks from passing traffic - he was riding in the middle of nowhere in shorts & sandals with no gear with him.

They had trailers on the back of their bikes, one had a huge solar panel that charged extra batteries so they didn’t run out of power. On those trailers they had all their gear, tents, bedding, food etc. \240They have been travelling for 12 months and travelled in excess of 10,000 kms. Not a bad effort.

We finally set off & arrived at Derby about 11.30am. Had my first disagreement with the reception lady. Yesterday we thought we might go to Derby instead of another free camp & rang the park to see if we could get in a day earlier.

The guy I spoke to said that they would ring me if we couldn’t get in but soon after we spoke we lost service. When we did get a little bit of service I rang again & the guy said they weren’t taking any more bookings. As we hadn’t heard from them we decided to free camp, rather than get here with no booking. Unbeknown to us they had booked us in, so when we got here today she told me I had to pay for last night. In a very calm voice I explained that there was a lack of communication between us at which she at first told me that it wasn’t her problem. After a few more words she reluctantly agreed to refund the booking for last night. Don’t think I’ll go back to reception while we are here - don’t think she likes me much.

After we set up we went for a little drive around town. Didn’t take long as there isn’t too much here. \240Went for a walk along the jetty, water was very murky and lots of mud everywhere - the tide was going out. Apparently they have king tides here so we’ll go back in the morning to see where the water is.

The water coverss all that mud during high tide

That’s lots of gluggy smelly mud there

Beautiful poles under the jetty

Brian leaving with the girls.

Had some visitors this morning, this calf was a bit tired and needed a rest

Mum was watching closely

Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park. - \240$154

IGA - $58. (Slab of beer for Brian)

35
Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park

Rest day today. Changed the bed, washed towels & general housework ( which takes very little time compared to home).

Brian had a ride back to the jetty & around town, then we went out to see the Prison Boab tree. Amazing how they could fit prisoners in the inner part of this tree.

Drove around but there is really not very much to see or do at this place.

Had lunch, a bit of a rest, then some friends we met at Kununurra arrived ,so we started happy hour early. These people live in Bendigo.

Tomorrow is the Horizontal Falls tour.

36
Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park

Horizontal Falls - wow, what can we say about this amazing trip. From the start to the finish the tour was highly enjoyable.

We were picked up from the caravan park at 8am by bus (our driver was a bit shonky looking, we were hoping he wasn’t the pilot). Friends from Bendigo, Les & Wendy were also on the same tour.

Arrived at the airport to have our safety presentation & to be told which seaplane we were on. 5 seaplanes we’re heading to the Horizontal Falls today.

Took off on a normal runway & 30 mins later we were there. Great photos of the falls from the air.

Great view from the air

Our seaplanes lined up ready to go.

You can see the swell of the tides clearly from above.

As soon as we got onto the ‘floating hotel’ we were given a cuppa and a little chat, then we’re were loaded into the jet boats. Unfortunately we couldn’t get near the front as everyone was trying hard to get there & we were too slow.

Off we went, 1200 horsepower powering this boat. It just flew.

Going through the falls was exhilarating, it’s hard to describe the feeling. We went through both gaps, the second one considerably narrower than the first. At this stage the tide was going out . After several rides back & forth, those boat captains must really love their jobs, we went back to the big boat to have a swim with the sharks.

Even I was game enough to do this - the sharks were in a different cage than us though, so it was very pleasant to have a cool down.

Brian having a bit of a dip. I’d got out by this stage. The sharks are in the cage to the left.

The sharks floating around waiting for their barramundi scraps.

This one was having a bit of a laugh at us.

Onto the jet boats again and another few rides in the falls. After that we went down Cyclone Creek for a cruise and a bit of a discussion on the environment. We looked for the resident croc but he was hiding today. Our driver & guide on this section was a gorgeous dark skinned young girl. She was very informative, we couldn’t work out what nationality she was. She handled the boat pretty well though.

Back to the boat for lunch - fantastic meal of barramundi & salads. I had mine personally delivered to me - the others had to go & get it themselves. Beautiful meal.

After lunch we had another go in the jet boats, this time the tide was turning. It was amazing to see the water ‘turn around’

Hard to see but there were quite a few eddies in the water.

Hard to capture on a photo but one side was actually quite a bit higher than the other side.

Had to do a bit of a selfie, note the hair is a wee bit wind blown.

Back at the big boat we were hustled to the seaplane area to take off agin to go home.

This is a very well tuned industry, they were juggling planes, boats, people and meals all day. When one area was finished another group took our place. They said they put up to 260 people through a day, as incredible as it sounds, which we estimated to be close to a million a day. Not bad - but they would have a lot of expenses.

Flight home was good, we went over a barramundi farm

They breed the barramundi in these tanks, then we went mainly over the sea until we got back to Derby

Tide was out so notice all the mud flats.

Back at the park, we went to have a look at the information centre with Les \240& Wendy and bought a couple of things.

Went down to the jetty to watch the sunset which was really lovely

Happy hour time at their van that ended up about 9.30 pm. Just as well we had a good lunch as we didn’t have any tea, only nibbles. ( which was enough)

Tomorrow we are off to Broome.

The start of the sunset.

The end.

I think I’m shrinking or else Brian has got a bit taller!!!

37
Cable Beach Caravan Park

Left Derby, which we were quite happy about. It’s not a great place to stay for any length of time

Arrived at Broome about 11.30am. Got our site which was extremely difficult to get in but Brian did a great job. The roads her are very narrow but we managed to jiggle the van in. Nice looking caravan park, lots of shade and fairly big sites. Feeling a bit ordinary today so had a bit of a rest. When I woke up Brian had again disappeared on his bike, but he sees a lot more than I do. My bike is coming out of the car tomorrow and I’ll have a bit of a ride around.

Went to the town market for a look, looked good but nothing g/f there, so we headed of to the supermarket to get some salad & veges \240& came home to cook some tea.

Have to go back to Woolies tomorrow as I wasn’t in the mood to shop and only got some basics.

Didn’t have any photos tonight so took one of Brian outside the van

This park is a very noisy park, everyone seems to be having a rip roaring time. Plus it is school holidays so there are kids running around everywhere, even at 8.30 pm.

Cable Beach Caravan Park. - \240$504. - 8 days.

Coles - $66

38
Cable Beach Caravan Park

Had a later start today, it was nice to know we didn’t have to be anywhere at a certain time. After breakfast we took a drive to Toyoto to check out a funny noise that the Prado has had for a couple of weeks. Of course, when we got there the noise wasn’t there. Just as we were leaving it happened again & has been diagnosed as a ‘starting to wear out bottom idling pulley’. At the moment it won’t cause any problems but it will eventually get worse, so we will have to get it fixed. They can’t do it here for 2 weeks so we’ll try in Perth.

Had to finish our shopping in Woolies we didn’t do last night - we have never seen a supermarket so busy. All the trolleys had been used. So this took 3 times longer than it should have. Then a visit to the chemist which again took some time. By the time we got home it was about 2pm. Had a late lunch, a swim in the pool - which was extremely cold but refreshing, then a bike ride down to the beach. I had forgotten it was Friday night so there were cars & people everywhere. I’m not really keen to ride around a lot of traffic. Had a drink at Zander’s to check it out for lunch tomorrow with Les and Wendy. Very nice, lovely view over the beach but pretty pricey.

Came home to prepare tea and what do you know, Brian had disappeared again. He’d gone for another ride without me to look after.

Bit cooler tonight.

Our first sighting of Cable Beach

39
Cable Beach Caravan Park

Woke early so decided to go for a ride down to the beach. At least the traffic was very light compared to last night. Parked up the bikes and walked down onto the sand then realised the sand was really hard so went back to retrieve them and ride on the beach. All was going well until the sand suddenly went from compact to quite soft. I wasn’t quick enough to ride out of it and down I went!!!

Lucky it was a soft landing. Brian had to remove the bike off me and help me up. Decided to go in the other direction to see if it was any harder, which it was. The camels were getting organised to take their tour so watched them for a while. Decided that $80 per person for 50 mins was a bit over the top so we won’t be riding them, not that I had any desire to do so.

Continued on, the sand was great so we went for about 3 kms and then suddenly my battery started to give up. It shouldn’t have as I thought I had plenty of puff but the sand must have taken a fair bit out of it. So I turned around and hoped I’d at least get back to the road where we went up. As we were riding along there was a man coming towards us that I thought looked a bit odd. His bathers seemed to be the same colour as his skin but it was only as I got closer that I realised that he actually had no bathers on at all.

We hadn’t realised that we were in the nudist bit of the beach. It wasn’t a very nice sight so I was pleased that my bike didn’t give up just then. Managed to get back nearly to the road, the Brian had to take it off me and cart it up the hill

Not easy to ride 2 bikes.

Zander’s restaurant.

This was taken before the battery gave up. My bike looks like a baby compared to Brian’s.

Brian testing the temperature

Les and Wendy from Eaglehawk.

After we parted with the others Brian decided to go for another ride down to the beach while I did a few chores. Wore his bathers to go for a swim, I thought he was mad as it got a bit overcast and cool this afternoon. He was gone for ages and as well as a swim, he rode about 5 kms looking at all the cars having tea on the beach. He estimated to be around 200 cars down there all having tea. One lot even had a fire going, not sure that’s allowed.

We’ll do that in a couple of nights when it’s not quite so busy, although it’s amazing just how many people are around here.

The camels getting ready for their very slow stroll. This one this morning was for 40 mins but I don’t think they got far as the camels certainly don’t rush.

40
Cable Beach Caravan Park

Started off the day with another ride on the beach. This time we went a bit further as my bike was fully charged.

Brian saw another nudie but I missed this one, not sure whether I was happy or not about that.

Back to the van I did a few chores and organised some things to put in the freezer for next week plus cooked a piece of corned beef for cold meat. Brian went on another ride - he ended up riding about 25 kms. I also went around to see Faye’s friend Wendy and had a bit of a chat with her & Fred.

After lunch we went next door to the Tauranga Caravan Park to visit some people that we met on our last trip over here 3 years ago. Had a pleasant couple of hours with them

While we were there a lady came around selling frozen mango cheeks. We bought a container so can’t wait to try them. It’s not Mango season here, we were disappointed to miss out on them. This will make up for it.

Quieter day today, tomorrow will be a busy one.

Roebuck Bay

41
Cable Beach Caravan Park

Brian was good this morning and and got up to go for a ride - I reneged and stayed in bed. Went into town to do a few jobs. The light in the ensuite had blown a globe so we found a camping shop that sold LED replacements.

Visited the Roebuck Bay Lookout, the structure had \240been designed by students and was a very clever architectural design

The pattern on the floor is from the design on the ceiling and caused from the sun shining through. It was a very spectacular design.

We then went to Matso’s Brewery. Unfortunately we had not allowed for all the crowds here and it was totally booked out. We couldn’t even have a tasting at the bar. We’ll try and get back there before we leave.

We had seen a pub in town called the Roebuck Pub, so we decided to lunch there. We went into the main pub, which was very basic and ordered a Grilled Chicken Burger each

This place is generally called The Roey and is well known in Broome. We thought it was a bit strange that not many were around until we walked about 50 metres down the road and passed the Roey Pearl Bar, that’s where everyone was dining. The meal we had wasn’t too bad though.

After lunch we had a look at the Port, then went out to Gantheaume Point which is at the end of Cable Beach.

We can see it in the distance from our part of the beach.

Lots of people around

Home for a bit of a rest, then packed up the Prado with chairs, table & esky and headed down to the beach to watch the sunset. Lots and lots down there doing the same thing.

This was just a small portion

We even managed to get the awning out, for perhaps the 3rd time

Brian went for a swim at 5pm, very brave as it was getting quite cool by then.

Saw the camels wandering past with their load of tourists. Tonight there were 3 lots, all full. At $80 an adult & $50 per child that’s a lot of money

Wandering back

Heading off into the sunset.

Packed up quickly as sunset happened, \240to get of the beach. There is only one exit so it takes some time to get off the sand.

This was only a few cars, another 10 mins and it would have been bedlam.

Cooked a pizza for tea tonight but had to use a wrap as the base as there were no g/f pizza bases available at the supermarket. It didn’t turn out too bad. Useful to know if we get caught again without a base. (and I’m not so good making them from scratch unlike Tom - he’s are great)

Tomorrow we go to Willey’s Pearl Farm .

This is the Roey Pub, pretty rustic lookin

42
Willie Creek Pearl Farm

Willie Creek Pearl Farm

Let the tyres down a bit as we were told the road wasn’t real good going out to the farm. It was only about 40kms but they said to allow an hour to get there.

Road started off good but very soon deteriorated but the mighty Prado handled it very well.

Arrived at the farm with plenty of time to spare before our tour. Had a quick look in the showroom and realised we wouldn’t be buying anything as the pearls were glorious but way too expensive. I was especially taken with the golden or champagne coloured ones.

We started the tour in the Hatchery where our guide, Kim instructed us in the growing process of a Pearl. This farm is a small family business and they do everything by hand which results in a better pearl. It was fascinating to learn about all the different types of pearls and how to care for them. I have several different types of pearls at home, from real pearls which belonged to Brian’s mother to freshwater pearls in necklaces and bracelets. I don’t wear them all that much but after this tour I’ll have to bring them out more. They need to be worn to keep their lustre.

Next we hopped on the boat to go out and inspect the oyster beds. The more advanced oysters are put out here to develop their pearls in a more natural setting.

Our boat driver, can’t remember his name, pulled out one of the sections to show and explain what happens.

The we went for a little tour up Willie Creek, we were on a tour that was at high tide, so we could get up there for a fair way.

When we got back we had a bit of morning tea. I was given a seperate one as I couldn’t eat the damper that the others had. After that we had another little lecture, this time Kim opened an oyster to pull out the pearl. The pearl was later valued at about $2500 and a couple of small ones were worth about $20 each.

This is the ones Kim took out. It’s amazing that the oyster can produce something so beautiful.

Kim also passed around a couple of other pearls for us to look at.

This one is worth about $10,000

This one valued at about $20,000. Well over our budget.

They retrieved one a couple of weeks ago that was valued at $150,000. We actually saw it later on the showroom. I held onto it for a very brief time but very quickly returned it to the salesperson.

Lunch was next, we ordered a seafood plate each. We met up with Ineke & Gary who we had met previously and had lunch together. Nice glass of wine, included in the lunch price, complimented the dish. My g/f version was as nice as the others.

We sat chatting for a while until we were the only ones left so thought we’d better get going.

Back home Brian pumped up the tyres again using our new little compressor. It worked very well and didn’t take very long at all.

Yesterday Brian had bought a mirror for his bike and put it on this afternoon. It was a little challenging but he managed ok. He’ll test it out in the morning.

Beautiful pond of goldfish at the farm

A copy of their resident croc. We didn’t see him today as it was high tide and he would have been hiding in the reeds somewhere.

Willie Creek Farm Tour - $190. \240 (Including lunch)

43
Cable Beach Caravan Park

Had a haircut today with ‘scissors on the run’ - Fran & Alan. These are the people that we met at Woomera ages ago. They are travelling around and do the odd cut for people that know of them. They don’t advertise but get plenty of jobs. Fran cut my hair beautifully. Lately I’ve developed a bit of a kink and she’s cut it to enhance that. Very pleased with it. I’ll see what happens when I wash it tomorrow.

Went into town to have another go at Matso’s Brewery. Managed to get a tasting paddle for Brian & a Ginger Beer for me

Forgot to take a before photo but this was at the end. Didn’t enjoy it much, did we.

Brian enjoyed the Ginger Beer and the Honey Lemon beer the best. We ended up buy a 6 pack of the ginger beer to add to our collection of ciders and wine

Fueled up again to go on Friday. Tried to go to the Museum but it was crowded so gave that a miss. We’ll try that again tomorrow morning. The crowds in this place are incredible. You can’t go anywhere without heaps and heaps of people. It’s getting to the point where you just can’t get into places.

Decided we’d go back to Zander’s to have another seafood platter for lunch. Was very delicious. Realised when we were half way through it that we are having fish and salad for tea tonight. Ah well, we’ll certainly get in our Omega 3 today. The fish is courtesy of our nearly neighbours.

After lunch Brian went back to the beach for a swim but I opted to go to the pool. I’m not keen on the sea water. The pool water here is freezing but also very refreshing on a hot day.

44
Cable Beach Caravan Park

Last day here today. As we are most likely to be without power for the next 6 days we had to to a few chores, washing & cleaning etc, to get us through.

We had to go and get a few veges from the supermarket, it was still as busy as it was the other day. They have opened the NT/WA border now so more people are filtering through.

Posted the kids cards for the upcoming birthdays - Sophie & Dion.

Brian had a last ride down to the beach while I finished my chores. Gary up the road asked us to go down for a drink and some mud crab. Brian was very excited about the crab, me less so.

After tea we packed up as we have an early start tomorrow

Our little home here at Broome. We had a pretty good site, we were even able to get TV when many around us couldn’t because of the trees. There are trees like this all through the park, it’s lovely and shady everywhere.

45
Barn Hill Beach Side Station Stay

Goodbye Broome, we really enjoyed our stay there and wish it could have been much longer. We now understand why John & Faye came here for many years for 3 months at a time. We could easily do the same.

Left early, again, as we were told if we didn’t get to Barn Hill by 9am we wouldn’t get in. Getting a bit sick of all these caravaners, wish it was like it was 3 years ago with no hassle getting in places. It’s just so congested every where you go.

Arrived at Barn Hill Station Stay at about 8.45am and easily got a powered site. The difference between unpowered and powered was only $7 so we opted for power and water. The water pressure is fairly weak and the power is limited but we have a lovely shady spot under nice big trees which the unpowered sites haven’t got. Today has been very windy, probably the first day in 2 months that we’ve had so much wind. We are also finding that the weather is now starting to cool considerably, especially late afternoon and night.

Met up with Ineke & Gary again, Brian helped him back in as he’s a newbie and has trouble when trees are \240involved. Did it easily much to Ineke’s delight.

Went for a walk on the beach, it is a glorious stretch of sand and ocean. The varying colours were really interesting to look at. Didn’t go too far today but tomorrow we’ll go for a longer walk.

Had a chat with another couple who had tried to get into Eighty Mile Beach yesterday, which is where we were going tomorrow. After driving on a badly corrugated road for 13 kms they were turned away as the park is over full and they are not letting anyone else in. So we had to have a change of plans. We’ll stay here another night and head straight to Port Hedland. We’ll probably free camp just before there as it’s a 500 km trip and will be hard to find somewhere to stay in Port Hedland. That way we can go in early the next day and stay one night.

Had happy 3 hours with Ineke & Gary then home to cook tea. No TV so \240into bed early to read our books. Plus it’s chilly.

I was sitting outside reading this afternoon and I had a few visitors.

Good to have a bit of a sleep in, it’s nice when we don’t have to get up to hrpead of early.

Bacon & eggs for breakfast, then a walk on the beach. The beach here is very different to what we have seen before. The colours of the sand , sea and rocks are quite remarkable

46
Barn Hill Beach Side Station Stay

Good to have a bit of a sleep in, it’s nice when we don’t have to get up to head of early.

Bacon & eggs for breakfast, then a walk on the beach. The beach here is very different to what we have seen before. The colours of the sand , sea and rocks are quite remarkable

Really different types of rocks along the beach line. This was at low tide. High tide, the water laps these rock formations

See the difference between the red rock face and the white sand. Quite a contrast.

Had a long walk along the beach, came across a rock pool to cool off our feet

Home for lunch and a rest, then got ourselves organised to go back to the beach for a sunset viewing with Gary & Ineke. Took a bottle of wine and some nibbles with us to watch the beautiful sunset happen

The start

Nearly there - remarkable photo

All gone

Back at the vans, we were supposed to go to listen to a singer at the reception area, but realised that we could hear it very clearly from the van so we stayed put.

Had a few more drinks and before we knew it, it was 9pm and still no dinner. About to go and cook something when the neighbours arrived with a nibbly platter so we stayed \240for a bit longer. As a result we ended up having toast and corn beef for tea.

Barn Hill has been very nice - nice and relaxing, haven’t needed to do much, had wonderful walks on the beach, spent great times with new friends. Probably could have spent another couple of days here. Tomorrow we head of towards Port Hedland.

The singer tonight, don’t know what her name is but she was pretty good. Quite a few people down there listening

‘Two brothers from a different mother’, Gary & Brian have been asked a couple of times if they were brothers!!!

Ineke against the backdrop of the beautiful Indian Ocean

Bobcat at work in the park , Brian was very interested to watch the lady driver work it.

The reception area was a little different to most.

The bowling green which is very popular amongst all the grey nomads

The toilets were a little quirky, open air - thankfully we had no rain.

Each site had a name, ours was House Cow

Our site, lots of red dust around here, but beautiful \240and shady.

Tomorrow we brave the 10kms back out on the dirt and corrugated road to the highway. Another early start to get to our free camp by lunchtime.

47
De Grey River

Left Barn Hill about 8.30 this morning to head toward Port Hedland.

After abandoning Eighty Mile beach camp we also decided not to stay at Port Hedland. Instead we opted to stay at a free camp about 50kms north called the De Grey River Rest Area. That still made today’s trip about 400 kms. Stopped at Sandfire for a break and got to the rest area about 1.30pm. It’s a huge gravelled area so there were plenty of sites available. Followed Michael & Linda in from Barn Hill and set up camp next to each other.

Went for a walk to the bridge (on the main road) to look at the river. Forgot my phone so no photos of it.

The afternoon went very quickly, as it always seems to do here and before we knew it, it was time for tea.

Had a pleasant few hours with the others, it’s amazing the amount of people you keep running into from camp to camp.

Early to bed tonight after our late night last night. At least tonight we actually had tea. It’s getting much cooler in the evenings now. Not looking forward to the cooler weather that we will soon hit. If we can’t go home and are stuck here in WA, we’ll be heading north again very quickly.

Tomorrow we’ll stop in Port Hedland for a few necessities, milk & bread but won’t stop there. We’ll go further on to another free camp.

Our camp here tonight. Michael & Linda are behind us.

48
National Highway 1, Pippingarra WA 6722, Australia

Peawah River Rest Area.

Didn’t have too far to go today so took our time departing our camp. Just as we about to turn onto the highway a wide load truck went past us and we couldn’t get past him all the way to Port Hedland. Just as well we weren’t in a hurry.

As we got closer to Port Hedland we noticed a lot more truck activity, most had 4 trailers on. We thought they’d either be carting iron ore or salt.

Drove into Port Hedland as we had to get a couple of essentials - milk & bread for Brian so had a look around at the port. Saw a huge mound of salt that seemed to be unloading from somewhere into a huge pile with a dozer on the top pushing it up.

Not to much to see and we had the van on so we were restricted to where we could go.

Headed of to our next camp at Peawah River and again hit a heap of wide loads coming to to town.

Fortunately these ones were in a parking bay so we missed them. Arrived about 1pm to our next stop, set up at the back and had a bit of a stroll around. This campsite was quite small and very close to the highway so I think we’ll get a lot of road noise tonight.

Michael & Linda arrived and set up next to us. We all had a quite afternoon and evening. We were going to light a fire but it wasn’t really cold enough so we thought we’d save our little bit of remaining wood for later.

We seem to be going to bed earlier than normal when we free camp, probably because we haven’t got the TV to distract us. We could use it to watch a DVD but so far we haven’t bothered.

49
Discovery Parks - Pilbara, Karratha

We seem to be waking up early, probably due to going to bed early and the 2 hour time difference that our bodies still haven’t really acclimatised too.

Didn’t leave too early as we are staying in a park tonight, even though it’s an unpowered site. If we had got here too \240early we wouldn’t be able to get in.

Stopped at a little place called Whim Creek. It’s so small we went right past it and had to reverse back. All that is there is a little hotel that apparently is quite iconic in these parts.

Unfortunately it closed a year or two ago so looks very broken & unloved now. Looking through the gates up you can see that it had a great outdoor area. Brian suggested we move here and bring it back to life. I won’t repeat my answer to that.!!!

Looking very neglected now

This was all there was on the highway, very easy to miss.

The family graveyard. These were some of the members of the family that ran the pub. These were all ex servicemen. It was very touching to see them all together.

Had a really good run, we only had to go 135kms. Arrived at the park and booked in. We could only get an unpowered site tonight. We were actually supposed to stay 2 nights but decided that it was too far to drive to Exmouth Thursday - about 540kms so cancelled one night here and we’ll do a free camp down the road about 300kms away. Then an easy couple of hundred on Thursday. Unpacked then went for a little look at the town. Everything looks quite neat and tidy and relatively new. It looks like a lot of work has been done here in recent times. Went to Coles to get some avocado’s as I realised Exmouth only have IGA. They are a $1 each in Coles & Woolies so stocked up with 3. Last IGA we went to they were much more than a $1

Drive to the lookout over the beach, tide was way out so didn’t look all that interesting.

Long way to the water

In the distance we could see a flame, must be a gas pipe there or something similar

Went to another lookout over the town. It’s really quite big when you see if from above

These were just the residential areas, the city part was more to the left.

On the way back we saw a sign for a barber so I suggested to Brian he should perhaps have his hair cut while he could.

It cost $30 which I thought was a wee bit extravagant for a No 2 all over. My haircut cost $20 and she at least styled it when I had it done in Broome

Back at the park Brian saw a sign to wash cars, so he dropped me off and hightailed it back to give the Prado a bit of a birthday. It was covered in red dust from going into Barn Hill. So we now have a lovely clean shiny car again. Forgot to take a photo, I’ll take one in the morning.

Put the TV on with the inverter so Brian could watch Outback Truckers but it’s pixelating a fair bit, so I don’t think he’ll get to see much.

As we are going south the weather is changing. Mornings are a bit cool, days are still lovely with temps of 30 degrees but the nights are getting very cool. We’ve only got another couple of weeeks before we hit the real cold. With all the lockdowns going on I think we’ll turn around and go back to Broome for a couple of months. Wouldn’t that be great.

Barber - $30

Coles - $11

Pilbara Discovery Park - $40-50. (Expensive enough for an unpowered site but we do have water. We weren’t supposed to but we hooked into a spare tap next door - have to get something for the $40 )

50
Barradale

We have done a fair bit of free camping over the last few weeks and have been remarking that the lights are a bit duller than normal. Brian has even put out the portable solar panel to assist when we’ve been camping under trees.

Last night the poor battery decided to give up and we were plunged into darkness. We reset the solar regulator but it would only last for a few minutes. Out came the torch and the headlight so we could kind of see what we were doing.

As a result we couldn’t charge anything - my phone had a little bit of battery, Brian’s was flat and for the first time ever my Ipad was completely flat. I felt like my arm had been cut off!!! The phones can be charged in the car but for some reason my IPad won’t. I think it needs a lot of charge and the car doesn’t give it enough.

Rang up a battery fellow this morning to see if he could fit us in to look at it. Fortunately he said to come straight in. The battery was dehydrated ( no water ) and had collapsed. We learnt that it wasn’t really the right type of battery for the van anyway, vans are supposed to have deep cell batteries & this one was a normal battery. We haven’t changed it in the 6 years we’ve had the van so the previous owners put that in. The fellow said that we were very lucky we got that many years out if it.

Lucky we rang as another van pulled in just ahead of us with battery problems also. Because we rang earlier he fixed ours first.

$449.95 later - that hurt a bit- we were on our way.

While the boys were fixing the battery I walked over to Woolies to get Tom some g/f wraps and finally found the new Tip Top g/f bread I’ve been looking for. Everyone says it’s just like normal bread, can’t wait to try it.

Today we had about 350 kms to go to a free camp before Exmouth tomorrow. Some of these free camps are a little difficult to find, some have signs, some not. Without my IPad we had to be very vigilant so we didn’t miss it. Finally came across it, it’s called the Yannarie River Barradale Rest stop.

Had a nice little level spot away from the road. You can still hear the road noise but it seems to die down after a while

Later this afternoon a young lady drove around selling relish and home grown veges. We bought some Mango & Chilli Relish, a sweetcorn, zucchini & butternut pumpkin.

She is the caretaker who looks after this rest area and lives nearby.

Brian assisted with a Lemon Chicken Stir Fry tonight. I cut up the veges, he cooked. Was very nice.

Brian cooking up his stir fry

Lovely sunsets up this way.

Brian reading in bed last night when the lights went out.

Tomorrow we finally get to Exmouth where we all met up. Tom & Marg are already there, Danny, Kirsten and the kids are about 30 kms up the road from us we think \240It’s taken a fair bit of organising for us all to meet at this particular time. Looking forward to seeing them all. I think my liver will suffer a bit more!!!

Karratha Battery & Caravan Centre - $449.95

51
1 Truscott Cres, Exmouth WA 6707, Australia

Finally we have arrived at Exmouth. Had a good trip here today but had to go through lots of roadworks. Little did we know until later that a large stone had come up and token our oulet pipe on the van. After we had set up I did a load of washing and all of a sudden there was water going everywhere. The stone had broken a huge hole in the pipe.

A quick trip to the hardware store and a few new parts and Brian had it fixed in no time.

Met up with the others,great to see all of them and setup. Very windy for a while so we had to put up the anti flappers, something we haven’t had to do for a while.

Had tea in the camp kitchen, then a drink and a discussion re tomorrow at Nicks van, then off to bed. We are now with the ‘tour guide’ - Tom so we will be well organised to do some tours. We also booked a trip to swim with the Whale Sharks today on Saturday, not that I will do that, BrIan will, I’ll just be an observer, as will Tom & Marg.

Our van set with Tim’s next door

Danny, Ki

52
1 Truscott Cres, Exmouth WA 6707, Australia

We all headed off for a small walk today at the Shothole Gorge. Tom, our tour guide, had very much miscalculated this walk. We ended up walking about 7.2 kms but it was a difficult walk due to the loose stones and rocks along the way. This was harder than Kings Canyon Rim Walk we decided. Did it in about 3 hours which wasn’t too bad for us oldies. Tonight we are all feeling a bit sore and sorry for ourselves. Hopefully we’ll wakeup feeling a bit better tomorrow.

This is our group before we headed off for the walk. We didn’t actually get an after one where some of us were feeling a bit poorly. But - we made it. \240Tom as been sacked as the walk tour guide from now on!!!

This was where we were going, but we managed to take the very long way around

Beautiful scenery, when you look around Kirsten.

It’s a long , long way down there

Had a quite afternoon getting ready for our ‘swim with the whale sharks tour’ tomorrow. It’s a full day tour as have to be up early. Danny & Kirsten are having a kid free day - Jac & Nick are looking after the kids for them, so they are looking forward to that, even if they have to spend it with us oldies.

Went to the camp kitchen for tea, we all had simple stuff. \240Jackie made a tuna pasta bake for their 2 families and realised when she put it in the oven that she had forgotten to put the tuna in. Crisis averted, they put the tuna in the bottom of the bowl and put the pasta on top. \240Tasted just the same.

This is only about half of us, the camp kitchen is really very nice. We are in the newer section where all the facilities are pretty good.

Saw a beautiful sunset while were there over the pool

Fueled up again.

Fuel - $250