Fremantle Mini Break

On Saturday we went to see The Sourceror, the first G&G collaboration operetta. Most of the singers weren’t that good, but there were some very good comic scenes and the chorus sounded really good. I was a bit doubtful of going to two shows in one day, the second being in Fremantle in the evening. So, I pursuaded Stephen that we should stay in Fremantle overnight. The second show was memorial to the Indigenous Workers’ Strike of 1946 (is that the year?). We could order a meal, so that was tea taken care of, and I booked the Fremantle Caravan Park about 5 kms away.

After the G&S show at the Dolphin we headed to the caravan park to check in. They have a little enclave for campervans and we liked the setup. We backed in, but decided to drive into the site when returning later as it was easier and would mean we wouldn’t have the morning sun streaming into the van through the sliding door.

We enjoyed the whole evening, meeting up with Eversley, who had confirmed about the meal availability and booked us a table. For $20 we had a generous sized roast each and stewed apple and oats desert. The desert was so healthy that we all agreed that it felt like we were having our breakfast, but it was still appreciated. There were two other Working Voices choir members there and they joined us at our table, which contributed to the enjoyment of the evening.

The acted parts of the presentation helped to tell the story. There was some original music for the show and they finished the night with the Whitefella Paul Kelly’s song ‘From little things big things grow’ and we all sang along. Indigenous folk from the Pilbara where the strike took place had come for the show.

Normally we avoid alcohol if we have to drive, but over the course of the evening we shared a couple of small bottles of cider. The short drive to the caravan park was accomplished without incident. I used the park showers and we plugged the van into power. That was about it for set up.

We had a good night’s sleep and got away just about on time. We wanted to spend a little time actually at the beach, since the disadvantage of the caravan park is that it is about 2 kms away from the ocean. We tried the North Mole, but it was closed off for some reason. There were about three signs about the closure, one would have done, together with the locked gate across the road. Perhaps it comes under several different authorities.

We drove along the road towards Cottesloe and snagged a good spot overlooking the sea. There were lots of people at the beach, but despite the warmth it wasn’t an ideal day with soft clouds bringing out the stingers and the beach littered with seaweed after last week’s storms. The water did not seem inviting and more people were on the beach or SUP boards than in the ocean. I made us coffees and we had some muffins that I made a couple of days ago. We felt very blessed and got lots of looks from people – hopefully just admiring our setup. The cafes were pretty busy with long waits for coffee. It was good to be independant.

At about midday we drove home. Matt came in the evening and we had a cake that Eversley had brought to our choir meetup on Thursday, which wasn’t needed for supper as we had so much food, including another cake. Matt had four little slices, Stephen and I had two. The choir meetup was in South Fremantle on Thursday evening, another reason why I wanted to stay in Freo on Saturday night, I didn’t fancy the long drive home again, especially without being able to have an afternoon nap. If we hadn’t been staying nearby we might have slipped away early from the show.

Nanga Music Festival 2021

Need to blog about the weekend. I was actually doing a Youtube video, but I’m not very happy about the video from my iPhone, probably due to automatic HDR, and I find it annoying. It’s now switched off, but it was a bit late for good quality video.

However, we set off on Friday in the late morning and made a first stop at Serpentine near the roadhouse for lunch. Their toasted sandwiches are pretty good. We arrived in Dwellinup at about 2.00 p.m., or perhaps even earlier, but waited in town until about 10 to 5.00 pm as the organisers had asked us to NOT arrive early as we clog up the road waiting in line. It was fairly easy to get in and we were very fortunate in being allocated a little park up a bit away from the other vans, with the path to Currawong on one side and the internal gravel road on the other. Still, it was quiet overnight, which is the main thing.

The organisers had booked mainly local artists, with one group from South Australia, and we felt the overall quality was a good as any in years past, so we really do have some fantastic performers. It’s good to give them work.

We booked in for evening meals as that helps with socialising. At first we felt there was hardly anyone we knew at the festival, but over time we connected with more and more people. There were enough Working Voices choir members to form a little group to perform in the open mike session on Sunday afternoon. We chose songs that are fun as well as having a climate change message so that hopefully we were entertaining.

Coming back to the van late at night it was very cold indeed. The first night we tried the option of lighting a gas burner on the stove to warm things up, but Saturday and Sunday night we used our little ceramic fan heater on the lowest setting. I had tested it at night before we left and after an initial drawing down of power it seems to settle. Having the BMB-712 to measure the effect was extremely useful as I don’t think we would have felt at all comfortable if we had been relying on the voltage reading. We only used it for about half an hour, but it took the chill off.

Apart from that, the weather was delightful, partly cloudy, but quite a lot of sunshine as well. On Sunday after singing we took a walk down to the river with some friends.

There are lots of traditional sections to the festival programme and we enjoyed all of the familiar steps in the process. We bought raffle tickets and hoped to not win the main prize, a painting, and were also not successful with all the subsequent draws. Not that it wasn’t a nice painting, but we don’t really have any more room on our walls.

On Monday morning we took breakfast at the new cafe attached to the Visitors Centre. We had already decided to bypass the cafe we usually go to, just as well as our friends reported it was closed. We enjoyed chatting with them and as they had secured a table indoors it was great to be invited to join them. Afterwards we were sort of bailed up by one of the other Festival participants for a session of him oversharing and going down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories about COVID. The person said he found it difficult to make friends and people did not contact him after meeting even though phone numbers/email addresses were exchanged. By the time we escaped we understood why this might happen. It is sad because he really is a nice person.

On the way home we stopped in at Serpentine, but this time went out to the dam. We had had a shared cooked breakfast at the cafe, and as we often do, then had our cereal and fruit for lunch. It was very wet and cold, but we still managed to get a walk to the waterfalls and I took photos of soggy kangaroos. They didn’t appear to be in the least bothered by the rain and cold, but we don’t speak their language and perhaps they were complaining to each other.

All in all, a good weekend. I’ve just checked with Mike at Ken Peachy regarding our heater. When I called in to see if we could fit a heater/hot water system in the van he wasn’t there. He doesn’t know if it was ordered or not and will check for me. I didn’t want to seem impatient, but it has been five weeks now and I’m so glad I rang because it appears that nothing was happening!

Home again

As we had done about 300 kms to arrive in Katanning it meant that we only had to drive about 150 kms per day for two days to get home. We stopped in Narrogin at the Railway Dam for lunch, but decided we hadn’t travelled far enough for the day and pushed on to a nature reserve just north of Pingelly to spend the night.

We were the only people there, but could see sheep in a field in the distance and the mozzies were very friendly. We managed to keep them out of the van with screens and perhaps our use of incense, which we kept burning until we closed the sliding door. We had our trusty electronic insect zapper handy as it is very good for mosquitos, but not so good for flies and smaller bugs. Plenty of little black things were hanging around the ceiling and we had to spray to get rid of them.

The view from our van at our overnight camping spot

Now that’s a mozzie deterrent!

And this is our other mozzie deterrent
Rest area north of Pingelly
A fairly healthy meal
plant based burger, onion and sweet potato cooked in olive oil, lettuce and tomatos
morning fog

It was quite foggy in the morning, which created a nice atmosphere.

We stopped for lunch at a roadside rest area and went looking for wildflowers afterwards, of course.

The journey home was uneventful, though we had a bad experience at the Brookton dump point as it was completely full and we couldn’t empty our toilet. The dump point is located next to the little caravan park and we concluded that it must already have been reported to the Council. The caravan park is being improved with a camp kitchen and some little chalets, but is still very cheap for camping, especially for seniors and other concession holders.

Our tradition on arriving home is to have a cup of tea before tackling the unpacking. Stephen put away all the food and we helped with each other’s stuff. Lessons learned in living closely together is that both chipping in gets things done and out of the way.

The fact that we are having quite heavy spring rains at the moment has meant we are quite reconciled to being at home for a few days. I love the rain – but it does make getting out for walks a bit challenging.

Ah, Katanning! One of our favourite overnight stops.

We drove over 300 kms yesterday, just for this, the great feeling after a shared ‘big breakfast’ at the Dome in Katanning. Also for the in town free camping with dump point and water, of course.

We were trying to think about the highlights of the trip, and it’s hard to go past two days ago in the Fitzgerald River National Park. We made a rainy day into the best day of the trip by driving further into the park to enjoy views and wildflowers.

Also, we recall stopping by the side of the road on the way to Lake King and finding many wildflowers, unexpectedly. Our first night of the trip camping well off the main road in the bush. The Ravenshorpe experience, the Wildflower Show, and meeting someone who directed us to my grandparents house in the main street. Then camping on a wildflower trail recommended in a brochure. Camping at the beach in Hopetoun which remains a small village and not obviously touristy. Going to the pub to watch the Grand Final and chatting with a local couple. An guided evening wildflower walk with drinks and nibbles afterwards near Hopetoun. And then making the big effort to drive far enough to reach Katanning yesterday to enjoy breakfast this morning.

We have to arrive home Thursday night as Stephen only bought medication for 10 days and also has an appointment on Friday morning. But, we won’t have a let down feelin because we are going to the Nanga Music Festival next weekend. We will be home for about seven days, then off again for a few days of music. Just time to catch up with the washing😀

Does anyone know the name of this flower?

The Magic Kingdom – day 1 and 2

Yesterday was a ‘service day’ as we needed to fill up with water and fuel, dump our tanks and do some shopping. But first we went for a walk along the path that was formerly a railway line near where we were camping. It was cloudy, with a couple of very light showers.

The Magic Kingdom is the Fitzgerald National Park. As you turn into Hammersley Road you can see Mt Barren in the distance. Our campsite is just next to it. Soon after we arrived we had a thunderstorm. When it cleared we took a walk to the beach and as we contemplated walking to the next beach we heard some thunder and retreated to the van for a second thunderstorm. We gave up on the idea of a walk, which worked out well as I then felt like cooking up a meal that would result in at least one extra night of leftovers.

After a fairly energetic day we slept well through lots of rain during the night. There were lots of insects coming into the van as our side window insect screens do not appear to work very well. I taped up the top area but I think they might be coming through the sides.

This morning we once again relaxed and took our time having breakfast, etc. There is a hot shower at our campground as well as clean, non smelly toilets. We haven’t tried it yet, but have noticed other people using it. There are BBQs and a campers kitchen which is still being set up. However it provides a sheltered area for tent campers to use their own stoves.

As there was almost constant rain we decided to give up on going for a walk and instead took a drive through the park to the furtherest point of the bitumen road. Our first stop was a lookout with a little walk with views and lots of wildflowers. After lunch at Hammersley inlet and attempting a walk (we got quite wet) we drove back to the lookout for afternoon tea. Here we have good views and much better internet than at our campsite.

Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show: overnight amongst flowers and on to Hopetoun

On Thursday Stephen spent more time at the Ravensthorpe Exhibition learning more about plants. I did some shopping and then had coffee at the cafe with a view that is part of the shop.

As we hadn’t been able to book a wildflower bus tour and didn’t hold out much hope of the wait list, we drove out to a nearby rest area for lunch, then took a gravel road that was on the self drive list for wildflowers. It turned out to be a good move as we also found a place to stay for the night. We stopped there for a while to look at the flowers, then drove to a lookout. It was threatening rain and the view was a bit obscured. We thought about staying there for the night, then decided to go back to the designated camping ground (Coulter’s Camp). It is very sloped, but we still managed to find a fairly level spot. We were congratulating ourselves on the privacy when the first caravan arrived. In the end there were four vans altogether, but it is a large area and we still felt we had quite good privacy. These are some of the flowers around our camping area.

Yesterday we walked around exploring the area around the campsite before driving on to Hopetoun. The gravel road was in very good condition and we had no qualms about driving although I got some practice driving in manual. I have to say, it isn’t difficult in this van. It tells me when I have to change up a gear and still changes down without me intervening, and there’s no clutch of course. But, it does give me a bit more of a sense of control when going up and down steep parts of the road.

Our first stop near Hopetoun was the dump point, then down into the centre of town to find a drinking water tap. After a bit of scrounging around we found a labelled tap out on the groin near a boat ramp. Handy for boats, but with good access for us as well.

Water fillup in Hopetoun

The free camping area is close to the centre along a road parallel to the beach. We can’t actually see the sea from our spot, but had the sound of waves last night to lull us to sleep. At around 3.45 p.m. we set off to meet up with our guide for a wildflower walk. After a bit of phoning up we were able to meet up with the tour. We enjoyed the group experience walking along a fire break and examining the flowers, plants and some fauna. At the end there was supposed to be a sunset with our drinks and nibbles, but it had been cloudy most of the day and the sun was obsured. Still, they had organised the drinks and nibbles into little individual cardboard platters and were generous with the wine. As we only had a short distance to drive we indulged a bit.

The cloud cover meant we didn’t have very much light for photos, but I went for it anyway.

Returning along the road for our drinks and nibbles

Stephen had left a little improvised flag on our spot in the free camping area and we were able to get back to our original place. We’ve done the same this morning. We are at the laundromat and I’m writing this whilst waiting for the clothes to be washed and dried. Hot showers are also advertised, and Stephen thought he could get a shower whilst waiting on the clothes, but it turns out to be a bit further down the road. He doesn’t actually shower as I do in our little bathroom and it is time, or past time, for him to wash his hair. We drove to the Tavern/Bistro next to the caravan park. I had a coffee whilst Stephen had his shower, then we had hamburgers for lunch.

We have another night here in Hopetoun before going into the Fitzgerald National Park for two nights. Then we have to home on Thursday night, so have three days to drive back to Perth. It should be enough. Our flag was ignored at the camping area, but we’ve been able to get another place and it isn’t a problem.

On our first day in Ravensthorpe we spoke with someone from the community centre who remembered Bill and Hazel Macdonald. She and her husband had arrived from Victoria and decided to stay, taking up a business next door to their house. Later, when my grandparents decided to move back to Perth her father in law bought their house. Thus, she was able to describe the house and Stephen and I stopped outside to take photos before leaving town. The house was formerly a shop, hence the rather plain frontage.

Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show: a garden of delight

Whilst we were travelling yesterday on the Newdegate-Lake King Road we happened to stop to change drivers across the road from a beautiful wildflower garden, not deliberately planted, of course, but the abundance and variety made it feel like a garden.