I went on a bit of a road trip in 2015 – about 11,500 kilometres without counting the side trips to tourist attractions and bush camps. I started at Collie in Western Australia with my new best friend, the blue parrot that landed on my shoulder and adopted me for a couple of weeks. And I’ll see out 2015 back in the Collie area at Stockton Lake. This is what my road trip looks like –
I thought it would be interesting to highlight my Top 20 places I visited this year, so here’s the first 10 (ten), in chronological order.
1. Stockton Lake, near Collie, Western Australia
Stockton Lake is about 7kms east of Collie. It is only $5.50 a night (concession) and the only facilities are toilets – no drinking water or power – so you need to be fairly self-contained. To be able to camp on the edge of the lake makes it all worthwhile!
2. Chapman Pool, Blackwood River, Western Australia
There are 3 great campsites along the Blackwood River: Alexander Bridge, Chapman Pool and Sue’s Bridge. Chapman Pool was my favourite, not least because I caught a couple of good sized black bream there! And what about the possum that invited itself to dinner! This was the best swimming hole, too. $6.60 a night (concession), long drop toilets, barbeques. No power or drinking water.
3. Denmark Rivermouth Caravan Park
I shouted myself a bit of luxury and stayed here for 5 nights – showers, toilets, laundry, power and water! The bonus was the boat cruise run by the manager of the caravan park. I don’t know what the going rate is but I was lucky enough to negotiate a good price at the time I was there (Feb 2015) It was while staying here that I was prompted to write my poem called The Parking Roundabout.
I can’t leave Denmark without including some photos of the spectacular Elephant Rocks and beach which is a short drive west of Denmark on the Williams Bay Road.
4. Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand, near Esperance, Western Australia
Lucky Bay is in the National Park at Cape Le Grand in the South East corner of Western Australia. It was my first beach stopover when I arrived in 2014 and nearly 12 months later I was back in one of my favourite campsites. It prompted me to write my poem Lucky Bay. This year I caught up with Richard again, having first met at Lucky Bay last year, and his friend Jay took us driving over the dunes at nearby Dunn’s and Rossiter Bay – spectacular!
Lucky Bay is $6.60 per night, solar showers, flush toilets, limited drinking water – and a coffee van visits the beach a few days a week. What more could a girl ask for?
5. Salmon Gums, Western Australia
You’re probably wondering why I would include a dry and dusty caravan park in my favourites…. well, I’ve stayed there on 3 different occasions now and each time I have met some wonderful people. It is only $5 a night for an unpowered site, there are spotlessly clean showers and toilets, a laundry and I’ve always had great company. My poem about Max, the Mad Rooter was written here after watching Max try to assert his dominance over Jock, the caretaker, Janet’s, little dog.
6. Martins Bend, South Australia
Easter 2015 was shared with my sister, Marion, at Martin’s Bend on the Murray River in South Australia. It was the time of the blood moon and I love the photo I snapped of the full moon through the trees over the river. We had a relaxing few days there at a very minimal cost. There were toilets and drinking water available. No fish jumped on my hook though 🙂
7. Lake Hart, South Australia
Lake Hart is on the highway about 250kms north of Port Augusta on the way to Coober Pedy and only about 25kms as the crow flies west of Roxby Downs. It is a free roadside stop and is one of my favourites because of the vastness of this old abandoned salt lake mine and the spectacular photo opportunities it provided. There were no facilities there but a picnic table! Oh, and The Ghan passed by on its way north – that was pretty special!
8. Yulara – camping at Uluru, Northern Territory
My visit to Uluru, and the campground at Yulara, was extra special as I had my birthday there and celebrated by going to the Sounds of Silence Dinner. It became even more special when I met Roswitha, who was also celebrating her birthday on the same day. We shared a table at dinner and have maintained contact ever since, with Roswitha and her husband Klaus also joining us at our camp at Alice Springs for a few days.
And it’s impossible to leave here without including Kata Juta (The Olgas) as part of this special experience in the ‘heart’ of Australia.
Yulara offered a 3 night camping package for $84 with all facilities provided, plus it was only a walk to the Resort with its shops, restaurants and bars. The Sounds of Silence Dinner was $190 or thereabouts.
9. Alice Springs, Northern Territory
We stayed in Alice Springs for about 2 weeks as it was the jumping off point to visit so many nearby attractions. The Gap View Hotel offered camping out the back for $11 a night and there were showers, toilets, barbeques and a laundry. You could also connect to power for a couple of extra dollars (it was a bit dodgy, with leads running everywhere, but it worked!)
Old Telegraph Station and Alice Springs Desert Park
Hermannsburg and Palm Valley
West MacDonnell Ranges and Standley Chasm
Alice Springs – a ‘must go back to ‘ place – I haven’t even ventured to the East MacDonnell Ranges yet!
Ooops! Can’t leave Alice Springs without my side trip to Amburla on the way north…..
10. Longreach Waterhole, Northern Territory
The Longreach Waterhole is a few kms north of Elliot, in the Northern Territory. My travelling companions, Margaret and Nev, decided not to venture on to the gravel road but I am certainly glad I did. The waterbirds were a constant entertainment, there were plenty of places to camp right at the edge of the waterhole, there was a long drop toilet, a picnic shelter and best of all, it was free! I enjoyed a few days there before leaving to catch up to the others further north.
My next ten of my top twenty will be in my next post – probably a week before I connect to power again – so from my latest camp at Lake Brockman my friends and I will shut down the computer and see you in the great outdoors.