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.

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

5th May 2017–Explore Geraldton

Distance: 28 km
Fuel: 20 L

After having a shower decided to hand wash my dirty clothes in the park’s laundry. Once that was on the line, had breakfast and was ready to explore by 8am.

First stop the HMAS Sydney II Memorial. The ship was sunk in 1941 with the loss of all hands, the wreck was only discovered in 2008 (I think that is right).

170505 002 Geraldton HMAS Sydney II Memorial

170505 004 Geraldton HMAS Sydney II Memorial

170505 007 Geraldton HMAS Sydney II Memorial170505 011 Geraldton HMAS Sydney II Memorial

Visited the Old Gaol but it didn’t open until a very tardy 10am.

170505 018 Geraldton Old Police Station

Found the Visitors’ Centre. It was housed in what was the original Railway Station. Rather like Newcastle (on Hunter) the railway cut the town off from the sea front but now the railway has gone and the seafront is very pleasant to walk along. Wonderful for kids I have never seen such exotic playgrounds as those scattered along the esplanade.

170505 037 Geraldton Old Railway Station

Talking of kid’s playgrounds but of a different era… Beside the Visitors’ Centre was an object I haven’t seen since I was a kid – actually it took me a little while to realise what it was.

170505 019 Geraldton Old Roundabout

Recognise it? It’s one of those roundabouts suspended from a central pivot (here rendered safe and useless by the metal pillars under the seats). I don’t think I have ever seen one in that hexagonal shape before, the ones I remember were circular and swung in eccentric circles toward and away from the central pillar depending on the arrangement of riders. They were great.

Anyway back to Geraldton… from the Visitors’ Centre I obtained a map and a self guided trail brochure. I combined the Esplanade and Marine Drive Trails for an interesting walk along the waterfront and the town.

170505 030 Geraldton Waterfront

170505 037 Geraldton Old Railway Station170505 039 Geraldton

170505 040 Geraldton170505 041 Geraldton

170505 045 Geraldton170505 047 Geraldton Waterfront

170505 051 Geraldton Waterfront170505 055 Geraldton Waterfront

Finally a walk further into town to look at the St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral.

170505 058 Geraldton St Francis Xavier's Cathedral

170505 060 Geraldton St Francis Xavier's Cathedral170505 062 Geraldton St Francis Xavier's Cathedral

170505 066 Geraldton St Francis Xavier's Cathedral170505 073 Geraldton St Francis Xavier's Cathedral

The weather was very variable all day sometimes cloudy sometimes sunny but at least always warm at about 29’C. Quite a good day seemed to get a lot done. Also looked at Fisherman’s Wharf later in the afternoon but frankly, unless you have a fetish for expensive seafood, it wasn’t that exciting.

Anyway tomorrow onward and northward.

4th May 2017–Wongan Hills to Geraldton

Distance: 476 km
Fuel: 42 L

Left Wongan Hills at stupid o’clock in the morning after a good nights sleep and breakfast. I had left the trailer connected to the car last night so there wasn’t much to do this morning except shower, eat and go.

Headed for Cervantes to visit The Pinnacles Desert NP. On the way came across this abandoned house by the main road.

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Well, I liked it anyway.

The Pinnacles, they cost $6 for this poor old pensioner to view them but worth it. I took the 1.5km walking track rather than drive round them.

BTW one big mistake. Driving to Cervantes the road ad surrounding scrub was lined with Bansias in flower – looked terrific. Thought how I must photograph some of them at the National Park. Ha! they petered out before the park and I  didn’t see any more. So annoyed with myself.

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Finally a glimpse of the Indian Ocean. Finally have crossed the continent.

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Following that visit headed north with the intention of staying at Jurien Bay but on arrival there it was still earlly afternoon so decided to push on to Geraldton. Not a bad drive some of it along the ocean front.

Checked in at the caravan park, unhitched the trailer then went for a quick drive. Near the caravan park is the tallest metal lighthouse in the country. The local power company has tastefully decorated it with power poles and some of their finest cables.

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That’s better.

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Visited the local Target store and bought a Target toaster for $10. Toast in the morning!

3rd May 2017–Wave Rock to Wongan Hills

Distance: 373 km
Fuel: 45 L
Made a lot of stops today but either nothing too exciting to photograph or I just plain forgot.
I had to visit this town…
170503 001 Bruce Rock
There was something called Bruce’s Rock signposted but I couldn’t find it, all I managed was a picnic site with an historic well. Actually it wasn’t a bad little town.
170503 003 Bruce Rock
There was a stop at Cunderdin for supplies, The town had an Ettamogah Pub.
170503 005 Cunderdin
…but frankly I thought the library was a better building.
170503 006 Cunderdin
As was the old railway station.
170503 007 Cunderdin
I had never heard of the 1968 Meckering Earthquake but it destroyed a house.
170503 008 Meckering Earthquake170503 010 Meckering Earthquake
An annoying thing about councils is their inconsistent signage I started following a series of signs stating “Earthquake Site” – these signs petered out with no sign of an earthquake, It was only while retracing my steps that I noticed a sign which said “Farm House Ruins” which I hope was the Earthquake site.
Arrived at Wongan Hills Caravan Park and booked in. Why Wongan Hills? It was 3pm (ish) I was tired of driving and this was the nearest park. The very friendly fella told me to just pick a site because there was plenty of room.
170503 011 Wongan Hills  Caravan Park
There were about four caravans in the drive through sites but no-one at all on the reverse in concrete slabs so I picked one of those near the shower block.

1st May 2017–A Day in Kalgoorlie

Awoke to a grey overcast sky which was a surprise as it was not cold overnight at all and no dew on the cars/caravans this morning however by 10am the clouds had largely gone.
First job was a little shopping to buy necessities such as soap and the all important Telstra SIM card.
Then it was time to visit the town’s reason to exist, the Super Pit.
170501 011 Kalgoorlie Super Pit
It was a massive hole the machinery looked so tiny yet it too was on a gigantic scale.
170501 009 Kalgoorlie Super Pit
I wanted to look at some of the nearby mining towns that had gone though boom and bust, they proved to be a bit of a disappointment. The area is littered with working mines but these old places have completely disappeared. At Broad Arrow all that remains is a cast iron water tank.
170501 021 Kalgoorlie Broad Arrow
So it was back to Kalgoorlie to take in the sights.
170501 006 Kalgoorlie
170501 008 Kalgoorlie
From the town reservoir lookout there were signs of mining in all directons.
170501 028 Kalgoorlie
170501 032 Kalgoorlie
The town is actually two towns Boulder has its own CBD.
170501 050 Boulder
170501 052 Boulder
170501 060 Boulder
There is something for everybody.
170501 056 Boulder

28th April–Ceduna to Nullarbor Roadhouse

Distance: 324 km
Fuel: 32 ltr
I am such a dope. I had intended to buy a Telstra SIM card for the spare phone I packed. When did I remember? When I was parked at the Nullarbor Roadhouse looking at the Telstra only phone tower! Anyway to continue…
From Ceduna the first stop was a quick sortie into Penong to see the windmills.
170428 005 Penong Windmills
Then a fairly long stint with nothing much to do other than occasionally turn the steering wheel to accommodate the rare bend in the road while listening to the audio book of “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” read by Stephen Fry.
Nullarbor is not an Aboriginal word as I had assumed but from the Latin Nullus Arbor meaning No Trees (and there aren’t any)
About 15km before the Nullarbor Roadhouse is the turn off to “The Head of the Bight”. 14km of sealed road to a visitor’s centre, boardwalk and lookout. It is on Aboriginal Land and costs $5 (more for the less elderly).
170428 026 Head of the Bight
Well worth the money, during the season whales can be seen but even without them it is spectacular scenery. The only thing south is Antarctica.
170428 029 Head of the Bight
Finally the Nullarbor Roadhouse… What can I say? Diesel is $175/ltr, they generate their own electricity, desalinate their own bore water and charge $30 for a powered site plus $1 for a shower. I had a Nulla Burger for my evening meal and it was very good perfectly complimented by an $8 stubbie of Carlton Draught.
The original Roadhouse is still there (remember when there were only two sorts of petrol? Standard and Super).
170428 041 Nullarbor Roadhouse
But the new one also has a motel, caravan park and even a golf fairway.
170428 045 Nullarbor Roadhouse
Now this is a road sign you don’t see every day.
170428 048 Nullarbor Roadhouse
Haven’t seen any of the camels yet but I would imagine hitting a camel at 110kph would do a lot of damage to both of you.