After 2 and a half weeks of catching up with family and friends and getting Rhonda in top shape, I was ready to leave Perth on 20th February. After an early lunch with a very dear friend, I headed north.
As I manoeuvred through the northern suburbs I felt the resfeber rising. This was going to be my Anna Mirarabillis. Although I was salivagant, I was looking for my smultostalle. (who said I couldn’t use all those 4 words in the one paragraph?)
First stop was Bindoon Museum. Normally open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, the sign said closed due to the extremely high temperature that day. I wandered up to the Arts and Crafts building where two ladies were doing some pottery. They gave me the rundown on place and showed me the work they and others had been doing. They had two kilns, one of which was currently in operation and adding to the dramatic rise in temperature inside the iron clad building.
My overnight stop was at the Pithara Tavern. This is a great little pub that opens at 5pm daily. Situated some 230km north of Perth on the Great Northern Highway. It is pretty much the only business operating in the town. Meals are good value and prepared by the publican Caroline.
Next stop was Moora. I had planned on stopping just the one night there at the RV Stop behind the Shire Offices right in town. I caught up with some friends and they invited me to spend the night at their wildflower farm some 30km north of Moora. Had a great catch up and the next morning I went out with them to pick up sandalwood nuts. This was fascinating in itself. I was then given a guided tour around their expansive property. Most of their dried flowers are exported to Japan and I was able to help do packing and see how they are coloured. It would be great to come back in the wildflower season and see everything in full bloom. They provide bush camping and also have 4WD self drive tours.
After lunch I headed into town to catch up with some neighbors from when I lived in Wattle Grove. She is President of The Historical Society and gave me a guided tour of the museum. I could easily have spent half a day or more here. So much to see and read. Moora was the site of numerous Army Camps during the war so had some fascinating reading. A night at the RV Stop – I was the sole occupant – was followed the next day with contact with a Perth friend who was returning from Geraldton, so I decided to stop an extra day and wait for her arrival.
After 3 night in Moora I headed for the coast. Originally I was going to meet up with a mate from Perth and camp with him for a few days but he rang to say he couldn’t make it so I ended up visiting some good friends who retired to Jurien Bay several years ago. I arrived in Jurien on the Sunday morning but unfortunately he had a hospital visit planned for the next day and they headed to Perth in the afternoon, leaving me to house sit. They ended up staying the week in Perth and I spent my days just relaxing and going for walks along the foreshore and into town. I did manage to sort through a few of my things and did a small amount of culling. I spent a couple more days with my friends before heading north again. Also whilst in Jurien I made contact with the local Lions Club and helped them on their Market Day, serving food and drinks from their well set up Food Van.
Next stop Dongara where I replenished the pantry and stayed one night at the Town Oval RV Stop. Had a look through the Dongara Museum the next morning which was well worth the gold coin donation on entry. Spent an hour and a half in the museum followed by another half hour chatting to the volunteer guide on my way out. Museum is open 10am to 12 noon Monday to Saturday. Then had a look at Ross House, another historical building before heading back south to Cliff Head Campgrounds, about 40km south of Dongara just off Indian Ocean Drive. This spot is right on the beach.
I thought I had the place to myself until just before dark a 4WD with a rooftop camper pulled in and 3 young ladies, 2 French and 1 German I would find out the next morning, alighted and proceeded to set up camp. They were headed south to Perth and then two of them had organised jobs in Margaret River. The two French girls had spent a year in New Zealand where they had met up with the German girl and all 3 flew to Sydney before travelling to Uluru and now Western Australia. They left the next day about 3pm and were replaced by a couple in a caravan that seem to want to keep to themselves. Encountered a snake here which reminded ma as I am in the bush to always be vigilant. I also got badly sunburnt. The cloudiest of days and I was so annoyed with myself. Two lessons in one day!
Next stop was Ellendale Pool, inland from Geraldton. This is a donation camp $5 per person per night. On the way back through Dongara I called into the Town Oval dump point to :offload” and then checked out Seven Mile Beach Camp. Right on the waters edge in what is just a large carpark. Decided it may not be wise, being so close to town and it being a weekend. The previous Monday in Dongara I had met a couple who had a farm 23km north so I called into their place and enjoyed a cuppa with them and they gave me directions of a short cut through to Ellendale Pool. Turns out they had lived in Collie in the 1980’s so we had some good conversation.
On my arriving at Ellendale Pool and in my attempts to select a good parking spot, I brushed under a low lying branch and ripped of a length of pipe I have (had) on top at side rear which houses the TV antenna. Pipe smashed but no other damage thank goodness. As I haven’t used the TV antenna – nor the TV for that matter – it is no great loss. Lesson 3. Be aware of low lying limbs!
Spent 2 nights and considering it was the weekend, I was surprised that I was the only camper. A few cars stopped for half an hour or so during the days but no other vehicles overnight. Enjoyed the solitude – getting used to my own company – and surprise surprise we get on really well with no arguments whatsoever.
With several overcast days in a row my solar panels are not so effective and batteries are not holding as well as they might so will head to Geraldton to the sanctuary of a caravan park to recharge and have a nice hot shower.
Still trying to learn this photo stuff. Bear with me I will try and get better.