As usual we had a bit of a disturbed night here until about 12.30 a.m., then quiet enough to sleep through for the rest of the night. The fridge was still working on gas when I switched it off. This morning the flame has been blowing out in the wind, so have switched to 12volt as we are getting plenty of sun.
At about 7.15 a.m. we noticed a noisy generator next door, with a caravan in the next set of bays. When we investigated it turned out to be a pop up cafe. They are doing a range of foods and icecreams as well as coffees. I had a flat white after our swim made in my own cup.
Eversley, Geoff and Lizzie joined us for morning tea and because we didn’t know about the pop up cafe we had already arranged to bring food and drinks. Geoff and Lizzie have moved to the campervan, which Lizzie can easily drive. It is large enough to use for short trips, though they are planning a couple of weeks away, including going to the Nannup Music Festival.
We admired each others’ vans, but for the moment we are satisfied with our much larger van, especially for long trips.
Stephen and I had a swim after our morning cuppas. It was cool outside, oddly making the water seem less cold. We had a lovely splash around before meeting up with the others. As we had lots of shade we set up outside our van rather than on the grass. Eversley’s car was next to our van which left enough space for the five of us.
Lizzie and I took the photos, so there is one with her and one with me in the group.
They went for a swim after morning tea and we had went for a walk along the beach.
It may be next summer before we are all available to come here again. Geoff and Lizzie would like to spend the night in their van and Eversley is working out whether she can cope with sleeping in her car. If we had her in the middle it should feel quite safe.
We really like the beach here and it is relatively uncrowded compared with Mullaloo and the animal exercise beach around the point. We walked up to take a look.
This was why they bought the little boat into shore. Matt has done this type of water skiiing, but only on the river.
We came here at around 5.00 pm to spend the night. We went for a walk along the beach before our evening meal. There is a westerly this evening and it is much cooler than last time.
We’ve parked away from the grassed area as that can get quite busy overnight with cars arriving and leaving, plus is a premier spot for people arriving in the morning. We’ve taken one of the longer bays on the end of a row. A small car can fit behind us.
Stephen has been involved with WASO chorus during the past week. Although they only had a small segment in the concert they had been having rehearsals each night from Tuesday, with a performance Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Eversley and I had tickets for Saturday afternoon, which meant we were free on Friday night. So, Eversley had her first overnight in the Winnie and I had my first experience of sleeping in the overcab bed.
It was very hot during the day and we decided to follow the pattern of leaving quite late in the day. I picked E up at her place in Gwelup, then we drove to Mullaloo Beach, ordered fish and chips, and spent half an hour there waiting for them to be cooked. We went over the road and sat on the grass. As people passed us with their fish and chip orders we asked them what number they were, and this gave us a way of timing the orders.
We took the fish and chips back to Pinaroo Point and found a spot near the lawn to park. We took our meal down to the beach to watch the sunset. On a warm evening (we still had a warm easterly blowing), it was quite heavenly even though I managed to get sand on my fish. We had a tiny bottle of bubbly to share. We walked down to the water to paddle and wash our greasy fingers afterward.
I set up the bed in the front part of the overhead cab, pushing all the stuff we keep stored to the back. With both windows open this made for a fairly comfortable spot, though the foam mattress is very hard. We went to bed at about 9.30 as we were so tired, with the strong, warm easterly wind still blowing and quite high humidity. It didn’t cool down after midnight. I had the ladder set up to reach the bed and climbing up and down at night would be the main negative about sleeping up there. A foam sleeping pad would make it a comfortable bed.
Eversley had bought her own sheets and pillow for the lovely french bed in the corner. This has a very good mattress bought by a previous owner of the Winnie for $1,700.
We got up at about 7.30 and had tea/coffee before going over to the beach for a swim. It was very calm with only a few swimmers and fishermen out. However, people had begun to bring their jet skis down and there was a section of the beach already set aside for them. We were aware of small waves coming from them as they sped through the water.
Then it was time for showers, followed by breakfast. We headed home at about 10.30 a.m. We were glad to take advantage of the unusual situation of Stephen being busy with singing, which he loves, and me wanting to camp at the beach overnight and wanting company.
On Friday morning I went over to Ken Peachy Caravans to get a quote for installing a 12V fridge. I was hoping to get their recommendation and that proved to be a false hope. However, after lots of research we decided on a fridge that will suit us and also them in terms of having a installation frame.
We ordered the fridge ourselves as it was on sale with free shipping to private customers, and it will be delivered directly to them. The fridge has an upright side opening fridge section at the top and a drawer freezer at the bottom, each running on a separate compressor. We are able to fit a slightly larger 12V fridge in the space where the three way fridge sits as it takes up less space and we also found an unused six inches at the bottom of the cabinet.
The Winnie is booked in for the 20th February to have the new fridge installed. That allowed five days for shipping, plus a couple of extra, as advised by KP staff.
For our night away we used a combination of cooler bags and the fridge freezer which I had managed to get fairly cool on gas before putting in two freezer bricks. The only thing in there was yogurt for breakast. The wind was very strong, with gusts coming from the rear of the van, which meant that the flame wasn’t blown out immediately, but with the shifts in wind direction it was pretty sure to blow out if I didn’t switch off.
This is quite a change to my normal assessment of having a hot summer. We are spending more time at the beach and it is really making a difference. Of course, we have excellent air conditioning at home, but with the heat making it difficult to go outside we can still find it difficult. Last summer wasn’t particularly hot and it has taken until February for things to heat up this year.
The pink glow behind the van is an indicator of the humidity in the air. It was a little uncomfortable for sleeping, despite the wind, until the early morning.
This week is quite busy for Stephen with rehearsals for a WASO concert from Tuesday onwards. The choir is not singing for the whole concert, and rehearsals aren’t very long, but still involve going out each night. Fortunately it is all happening at the Concert Hall which is readily accessible by bus. The forecast is for temperatures in the high thirties for the next few days.
Despite the busyness, we decided to spend last night at a different beach location which we checked out when we went to Mullaloo Beach. I picked up the Winnie in the morning and in the afternoon we brought it up on the driveway to fill the water tank and load our stuff. When I took the Subaru to the caravan park I went to the service station for petrol and after picking up the Winnie refuelled her as well.
We were heading up the freeway at around 5.00 p.m. and although there was a lot of traffic the journey was fairly stress free. On arrival we found a good spot to park and had ‘happy hour’. A man approached us to ask about the motorhome experience and in the course of discussion said that the rangers were OK with people staying overnight and a woman had been staying in her truck camper for a few nights.
The discussion lasted a while, which meant we were hungry and didn’t get out for a walk until after our evening meal. My photos are quite grainy as there wasn’t much light.
We parked nose into the parking bay so that the westerly wind was on the opposite side to the fridge. This worked well until later in the evening when the easterly started. The flame blew out and our fridge, having just about reached 5 degrees had to sit for the rest of the night. Stephen and I have discussed getting a 12volt fridge and we have an appointment with Ken Peachy on Friday to get a quote. A 12/240v fridge can run on far less electricity than a three way fridge.
We can run our present fridge on 12v during the day when we have lots of sunshine, and a bit of driving charges the battery fully. But, we can’t leave it on 12v overnight or parked in shade because of the high draw. And it simply doesn’t work very well on any of it’s three power sources when the temperatures outside are high. We have a fridge thermometre which gives us the sad news when the temperature goes above 5 degrees. And there are those times when we have to remember to switch it off overnight in cold weather to prevent it from freezing our salads and drinks. We have battled the fridge for 2.5 years and we feel its enough!
It was still quite windy this morning, but we decided to head down for a swim anyway. The beach had a quick drop off just after entering the water and we were able to enjoy swimming whilst staying close to the shore.
We showered in the van giving the water heater about 10 minutes to take the edge off the cold water. A relaxed breakfast, then we packed up to head to Gwelup for the writing group. We were late, but it didn’t matter as the participants were well away with talking about their writing projects. It was very interesting and we feel inspired to keep on writing.
I was going to return the van and pick up the Subaru this afternoon, but it was hot and I felt tired. Stephen pointed out that I can drive past the caravan park on my way to visit Mum tomorrow to do the exchange.
We’ve been busy since we returned home from our trip to Northcliffe. We watched a rising moon from our driveway one night.
On January 26th we went up to Albany Highway to a car yard to watch the fireworks. We couldn’t be bothered to go closer, but we still enjoyed something of the experience, albeit in a very Victoria Park way (standing in a car yard overlooking another car yard with fireworks low on the horizon.
Very hot weather was forecast for the rest of the Australia Day weekend. Eversley organised for a group of us to meet yesterday morning at Mullaloo Beach. Stephen and I went up the night before to see whether we could get away with staying in the car park overnight.
We couldn’t find a level parking bay, and settled for one next to trees with a north/south slope. This allowed us to have our head higher than our feet in bed.
Getting away involved some preparations. We had Matt to tea on Friday night and I experimented with cooking a chicken in the pressure cooker. It sits on a trivet in the pot, allowing the fat and other juices to run out. We cooked the vegetables in the oven and when the pot cooking was finished we put the chicken in the oven to brown. The result was a beautiful tender chicken with browned skin.
Matt ate a big meal and we counted this as a success.
The chicken served us well for a couple more evening meals. On Sunday I made up a salad, a fruit salad and a plate of chicken for our evening meal. We took a little tub of fruit flavoured yogart, plus chocolate. We didn’t need to take food for breakfast on Monday morning and, apart from our evening meal, we only needed to take our various tea bags and a little container of long life milk for my morning cuppa.
We headed off at about 4.15 and took the long way up Wanneroo Road to Mullaloo. This was due to navigation errors and trying to avoid a hill start in East Perth. It is much easier to go on the Freeway. However, by the time we arrived the car park was clearing and we had a choice of parking bays.
Our first thing was to have a ‘happy hour’ of diet cola, some crisps and salted almonds. We had small serves so as not to spoil our evening meal. We were in stealth mode, so did not use the slide out. This makes things a bit more cramped and is a reminder that being in a small van is not as nice as being in the larger space.
Then we went for a walk to check out the area. There are a number of cafes and a hotel. We walked down to the beach and sat on the sand to watch the sun setting. There were no clouds, but the evening was mild and the wind had dropped which made for a lovely experience. We needed light jumpers even though the day had been hot.
We walked along a little further, then slowly went back to the Winnie. We noticed a tree in bloom on the way. Plus a very ugly house, made uglier by a messy power pole in front of it.
There is an extensive picnic area with pine trees, picnic shelters and beautiful green lawn.
We enjoyed our evening meal and eventually settled in for the night. We were undisturbed and the emergency plan of going to a nearby church parking area wasn’t needed.
We were to meet our friends at 8.30 a.m. for a swim, but after a leisurely awakening and cups of tea we felt ready for our swim about 7.45. Afterwards it was back to the Winnie where I had a shower and Stephen just got dressed, I guess the swim was having a bath, or something. Our friends arrived before I was dressed, so hid behind the screen door wrapped in a towel.
When we were ready we went to the cafe to wait for the others to have their swim. There was Eversley, Joan and her son Philip, plus Colin and Robyn. The cafe was noisy, but Stephen and I had a very nice cooked breakfast to share, plus a good catchup with friends, so we enjoyed it despite having to speak loudly to be heard. Philip lives in Germany, but was brought up in Australia and travelled to other states with his family as a child. We were fortunate to meet him as he is only here for a short time.
The others had to leave at about 11.00, we decided to stay for a while. There was a cool breeze and the inside of the van was a comfortable temperature. When we arrived home at about 1.30 it was about 40 degrees, such a contrast.
We had Eversley and Rae over in the evening to watch a movie. I had chosen “First Reformed”, because it appeared to be about some of our common interests. It was a failure in a sense – the ending was very unsatisfactory. However, we had our shared meal afterwards and debriefed as much as possible. Eversley said she had a disturbing dream last night, probably related to the film – clearly we didn’t get rid of the discomfort. However, it was lovely to see Rae again, she has had some physical problems and is using a walker at the moment, but is undaunted.
This morning we took the Winnie to Queens Grove Caravan Park for storage. This is a new thing for us, it usually goes to Roleystone. However, we will probably continue to have some very hot weather and I am hoping we get a chance to stay overnight at a beach again. QG is only about six kilometres from here. There is a cost, but it is quite reasonable. They gave us a bay near the office where they can keep an eye on it. We left hatches open slightly and it is close enough to go and close them if we have heavy rain.
We last stayed here in March, 2018. We drove in from Collie that time. This time we were coming from close to Donnybrook. We drove through Gnomesville, along a bumpty section of gravel road, over a bridge below the dam with a huge spray of water from the dam resulting in a shining creek the other side of the bridge, past the lookout and kiosk and down into the forest again to our campsite.
In March there were few campers, this time there are lots, including kids. When we arrived we were very aware of the children and have a sleeping tent close to our van. I expected them to be quite noisy this morning, but there was no sound whatsoever.
Our spot, site 13, is right on the end of our little street with no obstruction to the water. This was purely by chance. We were disappointed last time when our original view was blocked by someone camping lower down. It’s beautiful here. As before, we find it a really good campsite on the expansive Wellington Dam. There is a dump point and rubbish bins just outside the camp, very convenient. The long drop toilets are clean and there is rain water available, it must be boiled vigorously if you want to drink it.
We booked online before coming here, a necessity in summer, not so necessary in winter.
We haven’t had good sunsets on this trip and last night was no exception. It was still lovely to be here and nicer than the photos suggest.
We emptied the toilet cassette and filled up our water tank, then met with Marie, Geoff and Glenn at the cafe. I explored a little shop where I bought fresh bread made in Pemberton. Stephen and Geoff went to the museum, then Stephen went off on the sculputure walk which goes from the Tourist Information Centre.
We then headed out to Mt Chadulup with the intention of climbing up. First of all we had a picnic lunch, all in the van. Glenn has adopted the passenger seat as his, and we put both of the camping chairs inside for a comfortable ‘cafe’. We all had a little rest afterwards, led by the Hastings, of course, as it is our habit.
Marie and I thought we would go a short distance up the rock, but ended up going most of the way until we would have had to have scrambled over bare rock. We were high enough to have a view. The boys, of course, went the whole way and photos from the top were taken by Stephen on his iPhone.
The path was steep, with some gravel, compacted gravel and wooden walkways. It was fairly easy going, despite being steep in places. Going down, the loose gravel was very treacherous and I managed to slip and fell backwards, giving my head a thwack. Fortunately, I was well covered up in a hat, long sleeves and jeans. Geoff, concerned more for me than himself, managed to slip and fall a short time afterwards and suffered some grazing. I expect we will both have bruises in a day or so. Otherwise, we counted ourselves lucky to not get really hurt and continued down. Marie showed me how to walk at the edge of the path where the gravel finished and I managed the rest of it without mishap.
We had a cup of tea back at the Cafe Winnie, then headed back to camp. Stephen and I moved to the Round Tu it caravan park where Marie and Geoff are staying. We have a bautiful spot amongst peppermints and next door to the toilets. We are fully rigged up, with running water as well as power, which feels luxurious.
In the evening we went to to the Northcliffe Workers Club for a meal. It took a while to be served, but worth it. Our roast chicken serves were more than we could eat, very tasty and tender. We were very tired on return to camp. We watched the ABC news on iview, as we have done a few times on this trip.
Our plan today is to head north today. Potters Gorge, a National Park camping area is roughly level with Bunbury and a beautiful place to camp. We had to book, and fortunately were able to get a spot for one night. Our plan will be to drive back to Perth tomorrow.
Geoff and I are reporting no problems with bruising so far and no pain, apart from the grazes.
Some animals living at the caravan park.
She wasn’t the only Winnie at the caravan park, there was another one very similar on a Mercedes Sprinter van body.
We had an interesting day going down through the beautiful forest and heathland to Windy Harbour. We were chasing a view, so after morning tea at the main car park we followed the road around and eventually found a viewing platform with this:
I had thought we wouldn’t stay out for very long, but as time slipped away we decided to have lunch. Marie had made up sandwiches, but left them home because of me saying we would be back for lunch. Fortunately we had two minute noodles and some tuna and beans, which made a very nice lunch. We also shared the big jar of peaches from Bridgetown. Geoff and I did a quick and efficient washing up.
On the way back Stephen and I pulled into the car park for Mt Chudalup (need to check spelling). It’s a huge rock, surrounded by karri forest, and fortunately it is quite impressive from the car park as it was too late to walk to the top even if we were capable and we weren’t sure about that. We had a nap as soon as we arrived and it left us feeling quite refreshed.
We dropped in at the Workers Club to check it out as a venue for our last meal together. Should be fine. Then we went to visit Marie and Geoff to return their milk. We found a spot in the caravan park that looks fairly level where we will spend tonight.