The Snail Trail

Travelling with my home on my back and in no hurry to get anywhere

Stockton Lake WA


New Year – New Adventures

I wrapped up 2015 by blogging some of my favourite camps during that year and now I have the opportunity to create a whole new list for 2016. But in the meantime I thought I’d share with you where I’ve been over Christmas and New Year.

I didn’t travel very far as you will see!

Stockton Lake to Lake Brockman

The yellow star shows the approximate location of Stockton Lake, the blue star shows where Lake Brockman (Logue Brook Dam) is situated and the green star is roughly where I camped on the Hamilton River.

The Western Willie Wagtails met at Stockton Lake early December and it was great to spend some time  with them and share their club Christmas Party, complete with Santa.

I chose to stay on at Stockton Lake for a few days, then had a break at Logue Brook Dam which was less than 100kms away.

IMG_5779 Lake Brockman

Camped at Logue Brook Dam (Lake Brockman)

The Port Lincoln Ring-neck Parrots were very friendly here and I ended up with scratches up my arms where they walked all over me to steal biscuits out of my hand.

The whole area around Logue Brook was burnt out after Christmas by a raging bushfire which destroyed something like 70,000 hectares and completely wiped out the historic little town of Yarloop. I’ve duplicated the map above and put another of the fire area next to it so you can get some idea of the size of this massive fire. The fire front was about 100kms long and raged through National Parks, townships and across to the coastline. It stretched from Waroona to Harvey.

After a few days at Logue Brook Dam I headed back to Stockton Lake to spend Christmas and see in the New Year. I got the pick of the camp sites, right  on the water with lovely shade most of the day. Needless to say, my camp became the ‘go to’ place for the breeze, the shade and the views.

Christmas was a very happy time, shared with fellow travellers and a wonderful family that camped next to me with 6 children. I put my present under their Christmas Tree and on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning shared with them as they opened all their presents. They were going to wake me up early so I didn’t miss out but I was up long before the kids and thought I’d have to wake them up instead. Dad Nathan and Mum Siobhan (Pronounced shiv + awn) should be very proud of their wonderful family.

Christmas dinner was shared with Solo Kev Thornton, Terry and Gay who I had met before at Oakabella Homestead and Mick, a solo traveller also. This happy crew expanded by a few more by the time New Year’s Eve came around but the wind was chilly that night so we all finished early and woke up the next day to 2016.

I enjoyed a few more days at Stockton Lake then took off to do some bush camping along the Hamilton River with Mick. It was around this time that the bushfires flared up around Harvey so got some stunning shots of the smoky sky.

Mick was great company and also a fantastic Mr Fix-It, doing a few odd jobs to my van that were long over due. We went for a drive one day to find the Black Diamond Swimming Hole, too. What a popular place that turned out to be for day trippers.

All good things must come to an end I suppose, so it was time to pack up and get myself organised for the next Willie Wagtails outing in Boddington – a great opportunity for me to say farewell to this fantastic group of people who have helped make my stay in Western Australia so special.

Coalmine Beach

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Smoked out at Shannon National Park

We were heading back to the coast and stopped off at Shannon National Park near Pemberton. I had planned to stay there on my way to Perth last year but didn’t have enough cash in my purse to pay the fees so I kept driving for an ATM and ended up at Windy Harbour! I have a saying that I’m never lost, I’m just taking another route!

I was cashed up for this visit, though, and looking forward to my stay. It’s quite a luxury site for a National Park as there are hot showers, fired up each afternoon by the camp host so we were tempted to stay for a couple of days. Unfortunately, the bush fires that are currently ravaging the South West of Western Australia put paid to that idea when the park filled up with smoke, so Barry and I decided to beat a retreat in daylight and not risk being evacuated in the middle of the night. We did enjoy one night there, though, with the screeching black cockatoos and beautiful scarlet robins. For once I was able to get a photograph of the birds – I’m not saying it’s any good, mind you, but I did get it!

Our camp hosts, Keith and Sue, kept us updated with the progress of the fires and although we weren’t under any immediate threat I think we made the wisest decision by leaving.

Camping Info. National Park, hot showers, flush toilets, camp kitchen with BBQ, plenty of sites and currently undergoing expansion for 30 more, no water, power, phone or internet

It was late in the day when we got out of there and we ended up at Coalmine Beach, which was a lovely find.

Coalmine Beach

Coalmine Beach

From here, big brother Barry and I moved off in different directions as I was ready for some caravan park luxury and a big internet fix! We had a great time travelling together, even though I was the one that caught the fish 🙂