5th to 8th month

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Saturday, June 30, 2012


28th-30th June

It was a 600 km drive to Broome. Unbeknownst to me, we had enough for a 570km trip!!! Dopey husband! Luckily for us not only was Len following right behind us, but he also carried spare fuel. Another catastrophe averted and we continued our journey.
If you want my opinion I'm not sure what all the hype is about Broome.
Pretty? Yes, it's ok.
Expensive? Hell yes.
In fact, we couldn't afford the going rate in town so we stayed 30kms outside. To be honest it is so busy we couldn't even get a spot in town even if we wanted one. The Grey Nomads book their spot a year in advance and then plonk themselves in front of their vans for 3 months. There are masses of them. And even though they say they miss their grandkids and my kids make them think of theirs they don't park near us or ask us for drinks in the afternoon! I mean really, have they seen how cute my kids are? Doesn't that make up for the noisy play-apparently not.
The highlight for me was this cute organic cafe I found. It was called The 12 Mile cafe and had the most amazing smells wafting from its kitchen. We didn't try any of the meals but had coffees, smoothies and cake, it was morning tea time.
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The cafe was in a lovely tropical setting with the verandah wrapped around paw paw and banana trees and a cool canopy of foliage. The toilet was an experience too. On entering it had a huge hole where a window should be. It was like looking at a living painting as you sat and did your business. Ben even found Green Tree Frogs in the ground drain hole when he was having his turn!
It was a place you could just sit at, the cafe not the toilet. The kids played with the toys that were provided and lay in hammocks that had been stretched between banana trees and Ben had fun exploring the Guppies in the pond. Everyone was having a good time.
In fact, I loved it so much we came back the next day for round 2 of cake and coffee.
We did manage to see a few other things in town. The local water park was a big hit of course. Next to this park was the sea which we normally have to avoid due to the crocs but as the tide was way out Rasmus took the kids for an explore. Amongst other things they found a Blue Ringed Octopus! A little on the scary side for me but exciting for them all. Did I mention I was napping on a grassy hill while they did all this? Mother of the Year don't you think?
After a couple of days we said good-bye to Len, Heather and Josh here as they drove on together with their daughter's family (Kylie and … who had been camping with us here at Broome). They lived in Darwin and we would be catching up with them there.
As Broome has a big pearl history we wanted to do do a tour of some sort for our last activity, but as they were all too expensive we settled on a self guided one at the local pearl shop next to the Info Center. Not quite as thrilling as a tour filled with artifacts, but lots of interesting information.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Barnhill Station 24th to 27th June

We travelled with our new friends Len and Heather and their grandson Josh towards Broome but after a days driving pulled into a reasonably nice rest area. There were lots of other vans there too, some looked like they were staying longer than just the night. But not us, we were here just for the night.
We set up next to each other and someone made a little campfire for us to cook our dinner on. We all sat together under a pergola eating dinner.
When Molly had finished she was wandering around us and suddenly announces that she saw a shooting star. We do the usual “oh aren't you lucky”, “did you make a wish?” noises at her.
Rasmus also looks up to see what she sees. He is so excited by what he sees. “Wow! Come and see this!”. I think he is just over doing the excitement for Molly's sake so I remain seated eating my dinner. He gets even more agitated and the others start to move over to have a look. I am still sitting wondering what all the fuss is about as the shooting star would have been long gone.
Finally, I can't resist Rasmus' exertions anymore and get up to have a look.
There is in fact a huge shooting star making its way across the sky. It goes on for ages before it disappears over the horizon. It was quite a spectacular sight and in the morning Rasmus checks his social network portals and discovers the same star had been seen as far away as Sydney here and here!
I am glad my skepticism didn't make miss the display, although I was ribbed about my slow reaction time mercilessly for the rest of the night.

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25th-27th June
Barnhill Station
We arrived at this stop quite early in the morning which is unusual for us. Len and Heather are a good influence so we got an early start. The road in was a 10km sandy track with about 1000 gates to open and close! Well, it felt like 1000. It was me who had to keep getting in and out of the car to tend to the ruddy things.
We paid for our camping spot and were luckily enough to be able to set up next door to our new best friends even though the park was quite busy. Setting up a nice communal area in between us both to do our daily living.
There were a lot of grey-nomads at this place who had set themselves up for the winter. Complete with bowling green and tournaments. They know how to live :o)
As for us, we preferred the beach.
They had a 6 meter tide which exposed this amazing set of rock pools. The kids spent hours combing the beach for interesting...and not so interesting...shells. Molly discovered the cowrie shell with Heather and had heaps collecting millions of them.
Ben had a terrific experience when he managed to view the very moment a Hermit crab swapped from one shell to another. It happens so quickly; within seconds. Lucky boy. He named the crab Julie, after his mum who had given the said crab his new home.
The receding tide also revealed big coral pools filled with sponges and snake like fish nestled with in them. A big rock formation was a cool spot for a private swimming basin and playing house with hermit crabs, Brittle Star and Fan Worms. The boys had a ball.
We weren't able to swim at the beach as there was the every present warning of sharks and crocs so the fossicking was a great way to pass the time.
The boys gathered a big bucket of hermit crabs and brought them back to the camp site to observe their behaviour, very scientific. However, very much my little boys when it was revealed that they would not be coming with us on our trip. Lots of tears and emotional moments as they were returned from whence they came :o(
Rasmus took a walk on the beach in the afternoon and managed to capture another spectacular sunset. This time arranged artistically between some rocks.
The rest of our time was spent in practice for a special competition coming up, The Sitting around Doing Nothing Cup 2012!!
I did do some baking and tired my hand at a new recipe, Cinnamon Bread. Thanks to Camilla Plum, my new fav TV cook, my baking skills reputation is spreading far and wide. At least to Portland where Heather & Len live. They thought it tasted pretty good!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

De Grey River

De Grey River Rest Area  18th-23rd June

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De Grey
Here was the place where I was converted to the ways of the camp oven.
I had heard of it before and seen it done but never before had I experienced the “woman versus fire” wave of euphoria which passes over oneself when a meal has been successfully cooked over burning embers.
I have to give credit to our wonderful neighbours Len and Heather from Portland. It was them who sent me down the path I was now destined to travel. Just me and my caste iron camp oven.
The first afternoon when we arrived we said our hellos and quickly got chatting. They had their grandson, Josh, with them so our kids soon weaved themselves into his corner of the camping-spot. A camp fire pit had already been laid out and they mentioned that they would probably be cooking their dinner there. I was slightly intrigued at that point but had a lot of stuff still to unpack and set up so our dinner was made the tried and tested way.
It wasn't till the next day that any real discussion about meal preparation was more thoroughly explored. We had spent most of the day completing some long over due school work with the boys and were finally relaxing when our new friends came home from their days adventures.
One thing led to another and suddenly I was bending over a pot of spag bol which I was reheating while balls of tin foil filled with potato were baking in the hot coals. A hugely successful meal if I don't mind saying so myself.
The next day, as more school work was being done, I was thinking about what I would be cooking that evening over the fire pit. Although Rasmus spent most of his day washing the red iron ore dust from our clothes I would ask his opinion about what we should eat, trying to gain inspiration and direction.
I eventually settled on an egg curry dish that was well accepted by the family. However, I let myself down considerably by not only boiling the eggs on the caravan's gas burner but also cooking the rice there. I was crushed and although the curry itself was completed on the fire I never really forgave myself for this set back so early in my camp-fire-cooking career.
A new morning and another day spent going over the mistakes of the day before. What was I going to do to make up for yesterday's lapses?
It wasn't till a fated trip to check on my son that everything fell into place. The campground was situated next to a river and Ben had spent most of his time playing in the water collecting algae and small fish. After checking out his latest finds I wandered back to our own van but not before passing an elderly couple and starting up a conversation with them. They had noticed we had camp fires each night and wondered if we might like to borrow their camp oven. They were not going to be using it and suggested I might like to try baking a damper, supplying their own fail proof recipe into the bargain.
You couldn't wipe the smile from my face as a carried the heavy pot across the road back to our place. I told everyone what I would be doing that night for dinner and put Len and Heather on standby for their input with the finer details of my first baking experience.
Returning to our van I prepared the damper dough according to Jim's recipe and when it was mixed to perfection I laid it into the oiled and floured camp oven.
Rasmus had stoked up the fire and the coals where a glorious fusion of throbbing reds and oranges. We were ready for the baking.
The pot was lowered onto the coals and the waiting began.
Half an hour later we smelt delicious aromas wafting from the blackened vessel alerting us to the damper's readiness. We lifted the lid and there it was, the staff of life in all its golden goodness. We waited as long as we could before cutting into the loaf and it was perfect. And I was hooked.
The next day while Rasmus washed more dirty clothes and bed sheets, Molly and Kasper rode their bikes and Ben went on walkabout with Len to find some rocks worthy of Len's collection I spent my time cleaning the camp oven ready to return it to its owners. While I cleaned I dreamed of all the wonderful meals I would be preparing in future camping holidays.
When I finally went to return the pot the owners said I could keep it and use it again tonight, they had no plans for using it. Wow! I was excited. I took the pot home with me again and thought about the evening's meal. I had originally taken out the standby minced meat but with my magic pot I had more adventurous ideas. Deep in the freezer I had bought a roast. It must have been fate as it was the first roast I had bought on our trip and it had only been purchased a few days ago!! I pulled it out wondering if it would defrost in time. Only time would tell.
The rest of the day was spent doing much of nothing. The kids played with Josh, rode their bikes and drew pictures. I took myself off to the river and had a bath. It was so refreshing and I felt so clean after the dustiness of the campgrounds we had been living at. Rasmus was often seen reading his Kindle after a long morning of washing.
In between these activities I prodded and poked the frozen meat checking to see if it had sufficiently defrosted.
In the afternoon Len took some of the others to try their luck at fishing while Heather and I stayed back to drink wine and chat. Rasmus came back at one stage to get his snorkeling gear on as his line had gotten snagged. We wished him luck. We had been hearing an often repeated story about a 6ft Bull shark which had been caught last year, or last month, or 5 years ago, depending on who told the story so we thought Rasmus might need it, the luck that is.
At last the moment came to building the fire and getting the coals ready for the inaugural roast cooking. Unfortunately, it took a long time to get them to the stage we needed. The kids were getting antsy so I compromised my dinner menu and boiled some 2 minute noodles for them. It turned out to be good thing as Rasmus and I didn't eat before 8pm!
To cook the food Rasmus dug a hole and filled it with the burning embers, we then lowered the pot down and covered the lid with more coals. Now to wait.
After half an hour or so we had a look and added some vegies to the pot. Another 20 mins and it should be done!
And it was and it was so amazingly delicious. Melt in your mouth delicious.
In the morning we decided to extend our stay for yet another day. Our overnight rest stop had already been stretched out to a four night mini stay. But for me it was another opportunity to use the magic vessel.
It was Skt Hans tonight. The Danish celebration of the longest day of the year, and coincidentally, John the Baptist's birthday from which the day is named after. We spent the day doing the usual stuff. More study for the boys, going for walks and reading. When the afternoon came Ben and I designed a rusticly styled witch which we would be adorning our bonfire with that evening.
I cooked chicken noodle soup on the fire and had also prepared a big damper for the camp oven which we would have for dessert. I was nervous about this as the owners of the oven and Jim himself, writer of the damper recipe, would also be at our Skt Hans celebrations.
After dinner we placed the pot onto the beautifully glowing embers and waited the half an hour till it was cooked. As it was lifted out we could see how perfectly baked it was. I watched Jim as he ate his slice and finally he declared that it was delicious and was very proud of me. I was proud of me too.
We lit the fire again and watched the witch burn as we sang “Midsommer Visen”. It was a lovely evening and I one I would long remember.
They weren't all successes though. Each morning the fire would be relit and after the billy was boiled I would try and make the day's bread in the remaining coals.
The first time the loaf, although cooked, was burnt on the bottom and a thick slice had to be removed before we could eat it. On our second attempt, being over cautious, the bread was removed from the coals too early and when we cut into it there was a huge doughy center. We had rice cakes for lunch that day.
Each attempt has been a learning experience for me and I am happy for my six days initiation into the mysterious world of camp oven cooking.
Now we move on to new campgrounds to explore and new campfires to cook on.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Port Hedland 17 June

It was a 3 hour trip to Port Hedland but the Ranger had said that the service would be quicker than at the closer Tom Price Hospital. We just had to find the place first! Rasmus had set the coordinates into the GPS and, being newcomers to the place, we were heavily reliant on its ability to get us around. The only problem was, when we arrived at the destination supplied by our resident GPS there was no hospital!
South Hedland hospital
We had seen a sign for one as we drove into town but that was in South Hedland and we were told, via Gavin Garmin (our GPS) that the hospital was in Port Hedland, not South. So we faithfully travelled on only to be stabbed in the back.
Taking matters into our own hands we returned to South Hedland and followed the sign posts to the hospital there. This annoyed Gavin muchly and he constantly insisted that we do U-turns at the next intersections. Despite his pressure we did not turn around and finally made it to a lovely NEW hospital which Mr Garmin had apparently never heard of!
Rasmus dropped my and Kasper off while he went to find a place to park the Beast.
Arriving at the emergency department, we announced ourselves, filled in the paperwork and was in seeing the doc before 10 mins had gone past! I had never seen such quick service in a hospital in my life. OK, we were the only ones in the waiting room, but they were really friendly too.
Kasper was poked at and prodded and eyeballs were looked at and measured through what seemed like a very thorough examination. Given the all clear it was, luckily, only the white part which had been scratched and this self heals remarkably well. Eye drops were then prescribed and then not only were they given to us on the spot but at no cost! What a lovely town!
My rating for Port Hedland peaked at this stage. However, it dropped significantly and quickly through out the rest of our time here.
Over night rest stop with a bit of traffic noise
Collecting water for the next week

We had gotten into a routine of buying lunch when we entered a town just to give us a little treat. Can you believe that a burger in a take-away place cost $15!! A crappy burger that had been pre-made, wrapped in foil and left to wait in a bay marie until it was sold! No thanks!
We bought the kids a few chips for $12 that they could share but there was not enough for me and Rasmus. In fact there was barely enough for them!
To even things out we did manage to get a new Kindle on special at the local Woolies store so that made up a few bonus points.
As Port Hedland only had salt mining on one side of the road and iron ore on the other we called it a day after the shopping and moved on to greener pastures :o) 
Small road train
Making salt by drying sea water

Friday, June 15, 2012

Karijini 12 - 16 June

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Click on image to enlarge Collage
Click here for Album with 33 images

Click here for Album with 33 images

12th June
Rest stop just before Tom Price
After the disappointed of Cape Range we decided to go a completely different way and headed towards an inland National Park.

We couldn't make it in one day so we made one of our famous over night stops. This time we had to go down a rather steep rocky embankment. Which never seems quite as steep until you are in the middle of it. Tomorrow morning's drive out should be interesting!
We never rearrange too much in the van when we are only stopping for an over nighter so it was quickly done. The kids spent some time fossicking through the many rocks that surrounded us which always keeps them amused for a while :o)
While Rasmus and I sat and pondered life's problems, as we are want to do from time to time!
I made an interesting observation during my routine middle of the night wee. Actually, it was Rasmus who put me on to it. When you shine your torch on the ground to watch where you are walking sometimes you have some shininess radiating back at you. If you look a little closer it is often the eyes of spider you have found!
Makes for fascinating chitchat if you ask me!
Going up a rather steep rocky slope
In the morning we sat and pondered the job that Alfie had ahead of her; pulling The Beast out of the rocky nest we had made for ourselves last night.
We decided that to make it as light as possible me and the kids would stand out and walk up the incline while Rasmus and Alfie made the trip up together.
We held our breath and crossed our fingers and....it worked! Out safe and sound :o)
Climbing back into the car we headed to Tom Price to do some shopping before we got into the farawayness of the National Park.
I went into the supermarket while Rasmus took the kids into the library which was situated just over the road. For a tiny little logging town I was expecting some pretty hefty prices but it was all good and I could stock up to my little hearts content. I love it when I can do that!

13th-16th June
Karijini National Park
The Cape Range failure meant that we had some extra time up our sleeves so we decided to check out Karijini National Park. I had never heard of it of course, but that went for most of the towns we had already visited.
Mount Nameless being demolished in the coming decades
It was up higher than we had been along the coast so the landscape changed from the flat, yellowness we had been seeing to huge hills covered in greenery. Not the lush, forest stuff of the Dandenong Ranges, but green nonetheless, which was a welcome relief.
There was also a lot of mining up this way too. The mountains were heavy with red iron ore and we could see where the machines were taking slices away until the mountain was completely gone. It was a bit sad really. We told the kids to take a good look around as the mountains might not be here the next time they come through.
Karijini itself was lovely. On entering the park we went to the most organized Caretakers we had seen up til now. They had their tent set up where people came to them to get their camp spot allocated and walky talkies to communicate with staff. It all made them look very important.
They gave the kids a Karijini Newspaper which was full of activities which they could complete and then become junior rangers, very fancy...and educational.
The camp spot we had been given was a nice big one with access to other campers which I like, being the social animal that I am.
Actually, the moment we pulled up Molly spotted the family with kids! Show time! Out she jumped and off she went.
The whole camp ground was covered in the red soil that the miners coveted so much but which mother's find quite irritating when washing clothes and bodies!. It was a fun experiment however, when we put a magnet in the soil and pulled it up covered in the iron filled earth. The kids were fascinated...me too actually :o)
Looking at gorges began
It was at this place that we began our furore into the world of gorge walking and like any novice we were filled with excited anticipation to begin.
Arriving at the car park we filled our packs with the necessary equipment; water bottles, bathers, towels and food.
Naturally, the trek down into the gorge was steep. Steeper than I had anticipated. However, it wasn't the walk in that had me worried...we still had to get out of here!!
By the time we reached the top of the waterfall, which was at the bottom of the gorge, my legs were shaking. While I sat down to regain my poseur my children scrabbled up and down the tiered walls of the waterfall, making me feel even more old and unfit...thanks a lot kids!
After I have finally get my energy back we make our down even further into the gorge via the steps of the water fall. That was the easy part. Now for a 3km hike following the path the raging river takes during the wet season. It really is quite lovely despite the heat, sore feet from the new boots I am wearing and the heat. Did I mention it was hot? We were all looking forward to seeing the water pool at the end of our trek.
In a gorge pool
After a couple of hours, 1500 “I'm hungry” and 1000 “are we there yet?” we finally do arrive at our destination. Off comes the gear and....I'm the only one to get in!!! It's cold...really cold...icy cold. So, the kids chicken out but Rasmus finally makes an entrance.
Later, Ben discovers that there are leeches in the pool so Rasmus high tails it out but I, the stoic one, brave it out. Geez, where is there sense of adventure?
Layers of Blue Asbestos in the cliffs
We then have a quick bite to eat to regain our strength for the trek out. This time however, we plan to walk up, straight up. By my reckoning it is about a 150o! No, I am not kidding, really! And my legs can confirm it!
Goodness me it was bloody hard work! But again, in an endeavor to make me look as unfit as possible, my husband not only bounds ahead of me to get up and out, but he runs back to the beginning where we left the car and drives it back to pick us up!! Well, perhaps he was actually being really sweet, but I felt really, really unfit looking at him :o)
Over the next few days I can hardly walk and I need a hit of pain relieving drug after going down the 2 stairs from the van door. But the rest of the family solider on. Back to the gorge for more swimming at a warmer water hole they found, walks to the lookouts, riding endlessly on their bikes and self guided nature tours. I really am tired and sore just from looking at them :o)
Ranger and Kids (Kasper with eye covered)
Only one glitch in the week. Kasper scratched his eyeball on a tree branch! Poor Kasper. He came home crying and wailing as only our Kasper can but I can understand his pain. We wrapped up the eye and decided to wait till the morning, our leaving day, to see if he still needed some extra care. As we were in the middle of nowhere and the hospital some hours away.
Come day break he still had blurry vision so we knew what was on our agenda for today.On our way out of the NP we took the kids activity newspapers to the HQ where they received their Junior Rangers badge. Kasper also got some TLC from the ranger for his eye and off we went in search of the Port Hedland hospital.
Bye Karijini National Park, we really enjoyed you.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Exmouth Failure June 11th

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Today we wanted to go to a National Park which we heard had the most fantastic snorkeling There was also the opportunity to swim with some gentle giants-The Whale Sharks. We were very excited . However, it was a very popular place, we were in peak Grey-Nomad season and we hadn't booked so were crossing our fingers there was a spot for us.
It was 200km round trip into the peninsula of Cape Range so it was an expensive detour but on we travelled.
After an hour or so we spotted a sign that pointed to Cape Range 11km. We were both a bit surprised as we had thought it was another 100kms or so along the road. Maybe it was a short cut? The road was tarred and flat so we took the turnoff.
Big Mistake!!
After a km the bitumen road stopped and a dirt road took its place. Except it had been raining so it wasn't dirt anymore. The road started to wind its way upward. Higher and higher, muddier and muddier, slipperier and slipperier
Checking out Google Maps we saw that the road actually went nowhere and was merely a path to the majestic views! It was too narrow to turn around-remember we had the beast behind us! So, we could only go onwards. The fantastic vista was of little consequence as I held onto my seat with white knuckles. I wasn't really having fun.
Finally we found a small road off to the right that Rasmus could back into and then drive back the way we had come. Since we had found a way out we decided to stop for lunch and take in the views, which were quite breath taking.
We at last made it to terra firma scolding ourselves for trying to take the easy way.
A few more hours of driving and we arrived at Exmouth, the gateway to the snorkeling paradise of Cape Range. But guess what! No spots available for 5 days! And the Exmouth caravan park wanted $77 a night!! That didn't included shares in the park, just an overnight stay! And it was a decidedly uninspiring dusty town.
So ended our dream. Coz 5 x $77 adds up to a bloody lot of cash-a-Rooney!
We were disappointed as we travelled back out but as someone famously once said when he was tight spot, Such is Life.
After so many hours driving already we didn't have the energy to find the next camp spot so settled down for the night at a rest stop by the side of the road.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Coral Bay 6 - 10th June

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Rest stop after Carnarvon
We spent the day in Carnavon doing all our little jobs which always seems to take the whole day!! Gas bottles, petrol, and shopping. We only shop every 2 weeks so it is a huge job when it is done. Naturally buying the stuff is the easy part, then comes the unpacking and putting it away. Even in a smaller living space it is a tedious task!
When we were doing the aisles we noticed a couple of ladies who were filling their trollies with amazing amounts of stuff. It looked like they were buying supplies to set up a shop!! Turns out they were from Exmouth, over 300km away and they come down to Carnavon to do their shopping as there is nothing cheaper in between!! Thinking about the price of petrol and a 600km round trip which was a cheaper option for them than buying locally we began thinking that we wouldn't be buying groceries until we hit Darwin!!
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We bought a few extra supplies anyway, despite it being difficult to do in our kitchen!
On our way out we passed banana plantations which was exciting. We felt like we were heading into some sort of tropical fruit paradise. I had promised Molly before we left that as we were following the summer we could eat cherries and mangos every morning for brekky. She was hanging out for that.
That turned out to be a lie.
However, I was hoping our luck had changed and we would soon be lying under mango trees gorging ourselves on the delicious golden flesh. The banana plantations were a good sign.
As it turned out that was a lie too.
We were told later that Carnavon was indeed a fruit and veggie growing area and you could drive into the farms and buy their produce at really cheap prices. I love doing that!! But nobody told me before we got to the place did they!! I bought our stuff from Coles which had probably been grown in Carnavon, shipped to Perth and then shipped back again!!!
We drove out, past the bewitching plantations, and set up camp in the next free rest stop. Toilet and rubbish bin!
It was here that we met a Danish family. We had been there for a while when a new van pulled up and kids hopped out. Molly's kid radar had been activated and she went on the prowl for some new
play mates. I watched her go over to the family but she was being shy so I thought I would go over as well to give her a hand.
That's when I heard it! Danish!
Er du Danske?” (are you Danish?) said I in my perfect Danish.
And they were. We got chatting and the kids got playing and before you know it we had arranged to met at the next town's caravan park as they had just stopped for lunch and were moving on.
Very cool.
Rasmus had also met a backpacker couple, Joakim and Flo. But I didn't know about this until the next caravan park. That's when I met them.

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Coral Bay
We had a few hours drive ahead of us soon we went. The highlight, for Rasmus anyway, was when we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. We all piled out of the car and performed the ordained rites, also known as, taking lots of photos! And then piled back into the car. On we went.
We arrived at Coral Bay and set up our caravan for 3 days of sun, surf and snorkeling.
The beach was just over the road from us so we knew where we were headed as soon as we were ready.
Well, actually the kids found the Danish family we had met at the last camp spot so the beach trip was put off for a short time while they had a play.
It was really lovely watching the kids interact with the danish kids. Especially Ben. He and Johannes had really hit it off and so spent all their time together. Johannes couldn't speak english so it was left to Ben to fall back onto his second language and he did a great job. I was so proud of him.
I even made a Brun-sviger cake to share with our new friends. It was all very cozy.
Eventually we did make it to the beach and spent some great hours snorkeling under the water watching the marine life.
Great big Snapper would be swimming around your legs and if you swam out a bit more you reached the reef and could see some beautiful coral.
It is such an adventure to see a different side of the world.
It was here that I met up with some people that Rasmus had previously found. Joakim and Flo.
They were from The Netherlands and Switzerland respectively, and were doing a trip around Oz in a van.
They came over a couple of times for beer and coffee and it was nice to chat about stuff that is different from our own lives.
The Euro Cup was playing at the time and the 3 Europeans planned to met up and watched a game between Denmark and The Netherlands. Not surprisingly I have no idea who won! (Rasmus: the towns sports pub didn't show the game as the owner wanted to be in bed by 11pm... I managed to find an online streaming but watched it alone)
We were only at Coral Bay for 3 mights as the caravan park was so darn expensive so it was with a bit of sadness that we said goodbye to our newfound friends. Ben and Johannes swapped email addresses and promised to keep in touch.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gladstone 3 - 5 June

3rd & 4th June
On we travelled again. This time we chose a place off the main road a bit. We had to open a gate to get through and then came 10kms of the bumpiest and most corrugated dirt road we had encountered up till now.
By the time we arrived at our camp spot the caravan need totally rearranging. Bits and bobs had moved and shifted but thankfully all the cupboards had held tight.
Click for larger view of collage
We were met at the camp ground by the Caretaker who looked liked he had spent about 1000 years in the sun and had never trimmed his beard. However, he was very helpful and we found a lovely camp spot right on the water's edge.
We spent our time doing the usual- that is, at much at all; sleeping and eating were periodically broken up with book reading and swimming.
They had a very old jetty which had slipped into retirement without much fanfare. A hand made stone and pebble path had been constructed so that you could walked out to what was left of the jetty, only the vertical support beams. The kids tight roped their way out as far as they could while I hung on for dear life while trying to look cool, as another family were there too.
From the end of the jetty you could see some really big fish, or so I was told.
The only vaguely dramatic event to interrupt our tranquility was the visit from the Wild Life and Fisheries Dept. They were on the hunt for illegally sized fish and looked in our fridge, rubbish bins and esky. No stone left unturned in their pursuit of peccable fishermen!
After our 2 days of lapping up yet more sunshine we battened down the hatches for the bumpy drive back to the main road.
Apart from the usual dishevel inside the van we also lost one of the side mirrors! We are really living on the edge heh!

Little Bike ride

5th June
Rest stop before Carnarvon
As we made our way to Carnavon we had to make an overnight stop at one of the free rest areas that we have made use of many times during our journey.
The rest stops are usually not very exciting. Some are better than others in that they have toilets and a shaded picnic area. Often there is nothing more than a rubbish bin, a pull-in from the main road!
In some places they can be full of other rest overnighters and still others we are the only ones.
The one we stopped at tonight was pretty simple. Just a rubbish bin.
All went well during the night as per the usual. It wasn't until the morning that disaster struck!
We were packing away stuff getting ready to hit the road again, when I asked Rasmus to take a pile of trash we had accumulated during our 20 hour stop over. Which he did as per his usual obedient manner. Thanks Hubby.
It wasn't till later, after having searched for his prized Kindle for several hours, that he put two and two together and came up with Kindle thrown into rubbish bin with the rest of trash!!!!
He'd had the Kindle in his hand when I loaded him up with our rubbish and must of dumped the whole lot in with out giving it a thought. Dopey Hubby.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sharks Bay 29th May to 2nd June

World Heritage area
Whalebone beach
After a little convincing Rasmus agreed to make the 300 km detour into the Shark Bay Peninsula. We wanted to see some dolphins! As it was quite a drive in we stopped at one of the free camping spots for the night. There are 4 of them as you drive into Monkey Mia and if you ring up the council for a permit you can stay for one night. We chose Whalebone Beach (recommended by the Marsh family)
Great choice too! What a spot! Right next to the water, and I mean only a couple of meters. It was so lovely.

Local fish

The water was flat and easy for the kids to explore. They soon donned their snorkeling gear and made sweeps of the area on the look out for treasure. There was also a bit of sand to dig around in which kept them occupied for many hours.
Our day ended enjoying a quiet sunset at the water's edge.
After the sun rose we headed off to spend 3 nights at the Monkey Mia Resort which was rather a special treat. It's a bit expensive but quite frankly they have you over a barrel as there isn't any other choice.
Dolphin feeding
Flipper show
It was quite hot when we were setting up so to get the kids out of the way I took them for a quick wander along the very nearby beach. We spotted a jetty and headed in that direction. While the kids were looking to add to their growing accumulation of sea side stuff I chatted to a lady who said they were waiting for the dolphins to arrive for their 3rd and final feeding of the day. If they didn't come by noon it wouldn't happen at all.
Dusk at Monkey Mia
Morning at Monkey Mia
Me and the kids continued to wander as I thought we would catch the dolphin show the next day when Rasmus and his camera where around. Up on the jetty Ben was excited to see several large fish hanging around darting under the jetty and back again.

Green Sea turtle and two crocs
Emus scavenging everything
Suddenly, we saw dolphins!! They were right there at the jetty! Everybody had waited on the beach and we had struck gold when the dolphins came to us.
Hot top
It was a real sight to see them so close. A pod of about 5. I was very conscience that neither Rasmus nor his camera were here to capture the event but I wasn't leaving to fetch him for anything! By now others had joined us and we were all ooh-ing and aah-hing over the sweet water creatures.
Eventually the Monkey-Mia-dolphin-food-bucket-holder arrived and we got the do's and don'ts of what to do around the dolphins.
Sea slug

Coconut tree
Standing in a line in the shallows we waited for the playful dolphins to come for a feed. Only 3 people get chosen to hand over a fish and guess what??? Molly and Kasper were team number 1. And coz I was standing with them I also had to help. Apparently it takes 3 from our family to hand over a fish whilst others only had 1 member. Hmm......
Rasmus had turned up by now too and took the required photographic evidence.
We had a really fun time at this resort and were really lucky with what we saw.
Ben was so happy to see Lion fish on several occasions, we swam with sea turtles and Rasmus and Molly had dolphins swirling around them at one stage.
At the resort itself a family of emus roam the place looking for stuff to eat. As I was holed up in the caravan with my dastardly assignment, I was often dashing outside to rescue something that the kids had left lying around.
Hard up for TV my children loved to sit in a darkened room watching episodes of The Blue Planet. In fact, sometimes we had to drag them outside to see the actual things they were watching on the film!!! Kids heh!
Bird watching
We did manage walks on the beach and snorkeling in the ocean and...trumpets please....the end of Assignment 1. Hip Hip Hooray. We even had a little party to celebrate the event.
On the way out of the resort and on to our final overnight camp at Sharks Bay, we stopped for lunch to see a most magnificent blue lagoon. It was so inviting. I could of just jumped into the blueness except I was trying to avert tears of disappointment of a level unseen on the Richter scale.
Party for Julie
Ben had been very keen to see some sharks while we were at Sharks Bay but they not been as keen to see him. We had agreed to let him go out on an early morning boat that the resort organised but they cancelled due to windy weather. So, we had tears. Lots of them.
In my job as mediator (for which I get paid bucks!) I rang the local Ocean Park and arranged for Ben to pop in and see their sharks. Free of charge! I know, you don't have to say it. I'm amazing.
First wild sharks spotted below
Needless to say I missed out on jumping into the Blue lagoon but I had put a big smile on my boy and that was worth it.
So, after lunch off we went.
Bush walk
The others stayed behind with the van while I took Ben into the Park and we meet the manager. Ben went off with him and I waited in the foyer. I could see Ben following, listening and asking a million questions and an hour later he returned full of smiles and feeling much better about the world. Yes, you can say it again, I'm amazing.
We hit the trail again to find our camp spot for the night. We were going to do another freebie even though you are only allowed to do 1 per week on the Sharks Bay Peninsula.. We're rebellious like that.
Finally arriving about 4.30 we set up camp and Rasmus began to make dinner. I suddenly remembered that we hadn't rung the council for a permit (for the free camp) so was in the process of doing that when the Ranger pulled up in his car.
Hi.” I said, “I was just going to call you for our permit.”
Ranger pulled up at sunset
I'm sorry.” he answered, “ there aren't any permits left. You'll have to leave.”
Reading infographics by tourch
Huh!!?? But I've got young kids and we are eating dinner and.....”
Sorry, you will have to pack up and leave.”
There was no persuading him and he went on to ask another van to leave too.
Rasmus insisted that we stay and eat dinner first which was good foresight on his behalf as it went on 
to be a long night.
Driving out of the campground we remembered that we hadn't seen Shell Beach yet, that was going to done tomorrow.
Oh well, we will have to see it in the dark!!!
So we did!
Under Orion on shell beach
Shells here are 5 meter deep
Lucky for us it was a full moon so seeing the endless meters of tiny white shells was not as difficult as it might have been on another night. We walked over the shell dunes and down to the water's edge picking up handfuls of the shells and reading the messages written by other visitors. It was actually a pretty cool evening (and by cool I mean coool, not chilly).
We put the kids into their pjs and snuggled them into the car as we were not really sure where we were going next.
By the time we had reached the end of the Peninsula they were asleep and we needed petrol. Pulling up to the bowser we noticed another car who had locked their keys in. And left their lights on!! The petrol station guy was of no help but eventually we got them out and on we went.
Morning after a late night
Trees hang to life in the bush
It was 9pm before we found a suitable place to pull over for the evening. We popped the kids into their beds and then sat back to breathe the night air.
Another adventure complete.

View Sharks Bay in a larger map
Most western sunset on trip