Our Australian adventure.

 

Monday 19th October.
Picked up at 6am by our good buddies from Sharpthorne! Fond farewells to Mum and Kendall then off to Heathrow for our 9:40 flight on Royal Brunei. We left on time and arrived at Dubai to refuel at 4:30 BST then on to Brunei arriving at 02:00 BST (Tuesday).

 

Tuesday 20th
A fairly uneventful flight apart from 2 rude Aussie girls thrusting their seats back! After a 4 hour stop over at Brunei's small airport we set off for Perth, a 5 hour flight. We arrived at Sullivan's hotel at about 7pm local time. We ate in the hotel and planned our holiday. It will be interesting to see if we stick to it!

Aircraft at Brunei

Wednesday 21st
Up early and keen to see the sights of Perth. We started at King's Park, beautiful botanical gardens just behind the hotel. We saw some beautiful birds, parrots etc. There were some great views of the city across the Swan River. We then walked into the city, which is about the size of Croydon, but a lot cleaner! In the afternoon we caught a train to Freemantle, a lovely small town with a real "colonial" feel to it. We had a nice lunch and enjoyed a walk to the Boat Harbour and to the bathing beach. Then back to the station and a welcome sit down for the 25 minute ride back to Perth. Another walk back to the hotel, this time along the Swan River. A quiet night in the hotel room before getting our campervan tomorrow.  

Perth

Freemantle

Thursday 22nd
We set off early from Sullivan's to catch 2 busses to collect our Campervan from Maui, which is near the airport. We arrived at about 9:15 and were presented with a Toyota Hiace based van. It was in good condition and we set off eventually at 11am. We found a Woolworth supermarket in Midland and stocked up only after I managed to scrape the van against a parked car! Luckily a bit of car polish destroyed the evidence! We travelled along Highway number one, which to describe it as a boring road would be a severe understatement. The only thing that made it remotely interesting was the huge road-trains. There were not even any (live) kangaroos to excite us. I discovered that D3 was not the best gear to use after 200kms! Never mind, we arrived at Cervantes Caravan Park at about 3:30 and we were allocated a nice pitch on the seafront. Unfortunately the weather closed in, but we still managed a walk along the beach and cooked on the BBQ.This time of year it gets dark at 7pm so we start the day early to make up for that. Campsite fee was $30. Off to the Pinnacle rocks tomorrow. Today we covered 249 kms.

Beach at Freeo

Beach at Freeo

Cervantes

Friday 23rd
I awoke early at about 5:30! But it was a beautiful morning. Di was awake too so we took the short walk to the beach. To our surprise and delight we saw a young dolphin swimming no more than 10 metres from where we stood. Further out was an older dolphin, we assume a parent. After some minutes the parent must have called the youngster as it swam off "porpoisely" to deeper water. After breakfast we packed up and left the site by 08:30 and headed off to the Pinnacles. The desert there was unbelievable, so many limestone pillars. We then drove north via Jurien Bay and stopping at Green Head for coffee and a walk to see views across the bay. On then to Dongara where we booked in for a night at the Big4 site ($25.80). We walked about 2 miles to the town centre. When we got back, there was a nice sea breeze, so Buzz was launched! We spent some time planning the next few days.

 

The Pinnacles

Rob at the Pinnacles

Saturday 24th
Up early again, but not 5:30! After breakfast we set off for Kalbarri at 8:30. Again the roads were uninspiring, but they are a means to an end. We stopped off in Gerardton because I wanted to see the HMAS Sydney memorial. I wasn't disappointed, it is very impressive.

On the road again, and we passed a house with the number 991 on it, I would like to know where the other 990 were, because we couldn't see them!

We stopped off at Gregory Bay, a lovely spot with a great beach and crystal clear water. We met a lady, Lynne whose job was to monitor the catch of fishermen for conservation data. Nice job if you can get it! There is an amazing pink lake at Gregory Bay.

On to Kalbarri a lovely small place reminiscent of Wanaka and Lake Taipau. We booked in for two nights as there is good bush walking nearby in the National Park. In the afternoon we walked along the cliff tops at Red Bluff and saw Humpback Whales out at sea. We walked down to Mushroom Cove to see a rock formation in the shape of, you've guessed it, a toadstool! Back to base for Kangaroo steaks on the BBQ.  We only need to find some Emu meat, and we will have eaten the Australian national emblems! 

HMAS Sydney Memorial

Gregory Bay

Red Bluff

Sunday 25th
Today we decided to do a bush walk in Kalbarri national park. The start was about 30 kms away, 26 of which were on a corrugated dirt road. Once again, we have tried to destroy a Toyota (last time was in Kazula Natal) and this one survived the shock test too. The scenery at the Murchison River gorge was spectacular with some great photo opportunities. Despite all warnings to the contrary, we decided to set off on the 8km "Loop"' walk. The terrain was challenging to say the least, it was very hot (we set off at 10:30 for a 4 hour walk, and yes, Noel Coward was correct) We soon discovered that Australian kilometres are a good deal longer than European, and indeed they do expand in the heat! The walk was a bit like some we have done in the Lake District but with a lot more heat, and the flies, the dam ubiquitous flies! The walk took us 3.5 hours and was hard, a mix of sand, rock climbing and scrambling. But we did it and boy was it worth it! Yes Di did wear walking boots, not Crocs! Back to base to cool off with a G&T then it's fish 'n' chips for tea!

Nature's Window

Kalbarri Gorge

Monday 26th
Woke up to rain and wet bedding! We left the windows open. After an early breakfast we packed up and drove to the pelican feeding site to see 2, yes 2 pelicans being fed, but it was a bit of fun. After stocking up, we headed off to Denham, some 390 kms away. Arrived after an uneventful journey, to find a lovely site right on the beach. We booked in for 3 nights but I suspect we will stay longer as we are both tired of driving on boring roads. Denham seems to be a nice seaside town and I am sure we will enjoy it here.
We are hoping to get a boat trip to see some whales and dolphins.

Sunset in Denham

Tuesday 27th
A quiet day at the site was planned until I called into the office to enquire about whale watching trips, I was told that there was a trip available this afternoon to see whales, so we booked it. We spent the morning on  the beach, flying Buzz and paddling in the warm water. The boat trip  was fantastic. Not only did  we see whales but the ride was brilliant,on a Gemini vessel, reaching  speeds of 80  kmh. A brilliant afternoon lasting 3 and half hours but we did get a dowsing from the seaspray on the return journey! We decided to stay here for at least five nights, maybe longer.

Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale

Excitement too much!

I think it was all too exciting for some!!

Wednesday 28th
Lazy morning, walked into town and met up with Alan and Lynne and had coffee. Took the opportunity to use an Internet cafe to access emails.  After lunch we walked up behind the dunes, then back along the beach where we saw a sea snake on the fore shore. The weather was quite cool in a strong breeze off of the sea.  Flew  Buzz but almost too windy!

Di on dunes at Denham

Sea Snake at Denham

Thursday 29th
We decided to take a ride to Monkey Mia to see the dolphins. When we arrived we met up with Alan and Lynne who we had met at Denham. They are a really nice couple from East Anglia. With whom we share many views on life.

We were very pleasantly surprised by Monkey Mia it not being at all commercialised and the feeding of the wild dolphins was excellent. I was lucky enough to be chosen to feed  a fish to a dolphin, which was a special experience  to be so close to a wild animal. Afterwards, we sat on  the sandy beach in the  warm sun. We were so impressed by the resort, that we decided to spend a few days there before heading south to Perth.

We also booked ourselves or a couple of boat cruises for the weekend. Back to the Site for a bbq with Alan and Lynne.

Feeding the Dolphins

Dolphin at Monkey Mia

Friday  30th
Another windy day in Denham! The weather here is Sunny and warm, but there is a persistent wind which gets quite chilly in the evening. Today we drove down the coast to  Eagle  Bluff, a great place to watch sharks and  rays in the shallow bay. We then drove on  to Shell Beach which is a huge expanse of beach made up entirely of small cockle shells. The bay was filled with shallow and very warm water. From there we headed back towards  Denham stopping off at Ocean Park aquarium to see sharks, turtles, squid, and Cuthbert the Cuttle fish! Back to base for shopping and then supper with  Alan and Lynne. Another great day!

Eagle Bluff

Di at Eagle Bluff

Rob at Eagle Bluff

Cuthbert the Cuttlefish

 

Saturday 31st
Up fairly early to say farewell to Alan and Lynne then we set off  on a Short journey to Monkey Mia. We arrived at 9:30 and we set up by 10 o' clock! Such a fantastic pitch overlooking the bay.
We had a paddle in the bay and there was a dolphin swimming Just 3 metres away from me, fantastic!
At 12:45 we joined the Shotover Catamaran for a cruise to see the Dugongs. We did see lots but they are very difficult to photograph. We also saw turtles and a shark on the trip. The ride was great, most of the time under  sail power! We were at sea for nearly 3 hours and we get a free Sunset trip tomorrow! 

View from our pitch

Loggerhead Turtle

 

 

Sunday 1st November
We were  up to see Shark  Bay in all its splendor. Before breakfast we went to the  beach to see dolphins being fed. This time Di was picked to feed one of them. It is really remarkable to see these wild animals interacting with humans so  readily. After  breakfast we took the walk through the bush with Di in her Thongs!!. It was very hot even at that time of day. The walk brought us back along the beach  where we saw loads of seabirds. In the afternoon we snorkeled in the bay and Saw a Turtle and a Ray, fantastic!  At 5 pm we boarded the Shotover Catamaran for our sunset cruise which was just lovely. 

Di feeding dolphin at Monkey Mia

Di Bushwalking (in Crocs!)

Seabirds

Cruise Sunset

 

Monday 2nd November
Last day at Monkey Mia. We spent the day on site, starting with a walk in the bush where we saw the biggest spider in her web. Then back along the beach. We then had a restful time in the shade as it was extremely hot today, probably 38 degrees or more. In the afternoon we snorkeled in the bay seeing the usual inhabitants! I will be sorry to leave Monkey Mia. It has been exceptional. We are planning to drive to Geraldton tomorrow about 420 kms.

A couple of old birds

Spider

Bye to Monkey Mia

 

Tuesday 3rd November  
Up early to stat our long journey homeward. We left the Dolphins playing in the bay at 7:20 and headed off, next stop  Billabong Roadhouse  for fuel and change of driver. We made exceptionally good time and arrived in Geraldton at about 2 pm. We had covered 467 kms. We booked in at the Big Four site and then drove into town to get some provisions. Geraldton is a working port and not much of a tourist town. However, we did manage to get some gloves for the bowlers and some tee shirts for the kids. Back to base for some fresh Tiger Prawns and Snapper for tea.

 

Wednesday 4th November
Well, last lap  in the Campervan. We left Geraldton at about 8:30 heading to Ledge Point and another Big four site. On the way we saw some Emu and another (live) Kangaroo that’s a massive three in three weeks! Where do they go in  the daytime? We had a dip in the pool at Ledge Point, the only place to escape the flies! Apparently these annoying creatures fly in from the east when the wind comes off the land and then disappear when the wind changes quarter.  I will not miss those little buggers! We had a walk to the beach and had a coffee and  a cake at the Bakery, and walked back via the Country club where we saw people playing bowls on  a Synthetic Surface!

Thursday 5th November
Left at 8:30 for an easy run down to Perth, we were successful in finding the Hotel to drop our cases off, then drive up to Midland to return the Campervan. No hassles in handing back the van, and we then caught a bus back to the city. We met up with a Dutch couple on the bus. Spent a couple of hours in the city centre to buy some last bits. Back at the hotel we re-arranged the cases then strolled out to have an Indian meal in a deserted Perth!

 

Friday 6th  and Saturday 7th November
Picked up by the shuttle bus at 7:30am and flew out on schedule at 10:40. When we arrived at Brunei we were approached to take a quick tour of the city. As we had a four hour wait for the flight to Dubai we decided to take the tour which was really interesting, visiting the Palace, a Mosque, and a night market. The flight to Dubai, then Heathrow was uneventful, and we arrived back at Heathrow at 6am Saturday morning. Cold and wet! But good to see Keith & Caroline and then Mum and Jenni at home.

Royal Palace Brunei

Mosque Brunei

Night market Brunei

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!