5th to 8th month

View Ude på noget 2 af 3 in a larger map

Monday, April 30, 2012

Denmark 26th - 30 April

B'day boy
The next morning, before we left Cosy Corner, we celebrated the birth of my second baby.
Hurra. Hurra. Kasper turned seven years old and we lined up to give him a few presents we had collected along our journey so far. He was smiling from ear to ear, which is always how a parent loves to see their child and it looks particularly good on my toothless little man :o)
Tree huggers
Kasper had lined up the day's menu so we begun with his requested bacon and eggs-always a good choice- and then hit the road for the next chapter in our gap year.
After the scrubby flora of the coastline we had been following for a lot of our journey it was a real buzz to drive in amongst the old, tall trees of Denmark.
I loved it here straight away.

It reminded me of home.
We first came into the town and parked next to a lush green area which had a playground and a wonderful river flowing along side.
We hit the shopping area and first dove into a book shop. I usually feel a bit embarrassed, uncomfortable and awkward in these places as the kids just love them and commonly sit themselves down on the floor and begin to read as if we were in a library. They are oblivious to the sideways glances of the sales staff and of their “be careful of the spines” and “don't bend the pages back” comments they make as they take one book after another from the shelves. But I'm not! I find myself hurrying the kids along and shuffling them out the door as soon as I can without making them feel too deprived of a good read.
Denmark River
A few doors down we found a second hand book seller and later on an op-shop. Now my little book worms can read and bend the spines on their books to their hearts content without feeling the steely gaze of a shop keeper on their backs :o)
I was rather relieved as we had earlier walked past a bakery that had claimed many prizes for its wares and I am a sucker for a bread shop, especially one that has blue ribbons on its windows. While Rasmus and I sampled their pies luckily for the kids they could still have their hot chips as they sold them too! We finished off with sweet cakes to share-very yum.Eventually, even a cracker of a book cannot contain the grumblings of a tummy and so we went on the lookout for food. Kasper had asked for fish and chips for lunch but can you believe that no such shop exists in Denmark, how strange.
Denmark seemed a town well versed in their environmental concerns as they had many nods in that direction. We went to a shop which sold lots of stuff information regarding how to care for our world and Kasper selected a book about bugs for his birthday which he was super glad for.
After we had done the rounds of the shops we headed back to the car and the grassy lawns.

Everybody's wishes were fulfilled here. Molly could have her fun on the swings while the boys grabbed their nets and tried to find out what was drifting by in the river's currents and mummy and daddy sat back and watched them.
Soon though we were on the road again towards the camp ground we had chosen.
B'day cake
Parry Beach
Parry's Beach was about 30kms out of Denmark but had a budget price which suited us. That and the beach the camping ground sat next too.
However, on arriving we became a bit nervous coz a big sign said that no caravans about 3m could enter the park and to support this they had a large metal pole suspended above the entrance, presumably at the 3m level, preventing anyone taller gaining entry.
I got out and went to have a talk with the caretaker who was quite the character. Despite being all hunched over and bent in the middle she was not a woman to mess with.
After having a chat with her and reassuring her that our van was not more than 3m her parting words were, “Don't you dare cut my trees.” “Of course not”, I assured her.
Green pools
~Later, during our stay we, would hear her driving around the park on her quad bike or shouting at her husband to hurry up and do a particular job. It was cute.~
We decided to chance the 3m clearance and closed our eyes as we drove under the metal pole.
We made it with ease, which suggest that their 3m ruler might be a bit out.
Having wandered the park to see if there were spots available for us a family who were parked near the entrance said that we could share their space and so we squeezed in next to them.
We introduced ourselves to our new neighbours and as they also had 3 kids we spent a bit of time during our stay getting to know each other.
For the two nights we were bordered each other we shared their campfire and when Kasper's birthday cake, homemade mint ice cream, came out, we shared that too.
On the drive out to the campground we had noticed lots of places to visit. Foodie places.
It was with this in mind that we set out the following day.
Cheese and postej
As we came to the Cheese Factory my intention was to enlighten the children on the finer art of cheese making however, it turns out the place was a merely a front for selling cheese and other deli style food stuff. Oh well! We tasted the cheeses on offer and bought some yummy things for lunch the next day.

Other stops included
~Cider Making where they did not have the making of said cider on view to the public. We tasted the cider and settle on chilli for Rasmus and an apple for me- that will go nice with lunch tomorrow.
~A honey producer who had one hive of bees sandwiched between to plates of glass for you to look at while the rest of the shop was filled with bee costumes, bee games and other bee paraphernalia. We enjoyed tasting the honey pots though.
Roadside shop
~An Ugg boot lady who sold the most amazing colours, but not in my size.
~A veggie stand which sold some lovely produce that you paid with via the honour system.
We also attempted to visit the alpaca zoo but as we pulled up it began to rain so we decided to give it a miss. Molly was not at all happy with this decision and planted herself firmly refusing to move. Being the natural parent that I am I said, “If you don't get in the car now we will go without you.” Molly didn't care so we started to drive off. Her reaction to this was to sit down on the ground!
In the end we chickened out of our threat and I went to carry the sobbing mess back.
Day two of our stay involved lots of sitting around doing not much at all as the rain pitter pattered down. We suggested to the boys that we do some school work but as it was Saturday they politely refused! How did they know what day it was?? I never do!
Billy and Kartofler
Instead we donned coats and walked on the rocks at the beach.
On our last day the sun came out briefly enough for us to attempt a spot of snorkeling Of course when I say “us” I mean Rasmus and the kids :o)
We drove to a place called the Green Pools which was well known for its top snorkeling spots.
The rain started up again when we arrived so Kasper pulled out of the diving party and headed back to the car with me. I was supposed to be studying but couldn't get any connection so the two of us read our Kindles sitting in the dry car.
Elephant Rocks
Rasmus assures me though that a nearby reef made the water very calm and schools of fish were easily spotted amongst great tall rocks which stood in the water.
When they returned from their snorkel the sun turned out enough for me and Kasper to agree to a spot of fresh air with the others.
We went for a terrific walk down to the beach again to view these amazing huge boulders sitting in the water called The Elephant Rocks. They were quite a sight.

We continued to wander amongst them getting close up views and managing to discover a small, seemingly unchartered, area of white sand and clear water. I felt a little like Robinson Crusoe stranded on a deserted island. I would have felt more like him too if it wasn't for those pesky tourists that kept popping up all over my inaccessible beach!
That night, back at the van, with the neighbours having moved on, Rasmus made our own campfire and we cooked baked potatoes in the coals. Heavenly.

Bicycle accident

View Denmark (WA) in a larger map

Quick stop in Bornholm before Denmark

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Albany area 23rd - 26th April

23rd to 24th April
Rest stop before Albany
Molly in the bush
A wee overnight stop where Rasmus took the kids for a bush walk and Ben chatted with his friend Austin.

Apparently I never left the van.
Must have been too busy cooking delicious meals for my ravenous loved ones :o)
In the morning we began the drive towards Albany and then promptly drove straight through it!
We had bigger fish to fry- and look at.
Raventhorpe, a bump on the A1
Mum had told us about this old whaling station which was now a historical tourist hot spot. So onwards we drove, past the $3 for 5kg strawberry sign (yes, I am still annoyed HE wouldn't turn around!), eventually veering left to drive down a small peninsula.
On our way to the whales we stopped off at the local Blowhole.

Parking the car we had our first emergency family meeting. After being on the road for 3 months and in each other's space 24/7 things had become more and more heated between the kids and I was becoming very tired of being referee and judge.
“Shall we go home?” said I very sadly.
But everyone agreed they did not want to go home and would try to look after each other better.
Good, catastrophe averted.

View around the Blow Hole
Blow hole
Track to the Blow Hole
We began the 1 km trek downhill towards the blowhole. My only thought now was how steep we were going down hill what it would be like on the way back!!!
Oh, and of course the views were great too!!
Climbing over rocks and boulders we finally came to the celebrated blowhole.
The water was pretty calm so no water sprayed up from the crack in the rocks but Rasmus and the kids could stand on the area and feel the power of the water as it surged under them. It was a very extraordinary experience for them....until the underground force had built up so much that trapped air exploded with the loudest bang scaring the children out of their socks! The boys jumped away giggling nervously but vowed not to go back for Rasmus' forgotten photo opportunity. Molly ran crying from the scene and needed to be reassured for some time before she could settle down.
Poor babies!
But now poor me as we begun the hike back up to the car. All in a day's fun.

On further we drove at last coming to our destination.
Whale World was the last operating whale ship in Australia and finally closed on 21st November 1978. Now it is made up of an interactive museum where you can find out how a whaler's life was experienced.
Molly showing a whale boat
Whaling ship
I found it quite fascinating as we wandered from site to site with our tour guide recounting the different processes involved in the capture, slaughter and then dismemberment of our largest mammal relative.
It was fascinating but at the same time confronting and repulsive.
They also had cinemas, which was the kids favourite part, which helped to give us a fuller picture of what went down on that bit of the coast.
After getting our money's worth on whale info we managed to corral the kids through the exit and gift shop without buying anything!
A successful day :o)

24th to 26th
Cosy Corner
It was getting on in the afternoon so we headed towards the night's camping-spot and in our camping book we found a lovely area called Cosy Corner. How could we resist.
It is always a bit risky arriving at camp spots late in the afternoon as it is possible all the places are gone. And with such a big van as ours it becomes even more speculative. So, as we approached the campground we were a bit apprehensive.
Cosy Corner
Sure enough the place was pretty full with campers but as we were only going to stay overnight we drove up close to the side of the road and shared the space with the flora that was growing there.
Molly wasn't long in the park before she spotted some kids so she was off annoying somebody else's family for a change :o)
Bird sh*t island and Albany wind farm
Kasper followed after her coz it looked like she was actually having some fun and Ben hung around home asking for some computer time-or perhaps it would be more appropriate to describe it as nagging ;o)
But on rethinking (or perhaps because his parents said no) he wandered down to have a look at the sea and beach which was right next door to us.
Cosy Corner beach
Rasmus and I eventually wandered to see who they were actually playing with-being the responsible parents we are- and met up with some other mums and dads. We had a nice time chatting until it was time to do the usual dinner time routine-people must eat, even on fabulously exciting holidays around Australia.
Morning and Kaspers 7th B'day
That night, after the kids had gone to bed and were asleep we decided to stay an extra day and night. We thought the boys could get some neglected study done and we could have a swim at the beach, it had looked so lovely.
So that is what we did!
We also continued our “getting to know you” routine with the kid's little friends and Rasmus and the youngsters enjoyed a wild romp in the surf, jumping over the frothy waves.
Close to a Koala
Another day in paradise completed :o)

View Albany in a larger map

Whale Boat in the late afternoon
White Kangaroo

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Esperance and Stokes Inlet 19 - 22nd April

19th April - Esperance
Esprance Jetty
We headed back into town to top up the shopping and water before heading off to the next National Park. As we hadn't had much of a look around when we arrived the first time we decided to do that now so headed off, naturally, to the beach and pier :o)
Sammy the Seal
The beach was lovely soft sand but lots of seaweed which we had to go across at some stages.
Once at the pier we were greeted by a seal!! It was so sweet. We had noticed a statue of Sammy the seal at the start of the pier but I thought it was merely a fundraiser as they had a collection box at his flippers.
But sure enough- there he was in the flesh. We kept dashing from one side of the jetty to the other as Sammy darted underneath us- it was lovely.
Ben meet some young kids fishing at the end of the pier and secretly imagined it was him I think. He rattled on and on with questions and chatter as is his style :o)
Library Time
After we got back from our beach walk we had banana milk and chilli corn chips sitting on the nature strip under the shady trees - quite a blissful way to pass some time.
With all our jobs done we finally make a move to our camp spot for the night, back to the over flow area at Esperance Footy Oval where it was a bit cheaper than the caravan park.
The sun gets up about 7ish at this part of the world so after the kids had made their regular migratory transit from their beds to ours and woken us up the only way kids know how to-noisily-we all slowly made a move to get up and get ready to move on.
About 7.30am we had a knock at our door!
How weird!
Show Grounds at Esprance
Nobody was out of their pj's yet but as I was closest to the door I answered it, adorned in my flanney nightie and fluffy morning hair.
It was the park ranger. Apparently we weren't allowed to park there and the overflow area only applied to xmas and new year holidays-oops.
We made our apologies and promised to move along as quickly as we could-after breaky of course!
The extra bonus-other than getting an early start to the day, was that we didn't have to pay the $27 they usually charge for the privilege of using their oval.

20th-22nd April
Stokes Inlet (Benwenerup)
This was a really lovely campground. The caretakers obviously took great care ;o)

Camp site
I even imagined having one of the pit toilets at my house! There had been a fire through the area some years before so the campground was only a few years old. Beautifully combed camping bays and freshly oiled wooden doors on the loos. Amazing wooden doors. Too good for out in the middle of a National Park. We weren't used to such grandeur, and Molly thought the toilets smelled like cucumber. Which is a huge plus after some of the toilets we have used.

The inlet, which the camping ground lay next too- hence the name, did not invoke one to dive in and spend hours swimming. Not only was the water was very salty, as it's only open to the sea when it floods, it also didn't look very inviting.

But we can't blame our lack of swimming totally on the outward appearance of the inlet. It also rained like there was no tomorrow.
Rasmus managed to collect about 50 liters of rain water which spilled from the corner of the awning. He used this precious commodity to do the masses of laundry which stubbornly and continually accumulates.

So, we were pretty much holed up for a day or two. We kept busy doing school work, having sing-a-longs, playing charades and hugging each other a lot. Who are we kidding, we didn't do any school work :o)
Cycad tree

Fishing and Havskum at the shore

At one stage the weather cleared for a bit so we thought we might get some fresh air and managed a bush walk. It was a guided walk where we were informed about the amazing flora of the area, including the long lost Cycad tree. It was fascinating. Apparently they are not to be eaten, although they are very tasty, unless they go through a cleansing process. This was information which the early settlers did not know about but the local aborigines did. Guess who got the bad stomach cramps?

Rasmus and Ben had a go at fishing again but between the rain and the incredibly bad luck we have with fishing they didn't get a bite between them. Oh well, there is always the next fishing hole.

Vis Stokes Inlet på et større kort

Pelican over Stokes Inlet

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cape LeGrand 15th -18th April

Cape Le Grand

After the Nullarbor the first town you come to is a pretty place called Norseman. A gold mining town which gained it's name from the horse who dug up the maiden lump of shiny metal.

Horse at Norseman
Mollys 1st success at the Monkey Bars
- Salmon Gums -
The children played on a great playground and there were wondrous areas of green lawn to wriggle your toes in-a real treat since we hadn't seen any since Elliston - 7 days ago.
However, it was Esperance we were aiming for so into the car we climbed again.
On arriving we drove straight to the Visitor's Center. Rasmus had heard about the beautiful Cape Le Grand National Park and was desperate to stay there so we needed a permit.
Despite it being only 2pm the Center was closed! But to make matters worse there was a large sign up saying that the campground at Cape Le Grand was full!! Rasmus was so disappointed.
Adding to the afternoon's list of misfortunes was when we found out it was still school holidays in WA and would be until 26th April! That meant peak payment at the caravan parks- if we could get in at all!
We scoured the cheap camping spots online and found that there was infact an overflow area at the local footy oval which was a bit cheaper than the what the others were charging.
I knew Rasmus was still frustrated at not being able to get to Le Grand but he went ahead setting up our van for the night. An hour later he announces we must pack-up NOW!!
What!??!!” says I
While I thought he was quietly getting on with the job at hand he was actually texting a friend who had just been there and had said, “There were heaps of spots when we left this afternoon.”
We packed up in record time and hit the road. It was over 60kms out to the camping-ground and the sun was setting early so I was a bit worried.
Lucky Bay
The kangaroos were starting to come out and more than once we saw them on the side of the road. Finally we arrived. It was a beautiful spot. Right on the beach. Glorious white sand and superb blue water.
Guess what?
They were full!
Oh S*%T! Driving back another 60kms in the dark!! This didn't sound like fun, for us or the kangaroos!
There was another camping-ground about 10kms away, Lucky Bay. We decided to head over there and hope that it was our lucky bay-day :o)
And it was!
After checking out the one or 2 spots they had left which were too small for our monster of a van, the caretaker allowed us to stay the night in the bus turn around bay. Thanks.
Still, Rasmus was determined to get a spot at Le Grand so he set the alarm for some time very early in the morning and up we got.
Cape Le Grand
Brown Snake

The kids were carried from their beds to the car. No breakfast and no weeing!
It was still dawn when we got back to Le Grand to be first in line for the next camping-spot.
So it was in the day users carpark that we dressed, ate- and pee'd!
It was all worth it though as we got a really great spot and had the best time there. Can you believe that this National Park had not only flushing toilets but hot showers too. Remarkable and very muchly appreciated :o)
Despite the fact that I was left at home for most of the time as it was the middle of assignment writing season Rasmus and the kids had heaps of fun. They were down at the beach everyday discovering all sorts of amazing stuff.
The most dramatic happening was when Ben and Rasmus came across a Brown snake!!! EEKKK!!
A real live Brown snake just resting in the sunshine along the cliffs. It was both an awesome discovering and a mother's nightmare all rolled into one.
Ready to snorkeling
In my 45 years I have never seen a snake in the wild but my family manage to stumble across Australia's most venomous!!
On the way to  Little Hellfire beach
Everybody survived the episode-including my poor heart.
Other adventures include traversing down cliff faces in the hunt for better snorkeling areas (another event I am sure it was better I didn't see) and catching sea urchins for the french tourist-fishermen to use as bait.

Opposite our camping-spot an Austrian family moved in and we had some nice times drinking coffee and watching the kids play together.
Austrians ex'pat

Ann-Christin, Maxim & André
We also met up by chance with our German backpacker friends who came by our van for a cuppa, a sandwich and a last goodbye-photo.
There was a cool hike up a hill called the Frenchman’s Nose but we could only imagine the views-and photo opportunities- as Rasmus cut his foot on some rocks whilst snorkeling one day (the perils of being an action man) and it was some time before we could hear the end of that drama ;o)
However, Cape Le Grand was a really beautiful spot and the quite calm of the area a real highlight on our travels.
Sunset at Cape Le Grand

Litte Hellfire beach

Kasper and Molly

Frenchman rock

Sunset Cape Le Grand (windmills in Esprance)

Hav gus

Sand is the fine and chrispy, sounds like walking on frosty snow

Vis Cape Le Grand på et større kort