The Snail Trail

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


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2014 – These Are a Few of My Favourite Things

This is my last blog for 2014 so I thought it appropriate to recap my travels this year. The map below shows where I started in Tasmania and where I’ve ended up nearly 12 months later in Western Australia. Although it says the distance of 9,700 odd kms I have in fact travelled more than 15,000kms – and loved every minute of it!

2014 Travel

I started to tell a story and didn’t know when to stop so I have now decided to share my photos as a ‘wrap’ for 2014. Obviously I can’t include everything, but, as the title says, these are a few of my favourite things.

My year began in Tasmania….

Highlights of Tassie? The beaches, the free camps, spending time with my sister, travelling with friends, and the boat trip on the Franklin River out of Strahan to Hell’s Gates and Sarah Island.

Every bend in the road opens up to more spectacular scenery and I can’t wait to go back and visit all the places I missed plus some favourites from this trip.

Victoria

I left Tasmania after the Evandale Penny Farthing Races and on landing in Melbourne made my way to Gippsland to visit my Aunty Molly. I am so glad I had some time with her as she passed away at the wonderful age of 96 in August. With longevity on both sides of my family I think I’ll be around for a long time yet!! I just love these old photos of her. The beach babe was taken on New Years Day 1936 at the famous 90 Mile Beach and the other at the family home in Yarram, Victoria

Leaving Gippsland I spent some time on the Murray River on my way to the Solos Rally in Balranald. It was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and fellow travellers….

…and Balranald was a quirky little town with a frog fetish! …. and more….

South Australia

Then I was on my way to my house sit in WA, through South Australia and across the Nullabor….. to a welcomed arrival in Norseman

Western Australia

Met up with some wonderful people at the Salmon Gums Community Caravan Park and then feeling a little sand, sea and salt air deprived I was on my way to Lucky Bay at Cape Le Grande and other Southern coastal camps.

With a brief unexpected sojourn to the Fairbridge Festival of Folk and World Music I arrived in Secret Harbour to move out of my van and into a beautiful home for 2 months while the owners travelled overseas.

In early July I was back on the road again …..but how can I tell you about all the wonderful places I’ve been and people I’ve met over the last 6 months. Well, here goes… it is in some sort of chronological order!! And I thought I’d try the slide show option for the first time….let me know if you like it or if you’d prefer to see the photos in a grid as I usually do.

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What an amazing year I’ve had! You only get to see some of the photos …. this has taken me days as I’ve scrolled through ALL my photos and relived the many wonderful moments I’ve enjoyed in 2014. And as us happy campers often comment, the people you meet are what make so many of the places so memorable. I hope you’ve enjoyed travelling with me and will continue the journey together in 2015.

 

 

Denham


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No Monkeys – It’s Dolphins at Monkey Mia!

Kalbarri to Monkey Mia

After leaving Kalbarri I had a lovely stop at Galena Bridge, on the Murchison River. It’s a 24 hour stop provided by Main Roads just off the highway 13kms north of the Kalbarri turnoff. I met some great people there and we did stretch our 24 hours a bit ….. by about another 3 days to be exact! But the company was good, the environment was pleasant, so what’s a girl to do??

I thought I’d pushed my luck staying so long so I moved on to Shark Bay and the town of Denham. At Galena Bridge I’d picked up a brochure for a special deal at the Denham Seaside Tourist Village so I paid for 3 nights and stayed for 4. As you’ve probably gathered by now I rarely stay in Caravan Parks so this was a pleasant change. It gave me the opportunity to catch up on my washing, shower, charge up appliances and meet lots of travellers while cooking in the camp kitchen. Not only that I got a site right at the front where I virtually stepped onto the beach. Lovely!

Most people I have met rave about Kalbarri as a place they could settle but Denham held much more appeal to me. Look at this! Isn’t this a picture of absolute serenity?

IMG_2497Denham

And there is so much to see in the area! The Aquarium, the Stromatolites, Steep Point (the most western point of the Australian mainland), beautiful coastline, magnificent beaches……. get the picture?

While I was at the Caravan Park I took the trip to Monkey Mia (about 30kms) to see the dolphins being fed. They have been coming in to Monkey Mia for around 30 years but they ration the food to them so they still know how to survive in the wild.

As I left Denham I visited the Shark Bay Aquarium where two very knowledgeable young men gave a great tour and explained all about the fish they have there, which are all local to Shark Bay. There was the obligatory shark feeding but I enjoyed other parts of the aquarium better.

I found Nemo there, too. And the guides were adamant they should be called Anemone Fish, not Clown Fish as they have a symbiotic relationship with the anemone they live in. We actually saw the clown fish feeding the anemone – this guarantees them a nice safe haven to live in – clever things!

This fellow on the left is called a bluebone and I couldn’t get over how he swam around with his head out of the water. Our guides created a feeding frenzy in the pool where there were coral trout, pink snapper, mangrove jack and more.

They also had a tank with stone fish in them. How easy would it be to step on one of these thinking they were a rock! I’m putting in a full size photo of this one because it’s really hard to distinguish it’s a fish! After having a lovely swim at Little Lagoon that morning I now find out that it is one of the breeding grounds for stone fish!!

Shark Bay Aquarium

After a coffee on the deck looking out to sea I headed off to see the Stromatolites which was a few kms down the road on the way back to the highway.

Stromatolites are rock-like structures built by microbes (single-celled cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae). Shark Bay’s stromatolites are only 2,000 to 3,000 years old, but they are similar to life forms found on Earth up to 3.5 billion years ago! They provide a unique insight into what the world was like at the dawn of time.

  • Until about 500 million years ago, stromatolites were the only macroscopic evidence of life on the planet.
  • The microbes that built the stromatolites were an essential building block for the evolution of more complex life forms.
  • One kind of microbe found in Shark Bay is thought to have descended from an organism that lived 1.9 billion years ago – one of the longest continuing biological lineages known. Learn more about Shark Bay’s living fossils here

Here’s my pics of what they look like. There is a great boardwalk built to take you out to them with excellent information boards along the way.

There is a choice of two places to stay nearby but I chose to stay at Hamelin Station and it was a great choice. The facilities were fantastic re showers, toilets, camp kitchen and dining room and the camp hosts super friendly.

The weather was really hot while I was there so I decided to move on after 2 nights and I headed back to Galena Bridge – at least if you are looking out at water you feel a bit cooler! Well, that was the plan! I used my new 12 volt fan for the first time to keep cool overnight! Thank goodness for it! It was a stinker of a night! The airconditioned cafe at Oakabella Station is calling to me…..