Well, we actually got away on time. Left Forrestfield at about 09:00 on April 8th and headed East. Our timing is pretty much determined by the school holidays, we really don't want to be at any "touristy" places during this period because of the hordes of families with screaming kids in tow. With the van fully loaded and the Sorento fueled up and an extra 200 litres of water on board, the climb out of Perth up Greenmount hill was interesting, and the intercooler air temperature was up to 130degC before we topped out.
Monday, 8th April 2013
A pretty clear run of 460kms today and we pulled in to Boorabbin Rock. No facilities, but plenty of room, shade and opportunities for bushwalking. A really big granite rock, which has been quarried in the past and two dams for watering steam engines when the railway line ran through here.
Got in at about 15:30 and set up, but can't get the satellite TV to work. I'll have to re-register when we get to Kalgoorlie in case my registration has dropped out from not being used.
The rock has been walled up for water catchment and then a long sluice built from stone slabs to direct the water into the dam. The standard of workmanship is incredible, they really knew how to build in those days.
The use of stone in this way seems to date the period to the 1890's or early 20th century, but the drill holes in the granite blocks in the quarry look like heavy machinery from a later period. I understand that there was a narrow-gauge line up until the late '60's or so and as this quarry was for railway ballast, these blocks may be from that period.
Some wag has built a giant's picnic table using a granite slab.
Friday, 12th April 2013
Packed up this morning and headed for Kalgoorlie. Stopped and had a bit of lunch and kept going. We've both been to Kal several times, so we didn't bother with any sight-seeing. Up through Menzies to Niagara Dam and set up camp under the breakaway.
The dam had a surprising amount of water in it, must have been some good rains in the area lately.
We took a side trip out to Lake Ballard via Menzies. The road was very rough and it was stinking hot, but Anne hadn't seen the sculptures before and was quite impressed. She wasn't all that enthusiastic about climbing to the top of the little hill you can see behind her, but I appealed to the Wonder Woman inside her and she made it to the top - great view.
Back to Niagara and did a bit of wandering around. The catchment area for the dam is incredible, it looks like a moonscape and we couldn't work out what the fence was for until we found a sign which explained that it was to strain all the dead animals out of the water when it floods. Mmmm, dead dingo, Yumm.
Friday, 19th April 2013
We were supposed to be on the road yesterday, to head up to Ned's Creek Station to see Pam and Clyde, friends of Anne's, but Wednesday and Thursday we has some big thunderstorms and everything was wet. Anyhow, Thursday afternoon looked like it was clearing up except about 2 o'clock in the morning, we had a tornado came through and ripped the entire awning right off the van. Tore the channel which holds the awning right off the van and bent it like a pretzl. Just one more page in the book about why Fate doesn't like me. More repairs needed.
Guess who misjudged??? It was a LOT further from Niagara, via Leonora, Leinster, Sandstone and Meekatharra to Ned's Creek than I estimated. We ended up doing 756kms today and I am shattered. Did about the last 40 kms on a rubbish road (Wiluna-Meekatharra) in the dark. Note to self: small stages, small stages.
Anyhoo, we eventually made it and Pam and Anne talked each other's ears off for two days solid. We had to move on, because Pam had visitors coming to stay, but Anne really enjoyed catching up.
Sunday, 21st April 2013
Now we are starting to get into the good country. Left Ned's Creek about 09:00, Fueled up and did a bit of shopping in Newman and got to Mt. Robinson about 16:00. Nobody there at the time, so we managed to get a nice spot.
Mt Robinson is a very under-appreciated spot. During the week that we spent here, we saw only one couple who stopped bother to take a walk up the gorge. One of the nicest walks going and some of the rock formations, and the strata in the rocks themselves are absolutely beautiful.
Anne is still not feeling all that fit yet, but I talked her into climbing halfway up the hill behind the van and the view from up there was fantastic. This is really beautiful country, not as good as the Kimberley, but close.
Sunday, 28th April 2013
We moved on to another of my favourite spots, just 70 odd kms from Mt Robinson. The rather grandly named Albert Tognolini Rest Area at Munjina Gorge.
Unfortunately, I don't have any photos 'cos my camera gave up the ghost just as we got here. I have old photos from a previous visit a couple of years ago, but that would be cheating. Anyway, a great spot to camp and lots of places to take a ramble.
Monday, 6th May 2013
We have just spent a couple of days at the Cooke Point Caravan Park in Port Hedland. After we booked in, I Asked Anne if she knew where the manager kept her horse. What Horse, Anne replied. Well, I said, Ned Kelly always had a horse. $54.00 a night for what is a fairly ordinary CP is, IMHO a bloody rip-off. But, we needed to re-stock, do some washing, fill up with water etc, so we used the $100 Big4 voucher that they gave Anne when she retired. Also, we needed to re-stock the wine cellar, and completely forgot about the alcohol regulations up here. Only 2 litre casks, not 4 litre, and a limit of two casks a day, so we had to get some at Woolies and then drive out to South Hedland and get some more at liquorland. Hope it'll last us until we get to Broome.
We're heading off in the morning, hopefully we can get a spot at the DeGrey River if it's not too full, it can be a very popular spot.
Don't know when we will be back in range, possibly not before we get to Broome in about 4 weeks.
See you soon,
Mike and Anne