The Snail Trail

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

Ellendale Lake, Western Australia


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Day 4 Photo blogging – Bliss

This has been such a hard topic for me – not because I am never blissful, but I don’t know if I’ve ever captured it on film! So I’ve stretched my mind and come up with the following…..Are they blissful? I’m not sure, but they did make me feel very happy.

In 2015 I finally visited some of Australia’s iconic landmarks.

Uluru, Northern Territory, was once known as Ayers Rock.

Uluru, Northern Territory, was once known as Ayers Rock.

Kata Tjuta, formerly known as The Olgas, is a short distance from Uluru.

Kata Tjuta, formerly known as The Olgas, is a short distance from Uluru.

And then heading north from Alice Springs are the famous Devils’s Marbles.

Bliss? Sitting around a campfire with fellow travellers at the end of the day.

Cape Keraudren Western Australia

Jose was our resident fire lighter!

And being visited by the locals at some wonderful camp sites –

 

Lake Brockman, Western Australia

Wild birds? Sitting on my knee? Gotta love it!

My idea of absolute bliss? Lying on a pristine beach, feeling the sun warm you to the bones and drifting off – not to sleep, but to that blissful state of being aware of what’s around you but not being part of it at all. Now that’s hard to capture with words, let alone a photograph!

 

Quinninup Eco Park WA


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Taking The Long Way Around – Wagin to Albany.

Map Wagin to Albany WANineteen happy Solos left Wagin for our destination in Albany and the CMCA Rally. I had arranged a Roving Rally for us to experience some of the amazing countryside through the Southern Forest area of Western Australia. It was designed as a flexible rally so that participants could choose activities that interested them along the way and we met at each days destination for Happy Hour.

In preparation I had prepared a ‘show bag’ of information about the different places we were going to, and I had, in fact, done a ‘dry run’ to make sure all our planned destinations would be suitable for us. Having a campervan as small as Brutus I tend to forget that some of those big Winnebago’s and other rigs need more room than me!

Harvey Dickson's, Boyup Brook, WAOn our first night we gathered at Harvey Dickson’s Country Music Centre at Boyup Brook. Harvey, his wife Rose, and offsider Ken joined us for Happy Hour around the camp fire. Harvey stayed on when the others left and our main aim then became stopping him from falling into the campfire every time he stood up! He was definitely wearing his wobbly boots! Several of us booked the tour of his centre the next day. Wow! Words can’t describe his incredible collection of memorabilia that was scattered around the grounds and filled his entertainment venues. I’ll let the pictures tell the story!

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Camping fees at Harvey Dickson’s were $5per person per night and his tour was $10per person, and well worth every cent.

We left mid morning to travel to Bridgetown, most of us hanging out for a good coffee. When we arrived the water was cut off in the main street and all the coffee shops could offer were cold drinks – NO coffee – oh no! We wandered the street lined by cherry blossom trees and all agreed Bridgetown was worth another visit – perhaps at the Blues in Bridgetown Festival in mid-November. Some of the group travelled to our next destination via Greenbushes while others chose the more direct route. The drive from Greenbushes to Maranup  wound around the hills and had the prettiest scenery – and what a photo opportunity as I approached our destination!

Maranup Ford Farm Stay was our next stopover and what a difference from last night. A lovely green, peaceful setting with beautiful gardens, lots of birds,( particularly bright blue wrens) and great amenities. We all made use of the barbeque in the camp kitchen to cook our dinner and then once again gathered around the campfire that Laurie Baxter kept going to share our journey that day.

On Wednesday we journeyed to Quinninup via Pemberton to experience the Pemberton Tramway journey through the Karri forest.

We were met at Quinninup by the resident kangaroos and emus just in time to set up for happy hour.

As the camp kitchen had a pizza oven Sue Seaward and Kaye Page cooked up the pizzas we’d bought which wiped out the need for most of us to cook dinner! There is a small gnome village at the entry to the Quinnninup Eco Tourist Park and everyone contributed to the purchase of a gnome, the Solo Traveller, that we all signed then placed in the village as we left.

Quinninup Eco Park WA

Solo Traveller – but not a grey gnome-ad!

Our last destination was a free camp arranged by local Shire Councillor, Dave Tapley, behind the Walpole Hotel. As seven First Timers (to a CMCA Rally) were leaving the group to enter the Albany Rally the next day we decided to have a group dinner that night to support the pub on it’s initiative to offer an alternative camping venue in Walpole. It was time to say goodbye to our happy band as I made my way to Albany on Friday morning as one of the Newbies!.

Walpole Hotel WA

Free camping behind the pub at Walpole

What a great way to get to know fellow Solos, sharing this special journey and enjoying each others company along the way.

Cape Keraudren Western Australia


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Cape Keraudren – Swimming and Sandflies

About half-way between Broome and Port Hedland is a roadhouse at Sandfire that we stopped at overnight on our way to Cape Keraudren.

I’ve only included it in my story because our campground was jammed up against a plantation of mango trees and the fruit bats (flying foxes) squarked all day and night. The upside though were the beautiful peacocks that wandered in and out amongst the trees, not just the brilliant blue ones but several white ones as well. Noisy critters, but oh, so lovely to have wandering around so close. None of them did a display of their tails for us unfortunately.

So here is where I am on my travel down the west coast of Australia. That little line on the map of Australia is just over 600 kilometres long.

Before we turned off to Cape Keraudren we decided to do a side trip to 80 Mile Beach and I’m so glad we did. It was spectacular – miles and miles (80 of them actually) of pristine sand with fishermen dotted along the shore. After investigating the beach we stopped at the camp store and lashed out and had scones, jam and cream for morning tea. Decadent!

Cape Keraudren is at the Southern end of 80 Mile Beach and about 12 kms off the highway on a good sealed road except for the last 4 kms of gravel. There were a few different places to camp here and I checked them all out before joining my travelling buddies at the main beach. One of the camps was by Mosquito Creek, very pretty but those mozzies would have carried me away.

I enjoyed 6 nights here before resuming my journey south and was joined by the Broome crowd of Dave, Anne, Mick, Nola, Mel, Jalanta and Robyn. Then Jose turned up and Marion – it was beginning to look a lot like a Solos Rally!

The tides were huge here and if you didn’t get a swim at high tide you could forget about it as you could walk out about 1 kilometre and still only be up to you ankles. It was a lovely stop over – except for the sand flies! They were thick and everyday I had to slather on insect repellent to survive without being eaten alive. Fortunately if I do get bitten I have no lasting effects unlike some of the others that really suffered. At happy hour one night Dave told us a story about opening his fridge and a mosquito flew out. He reckoned it had on a beanie and scarf as it escaped! As it had been in there overnight he thought it deserved a second chance at life so he let it fly away – I’m not sure I would have been so generous!

Here’s a slideshow of some of my favourite Cape Keraudren photos. I love the ones taken at sunset looking east along the beach. I hope you enjoy them too.

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Next stop Port Hedland…..shops, traffic lights, mining and industry …. and the busiest port in Australia! Also my opportunity to catch up with Ladybird, Pam, who I spent Christmas with last year.

 

 


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Longreach to the Channel Country- so much to see and do!

I thought I’d spend a couple of days in Longreach, but I drove straight through and went to Ilfracombe and stayed in the Ilfracombe Caravan Park. What a great night! They have a fantastic Happy Hour Shed and the night I was there they did a Sausage Sizzle in aid of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. It was a great way to meet even more wonderful people.

Their regular entertainers were away at the Yellowbelly Classic in Longreach so we entertained ourselves with  jokes and bush poetry from the crowd. I plucked up the courage to tell my Green Frog poem, which went over really well.

I started back to Longreach late the next morning, making the most of the power to charge my lantern, computer and phone – and to catch up on some blogging.

I arrived at the Longreach Stockman’s Hall of Fame and paid my money to see the museum.

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I have to say I was disappointed in the museum. Although filled with an amazing amount of information it was very sterile, I found the displays quite dark and hard to see the artifacts, and if you aren’t a reader you would miss so much – there is a lot of reading!

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I had missed the live stockman display in the arena out the back as I got there after 11am, so that was disappointing, too. Perhaps I just wasn’t ‘in the zone’ for Longreach  so I definitely have to go back and give it a fair go. I would like to visit the Qantas museum and also do the river cruise or wagon trip which I have been told by other travellers are both fantastic experiences. Next time.

After filling up with petrol and refilling my gas bottle I headed south to Stonehenge, 151kms away. I was entering the Channel Country in the Barcoo Shire.

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 If you want to get an idea of the size of this shire, think approximately the size of Tasmania – 61,974 square kms. It takes in the townships of Stonehenge, Jundah and Windorah.

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The little caravan park at Stonehenge offered showers, water and power for a $10 per night in the honesty box. The Community Centre opposite is also the Information Centre and a very friendly lady was more than happy to fill me in on what to see in the area.

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The same facilities can be found in Jundah and Windorah for the same price. Each of these little towns also has a dump point.

I stayed 2 nights at Stonehenge and whacked the lantern on charge again to make sure I had plenty of light for the free camps I would be staying at over the next few days. You can get too comfortable when you are ‘plugged in’!

Jundah had a lovely looking free camp on the banks of the Thompson River but I decided to keep going to Windorah, where I stayed at the free camp at Coopers Creek. Coopers Creek is formed by the joining of the Thomson and Barcoo Rivers and when in flood it fills multi channels and flood plains that stretch outwards from its banks for up to 100kms as the water commences its journey to Lake Eyre.

Windorah has a solar farm that provides most of its energy requirements and looks so out of place in this little country town.

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The free camp is just out of Windorah on Coopers Creek. The best spots were taken when I got there but I found some shade, set up camp and not long after was joined by another person, Derek, who it turned out was from Swansea in Tasmania, a town close to where my sister lives. By the time he left I had to get out my lantern to see what I was cooking. Bugger me dead – it didn’t work! All this time I’d been charging it for a night just like this and it was the globe that was gone, not the charge!

Out with the trusty head lamp, which I hadn’t used until now, and looking like an alien I cooked my dinner and then read by the same lamp until sleep time. I LOVE this little lamp. It’s hands free, throws a great light – and it cost next to nothing. I think Laurance convinced me to buy it at Crazy Clarks when he was in Mt Isa – thank you!

There are soooo many places I want to go to out here. You could spend months, if not years, travelling around Queensland visiting the most amazing little towns with incredible history. I have to keep telling myself ‘you can’t see everything’……but I’m hungry for it. I feel like a little kid stamping her foot saying ‘but I want to!’

Tomorrow I’m going to Quilpie – but I’m missing Toompine, Eromanga and Adavale. I have to come back!