Day 472 of retirement

September 30, 2018

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Hi All

Monday 24thSeptember 2018:

Left Port Augusta for Ceduna (470km & 4.5 hours).

Nice clear run to Ceduna. On arrival, caught up with cousins Kevin and Sue. My dad grew up in the Ceduna area so Kevin and Sue are taking us round the area tomorrow to all the old places of significance re: the Kloeden’s. Looking forward to it.

Tuesday 25thSeptember 2018:
Huge thanks to Kevin (cousin) and Sue (wife) for showing us round the Ceduna district today where my Dad and Kevin’s Mum (dad’s sister) grew up. We visited places my Dad used to talk about and places I haven’t been back to in 50 years. Awesome day.

Wednesday 26thSeptember 2018:

Left Ceduna for the Nullarbor Roadhouse to stay 2 nights (370km with a few detours).

First detour was to Fowlers Bay to see the whales but none there today. Next stop was the Head of Bight lookout. It was very rough and windy when we arrived as a cold front had come through.

We did mange to see a couple of whales but they were a long way off. The rough seas didn’t help either trying to see them.

Hopefully the front will blow through tonight and be okay for whale watching tomorrow.

Thursday 27thSeptember 2018:

Back to the Head of Bight lookout to see some whales (30km round trip).

The weather was cool and slightly windy (perfect to keep the flies away) and there were LOTS of whales (mothers and babies). This place is the best place for the whales to nurse their newborn and the mums to rest before the long trip back to the Arctic. Awesome day out.

Friday 28thSeptember 2018:
Left Nullarbor for Ceduna today (320km) with a quick last visit to the Head of Bight to see the whales. Very windy and rough so only a few whales today. Awesome day yesterday spoilt us.

Back in Ceduna and more oysters for lunch.

Saturday 29thSeptember 2018:

Wandered round the Ceduna Oyster Fest today. Watched the parade then have a dozen oysters or two cooked various ways.

So so so yummy.

Also caught up with an old school friend Bonnie from my Concordia College days. Haven’t seen her in some 50 years. Was great to catch up and hear what some of the other classmates are up to along with her.

We had a knock at our cabin door this morning and it was a friend (my old hairdresser) from Cummins, Anne S. Via our posts on facebook she discovered that her and her hubby were in the same caravan park just a few vans up from our cabin.

I haven’t seen Anne in 20 odd years so great to catch up with her.

Sunday 30thSeptember 2018:

First stop this morning was to see my Aunty Una who is in the Ceduna hospital. See isn’t very well and sadly didn’t really know I was there. It still great to see her and say hi.

Back to the Oyster Fest for more oysters. Watched a cooking demo by Callum (from Masterchef) and another guy. And we were luckily enough to taste the dishes. Awesome food.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 465 of retirement

September 23, 2018

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Hi All

Monday 17thSeptember 2018:

Our last day at the magical Uluru. After a sleep-in we had a nice brunch then off to Uluru for a drive round.

The rock climb has been closed the last few days due to wind but was open today. It was packed with all the “ants” climbing the rock.

A lazy afternoon with a siesta before dinner.

Tuesday 18thSeptember 2018:

Sadly we left Uluru for Erldunda today (290km and 3.5 hours). Before we left for Erldunda we did a lap round the rock one last time.

Uluru is one of our all time favourite places we have visited. Just a magical place.

The Erldunda Roadhouse Motel is quite roomy so settled in for the afternoon and a siesta. We have a big day tomorrow with a 500km drive to Coober Pedy and our underground motel.

Wednesday 19thSeptember 2018:

Left Urldunda for Coober Pedy (480km & 5.5 hours). Had a nice smooth run. Just set cruise control and kicked back and enjoyed the ride in the Klever Kluger.

Arrived at The Lookout Cave Underground Motel. Got a room right up the back deep inside the hill. It’s very dark with all the lights out. But on the plus side the temperature is a constant 24-26C regardless of the outside temperature.

Thursday 20thSeptember 2018:

Today we visited Crocodile Harry’s old underground digs in Coober Pedy. (He died many years ago). Harry was the original Crocodile Dundee and he was known for the parties he used to throw at his dugout.

It is now a museum and a very interesting one at that.

Friday 21stSeptember 2018:

Left Coober Pedy for Woomera (380km & 4 hours). Nice smooth trip to the deserted township of Woomera.

Saturday 22ndSeptember 2018:

Left Woomera for Port Augusta (180km & 2 hours).

Before leaving Woomera we explored the old RAAF Base town, which is an old missile/rocket testing range. Its heyday was 1949–71.

Fascinating place Woomera. Very nicely kept town but hardly anybody lives there. You get the feeling of a deserted town, as there isn’t anybody about.

Definitely worth a visit if you’re passing by. Both museums are very well presented with the history of the place.

Sunday 23rdSeptember 2018:

All my life I have driven past Port Germein and Port Pirie and never been through them. So today we took the plunge and explored them.

Port Germein is a little seaside village with one of the longest wooden jetties in Australia (1,680m long).

They had a Sunday market at the jetty and we picked up some very nice home produce. For lunch we had a good old-fashioned Sunday lamb roast complete with roast vegies and real homemade gravy. This was followed by a truffle (custard, cake and fruit). All for $15 per person. Awesome lunch.

Next was Port Pirie. We did a drive round, as it was pretty quiet for a Sunday. Port Pirie is known for its lead smelting plant and grain silos.  After a leisurely look round it was back to Port Augusta for afternoon tea with our produce and a siesta.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy.

Day 458 of retirement

September 16, 2018

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Hi All

Monday 10thSeptember 2018:

Quick stop at the mechanics as the mighty Mazda has a bit of a rough engine cough. Central Motors in Katherine fitted me in and has us back on the road by midday. Awesome service.

Left Katherine for Daly Waters Roadhouse (280km & 3 hours).

After checking into our cabin we made our way back to the old Daly Waters Pub. A year ago we signed and left an old pair of thongs there and they were still there. Awesome.

Tuesday 11thSeptember 2018:

Left Daly Waters for Devils Marbles Hotel (540km & 6 hours). Not much at Devils Marbles including mobile or WiFi coverage.

Cabin was clean, air-conditioned and had TV.

Wednesday 12thSeptember 2018:

Left Devils Marbles for Alice Springs (380km & 4.5 hours).

The last hurray for the Mighty Mazda.

RIP the Mighty Mazda.

The mighty Mazda has finally passed on in Alice Springs. She has been a bit sick the last while and has finally succumbed to her ailments, a worn out engine.

She has served us very well (for the 5.5 years we had her) over her 266,000km/15 years life. 56,000km of that was on our round AUS adventure. She saw extreme heat and cold, smooth and very rough rocky dirt roads and taken us into and back out of some very remote areas all in her stride.

Thanks Mighty Mazda. It has been an epic adventure with you and it is with very heavy hearts that we leave you.

Where to from here as we still need a vehicle for 2 months till we leave for the Philippines in November? We have checked out used cars and hiring a car. Used cars are very expensive in the NT. We found Hertz would give us a long term hire (2 months) and waive the relocation fee as we are picking the car up in Alice Springs and dropping it off at Sydney Airport.

So we continue our travels in a “Klever Kluger (The KK))”. Lots of room and very comfortable.

Once we had the KK the Mighty Mazda was de-number plated and dropped off at the wreckers in Alice Springs. We then had to go to the MVR (Motor Vehicle Registry) to hand in the number plates for a receipt so when we get back to NSW we will get our refund.

We will miss the mighty Mazda!

Thursday 13thSeptember 2018:

Left Alice Springs for Uluru (450km & 4.5 hours). Had a great smooth drive in the new Klever Kluger. Feels like a limo compared to the Mazda.

Great to see Uluru and Kata Tjuta appear on the horizon as we approached.

Checked in, had a light lunch and time for a siesta.

Went for a walk and enjoyed a yummy dinner. Out to the rock tomorrow.

First world luxury.
I drove 56,000km in the Mighty Mazda without cruise control.
Just drove 450km in the Klever Kluger with cruise control. Bliss….

Friday 14thSeptember 2018:

Went exploring round Uluru & Kata Tjuta today by car as we are walking round the rock tomorrow.

Such an awesome place. Photos just don’t do it justice. And you could spend all day just driving round and round the rock. As the sun moves the colors and patterns change with it, creating many different canvases of grandeur. Mother nature is awesome.

Saturday 15thSeptember 2018:
Awesome walk round Uluru today (10.6km in 2h 45m with lots of stops). Started nice and early as it was quite cool with enough breeze to keep the flies away. Wore our jumpers the whole time. Awesome hiking weather.

The north and south face of Uluru is very different from each other. The North face has a lot of Honeycomb erosion structures, whereby the south face is more cracks and holes (caves).

Awesome viewing as the sun lights them up in the early morning.

Sunday 16thSeptember 2018:

Huge happy anniversary to my beautiful wife Guy. 13 years ago today we meet in that coffee shop in Chatswood. And as they say the rest is history. Been an awesome 13 years and looking forward to many many more.

Off to Kata Tjuta today for a couple of hikes. It was 14C when we arrived and blowing a gale.

First stop was Valley of the Winds and boy was it windy. We hiked up to the first lookout but turned around as the wind was just too strong and cold.

Back to Walpa Gorge which was still windy but not gale force so we hiked into the end and back.

The temperature was a balmy 17C when we left so still rather cool.

After an afternoon siesta we caught a bus to take us to the Sounds of Silence gourmet dinner under the stars. We were welcomed by glasses of sparklings, beer and wine and coke, canapés of about 6 varieties plus sunset looking at Uluru and Kata Tjuta.  Then off to the dining tables with a didgeridoo player and a buffet with a vast selection of salad, chicken, kangaroo, barramundi and lamb followed by another array desserts, our fave was the warm apple strudel. Between the main meal and desserts, we were treated to a journey to the stars, there being only a quarter moon and no clouds, the constellations and Milky Way were just twinkling right above us. We also got lucky to be seated with a group of Americans and Canadians who were very cheerful dinner companions.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy.

Day 451 of retirement

September 9, 2018

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Hi All

Monday 3rdSeptember 2018:

Quiet morning in Halls Creek. Very quiet in fact as there isn’t much in Halls Creek.

We did go for a drive to China Wall (15km round trip on the dirt), which is a rock formation a bit like the Great Wall of China. It is made up of white quartz and stands out in the red desert.

It is hot up here so spent the afternoon under the aircon planning our return to the Philippines as in looking at budgeting options for our house (playing with costs and size). Scary stuff given that we will be back in the Philippines in 2 months.

Tuesday 4thSeptember 2018:

Left Halls Creek for Kununurra via Turkey Creek. (360km).

Turkey Creek is halfway and it was here that we took a 45 minute helicopter ride over the Bungle Bungles NP.

The view was stunningly awesome. BUT it was a bit bumpy so we both were glad to get our feet back on hard ground after 45 minutes. Would I do it again? No. It felt like a boat ride in the sky and you all know I LOVE boat rides.

Arrived in Kununurra and got our “beach side” cabin right on the lake. Awesome spot for the next 5 days.

Wednesday 5thSeptember 2018:

Today we did a tour of Lake Argyle (a boat ride) which is classified as an inland sea due to its size. The water was like glass so all good for the boat ride.

Lake Argyle is Western Australia’s largest and Australia’s second largest freshwater man-made reservoir by volume. The reservoir is part of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme and is located near the East Kimberley town of Kununurra. It covers an area of 1,000 km square.
When full it holds 19 Sydney Harbours of water. At the moment capacity is at 17 Sydney Harbours.
All that water to spare. If only we could pipe it south.

Thursday 6thSeptember 2018:

Did a tour today on the Ord River (also known as Lake Kununurra). We caught the boat in front of our cabin and did the up and back trip (Kununurra to Lake Argyle Dam & back (110km round trip)). Awesome tour and Dylan our skipper/guide was fantastic on his history of the area as he grew up in Kununurra.

Friday 7thSeptember 2018:

Got up early ish today and did 3 short walks in the Mirima NP (Hidden Valley). No birds Lyn Alcock as just too hot.
Awesome little gorge right on the edge of town.

Back home by 11:00 am as it is just too hot in the midday sun.

Saturday 8thSeptember 2018:

Rest day today. Guy got the washing done and I washed and cleaned the mighty Mazda. Mel Browne no matter how much I jet blasted, red dust just keeps seeping out from everywhere.
5 days driving in front of us to get to Uluru (2,200km). Staying for 5 nights and exploring the rock.

Sunday 9thSeptember 2018:

Left Kununurra for Katherine (520km & 6 hours). Arriving in Katherine today completed our round Australia tour as the green line on the map joins here. Departed WA and now in the NT. Oohhh got to put clocks forward by 1.5hours as well.

The mighty Mazda gave us a scare today. I fueled up at the Timber Creek Roadhouse and for the last 280km she started to run very rough. Thought it mighty be some dirty fuel so refueled in Katherine. No change.

Will go see a mechanic tomorrow morning and see what’s going on.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy



Day 444 of retirement

September 2, 2018

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Hi All

Sunday 26thAugust 2018:

Left Port Hedland for Eighty Mile Beach (260km & 3 hours and stopped for lunch). Only an overnighter on the way to Broome, arriving tomorrow.

We had the best ever Roadhouse food today at the Pardoo Roadhouse. An Indian guy runs it and he served the best curries.

I had chicken and Guy had beef and they were awesome. Could match it with any restaurant in Sydney.

Monday 27thAugust 2018:

Left Eighty Mile Beach for Broome (370km & 4 hours).

Got ourselves sorted in our very nice cabin and picked up some supplies.

Then off to the town beach for the Staircase to the moon phenomenon.

It is for only 3 days a month April to October when the moon is full and the tidal flats are exposed and the moonbeams shining over the flats create an awesome spectacle.

Tuesday 28thAugust 2018:

Leisurely day. Went for a wander round china town and had lunch there.

We booked a pearl farm tour for tomorrow at the information centre.

At 5:30pm we headed back to thestaircase to the moon. Can’t get enough of this awesome phenomenon.

Wednesday 29thAugust 2018:

Today we visited the Willie Creek Pearl Farm some 40km out from Broome on some very rough dirt roads. We caught the complimentary bus and were so glad we did.
We learnt all about the life of a pearl oyster right from spawning through to pearl manufacturing.
Also learnt how to identify pearls and grade them. Did you know that it takes 2 years before an oyster is ready for its first implant that will form a pearl? The pearl oyster can live to be 6 years old ish and produce 3-4 pearls.
At one stage Guy had a very nice HUGE 19mm pearl in her hand worth $75,000 dollars. Yes $75,000 is correct.
For lunch we had a selection of produce from the sea and land with the highlight being the pearl oyster meat (Adductor Muscle). You do not eat all of the meat like a normal oyster, as they are huge. You just eat the one part. The meat is sliced very thinly and marinated in vinegar (ceviche) and then eaten. It is so so sweet.

Thursday 30thAugust 2018:

After a leisurely morning doing the laundry (we have a machine in the cabin so all good) we made our way to Gantheaume Point Lighthouse.

Half way up the lighthouse tower is an active osprey nest. It was already there some 10 years ago (confirmed by Bill S who visited here) so has done well to survive the cyclones.

There are also dinosaur footprints in the rocks but the tide was too high to get to them.

After a wander round Broome and a light lunch we rested up till 4:00pm where we headed to the Willie Creek Pearl Meat Cook Off. It is held in town and Broome’s best chefs create pearl meat masterpieces for you to try (7 in all).

We then got to vote on who cooked the best pearl meat dish. The masterpieces were all very different and yummy.

Adam Liaw (Masterchef Australia winner) made an appearance and judged the 7 dishes.

Friday 31stAugust 2018:

Left Broome for Fitzroy Crossing with a detour via Derby (480km & 6 hours).

Getting used to the longer drives now as we head across the top end. Good smooth run without much traffic.

Back to good old outback cabins again too. Neat, clean and tidy so all good. We got spoilt by the luxury cabins up the WA coast.

Saturday 1stSeptember 2018:

Did an8-hour round trip tour (300km) to the spectacular Windjana and Tunnel Creek Gorges, with respected BunUba elder, Claude, as our guide. It was an unforgettable trip to some of the most amazing and spiritually significant Aboriginal sites in the Kimberley.

Claude was amazing showing and telling us all about the area and his indigenous clan and the local Jandamarra who resisted the white man taking over his spiritual land back in the 1880’s.
Awesome tour.

Sunday 2ndSeptember 2018:

Left Fitzroy Crossing for Halls Creek (290km & 3.5 hours). Nice pleasant drive as no traffic on the road.

After checking in at Halls Creek and a good old pub lunch we toured the town, which took all of 5 minutes. Not much in Halls Creek.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy.