The Snail Trail

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


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Photo blogging Day 3 – Water

All my life I have been drawn to the beach. You’ll have heard me saying it’s good for my soul, opens my mind and removes any stress ….

Lucky Bay

Pristine beach and clear water at Lucky Bay, Western Australia

14 Mile Beach

14 Mile Beach, Western Australia

Then I travelled inland and discovered the cool serenity of lush pools like here at Millstream Chichester National Park in Western Australia.

Millstream Lily Pond

Millstream Lily Pond, Western Australia

Millstream Chichester National Park, Western Australia

Millstream Lily Pond

And the famous water trough at Derby

Derby, Western Australia

Myall’s Cattle Trough, Derby, Western Australia

And the devastation when the water dries up …..

Dry river bed, Broken Hill, New South Wales

Dry river bed, Broken Hill, New South Wales

Drought at McKinley, Queensland

Drought at McKinley, Queensland

Water, not only necessary for the soul …..necessary for life.

Ellendale Lake, Western Australia


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A Week Out of Wyndham

As you can see from my map below, a week after leaving Wyndham we were arriving in Broome – and it’s a place I’m finding very hard to leave….

Wyndham to Broome, Western AustraliaI was looking forward to our stop at Spring Creek free camp as it was at the entrance to The Bungle Bungles (Purnululu National Park) and I wanted to do a bus trip in. The road is known to be very corrugated and I’d heard reports of the 53km trip taking about 2.5 hours so I thought I wouldn’t put Brutus through that torture and let someone else wreck their vehicle instead. I was so disappointed to find out it was going to cost $285 for the day trip and my budget just didn’t cater for that expense. At that price I should have done the flight with Margaret and Nev from Kununurra, which took them over Lake Argyle, Ivanhoe Crossing and the Bungles for $330! So that stays on the bucket list for now!

The Spring Creek camp was a lovely stop over, though.

Our next night was in the Halls Creek Caravan Park, a dust bowl of a place and we only had the one night there. A short drive out of town takes you to a natural phenomon called the China Wall. China Wall is a natural vein of sub-vertical white quartz rising up to 6 metres above the surrounding country in places.  This striking formation transects the country for many kilometres, rising high out of the ground and then disappearing back into the earth again.  Scientists believe the wall was formed when the rock surrounding the much harder and resistant quartz was weathered and eroded away.

This is the traditional story about how the China Wall was formed….

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Mary Pool was a 2 night stopover – can’t rush these things, can we? Warren the Travelling Tradie that we met in Wyndham was here, and also an interesting fellow, Jeff, who carried around a ‘flying machine’ in a special compartment of his caravan. It was like a parachute that had a 2 stroke motor attached. It was too windy to launch at Mary Pool and also there were too many other campers there. They both joined us for Happy Hour but Warren left early to cook dinner for a cyclist camped next to him. (Remember this, as Lizzie will re-appear in my Broome blog). There was not much water in Mary Pool but there had been a crocodile sighted there recently.

This poor egret lost his dinner to a kite.

Mary Pool, Western Australia

Egret caught it – Whistling Kite ate it!!

My favourite campground on the way to Derby was another free camp at Ellendale Lake. What a special spot!  Margaret and I stayed here for 2 nights but Nev had to keep moving on as Cindy, his dog, wasn’t allowed.

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I could have stayed a lot longer but there was no TV reception and I couldn’t miss the State of Origin Decider (What a great game! Go Queensland!!) so we were off to Derby. We collected Nev on the way at the Boab Rest Area.

We only stayed the night but did a trip down to the wharf and out to see a couple of local sights. The first wharf, built in 1894, was a wooden T shaped structure located at the northern end of the present steel and concrete jetty. It was linked to the town of Derby by a horse drawn tramway, crossing the mud flats via a causeway where the present day road is located. Wool and pearl shell were the major exports in the early days. In 1964, the new jetty was built. The tides here are Australia’s highest and the second highest in the southern hemisphere.

One of the other attractions was the Prison Boab Tree. This huge tree is believed to be around 1,500 years old and has a girth of 14.7 metres. It was used as staging point for prisoners being walked into Derby in the early days. Adjacent to this massive tree is Myalls Bore and Cattle Trough. The bore has now dried up and a windmill is used to pump the water into the trough, which could handle 500 bullocks at one time and was later extended to a length of 120 metres.

…… and now we are on our way to Broome! I have wanted to go to Broome for years, and even more so after reading Di Morrisey’s “Tears of the Moon”. This is definitely an experience I’ll be able to tick off my bucket list.


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Derby – On the Trail of the Tin Dragon

Tasmania is the most amazing place to travel. There is so much history and at every turn in the road there is so much evidence of this history still to see. Jose and I left Swimcart Beach to travel to a rally in Bridport that we had been invited to, and I was really interested to visit Derby, where my sister had lived in the early 1980’s. She used to live in the old Bank House and I had visited her there for a very cold Christmas one year.

The house Marion used to live in is now a Gift Shop in the rooms that were the bank chambers.

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I knew Derby was an old tin mining town but since my last visit they have developed this side of its history into more of a tourist attraction.We really only stumbled across this because of my interest in going to Derby as it is not well promoted as a Tourist Attraction.

The Tin Interpretation Centre at Derby is a ‘must see’ experience if you are travelling that way.It is a beautiful building with an wonderful wall of theatre that tells the story of the discovery of tin in the area and how the early miners harnessed the power of the water to successfully mine the tin. The climax is the devastating flood in 1929, which broke the banks of the dam and spilled billions of litres of water through the town. You can find out a bit more about it here.

There is also a tribute to the contribution of the Chinese miners, and I loved this part of the Centre, as you will see by the number of photos I took of the wall murals!

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There is free camping at the river on the outskirts of town – a nice grassy area with shady trees and toilet facilities – and it’s close enough to walk into the little town.

We left Derby and our next stop was following a track beside the Ringarooma River which led to an old Chinese miners hut. Inside were story panels of the life of a Chinese tin miner. I found this really interesting, too, and was happy to leave my donation in the tin at the door.

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By the time we got to Weldborough we were ready to sample the Tasmanian Boutique beers on tap – they also had ciders available.

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While enjoying our ‘coldies’ in the beer garden we met a couple who were camped at the back of the pub and they told us of a couple of good camping spots to try as we headed west.

Weldborough is on the Trail of the Tin Dragon as it was the site of the confrontation between the Chinese miners and the ‘whites’. The Chinese had walked from Bridport and were on the way to Derby when they were stopped from going any further by an angry mob. They turned around and trudged all the way back to Bridport and came back with a police escort that quietened the mob and gave them safe passage to Derby.

We had planned to stay at Scottsdale that night but the free camp was very crowded so we did our shopping, fueled up our motorhomes, and headed off to Bridport to enter the rally early. It was hot, the roads had been winding and steep, and the roadworks everywhere had contributed to a tiring day. We were ready to stop!

This little map will show you the area I have been talking about and the route we took over the last couple of days. It will also give you an idea of the long walks the miners had when they were landed by boat at Bridport and had to get to Derby! When I think about that I realise that we have got it soooo good these days!

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