Trip Start Jul 13, 2009
1Trip End Oct 02, 2009
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Saturday 18 July 2009 I woke early this morning - at about 3 am - thought I heard someone near the door! Jumped out of bed and looked out the window but everything looked ok so back to bed then heard the noise again so decided to wake Ron who had slept through my panic attack and he checked outside and nothing to worry about - it was the roll out awning flapping in the wind! Its seemed so quiet before and not a breath of wind around and so we didn't think we would roll the awning up and on checking the neighbours, their's were all out so we thought we'd be ok, so another lesson on our trip - don't presume anything. Then on going outside this morning we discovered the Toyota had a flat tyre, so before starting on our trip to Chambers Pillar Ron had to change the tyre and then take it into be repaired. Decided to check the others and although we had been advised before we left home that our tyres were all ok Ron had another look at them and ...... we now have 2 new tyres fitted as the price we were quoted was pretty good and we will feel better travelling with new ones. Now the trip to Chambers Pillar ..... on checking with the local Information Centre and with the tyre fitter, it seems that the road out there is very bad with corrugations and rocks and they all seem to think it would not be the best time to travel there so we have taken their advice so today we spent around the town and generally relaxing. We still have not recieved our new door lock which was meant to be here by Express Post so now Monday will be the next post delivery.
We were on the road again by 8.45 am and stopped at Pt Augusta for LPG 61.9cpl. There is quite a lot of traffic especially semis. We had the CB radio on and were entertained by the stories of some of the truckies and some colourful language too. The wind has changed from westerly to northerly now so our fuel consumption will not be very good. Stopped at Pimba LPG 89.9 cpl. I had my diary from 2006 and the LPG then was 77.9 cpl. We drove into Woomera as we had been told that the Museum was worth seeing and as it was closed the last time we were there we decided to see it this time and it was very interesting and well set up with some interactive displays and a lot of information. After leaving the Museum we discovered that the lock on our van had broken and after much pushing and pulling and key turning it just wasn't going to open. This is not what we needed and Woomera doesn't have much or anything other than a very small Foodland store. We weren't sure what we should do other than to drive back to Adelaide to get a new lock fitted by Jayco, but we really weren't keen to do this on day 2 of our holiday.A chap from the Emergency Services came to our rescue and said he had been an RAA mechanic and he thought he could solve the problem, but an hour later we still couldn't get into the van and the only solution seemed to be to drill out the lock. Ron's new Makita came in very handy along with screwdrivers, hammer and an assortment of wire. At last we had the door open but of course we couldn't secure it safely so the duct tape did the job and we were on the road again. We got to Glendambo and decided to stay the night there. We were able to charge our battery and took advantage of the powered site. The caravan park is crowded but is only a one night stopover for everyone.DAY 3 Wednesday 15 July 2009We refuelled at Glendambo 79.9 cpl. It is a lovely sunny morning and we have taped up the door and are ready to drive on to Coober Pedy. The scenery is pretty much the same with low bushes and red sand. I have only seen one patch of Sturts Desert Pea and one wedgetail eagle and a few hawkes. We had to pull off the road to let a Wide Load with machinery go past but disappointed that there is not much wildlife or wildflowers. DAY 4 Thursday 16 July 2009 We were on the road early this morning as we want to get to Alice Springs to get the lock sorted out. The scenery changed for a while and there are small rocky outcrops with scattered bushes and small trees. We passed the SA/NT border and now the sun is shining for the first time since we left home. We refuelled at Kulgera LPG $1.00 cpl. We still haven't seen any wildlife and only a few eagles, there isn't any roadkill for them.Arrived at Alice Springs and booked into the MacDonnell Caravan Park. Everything is booked out here and we were lucky to get into this park. We were advised to go to a locksmith for the required lock but after spending quite some time trying to find them as we were given the wrong directions and there are only 2 locksmiths here and the other one had moved premises, we finally got there only to be told they don't have the caravan locks and nobody in Alice Springs sells caravan accessories. Ron made a phone call to Adelaide and the new lock should be on its way.Today we went out to Standley Chasm approximately 50 km west of Alice Springs. The roads here are all very busy with motorhomes, caravans and 4WD's and tourist buses. It is a beautiful sunny day and not a cloud in the sky. It is amazing how blue the sky is here and against the beautiful rocks it is stunning. We did the walk into the chasm and timed it to get there at around midday as that is the best for the colour when the sun hits the chasm walls and it was beautiful. On the way back to Alice Springs we went to Simpsons Gap. It was a short walk into the gap and again the rock face was amazing and I got some good photos of the reflections in the pool. The sign said no swimming in the creek but there was no water flowing. Might have to come back some day in the wet season.
Today is Pancake Day at the caravan park so we ambled over the designated spot along with most of the other caravanners here and very quickly changed our minds as the queue was longer than the Royal Adelaide Show! We decided that breakfast back in the van was a better option and Ron was not feeling that good this morning having had a restless night and thinks he might be geting the flu. After another cuppa and a few Panadol we decided to make the effort and drove out to Emily Gap and Jessie Gap and packed a picnic lunch. They are very pretty spots and only a short walk into them - we had been to them on the last trip - but they are worth another look. There were not many people there so we had a really good look and enjoyed the peace and quiet there. At both places there are some good aboriginal rock paintings which were interesting. We spoke to the grandchildren on Skype last night - Jacob, Taleah and Amity and tonight Noah and Amelie. We are missing them all but it was so good to be able to see and hear them, they were so excited to see us on the "pooter"!! Went up to Anzac hill to watch the sun set. It is a great view of the city and the surrounding ranges, with the sun setting on them it was another lovely sight.
Day 8 Monday 20 July 2009We are still in Alice Springs today as the long awaited lock for the van hasn't arrived and we now have been told that Express Post means nothing in Alice Springs. If the plane has too much mail on board then they just offload it and it comes on the next flight!! So we wait again. The plane arrives in the afternoon and the PO sorts it and delivers it the We refuelled at Coober Pedy 88.9 cpl. It is windy but no rain but we couldn't leave the van and look around as the door is still only taped up. We have been to Coober Pedy several times before so we were happy to drive on. Fuel again at Cadney Homestead $1.03 cpl. We decided to keep driving as far as we could so that we can get to Alice Springs to get the door fixed. Stopped at Marla for fuel 99.1 cpl and on again to Agnes Creek roadside stop. We decided to stop here for the night, there are a few caravans and motorhomes already set up for the night. It is a lovely area and the sunset magnificent.The corellas in the trees are very noisy but they settled and we had a quiet evening. A few more campers pulled in late but it is a large area and no-one is very close. Day 9 Tuesday 21.7.09we have the new lock for the van, it arrived at the Caravan Park this morning and Ron has fitted it so we are on the road again. We fuelled up LPG 72 cpl at Alice Springs - not a bad price with 8 cent discount. It is windy and hot today so our fuel economy will not be very good. Stopped at the Tropic of Capricorn for some photos. There are some changes in the scenery now with small anthills scattered through the low bushland. Drove into Aileron in the Ammatjere lands, just a shop, and fuel pump and some interesting metal sculptures 0f an aboriginal man and a woman with a child. These are huge and can be seen from quite a distance . We stopped for the night at the John McDouall Stuart roadside stop. This is a good rest area and about 6 vans stayed for the night. Day 10 Wednesday 22 July 2009Today the weather is warm and overcast but it will be good for driving. We drove to Barrrow Creek - a bit unnerving as I couldn't help but think of the terrible events of the area - but we stopped for fuel (no gas here) and ULP 1.73 cpl. There is still no change in scenery and no animals to see. We passed a lot of trucks going south to Alice Springs with the Moscow Circus. We stopped again for fuel at Wycliffe Well - still no gas again- ULP 1.69 cpl. At Wauchope we didn't refuel as we still couldn't get LPG and we had enought ULP to last. Arrived at Devils Marbles around 12 noon and decided to stay the night here in the campground $3.30 pp so it is good but no power or water but we are self sufficient. The Devils Marbles are truly magnificent and we had a wander around, they cover quite a large area and it was easy to walk up and around them, but was very hot so we went up later in the afternoon just before sunset. Loads of people camped here and some haven't been able to get a park for the night. What a wonderful sight to wake up to from our bedroom window!
Day 11 Thursday 23 July 2009We left Devils Marbles and travelled to Tennant Creek. We stopped here for a few supplies and some ice cream - its really hot here and I really needed ice cream, so now I'm happy. Tennant Creek is another neat town with green parks and a few tourist places to visit. We went to Battery Hill LookOut and then onto the Bill Allen Lookout which provided a really good view of the old mining sites. We were going to go to the Devils Pebbles as we thought they would be worth looking at but we only got a few hundred metres down the dirt road before deciding to turn back as there were so many corrugations and we didn't think it worth any more hassles. There were lots of tracks where others had the same idea. We drove on to Mary Ann Dam which was like an oasis. What a lovely picnic area with lots of trees and park benches so we had lunch and enjoyed the view and Ron walked across the dam wall. We drove on to Banka Banka Station where we stayed the night. They have a huge grassy area with water supplied to all sites and they provide a very interesting slideshow of the stations owned by the Kidman family of which Banka Banka is one. Day 12 We left Banka Banka and stopped at Renner Springs for LPG $1.03 cpl. These little places are all well kept and grassy areas which are really a surprise in such dry, scrubby landscape. We got to Daly Waters in time for lunch and couldn't refuse their Barra Burgers - a specialty of the Pub. Its quite a place with all kinds of decoration - nickers, bras, hats, nametags all over the walls and ceiling! I got a few photos here as it was such an interesting place. We stopped at South Warloch rest area for the night. It was really quite crowded when we arrived and then more vans, motorhomes etc came and by nightfall there wasn't room for anyone else but we heard some driving through during the night but only one managed to find a spot to stop. We can't believe how busy everywhere is.We left the South Warloch rest area after a restless night as we heard vans driving through the night and discovered this morning that the other noises were flying foxes in the trees above us. We arrived at Mataranka Thermal Pools and walked around but a busload of tourists arrived so we decided to go on to Bitter Springs thermal pools for a swim. The pool was lovely and warm and clear as crystal so we stayed quite a while enjoying the break. Drove on to Katherine and have booked into the Riverview caravan park for 2 nights. We can now charge up all our batteries and I will do some washing. Ron is going to fix the pressure pump which he thinks has an airlock. I have done the washing and Ron has fixed the pressure pump so now our showers will be much better when bush camping. We drove down to Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk NP) and did a 2 hour cruise of 2 gorges. It was a lovely cruise with spectacular views of the river and huge cliffs either side and we saw a couple of freshwater crocodiles - our first this trip!! I am sure we will see many more but it was exciting to see them. We then drove to the Lower Level Bridge and had a quick look at the pretty recreation area there with the local kids jumping off the bridge into the river. Back at the caravan park now and will catch up with my emails and Skype the kids back home. Having a cold beer as we are really feeling the heat here. We left the caravan park at about 10 am and on the road to Pine Creek. We stopped here for a look around as it is a very small little one shop town but with a bit of history. Drove up to Copperfield Dam as it sounded a good place for a lunch stop, but after the turn off to the dam it was a dirt road but not really too bad with corrugations but once on it we couldn't turn around so we kept going hoping the picnic area at the dam would be worthwhile. There were a few vans camped above the dam but very hot and dusty. The dam itself was quite small but whad our lunch overlooking the water which was very pleasant and some other campers were enjoying the views too. Back down to the main road and onto our next overnight stop at Adelaide River. We had a look around and decided that the nice tropical looking park behind the BP roadhouse was the best one so we saw "Bob" in site no. 1 and paid him our money. What a lovely little park this turned out to be with a swimming pool as well and a bar and restaurant. We went for a swim and then a drink and decided to have one of their specials - a Barra Burger - equally as good as the one at Daly Waters. In the bar area was "Charlie the water buffalo" - the star of Crocodile Dundee - and he was magnificent although a bit stuffedLeft the caravan park at Adelaide River and decided to look around the town and the war cemetary and found a distant relative's gravesite. It was a beautifully kept park and garden area with peacocks wandering around and well worth a visitWe then went to the Railway Precinct which was a well kept area with many WW2 and railway exhibits. We were given a lot of interesting information by the couple who ran the museum and would love to come back in another 12 months as they have a lot of new exhibits waiting to be displayed and were going to re-open the railway line to Snake Creek - an underground munitions storage area from WW2. Our next stop was Batchelor and we booked into the Batchelor Resort Carvan Park. Everything now is very tropical and we are parked under some lovely tropical trees and palms - it is very green and relaxing here. We then drove out to the Litchfield National Park. First stop was Wangi Falls and we walked to the lookout and back again to the pool below the falls where everyone was swimming but a bit crowded for us. The falls were beautiful but the area was very busy with tourists. Drove to Rum Jungle lake and We then onto Tolmer Falls and a short walk to a lookout platform. These were beautiful too and quite a few were swimming under the falls and jumping off the rocks. We were thinking about going back to the caravan but saw a turnoff to The Lost City so decided to go and have a look. This was a rough dirt road 4WD only but not too bad and when we got there it was an amazing group of rocks that really did look like a lost city so it was well worth the drive. It was then back to the caravan for a shower and a drinkThis morning we drove out to Buley Rockhole. This was another lovely swimming hole with waterfalls and several smaller swimming holes. We decided to go on to Greenant Creek as we had been told that this was spectacular. The sign said a 3 km walk so we set off with our swimming gear, lunch and water. The first 500 metres was pretty easy going with a walkway and good path through some lovely palms and the creek. As we got further in the path became very rough and steep and eventually we were up on the top of the ridge on a very rough track and finally came to the waterfall.It was well worth the walk even though I was pretty hot and aching and amazingly we were the only ones there. Had our lunch and found an easy place on the rocks to get into the pool which was lovely and clear with the water flowing into it above us, and flowing out below the rockpool into a huge cascade of water. It was amazing but the photos don't really show how it really looked.We left Batchelor and arrived in Darwin before lunch. Got ourselves organised at thecaravan park and drove into the cityto have a look around. Darwin is avery modern city as it was almost completely rebuilt after Cyclone Tracey. It has a very tropical feel and there are palm trees and banyan trees everywhere. We drove to the wharf area and will probably go back there to have a seafood meal as it looks really good. We also went to the Mindil Beach Night Markets which were fantastic. There were food stalls of every description, lots of jewellery and other interesting crafts, plenty of music and loads of people. There was such a good atmosphere and the sunset was amazing so I got some good photos.We went to Casuarina Shopping Centre as we wanted a backup battery for my camera. This turned out to be a more difficult exercise than planned but eventually we found a shop that had one in stock and a good price too. We drove around to Cullen Bay which is a very pretty area and then after lunch we visited the Historic Aviation Museum. This was much more interesting for me than I thought it would be.We had a tour of the museum by a very informative guide who explained the B52 bomber which was displayed. There were a lot of war planes that Ron was particularly interested in and he was able to get a lot of photos. Saturday 1 August 2009 DAY 20
The weather again is lovely and warm and we are gradually getting used to it. We had another quick look around the Mall this morning and then drove around the Esplanade area to look at the war memorials there. We then went back to Stokes Wharf for a seafood lunch overlooking the harbour. We enjoyed our Barramundi and a glass of wine and were wondering whether we would do anything else as it was so pleasant sitting there. However, we decided to see a few more historical buildings as most of Darwin was destroyed by cyclone Tracey but one we found was Lyons Cottage which housed some very interesting photos of early settlers and prominent people in Darwin. Then we came back to the caravan to get organised for our move on to Kakadu tomorrow.Sunday 2 August 2009 DAY 21Fuel Darwin BP 76.9 cpl This morning we left for Kakadu Naational Park. On the way we stopped at Fogg Dam which has a lot of birdlife and of course Crocodiles. The sign at the beginning of the road across the Dam told us not to leave our car as there was a Crocodile that was being a nuisance (?). Well we didn't see the croc and we only walked to the lookout area to view the birds. It was well worth our drive here as the birdlife was amazing and we also managed to see a water python at the edge of the water. We then drove on to another visitor centre "Windows on the Wetlan" which again was very well worth the look. We did a Jumping Crocodile cruise on the Adelaide River and saw many more crocodiles very close up - a good cruise and we saw more crocs than expected. We stayed the night at a small caravan park at Bark Hutt Inn. A really good little park with everyone very friendly and a lovely swimming pool which we really enjoyed at the end of a hot day.Today we left our overnight stay at Bark Hutt and drove on to Kakadu crossing the West Alligator River which is very wide at this bridge. We took the information given to us last night and decided to stay at Merl which is a lovely NP campsite. On looking around we found a nice shady area amongst some lovely trees and scrub and settled ourselves in. It is still quite hot and very little breeze and the horseflies are huge and bite so we didn't sit outside for long.Tuesday 4 August 2009 DAY 23 We heard lots of animals and birds during the night but it was cooler so we slept well. We drove the short distance to Urbirr to walk around the rocks with aboriginal art . We were able to get lots of information from a NP ranger here which was really good. The rock drawings were amazing and apparently are some of the best there is to see. We heard lots of animals and birds during the night but it was cooler so we slept well. We drove the short distance to Urbirr to walk around the rocks with aboriginal art . We were able to get lots of information from a NP ranger here which was really good. The rock drawings were amazing and apparently are some of the best there is to see. We then drove back to Border Store to have morning tea of French pastries and real coffee. Its amazing what you find here when there aren't any other shops for quite a way - our morning tea was really good especially as we have finished the home made biscuits that our good friend Margaret gave us. As the tide was about to turn at Cahill's Crossing we decided to go and have a look as the crocs are regular visitors at the turn of the tide. We stayed for a long time watching one particularly large croc circling around waiting for the barramundi which were jumping the causeway. What a sight! It was the best free entertainment we have had in quite a while. Cahill's Crossing is the entrance to Arnhem Land which requires a permit so this is our stopping point. We drove back to Jabiru to get some supplies and then on to the Bowali Visitor Centre. This is another good stop to get information but we only wanted to have a look around. We drove to another camp spot at Muirella but thought it was very hot and dusty and decided to go further on and stay at Mardugal. This was a lovely camp spot and we chose a grassy area and got our van set up for the night. We noticed the Bushtracker next to us and realised it was people from the Caravaners Forum so we introduced ourselves and had a good chat. Jim was glad that Ron had his Honda manual for the generator and he and Ron spent some time checking things out. Judy was able to fill us in on some of the local things to see and doWe left the van at the campsite and drove to Jim Jim Falls. We knew the track was 4wd only but were surprised at how bad the corrugations were but we made it to the Falls and walked about half way on quite a rough track but as the waterfalls weren't flowing we decided not to go up further. The pool at the bottom was very pretty and we stayed a while before returning to the car. We then drove to Twin Falls, walked a short distance where we caught the shuttle boat to another walk up to the falls. This again was a very rough track and we climbed over rocks and ledges but I decided not to go right up to the falls as the track looked too rough for me. Ron decided he would go on and got to the falls and took some photos but he said it was pretty rough going. Thursday 6 August 2009 DAY 25Left Mardugal campsite after saying goodbye to Jim and Judy. We drove to Katherine and stopped on the way at Pine Creek to see the railway museum there and also looked at the water gardens - what a lovely surprise in such a small town. Decided to stay in Katherine to stock up on supplies and to recharge all of our batteries and chargers. Also a bit of housekeeping to get done as the laundry has built up a bit. Friday 7 August 2009 DAY 26We had to sort out a problem with our Waeco car fridge this morning before leaving the caravan park but Ron discovered it was the plug connection in the car so we were on the road shortly after 9 am. We got to Victoria Crossing by lunch time but couldn't believe how busy they were there, everyone seemed to arrive at the same time so we decided to keep going and refuelled at Timber Creek (LPG 1.164 cpl). We were planning to stay at East Baines River rest area but when we got there it was so dusty and very little shade so drove on to Saddle Creek rest area. This was much better with plenty of shade and lovely cliffs surrounding the camping area. At sunset the cliffs were ablaze with colour and we had our drinks with the backdrop of the amazing colour as the sun set. Today we crossed into Western Australia and had the quarantine check at the border. The inspector was a South Aussie so had a bit of a chat to us and inspected the van for any fruit and vegetables but we knew they were very strict so had emptied our fridge and cooked up our potatoes so now I have potato salad for another meal. They also check for honey here. Drove on to Lake Argyle and booked into the caravan park and booked a cruise on the Lake for tomorrow morning. The Durack Homestead was open and was very interesting and full of information on this early pioneering family. Went for a drive over the dam wall and around to a lovely picnic ground nearby. Back at the caravan Ron fitted an extra fan to the Waeco fridge to help extract the hot air from the back of the fridge and will fit the other fridge in the van with a fan when he can purchase some more cable. It makes a big difference to the temperature in the fridge as it has been struggling to keep things frozen at a low enough temperature.Sunday 9 August 2009 DAY 28We went on the cruise on Lake Argyle. It is so huge and although we were on the trip for 2 hours we only saw about 1/4 of the lake. At its normal full capacity it is 21 times Sydney Harbour and in flood conditions it can hold up to 80 times Sydney Harbour. There are numerous small islands in the lake and we were lucky enough to see some Jabiru nesting and some rock wallabies and a few freshwater crocodiles. The lake is free for anyone to use for any water activities and for fishing. The local fish is silver cobbler.Monday 10 August 2009 DAY 29We left the Kununurra caravan park to find a mechanic to alter the timing on the Landcruiser and after the third mechanic we finally found one who was able to do the job for us. They were all too busy but the one we found would do it but he said it would cost - and it did - but we couldn't go on without it fixed so we were grateful to get it done as he stopped his other work for us. The workshops of all the repairers were overflowing with 4 WD, cars, caravans, motorhomes and campervans. We left Kununurra at about 11 am and drove on to Turkey Creek and refuelled here at 1.09 cpl for LPG. We will be having another night at a roadside stop as its too far for the next caravan park. We got to Leycester's Rest area which was very shady and by the Ord River but unfortunately there was no water in the Ord here at this time of the year, but it was still a very pretty place and by sunset the rest area was full of caravans and motorhomes and campertrailers. The dry Ord River Tuesday 11 August 2009 DAY 30 After a cool night we had breakfast outside and enjoyed the early morning and decided to take our time before moving on. The road to Halls Creek was a slow trip as there were a lot of roadworks and stoppages but we got fuel at Halls Creek LPG 96.9 cpl. Halls Creek is a neat place with lots of green grassed areas and trees, it was much better than the reports we had of the town. Our next stop was Mary Pool, another roadside stop, and again a very pretty area but again no water in the river.We set ourselves up and went for a walk in the riverbed and found a small waterhole with quite a few birds enjoying the water and got some photos. Later in the afternoon we had some of the locals visit - some cattle wandered around the campsite just checking up on the nomads!Wednesday 12 August 2009 DAY 31Drove to Fitzroy Crossing for LPG at 99 cpl. Went to the Visitor Centre for some information on the boat cruise in Geikie Gorge but no times available but just to go there and see. At the Visitor Centre we left some of our books there for them to sell to raise money for injured wildlife, and we bought one from them as Ron had run out of reading material and it doesn't take long to read the New Idea that I had bought last week. We got to Geikie Gorge at about 11.15am only to find that the boat had left 15 mins. previously and they had cancelled the 1 pm trip so we walked around the water for some of the way but decided that it was too hot to wait till 3 pm so Geikie Gorge will have to wait for when we come again. Drove on towards Derby and thought we might stop at a roadside rest area but both were quite full and not much shade so continued on to Derby. We booked in for 2 nights as we needed to charge all the batteries etc. and have a look around. The sunset was magnificent here as we have nothing in front of us at all so the views are uninterrupted. Thursday 13 August 2009 DAY 32We went to the wharf at Derby and had a look around, then off to the Boab Prison tree and then the Mowanjum Aboriginal Art & Culture Centre and then back to town to check out an interesting cafe for lunch. We had a look in the Information Centre and found the tide times so will go down to the wharf at sunset for another look. We were approached by one of the locals who was selling a carved boab so we had a chat to him and bought his artwork for a good price - and he went back to his friends and off to the pub as he kept asking me what the time was, now I know why!
Left the Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park in Derby after enjoying another beautiful sunset on the wharf in Derby last night. We are on the road to Broome and have been delayed a bit by roadworks and of course the water truck had just been through so our van and Cruiser are covered in RED MUD!! After getting set up at the caravan park we drove down to Cable Beach as it comes highly recommended - and we now know why. It is such a beautiful stretch of beach with a few restaurants too so we had a drink and enjoyed a walk around. We then went into Broome itself, which is a kilometre or two inland and had a walk around ChinaTown and the old area which was really interesting too, and of course we had to have another drink at "The Roey", this time we sampled their local ginger beer on tap which was pretty good after our wanderings here in the heat.Saturday 15 August 2009 DAY 34Another day in paradise - well, not quite, but it beats the red dust that we've got in everything and its good to see the ocean again. Went to the markets this morning to see some local art and craft and then we went to Gantheaume Point hoping to see the dinosaur footprints but the tide was in and so we were out of luck unless we felt like swimming, but it was a lovely view looking back to Cable Beach and we were lucky to see a nest on the old lighthouse with 2 osprey squawking away on top. Decided to have a night out and went to dinner at one of the restaurants on Cable Beach and of course another beautiful sunset. Sunday 16 August 2009 DAY 35Had a lazy morning and then wandered down to China Town but almost everything is closed here as its Sunday but had a look through the Pearl Luggers museum and back down to Cable Beach for a walk. On our way back there were a few weddings on the beach and as the sun was setting the camel tour came by so I got a few photos. Tomorrow we will leave Broome so will get the van packed and organised for the road. WEEK 6Monday 17 August 2009 DAY 36 We left Broome by 8.30 am and are heading for 80 mile beach. On way we stopped at Sandfire Roadhouse but no LPG there so we will be on ULP till we can get our gas. 80 Mile Beach is a very popular camping/caravan park and it seems that everyone is racing to get there as we have had everyone passing us this morning. The road in to the beach is a shocker with corrugations all the way and on arrival we are unable to get a powered site so will be using our generator if necessary. We haven't had to use it much so far as our batteries are going strong. A bit of a dusty camp/caravan area but we are close to the beach and everyone here is very friendly. Saw some lovely little wallabies with stripey faces came right down near our van which was great. The beach is even better than Cable Beach and there are lots of shells, so many that you can't walk without crunching them underfoot.uesday 18 August 2009 DAY 37 Went for a morning walk this morning on the beach and then back to the van for a rest!! Its a tough life here and I'm getting used to it!! Drove onto beach this afternoon but the sand got a bit soft and we decided to come back before we got bogged. There were quite a few people fishing off the sand but not many catching anything - its not a swimming beach as they get a few sharks around here. Wednesday 19 August 2009 DAY 38We left 80 Mile Beach and will head down towards Port Hedland. On the road out of 80 Mile Beach we came across a burnt out caravan - not a pretty sight but don't know any details and nothing left but the aluminium awning. Fuel at Pardoo was LPG 1.235 cpl. We stopped over night at Peawah River West rest area. Thursday 20 August 2009 DAY 39On the road again and our first stop was Whim Creek but no fuel here and the pub was closed, doesn't open till 3 pm. Decided to stay the night in Roebourne, a very small place but a few things to see around here. It is a very old town with a museum and gaol that they have restored and with some interesting photos and artefacts. Just up the road from Roebourne is another historic village of Cossack, most of which was destroyed by a cyclone in the early 1900's but worth a look around and at Settlers Beach we went for a walk. Fuel at Roebourne LPG 99.9 cpl. We drove out to Harding Dam which we thought was going to be a small "hole in the ground" but to our surprise it was a huge dam and was a real gem in such a dry and rugged place.Friday 21 August 2009 DAY 40Today we drove to Karratha and then on to Dampier. We are not staying in either town as they are not far from Roebourne. Ron wants to do an oil change on the Landcruiser so he bought the oil and filter and will do that later today. Karratha and Dampier are definitely mining towns with not much for the tourist, and we decided not to do a mine tour as they have to be booked ahead and are quite long. Saturday 22 August 2009 DAY 41 We left Roebourne and heading back towards Port Hedland as we have to turn off to Karijini National Park south of Pt Hedland. Stopped at Auski Roadhouse for fuel LPG 119.5 cpl and then on to Tognolini Lookout. We decided to stay here the night along with a few other vans as it is such a beautiful spot. We parked our van overlooking the gorge and it was a really lovely area with gravel not red dirt which makes a pleasant change. Sunday 23 August 2009 DAY 42Got in early to Karijini NP and were directed by the volunteer host to Cockatoo Loop in Dales Gorge. A nice spot for a few nights. Got ourselves set up and decided to do the walk to Fortescue Falls. The first part of the walk was relatively easy and from the falls we walked to Fern Pool which was a beautiful swimming hole. We then thought we would walk back along through the gorge and back up the other end. We asked a few people who were coming back and they said it wasn't too hard so we set off. The first part was down through the waterfall and over the rocks which were very slippery and then quite a good walk through the gorge with lovely waterholes and smaller waterfalls. The we discovered the part they didn't tell us about. An almost perpendicular "climb" up the cliff face scrambling and clinging to the rocks and at the last a ladder going straight up. I didn't think I could make it but I had no choice but to keep going and with a fair bit of encouragement from Ron, I got to the top only to find we had about a 1.5 km walk to the carpark. The rest of the day was ...... resting!!Monday 24 August 2009 DAY 43 Today is Recovery Day - for both of us! No more walking today, so we drove out to Knox Gorge, Joffre and Weano Gorges. These were fairly short walks and great views out over the gorges. We were pleased that we decided not to walk into these gorges as we heard that they were fairly tough and they had to do a "Tarzan:-style" rope swing across the river and then cling to the rock wall ledge like a spider - don't think I would have made that!! On the way back we stopped at another lookout only to discover we had a flat tyre so it wasn't such an easy day after all for Ron. Now we will need to get it repaired or replaced at Tom Price or Exmouth so will do some phoning beforehand when we have phone coverage - this has been a nuisance throughout the trip - thanks Optus for telling us we would have cover almost everywhere we were going!! Tuesday 25 August 2009 DAY 44Packed up again after a lovely stay and left Karijini for Tom Price to get our tyre repaired although it looks as though it will be a new tyre. Tom Price is a small town but very well kept with green picnic areas right in the town. We had to get two new tyres here so spent a few hours waiting for them to be fitted - it is a thriving business here and they don't need to be particularly friendly to the tourists as there aren't any choices. We were on our way again and stopped at Paraburdoo to check our tyre pressure then on to our rest area for the night at Beasley River. This was a great spot and after we settled in we took our drinks over to the campfire and after dinner everyone had a chat and one chap had his guitar so he entertained us for a while. We felt a bit better after a good night with these friendly people as our Tom Price stopover had hurt our pockets a bit - we now have 4 new tyres but Ron isn't keen to go on any dirt roads now.Wednesday 26 August 2009 DAY 45On the road again and heading for Exmouth. We stopped for fuel at Nanutarra LPG $1.169 cpl. The weather is a bit cooler today but still nice and warm. The scenery on this leg of the trip is quite boring, so much of the same without much variation, and very flat. We arrived in Exmouth about 4 pm and decided to ring the caravan parks to see where we could get in. Decided on the Ningaloo Lighthouse Caravan Park about 20 km out of Exmouth. After setting up we did our 'walk around the park ' and came across a family from Adelaide who we had met in Tom Price and Ron was able to give him a copy of our fuel spreadsheet as he thought it was pretty good as it works out all the details of usage etc. Thursday 27 August 2009 DAY 46Drove up to the Lighthouse and saw some whales - this is our first sighting of them so stayed a while as there were quite a few, then back into Exmouth to get a few supplies and check out the Visitor Centre, usually our first stop when we arrive anywhere. There are a lot of small bays with lovely beaches not far off the road. Jansz Beach was one where some lads were windsurfing which looks a lot of fun. Drove onto the Turtle Centre (Jurabi Centre) but its not nesting time till November. Decided to go back to the Lighthouse which is just above the caravan park, to do some more whale watching. This time we came with champagne and some fish and chips to watch the sun set and it was a lovely way to end the day, but we weren't alone as this is the place to be at sunset.Friday 28 August 2009 DAY 47Today we packed our lunch and headed for Ningaloo Marine Park and Cape Range National Park which is right at the tip of the peninsular. Had lunch at Yardie Creek and went for a walk along the beach and to the crossing where the creek runs into the sea and then for a walk along the top of the gorge. We saw a little wallaby just on the track here and were so close we could almost touch him - this is what we love about our travels into these little places. Stopped at Turquoise Bay and The Oyster Stacks and then back to the caravan and just a quick trip up to the lighthouse to see if the whales were there - but not many close by tonight. We left Exmouth and headed for Coral Bay. It was very busy here and the parks were full so we decided not to stay overnight but had time for a Glass Bottom Boat Tour. This was much better than we were expecting and the numbers of fish were amazing although the coral was fairly colourless as the water is warmer and the reef is close to shore but it was still very interesting to see and was like a garden underwater. The Bay is a pretty spot and the water such a bright blue but the wind was really blowing here and think its best to move on. Stopped overnight at Minilya River rest area. This was a lovely area by the river (another dry river) and we chose a nice spot at a good distance from others but by the time we had put on the kettle someone had put their car and tent almost on our bumper bar! Can't understand why people have to be so cosy when there is plenty of space for everyone but it has happened a number of times on this trip.Sunday 30 August 2009 DAY 48We arrived in Carnarvon mid morning and are surprised at the size of the town although everything here is closed on Sunday. We had a drive around and bought some fruit from the roadside stalls as there are large plantations of bananas and other tropical fruit. As we have internet connection here I have been able to catch up on the last few weeks. While I am doing my computer diary Ron is busy washing all the red dirt off our van with a small bucket as it is the first chance he has had as water is very precious out here.Monday 31 August 2009 DAY 50We are having a day in and around the caravan park in Carnarvon today as we have some cleaning to do and then will have a look at some of the places that weren't open yesterday. Ron cleaned the van as best he could with the least amount of water but the Landcruiser now looks worse than ever so we decided to go and have a look at Bibbawarra Bore just about 12 km out of town where the water flows at 65 degrees C and think this will be a good place to wash the car. When we were in town earlier we enquired about the car wash at the Caltex but the person there said it wasn't open and he didn't know when it would open "as it wasn't his department". This is a very small "service" station and we think he was the only one there !! Anyway, the Bibbawarra Bore was an excellent car wash with hot water in abundance so we backed up and had it done in no time and it cost nothing. At the servo we were told that if our car was dirty we would have to brush the dirt off first as they don't like mud going down the drain - sometimes you just can't understand things? The other tourist attraction here is Chinaman's Pool which is one part of the Gascoyne River that actually has water at this time of the year. The Gascoyne is a huge river and at Carnarvon it runs into the sea. It is known as "the upside down river" as the water is underground in an aquifer and only flows occasionally. We are surprised at the price of housing here, very expensive we think with 3 bedroom houses in town mostly above $400,000. Tuesday 1 September 2009 DAY 51On the road again and heading for Monkey Mia. We stopped at Wooramel roadhouse for LPG $1.03 cpl. Have seen a few more animals on this road with goats, a few emus and some cows. We think it will be difficult to get into a caravan park at Monkey Mia as they only have one, so we will stop at Denham and enquire and will probably stay the night at Denham which is only 25 km from Monkey Mia. We phoned and the park at Monkey Mia is booked out for a few nights so we got into a park at Denham and drove out to Monkey Mia only to find that the dolphins haven't been sighted for a few days now and there is no way of knowing when and if they will arrive in the next few days. We had a stroll on the beach at Monkey Mia hoping to maybe see a dolphin but no luck so we'll get up early tomorrow and drive in again as the mornings are the feeding times if they do come at all. Ron reckons we'd have more chance of seeing them at the Port River - but its a long drive! The weather here is good with a slight breeze and mostly sunny. Denham is a nice little town on the coast with 3 caravan parks. We are staying in one that is out of the main touristy area but it is quite good with all the necessary facilities, there is one right on the foreshore but that is full and probably would have to book weeks in advance. We noticed that some of the vans there were right on the cliff top and would probably get blown around if the wind came up, so we are quite happy not being up there as the wind is fairly strong here. Wednesday 2 September 2009 DAY 52We got up at 6.30 am, an early start for us these days, and drove out to Monkey Mia in search of the dolphins. We waited with a lot of others, some braving the cool start to the day standing in the water, but we decided to view them from the jetty. After about an hour with nothing happening we were about to head back to the car, and then one dolphin came slowly in from under the jetty, and then she was followed by her baby. Soon there were a few more and eventually there were 7 so we were very lucky. They get fed by the rangers but only after the dolphins are allowed to swim around the shallows and they (the dolphins) decide whether they want to stay or not. Apparently some times they just take off after swimming even if the rangers have the fish ready to feed them, so the decision is the dolphins', and it is obvious they really like to interact with people. We reluctantly left the dolphins and headed back to Denham to pack up and head off again. The road from the Overlander Corner to Murchison was very pretty with lots of wattles and wildflowers. We stopped the night at a roadside stop at Galena Bridge on the Murchison River. This was a lovely camping area and by nightfall there were about 25 vans camped along the riverbank. Thursday 3 September 2009 DAY 53We got up late as we are planning to only travel to Kalbarri about 100 km away. The road to Kalbarri is edged with more and more wildflowers now and I am looking forward to seeing them as we go further. We stopped in the Kalbarri National Park at Graham Ross Lookout and Hawkes Head Lookout which had great views over the Murchison River. We got to Kalbarri which is a really pretty little seaside town. Went for a walk along the beach and saw someone on a jet ski towing a surfer. The waves are really big here and it was lovely just watching and hearing the waves crash.Friday 4 September 2009 DAY 54Drove out to Kalbarri National Park to another lookout over the Murchison River and then on to a walk to Natures Window. This was a fairly easy walk for about 300 mtrs to a really great rock formation that forms a window to the Murchison River. There are wildflowers on the roadside and all through the park, we also found a patch of Kangaroo Paws which we haven't seen any of before. The weather is still really good, not as hot as it was further north, but according to the weather forecast we think it will deteriorate as we go south as Perth is having a lot of rain and windy too, so we are making the most of it now as we leave here tomorrow and will head to Geraldton and then inland to the wildflowers in Mullewa.Saturday 5 September 2009 DAY 55We reluctantly left Kalbarri as we have enjoyed our stay here. The weather has been perfect and I love the walks along the beach. We drove to Geraldton and stocked up again but decided not to stay overnight but had a look around. We had a guided tour of the HMAS Sydney memorial which was excellent. The town of Geraldton has put a lot of time and money into this beautiful memorial and it was well worth going to see it. We drove on to our next stop which was the Pioneer Well just out of Mullewa. We had to drive on a dirt track to get to it but the camping here was great, the wildflowers were everywhere and only two other caravans and a young woman travelling on her own in her 4 WD with a roof camper. We have come across a few single female travellers and I can't imagine doing a trip on my own, but they all seem very confident and obviously enjoy it but they always come and say hello as we usually do too, just so we have some idea of who is there camping. So far we haven't had any cause for concern as everyone has always been very friendly and willing to share stories of their trip.Sunday 6 September 2009 DAY 56Happy Father's Day. Unfortunately we were not in an area to receive any messages from the kids which was disappointing and we thought we would have lunch at a pub somewhere but as luck would have it, the first one in Three Springs was closed and so onto the next one, and by this time we were a bit hungry and would you believe, they had a Footy show on and the pub was not open to the public. By this time we decided it was too late to get to the next town so back to the van for sandwiches!! I promised Ron we would make tomorrow his Father's Day lunch. The wildflowers in this area are really lovely with special ones not seen anywhere else. People were jumping out of cars to look at the Wreath flowers which are a bit rare, so we were told, and this year there aren't too many around, but they are certainly lovely & just like a wreath. I couldn't believe the numbers of people around here, they all seem to be racing around the roads trying to get photos of the elusive wildflowers. We stopped the night at another great spot, a few km's off the main road at a place called Bunjil Rocks. These rocks are flat and are over a fairly large area but quite unusual and not what we were expecting. We set ourselves up ready for a quick exit if it rained as it was forecast but no rain overnight thank goodness. We were able to have another campfire here as there was plenty of wood around.