Aus Update 19 - Geraldton to Pinjarra


<Paula> 7-Oct-2006 After having a drive around Geraldton we stopped for the night at the "African Reef" Caravan Park.  There was a beautiful sunset. and on the 7th we went along to the Geraldton SDA Church.  Friendly bunch of people.  The town of Geraldton was towards the end of what they call 'The Sunshine Festival'.  It is a festival celebrating the begining of summer and we went along on Saturday night to enjoy the open air concert and the fireworks display.  I happen to really like this town, it has everything you find in the city with only 19,000 people to share it with.  For instance, if you were to go to any of the concerts in the park in Auckland you would have to park a very long way away and walk, here we were amazed that there was lots of parking over the road from the event. To add you could walk without either dodging or running into people.  It was a really enjoyable evening, they had a couple of local bands, some local dancers, a fire thrower and a really good fireworks display.

Just an apology at this point.  We discovered that we haven't taken many photos over this period of time, not that our photography is that great but I'm sure it makes my waffling more bearable.

8-Oct Sunday we decided to go for a drive up Chapman Valley for no reason other than why not.  It was a nice drive, some very beautiful countryside.  We stopped at the Chapman Valley Museum.  We arrived there at 12:45 pm and found it opened at one, so we waited.  The volunteer from the local historical society came and opened up and we got a guided tour of the place with all the extra little stories thrown in that aren't usually written on the plaque.  This place was very impressive, they had everything from it's naming to wedding photos of everyone married in the local church. 

We then headed to Coronation Beach which is just north of Geraldton, it is a Conservation area and camping is $5/night/vehicle.  It was great to relax and walk along the beach.  It is however very windy and this is apparently a very good spot for windusrfing and kite surfing, we can understand why.  To my horror I noticed that next to our campsite was the home of a huge spider.  Now when I say huge we are talking mouse proportions, that is it's body not including it's legs. Chris has this thing of taking photos of the spiders that freak me out.  I am not sure why, I think it is something to do with trying to make me immune to their presence, I don't think his theory is working yet.  

9-Oct Monday we headed back into Gerladton, we needed to visit the post office and other general boring things that have to be done on a week day.  We also visited the Geraldton memorial for the HMAS Sydney, it was really quite amazing in it's proportions and symbolism - $1million to build. Then we headed inland on a wildflower trail.  We had heard that it was pretty dry and the wildflowers weren't anything to look at but we thought we would give it ago anyway. We stopped to look at the Australian Defense Satellite Communication Station (I think that is what it was called).  They don't let you too close or give you a guided tour unfortunately, but here is what we saw.

We passed through a town called Mullewa and it seriously looked like everyone had just disapeared.  It looked like people lived and worked there but we didn't see a soul, it was profoundly eerie and therefore worth a small mention.  We stayed the night at Coalseam Conservation Park.  The Park is known for it's fields of everlastings, however we were informed by the camp host that due to the lack of rain the flowers came in short supply in August and died off very quickly.  Before I get onto the vistas of the park I have to mention a couple of things about the campsite.  Due to there being no flowers camping was free, that was good.  I have never before been met by someone wearing a flynet over his hat.  Usually it is only Chris and I that wear them.  We had obviously not yet experienced the ferocity of large swarms of flys before now.  They seriously were like a swarming black cloud around you. You have to say one thing about the lovely creatures and that is they were overwhelmingly friendly, eating dinner was a laughable affair and not one conduicive to good digestion. Chris said I should explain the method we devised on how to eat while keeping the flys off your food, fork and out of your eyes, nose and mouth all at the same time.  It is too difficult to put into words. We did consider videoing it at the time but that just complicated matters far beyond what either of us could handle.  You will just have to use your imagination. One other thing that I discovered when I was getting the chairs out of the car was that we had a hitchiker with us for the day.  Now it wasn't the huge mouse like spider camping next to us, because I checked that he was still there in the morning and not in my bed, but rather just your regular large spider, on my bed.  Thankfully when Chris moved him to a more suitable place of residence the spider was so scared and curled up that Chris couldn't get a good photo.  The thing that stresses me the most about travelling around Australia for a year is the spiders...unless you have a phobia you would not understand.

10-Oct We drove around the park and took some photos (finally you say). 

View of Irwin River in Coldseam Conservation Park.

The photo didn't come out very good but this is a few scatterings of yellow everlastings.  Everything looks so dry and dead that these flowers look so out of place, like fairy dust.

View of a field of purple flowers along the roadside out of the park.  There are some cows munching away just out of the photo, they look so out of place too.

We then headed for the coast and on the way out we saw a couple of interesting places.

Wind Farm

Ellandale Pool.

We don't know what this is exactly, but we had seen a lot of them running across the road. This fellow was on a trail we were walking.

I have to comment on the first photo here.  If you look carefully you will notice some windmills.  They look very majestic as you drive up to and through them.  It is a wind farm.  There are 54 wind turbines producing 90 megawatts of power, enough to supply 60,000 homes.  One blade on these things is 41 meters in length and weighs 7.5tonnes!  Do you get the picture of how big these things are.  I got a picture of a man working on the top of one of them, he was very much dwarfed by the thing.  Here is a photo trying to get the whole thing in the picture showing the regular sized door at the base to give you some perspective.

We stopped at a place called Leeman for the night.  A beautiful coastal town that had a strong odour of rotting seaweed.  The beach was covered in 1/2 meter thick seaweed from a storm. It was a very beautiful coastline and the towns were also very beautiful.  I have to say that we didn't really appreciate their full beauty due to the overcastness of the days and the rain.  I guess that warrants a mention.  This is the first rain we have experienced since Melbourne, which even while we were there it didn't rain that much.  In saying that the temperatures are considerably cooler and very enjoyable. This is a picture of a small part of the coastline, it is even beautiful in the rain.

11-Oct We continued driving down the coast and drove to Nambung National Park and saw the Pinnacles, which are essentially limestone pillars sticking up out of a yellow sandy desert.  I know that is a very basic description, but it really was a sight worth seeing.

We then drove inland to Dandaragan for the night. We followed some of the suggested drives for viewing wildflowers.  I know we thought numerous times of stopping to take some photos but it appears that we didn't. As we came towards Dandaragan the senery changed from coastal to rolling green hills studded with majestic Red Gums, the added misty rain made it really beautiful. We stayed at the Shire Transit Caravan Park (all by ourselves). The facilities were excellent and we were very impressed.  We were to pay at the Shire office but they close on Wednesdays (oh to work in a small town)! We dropped in the following day to pay.  They just leave the doors to the facilities unlocked and don't even ask you to turn the lights off, they are on a timer (which can be a disadvantage if you like long showers).  They had some plaques talking about the history of the town  and the family trees of everybody that has ever lived or living in the town.  That is no exaggeration!  

12-Oct  I have to put the following photo in because I didn't put the others.  This friendly fellow was photographed in his alternate location other than my shoe where he was discovered. You have to look carefully he is well disguised by the grass.

Can you see why I don't like them!!  We made our way down to Perth in the morning.  We stopped at a Nissan place to get the car looked at, it has been making this loud creaking noise and Chris wanted to see if they knew what it could be.  We spent a couple of hours there and $110 later they said they found and fixed it. Great, off we went to find some accomodation which was proving to be difficult, everything was booked out.  No sooner had we pulled out of the street and it was still making the noise.  We stayed just out of Freemantle for the night.

13-Oct So today we became a thorn in their side at Nissan.  The invoice they gave us said they stood by their workmanship and we decided to take them up on it.  We called and went back.  Then we waited in their waiting room for most of the day while they tried to find the problem.  Mid afternoon they said they couldn't find the problem and gave us our $110 back.  What can you say to that?  I am sure Chris will do another car update soon and he can put in the details.  We then travelled on to Mandurah.

Saw this bird sitting down on a jetty amongst the very lovely marina developments

14-Oct Mandurah is only 60kms from Perth CBD and it is quite the seaside resort town.  For those of you in NZ it is the Orewa of the not too distant future.  We found it also very crowded.  There was a boat show on and most accomodation in the town was booked out.  We visited the Mandurah SDA Church and then drove on to Pinjarra for a quiet weekend in a small country town.  The caravan park was 95% permanent residence and resembled a trailer park, but all the transient people were in one area and it was rather nice.  In the afternoon we visited a very beautiful Heritage Rose garden.  The roses were incredible, even Chris was impressed with some of them.  We didn't linger because although the gardens were very plesant to the eye the nose was having a hard time coping.  I don't know what it was but to describe it you would say it smelt like something had died, it was very intense and overpowering.

15-Oct We walked around the town and learnt a little about the history of the area and in the afternoon Chris changed the oil and rotated the wheels.  There was another guy there towing a caravan and he also had a Ford Maverick. Chris had a good chat with him about his car and the problems he has had and what he did.  His Maverick had done 450,000kms! In comparison ours has done 270,000kms (it's just a baby). He swears by it, best car he has ever had (18 years since new), and still going strong.  He was from NSW and they were traveling NT and WA on this trip.  I don't think we have anything to worry about, he has taken his Maverick around Australia a few times, ours should make it.

So the following is some photos of the area.