Thursday 10th April 2008, Esperance. (Cape Le Grand NP.)
We went for a drive today to Cape Le Grand National Park, but picked the wrong day to do it. The weather was a bit iffy when we set out and when we arrived it was raining, a pity as the scenery was rather spectacular and shots were spoiled by rain on the lens. I have posted a few shots on Flickr though. The area was made up of several coves with pure white sand beaches, surrounded by large rocky outcrops that would have made some very good pics, for a good photographer anyway, but I did get some that will at least remind us what it was like. We are becoming impressed with camping areas in National Parks in WA, especially if they are all of the same standard as this Park. They were well laid out, had water and showers, bar-b-cues in camp kitchens, very good amenities and will allow generators under strict running time regulations. This all makes it rather inviting to stay in National Parks, even though our immediate plans probably won’t allow us to for a while. We have purchased a Parks pass for all parks in WA, but this only covers the car and camping Is extra but still reasonable.
Wednesday 9th April 2008, Esperance. (Bad couple of days)
We have had a re-think about what we are going to do in the immediate future: We have booked in here until Monday, then travel to Hopetoun, then on to Albany for a week or so. From there we are looking at going all around the coast with the idea that we should be looking at some of the area on our way to Perth just in case that for some unknown reason we may have to change our plans and head back east early without being able to return to the south west corner. This trip will then be a recognisance trip for when we do return.
Bad days: Adrian had to have repairs to his car yesterday, replacement of manifold gasket, and that set him back an expense they could well do without. We had ‘Tilly’ booked in for a service today and I had obviously not read the owners manual thoroughly enough and was set aback with the $380.00 bill. It turns out the fuel filter had to be replaced at a parts cost of $100.00 would you believe. The mechanic also had a few other charges that increased the bill somewhat, so it again emphasises that one just has to take chances with who he gets to do the services, and the other problem is that they have to be book services to keep the warranty. More to this: After washing the car this afternoon Linda wanted to go into town to buy an onion for tea, I couldn’t convince her to pay a little extra at the caravan park, so on the way in it seems that I got caught on a speed camera. I don’t know if I was in a 50 or 60 limit, and doing about 63 it turns out to be a very expensive Bloody onion.
Monday 7th April 2008, Esperance.
Apart from my walking around town yesterday taking photos, we did our first touristy thing today with a drive around what they call the Great Ocean Drive. This is a 50K drive to the eastern area of town along some of the coastline. It gave good views of the ‘Archipelago of The Recherche’ which is a group of many islands to the south of the coastline. I would normally like to put a decent pic here but photos just don’t do justice to the view we actually had, it was a little misty as well, so no photos today. I have put a few on Flickr though that may give some idea.
We will be staying here for a second week as we are now waiting for mail from Tassie, so this will also give us some time now for relaxation. Les and Jan left town this morning on their way to Perth and they were glad that we arrived here to catch up with them before they did head off.
Saturday 5th April 2008, Esperance.
We finally met up with Jan and Les the day we arrived, this is the couple we were travelling with and left us when we stopped at Adelaide, and it turns out they aren’t in the park we came to. We went to the park they are in today for a visit as they are leaving here on Monday.
Jan and Les told us about a tour conducted around the Port area that is just across the road from their park, so we decided to do it. The tour is conducted by the local Apex club and only cost $4.00 per head. The port here works with exporting iron ore from Kalgoorlie area, grains of various types, Nickel and the import of Sulphur, so the explanation of the workings was quite interesting. The local power station is also on the port area and they showed where the future desalination plant is going to be constructed.
On the way home we just had to stop at the local jetty to have a look at the local resident sea lion. Yes a sea lion has made his home under the jetty and has been there for quite some years. When the local fishermen clean their fish on the cleaning table he comes to the surface for a feed.
We haven’t done any other sight-seeing yet as the weather has not been the best, but there is plenty of time.
Thursday 3rd April 2008, Esperance.
Back in civilization again, being in a city of reasonable size. We travelled 200K south of Norseman to here today. Esperance is on the south coast of WA and even though we have only been here for ½ a day we have the opinion that there is plenty yo do and see in the district so I wouldn‘t be at all surprised if we stay here for a second week. Linda has already enjoyed her shopping visit, retail therapy, and I noticed a Bunning store on the way in so I will be checking it out. We have heard that Esperance area also has some fantastic coastal scenery to offer and from what we have already seen this looks like being correct, I guess you will hear more later.
Wednesday 2nd April 2008, Norseman.
Our first introduction to WA has turned out to be an eye-opener in Norseman. We have heard quite a few stories along the lines that there is nothing at Norseman, but we had a look around today and found things to be different. Norseman is a gold mining area with several still active mines in the area. We went up to a lookout and couldn’t believe what we saw: A view over the countryside where the mines are revealed several, and there are many dry salt lakes in the area also. The main part of the township is off to one side of the main road so I am sure that the people that made the previous comments must have just passed through the town without stopping to have a look. This is one of the main reasons we like to stop at all towns we visit for a period so we can see what is on offer. One mine is in the centre of town, basically, and they have built a gigantic slag heap with an unusual look. It actually resembles a rock wall that has been sculptured, but is enormous, 40 million ton of tailings. I have posted a couple of pics on Flickr.
Tuesday 1st April 2008, Norseman.
We are finally back in civilisation being in Norseman, the first township encountered after crossing the Nullarbor. See map. We didn’t take as long as anticipated to cross the Nullarbor and just as well as the weather has now turned nasty and we would not have enjoyed camping out in the wet and mud. It was an interesting trip, made much better by having company to talk with via radio during the trip, with roads as straight as I have ever seen for the distance they are. One section after Caiguna, 146.6 K, is the longest straight length of road in Australia. This was quite an effort to traverse, being made a little easier by camping out at a rest area half way along it, but not long after we completed it the straight roads started again and continued like that for almost the duration of the trip. Again check Flickr for some photos. The main reason for not taking long to cross the Nullarbor was mainly the same as happens in other cases: We get that close to making the trip that we can’t wait to get there.
The scenery across the Nullarbor was something again different to what we have so far seen. From SA all the way through to far into WA the entire Bite is comprised of a cliff face. The SA section of the Bite this cliff is on the waters edge, but when entering WA at Eucla the cliff is a distance away from the waters edge with very flat land between the cliffs and the water. A long section of the road traversed this land below the cliffs, and then at Madura we went through another pass to the top of the cliffs again. The road then goes inland, along that long straight section, away from the cliffs.
We were very fortunate with wind and weather during our tip with the wind being behind us for the duration and the weather being very fine and not too hot for the duration.
We plan on being in Norseman for three days but this could be extended. K and A are waiting for mail, and now that we are not in any great rush to get anywhere we will not be moving if it is raining.
We can now just relax and make our travel plans at our leisure and travel at whatever rate we see fit at any given time, this way we will enjoy it all the more. After-all we do plan on being over here for twelve months or more.