Perth to Norseman
|11 October. Fremantle. We
briefly been here a week ago but it needs more exploring. It basically is
a suburb of Perth. This is the first we saw of Australia when we arrived, back in
1970. We visited the shipwreck museum. This museum has a lot of history on
Dutch ships which were stranded in the mid 1600s. Also the history
museum. Here a lot of information on early migrants. We were not migrants
who came here because of hardships in Holland, but it still brought back a
lot of memories.
Fremantle is very busy over the weekend. Restaurants and cafe's are overflowing and there are people everywhere. You really feel that you are from the country.
13 October. We will be leaving the big smoke. Finally got our broken glass and handle from the oven repaired. In the afternoon we visited Brian and Rita Crombie who we met in Barn Hill. Now we are slowly going to the motorhome rally in Pengally.
|14 October travelled via Toodyay, Northam,
York, Brookton to Pingelly. Toodyay and York are towns who have left a lot
of their old buildings intact. All from around 1850 and mainly made from
16 October arrived in Pingelly. The rally starts at the 17th but we are allowed inside. We booked for an oilchange which is a bit difficult to do by yourself when you are on the road. This blew the budget again which is a regular occurrence.
|21 October. Rally finished. We had beautiful
weather and met some very nice people. Today is overcast and we had some
rain. We have not parked on green grass since we left home and after
close to 200 motorhomes have parked on it, it needs some water. We
spend three days in a national park 50KM from Pingelly where a few people
from the rally also camped. The last day it rained cats and dogs during
the night wit a lot of wind. We left for Rockingham. This is a place
south of Perth on the coast. Here I decided to drive back to Perth to have
some adjustments made to the diesel pump.
25 October and we are back with Bram and Nel Goedegebuur. We had a pleasant two days and left Monday morning for the workshop which only took 10 minutes and off to Mandurah.
In Mandurah we visited Leigh Huyser who we met in Barn Hill. We just fitted on their driveway. They have a beautiful house on a canal estate where we spend a very pleasant evening with another Dutch couple Leigh invited for dinner.
Next day a stroll through the centre. The weather had changed from fine to cold and windy. That day we drove around the Peel inlet and spend the night at the waters edge. My birthday but no restaurant in site to celebrate.
|29 October. Off to Bunburry. We contacted
Gilbert and Mary Ann Dingjan. They used to live in Townsville and are
managing a huge motel here. That night we went to a Thai restaurant. That
night is the first time in five months we spend in a "normal" bed. Next day
we stopped at the dolphin discovery centre but the dolphins here are very
irregular and we did not see any. We had seen plenty in Monkey Mia.
We decided to weave our way down south. Collie, Boyup Brook, Bridgetown, Nannup, Ballingup, Donnybrook and back to Bunbury. We lost the address of motorhome people we met a few times over the years. But they called us when we would be calling in. So we will be backtracking a few KM. The distances are like in Holland. Every 30KM there is another place.
The landscape is hilly, very green grass and plenty of cows with here and there a small national park. The roads we take are mainly tourist roads. Very scenic. The landscape varies from grazing to natural forest to plantation forest.
|1 November. Susan did the
washing in Nannup caravan park but the drier only managed to dry the
washing partially. In the afternoon the washing on the line. We camped
high on a hill amongst plantation pine. Next day to Ballingup, here
someone left his wireless computer on so this update is done on a
strangers computer. We had this a few times during our travels.
Just a selection of flowers I found in a 10 Meter radius from the bus.
|3 November. Donyybrook to Capel
and back to Bunbury. We stayed a day with Ron and Jean whom we
missed when we were in Bunbury the week before. They drove us around
Bunbury and Susan visited some more op shops.
The weather is deteriorating. Cold, rain and a lot of wind. We spend a whole day just parked in front of the Busselton jetty.
6 November. The weather is still no good. Visited the Busselton history museum. I don't know if this is an indication of the mentality of the local population but this is the first time I saw a chastity belt. Off to Dunsborough and the Cape Naturaliste National Park. Next day made a tour through the lighthouse. Saw a pod of whales. They pass the coast closely here. We later walked closer to the sea and saw plenty more. The weather is still cold and miserable. We camped near the coast with the view of the clouds and the sea. Had happy hour with fellow Queenslanders.
Lately the weather has been like this. Cape Naturaliste lighthouse. There are still plenty of flowers.
|7 November. Followed the caves
road and went in to every turnoff to the beach. The coastline is
spectacular. Ended up in Margaret River. This is the prime wine growing
district of West Australia. We booked a wine tasting tour. Found another
spectacular overnight spot overlooking the ocean. Wales were jumping out
of the water a few KM out to sea in front of us for hours. The second
night we stayed here we got woken up 6.30 AM by the ranger who told us that
we could not sleep in the car there. He probably does not work during the
weekend and this was Monday morning. This is the first time in 5 months
that this happened. The wine tour on Sunday was very pleasant. 19 People
in a bus going from vineyard to vineyard. They only poured very small
glasses but before lunchtime I felt I could not drive anymore.
Not a bad spot to stay the night. Prevelly Beach
|10 November. Woken up early by
friendly ranger. On the road by 7.45 AM. This must be the earliest so far.
Normally we are ready by 9AM. Drove in to some more bays till we
ended up in Cape Leeuwin. This time we only went in to the grounds and not
the lighthouse. A lot of photos in panorama but the coast has to be viewed
in wide angle. We spend the night on the side of the road in an abandoned
|Now we are heading in
to the rainforest. It is as wet and cold as in North Queensland but the
trees are completely different. Giant Karri and Jarrah trees. They are
tall straight trees with very durable timber. Some trees have a cabin at
the top which was used as a fire lookout in the dry season. There are
three you are allowed to climb in. The tallest is 75 M. I climbed the two
tallest. We went to the other one but it rained and this can be dangerous
12 November. Manjimup. Last time we were here the bus had gearbox trouble and we had to stay here a few days.
|From Manjimup where we visited the
forestry museum we we went south to the Shannon National Park. We stayed
here two nights. It is an official National Park campsite. If you want a
warm shower you have to light the fire in the hot water system. The last
day we did the Great Forrest Tree Drive. 45KM of dirt road through an ever
changing landscape. When you have the radio on you can have commentary
along the way. Here is a clump of trees which are 300 years old and 85 M
high. When we finished the drive we decided to go to Walpole but Tomtom
directed us the wrong way which happens regularly when we come of unsealed
roads. When we found out after a few KM we decided to continue towards
Northcliffe. When we got to Northcliffe I saw that there was a lot of
water under the bus. We travelled a fair bit of unsealed road and at one
stage I heard what sounded like driving over a tree branch. It must have
flicked up and broken the tap under the bus. Luckily the only store in
town was one that sells everything so the problem was quickly fixed. On
the way we saw an unused fire lookout tree and I walked up mount Chudalup.
Windy Harbour is the coastal town. There was not a lot of information
about this but the D'Encastreaux National Park which surrounds it has a
spectacular coastline. The road to it is very good. Even the unsealed
roads we have done are smooth.
16 November. Visited all the sights around Windy Harbour. Drove back to Northcliffe and towards Walpole. Stopped half way to spend the night in the bush. Too many trees for the satellite TV to work. I have been lucky lately to get a signal in the bush.
17 November. Walpole is a small village situated besides an inlet. There is a lot of tourism because of the forest. Here is the treetop walk, giant Tingle trees and scenery. We did all this apart from the treetop walk which we did previously. We camped at the base of mount Frankland. (411M) and walked up the rock which looks like a miniature Ayers Rock.
|Tingle tree north of Walpole. Natural bridge Albany.|
|After we left Walpole the weather
slowly got worse. We camped in a council caravan park at Perry's beach. 25
KM before Denmark. We stayed here 5 days. 1.5 of them were good weather
the others constant rain. The day we arrived here a couple from Townsville
went for a walk and the man got a massive heart attack and passed away.
The same age as me.
23 November left for Denmark. this is becoming a real small tourist town. All day it rained and got worse. We spend all afternoon parked at a lookout point near the coast. There were still a lot of surfers. At the end of the afternoon we drove north to the Stirling ranges. In mount Barker to a laundromat. The internet cafe is next door. The computers were out because the roof had leaked so much. The washing machines trip out every now and then because of the water damage.
|From here we drove north to the
Stirling Ranges National Park. A 50 KM unsealed road through the park.
Because of all the rain the dust was not too bad and the road was good. The
highest peak is 1085 M. We only walked up one that was 200M. The view from
there was already nice enough. Not a lot of tourists here. We only saw two
25 November. Albany. Here a lot of old buildings and the place has a friendly atmosphere. Our overnight stay was half way a mountain with a view over the city. Next day we went to the whaling museum. The weather forecast is still rain every now and then and they were not wrong. We spend all morning in the museum and walked through town in the afternoon. Spend the night again in the same spot as the night before.
27 November. visited all the spectacular coastal sights. Natural bridge and blowhole. The sea was fairly calm so the blowhole was not very spectacular.
Salmon Hole. Albany.
|Drove towards Esperance. Spend the
night in a parking bay by the side of the road. Next day Bremer Bay. A
quiet town but the starting point for the Fitzgerald River National Park.
After 35 KM unsealed road we got to the park and the road was closed.
Another 30KM back to the highway. Luckily the unsealed roads are very good
here and I can drive as fast here as I do on the bitumen, around 85 K.H.
From Jerramungup towards Hayden is mostly sealed but still a lot of dirt
road. Where the road turns north there is a free camp behind the community
hall. When I drove in there I got bogged in the grassed area. Luckily the
lady who runs the hall just passed and phoned one of the neighbours to
help me out. As soon as he hooked his four wheel drive up it was over in
seconds. I made sure to stay on the gravel.
Bogged in Needilup.
To go to Wave Rock near Hyden is a 400KM detour. We heard conflicting
Wave Rock in Hyden.
| Late in the afternoon we
drive to Cape Le Grand National Park. We are lucky to find a camping
spot in the park this late. The park is one of the most popular parks in
WA. The massive granite mountains and sparkling white sandy beaches are
spectacular. I walked up two mountains Le Grand and Frenchman peak. Fairly
steep but rewarded with a magnificent view. We spend four nights in the
park. The camp host we have met in Casino when we were there with
Christmas and they were in Exmouth when we were there. Here in WA you can
help out the park rangers by volunteering to be a park host. This entails
to collect camping fees and do some cleaning. You can stay for free. There
were also some Dutch tourists who we had over for happy hour and dinner on
Sint Nikolaas day.
|Cleaning fish I did not catch Feeling right at home. Cape Le Grand.|
Cape le Grand.
You can just see the campsite and Frenchmen's peek.
|7 December. Slowly heading north
towards Norseman. Salinity is a big problem in a large part of WA. Here
every lake has a thick crust of salt on it. The wind is still strong but
at least not head on and the weather has improved. Camped on the side of
the road somewhere and drove to Norseman. 50% of shops in the business
district were permanently closed. Susan posted some books to friends and I
filled up with water and fuel. Water over the next 1000KM is hard to get
and fuel very expensive. The price of fuel has come down considerably over
the last few month but it is still 20 cent more expensive than in Perth.
|Salt lake between Esperance and Norseman. Camels were important for transport in the 1800th.|