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.

Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show: are we there yet?

South Newdegate, Rest Area near John Holland Road

We lingered in Kulin after using their dump point and water facilities, marvelling at their facilities for the free RV parking area. Flushing toilets and hot showers, no less, a nice park and a cafe across the road. Still, it was only 50 kms from our overnight area and we had to move on.

Kulin

We stopped at the Lake Grace lookout for lunch. The view wasn’t wonderful, the lake itself in the distance and mostly only visible from a little raised platform.

Lake Grace Lookout
Lake Grace

We stopped in Lake Grace for some fuel, then continued on our way. At about 3.00 pm I’d had enough of travelling. We found a camping area a little off the road. It was hot and we rested until about 5.00 pm, then took a little walk, rather an interesting name, the Jam patch Soak Walk. Where we are is not very nice woodlands, but the walk on the other side did have flowers and Stephen found some orchids when he stepped off the path for a moment.

On the Jam Soak walk
The road into our camping area. We are the only ones here.

It was even colder overnight than last night and the sun is very welcome to warm up our van a bit. Today we should reach Ravensthorpe, only about 150kms to go!

Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show 2021

Amazingly we got away yesterday and travelled about 200 kms to a roadside rest area just out of Corrigin. We were staying in Caversham for two nights over the weekend as we enjoyed the Guildford Songfest. We went home around 12:30 as we wanted to have time to rest before Matt arrived.

We had to reload all our stuff as I had taken out the bedding, including the mattress pad, and cleared out the pantry in preparation for the installation of a battery monitor. We managed to get the main stuff back in place with Matt watching. By the time he went home I was so tired that I went to bed early and slept pretty much through the night.

Which set me up well for all the work of packing clothes and food in the morning. I had put together the tech (cameras, etc. on Sunday afternoon.

We had a pleasant drive through sunny, but cool, weather, with stops for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. Our overnight spot is close to the main road, but partly hidden.there is a gravel road but we’ve only had one car use it.

This morning I decided on a battery challenge, using our electric kettle twice, coffee machine twice and milk frothier once. The batteries have not gone below 96%. It’s interesting to see the indication of remaining hours when using the kettle which is over 2000watts.

We have enough data access to stream YouTube videos, as well as everything else😃

Today we hope to get to Ravensthorpe.

To the North: Last night of the trip at Wannamal

Updated music to something more suitable.

We haven’t actually stayed at the Wannamal (Robert Hindmarsh) Rest Area but have looked in a couple of times. We wanted a peaceful night and the possibility of wildflowers and it turned out to be a good choice. From the van we could only see yellow flowering bushes, but in the morning when we walked further out we found lots of different flowers including cowslip and donkey orchids.

There were about six vans, etc. sharing the RA with us. They have two bright lights on all night, which was slightly disappointing. One lit up the toilets (flushing toilets) and the other the picnic area. The road noise disappeared after dark.

Quite late in the morning we set off on the historical walk. It crosses the road, then goes past the tennis court and Wannamal Hall, over a shallow creek and then followed a road along the lake. As the sun was quite challenging even with hats we only walked a couple of kilometres. We should have done it in the early morning.

For lunch it was off to the Bindoon Bakhous for soup of the day. Unfortunately they had sold out of interesting bread. Still, it made a good break.

Instead of taking the Tonkin Highway loop home we drove down through Muchea on the Great Northern Highway so that I could have a visit with Mum. When I arrived she was a bit distressed and vomiting (not that she has anything to bring up, she is continually nauseous) and I waited outside whilst the staff took care of her. They gave her an injection, that was all the squeals I heard from her room. When I saw her she looked comfortable, but the medication hadn’t taken effect and she was still uncomfortable. Still, she was glad to see me and knew who I was.

The rest of the drive home was tiring. We unpacked a bit, then went around the corner to one of the many little restaurants near home for a tasty meal. Early to bed afterwards for me.

Even though we arrived home about 10 days early we feel as though we had a really good trip with many interesting times and places. We are still savouring it.

To the North: enjoying the wildflowers

After Nerren Nerren Rest Area our next stopover was in Geraldton. We arrived by lunchtime and went straight to the John Batten Hall where we have previously stayed overnight. At about 3.30 p.m. we drove into the centre of Geraldton for Stephen’s GP appointment. The Dr didn’t find anything wrong, but gave him an antibiotic eye drop script, just in case. We thought we might stay at the short stay area at Town Beach, but it was fully occupied.

We also, indepenently, looked for options for an evening meal. Stephen found a Chinese restaurant and I found a Turkish. The Turkish didn’t really cater for sit down meals so we walked to the Chinese. They didn’t really cater for sit down meals either. We ordered a meal with noodles, and it was mostly noodles, as you can imagine. We decided that the standard of higiene wasn’t that good and we just might end up sick. As a cleansing measure we walked to the Italian restaurant for a takeaway gelato, which we enjoyed on the foreshore. Afterwards we headed back to the John Batten Hall, about 14 kms north, and found there were still three bays available.

In the morning we noticed the rangers talking with the owners of a large motorhome which fortunately parked away from our area as it was so large. Although our overnight place is for vans without facilities, they did not question us. Clearly, we are in a campervan, though it has a small bathroom, which isn’t immediately obvious.

Yesterday morning we drove to the nearby Puma service station to fill up, then headed towards Mingenew by backroads that meant we didn’t have to travel on the terribly busy highway. Just as we were getting close to Mingenew I pulled into a car park to let a car go by on the narrow, winding road. It turned out to be a good move. We stayed for afternoon tea, then a walk to look at wildflowers. The place is called Depot Hill Walk and Parking. There were a few orchids which had been highlighted with ribbons and an arrow on the ground. I even found a couple of orchids after noticing a tissue on the ground, although I don’t think that was intentional.

Our overnight spot was an Enanty barn, which apparently has historical significance, and once we were there it was clear we had been there before in the Winnie. We had a quiet overnight with a very chilly morning.

We checked out the bakery in Mingenew the next day, but it was a bit early for our morning tea and also very crowded. We bought some rolls and moved on. I did a little bit of shopping at the local IGA.

We picked our next spot based on free camping with hookups at the Watheroo Tavern. By this time we are on the Midlands Road. Wikicamps reviews were very favourable and we looked forward to having a hot meal, which is the price of staying there. They offer toilets and hot showers as well. But, when we got there it was closed. It’s a good thing we don’t absolutely count on things because we would have otherwise been very disappointed. As it was, we were able to shrug it off and decided to head for Moora. Here we are in the free overnight camping area. We looked at the caravan park (so we could have hookups and run the heater, and Stephen could have a shower), but it was completely full.

During most of the journey from Na\erren Nerren Rest Area we have enjoyed seeing lots and lots of wildflowers. Stephen has been using the GoPro as we drive along and that, more than the photos I’ve taken, show just how lovely it has been.

Today we had a good spot for our lunch break overlooking a lake just out of Carnamah. It took us a little while to find it as we missed the turning, something we are very good at!

At this stage we are thinking of having one more night on the road before heading home, perhaps at the Wannamal Rest Area fairly close to where Mum used to live.