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Western Australia

Saddle Creek to Leycester's Rest to Ellendale Rest Area

From Saddle Creek, it was only 70ks to the NT/WA border.
 

We arrived around 9.10am NT time and were directed to a stop by a young lady who appeared to have had a very late night. Between yawns and droopy eyes, she went through our van, asking all the right questions and we, of course, gave all the right answers. No, we don't have any honey, honey... no we don't have any vegies honey, only these poor Queensland onions, which we dutifully surrendered. So yes, you could say, we lost our onions to an overtired, twenty something teeny-bopper.

Winding our watches back an hour and a half gave us a huge head start on the day, driving off at 7.40am. It was another 109ks to Kununurra where we refuelled and shot through. In hindsight, we probably should have stayed at Kununurra, as that's the gateway to a couple of "don't miss" attractions... which of course, we missed! The Bungle Bungles, Lake Argyle and the Ord River. Oh well... got to leave something for the next time around.

From Kununurra, our next leg took us to our next free camp at Leycester's Rest, 100k short of Halls Creek. Nothing flash about this rest area, but we met a nice Victorian couple and spent Happy Hour (or 2) with them, sipping the good stuff.
 

Had to buy a hat to hide my new haircut!

 

 

 

 

We got an early start Thursday morning and our trip took us through Halls Creek, then Fitzroy Crossing (on the Fitzroy River... yes, WA has one too) and onto our stopover, here at Ellendale Rest Area. Big surprise... we have Internet! (But no TV at all.)

We have run out of water again, which I find incredible, as we have two 60 litre water tanks and are always careful with our supply. Had to skip the shower tonight and settle for a sponge down, followed by a powder bath. (You really needed to know that, right?)

Apart from the water 'problem', the caravan is performing majestically. It's well balanced, solid on the road and as comfy as a motel unit. Even the passing Road Trains don't shake us.

Also, I'm gradually getting used to the BT50 but I hate the unreadable, deeply recessed, dark-as-night instrument panel and the very annoying fuel cap on the right! Who puts a fuel cap on the right!? Creates all sorts of problems at Service Stations. Ok... enough griping... it's not a Ford and I guess I'll have to live with it!

Tomorrow we'll be in Broome where we'll probably spend a few days. We've been told to have a fat wallet (!) so maybe we'll only be there for a couple of hours!


Hello Broome...

Unlike the Northern Territory, where the sun sets at 7.30 and rises around 8.00, here in Western Australia, it's dark around 5.30 and light about the same time (at this time of year). Because of that, we were able to get an early start this morning (Friday) from Ellendale Rest Area on our final leg to Broome.

After paying a high of $2.09 for diesel at Warnum (?) it was a 'pleasure' to find a Coles outlet the next two fills at $1.845 (we didn't have a voucher) at Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing, bumping back to $1.89 before Broome.

Relaxing at Ellendale Rest Area Free Camp

A "farm" on the outskirts (33k) of Broome, was recommended to us as a "Van Park" to stay. The owner has several sites on his property, close to the highway and a roadhouse, with good water supply, great showers and toilets, but no power. After no power for the last three nights free camping, I felt we needed some 240 to recharge the laptop and get away from the red dust for a while. 

We headed to the Broome Tourist Information Centre, where they display (on a board outside the door), which caravan parks have sites available and which don't. The only one with numerous sites available, was the Broome Caravan Park a couple of clicks out of town. I pre-warned Bev that there must be a reason it was the only one with multiple sites available and at $47 a night it wasn't the dearest in town... but at the end of the day, it's not that bad. We booked two nights.

Tomorrow, Saturday, we're doing a bus trip tour of Broome, followed by a visit to the Markets then finish the day with a pre-sunset Camel Ride on Cable Beach. I'll let you know how it goes.

Last Day in Broome

While in Darwin, more than one couple suggested we give Broome a miss! Too expensive, too commercial. etc. The last lady we spoke to in the CP in Darwin said she LOVES  Broome... 'you must go!'

So we did. And we're glad we did. Today, we took a mini-bus tour of Broome and saw far more than we could possibly see by ourselves. Plus, we got expert commentary on what we were seeing. The tour lasted just over two and a half hours, which was plenty.

Our Camel Train Arriving

It was then back to the park, lunch, a poppie nap (instead of the Markets), then off to Cable Beach for a pre-sunset camel ride on the beach! Now that was an experience! The highlight being Bev trying to get her leg over the saddle! There were 16 camels in the "train"... two groups of eight and we were on the third from the front. No, not Humphrey... ours was named Tonku.
 

One unique feature of this area is the housing. Almost all new homes - and there are tons of new ones - are made of Corrugated Iron... Colorbond! Yet they have a very modern appearance about them. The frames are steel, the cladding Colorbond and they have no guttering, no downpipes and no water tanks. Because of the red dust in the Kimberleys, rain (or even the morning dew) turns it into red mud which would clog everything and fill water tanks!

Tomorrow morning we're off to Port Headland... will be there in two days. Will have an overnight stay (free of course) at De Grey River. We've nearly finished three weeks already!

See ya guys!

Broome to Port Hedland

We left Rockhampton 3 weeks ago and ever since we left Charters Towers, we have not seen a single cloud in the sky. Absolute cloudless skies ever since!

 
Dry and dusty, but home for the night.
"Stay there love... I'll do it all!"


Beautiful blue skies again when we left Broome, heading for Port Hedland 612 ks away. Too far for this old fella, so we free camped overnight at DeGrey River Rest Area approximately 80 ks short of Port Hedland, leaving us a short run this morning.

We booked into the Cooke Point Holiday Park, a Big 4 Park here for 1 night at $54, which still worked out at $48.60 after our Club discount... ouch! That left the afternoon free for sight-seeing which was plenty of time for this town! 

Welded steel animals at Pt Hedland


Tomorrow it's off to Karratha, where the Caravan Parks are just as exy, but hopefully there will be more to see. Once we leave Karratha for Carnarvon, we will definitely need some free camping to help with the budget.
 

 
         
A bloody big pub at Port Hedland

 

"No Photos! No Photos! See my Agent!"

Karratha to Carnarvon to Denham

 
Free Camping  Barradale Rest Area
 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday  14,15,16 August

 Barradale Rest Area is a free overnighter on the eastern bank of the Yannarie River, just west of the Barradale Roadhouse. It was nothing to write home about... but it was free! Actually, there were some nicer spots than ours, further in towards the river, but for a one night stopover, it doesn't really matter where you park. Had we been staying longer, I would have muscled in somewhere closer to the River.

These free camps we utilize, are usually in the middle of nowhere, with no mobile/internet/TV  access. Our TV/DVD combo is 12 volt and thankfully, we have a bunch of movies to watch on such nights. Must get Satellite TV before our next trip.

On our way to Barradale Rest Area, we saw something we hadn't seen since we left Charters Towers weeks ago.

Clouds!

The beautiful cloudless blue skies we've had since then, gave way to some high, rainless clouds.

We made Carnarvon, our next stop, around lunch time Thursday and booked into The Plantation Caravan Park, a Big 4 park close to town. We sure picked the right day, as they have a free sausage sizzle (big sausage and onions on a bun with tomato sauce) every Thursday arvo at 5.30. 

"Just bring your own drinks and a chair and join in." So we did. It was well patronized, with a big crowd present. I was able to back up for seconds, so thanks for the free feed guys!


Railway carriage shop at One Mile Jetty

Being a one night stay and arriving around 2ish, we didn't get to see much. We took a drive out to One Mile Jetty (yes, a mile long), but the tram that runs out to the end, had finished for the day. 
 



The big satellite dish that Buzz Aldrin opened way back when, was also closed by the time we got out that way, so all in all we saw sweet fanny annie... but we did get a free feed back at the park!

This morning we left for Denham on the Peron Peninsula. Check your maps guys! It meant a 300k detour (150 in, 150 out) from the main highway, but we wanted to visit Monkey Mia

Stock photo from Google Images

Our understanding was, that you could "swim" with the Dolphins, but apparently that isn't so any more. We're told you have to pay $14 each, to stand in a group at water's edge to see the dolphins (if they come in) and only two people are chosen to hand feed them a few fish. You aren't permitted to touch them!

We don't know who has taken control and changed the rules... probably the Environmental Gestapo or some Quasi Government Dept out to profit from the event. But we had already booked 2 nights at the Top Tourist Park here in Denham, so we'll take the 28k drive over to Monkey Mia (the other side of the peninsula) in the morning and see what transpires. 

Apparently the dolphins come in around 7.45 in the morning, so we'll have to leave here about 6.45am. It's still dark then and quite cold here so we'll rug up for the event. Denham is a quaint little seaside town, probably somewhere between Keppel Sands and Emu Park in size and they say the fishing is great.

All the Caravan Parks here are chockers and we got the last spot at the Denham Seaside Tourist Village. Not real flash... it's right near the entrance, so we get all the in and out traffic past our door... but it will do for a couple of nights. Then Sunday, it's off to Geraldton. I'll post some pics and a report about Monkey Mia tomorrow.

Telstra SUCKS!

Set the phone alarm for 6.30am to get an early start for the 28k drive over to Monkey Mia. Good reliable alarm worked perfectly. Pitch black outside, we get up, put on the jug for a cuppa, get dressed, put on my watch... and its only 5.15am!

My phone time (No, I didn't notice) was still on the Northern Territory time zone! 

I checked SETTINGS and it's set to "Automatic, Use Network Provided Values." For some unknown reason, it didn't change to WA time, yet it did change from Qld to NT time! 

Go figure!

So, we're up and hour and a half early, fully dressed, waiting for a respectable time to start the noisy diesel, so we don't wake the entire Caravan Park!
 

Ok... Retraction Time Re: Monkey Mia

Now that we've been to Monkey Mia and have got the facts, I must eat humble pie and retract my rantings about Environmental Gestapo (sorry Lukey!) and Quasi Government Departments.

I won't go into a lengthy discourse here (mainly because I can't remember all that was said!) BUT... there are good reasons why they stopped unchecked human interaction with the Dolphins.

Hundreds of people come down to the beach to see the Dolphins (as many as 700 once!) and it simply isn't practical for all to be in the water, trying to pat and feed them. I'd estimate there would have been around 100 people present this morning. 

The Dept of Environment and Conservation have taken control and run the "show'. The whole area is a National Park/Nature Reserve with an entry fee (true of many National Parks) which is not a fee to see the dolphins. 

Bev and I arrived early (!!) and were advised the Rangers (girls) would allow access to the "feeding section" of the beach at 7.45am after a talk about the do's and don'ts of the operation.

We were all crammed in at water's edge waiting for the dolphins to come in... and they didn't! People started leaving the beach, mainly because of the cold westerly wind (read freezing!) blowing in off the Indian Ocean. 





At about 9am, a couple of dolphins eventually came in close and about 20mins later, there were as many as 7. 
They only feed the females and they each get 500grams of fresh fish each. By this time, Bev and I were up on the jetty and got a great view of the activity.

Tomorrow it's Geraldton's turn to pamper us...

Denham to Geraldton

I haven't lived a sheltered life. I've driven a lot of kilometres through Queensland and New South Wales... but NEVER have I come across so many straight stretches of road as we have since leaving Rocky.

Just one example... leaving Denham to travel to Geraldton... as you round the corner on the crest of a hill, all you see is a straight road, as far as the eye can see, disappearing in the horizon. And as you reach that distant point, another seeming endless road... disappearing again into the horizon!

We eventually reconnected with Highway 1 (Denham/Monkey Mia was about 130k off the beaten track) and made our way south toward Geraldton.


After filling up at the Overlander Roadhouse, we came across the Billabong Roadhouse, where we stopped for a toilet break and a photo op... the Billabong Caravan at Billabong Roadhouse!

 

Moving on, the flat endless plains finally gave way to a scenic change of hills and bends, with hectare after endless hectare of yellow flowers. We later discovered they were the stuff from which Canola oil is derived.

As the yellow flowers thinned, they gave way to the outskirts of Geraldton, as we made our way to the Sunset Beach Holiday Park. As usual, Petal (Navman) guided us skilfully to our destination and we set up camp for 2 nights in the "Windy City".

Maybe we aren't trying hard enough, but there wasn't a lot to see in Geraldton. A visit to the HMAS Sydney Memorial was an eye opener (Google it guys) but apart from that, it was just groceries at Woolies and a trip to a Caravan Accessories shop for a sullage hose which I couldn't find.

 
View from our Caravan Park. Enlarge to see Ships waiting to dock.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Geraldton to Perth

Cute little town on the way

 The trip from Geraldton to Perth took a little longer than anticipated, for reasons I would rather not divulge. However, because of pressure from you know who, all I'll say is, we were supposed to take the route that took us through Wild Flower Country. But someone, who shall remain nameless, took the wrong turn (and wouldn't turn back) and we saw nothing! All it did was add a couple of hours to our trip. 

However, we did arrive at our destination, moments before sunset, but by that time, Bev was talking to me again!

Thankfully, Petal (Navman) took us right to the door of Karrinyup Waters Resort, because I would have hated to have Bev trying to guide me reading a map!!

The Resort is magnificent. See the Video Here . We booked in for 7 nights and have a nice, full slab site (one piece slab for van, awning and car) right next to a pond with ducks and water fowl.

 

We even have a white duck that follows you around, looking for a handout. I was eating a mandarin, which he happily ate. I tried to get a photo of him, but this fella chased him away.

Tomorrow morning, Thursday, we're off on a Wine Country Tour, which wouldn't have gone over well with Bev (seeing she missed her Wild Flowers!) except we are visiting a Chocolate Factory, with samples, as part of the tour. We took a similar tour back in 2008 but a lot changes in 5 years.


Friday, I'm on orders to take us to the Casino. We hope it is as friendly this trip as it was last trip, as we had 8 visits in 2008 and won on roulette every visit!


Saturday, its off to the races at Belmont Park... Sunday it's the Markets at Fremantle, if we can find them. Then maybe a 'get on get off' bus trip on Monday. We are scheduled to leave Tuesday morning, but we're thinking of extending a couple of days. This is the nicest and cheapest park we've stayed at since leaving Rocky!

I'll confirm our movements in a couple of days time.

Perth, continued...

As mentioned, we booked into Karrinyup Waters Resort for 7 nights, but this morning (Friday) we extended our stay another week as we like it here and there's still a lot to see.


The Swan Valley Wine Tour went well and Bev even sampled a few vinos... so much so, that she was "audible"! We visited 5 wineries, a Boutique Brewery and a Chocolate Factory.

The wineries were good, the brewery so, so (a third of a glass of ONE beer to sample... additional HALF beers $2 each) and the chocolate factory was a let down as we got ONE sample and the prices they were charging were ridiculous! We bought nothing!
I did manage to buy 4 bottles of wine, one of which BJ liked. BJ 1...Pricey 3... sounds fair to me!

Today we went to the Casino. It's owned by young Packer and is now called the Perth Crown Casino. It's the only place in WA (except for the horse races) where you can gamble, as there's no pokies in WA outside the casino!

We both played roulette, as we do, and sadly, Bev lost $90. Happily, I won $280.

Tomorrow, Saturday we are off to the races at Belmont Park and Sunday we'll probably head off to the Markets at Fremantle

Monday morning, I've booked the BT50 in for its 100,000 service, ($900+.ouch!) so that will use up one day in itself.

See ya next week!

Even More Perth...

As alluded to in my last post, we went to the Perth races at Belmont Park on Saturday, but unfortunately, we didn't win. When we were last in Perth in 2008, we were told that Belmont Park, which is huge and very close to the city, was closing down and being sold off for housing. Apparently the public outcry was so great, that it didn't happen, but one of the shopkeepers at the course told me that partial "re-development" of the course will still go ahead within a couple of years. 

As planned, we visited the markets at Fremantle on Sunday. Every kind of stall imaginable is there, all packed into a old building, which makes it an all weather event. Apart from a bite to eat, we didn't buy anything. 

The 100,000klm service on the Mazda went without a problem with an alignment and balance being the only requirement. I probably should have had the alignment done back in Darwin, as it's been pulling slightly left for a while now, Hopefully, it hasn't caused early wear on the front tyres. 

As expected, we've had a few visits to the Casino already. Every new casino we visit, we join their Rewards Program, which gives members discounts on food, plus a few other freebies. Here in Perth, they have a deal (which we took advantage of yesterday) where they pick you up from the suburbs, and bus you to the Casino, shout you an 'all-you-can-eat' lunch, give you a few bucks towards keno and pokies, then bus you back in the afternoon... all for $10! Being a couple of tight-ass pensioners, we couldn't resist! 

Tomorrow, Friday, it's more sight-seeing around the area, then Saturday, surprise, surprise... it's back on the punt. Rather than heading for the racetrack, we'll probably go to the Casino TAB where admission is free and the food is cheaper! (Told you we were a couple of tight-ass pensioners!)
 

South Beach. Imagine this on a lovely fine sunny day!

We are here in Perth until Tuesday morning, when we hook up and head further south to the Margaret River area. Only problem is, it's raining and cold down there (as here) so we'll just have to make the most of it. In hindsight, we should have spent a lot more time up north and arrived down here in mid September. The locals have welcomed the rain, as it's been dry for so long and this has been the wettest winter they've had in many years! 

 

More rain coming!

Perth... Extended!

 
Crown Perth - Stock Photo

Just a quick update tonight...
We are really enjoying our stay here at Karrinyup Waters Resort. Tomorrow (Tuesday) morning, we were due to check out and move on, but we've decided to extend our stay by an extra few days... maybe even another week!

There's still a lot we haven't seen and besides, the Casino has been very kind to us! We both had very nice wins (by our standards) today. Bev won for the first time today, recouping all her previous losses, while I've won every visit... Go Pricey!!

Our Last Week in Perth

 
Perth from Kings Park
Following on from Monday's Post, we took time on Tuesday to visit King's Park in the heart of Perth CBD. What an impressive place it is. 

We got plenty of photos, which would have been a lot more impressive, had it been a bright sunny day.

Unfortunately, the dismal weather continued with cloudy skies and a very cold wind, so we left early as the rain started falling and headed to - surprise, surprise - the warmth of Perth Crown Casino.

Just in case you've been living under a rock for past 20 years, Bev and I love visiting Casinos. Roulette is our game and it is one of only 2 casino games that can actually give the player a solid chance of winning. Blackjack is the other. And while we certainly don't win all the time, we do win more than we lose, although you may not think so from reading my posts.

We set a goal some years ago, to do a 'Casino Crawl of Australia' and this 5 month trip around Australia has given us the opportunity to visit 2 we hadn't yet visited... Darwin and soon, Adelaide.

Ok... Wednesday, we took advantage, yet again, of the "$10-all-you-can-eat, bus-you-in, bus-you-out, Casino visit". A great day and excellent value.

 

As always, click to Enlarge
Checking the prices on next race

We were going to do a day trip to Mandurah on Thursday, but because it's on our way south next week (and will probably stay a couple of days) we opted instead for a trip east to Northam and a visit to their mid-week Race Meeting. Northam, around 90ks east, north east of Perth, is a lovely little country town. It boasts one main street, a McDonalds and a Woolies supermarket!

Our aim is to visit many Provincial and Country Race Tracks and Meetings during our trip. As keen punters, we have probably had bets on horses at most City, Provincial and Country Tracks around Australia. It will be a bit like putting a 'face to the name' so to speak. A lot of the lesser known tracks have a character of their own, as witnessed with our visit to Northam.

The return trip to Perth from Northam wasn't without drama. As the sun was sinking lower and dusk approached, we hit a road block. Road Closed! A young Main Roads guy had just finished putting up the Road Closed signs and turned us off to a side road. We had absolutely no idea where we were and were very thankful we had 'Petal' with us, even though 'she' tried more than once to turn us onto a dirt track to get us back to Perth. The detour added around 10ks to our return trip, but we arrived home safely thanks to the marvels of the GPS system.

It was a beautiful sunny day on Friday, so it was 'clean the car and caravan' day. The task was to remove the red dust stain from the silastic sealer on the joins of the van. The red dust through western Queensland, the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia was endless and gets into everything, even though we travelled almost exclusively on the black top!

By Friday lunch time, we had the BT50 and the van sparkling clean. But as always happens, it rained that night. In fact, we had a thunder storm move through. We were awoken at least three times as different cells moved through. Strange weather for late winter early spring.

This morning the rain had eased, but was still overcast, so we decided another trip to the races was in order. We had a lovely day at Belmont Park. It was a profitable day for me, but unfortunately, Bev's losing streak continued. But I had better not crow too loudly, as fortunes can change in a blink in the punting 'business'.

 

Mandurah - File photo

Perth to Mandurah... NOT!

No photos for tonight's post. 

We left Perth this morning with mixed emotions. Our three weeks at Karrinyup Waters Caravan Park, our base for exploring Perth, was very enjoyable. Bev and I actually discussed staying another week, but realistically, it was time to move on. There's still a lot of Australia yet to see.

Our plan was to travel the short distance south to Mandurah and stay there a couple of nights. It was raining cats and dogs when we arrived and I had no desire to set up in the rain! So we decided to continue on the extra hundred ks or so to Bunbury.

It was lovely fine weather when we arrived and we booked into the Discovery Holiday Parks – Koombana Bay, a Big4 Park close to town.

After a bit of a look around, we headed to one of the two shopping centres here, searching for a hairdresser. Neither of us had had a haircut since Darwin, so the locks were getting out of hand. We found a salon that is part of a franchised chain of shops that offered no appointment, inexpensive cuts. We both walked out looking like a couple of young boys... Bev with a short cut and me with a #2 comb cut!

Back at the park, the local TV news was on, with a severe storm warning for tonight between midnight and dawn. Destructive winds up to 125k/hour are anticipated between Bunbury and Walpole (which is at the southern most point of WA). We are at the northern most point of the warning area, so we're hoping we'll be OK. We put the awning up and parked the BT50 close to the van, so here's hoping... If you don't hear from us for a couple of days, we'll probably be blown east of here somewhere!

3 Days in Bunbury

 

Well, the storm didn't get us on Tuesday night. The wind blew, the van rocked and the rain fell... but we got through it in one piece.

Last night (Wednesday) it hit again, but not as badly this time. This morning, we actually woke to occasional sunshine, but still a strong, cold wind.

We took advantage of the 'better' weather and did a bit of sightseeing today. The first stop was a little place about 30ks out of Bunbury in the beautiful Ferguson Valley, called Gnomesville.

No, I'd never heard of of it either, but it's a place you simply wouldn't believe existed unless you saw it with your own eyes! Miles and miles from nowhere, set in a picture postcard valley, complete with a babbling brook winding through the area... were thousands upon thousands of... GNOMES!

Yes, garden variety Gnomes! Scattered through the bush, on both sides of a winding path, the Gnomes have been put there over many years, by locals and tourists from all over Australia... and the world. You simply wouldn't believe the enormity of it all. I've uploaded the photos full size, so you can get some idea of the size of Gnomesville. As usual, click on the thumbnails to see the larger photos.

After lunch back in town, we did a bit more 'touristing' and saw the lighthouse, the rugged coastline and the hilltop lookout. 

We also made a visit to the "Talking Toilet". It must have been faulty. Bev stepped inside and a male voice with an American accent says "Please press the button to close the door." So Bev presses the button... and the dunny flushes! But the door doesn't close. I go in with her, press it again... the dunny flushes, but the door still doesn't close! Four flushes later, with Bev nearly peeing her pants from the water flowing, we headed quickly back to the caravan park toilet!
 

And that, apart from a trip to Bunnings, BCF and a couple of caravan accessories' stores, was our stopover in Bunbury. The dismal weather certainly disrupted our visit.

Tomorrow morning, we're off to the Margaret River Region 110ks south, where we'll probably stay for about four nights. I might have to try and take Bev, (kicking and screaming "all wine is vinegar!") on another wine tour. 

Until then...
 

3 Days in Margaret River

 
Main Street Margaret River

More bad weather marred our trip yet again. This time at Margaret River. Friday, we drove through rain most of the way from Bunbury, but thankfully, it stopped long enough to set up camp at Margaret River Tourist Park.

After the mandatory drive around town to see the sights and get our bearings, we parked the truck and walked the main street... three blocks up... three blocks back. The township itself is not that big, but it does have a Woolies and two service stations!

Back to the Park and down came the rain. It rained all Friday night and all day Saturday. We stayed in the van and got on the punt, watching the races on Seven2.

Ready for Work!

This morning we awoke to blue skies and sunshine and the icy cold wind had eased! What a contrast! We took advantage of the change and made a visit to Mammoth Cave, one of the several limestone caves in the area.

Unlike a couple of the other caves that have guided tours, Mammoth is self-guided. There is no lighting in the 300 metre cave system, so they provide you with a hard-hat "miners" helmet and a flashlight and you simply follow the pathways through the cave.

We followed that with a visit to Bettenays, a Winery/Nougat place and sampled their goodies, but I had to limit my sampling to 3 wines, as I was the designated driver. Bev got some Nougat and a bottle of Coffee Nougat Liqueur and I scored a $35 bottle of Shiraz.
 

Very Long Busselton Jetty

From there, we took a 35k drive north to Busselton for a sticky and had a huge lunch at a nice pub in town. At least we got one good day to see the sights of the area.

Tomorrow, we're off to Albany 382ks away. Unfortunately, the prediction is more rain and storms with three more fronts moving in, over the next 10 days! Bugger!

3 Days at Albany... 1 at Esperance


The 3 day stopover series continues, with Albany in the spotlight this time. The rain continued from Margaret River to Albany, but fortunately, eased long enough to check into the Top Tourist Park close to the CBD. As members of both Top Tourist and Big 4, we prefer to stay with them for the 10% discount we receive.

Because of the weather, Albany didn't have a lot to offer and in hindsight, a two night stay would have been enough. We did get to see the inside of Bunnings, a Caravan Accessories Shop and both their shopping centres though, so the retail therapy helped.

 

Bev at Esperance

We were glad to leave Albany behind us, with their cold wind and rain, as we headed east for the first time this trip. With the cold fronts and rain in our rear-view mirror, the showers became less and less the closer we got to Esperance. By the time we arrived, we had lovely blue skies and sunshine. We checked into the Esperance Seaside Caravan Park overlooking the Bay and headed off for our usual drive-around, to see the sights.

Esperance is relatively small, so we only stayed one night before heading off this morning (Friday 20/09/13) on our next leg. We wanted to be in Port Lincoln, South Australia by next Thursday, to catch the Race Meeting there, so we put in 370ks today, passing through Norseman and are now Free Camping at Harms Lake Rest Area, 25ks from Balladonia. As I write this (we have no TV or Mobile reception) Bev's on the bed reading her That's Life magazine and I'm typing this enjoying a glass of red. Actually it's a 'plastic' of red... but that doesn't sound right, does it?

Tomorrow, I'm going to try to cover 550ks and get to Eucla, just short of the WA/SA Border. If not, we'll pull over earlier for another Free Camp somewhere in the digglies.

I'll finish this post then and upload it when we have service.
 

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Our solution to this dilemma was to install a Satellite TV System. My research had narrowed the choices down to 2 companies:

Both companies offer a full Satellite Caravan Kit at great prices. I was ready to order a full kit from Access Antennas, when an email changed everything.

I'm a subscriber to the popular Caravan & Motorhome on Tour Magazine, which I enjoy very much. In November 2014 they sent out an email to entice new subscribers and get current subscribers to extend. To sweeten the deal, they were offering a Satellite Dish Kit with a 15 month subscription, for $149!

I used to buy the Magazine each month from the Newsagent and 15 issues @ $9.95 comes to $149.25. Just so happens, the Kit they were offering is the Access Antennas kit, selling on their website for $339. This is the full kit, without the Decoder Box.

I had to buy the VAST Decoder Box separately, which cost $235 postpaid. So I got the full kit, worth $584 including the Bag, plus 15 issues of the magazine ($149.25 across the counter) for only $384!
Now that's a deal !   

 

Usually, we don't stay in a Free Camp location longer than 2 days. We like to share our Free Camping experiences with Caravan Park stays. Therefore, we don't need a lot of Solar. Even so, our setup includes 2x 130w Panels fixed  on the roof (above), powering a 110AH Battery. We also have a second battery in the tug.

As a supplement, we also have a 120w Folding Panel.  We have never come close to running out of power, thanks to our van's highly efficient LED lighting and low power draw appliances.

We lumped a generator around Australia, but in two years, have never used it !

Anyone want to buy a genny?

Read the full Article Here
 

 


But it doesn't have to be this way! Stop the frustration! My New Guide will lead you step-by-step towards a successful set-up every time.

Read More Here

 

Caravan Improvement Projects
I love working on new projects that will improve our quality of life on the road. Here's one project I just completed recently. See if it will suit your setup... you may want to do it for your van. 
                 Water Purification Project

 


Simply enter your current location in the box and hit enter. It's preset for the Optus C1/D3 Satellite.

The only drawback is, you need Internet to use it. They also have an iPhone app as well. (No Android yet)
 

  

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