Potters Gorge, Wellington Dam

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.

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We woke up to a sunny morning.

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Mt Chadulup: climbing up and falling down

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.

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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.

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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.

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Our Winnie

She wasn’t the only Winnie at the caravan park, there was another one very similar on a Mercedes Sprinter van body.

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Windy Harbour

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.

Greenbushes to Northcliffe

Yesterday morning we got up late and took our time over breakfast. We filled our tank with water on our way out of the camping area. A young woman asked me if the van was difficult to drive. She had been looking at a Sunseeker van for extended travel and been talked out of it by the salesperson as being too small for what she had in mind. I assured her that I find the van quite easy to drive, but I am used to driving vans (usually the Toyota vans for transporting wheelchairs). As I look around our space this morning, it’s clear that for longer trips this van is ideal. We have some washing on the small drying rack in the living area and can still move around and reach everything we need.

Stephen asked about the feeling in the town about the mine. She said that on the whole people were positive though there were complaints about dust and noise, of course. However the mining company does a lot for the town in terms of funding public works, which goes a long way towards reconciling locals. And there are the jobs.

Our first stop after leaving the campsite was to visit a minesite viewing platform on the edge of town. There is a path leading upwards and a roofed and fenced viewing area to an unused section of the mine.

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minesite (1 of 1)

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We couldn’t resist this photo opportunity!

Our next stop was in Bridgetown where we followed the signs to caravan parking and found not only shade, but power. We plugged in and switched the fridge to AC whilst we went and had morning tea (coffee, chai latte and a huge savoury muffin – shared). We then went to the local IGA and bought what we needed and some extras as well, it is such a lovely shop.

As we got down the road towards Manjimup I noticed a car and caravan behind us and was wondering if it was Marie and Geoff. We stopped in Manjimup, after following Geoff around to a suitable parking spot. It turned out to have the dump point, very handy.

They followed us down the lesser road which leads directly to Northcliffe. On the way we felt a couple of thumps on the van, the second one particularly loud. When I checked later there is a hole down at the bottom of the passenger side panel next to the car door. It must have been a very strong impact to have done it. Thank goodness it is on the edge and probably doesn’t need repairing. Maybe just one of my famous duct tape patches.

After meeting up and having something to eat in the town we went our separate ways, us to Sid’s Camp and they to the caravan park. Glenn is with us and needs a cabin of his own and Sid’s camp is a BYO accommodation place. We are paying about $14 less per night for a site with power and water. The best shower/toilet bathroom is a very short walk away from our site and we took advantage by having late afternoon showers.

I did some handwashing. There is a laundromat in town, but as it involves waiting around for washing to be done it seemed simpler to do a few things by hand. We haven’t linked up the water hose and have been refilling our 5 litre water bottle as needed for washing, drinking, etc.

The road into the camp is a badly corrugated gravel road and we had to take it very slowly. We are staying here two nights and plan to spend the last night at the caravan park.

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The benches of Greenbushes are adorned with wise sayings. The toilet wall art from the Greenbushes Pool camp was also quite lovely.

A Day in Greenbushes

Yesterday morning we walked into the town from our campsite. It was a bit less than two kilometres, going slightly uphill most of the way. I saw a couple of kangaroos, speeding away from me in the distance. It was a coolish day, but we covered up against the sun anyway with long sleeves and jeans.

The first stop was the Discovery Centre, basically a propaganda exercise on the mine and forrestry in the area. There is farming as well, but that wasn’t part of the disply. It was very well done, with an introductory video about the town (not too long), a mine ‘experience’ of being underground, with buttons to push for different interpretive stuff.

inside the mine

There was a diarama of the local bush and wildlife. The actual bush is much more beautiful I have to say. Then a section on the forestry, including the technology. They have introduced two species of trees for harvesting, the pinus radiartis (pine trees) from California and Tasmanian Blue Gum.

After breezing through I went to the cafe for a cup of tea and Stephen spent another hour on the exhibits. This is normal, of course. There was a $5.00 entry fee, which we were happy to pay.

We came home for lunch and spent the afternoon sitting outside the van as it was fairly warm and we are parked in full sun for most of the day. This is excellent for the solar. There was a breeze all day and it was very pleasant. Around 6.00 p.m. we went for another walk.

Both evenings here have been disappointing in terms of sunsets as there is no cloud to pick up the evening light. However, we are still in love with this location and hope to return.

The little town has many old wooden houses and a church. Apparently there is a Catholic Church and a Uniting Church, but we only saw the Anglican Church.

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Anglican Church
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Evening Walk

Today we plan to go to the viewing point for the mine, head to Bridgetown to get cash and some fruit, then nead down to Northcliffe. We will be able to fill the van with water before we leave here, but will have to wait until later in the day to empty the toilet.

Travelling Day: Victoria Park to Greenbushes Pool

Our first stop was at Baldivis for a coffee. Although we had been on the road for less than an hour you need to factor in that we had spent a couple of hours after breakfast packing up and loading the van.

Our next stop was our usual one at the John Tognela rest area where we had lunch and a half hour nap. We like this place for the pine scented trees and flushing toilets. One caravan was set up for camping.

Our next stop, very brief, was at Dardanup for our favourite German Rye sourdough Bread.

Then on to Greenbushes for an overnight stop. Last time we stayed at the sports ground, but this time we thought we would try the Greenbushes Pool. This is spring fed and apparently safe for swimming. For a while after we arrived we had the sound of kids playing in the water, but it is getting quieter.

Here we have flushing toilets, a BBQ area, and a playground. A notice to Grey Nomads advised us of exciting activities in the town, including singing, crafts, computer skills and woodworking. It would be possible to walk into town from here. It’s so lovely that we are thinking of staying for a second night. If we need water we can get it at the sports ground. We followed the little walk trail around the pool, which has signposts at various points.

The turtle accepts donations from campers.

Our camping spot is up a short gravel road where we overlook the pool. There is a lot of birdlife. It’s cool this evening and we are wearing long sleeves, jeans and socks as we sit outside.

Preparation: Day 1

Today we went to Roleystone to pick up the Winnie. She’s sitting at the bottom of the driveway on the front verge waiting to be packed up for leaving. We have one important job to do – to refill at least one of the gas bottles. Otherwise, it’s just packing our clothes, swimming gear, gadgets and food. I have lists for each section.

At Roleystone the Winnie is under a good shade tree for most of the day, with enough full sun to keep the solar system working. It probably stays cool. Going out a few minutes ago (about 6.00 p.m.) it was about 35 degrees inside. All the hatches are open, the fan has been on, sucking hot air out, and the two little windows in the C are open as well. We do the best we can.

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The Island

Yesterday we enjoyed having our last quiet day before the building recommences. About 6.00 p.m. we went to explore more along the Swan River to a place we saw on our last walk. We don’t know what the island is called, but it is near the new development Ascot Waters, opposite the Ascot Racecourse. As it was evening, the photos are rather grainy, but still, we were excited to be able to cross the bridge from Ascot Waters to a park like island.

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We were surprised to find that the centre of the island is cleared into an open field. The bush part is just around the edges. Rather than being a problem, this gives a wonderful sense of a large space for walking. There are city glimpses, but most of the view is of the field, the surrounding bush and the sky. We had clouds last night which made for more interesting photography experience.

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Local residents can see birdlife from their homes. These swans swam towards us, suggesting that people are feeding them, hopefully with food that is suitable for swans, not bread.

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This marina is surrounded on three sides by apartments and townhouses.
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We don’t know what she represents – perhaps just a conversation piece.
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There are pockets of water surrounded by vegetation which look good for birdlife
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another view of the open space with walkways
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In the distance up there is another bridge, just a footbridge. The bridge we crossed is a road and there are a couple of carparks actually on the island.

These magpies refused to talk whilst I was filming. They did not appear to be disturbed about me coming close to take photos.

We got home late and had toast from our home made bread with salad and scrambled eggs. Day one of 2019 sorted!