Day 134 of retirement

October 29, 2017

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Hi All

Sunday 22nd October:

Checked out of the Big4 mansion and made our way across town to The Lookout Cave Underground Motel. A couple of stops along the way looking at local attractions including Crocodile Harry’s grave site on Boot Hill.

Now this is an underground motel so once you walk in the door the temperature is a constant 24C ish. No aircon or heating required all year round. Very energy efficient.

When we went into the bedroom and closed the door it was pitch black. Going to be interesting sleeping in the dark tonight.

Did a last drive round the township. We were lucky enough to find Crocodile Harry’s garve site on Boot Hill

Monday 23rd October:

Survived our night in the “Cave”. Guy slept fine, me not so much. Kept waking up in the dark. When the alarm went off it felt like midnight.
~ It is VERY dark (Can’t see your hand in front of you face).
~ It is VERY quiet (No outside sounds at all).
~ The temp is VERY consistent (24C) no matter what.
I could get used to it….

Left Coober Pedy for Port Augusta (540km & 6 hour drive). Staying the night then down to Adelaide / Port Willunga tomorrow to see my family.

Will be there for a bit of a travel break before off to the Philippines and Hong Kong for a holiday. Back in late November (24th) to resume our road trip.

Tuesday 24th October:

Left Port Augusta for Port Willunga (360km) under threatening stormy skies. The rain held off till we hit Adelaide then we got a sprinkle.

Quick stopover in Adelaide to see Sandy & Brian (Sister and brolaw). We are staying at their beach house for the next few weeks. Also a visit to the Adelaide Central Market for some essential supplies.

Made it to Port WIllunga and settled in.

We are feeling the cold after all the heat from central Australia. Had to break out the jumpers and socks.

Wednesday 25th October:

Very nice sleep-in this morning with no wake up alarms to vacate the premises by 10:00am or getting up early to go on a tour.

After a slow breakfast it was time to pamper the Mighty Mazda. She was pretty dirty inside and out so after a wash and wipe down along with a thorough vacuum she is like new again.

A trip to Noarlunga for a bit of a drive and some supplies along with a siesta filled the afternoon.

Thursday 26th October:

Another nice sleep in. Once we had risen we went for a drive to Victor Harbor (65km away) for lunch. Victor Harbor is down south and is a beautiful seaside town.

They have a large island (Granite Island) in the bay, which is accessed by a long jetty. As it is a bit of a walk they operate a horse drawn carriage to and fro. We didn’t do the trip but will bring the kids back here next week and do the carriage trip.

Friday 27th October:

Off to the supermarket for some supplies this morning. My sister Sandy and brolaw Brian arrived early afternoon for the weekend. A very lazy afternoon was had by all.

Saturday 28th October:

Spent the day with family eating too much, talking too much and not drinking enough.

Sunday 29th October:

Had a gathering of the Kloeden clan today. All present except Adric (Son) who is in Sydney on holidays and Lyn (Sister) who is in WA where she lives.

A great day was had by all with too much food, drink and talking.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 127 of retirement

October 22, 2017

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Hi All

Monday 16th October:

This morning we got up at 4:00am (yes 4:00am) to go and see the “Field of Lights”. Now this is a display made up of 50,000 coloured lights (Solar charged and connected by optical fibre cable) that are placed in a depression out in the desert amongst the natural vegetation. It took 5 weeks and 14 people (Volunteers and technical people) to construct.

In the dark of night you are able to walk amongst the lights (on a set path) and take in all the patterns and colours. Then you finish back on the top of a sand dune over looking the lights and the sun rising over Uluru.

As the sun rises Uluru and the Olgas light up and the field of lights dim. Awesome man made and natural light display all merging into one outstanding display.

Back to the resort and back in bed by 8:00am. We slept till midday so wasn’t too bad. At 2:00pm we were picked up for another tour to the Curtin Springs cattle station (85km out of Yulara) to see Mount Conner and the salt flats.

Lachie, our guide was awesome. He filled us in on life on a 4,000 square km cattle station including the flora and creatures large and small. We finished off the day at Curtin Springs homestead for a three-course steak dinner. The food was excellent. Back to the resort at 10:00pm. A big day was had by all.

Tuesday 17th October:

Left Yuluru for Curtin Springs with a side trip to the Olgas and a final drive round Uluru (220km).

The Olgas are so different from Uluru yet so close to them. We did a short walk up to one of the lookouts and stopped a few time on the way out to get some pics. Very unique place.

We did a lap of Uluru and said our goodbyes to the rock. Back into Yulara and the “Shopping Mall” for a very nice pizza lunch. Caught up on WiFi as we are going to be off air for a few days once again.

Mid afternoon we made our way to Curtin Springs (85km) for an overnight stay. It has a very nice feel about it. It is the homestead for the station so serves a duel purpose.

We settled in under the “pergola” for a drink or two and enjoyed another awesome steak meal. No TV here and the WiFi is very spasmodic but still an enjoyable evening.

When I was at the bar ordering a drink I got talking to Peter the owner of the station. He has been here (On the station) for 62 years. Over some stories of the early years we got onto where I was from. As I told him I was from the Eyre Peninsula in SA he asked where. I said near Port Lincoln from a country town called Cummins. He then told me he has been to Cummins with the Masonic Lodge many years ago. Small world.

Wednesday 18th October:

Had a leisurely drive from Curtin Springs (After a stockman’s breakfast which we shared) to Kulgera (320km). Kulgera is pretty much a roadhouse with a dozen cabins. Cabin was fine just the poor old aircon had trouble keeping up in the heat of the day.

Turned out we were the only occupied cabin for the night. Felt a bit “Wolf Creek” ish.

Just an overnight stop on our way to Coober Pedy tomorrow.

Thursday 19th October:

Left Kulgera and made our way to Coober Pedy (410km and 4 hours later). Have to remember that SA is on daylight saving time so clocks to be turned ahead by an hour.

Booked our first tour for tomorrow at 1:00pm till 6:00pm. Works for us as we get to sleep in then do the tour. Initially we are only booked in for two nights (Big4 Park) but will definitely extend. The “apartment” we are in is five star. Even has a dishwasher, washing machine, aircon that works and “FAST” WiFi. We may never leave.

Friday 20th October:

Went exploring today. First stop was Crocodile Harry’s.

Crocodile Harry was originally from Latvia. He spent 13 years up north of Australia hunting crocs and then arrived in Coober Pedy to try his luck at Opal mining. It is said he was the original Crocodile Dundee.

His underground cave is adorned with his own unique artworks. He was also known for the “wild” backpacker parties he used to throw. Harry loved women and Opal.

Sadly he passed away several years ago.

Explored the rest of the town with our final stop at the Kangaroo sanctuary. Here they rehabilitate roo’s that have been injured or lost their mum’s. They fed a very cute very young Joey (5 months old) while we were there. The rehabilitated roo’s are sent to sanctuaries when ready, as they are not allowed to set them free back into the wild.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 121 of retirement

October 15, 2017

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Hi All

Monday 9th October:

Off on a day tour of the West MacDonnell ranges today. We visited Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ochre Pits, Ormiston Gorge, Glen Helen Gorge and Ellery Creek Bighole. Just so much to see and it is all so awesome.

Lots of pics taken and really difficult to select only a few.

Tuesday 10th October:

After a bit of a sleep in we were on the road to the East MacDonnell ranges in the mighty Mazda. We drove out to the Ross River homestead (80km) for lunch, which is also the end of the sealed road.

As we drove back to Alice we stopped in various spots to view the local landmarks. We viewed awesome scenery along the way.

Final finish to the day was watching Jericho win Australian Survivor. Awesome effort and a deserving winner.

Wednesday 11th October:

Rest day today. After quite a considerable dump of rain last night and a cloudy day it was quite pleasant for most of the day.

After a late breakfast it was into Alice to top up our supplies for Kings Canyon and Yulara.

Gave the mighty Mazda a good check over as well. She is doing an awesome job of transporting us round the countryside.

An afternoon siesta finished off the day nicely.

Thursday 12th October:

Left Alice Springs for Kings Canyon (470km and 5 hour drive). An uneventful drive and made good time. Arrived at 1:00pm and our room was ready so unpacked after a quick burger at the local resort pub.

Bit of a siesta then a walk round the resort to the sunset viewing platform. Sadly the clouds moved in so no sunset. We had an early night as we have an early start to a big day tomorrow.

Friday 13th October:

Guy and I enjoyed a full on breakfast (Been many many months since we had a full on breakfast) at the resort this morning. We discovered that our 3-night stay entitled us to free breakfast. Beats a banana for breakfast. So we indulged ourselves and will do for the next two mornings.

After breakfast it was off to Kings Canyon some 10km away. We arrived at 8:30am ready to do the rim walk (6km circular circuit) in the cool of the day. The first stage is up the stone stairs (Felt like 10,000 steps) to the canyon rim top as you start at the bottom. 25 minutes later we were on the top rim.

From there we made our way round the rim. There were some easy parts and some hard parts but it was an awesome hike. The views, rock colours and formations are just breathtaking. 3 hours later we arrived back at the car tired but elated.

Back to the resort for a nice cool drink, shower and an afternoon siesta as we have a gourmet experience under a desert moon tonight (Degustation dinner).

The seven-course degustation dinner under the stars round the fire pit was awesome. We had the best food cooked by the executive chef from the resort explaining each dish as it was being served.

Some of the exquisite food we had was Kangaroo, Emu and Barramundi along with other delectable delights. And with a clear night you just needed to look up to see all the stars. A great night was had by all.

Saturday 14th October:

Quiet morning as we hit the “free” breakfast bar once again and charged ourselves up for the day.

Midmorning we headed back to Kings Canyon to do “the old peoples walk” which is a flat walk up the creek on the canyon floor (1.5km return). After the big walk round the rim yesterday Guy’s left knee was a little sore so we decided to take it easy today. After a very leisurely stroll and trying the free satellite WiFi at the parking lot (It was crap so nothing loaded) it was back to the resort for our afternoon siesta and a relaxing evening.

Sunday 15th October:

Left Kings Canyon for Yulara (300km) after the last of our “free” breakfasts.

Had a good run and arrived at midday. As we couldn’t check in till 3:00pm we set off driving round Uluru stopping at a number of places of interest and doing a couple of short walks. All we can say is wwwooowwwww, that’s a big rock! What an awesome place.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy.


Day 114 of retirement

October 8, 2017

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Hi All

Saturday 30th September:

Left Darwin for Litchfield NP via Fogg Dam (200km). Now Fogg Dam is an interesting story of agriculture gone wrong.

Now somebody thought that growing rice would be good in the top end. So they dammed off a section of wetlands for their water supply. All good so far. Then they planted rice downstream from the dam, which grew very well. All good so far.

Then all the water birds (Especially the Magpie Geese) discovered this beautiful wetland with permanent water with huge amounts of feed (The rice) adjacent to the dam so moved right in. Not so good. It is estimated that bird life ate 25% of the rice grown.

It was then also discovered that we could import rice for a quarter of the cost it was costing to grow here. So to cut a long story short, the whole project failed.

The upside is that there is a huge beautiful wetland reserve for all the bird and croc life to live in happily ever after.

Made it to the Litchfield Tourist Park by 1:00pm and had snacks for lunch. Going to have a large dinner. Rested up in the afternoon with a cup of tea and a siesta. As the last few weeks have been pretty hectic we are going to chill out at Litchfield. We shall seek out a couple of waterfall / swimming holes and just relax for the next two days.

Sunday 1st October:

After a bit of a sleep in we made our way to Florence Falls (60km round trip). Lovely waterfall with rockpool to swim in. Being a weekend and school holidays, it was packed. So after a swim to cool off we made our way back to the Buley Rockholes (5km down the road). Still plenty of “tourists” but we were able to find a small rock pool all to ourselves. Has a small waterfall feeding it, so we had our very own jacuzzi.

Early afternoon and before the hottest part of the day we made our way back for lunch and a siesta.

Monday 2nd October:

A leisurely start to the day as we made our way to Wangi Falls to hike the 1.8km circuit round the falls. The walk takes you up one side of the escarpment to the creek that feeds the falls then back down the other side back to the falls.

We were very hot and sweaty by the time we got back so back to Buley Rock Holes and our favourite pool. After a very nice cool off we had a picnic lunch then back to the pool for some more cooling off. Total trip distance 110km.

Early afternoon and back to the cabin for an ice cream then a very nice siesta.

Tuesday 3rd September:

Left Litchfield NP for Mataranka Hot Springs (400km). Had a stop over in Katherine for some lunch and a quick catch up with WiFi. No WiFi at Litchfield and none at Mataranka so off air for a few days.

Arrived at Mataranka at 2:00pm ish and made our way to the cabin. Now there were a couple of things that bothered us. The aircon was working but just couldn’t keep up in the mid 30C heat. And the TV wouldn’t work. After a few hours wait the boss turned up to try and fix the TV but to no avail.

By this stage we were pretty hot and bothered. The boss was good enough to move us to the cabin next door with a working TV and better aircon unit. Once we relocated it was time to hit the hot pool. And what a relief it was in the 32C water temp.

A nice picnic dinner at dusk on the cabin balcony watching all the flying foxes head out to feed for the night, finished off the day on a positive note.

Wednesday 4th September:

After a bit of a sleep in we went for a drive to the Bitter Springs hot pools just up the road. Not as nice as the Mataranka hot pools. They are a little slimy on the bottom and in the flowing water. Didn’t bother to go for a swim so headed back to Mataranka.

Had lunch at the bar while watching “We of the never never” which was filmed in the local area. The homestead for the movie was built at the back of the car park and still stands today.

After a cup of tea and a lay down we headed back to the hot pools for the afternoon.

Thursday 5th October:

Long drive today as we left Mataranka for Wauchope (Devil’s Marbles) where we covered 670km in 7.5 hours (Had a few rest stops). A very basic cabin. At least the aircon works but no TV here, sadly.

We are staying two nights so that tomorrow we can visit the Devil’s Marbles just out of town. Might have to hit the pool in the afternoon.

Bizarre thing happened outside our cabin. I struck up conversation with a guy and his wife who were also booked into a cabin next door. It turned out he was originally from Port Lincoln which in 70km from where I was born and grew up (Cummins in SA). We both left the area many years ago but mutually knew people from Cummins. Small world.

Friday 6th October:

Bit of a sleep in then off to the Devil’s Marbles just down the road (6km). Awesome place with these huge granite marbles balanced in precarious places. And the red earthy colours in the shade and sunlight are just spectacular.

Then off to Wycliffe Well 20km in the opposite direct. Now Wycliffe Well is the “Roswell” of Australia. The roadhouse is full of “sightings” of UFOs by locals and visitors alike. Sadly we didn’t see anything while visiting. Weird place.

Back to our cabin for a light lunch and afternoon siesta before heading back to The Devil’s Marbles for the sunset. Sunset wasn’t the best due to clouds but when the lowering evening sun hit the marbles it was a brilliant light show.

Saturday 7th October:

Left Wauchope for Alice Springs (400km and 4 hours later). On the way, struck rain of all things for about 50km. It was actually quite heavy at times. The colours the desert produces under the stormy lighting was amazing. All very vivid.

The mighty Mazda got a bit of a wash and I see a few of the bugs were washed off the front bumper.

Arrived in Alice Springs and straight to the Info centre to book some accommodation at Uluru and Kings Canyon. Also looking at some local tours as well. Got quite frustrating at times as trying to coordinate everything was a real challenge.

It has rained on and off for the last week and a lot of the 4×4 tours have been cancelled due to the conditions. Anyway we managed to get a bit of an itinerary together for the next 10 days.

Sunday 8th October:

Little sleep in and then off to the camp kitchen for free pancakes. Each Sunday the management put on free pancakes for the holiday park guests. We got there right on 8:30am (Runs 8:30 – 9:30am) and the line was building. Over 1 hour they typically serve 600 ish pancakes. The record is 920 pancakes made in one sitting in the busy season.

They also had a very nice huge “pot” of tea made with real tealeaves.

The record for most pancakes in one sitting was 13 for male and 10 for female. We had one each and that filled us up.

Then off for a drive round the town (visited Anzac Hill) and stopped for some groceries. Back to the cabin for our afternoon siesta.

Settled in for the evening and Australia Survivor.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy