Home again

After our visit to the Residency Museum we went to the bakery for a pie. We then walked to a Bushland Garden, which is partway up the hill. There wasn’t very much in flower, but it was a pleasant place to be and we enjoyed walking back down to the main street a different way and seeing different parts of the town.

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At the Bushland Gardens

I rather fell in love with this little stone house, and only afterwards noticed that it is for sale. Possibly a lot of work needed…

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We bought two new gas cylinders and the boy at the hardware shop obligingly put them in for us and connected them up. I bought some crisps and we headed up to Mt Brown to catch the evening light.

I was a bit worried about coming back down the steep road as I haven’t worked out how to drive the Winnie in manual. However, I kept the speed slow and it stayed in 2nd gear, so I was using the brake, plus low gear in coming down. Not nearly so scary as I had feared.

After initially parking in a spot with no view we moved into a better spot and after walking around and taking some photos we had our drink (of diet coke) and nibbles, whilst enjoying being in such a beautiful place. There are views on three sides from the top position, with a viewing platform.

We had an interesting experience, as well as enjoying the changing light towards sunset. A young couple arrived with a photographer who was using a drone to take photos and perhaps videos of them walking around. The couple were dressed in evening clothes and it must have been very cold indeed for the young woman with bare shoulders and arms. The drone appeared to be vaguely menacing as they walked along with it hovering above.

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I used my A6000 at first, then got out the A7RII with my new (used) A mount 24-70mm 2.8 lens. This is the lens I should have had to photograph my niece’s wedding a few weeks ago. It is the Zeiss lens, and the rich colours and interesting flare effects are just lovely, I’m very glad to have it. Secondhand, it was $1350 – I got $550 for my FE 24-70, and $800 for the FE 16-35mm lens, which has been largely unused since I bought it. I already had the “3” adapter, which allows almost all of the lens functions. I still have the 35mm F2.8 FE lens if I want absolutely all of the functions.

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The Winnie at Mt Brown

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York farmlands

When we got home I worked out how to get the TV going, there was a little switch next to the arial plug, and once lit up, we had no problems with reception. We watch the news, then had another episode of the Durrels, this time on the TV as for some reason the HDMI input also worked.

I put the water heater on, and when I had a shower about an hour later the water was really very hot, I had to add lots of cold. I soaped up, then used the shower to rinse. Then we switched off the gas for safety overnight. In the morning, the water heater initially started, then kept switch off and trying to relight. I switched it off completely, then tried the other gas cylinder. Still no joy. I decided we probably needed to check on the gas flow, so put some eggs on to boil. I found I could only use one burner at a time, the flow was very weak, and the water took more than half an hour to get hot, but was still far from boiling. I then used the frying pan to cook the eggs for our breakfast.

This morning, I have rung Parkland RV to ask if it can be checked out, and they said they will get back to me with a date when it can be seen by their gas specialist.

So, it was a slightly less satisfying morning after having such a good experience with the hot water system the night before.

However, we feel very happy overall with the Winnie, with the slide out it feels very spacious inside and we love having the comfort. It feels very solid and well built. Even emptying the toilet cassette at the dump point was interesting for us, learning how to do it. I enjoy the driving and we used heating and the windscreen wipers with no problems.

On the way home we had one stop to let people past, then went to the Maundering Bakery for a pie and hot drink for our lunch. We have used the special RV parking area before with the caravan and it is well located, just across the road from the Bakery.

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Posing on this rock at Mt Brown lookout is ‘the thing’ – so Stephen did it too!

Somewhat embarrassingly, I have just been testing the hot water system/stove top. I was using a method of turning on the gas, then winding it back slightly. That was enough to slow the flow of gas considerably. I experimented with not turning it back at all after turning on and was able to switch on the water heater in one go and get all three gas burners working on the stove top at the same time. I left the heater on long enough to get the water hot. I sent a text to Bruce at Parkland RV to let him know.

First outing with the Winnie, a trip to York

Since we picked up the Winnie it has been parked either on the driveway when our neighbours were away, or on the street outside. There are normally lots of cars parked in our street, so we feel reasonably confident that it won’t be vandalized. However in a recent discussion with our neighbour, he said he thought it could be parked in our spare bay, and paced it out in steps. We have agreed to give it a go when we get back. We may need to get rid of the rosemary bushes on the fenceline, he said he and Linda were already thinking of doing that, and planting some flowering plants instead. Stephen has sent an email to the group (Kim, Norm and me) suggesting this happens soon, but leaving it up for discussion.

I’ve spent a huge amount of time setting things up here in the Winnie, but it has still been frustrating to some extent as we learn the ropes. I had to put the fridge on gas, and George was using the gas to test the hot water system before we picked it up. I’ve realised this morning that we appear to be out of gas. There is the spare bottle, but it is not connected. The hot water only got slightly warm last night and we have no hope this morning. Despite that, I had a wash in the shower last night and plan to shower/wash in a basin of water boiled in the kettle. The reason being that the Mt Bakewell Caravan Park showers looked pretty grotty last night, though  the toilets are fine.

Yesterday we drove to York, stopping off to see Mum on the way. She was on her own, so we had lunch with her. Jamie and Tracey arrived back before we left. Jamie has bought a new Toyota ‘truck’, the one that looks like a Hummer. Very stylish, and for his prospecting, very useful indeed, especially as the previous owners speced it up with all sorts of useful stuff, then decided it was too high for them, and traded it in after 10,000 kms. He is delighted, of course. We then showed them through the Winnie.

We arrived in York and checked out the free (with electricity) sites in town, but they were all taken, there are only four of them. Then we found a bakery and had afternoon tea. A visit to the Tourist Information Centre was lovely as the person there was very friendly and helpful. There are places to see wildflowers here, or we could explore some of the other attractions in town.

Then we came to the caravan park and have quite a good spot here. After set up, minimal, we had a rest, then went for a walk. There were good views of Mt Bakewell and we spoke with a group of caravanners who were enjoying some social time sitting outside. One couple is from Streaky Bay in South Australia. Eversley fell in love and wanted to move there ( briefly anyway).

This morning we took our time over breakfast and getting ready to go out, eventually driving out at around 12:00. The water hose connecter was a little difficult to detach, but Stephen managed it on his own. I did the electrical cord. We even put our plastic outside mat in the van, not wanting to leave anything that might get stolen. Though who would bother with our old mat we don’t know.

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The Winnie with slideout. Not something that was on my list of requirements, but it is wonderful how roomy it feels inside.

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Out position

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Out position – other view. We are able to store the ukes up in our clothes cupboards sitting on top of the clothes.

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Some friendly caravan folk, including a couple from Streaky Bay, SA. The mozzies were bad, hence the insect repellent rings

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Evening view of Mt Bakewell

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No wildflowers here, just flowering weeds

We have spent some time in the Residency Museum, with display boards giving information on the history of York since settlement, and some information about the local Aboriginal population. There were Chinese and Albanian immigrants as well as the usual ones from the British Isles. Stephen takes a bit longer than me to go through, very handy as it has given me time to finish off this blog entry.

Winnie at home

We drove the Winnie (I drove, Stephen is co-driver) to Marie and Geoff’s in Roleystone. On the way we bought some fuel as the tank was under half full. As I was getting back in a lady asked ‘what is your next stop’ assuming we were travellers. That was a good feeling, even though we were essentially using the Winnie as a car. The plan was to leave it at Marie and Geoff’s place, parked alongside their carport, fairly out of the way. But, on the way I thought it would be an idea to take it back home again, just use the trip up there to get some practice driving and let them have a look inside.

Fortunately, Stephen agreed that we should keep it at home, especially as we had worked out that it would fit in the parking bay outside our little group of houses.

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Parked on the street outside our house.

We are planning a couple of nights away next week and will need to set things up for the trip. But, it may also be good to get some more practice driving around. On the way out, we went to the shopping centre and parked near the library for Stephen to drop off a book. We basically want to be able to take it anywhere as once we are travelling we will want to be able to drive in towns as well as on the open road.

We enjoyed having lunch with Marie and Geoff. In fact, Winnie would not be able to be stored in the place next to the carport at the moment because of overhanging branches. It would have had to have been parked in their front yard, blocking the view and being in the way of getting their caravan out. The decision to drive it home again appears good all round.

When we arrived home I was very, very tired, perhaps from concentrating so much. The floor of the motorhome needs cleaning and we still have the outside of our caravan to clean and the car could do with a wash. I expect the Winnie’s floor will come first.

Winnie (the Pooh)

We have actually bought a motorhome and its sitting in our driveway temporarily as our neighbours are away. It’s 23 feet long and to put that into perspective, our car and caravan together are about 33 feet. In fact, it seems as tall as it is long.
Stephen was very sceptical, but even he is getting excited about this new phase n our travels in Australia. It’s 10 years old and we have the full service history since it was new. Bought from the same dealer who sold it new. So, we hope it doesn’t cost us a fortune in maintenance!

The bathroom has separate shower, toilet and basin and there is a slide out that increases the living area when parked. There’s a double bed with proper mattress in the caravan part and an extra bed over the cab. The dinette can also be made into a single bed, we won’t need that but Stephen is already thinking of motorhome exchanges with people overseas.
We are both excited and anxious about this purchase which is mostly funded by a pre inheritance gift from my mother.


Denham

Yesterday we drove 376 kms to Denham. We left a little after 9.00 a.m., but dropped in at the bakery on the way. We had a good trip, with Marie and Geoff going ahead at their own pace, with us following at ours. This worked well. Stephen and I had about a 20 minute stop at a 24hr camping area, Galena Bridge, which was about 13kms up the road after reaching the highway. It was very pleasant in sunshine, with the Murchison River adding interest.

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We had another short stop at the next 24hr camping spot, rather different, but with bitumen areas. It would be a better stopover place if it was raining.

We met up at Billabong. Marie and Geoff had already had lunch before we arrived, but they waited for us for a while, then we set off intending to meet again at the caravan park. In fact, we met close to Shell Beach, and went there for afternoon tea and a walk on the curious shell beach. It is very shallow water, and the beach made up of little shells, which went into waves.

When we arrived here in Denham it felt far less comfortable than at Kalbarri. It was very windy. Stephen and Geoff found a place where we had fish and chips and discussed the next few days. Two stops were confirmed, at the Hamelin Station Stay and Northampton. Marie and I were delegated to book in the morning, which we did.

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Completely unedited, view at the edge of the caravan park. When I edit I will cut out the car at the left and some of the under brush at the right and straighten it.

Marie and I both did some washing and were able to hang it on a lines near the caravans. As today was sunny and mild, the washing was dry  by the time we got back from Monkey Mia. We had a relaxed morning, leaving for MM by about 10.30 a.m., but with delays to allow caravans to get through into the park and shopping for Marie and Geoff, did not arrive there until after 11.00 a.m. We spent a lazy time enjoying the dolphins, the sunshine, and time in the little gift shops. We set up camp as it were outside of the restaurant, had our picnic lunch and bought coffees, etc. to make up for not buying their food.

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Pelians enjoy being with dolphins in case a bit of fish drops off. This little dolphin had quite a large fish and was having some difficulty breaking it up so it could eat it.

After a mild, sunny day the wind came up at about 4.30 p.m., and it became rather cold and cloudy. So, we are hunkered down in our caravans, looking forward to having simple, home cooked meals.

Kalbarri Day 2

We have spent our second day at Kalbarri exploring the river gorges. We took picnic food and went from place to place, taking in the views. There were good paths, signage, and picnic areas. The gravel roads could have done with a visit from a bulldozer, but we travelled slowly, as did most of the other cars on the road. There was surprisingly little dust.

Marie and I got washing done early and Stephen and Geoff went to the shops and bakery for fresh bread and our choice of treats.

We left at about 20 to 11.00 am and came home after four. There is more to do in this area, but that will have to be for our next visit.

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there was a beautiful perfume in the air and we think it was from this flowering tree

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Balance

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View from one of the lookouts

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down near the river

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Stylish picnic area

Kalbarri

Today has been interesting. We went for a walk to a local lookout, then had coffee and cake at a cafe overlooking the beach. We bought our cakes cheaply at the bakery and ate them with our coffees in the cafe.

I’ve just discovered why my photos for the last few days have been over exposed, I had moved the exposure dial accidentally and hadn’t checked that particular item when trying to work out what had happened. I’ve also had a spot on my photos, even though I have not changed the lens on my Sony. Could I be lucky enough that it was on the lens and not the sensor? We will find out tomorrow. If it is on the sensor it is very bad news for my photos, although I can correct them fairly easily in Lightroom.

We bought a roll each and went out to some of the ocean gorges. After walking along the cliffs on a boardwalk I at least was hungry for the roll, so we ate them there. Afterwards, Marie proposed having a rest back at the caravans. Geoff went off to Red Bluff whilst the rest of us had a rest. He helped me by putting some guy ropes on our side awning so that I could leave it up. This evening I did some washing and it is now hanging under the awning where it might just get dry, though probably not overnight as it is cold.

The storm had passed by this morning and althoug we had some cloud, it was mostly fine and a comfortable temperature with a maximum of about 21 degrees. We went up to a lookout late in the day, seeing some kangaroos in the distance as well as having a great view of the surrounding area. Really lovely and peaceful. The caravan park is a bit busy, and we have ‘luck’ in having two different families with young children. The father of the second lot apologised in advance for his kids, very sweet. They are good kids, but are small and lively.

Geoff cooked sausages on the BBQ and Marie and I did some veggies in the microwave for tea. We then retired to our separate caravans for a quiet evening. Stephen asked if I wanted to watch anything, but I felt tired and wanted to have a little time to process the photos from today. So, he is listening to something and I am looking at the photos.

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Matching caravans – Kalbarri

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One of my overexposed photos from today. Even Lightroom cannot really rescue it.

A journey northwards

On Monday morning we set off in the caravan for two weeks, travelling with Marie and Geoff for the first time. They have a little caravan that is very similar to ours, but different in interesting ways. Robyne was joining us for the first couple of days and we all met at Gingers Roadhouse, coming from our different locations.

We travelled pretty much together at first, then Robyne went on ahead as it was easier for her to travel at the speed limit in her car, whilst we were towing our vans and often went slower than the 100 km limit for caravan towing. We arrived in mid afternoon. Geoff and Stephen did the formal Wildflower Walk, whilst we women got settled in and had a bit of rest. We had a shared meal in Robyne’s little cottage.

Our day at Western Flora Caravan Park (Tuesday) was very enjoyable. We had some cloud and some sunshine. We walked to one side of the caravan park to a small lake and bird hide. There was a broom in the bird hide, and Marie couldn’t help herself…

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Afterwards we took the trail down to the Arrowsmith River to try to find the waterfall. The walk through bushland with lots of wildflowers was very enjoyable. We found the river and what we thought was the waterfall. Fortunately Geoff went off by himself for a little while and found the real one, which was worth visiting. The walk took us a couple of hours.

Later in the day, some of us went for a drive to the ocean. We stopped at one of the little coves with tin shanties. The beach was interesting because of the erosion. Robyne and I were impressed with Geoff’s ability to see things at great distances. I took a photo of a spot on the ocean which he thought was an oil or gas rig. When we enlarged it in the evening, it was definitely a rig, blurry in my photo.

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In the evening we had a shared meal once again in the small cottage where Robyne was staying. This morning she set off earlier than us to return home, whilst we battled wind and rain on our drive to Kalbarri.

It was pretty challenging and although we could have done some sightseeing on the way, the weather made that just not possible. This evening we are pretty tired. I didn’t take any photos but am looking forward to tomorrow. As we arrived in Kalbarri I felt excited by the scenery and the difficulties of the journey seemed well worth it. We lost Marie and Geoff as we were driving along in the town. We got in touch by phone and eventually found the caravan park, but even getting lost was worth it as we saw a great view of the waves whipped up by the storm.

Geoff and Stephen took time to get the caravans placed as they thought best, then we had coffee in Marie and Geoff’s van, which works better than ours for four people.

Whilst Marie and I were thinking of simple meals we could make in our caravan kitchens, Stephen and Geoff thought of a plan to go out for an evening meal. They did some research and came up with a place we could walk to from the caravan park.

The weather should be much better tomorrow, according to the weather bureau.

Goomalling, Dowerin, Northam and Mt Helena

On Tuesday we went to look at Slattery House, an old farmhouse that operates as a restaurant, but only on weekends. We drove down the driveway a bit, but did not get out and walk around, respecting the owner’s privacy.

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Slattery House, near Goomalling

We were on our way to Oak Park, a local picnic area with self guided interpretive walks. It was quite interesting and we enjoyed walking around and having a picnic in the area.

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Oak Park

Afterwards we drove to the nearby town of Dowerin. We had been told there was a bakery in the town, but our drive around the streets did not find one. We stopped at an information area and took photos. Stephen read the billboard information.

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Rusty, the Tin Dog of Dowerin

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An imitation Terracotta Warrior in a sort of meditation park, with Buddahs, etc. Not sure how the warrior fitted into that.

In the evening we had our usual Jack Daniels and coke, with chips. We sat outside of the kitchen area in sunshine and were reasonably comfortable. Stephen had made friends with the person managing the caravan park (temporarily) and arranged that we didn’t have to leave until 11.00 a.m. We made it just in time.

Our first stop on Wednesday morning was in Northam. We found that the area near the riverbank was set up for day use by RVs, and were able to get fresh water for the tap and plug into electricity. Stephen went off to do his Centrelink reporting and I did some shopping. By the time we got back we decided it was lunchtime.

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The Avon, Northam, Western Australia

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RV Day Park, Northam, Western Australia

When we arrived at Mum’s place, where we planned to spend Wednesday night, we found it difficult to get the caravan into place even with the caravan movers. We wanted to turn it around to get it into the ‘go’ position, and nearly got the jockey wheel bogged in soft earth. Anyway, after much struggle we got everything set up and plugged into power and water. There was some dripping from the tap, so we didn’t leave the water on.

I cooked tea using our vegetables and some meat from Joy’s freezer.

The next day Mum had an appointment at 1.10 p.m. at Midland Hospital. I was feeling tired, so rang up to cancel. The occupational therapist rang later and sort of had the appointment over the phone. The hospital is supposed to be getting in touch with me to set up a time for a home visit. Unfortunately, they will probably ring Mum, so I hope she thinks to write it down immediately.

We got home in time to have a rest and go to the first choir meeting with Raelene back. It was good to see her, but we are all hoping she will make a firm commitment to get us ready for the Dunsborough Songfest in November.

On Friday I had a checkup on my expensive tooth with Dr Calder’s surgery. No problems found. We went to a Kent Street lunch, having seniors’ specials, and good conversation. In the evening Ray and Eversley came to tea and we watched the 1953 film of Julius Ceasar, with Marlon Brando as Marc Anthony. Very good, if a bit long. We really enjoyed having them and found a way of setting up the lounge room so that each of us had our own armchair.

On Saturday I cleaned the caravan, washed the bedding, and set things up for our next trip away in two weeks. I am leaving the fridge on with some of the longer term food in it. In the evening we went to a Beethoven concert. Stephen had been offered cheap tickets through WASO. Ian and Marianne were sitting a few seats behind and we were able to chat with them.

On Sunday Marie and Geoff came and we organised an itinerary for the first week, at least, with a rough idea for places to do and things to see on the way south. We also discussed Robyne’s idea of taking Mum away for a few days. Marie said she would talk with Robyne about it and rang her later in the day. Robyne got angry with both of us, and I was quite upset. Matt was here, so Stephen tried to distract him from what was happening.

This morning I came up with the idea of Robyne coming to Eneabba, our first stop, with us. There is a guided wildflower walk and probably other things to see. She would have one full day, driving up with us on the Monday and then home of Wednesday. This way, she gets a holiday without having to look after Mum. Robyne was very pleased and I’ve booked a cabin for her as well as two caravan sites for us. Which makes me feel a lot better. I know she was wanting a holiday, but we didn’t feel that taking Mum away on her own was a good idea. It hasn’t worked in the past and things are far more difficult now.

I’ve also booked us into the Tudor Caravan Park at Kalbarri for three nights. Marie and Geoff will handle the booking at Monkey Mia. It is a RAC run caravan park, so we will get discounts.

 

 

 

Goomalling

Notes from the last week or so are in my offline journal as I want to keep this one for our travels.

I forgot to attach the battery cable after checking that the lights were working. We could hear it on the road and had to stop on Sheperton Road in a bus stop to fix it. Two buses came by whilst we were there, I hope they did not find it too inconvenient.

This morning we set out at about 9.00 a.m. Although we had done most of the preparation on Saturday and Sunday, there were still a few things to do. We woke up at 6.00 a.m. and Stephen was first in the shower.

We took the route up through Toodyay, which gave us a chance to stop at the bakery for morning tea (a shared pastie and our choice of coffee or chai latte). We sat on the balcony and wondered how Goomalling would compare to Toodyay as a place to take a mini break. Apart from that, we had one stop along the way, just brief.

When we arrived at the caravan park we were given a choice of where to park, so chose a place with lawn as well as a platform for the caravan. We checked out the toilets and showers which seemed very cold at that time of day. We put up our new rear awning, with a bit of a struggle as we didn’t look up the instructions first. Not too difficult as we got the hang of it. Of course, Ken Peachy staff had shown us how, but that was a few weeks ago.

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Caravan with both awnings

Our closest neighbour has a large dog, and has set up a little fence to keep him contained. The dog doesn’t know whether to protect his caravan by seeming aggressive when we go by, or seek our attention so we will pet him. We err on the side of caution and keep away.

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Don’t fence me in

We had a rest after setting up, then after a cup of tea, went for a walk around the town.

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Goomalling, Place of Possums.

The possum theme comes up again…

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Goomalling Shield

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The old schoolhouse

As with other small towns in Australia, the locals appear to take great pride in their town. There are sculptures along one side of the main street and many old building have been renovated and put to use.

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I couldn’t work out what this one was about, but it’s very attractive.

The tiles appear to have been made by local children.

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Detail from the sculpture above

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The local fire station had lots of gnomes and other creatures in the yard

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One of the old houses

We did some music practice on our ukes whilst enjoying a Jack Daniels and coke, then I went to have my shower. I had checked out the further ablution block which was newer than the one closer to us. It has ensuite style individual bathrooms. This proved the best option for my shower and elevated this caravan park to 5 stars!