Sunday, November 17, 2013

Much later..November

This map shows Safari 2013 in red. The remaining dark lines indicate our trips from previous years.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 12th,
Kow Swamp

A beautiful blue sky dawned over the Terrick Terrick National Park. We left this very pretty park before 9.00 am in preparation for the final day of Safari 2013.

We travelled north to check out Kow Swamp which is now a lake/water storage for the area. The lunettes or dunes on the edge of the swamp have been the site for some significant archaeological discoveries of very early aborigines.  Between 1968 and 1972 nearly 40 individual skeletons were uncovered around the edge of Kow Swamp. Radiocarbon dates from bone and charcoal associated with the burials, show that the burials span a period from about 13000 to 9500 BP. There was nothing available for visitors to actually see but it certainly appears to be a very valuable historical site.

Onward via Echuca then through dairy farm lands to Shepparton. through Pine Lodge, Dookie and the Warby  Ranges .to Milawa. I really enjoyed the drive along the roads of Pine Lodge as I spent my first year of teaching, 1959, at the Pine Lodge school. The school is no longer standing but there is a Commemorative Stone which marks the site of the 'Pine Lodge School No 2099' which operated from 1878 until 1995.

Watch this space for my final entry which will be a map of the route we took over the last eight weeks.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11th

Heading east..ever east and homeward bound. After leaving the Big Desert Wilderness Park this morning our first stop was at Ouyen to enjoy a morning break of Coffee and 'Vanilla Slice'. The slices are large so we shared one between us. We don't really need a vanilla slice but because Ouyen is renowned for them we thought  we would indulge. Actually they are not the current champions of the Vanilla Slice competition but it tasted very a small amount.

We have travelled roads, today, that we have not travelled before, some of which were very rough bitumen. New farm lands are always interesting though.

Tonight we are camped in a very attractive spot amongst White Cypress Pines in the Terrick Terrick National Park which is four km north of Mitiamo and 60 km north of Bendigo. The mild weather has allowed us to go for a very pleasant walk. The birds are very chirpy as they settle for the night. We also sighted two black wallabies.

On top of Mt Terrick Terrick

September 10th

Our first challenge this morning was to cross the Murray River on the Swan Reach Ferry. From there we travelled gravel roads down to Lameroo on the Mallee Highway. We saw only one car the whole way which made it an easy drive through farmlands. Cropping and sheep seem to look very happy. The Mallee country around Pinaroo is always pretty to drive through. Some areas have had more rain than others. Both Lameroo and Pinaroo are small, very well cared for towns.

We crossed the border into Victoria, a little south of the Highway, then turned south toward the Big Desert
Wilderness Park. There were a surprising number of dunes, with deep sand, to cross. We found one track that was very muddy in one spot and generally very narrow. We turned back because 'narrow' does not suit EC. We then followed another track which was much easier to drive on. We have ended up camping in a lovely camping area called 'Red Gums'. It is a slight depression surrounded by Red Gum trees. There may even have been a lake here many years ago. This is the fourth camp site in a row where we have been amongst Red Gums.
The Big Desert Wilderness Area is immediately inside the Victorian border. It consists of many low sand dunes. The bush is thick with a variety of bushes and trees- several types of eucalypts, wattles, heaths, casuarinas and melaleucas.

Red Gum camp site

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9th

We had a very hot night for sleeping with a warm morning to follow. As we progressed south it became a little cooler especially at Clare where it is higher. However we are on the Murray River this evening and it is very warm again and extremely windy. It was a long day of driving..over 300 kilometers. The country has been interesting with crops looking lush and some starting to ripen.

The main industry around Clare is vines and wine with a few olive trees. The old buildings through the area have been constructed from stone of a lovely orange/beige colour. Many have been left to tumble down but a few have been cared for with repairs keeping them usable. German people settled this part of Australia in very early times.  Churches are  obvious in the communities..probably for Lutheran communities..

As we left the Mt Remarkable N.P I photographed a huge River Red Gum and here we are this evening looking across at the waters of the River Murray through River Red Gums!

River Red Gum at Mt Remarkable NP

River Red Gums on banks of the Murray River

Sunday, September 8, 2013

September 8th

A very warm day in the Mt Remarkable National Park. I am pleased we had a good walk this morning with a cooling breeze. The track led us along Mambray Creek with good interpretive signs about the aborigines and the beautiful River Red Gums. Some are very old trees..maybe 600 or 800 years old. Their trunks are huge..up to four metres in diameter.
I think we must be early for wild flowers in the park. I did not see any orchids and only a few Chocolate Flowers and Blue Bells.
There are kangaroos and emus grazing in the park. They seem happy with us nearby. An emu came close to our rig and found a large goanna near by..he was not happy to have Mr Emu investigating him and climbed a nearby tree. He was about a meter in length  with beautiful markings. A common bird in the park is the Adelaide Rosella Parrot which we have not seen before.

Walking path in Mt Remarkable NP

September 7th,

A rather uneventful day as we travelled east and south to Port Augusta., The country in this area always lacks significant growth and can be very grey in colour. This year because of winter rains the scene is quite green.
The main interest for the day has been the train line. We camped about 30 metres from the line last night at Kingoonya. Three trains went through in the dark hours..we certainly heard them and saw the their lights.

After completing Googs Track we first crossed the line at Malbooma. We were close to the line all the way down the Stuart Highway until this evening.. about 28 hours. In that time we saw 19 freight trains. Some have had two engines at the front, some have an engine at the front and another at the rear and we even saw one with three engines. The trains can be up to two kilometres in length. Some are servicing mines around Coober Pedy transporting ore south to be processed.
The line runs to Perth, Western Australia and to Darwin in the Northern Territory with the junction at Tarcoola. The Ghan Train and the Trans Continental Train travel twice a week but we did not see them. Often the train drivers gave us a cheery 'toot' of their whistle as we watched them go by.

Arrival into the Mt Remarkable National Park caused us both to think of the 'Parklands'; property where I grew up at Greta, Victoria. The RiverRed Gums....eucalyptus camaldulensis  are huge and old with colouful trunks. We look forward to exploring it more tomorrow.

Friday, September 6, 2013

September 6th

The camping spot at the foot of Mt Finke proved to be very suitable for John to rise early and climb to the top of this very rocky mountain..He was delighted to find Youngiana trees growing all the way to the top. It is a very rocky terrain but there are still many plants and bushes in bloom. It took him a little over an hour to go up and return in time for breakfast. Before we left I walked a short distance along the track and enjoyed the flowers and view of a salt lake in the distance. We actually drove around this lake which was quite large.

The track, this morning, seemed to be more overgrown and hard to drive along. Our rig is wide so we notice the narrow way. Corrugations impeded our way as well.  We have really enjoyed the experience of travelling Googs Track. We left it about midday and crossed the Trans Continental Rail Line. Since then we have travelled in view of the line all the way to Kingoonya. We arrived mid afternoon and had not seen a vehicle in the three days since we left Ceduna but strangely we have seen three trains!

The scenery all the way has been green with yellow, white and pink flowers. Some areas were so thickly covered with  white flowers you would think it had snowed.

When travelling in dune country it is wise to have a tall red flag flying from the top of your vehicle.
Yesterday we lost our flag to an overhanging branch. Luckily, soon after leaving this morning we found a red
flag hanging high, caught in a branch. Lucky us!

Mt Finke

Wildflowers look like snow!
September 05

We have travelled about 70 km today over very rough terrain and many sand dunes which average about 11 metres in height.The flies are following us even though the weather is much cooler.

The track has taken us through Goog's wonderful garden .. a native garden full of flowers. The bush is similar to that of yesterday but with a few new flowers. The main one which took my eye was a small bush with a complex red-pink bloom about 12 cm across. I have no clue what its name is but have called it 'Red Firewheel'. I will need to research that further.

 It is surprising how quickly the bush changes from one area to another..sometimes eucalypt trees either mallee or tall and spreading and sometimes oak trees or causerinas. I have been admiring casia bushes for some days..all the same type with a lovely yellow bloom, but this afternoon we have found three other types which I am unable to identify/  Each type has different leaves and they all have yellow blooms which are slightly different. I need some expert advice.

There have been few birds about today whereas yesterday we saw many in the air. I think birds are an indication that there is water about. There are always a few lizards on the warm sand and some of these have spectacular markings. Foot prints on the road tell us a little about the wild life but today we have only seen lizard tracks, camel tracks and wild dog tracks.

Late this afternoon we left the main track and came 7 kms, out here to Mt Finke which has been dominant on the horizon since lunch time. We actually parked on top of a sand dune so we could see it. Mt Finke is 369 metres high. We have camped here for the night among a few Eucalyptus Youngiana trees. They have finished blooming and only their large nuts remain. We were fortunate to see the beautiful Youngiana flowers a couple of years ago when we drove down the Connie Sue Highway.
At present we are in the Yellabinna Regional Reserve which is in the southern part of The Great Victoria Desert.
Unidentified Firewheel
September 4th.

We have had a very enjoyable and interesting day travelling on  Googs Track, despite the 40 deg heat.
It was much more comfortable travelling in EC than outside with flies.

Googs Track has many dunes, in fact a total of 373 for the whole track distance...we still have a few to go. EC loves dunes and quietly glides over each one.
The bush began quite plainly but now we have camped in a beautiful garden of yellow, orange and deep pink. There are several varieties of eucalypt trees..not identified, but with leaves ranging from glaucous, through green to glossy. There are many daisies of yellow, white and pink. Yellow Cassia is in full bloom along with a variety of wattles. To complete the display there are beautiful Golden Desert Grevilleas, deep pink Francisiana, pink/mauve Eremophilus (Emu Bush) and white Rattlepod Grevilleas. It is easy to continue taking photos.
Googs Lake

Googs Lake is a magnificent salt lake about 15 km in length and in places up to one km wide. We drove quite a distance along the edge and then returned to the main track and have camped about 8 km north of Googs Lake. We did intend to stay longer but the hot day and the flies made us continue. We do hope for a cooler day tomorrow.

The only other detour we took from the main track was to see a rock hole. Surprisingly it had about 60cm of water in it. It was discovered by John (Goog) Denton who believed he was the first white person to see this rockhole. He found it during the 1970s.

Desert Grevillea

Once more, it proved to be a collection day for John, as he found a solar heating bag full of warm water!!
We felt sorry for those who missed their shower this evening.
September 3rd

After a very pretty sunset at Yalata the morning dawned warm and full of flies. They are the most pesky things. We packed up as quickly as possible and set off soon after 8.00 am. It was good travelling on the Eyre Highway to Ceduna. The only stop we had was to buy fuel at Penong which is known for cheap fuel at $1.69 per litre..much cheaper than we have had to pay recently.

Our time in Ceduna was busy with a tedious visit to the Laundrette which  eats $1 coins in both the washers and the driers! Next was a visit to the Post Office to collect our voting papers. We are pleased that this arrangement worked for us and now our votes have been posted back to Wangaratta.

Beth and John had lunch with us at the local bakery. It was our last meal together after so many camp meals. We shared the cooking of meals and night time chores which made the trip much easier. It was sad to see them go on their way as we have had a fun time together. They are calling in Adelaide, to visit an old uncle..then home to Lake Tyers in Victoria.

Lastly we visited the Foodland store and the local Fish Cooperative where we again purchased Snapper for dinner.

Tonight we are camped along side Googs Track which heads north to the Trans Continental Rail Line. We are looking forward to bush country and sand dunes. The weather has been extremely hot at 35.5 deg. There are dark clouds so maybe there will be a cooling shower of rain.

From southern end, beginning of Googs Track

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2nd..

We camped a few km inside the South Australian border amongst thick Mallee scrub. A lovely spot.
Up and away early still on the rough road. It is hard driving and hard being a passenger.
The main stop, apart from another rock hole, was the deserted Koonalda Station homestead and surrounding sheds and wrecked cars. Fortunately someone is maintaining this sight so it is acceptably neat for visitors. Both the old shearing shed and the old homestead provided great interest for us. The property was operated from 1938 to 1988...50 years of very hard labour.
From here we headed south for 15 km to resume our eastward travel on the bitumen.
We had lunch on top of the Bunda Cliffs in the Great Australian Bight. It was quite cool, however this evening as we camp near Yalata it is extremely hot and humid. Feels like rain is coming!

Deserted Koonalda Shearing Shed

Bunda Cliffs on the Great Australian Bight

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September 1st

The day dawned calm, with a magnificently wide blue sky. We found the Old Coach Road track and travelled along it for over 50 km. The narrow track was very rough with limestones which is typical of the Nullarbor plains. The vegetation was mostly blue bush and salt bush and a few trees..a type of Mallee Eucalypt, Acacias and Grevilleas as well as some grasses which were the result of recent light rains. The track was completely dry. The main interest for the drive were rock holes, limestone caves and dolines which  are large holes in the limestone. However the country was alive with kangaroos..huge mobs. We probably saw about 1000 kangaroos for the morning.
The Roadhouse at Eucla was a welcome stop for fuel, cool drinks and a chocolate ice cream for the guys.
On we went to the border of South Australia and Western Australia where another time adjustment
was in order.We have camped early for the night on the Old Eyre Highway, near the border, amongst Mallee scrub.
Doline on Nullarbor Plains
August 31st

After some communication with my friend Bronwen Menner we found that we had camped a little over one hundred km apart. Bronwen and Graham were travelling west and we were homeward bound going east. We were all looking out for a yellow boat on top of a rig. Surely enough we met them a little way east of Cocklebiddy. It was quite amazing that this rendez vous actually eventuated. The six of us stopped and had a 'chat chat' for about 10 minutes and then all three vehicles continued.
The day was fine with a light wind, as we returned to the Eyre Highway, with the idea to find a track to go north to intersect the old highway across the Nullarbor.

The wind had begun to blow by midday..a typical Nullarbor wind which gradually becomes hard to tolerate.  We were confused by a 45 minute time adjustment so we ate our lunch when we found a suitable spot among some trees. It was difficult to find a track north from the highway even though there are tracks marked on the maps. They are not always visible when we reached the spot.
Eventually after asking details at the Mundrabilla Roadhouse we find ourselves camping at the top of the
escarpment in a nasty strong and dusty wind.
The  owner of the property visited us and was able to direct us to the Old Coach Road track. Evidently the Old Highway followed the flats below the Nullarbor Plains
Nearby our camp we discovered large burrows. John saw a wombat sitting above one of these burrows. Since then we have identified it as the Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat.

The desolate country of Mundrabilla Station

Friday, August 30, 2013

August 30th,

We seem to get up earlier at present because the mornings come light earlier..soon there will be a time adjustment.
The track out to the Eyre Highway was dry but very rough and ridged from vehicles  driving through in very wet conditions. The bush, again, has been very pretty with yellow cassias and wattles as well as white pink, purple and mauve flowers and even an example of Sturt's Desert Pea.
After meeting the Highway at Balladonia we have scooted along on the bitumen as far as Caiguna where we have found a bush camp amongst some very grey and twisted trees. The Nullarbor wind is blowing which is a change. We have hardly experienced wind at all and no doubt this is why the trees are so twisted and deformed.
Sturt's Desert Pea on Zanthus-Balladonia Road

Rough bush around Caiguna camp site

August 29th

After spending nearly 24 hours near the Rail Line we have seen 10 freight trains go by..some in an easterly
direction and others in a westerly direction. They make a lot of noise in the night!!

We had camped in the same spot as we did some years ago while travelling this road. The Gimlet trees are a
real magnet. Soon after reaching Zanthus we turned south on the track to Balladonia. It was quite an easy
track for 40 kms as it had been maintained by a mining company. From there on for the 80kms it deteriorated. However it was dry, which was a bonus after all the mud we have seen.
John had a 'collecting' day as he picked up a good gas bottle on the roadside, then further on a several lengths of rope. It appeared that there had been a bogging experience for some travellers although the road and surrounds are bone dry now. There were great scourges in the road and through the trees near the road.  Evidence of jacking a vehicle, filling the bogs with branches and even a broken surf board were obvious. In a tree we found a 'make-shift' winch made from a branch and wide strapping.
We are camped in plain grey scrub Gimlets in sight although we have seen some magnificent
examples along the way. We also saw the Boorabin Mallee trees coming into bloom which was great as earlier when we saw them they were only in heavy orange bud.

Boorabin Mallee tree in bud and bloom

An interesting orange and black lizard.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 28th

A day of sunshine and showers. Our first stop was at Kambalda which is a mining centre near Kalgoorlie. We drove to the top of Red Hill to see the most magnificently wide view of the area. The huge salty Lake Lefroy is 510 square kilometers in size with some areas of dark red sand and others of white salt.
Onward to Kalgoorlie where we took the road east along the Trans Continental Rail Line. Bitumen for several kms then the muddiest red road which consequently covered our vehicles..what a mess and no water at hand!!
The bush actually looks wonderful because of the recent rains. Everything has a strong green colour and many bushes are in flower..particularly cassias and wattles.
 The road has followed the line and in five hours we have seen five freight trains. We have set up camp near the rail line west of Zanthus so we may wave to more train drivers before we leave in the morning.

Hop Bush

Mulla Mulla

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 27th

We have had a great day driving north toward Norseman and then Kambalda. The bush along the way has been beautiful and ever changing.  Most of the time we travelled on bitumen but took one very interesting track to the east and south of Norseman. This led us along a tourist route through the old mining areas. From the late 1800s until early this century mining has been taking place in a small way. The bush is riddled with mine holes, mullock heaps and old machinery.
The flowers were like a varied and bright. They must surely have had recent rain.
We have not had rain today and this evening is warm and fine which makes cooking on the campfire mush more fun. We are having silver-side and vegies tonight.
Our plans have changed and we hope to travel for a short distance along the Trans continental railway line ..definitely heading east on our return to Victoria. Sadly our coastal route was not a viable choice. I think I really prefer the inland country to that of the coast.

Cassia bush south near our camp.

Monday, August 26, 2013

August 26th

We returned to Esperance this morning..on the roadside, at last, I had the opportunity to photograph the coastal banksias. It is wonderful to see them growing so healthily in their natural environment.
Very soon we met up with John & Beth and it was great to hear how they had spent the last two weeks.
After a 'bought lunch' and real coffee, a visit to Woolworths for fuel and food we headed north with the hope of escaping rain.
Along the way we visited an Aboretom which had many stands of eucalyptus trees. Some familiar but many new ones once again. We  have become much more familiar with this family of trees.

Tonight we are camped at a small Nature Reserve north of Esperance and south of Salmon Gums. There are clouds about but we hope the day is sunny as we go north tomorrow.

Showy Banksia near coast at Esperance

Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 24th and 25th

We are spending the weekend here at the Cape Le Grande National Park. It has easy access because of sealed roads. This also makes it a popular weekend destination for people from Esperance. Saturday was the first sunny day in the area after 2 weeks of rain. The temperature is in the mid 20s so good for camping and enjoying birds and flowers. We have had several walks over the 2 days..either on the beach or along the very rocky coast line. The views are spectacular. The smokey blue 'smoke bush' is very evident in the coastal bush along with coastal Banksias.
We stayed for 2 nights at Lucky Bay and now we are here in Le Grande Bay for a single night before we head back to Esperance to meet our travelling companions. We also have internet connection here.

Hellfire Bay

Looking into Lucky Bay from Granite Coastline walk

August 22nd

We drove out from the Fitzgerald River NP through the most delightful native garden. Pea flowers of every colour..yellow, pink, mauve, blue, orange and red. We stopped several times to look  closely and to photograph. Of course I can only identify a few as there are so many new flowers for us. Banksias and wattles are quite plentiful.

Close up of Royal Hakea

However the most spectacular was the Royal Hakea..Hakea victoria which was named after Queen Victoria. The actual flowers are insignificant but the huge floral leaves dominate the bush. These leaves persist for up to 5 years, and the colour becomes deeper each year.

Late in the day we found a Square Fruited Mallee Eucalypt tree.The buds, nuts and flowers are large about 5 cm in length by 3 cm wide. The flowers and buds are bright red. I do hope we see some more of these.

Again we will sleep with the sound of waves in our ears. We are at Munglinup Beach on the Great Southern Ocean.

Royal Hakea

August 23rd

Our search for Square Fruited Mallee trees continued. We only found a few which were difficult to photograph because of wet conditions and the fact that the flowering season seems to be almost over. We will continue searching.
We arrived in Esperance late in the morning..the laundramat was high on the agenda! Sadly we have now found out from the DEC office that it would be ill advised for us to go through either Cape Arid NP or Nuytsland NP. We will have to re plan out trip home. The road closures have been caused by an unusually wet winter. We will have to return on a drier year!!
This evening we have come out to camp in the Cape Le Grande NP for the weekend. The beach has white sand with an aqua sea. It was squeaky clean to walk as we did late in the day.
Lucky us, we have had Snapper again for dinner..purchased from the 'All Seas Fish Supplies' in Esperance.

Square Fruited Mallee tree

Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 21st

 We have had a very happy day exploring St Mary Inlet in warm sunshine. This morning we walked for 2 hours and this afternoon for 1 hour so I am weary this evening. The flowers and views from the beach and coastal dunes are so interesting with large variety of flowers and bushes. We even came across the end of the Rabbit Proof Fence at Point Ann. It is now rusty and out of comission.
The most spectacular part of the day were the whales...surely St Mary Bay is a Nursery for Mother whales and their calves. Their were up to 20 of these wonderful creatures floating in the sea..blowing sprays of water and showing off their tails and fins. Binoculars were put to good use.
Prickly Dryandra

A visitor to our camp site
There are a lot of campers in this park tonight..probably whale watchers!
August 20th

Grass Tree with a difference--'Kingia Australis'

The floral bush display on the way out of Waychinacup Inlet was a wonderful start to the day..lots of 
Scarlet Banksia, an unusual type of Grass tree..completely different from those we have seen previously,
Pincushion Cone Flowers, Wattle and white Daisies. We drove down to Cheyne Beach where we had the good fortune to see four whales playing in the waters not far from the shore.
We have had quite a drive today, along the South Coast Highway through rolling hills of canola and wheat crops and in and out of areas of coastal bush.
We made our lunch time stop by the Pallinup River. The bush looked so inviting that I walked for awhile to
look at the flowers. I actually found a large spider orchid.
We continued on down to the Fitzgerald River National Park. We travelled into the park quite swiftly because of the lateness in the day. The wild flowers looked varied and bright. I even saw some examples of Royal Hakea. We will travel out more slowly. Unfortunately a number of roads are closed for various reasons.
However we have a lovely spot to bush camp by St Mary Inlet. Again there are whales in the water, some calves, but altogether about 10 whales playing in the shallows. Evidently they could be Hump-back whales or Southern Right Whales.
We plan to stay 2 nights here so more 'whale watching' in the morning I hope.

Looking over Mary Inlet early evening

August 19th

A fine easy to break camp when the sun is shining. Our main aim for today was to organise a
postal vote for ourselves for the coming Federal Elections. We had planned to be home for the original
date of September 14th but now it has changed the September 7th. Eventually we applied, on line, for a
postal vote while we had internet connection at Albany. Also while we were in Albany we bought ourselves
some Saddleback Snapper for our evening meal.John grilled it on his cook
top over gas. It proved to be one of the most delicious fish meals we have ever tasted.

We travelled east to Waychinacup National Park and camped in a tiny spot near the Waychinacup Inlet. Unfortunately the weather has turned to rain again. There are flowers in the bush as well as birds. No sooner had I climbed down from EC than two tiny wrens came hopping around the rig..a Scrub Wren and a beautiful Blue-breasted Fairy Wren. Far too quick to photograph though.

Rocks in Waychinacup Inlet

Sunday, August 18, 2013

August 18th

Boorara Fire Watch Tree
We started the day badly by getting our feet, boots & socks wet as we walked on the beach. An incoming wave was just too quick and high for us! However, despite that we enjoyed the first fine and sunny day for a week. The roads along the coast from Windy Harbour were too wet for us to attempt so we drove north to the bitumen and headed east. Unexpectedly a track went off to another Fire Spotting tree. Boorara tree is over  200 years old. The tree top cabin was built in 1952 and was used as a 'Fire Watch' until 1972.

From there we explored some of the gravel roads before returning to the Highway. These roads took us through some beautiful forests. the Karri trees are surely the most majestic tree. There are so many of them all very tall and very straight. The under-story of the forest is quite dense with quite a few flowers in bloom. One outstanding splash of intense blue/purple/colour is the thick climbing vine of the Sarsaparilla.  Another spectacle we saw  today was a flock of red-tailed black cockatoos flying through the tree tops.The red feathers in their tails really glow when they fly.

As we neared Walpole we came upon the Fernhook Falls on Deep River. There was a massive amount of water flowing over the wide rocky falls resulting in a thick layer of froth. The water is deep brown in colour which results from the vegetable matter that is soaking in the river.

This evening we are camped in the Walpole Noralup National Park with pretty bush around us and a few very dark coloured kangaroos. This park is near Peaceful Bay and south of Walpole.

Fernhook Falls on Deep River

Saturday, August 17, 2013

August 17th  Windy Harbour

We decided to follow the bitumen today. The weather has been most inclement with nasty showers all day. Along the road to Manjimup we went through the forests of 'Great Southern Plantations' with Jarrah on one side and Blue Gum trees on the other. After Manjumup we headed for Northcliffe and Windy Harbour and travelled through the most magnificent tall forests of Karrie.. Flowers are still bright in the under story of these forests. We stopped to inspect the tourist attraction of the Diamond Tree which is a huge Karrie tree with steps running up and around the trunk for you to climb up 52 metres to a fire lookout on top. The climb was not for me and I think John wished he was in his 20s again!!

We are now on the coast at Windy Harbour which as you would expect is very windy. We are on the lighthouse point at present where we have Internet connection but will camp down closer to the shore line in the sheltered camping park.

John on the lowest steps of the Diamond tree

Karri trees through the wind screen as we travel

Friday, August 16, 2013

August 16th

Beautiful mushroom found in bush at Mt Trio Park

Rain fell in the night and dawn was very cold. evidently snow had fallen overnight on Bluff Knoll. However despite this we were able to enjoy an hour of walking in the bush at Mt Trio Bush Camp and also followed a track which went into the Stirling NP. I found Cowslip orchids and Cockatoo orchids as well as a wonderful mushroom which will not be going into the Gnocchi sauce tonight!!

Cowslip Orchid
We travelled south through the Stirling NP and then followed the road at the north of Porongurup NP. Nasty cold showers came spasmodically all day. We were again lucky to fit a walk in early this morning. The bush is gradually changing to tall trees instead of Mallee trees. The Blackboy or Grass trees are looking fantatastic after the showers of rain. Heading west we enjoyed a brief visit to Mt Barker where we shopped at IGA..a very good Supermarket.
Still the showers persist..another cold night. we have camped along a narrow track in the Denmark catchment State Forest. Quite a remote spot in the bush with a new red Grevillea blooming and 4 of those wonderful black cockatoos settling in the tree tops.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August 15th.

We awoke this morning to the chatter of a flock of Carnaby's Black Cockatoos, sometimes known as the Short-billed Black Cockatoo. They are a large black bird with white feathers in their tail. They are endemic to south-western Australia. (Note the blue sky..I have cheated with this photo!!)

  • Black Cockatoos
    The day was fine so we hurried off for a walk...only one hour through the bush, and we returned to our rig just in time to miss the first shower of rain. Since then it has been raining and blowing most of the day.
  • We have come further north to the Mt Trio Bush Camping Park which is just outside the boundary of the National Park. We are safe here from large falling branches and any minor flooding well as this we have internet connection. It is a pretty park which we hope to explore further if tomorrow dawns fine. The evening is certainly cold so we are glad of our warm rig. In fact there has been snow forecast for the higher peaks of the Stirling ranges.
    August 14th
    What a wonderful day we have had! Firstly Robert Fergie took us for a walk across his property taking in the three preserved bush areas. We found many new trees and flowers. What a treasure having natural bush preserved in this way and right at 'your back door'. There were even some early orchids to be found.
    We were so lucky to have the time to examine the leaves, buds, flowers and fruit of so many new types of eucalypt trees.
    Heather and Robert certainly proved to be 'perfect' hosts.
    We left Kendenup late morning and headed for the Stirling Ranges. I cannot explain in words the pleasure and peace I felt as we drove through this lovely area. The flowers were wonderful..banksias, hakeas, grevilleas, eucalypts and many,many varieties that were new to me. Despite the weather being cold and windy we walked a little to get closer to all the bush. What a really pleasurable day.
    Tonight we are camped in the northern area the Nataional Park in the Moingup Spring Camp Ground. We are very glad to have a warm rig to spend the night in.

    View of Stirling Ranges from Fergie's home

    June with beautiful roadside Banksias 
    August 13th

    After camping near Lake Corycup we awoke to the calls of young lambs and grey butcher birds.
    This was the last night on the Holland Track. It has been an interesting and challenging trip.
    The last 30 kilometers we travelled on well made roads through farming country. The wheat crops look wonderful as do the canola crops. Bushy roadsides still created a lot of interest.
    At last we came out on a bitumen road a short distance north of Broomehill. The journey was over and we did feel a sense of achievement despite the fact that there was one section of the track we could not travel because we were told it was closed. It has been difficult to find out whether the track was closed or not. The north section of it was so muddy that it should have been closed to traffic as vehicles only worsen the condition. Once we had committed ourselves it was nearly impossible to turn back and there were no other tracks available to turn on to for better conditions.

    Southern entry to Holland Track

    Late morning we arrived in Katanning to do washing and to visit Woolworths Super market.
    We had arranged to visit Heather and Robert Fergie late in the day. They live near Kendenup with a magnificent view of the Stirling Ranges. They own a small farm with 3 wonderful fenced bush areas.
    Robert works with Western Australian timber making the most beautiful furniture.
    Heather teaches at the local Primary School. They cooked dinner for us and we had a fun night together.
    EC was parked at their front door so we were able to watch the sun rise over the silhouette of the
    Stirling Ranges.

    Monday, August 12, 2013

    August 12th

    The roads have been a joy today...smooth gravel roads, some bitumen which still follow the Holland Track as closely as possible. The roadside bush has still been varied and interesting with Grevilleas, Hakeas, Eucalypts and many more. We were lucky enough to see a wonderful broad leaved eucalyptus tree, with a glaucous appearance on stem, nuts and leaves. I wonder whether it will dye silk fabric!!

    We are actually travelling through the 'Wheat-belt' of WA. The wheat and canola crops look fabulous so I hope the remainder of the season is kind to farmers. The whole area has had good rains. The crops stretch over very wide acres bright greens and bright yellow of the canola flowers.

    The Lincoln Ring-neck parrot is very bright green in colour and has been crossing our path in pairs, fours and flocks..a great change as we have seen few birds.

    The weather is cold with snow forecast for the Stirling Ranges. We have camped very close to the Holland Track near a salty lake in Chinocup Nature Reserve. It is quite sheltered and we have a clean wire fence to hang our washing on.

    Eucalypt Tetragona commonly known as the Tallerack Gum

    Sunday, August 11, 2013

    August 11th

    A little more rain in the night. Today we travelled 40 km in 4 hours..what a slow trip. The bush, again, was varied and lovely with many flowers of every variety. The water holes were even deeper and seemed more slippery. The Prado and EC have both performed well. We did tow the Prado and trailer for a short distance because the Prado became stranded on a middle bog hump. Everyone has become weary of water and bog holes. Eventually we came to the main Hyden/Norseman Road.
    It is hard to explain the variety of bushes, flowers and trees...some we can identify but most we cannot..a beautiful 'toothbrush' Grevillea was easy to find today. We also found a wonderful small eucalypt mallee tree with deep maroon coloured long flower buds on it. John did a search on his Euclid computer program and was told there are 47 other eucalypts with the same style flower bud.. He actually narrowed this particular one down to 'Eucalyptus Incerata'. Some blooms were showing..beautiful cream delicate flowers.

    A brief visit to Wave Rock was enjoyed but very commercial and different from what we have been through!!
    Beth & John have now departed west and we have come south. We plan to meet again in a couple of weeks.
    We are camped in at Flat Rock Nature Reserve some distance south of Hyden and surprisingly there is internet connection.
    EC going through mud holes..taken by Beth in the Prado

    June at Wave Rock
    August 10th camped near Mt Holland

    Travelling today has been slow due to all the water holes we have had to negotiate. Some were very deep and others very slippery. Because of our excellent drivers we have not had a bogging incident. We only travelled 85 km for the day of 6 hours driving.
    The bush still continues to amaze us all with variety and colour. Quite a few areas have been burnt,
    some areas have low bush, some areas are dominated with flowers. We have seen a number of lovely wattles and some new eucalypts to identify.
    Desert areas often have dead acacias which have dried and look much like woven baskets. They have inspired me to stitch. During the last few days we have seen more of these 'acacia baskets'.
    The weather is fine, cool and windy this evening.

    Dead  'Acacia basket' near a small bog hole 

    A small piece of textile art inspired by an 'Acacia Basket'