15th May 2017 – New & Old

Distance: 96 km
Fuel: 54 L

Up early… and yes, the sun rises within the ANZAC Badge.

170515 003 Onslow Dawn

Went for an early morning walk on the Onslow boardwalk along the waterfront.

170515 013 Onslow Boardwalk

From it you caught glimpses of the two local industries – salt mining and LNG export.

170515 021 Onslow Boardwalk170515 019 Onslow Boardwalk

170515 026 Onslow Boardwalk170515 025 Onslow Boardwalk

I wanted to see the old town. After a long drive along a dirt road beside the Ashburton River…

170515 046 Old Onslow Ashburton River170515 047 Old Onslow Ashburton River

…I got close. Actually I didn’t find any old buildings but there was the town’s cemetery.

170515 035 Old Onslow Cemetary170515 040 Old Onslow Cemetary170515 042 Old Onslow Cemetary170515 043 Old Onslow Cemetary

It was amazing how young the people were when they died; mostly in their thirties or forties very few were over fifty, It must have been a hard life a century ago.

On the other hand, when I got back to new Onslow I was pretty hungry so called into the only pub for a meal.

170515 050 Onslow

Funny thing, I asked for a schooner of beer but they only sold pints or middies. Never come across that before, silly really because I would have bought two schooners but not two pints (I had to drive to get fuel)

At 9.30pm the power went out so I had to upload this using candle power. (The bit about the power going off is true)

14th May 2017–Carnarvon to Onslow

Distance: 498.1 Km

A warning…

170513 002 Carnarvon Sign

I have about 35 litres of water and 20 litres of fuel plus a full tank on board so all should be well.

Tom Tom reminded me this is not going to be a complex journey. (Turn left in 406 km)

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For a few hundred k’s the landscape wasn’t complex either but first we finally arrive in the tropics.

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It’s a flat dry land with termite mounds as far as the eye could see until, at last, some variation with some ridges and hills.

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After the turn off to Onslow some salt pans and signs of industry.

Arrived at the caravan park mid afternoon, checked in, parked and went for a walk.

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Almost adjacent to my camp site is the beach and a small park with an odd combination of memorials.

Of course the ANZAC Memorial which apparently faces the rising sun. I hope to be up early enough to check this out in the morning.

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Then a tribute to a couple of local fishing boats lost at sea (during a cyclone?)

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I have to say the following one struck me as really odd.

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Finally a bronze showing where we are.

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Then it was a stroll into town, past the pub, General Store (I bought an ice cream), not one but two service stations, the council chamber and the town’s library with it’s own public art.

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There was more…

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As I returned past the pub I heard some loud voices and laughter (not much) but a WA Police paddy wagon came round the corner. As they stopped outside a young fella just opened the police car’s back door and got in. The policeman got out, opened the paddy wagon door and told the fella to get out of the back seat and into the paddy wagon part which he did, the policeman got back in and drove off. It was the politest and most low key disturbance I have ever seen.

13th May 2017–Rest Day

Distance: 27 km
Fuel: 20 L

As soon as the sun was up I had my dirty clothes in one of the park’s washing machine so that by the time I had a shower and breakfast they were ready to hang on the line.

Spent a leisurely morning watching the happy campers pack up their gear and move off. One that did impress me fitted on the back of a flat bed crew cab ute. I have seen them before but did like the way the jacks ran on electric motors and basically all he had to do was reverse the ute underneath.

Once I tired of all this activity I took off to find Chinaman’s Pool a local shady picnic spot by a billabong.

170513 003 Carnarvon Chinamans Pool170513 006 Carnarvon Chinamans Pool

Spend a little time sitting by the water watching the water birds but I think it was a bit overgrown for too many people to use. Anyway after spending a while there I drove into town to walk further along the tramway track.

170513 007 Carnarvon Tramway Track

The area is supposed to be teeming with wild life but apart from seagulls I saw little evidence of it, there were more birds in the caravan park.

170513 009 Carnarvon Tramway Track

Suddenly it was past lunch time and I stumbled across a fish and chip shop, not exactly the seafood I had in mind yesterday but I was hungry. It turned out a good choice; for $9 I had two big, tasty pieces of flake and more chips than I could eat. Good meal.

Did some shopping to top up on quick meals, fruit plus some other groceries, by the time I filled up with fuel the afternoon was nearly over.

Back at the caravan park I got on the phone and booked a site at a place called Onslow for tomorrow night. I read the brochure for Exmouth and it seemed to cater for the swimming, fishing, snorkelling and boating mob so decided to give it a miss… Onslow has some ruins.

Before I knew it it was getting dark… Odd, yesterday I did a lot more sightseeing etc but today just seemed to fly past. Oh BTW… haven’t seen a cloud for days.

Smile

12th May 2017–Carnarvon Capers

Distance: 206 Km
Fuel: 33 L

Out and about by 8.30am. Straight to I Mile Jetty to walk it before the day warmed up. I paid my $5 to be able to go on it at the honesty box near the beginning of the wharf.

170512 001 Carnarvon 1 Mile Wharf

170512 003 Carnarvon 1 Mile Wharf

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It was a long walk but worth it; you seem a long way off shore; there is a problem at the end – it seems to be in danger of collapse.

170512 011 Carnarvon 1 Mile Wharf170512 005 Carnarvon 1 Mile Wharf

Near the start of the wharf were some relics.

170512 022 Carnarvon 1 Mile Wharf

This is the anchor of the cargo ship Korean Star which ran aground in 1988 during Cyclone “Herbie” and broke up. The crew were rescued by flying fox within 45 minutes.

170512 025 Carnarvon 1 Mile Wharf

Back to the main part of town to see where the 3km of tramline to the wharf once started.

170512 033 Carnarvon Tramway Bridge170512 039 Carnarvon Tramway Bridge170512 042 Carnarvon Tramway Bridge

Next up I took a 75km drive to Blowhole Point and Quobba, didn’t see a blowhole but did see some terrific scenery and beaches.

170512 053 Blowhole Point170512 056 Blowhole Point170512 059 Blowhole Point170512 062 Blowhole Point

170512 064 Blowhole Point

170512 078 Blowhole Point Lighthouse

Don’t you hate overcrowded  beaches? Somebody got there first.

170512 066 Blowhole Point

Drove for Ks over the worst dirt road for the biggest disappointment of the day. The cairn erected to HMAS Sydney II. It is pathetic and serves absolutely no useful purpose.

170512 073 HMAS Sydney II Cairn Quobba170512 068 HMAS Sydney II Cairn Quobba

Returned to Carnarvon to visit the OTC Space Museum. The OTC Earth Station had some duties tracking and transferring data on the Apollo Missions. To be honest it was not clear what. Until Earth Stations were built at Ceduna and Moree Carnarvon also transmitted video and telecomms traffic via satellite to the UK and the USA. The dish is obsolete now but right next door is the NBN satellite earth station.

170512 088 Carnarvon OTC Space Museum170512 090 Carnarvon OTC Space Museum170512 096 Carnarvon OTC Space Museum170512 101 Carnarvon OTC Space Museum170512 103 Carnarvon OTC Space Museum170512 104 Carnarvon OTC Space Museum

170512 113 Carnarvon OTC Space Museum

My car sheltering in the shade of the dish.

170512 122 Carnarvon OTC Space Museum

It was still only mid afternoon so I drove around Carnarvon enjoying the sights and taking a walk along the Fascine.

170512 129 Carnarvon170512 134 Carnarvon170512 137 Carnarvon170512 139 Carnarvon170512 140 Carnarvon

Unfortunately the one thing I could not find was a seafood restaurant that served all day. Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

I do like Carnarvon, it quite appeals to me as a town.

Finally one last photo, The town is on the Gascoyne Delta named after the river that flows to the sea here. This is the mighty Gascoyne River in full flood.

170512 047 Carnarvon Gascoyne River

Apparently it is like that most of the time, the exception being when a northern cyclone turns into a rain depression and dumps a lot of water into the river’s catchment then it can become several kilometres wide.

11th May 2017–Denham to Carnarvon

Distance: 345 km

After leaving Denham called in at Shell Beach again (I forgot to take any photos last time) and this time walked much further along the beach. It really is a remarkable beach.

170511 017 Shell Beach

It literally is just a mass of small shells – millions of them stretching for kms.

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The sea is exceptionally salty, I put my hand in and once it had dried it was covered in a thin layer of crusty salt.

Walking back to the car I saw what I thought was a straight shadow across he road; except that there was nothing to cast a shadow.

170511 020 Shell Beach Caterpillars

On closer inspection it was a happy band of caterpillars crossing the road holding hands.

170511 021 Shell Beach Caterpillars

Carnarvon

I arrived in Carnarvon at just after 1pm, booked in to the caravan park and went looking for a tyre place for a wheel alignment. Quickly found a Tyrepower shop and was lucky enough to book the car in immediately. While it was being worked on I had a wander about what looked like the centre of town.

170511 028 Carnarvon

170511 025 Carnarvon

Found a tourist information bureau and obtained a map and a brochure on local attractions. I also had the most unusual meal at a local cafe – egg and bacon on a waffle with maple syrup! I had to try it… actually it wasn’t that bad but I think I will stick to egg, bacon, toast and BBQ sauce in future.

Back at camp noticed the old OTC dish was lit up right behind my  ‘campsite’. It is due a visit tomorrow – they claim to have been an important part of the Apollo moon landing, I can’t wait to find out why.

170511 030 Carnarvon-001

(You do know that if you click on these photos you get the full size version – click on your browsers ‘back’ button to return.)

Looks like another night without the news. The problem with digital TV is that it either works or it doesn’t, there is no snowy but watchable picture when the signal is weak just a mass of blocky pixels with an incomprehensible sound track. Oh well, I can always watch a movie.

 

Some Statistics:

It is three weeks since I set off so here are some facts:

Distance driven so far: 6800km
Fuel: 647 litres of diesel at a cost of: $870
Most expensive fuel: $1.76/l, Average: $1.34/l
Accommodation (Caravan Parks powered sites): $590

10th May 2017–Monkey Mia

Distance: 60 km
Fuel: 26 L

Got up just after 6am, showered, had breakfast and set off for Monkey Mia at about 7.10am to be at Monkey Mia before 7.45am for the dolphins.

Emus wandering through the car park.

We waited for the ranger at the ranger station meanwhile, in the water, so did the dolphins who have, over many years, successfully trained humans to stand in a line at the water’s edge and feed them fish.
170510 002 Monkey Mia170510 004 Monkey Mia
Finally we were allowed down to the waters edge to get closer to the dolphins.
170510 007 Monkey Mia170510 029 Monkey Mia170510 035 Monkey Mia170510 043 Monkey Mia
The ranger told us about the dolphins and the history of Monkey Mia which was quite interesting but I must admit after a while my interest waned somewhat and I wandered off to take other photos
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Even a spider.
170510 053 Monkey Mia
Finally the feeding of the dolphins by selected members of the public.
170510 050 Monkey Mia
It would have been a lot more interesting if it was the feeding of the Tiger Sharks who prey on the dolphins but to be fair I did enjoy it, it just went on too long.
Had a coffee at the restaurant and by the time I finished they were at it again. They feed them up until noon with a minimum 10 minute break between sessions.
I decided to look at other local attractions; I called in to Little Lagoon on the way back. There was a French family parked who were flying a drone watching them passed the time (actually there seem to be a lot of French tourists). The lagoon is circular with a very narrow snake like inlet to the sea.
170510 060 Little Lagoon Shark Bay
Back in Denham during the afternoon it was quite windy and this looked a lot of fun.
170510 069 Denham Wind Surfer
BTW my theory about fuel being more expensive here than on the highway was sort of correct – $1.33 here, $1.32 on the highway. Ummm…

9th May 2017–Denham

Distance: 4.4 Km

Had a rest day. I went to Paul’s Tyre Service to see if I could get a wheel alignment. Nope… Nearest is Carnarvon or Geraldton so went back to the park and swapped the front wheel for the spare.

Had a stroll round Denham, bought a few stamps, a pass to Monkey Mia for tomorrow, some food and washed my dirty clothes.

People I have spoken to really like Denham and I suppose if you like fishing, boating, canoeing etc Denham is the place for you, personally I think that I have just about exhausted its charms.

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The Shark Bay Hotel says that it is the most westerly pub in Australia, but wait… there’s more – the caravan park I am staying at bills itself as the most westerly caravan park in Australia. So there you go…

The weather changed this evening so I pulled down the gazebo as a shower was forecast. Still very warm though but slightly windy.

8th May 2017–Kalbarri to Denham

Distance: 391 Km
Fuel: 24 L

Today is a straight drive to Denham with the intention to visit Monkey Mia and see the feeding of the dolphins.

On the way stopped for fuel having decided that fuel was probably cheaper at a roadhouse on the main (only) highway than some small town off the main road. This is as yet an untested theory.

On the way turned off to Hamelin Pool to see the Telegraph Station and the local microbialites and stromatolites – it’s all to do with microscopic life that form communities; thousands of species of bacteria and microbes that make up every few millimetres of these microbial mats. Anyway this is what they look like:

170508 002 Hamelin Pool170508 004 Hamelin Pool170508 011 Hamelin Pool170508 016 Hamelin Pool170508 019 Hamelin Pool170508 022 Hamelin Pool170508 028 Hamelin Pool

I booked into Denham for 2 nights but I might have to extend that because I noticed a problem with my car which I want to get fixed before anything else.

170508 037 Tyre Problem

The right front tyre has scrubbed out badly.

170508 039 Denham

…and it’s goodnight from me.

7th May 2017–Foreign Parts

Distance: 235.3 km
Fuel: 39 L

Today I left Australia and visited the Principality of Hutt River Province. Prince Leonard served me and sold me postcards and a stubbie holder in the Government building. Prince Graeme provided me with a visa for $4 at the Post Office. It was an interesting visit.

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Prince Leonard was very nice, here he is putting my purchases in a bag for me.

Natures Window

I was ready to look at a local landmark called Natures Window Alas the road is closed for maintenance until July (they are gold plating it).

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Here is a picture of what I would have seen had it been open.

More Scenery

Drove up to Red Bluff to admire the views and see the Zuytdorp Memorial – a Dutch ship wrecked here in about 1712. There were survivors but what became of them is not known.

170507 040 Red Bluff Zuytdorp Memorial

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Finally… Bird Watching

It’s well known that I am an avid bird watcher so today I visited Rainbow Jungle to see what we bird watchers call “parrots” (or not, as the case may be).

Winking smile

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6th May 2017–Geraldton to Kalbarri

Distance: 191 km

I set off this morning expecting to arrive at Kalbarri at about midday but it proved a much more interesting journey than I anticipated and I eventually reached the caravan park at 3.30pm.

Came across a partly restored convict settlement at Lynton – the Port Gregory Convict Hiring Station.

170506 001 Lynton Port Gregory Convict Hiring Station170506 004 Lynton Port Gregory Convict Hiring Station170506 005 Lynton Port Gregory Convict Hiring Station170506 007 Lynton Port Gregory Convict Hiring Station170506 013 Lynton Port Gregory Convict Hiring Station170506 017 Lynton Port Gregory Convict Hiring Station

There was a connection to the Anna on whom “The King and I” was based (click on the photo for a bigger version).

170506 009 Lynton Port Gregory Convict Hiring Station

Took a side trip to visit Port Gregory; a white beach protected by a reef and what appeared to be good fishing if a seven year old who kept reeling in whiting was anything to go by.

170506 027 Port Gregory

170506 026 Port Gregory

Nearby was Pink Lake and yes, it was pink – some algae that thrives in salt water lakes apparently (like Lake Tyrell).

170506 031 Port Gregory Pink Lake

170506 033 Port Gregory Pink Lake170506 036 Port Gregory Pink Lake

As I neared Kalbarri there were numerous lookouts on top of the cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean. I can’t remember which photo was taken from which lookout.

170506 043 Coastline Near Kalbarri170506 049 Coastline Near Kalbarri170506 054 Coastline Near Kalbarri170506 055 Coastline Near Kalbarri170506 057 Coastline Near Kalbarri, 170506 065 Coastline Near Kalbarri

Finally in the caravan park noticed these two cars next to each other.

170506 076 Kalbarri Caravan Park Number Plates