Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Cape Le Grand National Park

It's hard to believe that a week has passed, yet here it is, Tuesday evening, the 30th of January and our last night at Cape Le Grand National Park.

Tomorrow we leave the park and head back to Esperance to pick up Maggie from the Kennel. From there we are heading to Bremer Bay for a few days. I don't know if we will have a connection there, so I thought I'd fill you in and post this while in Esperance where we are sure to have a connection, and take the opportunity to check our email and any comments as well.

Should you ever find yourself in this part of Australia, definitely do not miss Le Grand National Park. There are two campsites here, one at Lucky bay and one at Le Grand Beach. At Lucky bay, where we are, there are three tiered camping areas for vehicles/camper trailers, and another for tents. There is also a camp kitchen/barbeque, some picnic tables, solar heated showers and flush toilets. If you are coming into the park to camp you pay a park entry fee on the first day, and then a ranger comes around to collect camping fees. The fees are $7.50 per adult per day.

At Le Grand Beach the sites are a bit more private, and are set up in individual bays, with a group camping area at one end. We had a look, and it looked like a nice spot, especially if you are after privacy, but we liked the close proximity to the beach at lucky bay. Honestly, they are both close, but where we are the beach was a few steps closer than at the other campsite.

We spent the week overlooking Lucky Bay and the most beautiful azure sea rimmed with snow white sand and Islands in the distance. We are just a few meters from the most beautiful beach I have ever seen in my life and we have the BEST view from our camper. Truly, it looks as though someone painted it in some sort of paradise fantasy scene. It's really too gorgeous to be real. The sand is as white and clean as fresh fallen snow, and not at all gritty. It is very fine and feels almost like talcum powder. And, when you walk on it, especially if it's wet, it squeeks! We decided to see what it was like to drive on, and one afternoon we drove ourselves to a lovely secluded spot. Very handy to have your cold drinks and stuff right there in the car a few steps from your towel! When you look at the edges of the beach where bush and sand are mingled, you would swear that it was snow on the ground. That's how bright white it is.

And.. the water is out of this world. It is so clean and clear, that when we were in it up to our necks we could look down and see our whole bodies, including our feet as clear as day. In one spot there were a few stones in the sand under the water, and even the smallest pebble is easily seen. It was like being in a swimming pool. A VERY clean swimming pool. In fact, the first time I went in for a swim I put my finger in my mouth to taste if it was salty. I just couldn't believe that this crystal clear water could possibly be the ocean.

In addition to the beach, we spent time enjoying various other parts of the park. We climbed Frenchman's Peak to be rewarded with a spectacular view of an archipelago of islands that surround the area as well as wildflowers and rolling granite hills extending as far as the eye can see and yielding only to the "snowy" banks and the ocean.

We also went for a walk to view some rock formations near another beach called Thistle Cove. While we were there we explored a rocky area of the shore and came across a lizard baking in the sun. I don't know how Mike manages to spot these things, he was invisible to me until Mike pointed him out. Mike took a shot of me standing under a rock called "the whistling rock". It has a slit in it which we assume would make it whistle in the wind, although it was silent when we were there. It was only when we got back to the camper and viewed the photo that we realized it looks like a giant baseball glove, or mitten about to swat me!

Back at camp tonight we are winding down for our departure tomorrow. As I'm writing this we are listening to the waves hiting the shore, and a frog that makes an appearance every night. As soon as we hear leaves rustling we rush to the window to see if we can spot the kangaroos. The first couple of days that we were here we would occasionally see what looked like a mum and baby roo hopping through the campsite, baby following closely behind mum. We saw them several times, quite a few times close to our camper, and assumed they were the same two. That is, until the mum and baby made an appearance and we of course were watching them when all of a sudden about 8 more roos followed behind, several appearing to be mums and babies. They get quite close, and are not at all afraid of people. I'd guess that in the past quite a few people have ignored the "please don't feed the kangaroos" sign.

It's after ten here (after midnight in Melbourne), and the time between yawns is getting shorter and shorter, so we are off to bed. I'm looking forward to checking our email tomorrow, and reading any comments, it feels like a long time since we've been "in touch". Talk to you then!





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Around Le Grand National Park Photos




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Frenchman's Peak Photos




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Le Grand Park



Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Goodbye Esperance

We spent this afternoon at the beach. We were the only ones on it for most of the time, and it was great having our own private beach. Once it started getting too windy for comfort and the water was getting rough we decided to call it a day. Now that we are back at camp it was blowing quite a bit and looking like rain. As I write this though the sky seems to have cleared, so we may stay dry after all.

Today was our last day camping in the town of Esperance. Tomorrow we are kenneling Maggie and moving on to the national park. We've heard it's beautiful and there are a few especially nice spots. Apparently it's first come first serve with regard to the campsites, so hopefully we'll get one. We think that our chances are fairly good as most people are back to work this week. Otherwise, there are plenty of other spots that we plan to see, so we'll just head on over to one of those first.

Since we're going to be in the park we probably won't have phone/internet access. We did at one remote spot along the Nullarbor, so who knows? If we don't we'll let you know what we've gotten up to once we have access again.





Ruffing It


Someone's had a haircut (and a bath)!
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Starry Starry Night

The other night we went for a walk and came across some campers talking about a comet. We all looked into the sky until we were able to spot it. As the sky got darker the contrast made it a lot easier to see. This photo is one that we took that night.


The next night we decided to drive to the Pink Lake to see if we could get a better view. This photo is of the horizon over the Pink Lake. That's the moon to the right, and for a while we were able to see Venus between the moon and the comet.


Somehow photos never seem to do justice to a spectacular view, but hopefully these will give you some idea. It was a beautiful sky and it was well over an hour before we could tear ourselves away.

Saturday, 20 January 2007

It's a Dog's Life

I've been quiet up until now. I've let my humans have fun with their silly blog, and have I complained? No, not once. Not even when they seemed disproportionately happy to receive their comments. I didn't snicker, but rather wagged my tail and humoured them, faithfully living up to my end of the whole "man's best friend" thing.

But, now everything has changed. Today I have been put through that which no self respecting dog should have to endure and it's time that I speak out on behalf of loyal pets everywhere. This torturous behaviour must end now!

It was bad enough when they carted me over 2000 kilometres in the car. I didn't get sick once, nor did I complain. I even waited to be let out rather than relieving myself in their car or camper. I endured other dogs wherever I went. I only occasionally barked at them to protect the two humans. But do they appreciate it? Not one bit, they just tell me to settle down.

Lots of strangers have patted me. Especially the little squeely ones. One human from a far away place spent a good 15 minutes talking to me in German. Err.. hello, I don't even speak German! Still, I was polite to her and wagged heaps like I was enjoying it.

Well, today was the last straw. They brought me to see the beast to end all beasts!

I think it was some sort of big mutant dog. I DETEST other dogs!!!



And, get this, the dog was in a giant bath sort of thing. I HATE baths almost as much as I hate dogs!!

Worst of all, the beast seemed to be enjoying it! What kind of a mutant freak have they taken me to see?

They call this entertainment?



Sure, they seemed quite happy walking along the pier drinking their cappuccinos (and no, before you ask, they didn't even get me one!). They have coffee, I have nothing. They drink wine, I drink water. Do you see a disturbing pattern forming here?



The freak dog even had a go at me!! But, I showed him who's boss (until I got told off).


Sniffs and Schmackos,
Maggie

p.s. I've overheard them talking and I think there may be a bath in my very near future (not if I can help it!). And, a stay at a kennel next week (the absolute gall of them!). You can be sure I will let you know if this travesty comes to pass. I will not suffer this treatment in silence!

p.p.s. I'm smarter than I look!
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Cool Rig


I just love the name of this rig. Have yet to see the grannies themselves, but have seen some grandchildren and their mum.

Saw another rig on the road named "Dunfarmin". There are some very clever ones around.

I still think ours should be named "fekawi" so that when we run into people we can say "we're the fekawi" (think about it...), but Mike is yet to be convinced.
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It's a Small World After All

Had a series of "it's a small world" moments in quick succession. First, we were having lunch at the beach and a woman came over and started talking to us about our hometown. We still are not sure how she pinpointed where we were from as the only clue would have been Victorian license plates, but when she saw us she mentioned the local footy team and said she was from the same town, although currently living in Noosa.

Last night I was talking to a woman who, it turns out, lives about 15 minutes away from us, and owned a local business in our community. She and her husband are Mike's age, have sold their business and are doing some travelling. Very similar situation to us. We will have to catch up with them one evening as I'm sure Mike would enjoy meeting them. They also stopped at a lot of the same stops that we did on the way here, and she gave me some tips on a few nice spots to have a look at, particularly some areas south of Margaret River.

We talked for a while, and while we were there someone else came by on the way to the showers. She told us that she was desperate as she had been camping "under the stars" for four days without one. The final straw was yesterday afternoon when they were having lunch and she noticed a tiger snake underneath her boyfriend's chair! Eeek! They decided it was time to rejoin civilization for a while.

When I got back to the camper I found Mike chatting to a new arrival. As the conversation went on we discovered that they live only a few streets away from us. They had been to Perth and are now travelling in the other direction.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

A Day at the Beach

Spent a great afternoon at the beach which is gorgeous. Can you believe the colour of the water?


They've got designated beaches for dog exercising. Some only during certain hours, and some at all times. This is one of the beaches that allows dogs off lead any time.


Beautiful, isn't it?




It's the middle of the tourist season here, notice the "crowds" in the water?

That sea air sure can take it out of you. Time for a nanna nap..

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Success!!

.. on two counts. We had a great night with both of us commenting in the morning that it was the best sleep we'd had in ages. This time the gentle breeze stayed gentle, and the temperatures cool. Actually, it got a bit chilly as we had the windows open, but it was comfy under our warm doona.

And, we made it to Esperance!


We've crossed the Nullarbor, woohoo!! We bought a sticker for the camper that proudly proclaims that fact too. Yeah, I know, touristy.. but I couldn't resist and what's life without a little tack? At least we resisted the matching his and her t-shirts (so far)!




We've settled in to a spot near the Pink Lakes and we're about to go indulge in hot showers and a coffee. It's been a long couple of days and we are both feeling a bit grotty.

More later..

A Good Night's Sleep, Take 2


Today is the evening of Tuesday, the 16th of January. We are still crossing the Nullarbor, and this time we don't have a phone connection, so we will upload this when we are able.

When we last left our hapless adventurers we were so pleased with ourselves that we had found such a beautiful spot with a cool breeze and we just knew that we would have the most wonderful sleep. We chatted with our newest friends (Happy Birthday!!) over a couple of glasses of wine enjoying the camraderie and the cool breeze. When the sun went down we were treated to another spectacular sunset, followed by the most amazing star filled sky. We all gazed at the stars and sky for a while trying to spot the sattelites. Soon after we were off to bed.

At first the gentle breeze was indeed lovely. The word I so smugly used to describe it in our last post was, I believe, "serenaded". Unfortunately act 2 didn't live up to the first act and our lovely breezy serenade was replaced by Milli Vanilli on an endless loop. We awoke to the sound of serious winds blowing, and although we were fine inside it was *SO* noisey. Add to that a very active imagination and it was really hard to get back to sleep. Plus, even though our camper felt solid, one does feel a bit precarious sleeping in an elevated overhanging bed while there are what sounds like gale force winds brewing outside. We did manage to get back to sleep, but were up twice more, once when Mike tightened a connection on our front awning to prevent it from getting damaged, and again when he removed the side awning once the winds changed direction. Both times we were wide awake and it was difficult to get back to sleep. By 6am we were up for the 3rd time, the skies looked threatening and we decided we may as well get going.

We headed off and got maybe 10 feet when a warning sounded on the car. There was an error with our electronic air suspension system, and the car was sitting low. Oh boy.. what a start to the day! Luckily Mike had the car serviced and prepared for the trip before we left. He knew that an EAS fault was a possibility and, Murphy's Law being what it is, brought along valves. When we got to Border Village he put the valves on, disconnected the automatic system and inflated the suspension manually with the electric air pump we carry (the service station's air thingy was broken, naturally). The car and it's suspension is fine and running well. The only problem is a computer fault which we may or may not have fixed in Esperance. No harm done except for some time spent under the bonnet instead of on the road.

We went through the WA quarantine/fruit & veggie inspection without any hassle, and spent the next few hours coasting along, stopping at a picturesque spot for a picnic lunch. As we drove along We came upon a few "kodak moments", a couple of lizards crossing the road, a kangaroo sitting roadside and an Emu with about 6 babies trailing behind.The stormy weather of the morning was actually a good thing as the Nullarbor was farily cool all day. The temps stayed in the low to mid 20s. We had not been looking forward to crossing in 40
degree temperatures. There was even a smattering of showers, and it was surprising to see how green everything was. Odd that the Nullarbor should be so much greener than Victoria! We met other travelers along the way who also camped along the Bight last night and were buffeted by the wind. Even a very large (read humongous oh-my-god what posessed you to buy that and how the heck do you tow that monster???) caravan was apparently rocking so much that it's occupants spent a sleepless night.

Thanks to our trusty "Camps 3" book We are now at another free camping spot along the 90 mile straight. We're 50 kilometres shy of Balladonia, set up comfortably in the shade with a provided table and barbecue. We were happy to find that this one has good toilet facilities as well. It's funny how on the road everything becomes so much more simplified. The recipe for happiness is soon whittled down to spending time with someone you love, some shade, a toilet, a shower, food, water, a comfy place to sleep, and a good internet connection. Okay okay.. maybe the broadband isn't an *absolute* necessity :)

p.s. Tonight I SWEAR we will get a good night's sleep!

Monday, 15 January 2007

Nullarbor Night One

Can you believe we have mobile phone access from the-middle-of-nowhere Nullarbor? That Next G service is pretty good. .. I take back *some* of what I've said about Telstra over the years. :)

Had a really good run today, and decided to camp at the South Australian/Western Australian border. Found a beautiful spot along the Australian Bight. Hard to believe that it's free to camp here with the million dollar views. It was 37 degrees celcius today (98.6 degrees Farenheit), but camped here this evening we are being serenaded by the most beautiful ocean breeze. We expect to sleep very well tonight. The last photo is near where we are camping.

We've been joined by a family heading from Perth to Melbourne, so I'm going to make this short so we can go chit chat with them.

Will fill you in on the latest at our next stop (as long as telstra cooperates), otherwise, as soon as we can get connected.

The Nullarbor


We don't need no stinkin' tripod!

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We are camped here!!
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Sunday, 14 January 2007

Bye Bye Ceduna


The sun sets over Ceduna and also over our time here. Tomorrow we make our way to the Nullabor. We expect to take about 3 days to cross, and we're not sure if we'll be able to post from there. Of course if too many days pass without a post it's safe to assume that we've either been sold into slavery, a dingo got us or we found a nice spot along the way and decided to hang around a bit longer.

Oh, one other thing. We've been asked about a comment that was sent and not posted. We have set the comments to moderated status to avoid spam, but so far have not had to moderate. All comments received have been posted. So, if yours isn't there, it's because we didn't get it... not cause we don't want to hear from you. So, if you could re-send it that would be groovy and all that jazz..

See you on the other side.
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