Monday, 10 March 2014

FEATHERED VISITORS

I thought it might be time for a new blog post.  I'm sure there are followers everywhere just waiting for what's happening in my life!   Actually I have new camera so this is a good place to show some of what I am practising.  It's a real camera that makes a proper shutter noise when you take a photo. Thanks to the research my brother did when he was getting one, I just walked in to the camera shop and said "I'll have that one, thanks."  I have since got a new zoomy (that's a technical word used by photographers) lens, so I'm clicking all over the place.  I have been able to get much better photos of some of our lovely feathered visitors.




We have lots of the lovely little wrens in the garden, but they are very shy and it's hard to catch them.  The females are especially hard to see as they are brown.  This little one is either losing his blue feathers or just getting them as they are a bit scruffy looking.  I have read that they only have the blue feathers when they are mating but that may not be right.


These Eastern Rosellas are frequent visitors to the garden, but like the wrens they are shy and fly off at the slightest movement.  We do occasionally see a Crimson Rosella with the Easterns, usually only one at a time.


The lagoon is nearly dry at the moment (wouldn't we love some rain!) so the ducks have migrated to one of the dams.  If Millie (possibly a dog, but don't mention that in front of her) stays away from them we might have them around a bit longer.


This heron has also been frequenting the dam.

A couple of years ago when we had lots of rain, we had hundreds of birds just out the front of the house as the lagoon was only about 40 metres from the house.  We can only hope to get that sort of rain again!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Thought I might do a few non-travelling posts.  It seems to be a good way to record things for future reference, even if no-one reads them now. 
We are very fortunate and live in a beautiful setting on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria.  We have 22 acres and our house overlooks a lagoon.  This is home to lots of wildlife, mostly birds.  It is lovely to be able to look out at any time and see the swans and ducks on the lagoon.  When there is a full moon rising over the hill on the other side of the lagoon the water turns to silver or gold, depending on the colour of the moon. This week we had this beautiful view.




The next night the moon was a huge orange ball in the sky and it all looked even more beautiful.  My little "point and click" camera doesn't do it justice.  A new improved singing and dancing camera is currently under consideration.


Monday, 23 September 2013

Monday, 12 August 2013

Just a distant memory

I thought I should finish off the journey, even though no-one will probably read it now.  It'll be there for future reference.  We have been home for about 7 weeks now, and it seems like it was all years ago - just a distant memory. We got it all wrong with the timing as when we were coming home all the grey nomads were heading in the opposite direction!  It was very tempting not to turn around.

The last part of the story was brought to you from a very wet Port Lincoln. From there it was our intention to spend a few days in Clare.  We had passed through there a few years ago and marked it on the list as a place to visit for a few days sometime.

The rain continued as we drove through Tumby Bay (nice little place by the sea), and Port Agusta.  There was some lovely scenery in the Clare Valley, even through the rain. 



We got to Clare at about 4.30 and found the caravan park we had seen previously.  It seemed to be a lot further out of town than we remembered (about 6 kms), the staff were anything but welcoming, it was muddy and everything was wet.  After spending one night there surrounded by wet clothes hanging everywhere in the camper, we decided it was time to go home.  We did have a lovely breakfast in town there before we left for Burra.

I wanted to stop in Burra as I had heard lots of good things about the town. It was only a short drive from Clare and we spent a couple of hours there. The historical aspect of the town is the feature and the buildings are very well cared for.




It was well worth the time to stop there, there were some very nice shops as well and the cornish pasties from the bakery were pretty good too.

Our trip home was coinciding with Shane Crawford's ride from Melbourne to Perth to raise funds and awareness of breast cancer.  We had worked out we would see him just out of Burra as he was to have a stop over there that night.  A little way out of Burra we saw police cars and so we pulled over to wait for him to come along.


I planned to take lots of photos so that I would get one good one out of it. This was the result.



I hadn't expected Shane to stop and talk to us and I got a bit distracted! Well, I guess half a picture is better than none.  He finished up raising 1.3 million dollars, it was an amazing effort.

After that exciting distraction we continued on, crossing the Murray River at Loxton on the ferry.


We planned to spend our last night in a bush camp, but as we passed through Pinarroo we realised that a bush camp would mean no power, which would also mean no heater!  Bit cold for that so we turned back and pulled in to the caravan park.  

Next day was the last leg of our fantastic journey.  Although we didn't really want to head home we were looking forward to seeing family and friends, we knew Millie needed to be liberated from the detention centre and that there would be plenty to catch up on at home.  

The best part of getting back home was knowing that we could go again whenever we wanted to!  Plans are already under way for another expedition next year.  In the meantime hopefully there will be small escapes.

Until the next journey, thanks for travelling with us.

Merrilyn xx

Saturday, 22 June 2013

We are on the way home.

"Where are you now?" you ask.  Well, we are well on the homeward journey as we are now in SA, at Port Lincoln.  It's wet and very windy here so we know it's not far now. Ben, if you are reading, you Driza-Bone from Chalice is getting a good outing! Millie will be happy to be liberated from the detention centre soon.


As I said in the last post, there won't be anything too exciting from now on. After we left Exmouth and headed south along the coast, we called in to Coral Bay to have a look as we had heard it was a nice place to spend a few days.  It certainly is!



We'll definitely be back there sometime.  That night it was just an overnight roadside stop, but this one was a bit different.  It was on top of a hill overlooking the ocean (quite a bit distant).


There was an area here with a lots of stones with memory messages placed in piles.  There was also another pile of rocks with lots of garden gnomes.






More sunset shots, I'm sorry!  But you have to admit the sunsets in the west are spectacular.




After a little bit further south down the coast, we headed east through Mt Magnet and had an overnight stop in a very small town called Sandstone. Lots more long straight roads along the way.  




Most of the people staying in the caravan park at Sandstone were gold prospectors.  Not the sort you might picture, but grey nomads just like us!

As we headed to Kalgoorlie from Sandstone, it was a succession of mining areas.We then had a couple of days in Kalgoorlie.  Ben had spent a few years here some time ago so we were interested to see some of the things he had talked about.  The super pit was just amazing. 




This has been dug on what was the original Golden Mile, and is several of the older mines joined together in one pit to make recovery of the gold easier.  Alan Bond started the idea in 1985 and it is now HUGE.  The photos don't really show how big it is, but if you can make out any ants crawling along the paths, they are those huge trucks used in the mines.  Their tyres are taller than a person, and they really did look like ants.  They have 31 of those trucks, costing $4 million dollars each, and they are just going up and down the tracks constantly.  It certainly is impressive.  This is how big the bucket on one of the diggers is.




We also visited the Museum there which naturally is centred around the mining in the area.  Outside the museum is some sort of large tower that is used in mining.  (Sorry I should have paid more attention to the signs!)




You can go to the top of this structure, and see a different view of Kalgoorlie from there.





Kalgoorlie was much bigger than I had expected, with a population of about 32,000.  We stayed in the caravan park at Boulder.  Several local people told us that the area is not as busy as it used to be and it was very quiet in the centre of Kalgoorlie.  In Boulder, there were a lot of empty shops and the shopping area looked very run down.
Some of the architecture in Kalgoorlie is beautiful, particularly the hotels.  They were all built around 1900.  We had dinner in the York Hotel one night and it was lovely inside.  The staircase is particularly impressive.




When you stand and look at some of the buildings, you can just imagine some of the stories and memories that they hold.

Then it was south to Norseman, and we passed Chalice Mine, where Ben used to work, on the way.  More long straight roads.




I know these photos of the roads all look the same, but I'm just trying to show those of you who might not have been in WA (as we hadn't until now) what it is like.  It's hard to imagine how much driving is done without seeing much of anything!

After Norseman it was abit further south and then turning eastward towards the Nullabor.  Another overnight roadside stop (no sunset photo this time) somewhere, can't really remember where.

Then lots more long straight road - over 140 kms along the Nullabor without even a bend in the road.  




We stopped at the Head of the Bight for a photo opportunity.  Wouldn't be a good place to be shipwrecked!





We were soon into SA and heading for some familiar weather, wet and windy! Overnight stop next was at another very small town, Penong.  This seems to be a wheat growing area.  The caravan park was quite small, but was one of the neatest we have ever seen.  Even the gravel was raked!
Next morning we passed through Ceduna, and handed over all our fruit and vegetables at the quarantine stop.  We had decided that we would take a bit of extra time and make our way down the Eyre Peninsula to Port Lincoln.  We had a look at Streaky Bay, which we had also heard was an interesting destination, and decided it was certainly worth another visit some time.  Elliston was another place which I wanted to see.  Deb, if you are reading, it was lovely.  I can see why it is so special for you.
We are now spending a couple of very wet windy nights at Port Lincoln.  No photos, it's too wet and grey outside.  We did venture out today for a brisk walk to the marina area.  This ended up being a 12 km hike up and down hills.     Fortunately it was punctuated half way with a lovely lunch and a couple of glasses of local wine.  Unfortunately we didn't take a map with us, got a little confused about the way back and it was uphill most of the way!  Currently sitting on the couch with the heater on, watching the football and nursing all the sore spots.
Tomorrow we will head off up the eastern side of the Peninsula, through Tumby Bay.  I want to see this place, the name just sounds so interesting.  There might be a couple more stops before we get home, so stay tuned.  See you all soon. xxx

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Exmouth

At last we get to the blog about Exmouth (or more correctly Yardie Creek), even though we are now at Kalgoorlie.
We spent two weeks at Yardie Creek Caravan Park.  This is on Yardie Station, about 38 kms from Exmouth. Exmouth is on a peninsula, with Exmouth Gulf on the eastern side and the Indian Ocean stretching as far as you can see on the western side.  This is Exmouth Gulf.





There is a lighthouse (can't remember the name of it) on the end of the peninsula.




Yardie isn't right on the beach, but it's very close.  The beaches are absolutely breathtaking, long stretches of sand and pristine turquoise water.  




The area is surrounded by National Park (including the water) and there are lots of animals.  We saw kangaroos, emus and an echidna.  There are also lots and lots and lots of birds!




 The caravan park doesn't have all the fancy trimmings (limited power as it runs by generator) but its close to all the action!

The boat ramp is a couple of kms from the park, and it is where all the boats that take people out to the reef for snorkelling and diving leave from.  The big boats go out past the reef and the smaller ones stay inside.  Everyone seems to catch fish no matter where they go. It's also a good place to fish from the beach.






The sand tends to build up around the boat ramp and has to be dug out to let the boats come in.





This is a quite large shark that was swimming around at the end of the boat ramp one day when we were down there.                      




Just a bit further south on the coast, there is a gorgeous beach called Turquoise Bay.  When you see it, it's obvious where the name comes from.  It's a popular place for snorkelling as the reef is quite close to the beach.









The water is so clear that you can see the fish swimming.







As I said, it is a popular place for snorkelling.  This next photo should have been discarded, but I am just showing that I actually did it!  




This is the boat that catches the big fish - John and Rhonda's boat, The Mongrel Cat.




And here is some of what they catch.  These are called Spangled Emperors.




And the red ones are Ruby Snapper.  These are caught in very deep water - about 350 metres.



Arnie caught the biggest one on this outing, it was about 22 kgs.




And Alan's was the second biggest.





Rhonda has a secret bait that gets the big ones!




These are Goldband Snapper.




When the boats come in there is usually quite a gathering at the cleaning table, particularly when word gets around that something large has been brought in.  The fish gets shared around everyone as there are quite a few people in the camp who can't get out fishing.  Some of them are regulars who have been coming to Yardie for years.  The young European travellers who camp there love getting some fresh fish for dinner!

Sorry about all the fish photos for those not interested, but some of our loyal readers enjoy them.  To make up for all the fish photos, here are some lovely shots of the boat ramp in the evening when the boats are coming in and the sun is setting.




No post would be complete without a photo of us eating and drinking.



That's probably about it for the exciting posts.  We are homeward bound and there won't be a lot happening.  But you never know, so you had better keep checking, just in case.