Cameron Highlands

18th to 21st September 2018

Drove a couple of hundred kilometres to spent a few days in the cool of the Cameron Highlands. The temperature at this altitude is lovely and cool (17’ to 21’C) after the 32’C heat of the plains.

This is my fourth visit to the Highlands so it was not an unknown quantity and as a touch of nostalgia stayed at the Heritage Hotel in Tanah Rata, the same hotel as on the first visit 12 years ago.

Cameron Highlands Heritage Hotel

Because this is a tea growing area there are plenty of Indian restaurants with Tandori Chicken cooked in a kiln being a speciality. The area also grows strawberries and flowers as well as a variety of cool climate vegetables. It is interesting to see how these nurseries cling to the side of some very steep slopes with fascinating offerings such as “Self Plucking Strawberries”.

Cameron Lavender Gardens

The first visit was to the Cameron Lavender Gardens a large flower nursery and tourist attraction.

Cameron Highlands Lavender GardensCameron Highlands Lavender GardensCameron Highlands Lavender GardensCameron Highlands Lavender GardensCameron Highlands Lavender GardensCameron Highlands Lavender GardensCameron Highlands Lavender GardensCameron Highlands Lavender Gardens

Boh Tea Factory

Another nostalgic visit; when we came 12 years ago there were visits to the actual factory where the tea was ground, dried, fermented and packaged but that doesn’t seem to be possible now. The tea rooms then were new and spacious, on this visit those same tea rooms were crowded though the tea and scones were still fine.

BOH Tea FactoryBOH Tea FactoryBOH Tea PlantationBOH Tea PlantationBOH Tea Plantation

Plenty to do and see in the Cameron Highlands…

Cameron HighlandsCameron HighlandsCameron HighlandsCameron Highlands

…and eat.

Cameron Highlands DinnerCameron Highlands DinnerDurian

A diet is definitely on the cards when I get home.

24th May 2017–Broome Day Three

Distance: 30 km

My temperature estimates yesterday were a bit off – Day 32’C Night 19’ more like it.

This morning I was shocked to see clouds so I took a picture of them.


170524 002 Broome Cloud

Went to the Visitors Centre this morning to book a cruise if one was available for today. I was lucky and booked a sunset cruise on Roebuck Bay. They would pick me up at 1.40pm at the Visitors Centre.

As it was only 9.30am I had plenty of time to do other things. I returned to Chinatown for a coffee and time to plan the rest of the day.

170524 007 Broome170524 009 Broome Star Cinema

The Sun Picture Gardens is an open air cinema, the oldest in the world, built in 1913. It is still in almost original condition.

Next up was a visit to Broome Museum because it had a display about the pearling industry and the attack on Broome in WWII. Normally I avoid small town museums because they tend to be just like visiting my Grandmother’s or Great Aunts’ houses but as country museums go this one was quite interesting.

170524 020 Broome Museum170524 011 Broome Museum170524 013 Broome Museum170524 016 Broome Museum170524 017 Broome Museum170524 019 Broome Museum

After the museum I had a look at the Pioneer Cemetery and Town Beach complete with mangroves.

170524 023 BroomeTown Beach & Cemetery170524 024 BroomeTown Beach & Cemetery170524 028 BroomeTown Beach & Cemetery

In a day when one cemetery is never enough I also visited the Japanese and Chinese cemeteries. One thing I learned at the Broome museum was why there are so many Japanese and their descendants in Broome – it is all to do with pearling – the White Australia Policy and the notorious English test was not applied to Japanese pearl divers however they and their Australian born descendants were all interned during WWII.

170524 030 Broome Chinese and Japanese Cemeteries170524 033 Broome Chinese and Japanese Cemeteries170524 034 Broome Chinese and Japanese Cemeteries170524 036 Broome Chinese and Japanese Cemeteries

Zoomed back to Chinatown for lunch I thought there was a Thai restaurant there but I must have seen it somewhere else (I’ll find it tomorrow). I could only find one Chinese restaurant among all the cafes and bars so I had lunch there – to be fair after I had eaten and was leaving the area I saw at least two others.

170524 041 Broome

Went back to the caravan park for a shower before the cruise. At the back of my camper was a lizard – he scuttled up a tree.

170524 045 Broome Lizard

I was only waiting at the Visitors Centre for five minutes before the cruise bus arrived. We picked up the rest of the passengers before driving onto the beach next to the wharf. A launch came from the boat to pick us up.

170524 048 Broome Sunset Cruise

…and drove right up the beach.

170524 049 Broome Sunset Cruise

I’d never seen anything like it but the bloke reckoned he bought it ten years ago.

The cruise was quite interesting (in my opinion all cruises I have ever been on go on far too long. Water can only hold my interest for so long). We did see plenty of Snubfin Dolphins, some Flatback Turtles, a Hammerhead shark, a Dugong and some fish – the first photo is Batwing Fish (or something like that). I have lots of photos of empty water but these are a few with something visible.

170524 058 Broome Sunset Cruise170524 088 Broome Sunset Cruise

170524 098 Broome Sunset Cruise

170524 095 Broome Sunset Cruise

The turtles, shark and dugong got away.

170524 147 Broome Sunset Cruise170524 158 Broome Sunset Cruise

It was a sunset cruise…

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

170512 010 Carnarvon 1 Mile Wharf170512 008 Carnarvon 1 Mile Wharf

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.

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
170510 044 Monkey Mia170510 046 Monkey Mia170510 047 Monkey Mia
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…