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.

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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.


Day 436 of retirement

August 25, 2018

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Hi All

Monday 20thAugust 2018:

Back to Port Hedland from Marble Bar this morning (210km). At Port Hedland we did the BHP facility tour at midday and it was an awesome tour. Makes you wonder how all this was built and now in full operation. Lots of awesome BIG stuff.

Tuesday 21stAugust 2018:

Left Port Hedland for Karijini NP (440km & 6 hours with a few stops and detours). Arrived to our “Glamping” tent for the next 4 nights at the eco resort. We have an ensuite attached to our tent, so luxury. You can have a shower and look up and see the stars.

The tents are very spacious and comfortable and well spaced out from each other in the bush.

There are no fridges in the tent but they do provide an esky and sell ice at the resort ($10 a bag). Also no electric kettle. A good old thermos is supplied and you can get hot water at reception for tea in the tent.

The tents only have one light and one power point. We discovered that you could only charge 1 phone and 1 laptop at a time. Luckily I read where the breaker switch was, so all good.

The resort is solar powered with a battery bank. Works great provided you don’t overload it with first world devices.

We just have to do without TV, phone and Internet till we get back into civilization on Saturday (4 days away). Looking forward to it to go cold turkey on these luxuries.

It is 7:30pm and all is very quiet in the bush, very quiet with the moon and stars out.

Wednesday 22ndAugust 2018:

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Did I tell you that the Kariniji NP gorges are awesome? Just stunning wherever you go and look. Hiking trails are everywhere starting from class 2 through to class 5 (5 being the most difficult). Only down side is the dirt roads are terrible. The poor mighty Mazda has been shaken violently (corrugations) and we have been down to walking speed at times negotiating the HUGE potholes and rocks. But the Mazda handled it in her stride.

Today’s visit was to Weano gorge. 30km of ROUGH dirt road but it was ooohhh so worth it. Back for some lunch and walked to Joffre Gorge which is 1km from the resort. Awesome.

Thursday 23rdAugust 2018:

Quick trip into Tom Price today for fuel. As there is no fuel in Karijini NP you only have two options.

~ Tom Price which is 80km away (160km round trip).

~ Auski Roadhouse 140km away (240km round trip).

We are now all fueled up (minus 80km back to Kajijini NP) for our 200km exploring tomorrow and then another 140km to the Auski Roadhouse on the way back to Port Hedland on Saturday. So that gives us 420km between refueling stops.

The last thing you want to happen out here is to run out of fuel. The mobile phone service is pretty thin as it only works in and near towns and mine sites.

From Port Hedland to Auski Roadhouse you have 260km of nothing (no fuel or mobile coverage).

Friday 24thAugust 2018:

Wow wow wow. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we went to the Dales Gorge (150km round trip & all sealed road) today and hiked a 2km section of the gorge.

This enabled us to visit the Fern Pool, Fortescue Falls and the Circular Pool. The gorge threw everything at us with rock hoping, rock scrambling, rock climbing and ledge traversing with a killer STEEP climb out. I’ll make Guy a mountain climber yet.

But it was ooohhh so worth it. Just an awesome gorge with lots of rock pools and magnificent scenery.

I’ll let the photos do the talking.

Saturday 25thAugust 2018:

Sadly we left Karijini NP for Port Hedland (390km as we had no detours or stops). We love Karijini NP and it is one of the few places we would like to come back to one day (hire a 4×4 next time). The other place to return to is Uluru and we have already booked our stay there (for our second visit) on our way down south after the top end of WA.

We are overnighting in Port Hedland then Eighty Mile Beach (1 night) and Broome (4 nights) for the staircase to the moon over the water effect.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 430 of retirement

August 19, 2018

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Hi All

Monday 13thAugust 2018:

Found another little gem today (Monday) 120km south of Karratha called Python Pool (240km round trip with 20km of dirt). You drive through part of the Hamersley Range and its magnificent scenery then drop down to this hidden pool in a gorge. Take your swimmers, as the rock pool is great to swim in.

Tuesday 14thAugust 2018:

Quiet day as we explored around town. Visited the sculptures at the local salt lakes. Interesting.

I managed to get a haircut as it has been a while and my hair was getting a little feral.

Wednesday 15thAugust 2018:

Quiet rest day today.

Guy got a load of washing done and I washed and cleaned the Mighty Mazda.

Thursday 16thAugust 2018:

Left Karratha for Port Hedland (240km & 3 hours).

Managed to secure a very nice beachfront cabin. After lunch downtown we got some groceries and finished off the day with a walk along the beach.

Friday 17thAugust 2018:
Lovely quiet day wandering round the downtown/port area of Port Hedland. Watched the huge ore ships depart (we could watch this all day). After lunch overlooking the busy harbour we did our own selfguided heritage/street art walk.

Saturday 18thAugust 2018:

Left Port Hedland for Marble Bar (210km).

Marble Bar is known as the hottest place in Australia. The town set a world record of most consecutive days of 100 °F (37.8 °C) or above, during a period of 160 days from 31 October 1923 to 7 April 1924

As it’s only a 2.5 hour drive from Port Hedland, we went exploring after lunch to the flying fox lookout, the marble bar rock pool and the chinaman rock pool. Will go back to the marble bar rock pool for a swim tomorrow. Beautiful spot.

Sunday 19thAugust 2018:

Went for a drive today out to the old Comet gold mine. The story is that a prospector was searching for gold all round this knob and found nothing. One day he decided to climb over the middle of the knob. By pure chance he stumbled across gold 3/4 of the way up the hill.
All the gold found was in the top half of the knob. The top half of the knob is riddled with mine shafts. It is said that over 100,000 ounces of gold was mined from this deposit over 60 ish years.

After lunch which was homemade sausage rolls, we went for a walk back at the Marble Bar rock pool looking at all the magnificent Jasper rock that dominates the area. Such awesome colours in the rock especially when you wet it.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy.


Day 416 of retirement

August 5, 2018

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Hi All

Monday 30thJuly 2018:

Left Coral Bay for Exmouth (170km & 2 hours). Arrived at midday at the Ningaloo Lighthouse Holiday Park, which is 15km out of town and across the road from the beach. As our cabin wasn’t ready we had some lunch, got some supplies and checked in at 2:00pm.

Well I did it. I have booked a full day on a boat out in the ocean on Wednesday to swim with the whale sharks in Exmouth.
PS: I get seasick really easily so this is a HUGE commitment for me. I trust it will be well worth it.

Tuesday 31stJuly 2018:

Went exploring The Cape Range NP today. Some of the places we visited were Turquoise Bay, Oyster Stacks Bay, Sandy Bay and Yardie Creek and Yardie gorge. We had a picnic lunch at Yardie Creek.

We did a walk along the cliff tops of the gorge and just missed a boat tour. Will be back later in the week for the gorge boat trip.

Had a few wildflower stops along the way and found some awesome looking flowers.

Wednesday 1stAugust 2018”

Today was whalewatching day. I came, I went, I didn’t see.
The short story is that I spent 4 hours vomiting over the side of the boat in very rough seas. I wasn’t alone as there were 3 others who joined me.
At one stage there were 3 of us who were doing some synchronised vomiting. One would vomit then the next and then the next. Then it would all start once again.
Guy (who was okay) at one stage handed me my flippers as I was going to try and get in the water. But no good! Whenever I tried to leave my post down the back of the boat I would vomit. So sadly no whale sharks for me.
Guy got to see a whale shark as it came to the surface, better than me, and a humpback jumping out of the water.
So if I ever even suggest a boat tour on the ocean ever again you all have the right to beat me round the head severely.

We have just had a hot shower and are enjoying a hot cup of tea so all good again. Life is good… again.

Thursday 2ndAugust 2018:

Into town this morning to pick up my USB of the pics from yesterday (they have a pro photographer on the boat) from https://www.ningaloowhalesharkndive.com.au. Got the USB and they gave me a complimentary ticket anytime in the next 12 months to come back and have another go.
Not that I am planning to but the gesture was awesome.
The coral pics I did see in the snorkel in the lagoon, but the whale shark pics are what I could have seen…

After yesterday’s ordeal we had a slow start today. Once we had the USB we visited the Charles Knife Gorge. Awesome gorge.

Friday 3rdAugust 2018:

Well I got back on a boat today. Did the Yardie Gorge boat tour where there was no wind and the water was like glass. Now why can’t all boat trips be like that?

Had an awesome tour. Our guide spoke the whole time but was extremely interesting in telling us the history of the area and animals and the aboriginal way of life.

After lunch we made our way back to the lighthouse cabin via a few beach stops along the way looking for any good whale watching spots.

Saturday 4thAugust 2018:

Today we explored the Mandu Mandu Gorge. Beautiful gorge to explore as we hiked 3.5km through the gorge and on the rim.
The bright red on the rocks (it is that bright) is caused by the local soil rich in iron oxide. Through wind and rain it sticks to the walls and corrodes. The cliffs are rusting.

There were also lots of wildflowers out up on the rim, which made for a colourful pleasant walk.

Our last day in Exmouth today as we are off to Onslow tomorrow.

Sunday 5thAugust 2018:

Left Exmouth for Onslow (420km & 5 hours). Nice pleasant drive with the countryside all green and the wildflowers out.

Arrived in Onslow and were very surprised with our cabin. Right on the beach and a very modern, clean, neat and tidy cabin. Quite happy to spend 5 nights here and explore the Onslow area.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

 


Day 409 of retirement

July 29, 2018

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Hi All

Monday 23rdJuly 2018:

Back to Pt Quobba blowholes tody. Totally different from our last visit as there is a HUGE swell (biggest I have ever seen). Huge spray show as the swells hit the rocks. Saw a couple of whales but they were way out avoiding the coast.

At the blowholes car park a HUGE rogue swell came through and flooded the car park. Luckily we were all back out of reach of the flooding but reminded us to stand well back from the cliff edge when a huge swell is running.

We found a nice spot out of the wind and had a picnic lunch watching mother nature’s wave show.

Tuesday 24thJuly 2018:

Last day in Carnarvon today. Got a load of washing done and hung before we went for a drive to Miaboolya Beach.

Had a nice walk up the beach before heading to our favourite tapas restaurant for lunch.

Spent the afternoon washing and cleaning the mighty Mazda inside and out at the local carwash and vacuum station. Also did a run to Woolworths for some supplies, as our next stop at Coral Bay is only a small town.

Managed to squeeze in a nice siesta late afternoon.

Wednesday 25thJuly 2018:

Left Carnarvon for Coral Bay (250km & 2.5 hours with some wildflower stops).

Coral Bay is packed out, tourists everywhere. It is peak season now so all the grey nomads have arrived from the cold south. Ooohhh wait that’s us…

The wildflowers bathed the roadsides of our trip so very pleasant.

Had lunch in Coral Bay and finished having oysters from Cowell (SA) which is just up the road from where I grew up and mussels from Port Lincoln, my old stomping grounds. Small world. Ooohhh yes it was very yummy.

Thursday 26thJuly 2018:

Our boat trip was postponed to tomorrow so had a very nice rest day consisting of good food, a siesta and a nice long walk along the beach.

Did a drive round Coral Bay, which took all of 15 minutes. We are staying in the centre of town so can walk everywhere.

Finished the day on the beach watching a magnificent sunset.

Friday 27thJuly 2018:

Did a tour today on Ningaloo Reef in a semi submersible boat. A submarine without submersing. The coral here is very different to the Great Barrier Reef. Awesome but different.

I apologise for the white balance (colours) of the pics as they are taken underwater through thick glass.

After an afternoon siesta we wondered down to the beach for the fish feeding. Heaps of tourists and heaps of fish.

Saturday 28thJuly 2018:

Guy and I got up at 2:30am to see the blood moon/eclipses. It was rather cold but a nice clear sky. With the clear sky came mist unfortunately. I was unable to get a good clear pic of the event but still managed to get some pics of the blood moon/eclipsesincluding some abstract ones.

Back to bed at 5:00am and up at 11:30am so managed a very nice sleep-in.

Another awesome lunch and siesta before our quad bike sunset tour.

On our quad bike tour there was only one other rider (plus passenger) so a very personalised tour.

Had a lot of fun cruising the back roads in the dunes on the quad bikes. Had a few screams from Guy as we zoomed along.

Sunday 29thJuly 2018:

Our last day in Coral Bay. So after a sleep-in we had a nice big breakfast of eggs Benedict followed by a skinny chai latte. We rarely have a big breakfast so a treat for us.

Then a stroll along the beach and up to the lookout where we watched the kayakers, snorkelers and glass bottom boats go by.

Back for our afternoon siesta followed by another stroll along the beach. We do love this place as you just walk everywhere. Haven’t started the car since we arrived 4 days ago.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy