Almost week five and still alive!! Well we’re off to a flyer. Settled in nicely to on the road living. But it hasn’t all been beer and sunsets for all of those that post how jealous they are (although we’ve had our fair share). It certainly took all of us a while to find our feet. It can be pretty hard on the kids and consequently… us. Having to shift every few days, it’s hard to find routine which the kids, and us, crave. Nevertheless we know how lucky we are, and are dealing with it and making the most of it. I have lost my cool once or twice, usually only every ten minutes or so, but I’m trying to teach myself a few lessons in patience and tolerance, headphones and loud music work really well.
We eased ourselves into it with a really nice transition from staying with family on the farm to one night in Windy Harbour on our way to spending a few nights with great friends Trish and Byrnesy at their block in Denmark. We all camped together which was a great way to start to settle into life in a camper van but with the relative comfort of being around people who we know and love hanging out with. It was a great few days, lots of walking and swimming, wine and enjoying life. Briefly caught up with Mez and Blair at Greens Pool, who are also on a similar journey. Hopefully we’ll see more of them!
With rain on the way we decided to pack up and head to the comfort of Jen and Clarke’s house in Mount Barker. A good decision it was too, as an inch of rain fell that very night. Nothing’s like waking up in the morning on the break of the season to seeing a farmer doing a jig in the kitchen before a big cooked breakfast. We spent some great time with these guys, the kids in particular enjoying the room full of new toys (they’d only been away from theirs for not even a week).
Onward ho, and it was off to Jakes house in Many Peaks. Another chance to sleep indoors and another good decision to do so. The washing had already built up so we made use of Jakes hospitality and at the same time he took us to some of the amazing beaches the Great Southern has to offer, all right on his doorstep. Indulged in some tantalising fresh feeds of abalone and herring and the kids had a ball checking cows for new calves on his farm.
From there we kept heading East and found ourselves at Masons Bay near Hopetoun. An awesome little campsite right on the beach under the tea trees, where Harvey cast and caught his very first fish. Who needs school right? Teach a man to fish. We actually did get a bit of on road education in which Elsie enjoyed and Harvey resisted. Hard wired I reckon.
We got the chance to spend a few days with Dad at Esperance staying at Granny McIlroys house which was a little weird since she passed away late last year, however it was great to reminisce on my own childhood memories spent at the house, and to be able to share them with my own kids.
On some of the rougher roads of the flood affected shire of Ravensthorpe, we had managed to lose a 6 inch pipe off the back of the van containing all our awning and camper poles (we did manage to go back and find them) so we he had a few maintenance jobs to carry out whilst in Esperance. Once all the jobs were done, the weather looked pretty good going forward so we decided to head out East of Esperance to Cape Le Grand for a few days which was absolutely magic and justified our decision of heading along the south coast during Autumn. The weather was superb with warm daytime temperatures and barely any wind and we got lots of walking, beach and fishing action in over the few days, along with a bit of homework (boring!) and met some cool people in a nice location. The beaches in that part of the world are still some of the best, the white sand and turquoise blue of the water unrivalled in my mind.
Got ourselves a bit of a history and culture fix in the Goldfields, mainly Kalgoorlie which neither of us had been to since we were kids, and did all the usual tourist stuff, which is so fascinating we all thought. The gold rush certainly was an interesting era. Caught up with some friends and family there and headed North to Niagara Dam for a couple of nights where we thought it wise to give the kids an education in how to cope with flies in the bush. Elsie failed that exam miserably!!! Massive dummy spit. Nothing that a swim and a feed of yabbies couldn’t fix. Wandered around looking for bits of stray gold and trying to lose the kids down a mineshaft but they all stayed close so on we went through to Sandstone for the night and a rare treat, thought we’d venture out to the local, since we hadn’t eaten out much since we left. Wowee, what a funny little pub!! Upon entering the front bar, full of bar flies, I could feel a dozen sets of eyes stare me down as I sidled up to the bar casually to enquire what they had on tap (I was dying for a nice cold pint). “There’s water on tap if you want some mate” someone yells from along the bar, to a roar of laughter from the yokels. Anyway, a can of Emu Export from the ice it was then (which I am partial to I might add).
Stopped for lunch & supplies at Mt Magnet where the kids found a flying fox to keep them busy, then on to the famous Wooleen Station where we camped on the banks of the Murchison River for a few days. It was great to be able to properly set up camp for a few days & we realised how hard it had been the past week with only one or two night stop overs. Also hard to get any schooling done. BUT we had bigger problems. The kilometres & kilometres of corrugated roads on the way to Wooleen seemed to shake things up a bit & we lost most of our water on the way there, Al managed a temporary fix & saved enough water to get us by.
Next stop (after more corrugated roads) Carrarang Station. We couldn’t resist heading back to this special place. It was a bit of a testing day however with more water leaks, kids on a long trip in the car & no confirmed booking at Carrarang (we had been trying to contact station owners to book in without any luck & had been out of range at Wooleen). We arrived just on dark, couldn’t find anyone to speak with & decided we would have to find a place, set up camp then find someone in the morning. So we drove (16kms) up the coast of the station & every designated area was FULL. Oh no. 3 tired hungry kids. The last camp spot & the one we had already earmarked, was empty – wow! We were ecstatic, our luck had changed in an instant. So out we get to set up camp (we were feeling very thankful for kids Electronic equipment at this point). And our luck changed in an instant again. A snapped cable on the Jayco, actually the worst of the 4 you can snap, got snapped. Whoops. You can ask Kez about that one. It was enough to break Als pledge of one alcohol free day per week. What were we to do? It was dark. We were 200km of corrugated roads away from anywhere with 3 tired hungry kids. Improvise is what we did & managed to prop up one corner. Phew. Let’s sort it out tomorrow. Or…go fishing, fishing, kayaking, swimming, snorkelling…bliss. Did we mention we love this place!!
Next stop Carnarvon for a 1 night stop over – sunset walk on the mile long jetty to burn off some energy after a day in the car. Pizza. Luxury 2 bedroom donga – woohoo! & pancakes with the rest of the park in the camp kitchen for breakfast – what a treat.
After a chance meeting, we had a magnificent lunch with Squid in Coral Bay on our way north.
We now find ourselves in Exmouth. In a HOUSE. With bedrooms, separate rooms from the kids, running hot water, a washing machine!! Loving it. But alas, our home on wheels is at the doctor getting repaired. I think we’re going over our budget this week! So it has given us some time to recharge the batteries, clean out the ute of desert dust, wash the campfire smoke from our clothes & hair, put the thermomix into action to stock the freezer with pre cooked meals, and take stock & plan for our next month.
Which is, Osprey (Cape Range) for a week (we’ve just completed that bit – took us a while between writing blog and posting blog) then Ningaloo Station for 10 days, Warroora for a week, then Karijini bound. We’re really looking forward to this month – getting the kids snorkelling & experiencing this special place will be rewarding. We’re slowly beginning to get into a groove & of late have really noticed the kids starting to grow & settle into life on the road.
A few fun facts;
– a small Peters bucket of ice cream costs $3 from Overlander Road Station.
– a machine/instant coffee at Murchison Settlement costs $6 each. And is crap.
– fuel is our main cost to date.
– termites live for 3-4 years, however the queen can live for 30 years.
– have you heard of a Happy Moment? It’s a fish that can give a very painful spike from its fins.
– corrugations break things.
– Wychinnicup is a hidden gem on the south coast.
– Hellfire Bay, Cape Le Grand, is so named from a spontaneous fire that sometimes occurs above a ships mast.
– Kalgoorlies population went from 50,000 in 1890 to 184 000 by 1901.
– CAT Dump Trucks are worth $4.5M each.
– There are currently 4 feral camels on Wooleen Station.
– DONT try to wind up a Jayco camper with one of the clasps still attached. 😬😬😬.
We’re sorry about the lack of updates, however we spend 95% of our time out of reception. If you need us, leave a message and we’ll get back to you when we can.
Signing off, The Macs