Day 84 – 26 Sep 2012 – at Waikerie (S.A.)

Whoops, just noticed I forgot to ‘publish’ last night’s blog so did it just then.

On to today – Lovely quiet night. A very nice little town and from the brochure we got from the reception there were quite a few things we could have done which would justify staying for more than one night, but we have already seen some of them on previous trips through this area. However, as we feel we are on the home stretch now we will leave these ‘touristy’ things until another trip. Couldn’t resist taking a photo of a ‘horse sculpture’ right in the main street. It has been made completely out of corrugated iron. If you enlarge the photo you will see just how well made this ‘horse’ is. Very clever.

Tin sculpture of a horse

The morning started off calm and lovely and cool, but not long after leaving Oororoo we noticed the wind really pick up – sometimes quite gusty. Fortunately, it was behind us so the tail wind was good, but it certainly was very strong. It is the last thing this part of the country needs which has been dry for so long. In no time at all we noticed the outside temperature was 30C and we found out later that with the high temperatures and the very strong winds, a total fire ban had been declared for some of the areas for today and tomorrow.

Our first stop for today was a little town called Terowie – this a town time forgot.

Main street of Treowie

Every building and house in the town is as it was many, many years ago. Some of the places were derelict, but some of the shops were open and in use. There was a small food store and the others were art galleries and things like that. We had driven through Terowie many, many years ago so we did not call in to there just to have a look as we knew what the town looked like – there is a business there which sells a ‘tyre repair kit’ which Ian had purchased at Kyabram 4WD but one of the fittings was for 16″ tyres whereas our tyres on the Landcruiser are 18″ so we needed the extra part. The business is located here in Terowie so we were  able to pull in and buy the extra part straight from the supplier. Ian had a long talk with the young chap who runs this business. He originally ran a 4WD business in Adelaide, employing 16 men, but 20 odd years ago he realised he was on to a winner with this contraption so closed the Adelaide business and opened up shop in this little town. The remoteness is no bother as he does most of his business by having 4WD businesses throughout Australia sell it, but he also goes to the Agricultural Shows  as well as caravan/campng shows in most States and does great business that way. Good luck to him. We hope we never have need to use this but it is handy to have. It is called the R&R Beadbreaker/Repair Kit

We then drove to the town of Burra. This is an historic town – once was a mining area with a large copper mine underground started in the 1850,s and then later on became an open cut mine. The open cut area is still able to be viewed from a lookout, although 100m of it now sits underwater. We drove up to this lookout – the wind was unbelievable. I found it very hard to open my car door against it. Fortunately, although very, very, very windy, it was a warm wind so it was not unpleasant.

Disused Open cut mine at Burra

We then drove to another lookout and then drove down closer to where the mine operations took place. Many of the buildings are gone, but some stand in disrepair but are still able to be distinguished as to what function they had when the mine was in operation. There were many information signs to read and the whole area was well maintained as an interestiing site for tourists.

We then drove into the town itself to find a place to park and have lunch, where we found our ‘neighbours’ from last night already parked. They advised us to go into the town and have a cornish pastie at the local bakery. As we were heading into FFEZ (Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone) for the Riverland we had planned on eating up all our fruit for lunch, but decided we could fit both in. So we walked to the bakery and did enjoy our pastie. We then went for a walk along the main street when, in a side street, Ian noticed Bruce and Linda’s Van. We have not met up since Geraldton (although had kept touch via email and they have been about a day in front of us for a week or so) so it was good to see them again. They were going to stay in Burra tonight and were slowly making their way back to Victoria by early next week, so now we are about a day in front of them. We had a good long chat and then walked back to our Van and ate our fruit. Some few blogs ago we commented on the road kill on a certain section of the Nullabor and that there was also a dead camel and we hoped it had been hit by a truck,but Bruce & Linda told us that it was a car and it had happened not long before they came along.The driver was O.K. but shaken, but the car was a write off.

We then drove on the road to Waikerie – a town situated on the Murray River.  Just 25 kms short of Waikerie is a small town called Cadell which has a ferry for crossing the Murray. We drove down and were surprised that the small ferry fitted not only our large car and van, but a smaller car and pop-top van, and a car behind that van. The crossing only takes less than 5 minutes and much to our surprise, it is a free service. The Murray River was really flowing. There were signs on a tree right at the end of our trip which had details of all the flood levels which have been in that area. The 1956 level marker was so high up the tree it is hard to imagine that much water flowing down.

Ferry Crossing the Murray River at Cadell

We re-fuelled at Ramco just before entering Waikerie. The Van Park at Waikerie is right on the Murray River. The wind was still blowing, but nowhere near as much as it had all day. By the time I am typing this (5.53pm S.A. time), it is now as calm as a mill pond, but still quite warm 28C.

Love to all, Janese and Ian

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Day 83 – 25 Sep 2012 – at Oororoo

The wind howled a gale again through the night – sure rocked the van a bit. However, by the time we woke it had calmed down to just a slight breeze. It was lovely to see the sun rise over Porter Bay as we sat and had breakfast.

We left Port Lincoln around 9.15am and headed along the Flinders Highway – another beautiful road right beside the ocean – Spencer Gulf to be precise. We have been so surprised and pleased to drive along so many roads which really do follow the sea – the view is always so lovely. Port Lincoln is quite a lovely city – very tidy and being situated right on 3 bays, there was a sea-view from most angles.

Road out of Port Lincoln

We re-fuelled just outside of Port Lincoln and then drove by the various little Bay towns/resorts which are all along this coastline.Forgot to mention yesterday that for the last 100 km or so coming into Port Lincoln along the Flinders Hwy, the crops looked fantastic,and in fact one oat crop was already being cut for hay. The same applied for today for the first 100 km or so after leaving Port Lincoln,on the Lincoln Hwy, the the crops looked extremely good, and we saw several paddocks of oats that had been cut for hay some time ago. But after that the crops did not look so good and it was obvious they needed more rain to finish them off.

Paddocks out from Port Lincoln

We called in at a place called Arno Bay just to have a short break and to have a look around. It is a tiny town which really was just a small shopping precinct and a caravan park. It looked like a lovely spot for a summer holiday as the beach was quite a safe beach. Just out at sea out from this town are large acquaculture cages where tuna, yellowtail kingfish, and mulloway are raised commercially. But this is classed as a minor asset to the local area with tourism taking the larger share.

Beach and jetty at Arnu Bay

Can understand why as it was a really lovely little town. Population around 500 I think the noticeboard said. All the cabins and caravans were right on the beach front.

Next stop was Cowell – this is the place from which the ferry across Spencer Gulf leaves so we thought we have a look at what we did not do. The ferry harbour was a few kilometres out of town. There was another couple there with their motorised home having a look too but like us felt that the cost did not justify the experience. The ferry runs twice a day – leaving mid morning and mid afternoon. We worked out that crossing by this ferry would have saved around 500kms of travel, but working out the cost of fuel and acccommodation over that distance, the $500 all-up which the ferry crossing would have cost, was not worth it.

Next stop was Whyalla – it was time for lunch so we pulled in at a parking area and had lunch overlooking a reclaimed area which was now a wetland. It had originally been an airport with a tarmac but since 1993 had been reclaimed. It was quite good with ducks and swans swimming, but once again we are in ‘mining’ territory so the soil all around is red so in my opinion it takes away from the beauty of the small lakes which were there. We saw a few mining areas – this area is not far from Iron Knob so iron ore is the main mining industry here. Whyalla is the 3rd most populous city in South Australia outside of Adelaide and Mt. Gambier, but it is totally reliant on the steel making industry, and in 2011, OneSteel’s commitment to the industry saved hundreds of jobs.

We were now back on to the Eyre Highway (No.1) and drove to Port Augusta where we re-fuelled once more before heading east to Orroro. We did drive through Orroroo on our way through to Quorn all those weeks ago, but on the whole we have managed so far to only drive on the same road for only a few kilometres which has made Ian very pleased.

Just coming to the top of Horrock’s Pass

On this road we had to drive around the edge of the Southen Flinders Range and drove over Horrock’s Pass. This was a lovely drive through the hills and the view when coming back down was very lovely.

Oororoo is a lovely, quiet little town and the caravan park has space for about 10 vans. It is a very clean and tidy Park. When we passed through this area 12 weeks or so ago some of the crops had just been sown and we were interested to see how they had grown. But we were disappointed. The season has been very dry and the lady at the Reception Desk told us that many crops have now had sheep or cattle put on them. She mentioned that Oororoo is north of Goyder’s Line and therefore very marginal cropping area. Ian says if you do not know what ‘Goyder’s Line’ is it is worth googling to find out.

The weather is quite mild – no wind and the temp around 18C. I managed to do a load of washing which was good, but had to use the dryer in the laundry as the nights are no longer warm enough to keep washing out on the line overnight. There is another ‘TRAVELLER” van in this Park so Ian has been having a good chat with them. Like us, they love their caravan.

Love to all, Janese and Ian

Day 81 – 23 Sep 2012 – At Smoky Bay

Like last night, although unable to get TV reception we did get the ABC radio coverage of the Hawthorn/Adelaide AFL semi-final. Ian was quite relieved when Hawthorn just scraped through to win by 4 points.

Following the strong winds all day, it was windy all night, but not gale force like the night before. Some of our fellow ‘campers’ had left early once more and we left around 8.15am. First town was just 14kms – Nullabor.

Just outside Nullabor was a sign saying you are now entering the Nullabor Plains – the treeless desert. They were right – not a tree in sight for quite a long time.

The Nullabor Plains – ‘treeless desert’

We then drove through Nullabor and, 14kms further on, turned off on a 12km road to an area called ‘Head of Bight’. This is a whale spotting cliffside walkway which has been well set up for tourists to come and see the Great Southern Whales which come here to calve and raise their calves in the quiet and safe waters here. This facility is on Aboriginal Land – Yalata Community – and there was a small cost of $10 each. Well, it was more than worth it.

Female Whale and her calf

All up we spotted 12 whales and their calves. Some were very close to the shore – the walkway goes out over the cliff so you get a good look down on to the water. Just MAGIC. At one stage one of the youngsters was quite frisky in the water and then his mother followed suit so it was lovely to see. Most of the time they just swam very slowly together. It was absolutely amazing.

Part of the viewing walkway at Head of Bight

While we were there Ian got talking to another couple who wanted to know all about our Traveller Caravan as they were going back to Geelong to up-date their own Van and were interested in the Traveller Brand Van. Naturally, Ian told them they were going to the right place and pointed them to Caravans-R-Us at Geelong where we bought ours, but to try to deal with Leon Blackney, because we found him much more approachable and knowledgeable than Kean the other part owner. We let them have a look inside our Van and they were ‘sold’ immediately.

We spent over an hour watching the whales and then headed back to the Highway and stopped at a small township called Penong where Ian re-fuelled while I went in to the take-away section and bought us some lunch as we did not have any fruit and could not buy any until after the Quarrantine Check Point at Ceduna. We then drove a few kms. out of the town and parked on a slight hill and ate our lunch. The countryside was now becoming more agricultural and we were seeing more and more cropping, although they did not look to be growing all that well.

We then drove to Ceduna where we went through the Quarantine Check Point. The chap just looked in our fridge, asked me to show him where I would normally put potatoes and onions and had a look at that empty space and said ‘OK. You’re right to go’. We were surprised. We had heard they often went over the van and car very thoroughly. Maybe they can judge people and choose who and who not to check out more fully.

We then drove into the town of Ceduna and went to the local supermarket and bought up on enough fruit and vegies to last us for the next 4 days or so. It is a lovely little town right on a harbour – the main street actually looked right out on to the water.

We had decided to drive a bit further on to a place called Smoky Bay for the night so drove the next 38 kms to that spot. This is such a pretty little beachside town. The caravan park is right on the beach and after we had parked the van, we went for a walk along the beach and saw they had a long, long jetty so walked along that as well. The view was lovely and it was certainly picturesque. The only drawback was that the wind was blowing quite strongly and it was quite cold so we just sat at a wind shelter for a while. This is an oyster production area and we saw a couple of strange, quite shallow type boats take off from the boat ramp and head out to the oyster farm area, so that was interesting.

We asked the chap at the Park Reception why is it called Smoky Bay. He said he could not remember which explorer was sailing by way back in the 1800’s, but when he did sail by there was a big bushfire and all the bay was filled with smoke. Makes sense!

During our travels we have seen some interesting road ‘warning’ signs and today there were signs warning ‘wombats, camels, kangaroos’. At one stage there was a sign which soley said ‘Wombats’ – What a shame to know how right they were. We must have seen over a dozen dead ones in quite this small stretch of road. Apart from them, we saw no other road kill all day considering yesterday was quite some carnage.

Quite a few times during our trip we have also passed signs saying ‘dog fence’ so today I was finally able to get a photo of it. It is worth ‘googling’ just to see what an amazing fence this is.

The dog fence on the Nullabor

This was a fence built way back in the 1880’s and starts in the Darling Downs in Queensland and ends on the cliffs of the Nullabor Plain here on the Eyre Peninsula. It is one of the longest structures in the world and is the world’s longest fence – 5,614 kms long. It was built to protect sheep flocks from dingoes and has been reasonably effective but of course over the time since it was built many holes have occurred and dingoes have been able to access these areas. We guess it would also be some deterrent to other feral animals. It would be a major job to keep it in reasonable condition!

In making plans on further travel we noticed there was a ferry which crossed Spencer Gulf from Cowell to Wallaroo so thought we would look into the cost of doing that voyage. But the cost is a little too prohibitive – $30 a metre for a car and van (13 metres all up), plus $29 each for the 2 of us. Such a shame as it would have been an interesting way to travel. Maybe one day.

We are pleased to be in a Park tonight because it is quite cool and we can at least put our electric blankets on before going to bed. We are getting soft in our retirement!

Lots of love, Janese and Ian

Day 80 – 22 Sep 2012 – Still on roadside of the Nullabor

There were 3 other vans parked in this roadside stop. We had a chat with a couple next to us but it was too windy to stay outside for long.

No TV at our bush site, but we were able to get the ABC radio so listened to the Sydney/Collingwod semi-final. So pleased that Sydney won.

The wind had died down by the time we went to bed, but about 4.30am it started up again – absolute gale force. And it has continued all day – fortunately a tail wind again so our fuel economy has been excellent.

By the time we got out of bed at 7.45am our ‘fellow’ campers for the night had all left. Everyone seems to be in a hurry!!

We left around 9.00am and headed east once more along the Nullabor. It is really the Eyre Highway – the actual Nullabor Plains do not begin until just before the small settlement town of Nullabor, which is just a roadhouse and caravan park.

Again the scenery varied from typical coastal salt bush and low shrubs, to much larger trees and heavy vegetation.

We did not know that at Madura the whole scenery would change dramatically – we missed a quick turnoff to a lookout overlooking the Roe Plains but still what we could see from the road was lovely – a deep valley and a mountain range beside us. We continued to travel beside this low mountain range for at least 200 kms or so. This range was quite heavily treed and the countryside was so different to what we have driven through yesterday and the first part of this morning.

We drove on until we reached Eucla where we stopped to have our lunch at the roadside petrol station. There were caravans everywhere. Of course this is the only road out of W.A. so everyone has to be on it if they wish to leave W.A. to S.A. or vice versa.

We then re-fuelled before heading further east. Diesel was $1.90 a litre.

Not far from turning back on to the highway we began to see the ocean right beside the road. There was a good spot to stop for our first view of the Great Australian Bight. The wind was still blowing a real gale and so there were white caps everywhere, and it was certainly pretty (and very cold standing on the windy cliff edge).

Overlooking The Great Australian Bight

After Eucla is the small border stop called Border Village where we expected to be stopped and searched to make sure we were not bringing any fruit, vegetables or honey into S.A. However, there was no-one there stopping vehicles but there was a sign which said the next check point would be Ceduna. We had not realised that it was so far into S.A. before being checked when entering S.A. (The Border checkout was for vehicles leaving S.A.) and it was a bit of a nuisance as we had made sure we had no fruit or vegies or honey on board, so we are just having eggs on toast tonight.

There was no sign to remind us to change our clocks to S.A. time either so we are just presuming we had to do it.

Our bush stop for the night

We had decided that another bush stop was ok for tonight and so we checked our camping guide and found one just 20kms short of the town of Nullabor and pulled in. There were already 3 Vans parked for the night and another one has come in while I have been typing this. The wind is still blowing and the weather is quite cool – about 20C.

Just before pulling into here we had a medium sized kangaroo jump out in front of us but we saw him in enough time for Ian to put on the brakes and it just bounded away safely. Today is the first day in a long time we have seen so much road kill – mostly kangaroo, but also some eagles and emus. Always makes me sad. Forgot to say that yesterday we saw a dead camel beside the road – presume it was a road train that hit it, otherwise it would have done unbelievable damage to any other vehicle.

Eagles flying away from some road kill

We are definitely on the home run now we are in S.A.

Love to all, Janese and Ian

Day 73 – 15 Sep 2012 – at Bremer Beach

We took our time to leave the Park at Rest Point this morning. This is one of the good things about not having a deadline to meet – we don’t have to rush if we don’t want to. We spent some time talking to people in the Van near ours. This is also one of the good things about not being in a hurry – being able to take the time to have a good long chat with ‘strangers’. We both agree this is one of the better parks we have been in for its view, its quietness and the room offered each van. Cost was just $22 per night which is one of the cheapest we have ever paid for a powered site.

Couldn’t resist taking a photo of the local pelicans all asleep on the little jetty here at Rest Point.

Pelicans all sitting down on the pier

The road out from Walpole to Denmark was quite lovely – lots of paddocks with lovely green lush grass; although once again very little livestock on these paddocks.

But the road from Denmark to Albany was a lot less attractive. Very little farmland and lots of tree plantations, which are quite ugly anyway. We arrived in Albany around 12.00 and re-fuelled. We then drove into the CBD to check out what we could do there. However, the Info. Centre was almost impossible for us to reach with our big-rig so we just turned back up the main street, and drove out of town. It is a city of over 30,000 people but we did not think it was a very nice looking town. It is right on a bay and there is quite a large port there and we did drive down there because it was at the end of the main street and we needed to drive there to be able to turn around back up the main street.

Port at Albany

We turned off towards Esperance (although we knew we would not go that far today) and quite enjoyed the scenery on this road – more farmland again, and this time quite a few farms with beef cattle, and sheep on the cropping land. The cropping properties were huge – canola is the main crop here and with it all in flower it does look rather spectacular. Talking about the ‘yellow’ colour of the canola, I forgot to mention the other day that we are now unfortuntely beginning to see lots of ‘yellow’ for other reasons — capeweed. In some places the paddocks are covered with them. Today is the first day we have noticed thistles in paddocks  – it has surprised us that we have not seen them before.

We stopped outside of a small town called Many Peaks and had lunch at a roadside pull-off parking area. It was nice and quiet.

Not long after getting back on to the road we noticed that the wildflowers were everywhere. They were all shades of pink, red, purple, orange, yellow and even white. Some were ground covers with the tiniest of flowers, some were in trees with huge blossoms and then anything in between those 2 sizes. It was absolutely lovely. We travel too fast for my little camera to pick these flowers up well, and it is hard to stop quickly on a main highway. But they were absolultely beautiful. Did manage to get a lovely photo of a bottlebrush when we did stop.

yellow bottlebrush

We turned off the Highway towards Bremer Beach – you will have to check it out on a map if you do not know where it is. It is situated in a sheltered estuary on Bremer Bay – right on the Southern Ocean, and adjoins Fitzgerald River National Park. The caravan park is right near one of the eight beaches on this bay. It is a lovely caravan park – lovely green grass everywhere, beautiful shady trees for every site and lots of room around each site. The manager told us that when the school holidays begin they are fully booked out so we are glad we are just before that as it is a lovely spot. After setting up we drove to a few of the picturesque spots in the area.

The first was called Fishery Beach. This is a lovely area with a big jetty and boat ramp and the view was magic. It is a very safe beach for children so is rather popular with families. It is a 1.5km walk from the caravan park. The beaches here are pure white and the sea is once again turquoise blue. So lovely.

Next drive was to Short Beach. The sea here was a little rougher than the first beach, but still a swimming beach, as all the beaches here are within the bay area so are sheltered from the Southern Ocean somewhat. There was not a soul on either beach but we can just imagine how busy it would be in the summer.

Fishery Beach at Bremer Bay

Next stop was a short drive to Tooleburrup Hill Lookout. This gave a 360 degrees view of the area. Unfortunately there was a bit of haze owing to sea spray, although there was not much surf that we could see in the areas which were closer to the Southern Ocean, but the view was good nonetheless.

It was getting quite cool by this time so we drove back to the Van and Ian is watching the Eagles vs the Magpies while I finish tonight’s blog.

Day 68 – 10 Sep 2012 – still at Serpentine

We had a lovely roast meal at Dot. and Vic’s last night. It was so good to catch up with them again. We didn’t arrive home until after 10pm.

Woke to a cloudy, but pleasantly warm morning. Ian went up to the office to pay for another day’s stay and enquired whether or not he would be allowed to wash the car and the van – he was told it was okay so he came back and gave both car and van a really good wash with the pressure hose. The last time the van was washed was when we were in Fitzroy Crossing. It was good to get the red dirt off it at last.

We then decided to go and have a look at the Serpentine Dam which is just a few kilometres from our Van Park, in the Nambung State Forest. We stopped and re-fuelled at a nearby petrol station and bought some sandwiches for lunch (we are nowhere near shops and have run out of fruit). It was such a lovely drive in to the dam.

on the way to Serpentine Dam

There are hobby farms all around here and they are very well maintained. Some horse studs as well and they looked very good too. There are green paddocks everywhere. It is such a change from the dry scenery we have seen for so long now.

We had lunch at a picnic spot at the bottom of the spillway. It was a lovely spot. There were a few birds flying around. I saw a black cockatoo and a few yellow ringed parrots. We found out later that these parrots are turning into pests as there are so many of them around. They are pretty though. We then drove up along the dam wall. We were surprised just how little water there was in the dam. All this area is part of a Scarp (West Australian speak for escarpment we presume) and the rock has some very deep ridges cut into it so the drive over the dam wall was quite interesting.

This road led to a small heritage township called Jarrahdale. This is an old saw mill area and many of the houses retain their original look. Quite pretty indeed. There was a museum advertised in this area which has unrestored cars/trucks/tractors/machinery, so Ian was very keen to have a look. However, when we got there it was closed. Seems you have to ring a number first and arrange a time to go to the museum. We did not have time for that so I just took a couple of photos.

Some of the many unrestored vehicles – Jarrahdale

We had arranged to meet with Dot and Vic after lunch so drove to their place in Baldivis and then we all drove to Mandurah which is about 20kms away from their house and is right on the seaside. This is quite a large town on its own – 30,000 or so people. Being right on the ocean there was a typical seaside tourist precinct which was very attractively set out.

At the coffee shop at Mandurah

We walked around the marina and then walked to the dining areas and stopped at a coffee shop where we had coffee and cake and just sat and talked for ages. It was a lovely way to finish our visit with Dot and Vic.

Limestone block wall on suburb entrance

Before heading back to their house, Vic took us for a drive around the new subdivisions being built in their area. Hundreds and hundreds of homes are being built – can’t see how the building industry is having trouble when you see all the work being done here. Most of this area is on a sand belt. In order to keep each house block in place, all homes are divided with a limestone block wall. These are all the same yellowy color, and any estate next to a busy road will have a large limestone block wall used as a sound barrier. Even some of the houses were being built with this type of block. Vic. said one manufacturer owns the business of making these bricks – he must be worth a fortune. There is no storm water drainage in this area – every house has an underground tank in which all the stormwater is collected and it is slowly dispersed into the underground acquifer which runs through this area right through to Bunbury. This system has a special name but we can’t remember what it was called. Vic also told us of a local by-law which does no allow artificial turf to be used on verges (W.A. speak for nature strips) because of the possible OH  & S issue of someone tripping over it as it lifts as it ages.

After driving them home, we then headed back to the Van where we have to decide what we are going to do, and where we are going to go, tomorrow.

Day 65 – 7 Sep 2012 – At Cervantes

Went to the circus last night. It was okay, but not fantastic. Did you know there is no longer a circus ring as such – just a stage and people (like us) who had tickets towards the side of the stage could not get to see everything as well as those with tickets in the front of the stage. The performers were good and the clowns were certainly amusing, but I don’t think I will rush to go to a circus again.

The wind picked up again through the night and it was a very windy morning once more. It would drive me mad to live in a place which was nearly always so windy!

Ian drove to the local Beaurepairs shop with our flat tyre. They were unable to repair it as it had been too damaged so we had to buy a new one. Fortunately our warranty did kick in a bit and we saved over $250 on the new one. It was 11.00 am before we left the caravan park.

We then drove on the Brand Highway (No.1) heading towards Perth, but planned to veer down a newly finished coast road about 60kms south of Geraldton. The first stop on this road is through Dongara/Port Denison (twin towns). We stopped at Port Denison for lunch – went to the local bakery and bought a pastie and sat by the seashore to enjoy it. What a lovely spot this was. There are not many places we have been through on this trip where I could say “I could live there”, but this was one of them. Of course we were seeing the sea at its best – nice and calm because the beach was quite sheltered, but it was a lovely town indeed.

Port Denison – where we had lunch

A lot of this Coastal Highway actually does follow the sea and some of the views as we crested a hill or turned corner were just superb. The ocean is such a deep blue here in Western Australia. We are still thrilled every time we see another section of this lovely coast. This area is now called the Turquoise Coast and we can see why. It is not only the sea views which make this a lovely drive though. The whole area – both sides of the road sometimes – are covered in huge sand dunes.

White sand dune

The sand is such a brilliant white. However, they are not bare but many are well covered with some forms of vegetation and at the moment there are wattles everywhere. Some of the wattles are ground cover and they looked so lovely on the white sand. It was hard to get a good photo as we were driving by. We passed quite a few areas where this sand is actually being mined as lime – then used in agriculture. It is quite a large business here in W.A.

Next stop was a small township called Leeman. Another lovely coastal view with good facilities for tourists to walk to viewing platforms. Great photo opportunities. We could always see breakers  away in the distance – a good reason why this was such a treacherous coast for shipping. Although the view on this beach was delightful we were not so impressed with the town. It was bigger than Port Denison and just too busy. There are new subdivisions going up everywhere – WHERE ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE COMING FROM WHO ARE LIVING IN THESE NEW HOUSES???

Beach at Leeman

We then drove past the next stop – Green Head – as we were running a little late to get to a stop to book in for the night. Will put this beach spot on our ‘to do’ list next time we visit this area.

So we then drove into Jurien Bay – quite a lovely spot and the Park was right on the beach, but unfortunately they did not have any spots left and there is nowhere to ‘free’ park along this coast so we had to drive either 20kms back to Green Head or 20 kms on to Cervantes. So we chose the last choice and quickly rang ahead. They had a spot free, but unpowered, but that does not bother us.

We arrived at Cervantes around 3.30pm. In the end we were so pleased that we drove this far, as this town is a lot, lot nicer than Jurien Bay. Again, right on the beach front and very picturesque. We also have a grassed site which is good – no sand; no dust.

Beautiful Ocean view – Leeman

We had a quick afternoon tea and then went for a walk to the beach which was just a couple of minutes away. Very lovely view indeed. The foreshore is well set up with lovely grassed areas, playground equipment etc. and a good viewing platform. This is a cray fishing area and there were lots of similar style large boats just off shore. Sone of the houses just off the foreshore were very elegant houses – homes of crayfishermen we presume. It is only a small town of around 500 people, but very well set out.

We met some nice people in the Van behind us and talked with them right up till time to cook tea. They are cropping/sheep farmers from south of Perth.

There are a few ‘touristy’ things to do here so we may stay a little longer than a night. Will decide tomorrow. Nearby are some saline lakes with those unusual stromatolites like we saw at Hamelin Pool and everyone says ‘go see the Pinnacles’. We are also planning on going to a local Rock Lobster Factory.

Love to all, Janese and Ian