What a fantastic experience we had at the Space Museum in Carnarvon, Western Australia. We were attracted to it by the huge satellite dish visible from the highway but had no idea of the role Carnarvon played in early space missions, particularly the first moon landings.Continue reading
My photo challenge for today:
Today, let’s capture solitude: the state of being alone, or a lonely and uninhabited place. What does this word look like to you?
Solitude for me is not loneliness but more áloneness’. These photos depict it for me. The other part of today’s challenge is to understand The Rule of Thirds in photography. I think I’ve got it right in this selection, too.
As a solo traveller I enjoy my solitude – rarely lonely but often alone.
Thank you Willie Wagtails
The Solos of the west
The travel’s been spectacular
Your friendship’s been the best
Some of you I’ve travelled with
Others met along the track
And although I’m heading east now
I know that I’ll be back.
From the Kimberleys to Lucky Bay
West Australia is so vast
And I’ve loved every bit of it
This trip won’t be my last.
The friends I’ve made along the way
Have added to my pleasure
And now I’m leaving WA
With memories I will treasure.
From the red sand of the Pilbara
To the white sands of Lucky Bay
I’ve shared these great experiences
With Willie Wagtails on the way.
So thank you for your friendship
And your great company
I’m reluctant to depart your shores
But the east coast beckons me.
And if you travel to ‘the dark side’
I know we’ll meet once more
And Solos hugs will welcome you
When you’re on Australia’s eastern shore.
I left Oakabella Homestead on September 28th to travel to the Solos Rally in Wagin and thought I’d take the opportunity to go the wildflower route east of Geraldton. The rally didn’t start until October 12th so I had plenty of time to enjoy some of the lovely little towns along the way.
I travelled through the town of Morawa and stopped to see one of the many churches designed by Monsignor John Hawes, who left a wonderful heritage throughout this area with his amazing architecture. The Church of the Holy Cross was impressive, but I loved the Priest’s Lodge in the grounds – to stay in that would have really tested one’s faith.
Morawa also has an interesting museum with an amazing display of windmills.
It was time to keep moving and find a camp for the night. My first stopover was at a little community park at Canna. There were a couple of powered sites available and for a suggested donation of $10 I hooked up to enjoy this delightful spot.
There were some wildflower walk trails and also a trail to a massive mallee fowl nest.
The next day I headed off and really struggled to find a reasonably priced camp at all the places I visited. I eventually stopped at little spot called Ballidu only to find out when I arrived at Wagin that Peter and Penny, who we had met at Barn Hill Station south of Broome, had a property there!
My third night was at the historic town of York where there was a free 24hour stop provided. What a pretty place! I was parked up behind John Grant and Joy Tobin so we had breakfast together before I left, with Wagin in my sights. It was Grand Final weekend and I thought it would be good to enjoy it with friends who were already on site at the Rally grounds.
On the way to Wagin I passed through the tiny town of Beverley. It caught my eye because there was an old plane on the highway and a sign to the Aeronautical Museum. Here? In the middle of no-where? It was worth a look! Just my luck, it wasn’t open but I managed to shoot a couple of planes, so to speak …..
I’ve arrived in Wagin! There’s still a week to go before the rally starts so I am going to do a ‘dry run’ of a Roving Rally I’m planning between the Wagin Solos Rally and the CMCA Rally in Albany. More about that later!
Arriving in Port Hedland after travelling along coastal and country roads was a bit of a shock to the system! It’s an industrial and mining city with the busiest port in Australia, witnessed by the number of ships waiting to dock and load to take their cargo around the world stocked with, mainly, iron ore.
This is my trip since leaving Broome and taking me through Port Hedland and on the way to Exmouth.
This link to Wikipedia will give you some history and facts and figures about the Port of Hedland. And the Port of Hedland website is also full of great information. It was interesting to find that in February this year, 2015, ….. the largest single shipment of iron ore has left the port of Port Hedland with 263,989 tonnes onboard the vessel Abigail N. Source Mining Australia
Although the Turf Club free camp had closed there were 8 motorhomes that crept in to stay a couple of nights, only to be sprung by the Ranger who asked us to move on. They were very considerate though, and gave us until 6.30 the following morning to make sure we were gone. This suited us fine as we were attending a Trivia Night that night at the historic Esplanade Hotel and then booked to go on a tour of the port with the Seafarer’s Mission the next day.
Our Trivia results are best left alone – our table of grey nomads came last! – but the tour of the port was a highlight. We met at the Seafarer’s Mission and were loaded on to a bus and taken to a launch that would ferry us around the harbour and pick up seamen that had shore leave from the visiting ships. All along the way we were given information about the ships, the port, the mining companies and the people who work in the port, so it was a fascinating couple of hours. The size of the ships was mind boggling and I hope you can get a good idea from the following photos.
Our group of friendly travellers split up at Port Hedland, most going inland to Karijini National Park while I continued to hug the coastline on my way south. I’m sure it won’t be long before we link up again.
I finally tore myself away from Broome after staying there for 36 days, my longest stop anywhere except for my house sits. When I went to the office to say goodbye they expected I was going to book in for a few more days again, but I assured them I would be back next year. I loved it!
This map shows the first part of the trip to our next major destination, Port Hedland. It’s only about 600 kilometres to Port Hedland so you can see we didn’t get very far on Day 1!
Here’s a couple of things I did in Broome that I haven’t shared with you yet ….
I was lucky enough to be taken out to Willie Creek (thanks Geoff Phillips!) on a very rough road that I probably wouldn’t have driven on with Brutus, my trusty campervan. Mick, who I have been camping with also came and on the way there Geoff gave us a Cooks tour of Broome, the port area and Gantheaume Point.
One of the highlights was seeing the famous Staircase to the Moon. A group of us went to the Mangrove Bar, known as one of the better viewing spots, and it didn’t disappoint. Even though we took everyone’s advice and got there early we didn’t get a front position but as the moon rose over the mudflats to create the Staircase effect the crowd made room so that most people had at least a photo opportunity. We may not have had prime position but we did have a table to sit at and enjoyed drinks and nibbles while we waited.
I have seen some beautiful photos of Staircase to the Moon that absolutely kill anything I was able to capture on my iPhone but this is my proof that I was actually there!
The following night we watched this natural phenomenon from the park next door to our camp where the night markets were being held. Another wonderful night, good atmosphere, good company and good fun. (And yummy food from the market stalls, too)
The last weekend I was in Broome there was a writer’s festival called Corrugated Lines. There were so many activities organised but I chose to go to see Di Morrissey, author of many Australian based novels but particularly Tears of the Moon, about the history of Broome and the pearling industry. It was one of my inspirations for wanting to go to Broome. The session she did interviewing Sally Bin Demin, who was raised at Cape Levique and Broome was so relaxed and friendly it was like sitting in a living room listening to two people chatting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course I bought Sally’s book at the end of the session, Once in Broome, and got it signed by Sally, a truly remarkable lady with a great sense of humour ….. so interesting!
While in Broome we had many happy hours together on the beachfront at Roebuck Bay Caravan Park. Could life get any better than this?
I was so lucky to be able to camp in the ‘tent’ area at the Caravan Park. The photos of happy hour show my view each day from my camp site and as a bonus I had red-winged parrots nesting in the hollow tree next to my van and one day a Tawny Frogmouth got disoriented and spent the day beside me too.
Mick and I left Broome on a Friday morning and after some shopping and washing our vans we headed to Barn Hill Station. It was only about 140kms away but after being stationary at Broome for so long that was far enough to drive in one hit.
Barn Hill Station
Everyone I have met talks about Barn Hill and I decided it was a ‘must do’. At $25 a night for an unpowered site it had to be something special, and it didn’t disappoint. The beaches were beautiful and the cliffs on the edge of the beach were quite spectacular.
On one of the walks along the beach we came across this water python that had literally bitten off more than he could chew!
We tried to pull the fish out of his mouth and only got the first few inches out so he was either very hungry or he’d estimated his prowess to be greater than it was in reality!
One of the other highlights was bumping into Joy and her partner Michael, heading north while we were heading south.
Sunday night at Barn Hill is a roast dinner where everyone takes their chairs and tables down to the lawn area and sets them up for a feast. We had a huge crowd on our table as you can see in the photo and Joy and Michael joined us, as well as Peter and Penny who were camped nearby. The more the merrier!
After 3 nights at Barn Hill we were in travelling mode, so set off to our next destination, Cape Keraudren. We’ve got a bit of a tag along going as Dave, Anne, Mel, Nola, Mick and myself all left Broome around the same time, all heading in the same direction. We are all Solo Travellers, each of us with our own van, and it is wonderful to have the company of like minded friends. It certainly makes for some fun happy hours!
Cheers! See you down the track!
2014 – by chance I attended the Fairbridge Festival of Folk and World Music. Camped on site, volunteered at the merchandising tent, went to as many music venues as I could – and packed up in the rain. Next stop was to be my house-sit.
This poem was written to promote the CMCA Solos Rally in Wagin, Western Australia in October 2015 and was shared at our Penola Rally in South Australia in March 2015
We’ll be ragin’ in Wagin
The Solos Rally in the West
Where the wild flowers are spectacular
And the beaches are the best.
And whether you come over the top
Or across the Nullabor
You’ll find that Western Australia
Has amazing things in store.
From the pure white sandy beaches
That you’ll see at Cape Le Grande,
To the rugged cliffs of Kalbarri
And the red earth of the inland.
The National Parks provide great camps
And it’s not hard to find free sites,
Where fellow travellers meet for fun
To enjoy the starry nights.
The country towns are friendly
The station stays a must
But the wind blows strong on the west coast
And you’ll never get rid of red dust.
Yet the dust’s like a badge of honour,
It says you’ve travelled far,
And you’ve ventured on those long dirt roads
And not stuck to the tar.
So make the trip to Wagin
Enjoy your journey on the way
Gather lots of great experiences
And we’ll see you in WA!
March/April 2014 – On my way to WA 12 months ago!