Elephant Cove, Denmark, Western Australia.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Well I took the risk with the chooks and stayed overnight.  We were going up to Macalinden to visit husbands family.

We left here Boxing Day morning but Hubby had been into town to fill up his car so I *knew* petrol stations were opened on this public holiday.  I thought I had plenty so didn't bother.  And I knew if I did need some then I could call into Wokolup for it.  Which is what I did after seeing that I had less than half a tank as the way was mostly uphill.  I pull up at the bowser and put the hose in the tank...wait for it to come on...wait some more...look around and notice the closed sign on the door of the shop.  Oops!  Hubby had called into the pub across the road for some drinks to take up with him...but Oops! that too was closed.  Anyway he was there and said we could milk his car when we got up there. 

We get there, park near the house...didn't set up a camp as such though.  We ended up sleeping on the back of the cruiser but I used the van to make coffee at 5am the next day.  I leave there around 10am and come home.

It wasn't an exiting trip, we went to visit his family, I stayed 1 night, I drove home. 
I can do better.  I will do better!

It was good for me though as I had to come home alone and though we'd driven up the same way and have quite often before, there were a few corners that I wasn't sure off and a windy road to come home on.  It's all about confidence building.

And when I do get home the chooks are OK but their gate had come open so I am minus quite a few seedlings that I had put in the week before.  That was better than the fox attack that I was worried about though..  Will find some wire to keep them in.

Monday, December 26, 2011

I Said No To Three Days Away...

Took the van for a drive yesterday.   The first decent one it's had since I've had it back.  I even checked the water and oil all by myself!!  I'm getting good...
It went great, no trouble at all and I will be taking it away today as well.  It works geat as a carrier, there is no way I would have gotten a 44gallen drum in my little car.
Todays outing is supposed to be an overnighter for me but I'm rethinking that and am thinking I might come home early.    We are taking 2 cars as Hubby is staying up there for a few days and I definitely wont be doing that.  I have chickens due to hatch, animals to feed and water, gardens will need watering. 
And I'm pretty sure we have a fox hanging around again.  I can smell it out the front and there are diggings near the fence.  I will feel better if I can be home to lock the chooks up in their shed.  If I had my animal sitter in town I might be more inclined to stay overnight but she is away for a few days herself.  This time I am looking after her animals as fairs fair in the going away department.

The van will be ready for anything though so we'll see. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stockton Lake, Collie.

Stockton Lake used to be an open cut coalmine but is now a man made lake that people use for swimming and water skiing.   

The water was very *refreshing*  Clean, clear, beautiful...

 We came in on the west side entrance, the road to the campground was a bit rough but nothing to worry too much about.  It was just a bit potholey.
It was mid-afternoon on a Sunday and there were more than a dozen rigs setup around the area on the west-side.

The photos below were taken from the waters edge looking back towards some of the camping area.
There is a longdrop toilet in this area but a lot of the vehicles there seemed to have their own.

Around the other side of the lake there are cliffs but there are also flat areas for camping.  
There are seperate male and female toilets on this side of the lake.

                 Below is looking West from the cliffs, over the water to the camping area on the other side.

To get to Stockton Lake you drive through Collie, heading East.  Less than 10km from Collie and Hubby turned  right onto Piavanini Road.  I didn't see any signs saying Stockton Lake and did mention that but I should have known better.  Of course he knew the way  to go.  He had probably taken a microsecond to glance at the map while I was trying to work out what it meant.   It always surprises me how he knows where we are, where we need to go and how to get there, even when, like yesterday, the  roads on the maps don't have the same names as the road signs.

I like Stockton Lake and I think I would feel quite comfortable camping here.  I will post about that when it happens.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Many moons ago I had planned on camping in the van out at Grimwade Dam but that didn't happen so I had talked Hubby into looking at the place on our way home from Nannup.  
 Grimwade is the site of an old timbermill, no town there now but there is evidence that people once lived there.  I was also told that there was a dam and a pool or pond.

 It was kinda on the way home from Nannup, only had to turn a few corners to get there.  As we were coming from Kirup it was not *my way* but there was a sign pointing the way from Kirup so I didn't think we could get lost.  Hubby looked at the map, had another quick glance as we were driving along, looked at the speedo, slowed down and turned off the road onto some hard to see track.
What the, where are you going? asks I.  We're here, says he.  Oh. OK.
And we were.  I think.
This is where we were anyway.
Grimwade Dam?  Grimwade Pool/pond?

 Are they the same place? No signs on the road before the hard to see track.  No signs on any other tracks leading off the main road.  But this was a lovely spot so we decided to park up and have coffee and lunch.
Very easy with the way the Cruiser is setup to just pull out the tuckerbox and the stove and a chair for me.
It was so peaceful looking out over the water and we could see small marron moving around in the shadows. 
There is a lot of room here, plenty of spaces for car or tents to pull up aroud the water and a great big clear area a short distance away from the water for caravans or bigger groups.
Of course no facilities, it is bush camping at it's best.
 We did drive up a few tracks and had a quick look at where we think the old town used to be.  We have decided to come back and spend some time here exploring. 
I have decided that I am going nowhere by myself.  Hubby drove back onto the main road and I was sure we were lost.  The bituman had changed into gravel and because we came out at a different track I had no idea where we were.  He shows me where we are on the map and I was still scared.  I've decided one of my fears about going anywhere by myself is that I need to know where I am.  Tracks and roads with no signs and maps that are printed upside down without all the new trucking tracks...that scares me.

I wiped away the tears and we stuck to our plan. 
So that I would know how to get there next time, in the van, on my own we came home *my way*  Yeah right.  NO way will I be going that way in the van, on my own.  There are tracks everywhere, hardly any signs, it's gravel, there are big trees all around...sorry, not my thing.  When I go that way again it will be in his car with him or I will go the long way for me via Kirup.

 Eventually we hit real road again and came out at Lowden.  My way we would turn left here and go towards Donnybrook but Hubby went staight ahead towards Wellingtom Mills and Dardanup. 

 And after travelling along some quiet country roads seeing lots of nice country guess where we ended up.  "I KNOW WHERE WE ARE"  Yep, I think I did nearly shout it, it doesn't take much to get me excited.
Yes! We were at Gnomnesville. 

And I didn't have my gnome to leave.  Now I have to go back again...

Called into look at some big trees and come home the *short way*....Miles later we were back on the road to Dardanup and then we turned...We had just done a big loop that added quite a bit to the trip but it was a nice drive so I'm not mentioniing it.

Home and time to start thinking of the next adventure.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Night Down South.

A few weeks ago now we had to take some things down to the daughters place, not far from Nannup in Western Australia's Southwest so of course it was a great opportunity to camp somewhere for the night and give the new setup in the Cruiser another tryout.
Our plan was to drop the stuff off at daughters house, spend a couple of hours there then drive back through Nannup and camp at Barrabup Pool.  Not the pool itself as that's not allowed but there is a camping area very close by.   Hubby has been to the area before and had said how nice it was and as we drove past the turnoff on the way into Nannup and it was getting close to lunchtime we decided to call in for a look and something to eat before checking the camping area out.

The carpark at Barrabup Pool  was full of motor bikes...a trail riding group were there for lunch.  I was so envious, I would love a motorbike again but I know that is not going to happen now and I am happy with my second choice of the van.  The bike riders left soon after we arrived, roaring off down the road and into the bush...
There were a few people at Barrabup Pool swimming but it was a bit too cold for us.  I think I will come here again though as the water looked very inviting.
There is no camping at the pool itself which is a shame as it's a lovely spot.  The camping area is not far from the pool but it didn't really appeal to us.  You can't see the water from any camping spots and most were just small dirt camp sites.  There were toilets there but not much else.  There was a fee of $7 pp pn.  I didn't think it was worth $14 and we were pretty sure we'd be able to find a nicer spot so we left and drove on to the daughters place. 

Driving South on the Vasse Highway we came into a great ball of smoke, CALM had been doing their prescribed burns.  Hubby mentioned that it was a bit close to the daughters and that as a lot of these fires seem to get out of control he was a bit worried.  It was OK though, lots of smoke but the burning in this area was over, black burnt trees everywhere.  So sad to see the bush burnt like that but they say it needs to be done.
A few days later a prescribed burn did get out of control in the Margeret River area and many homes and hundreds of hectares of bush were lost.

Once at the daughters we went for a walk to see if there were any nice spots along the river to park and camp.  We sent the dog on ahead of us to ensure that there were no Boogeymens.

No Boogeymens, just a dreadlocked hippy. 
The river down here is the Blackwood River and if it wasn't  running quite so fast and if it wasn't quite so cold it would have been tempting to have a quick dip.  Maybe another time...

In the end we decided to camp in the paddock near daughters place so it was back up the hill, over fallen logs and through flood debris until we found a clear path out.

Once back to the daughters we spent a few hours helping her in the gardens then off to set up camp as the sun was going down.  We picked a spot on top of the hill, overlooking the paddock where kangaroos and sometimes emus congregate but it was getting dark and we didn't see any.

Setup was just a matter of pulling out the table and a couple of chairs, the stove and esky.  Tea was bacon and eggs and leftover vegies brought from home.

Below is the two burner gas stove we got from one of the Really Really Free Markets.  We had the gas bottle and this works a treat.  Much more sustainable than the little camping stoves that use the disposable cylinders though we still have one of those.
While eating our meal we were hearing these loud crashing noises.  Hubby said that it was trees falling down from the fire and the sounds continued throughout the night.

I'm an early riser so the next day when I woke I automatically got up and starting getting the water hot for coffee.  Hubby was kinda awake so I made him one too.  It wasn't until I looked at the time and mentioned it to him that he was kinda disturbed.  I thought that it was funny that the bloke that is usually still in bed at 8 was having coffee at a time that started with a 4.

It was hot and sunny when we left home the day before and I didn't think to grab a jacket but at 4.45am it was cold.  Hubby was a bit smarter than me and he let me wear his jacket and he also had a spare beanie in the car so I was set to sit and drink hot coffee while looking at the view.  However the view at that time was hidden by thick mist and I saw nothing.  As it warmed up it cleared a bit but the paddock that is usually full of kangaroos was empty.  Maybe the fires from the day before had made them stay away.

Sun rising through the fog and smoke.  Mainly fog, it is hard to see anything there most mornings and this cleared up within a couple of hours.

 A leisurely breakfast, another coffee, a visit from the dog and daughter, into her house to say hello to the cats and get some seeds then it was time to leave.  By 9am we were on our way with a plan to stop off at a place called Grimwade.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mason Bay.

Going back a few weeks now, after the couple of days in Hopetoun, we drove East, maybe 35, or thereabouts, km to Mason Bay camping area. 
Only a halfhour or so from Hopetoun.

MASON BAY is a lovely, sheltered, quiet spot right on the beach. No fresh water but there are toilets. Fires are allowed during the correct season but you need your own wood as it's not allowed to be collected from the area.
Fees apply to MB but no one came to collect while we were there and there was no place to leave them so may be seasonal.
Gets busy, we were there during the week and the were up to 7 others with people coming and going. I think it would be packed during holidays.
We were close to the beach, seperated by a log railing and a few bushes.  There were quite a few areas that had water views.  The camping area is protected from the winds by trees and bushes. 
We had fresh fish, only minutes old, for breakfast both mornings.  Saw a few stingrays just offshore.
I'm no good with directions but if you stand and look at the water then turn right, west?, there is a lovely walk around to a point.  Might be a couple of km but an easy walk on hard sand and over a few rocks.  Back to your camping area and the other way, East?  takes you around a curve and there are these great flat rocks to climb over. 
The water looks safe for swimming but it was too cold for us.
It gets very windy though and the sand can sting any uncovered bits.
No mozzies but plenty of flies so take some netting of some sort.
And of course no photos because the batteries were flat.

We had Hubby's Cruiser and camped from that.  He has built a bed base in the back and we have the swag on top of that. 

We take our own loo and have had 2 water tanks put in under the tray so no worrying about drinking or showering.

Mason Bay...I like it. Possibly nicer than Starvation Bay which is just down the road but SB is bigger with more places to camp, fish, explore and walk.  But further away from the water...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I have had no computer for near on 3 weeks.  I have missed it. 
My computer guy has not long left.  He is good but gosh he can talk.
I have been away and not been able to tell you all about the exciting places I have been.  
It's bedtime now and I'm away all day tomorrow but come the weekend and I will be on here to fill you all in.  I just know that you are all hanging on to the edge of your seats in anticipation.  Or not! 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

East Mt Barren Day 3, Morning.

Because we had left home Thursday night we had managed to get to the worksites earlier than intended and with Hubby having me there to *help* him he managed to get the work finished a bit sooner than first thought.

This gave us the chance to get out to East Mt Barren earlier than planned.  .   Below is a photo taken on my last visit to Hopetoun back in May.  I am overlooking the Culham Inlet, the mountain in the background.
This mountain is in the Fitzgerald River National Park, Western Australia
The park has been closed for awhile due to upgrading of the roads and there are still parts closed so we didn't have to pay the entry fee.  The views from the road, out over the ocean, going up to this hill were fantastic and the closer we got to the mountain the more impressive it looked.  Our plan was to climb it but the closer we got the less confident I felt.
But Hubby is a dear and assured me that I'd be fine and what did it matter anyway if I couldn't, we'd be coming back some other time and I could always try again then.  So we park in the carpark and get out.  I have my trusty backpack on.  In it is all the stuff I wont need...

There is a wooden walkway leading up to the base of the mountain and I go to take a photo...only to find out that some idiot forgot to recharge the batteries.  But I had spares...that didn't work...Idiot!!!!

No non-working camera was going to stop us though so off we went.
The mountain was high, the direction was up, the path was rocky...There are markers leading the way and by the time we were half way my goal was only to reach the next marker and that seemed to make it a bit less daunting.  Afterall, anyone could get to the next marker, it was right there...

We kept stopping so I could rest look at the view and long before I collapsed we had reached the top.  Well, maybe not the top top but it was really really high and the next highest point looked like too much hard work.  We couldn't see any more markers or anything that might be a path...but I don't think we were at the true summit.  I will do some research so next time I know where the top is.
The view though from where we were...absolutely fantastic.  If you are ever in the area, make the effort and climb.  And you don't have to go all the way to see forever...
Coming down was a tad trickier than going up.  Afterall, it was all downhill.  On a windy path with big rocks that needed to be used ass steps.  Nothing for the husband with big strong legs but me with my weak short ones...a different story.  To make the downward trip more dangerous the path was covered in loose stones that slipped away as you trod on them.  I would have gone a header a few times if he wasn't there to stop my quick downward falling..  But before we knew it we were back on the wooden walkway and I was thinking that that wasn't as bad as it looked and we mustn't have reach the top as we were only gone a couple of hours...

It really wasn't a bad climb.  We were stopping often to have a look at the view and there were lots of lizards around.  The wildflowers were abundant and some were so beautiful.

I can now say, in a casual nonchalant voice, "East Mount Barren?  Been there done that"  The fact that I have no photos to prove it. pffft, I have the feeling of greatness and that my friend, is better.  And I will get the photos next time.

OK, I did some web searching and *stole* this photo.  I hope I don't get in trouble for putting it here.  My photo would have looked just the same if I had of been able to take one.  It doesn't look that big does it.
To get how massive it is you really "had to be there"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hopetoun, Mason Bay Trip. Day 2.

Saturday, Day 2 of Hubby's work-trip and I stayed in Hopetoun while he went off and did more of yesterday.

There was a market in town that morning so that was on my agenda and I had planned on riding out to Five Mile Beach as well as a few more things.

I was up by 6 so went for a walk into town and down to the beach.  Around a few of the streets then back to the house for a coffee with Hubby.
We had seen a sign for a garage sale so went looking for that before he went to work but as we were too early I got him to drop me off at a lookout sign I had seen as we passed..  He went off to work, I went off exploring.  There were paths leading away from the lookout platform so I wandered down one, along a road, down another path.  I was looking at the view and some of the flash new houses but eventually I was ready to go back to the house and...Which way is back?!  Didn't know.  I kinda knew the direction I had to go and after a few dead end steets I found the path to the lookout so I backtracked to that and got my bearings from there.
The photo below was taken from the lookout.  That mountain in the background is East Mt Barren, on my list for when Hubby wasn't working.

 Once I was at this lookout I knew the way back to the house so went back and had breakfast.
Come 9.15 and I walked into town again.  The CWA was have Devonshire teas and I was planning on having one.  I get there and the markets are setting up close by and the CWA also had stalls but I changed my mind about the coffee and scone.  Wandered around the markets, didn't buy the fairy floss I wanted...I see a trend here.  I haven't had DT or FF for years and was looking forward to both but my *don't spend* mentality keeps stopping me.  I regret not buying the FF, maybe next time.  I did buy a small salt and pepper set though, both grinders so they will be added to my van and a hand beater, the oldfashioned kind with a wooden handle.  The daughter borrows mine quite often so now she has her own.  $2 each and there was a nice yellow fitted sheet for $1 so I bought that as *someone* hadn't put a sheet on the swag and I like sleeping on sheets!  All up I spent $6, all on stuff that was better for me than DT and FF.

After the markets it was another walk to the beach, just because I was there, the beach was close...
The beaches here are lovely, clean clear water and though there is weed along the beach the bare sand is clean and firm to walk on.

 Back to the house to get the bike and ride out to Five Mile Beach.

Started out riding but something had happened to the handlebars, they were loose and kept slipping so after a couple of wobbly km's I thought I'd better not risk it and pushed it back home.  Had lunch and a read of a book instead.  Another walk into town to see if there was anything new at the markets then back home to find Hubby had finished already and was there too.

My first day in Hopetoun seemed to be full of walking.  The house we were staying in is only about 1/2km from town, not far at all but after the 5th or 6th time it did became a bit old.

We fixed the bike handlebars that afternoon, I couldn't do it earlier as I didn't have the right tools and I say "we" but really, Hubby did it for me.

Then fishing out at Culham Inlet. 
Back into town to the fish and chip shop for tea!

I had a great day but am looking forward to tomorrow when we attempt to climb East Mt Barren.  That is that mountain that can be seen in the background of the photo above.  Should be *fun*

BEEn Away.

*nucleus.  Small hive with a new queen bee to requeen some of the weaker hives.  These Apiarists breed their own queens. 

Hubby had to go down to the Hopetoun area to put some nucs (*nucleus) on so I sweet talked him into taking me along for the ride.   The plan was for him to do a few days work then we would have a day or 2 to ourselves for camping.

This work site is a good 7 hour drive from our home so we left the night before, hoping to get an early start and therefore getting more time for ourselves.

After getting to where the nucs were he needed to unload the water tank from the trailer.  Check that there is no water in it, unbolt it...then pull....
 Keep pulling....
 Gently does it....
  And it's off...

Now drive a long way away to where the nucs are and load the trailer with them.

  Get the smoker going as the nucs need to be smoked to calm the bees before they are lifted onto the trailer.

Then drive all around the bush to the different sites and unload 2 or 3, drive some more, unload some more, and so on until they have all been dropped off at the right site.  Some of the sites are only a few kilometres apart but because of the rough roads and the need to go so slow it can take nearly an hour or so to get to the next one.

The bees in the nucs need to settle down for awhile before they can be added to the main hive that needs them.   Usually this is done the next day but we had 2 sites a looong way out that would have added an extra half days work so we decided to wait and do them while we were there.  Because we had his car set up as  our camping vehicle it was just a matter of pulling out the small stove and the smoko box and we settled down to wait an hour or so.

They had marked the hives that needed requeening so it was just a matter of finding the old queen and getting rid of her and then putting the new one in.  OK, not as simple as that as sometimes it's hard to find the queen and they have to put in newspaper before adding the new frame...He did explain it all to me but I was too busy squealing and jumping around trying to get away from the bees that were flying everywhere so didn't really take it all in.   I then go off for a long walk while he gets to work without the SookyLaLa making a racket and upsetting the bees.

I wasn't completly useless though.  It was my job to check the water tanks.  If they were less then half full we/he would have had to put the water tank back on the trailer go into town then come back out and fill the troughs up. That would have been another days work so luckily we didn't need to do that.

Check out the little frog.  Birds and bugs and other things also use these water tanks.  The floating stuff and sticks are so the drinkers can land and be able to get out without drowning.  Apparently bees drink a lot of water and it was only because it had been raining in this area that these didn't need refilling.
This was all a good days work, after which we drove into Hopetoun where we were to stay the next few nights.  The next day he went out to put the remaing nucs on while I stayed in town and did some exploring.

Going with him when he does the bee work is always interesting.  There is so much involved in keeping the hives healthy and getting the honey.  It is very hard work and me being able to see how some of it is done makes me extra thankful for the yummy honey I get to have on toast for breaky.