The Snail Trail

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


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2015 Road Trip – Part 2

I’m back in the Lake Brockman Caravan Park ($15 a night for a powered site) after spending 4 glorious days right next door at the Logue Brook Bush Camp.

IMG_5779 Lake Brockman

This camp is run by The Dept. of Parks and Wildlife and has recently been redeveloped, so the facilities are fantastic – clean long drop toilets, tank water, and barbeques under shelter. It’s also on Lake Brockman, which is a mecca for power boats and skiing but it wasn’t nearly as noisy as Stockton Lake which also attracts the skiing crowd.

So here’s my next Top 10 camps for 2015.

Remember, they are in chronological order, not order of preference.

11. Daly Waters Pub, Northern Territory

The Daly Waters Pub is an iconic stopover – full of character – and characters! The Bra Bar is famous, as is the Thong Tree, and they are just as famous for their Beef and Barra dinners. When you check in for a camping site you can also pay to include the meal that night, and why wouldn’t you – it’s all part of the experience! Camping was only $14 a night for a powered site. There’s entertainment every night so it was another amazing experience I enjoyed this year.

12. Parry’s Creek Farm Stay, near Wyndham, Western Australia

I had 5 most enjoyable nights here for $15 a night (unpowered). It gave me time to go off and explore the Marglu Billabong, with its Bird Hide, and get my first glimpse of some enormous salt water crocodiles sunning on the banks of the lagoon.

Margaret and Nev caught up with me here after travelling the very corrugated gravel road in – I never thought I’d here the end of it from them!

On the night of the camp oven cook out for the camp ground guests I did my bush poetry in exchange for a free meal – my first ‘paid’ performance!

It was here I also met a lovely couple, Bob and Deb, with their little dog Mollie and they shared a fantastic roast dinner with me. Bob also writes a blog and has a page dedicated to Mollie, telling about their travels from a dog’s perspective. If you want to check it out it’s called Bob’s Big Idea It’s worth it to read Mollie’s page 🙂

Margaret got some great bird photos while we were there and also when we moved on the Wyndham Caravan Park, where I once again did a Bush Poet’s Happy Hour for a couple of nights free accommodation…I could get used to this!

13.Ellendale Lake, Western Australia

I loved this free camp just off the road on the way to Derby from Wyndham. Nev couldn’t stay with us because it is a dog free zone as it is a cattle station – you’ve probably guessed that from the curious cows that invaded our camp. There are no facilities there at all so you must be self contained,and I would have gladly stayed longer but it was the final State of Origin so Margaret and I left to head into Derby after only a couple of nights. When I come back this way I will be stocked up for a week’s stay!

14.Broome, Western Australia

Sunset Camel ride, Broome, WA

Isn’t this is a great shot!

Broome, beautiful Broome. Booked for 3 nights and stayed for 36! I loved everything about it….

The history

The camel ride on Cable Beach

The people I shared it with

Staircase to the Moon

My first 3 nights were at the Pistol Club as it was a dog friendly park and I was travelling with Nev and his dog Cindy, and Margaret. It was a fair way out of town and the disadvantage of a campervan is that if you want to go anywhere you have to pack up everything to move. When Nev and Margaret left to head south I did pack up everything and moved to the Roebuck Bay Caravan Park. The advantage of a little campervan is that I got into the camping area (unpowered) and this gave me the chance to get to know Broome a lot better. I looked straight out to Town Beach, there was a cafe almost at my front door and 100 metres down the road I could jump on the bus and go anywhere in Broome for $2. My camping fees were $16 per night with the 7th night free so it made it a very affordable option to stay…and stay….and stay….

15.Cape Keraudren, Western Australia

Camping at Cape Keraudren is $7.50 a night and a ranger comes around to collect the fees. There is a long drop toilet and also a dump point for black water. The beach was great for a swim  when the tide was in (swam with a turtle here one day) and the company, once again, made for a great few days stopover.

It was after an incident here that I wrote my poem The Frozen Mosquito.

16.Bullara Station, near Exmouth, Western Australia

I first stayed at Bullara Station with Jose and Jean last year. Sadly, Jean passed away this year and I thought how lucky I am to be still travelling and living this wonderful lifestyle. Just Do It really has to be our motto!

It’s impossible to describe the red of the sand hills but Bullara Station is more than that. Showers under the tank stand, the ‘lavatree’ that is literally built around a tree, the great happy hour around the fire pit, the damper ….. and pleasing to see they had made some improvements to the camp kitchen this year. It cost me $24 for a powered site this year – needed power because my gas was leaking and I couldn’t use if for my fridge – but I think it was still only $14 for an unpowered site.

17. Wooramel Station, Western Australia

I was told about Wooramel Station by a couple of lovely ladies I met at Robe River, Cherri and her mother Pat who were on their way home from Broome. They travelled independently, each having their own caravan and were great company. Cherri has since joined the Solos Network that I belong to and I caught up with her again at the Wagin and Albany Rallies. They were here at Wooramel when I arrived, too.

The river is dry at this time of the year, but the birds were nesting in the trees and they have a hot artesian spa to soak away stress…stress? …what is that by the way?

It was $14 a night, no power or amenities, but a lovely stopover. I would have stayed longer but I was on a mission to get to Oakabella Homestead where I’d promised to help out Loretta while she was away on holidays.

18. Oakabella Homestead, near Geraldton, Western Australia

I had spent quite a bit of time at Oakabella Homestead last year and was looking forward to returning there and picking up my friendship with Loretta, the manager of the tours and cafe. Unfortunately we only had a couple of days together before she went off on her cruise and I was left as camp host, and unexpectedly looking after the cafe 3 days a week. That soon sorted me out – but I did learn how to make a great cup of coffee in the cafe!

Many of the solos I had travelled with from Broome and down the coast to Port Hedland came in for a night or two and there were some good happy hours as we caught up on everyone’s travel experiences. One night we had 20 vans in the camping ground.

Camping at Oakabella is $9 per person. there is no power but great showers and toilets and you can charge up phones and computers at the cafe.

And don’t forget Loretta’s legendary scones!

19.Harvey Dickson’s Country Music Centre, Boyup Brook, Western Australia

As a place to stay, Harvey Dickson’s Country Music Centre is nothing out of the ordinary – dusty sites, no power, no showers, but there are toilets! But you don’t go there for the camp site, you go there for the experience of touring through Harvey’s sheds full of memorabilia. And for Harvey, of course, who is a character who loves to share his passion for all the things he has collected.

For $5 a night and an extra $10 to do his tour, if you’re anywhere near Boyup Brook it’s a must do!

20. Maranup Ford Farm Stay, near Bridgetown, Western Australia

This has to be one of my favourites! It’s not far from Bridgetown and was recommended to me by Jenn, a fellow solo traveller. There’s always a risk recommending a place/restaurant/pub/beach to someone else, but Maranup Ford Farm Stay lived up to everything Jenn said about it. It’s peaceful, serene, beautiful birds, wonderful gardens and friendly hosts in Melva and Hugh. I keep gravitating back there if I’m in the area – why would I want to be anywhere else?

I think it’s about $20 a night for one person for a powered site and about $28 for a couple. The showers and toilets are ensuite style, there is a laundry and a camp kitchen with a bbq. Not only that, the drive there is through some of the prettiest country you’ll ever see.

Well, there you have it! My Top 20 camps for 2015.

You know, I could have picked a totally different 20 and probably been just as happy with the outcome…. but these were the first to come to mind so there had to be a reason for that! I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing my journey.

Tomorrow I disconnect from power here at Lake Brockman and head back to Collie and Stockton Lake where my journey started earlier this year. I’ve come full circle and it almost sees my time out here in Western Australia.

Who would have guessed that when I arrived in April 2014 for a 2 month house-sit that I would still be here in December 2015.

 

 

 

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.