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We enjoyed the evening concert and BBQ that mark the end of the Nanga Music Festival for this year. We slept in a bit on Monday morning. I asked if we could follow tradition and have breakfast at the Blue Wren Cafe. Ruth and David, who also got ready slowly, were heading there as well. We spent quite a long time catching up and discussing many things of common interest. Then it was time for everyone to get on the road.

I didn’t want to travel via Albany Highway, so we headed to Pinjarra on our way to the Forrest Highway. We dumped our tanks at the public dump point near the free camping area in town. The drive home seemed relatively easy as we could do a good speed and felt safe on the dual carriageway. We stopped at one of the service areas and had some fruit, the only thing missing from our breakfast at the Blue Wren.

Yesterday Stephen spent most of the day in bed before getting up to go to his choir. I didn’t feel up to going to my choir, which meant he could drive to the Fortress in North Perth. He was coughing overnight and only settled down when he had some Panadol. We have both been better today. I did some shopping yesterday and Stephen went today to get fruit and veggies and one or two things I had forgotten. I paid a solo visit to Mum, not a long session, and she seemed fairly bright and together today, so it was quite enjoyable.

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This is the converted bus that was parked at Nanga and made us feel better about counting our motorhome as a ‘campervan’. We also liked the expedition vehicle that was parked a bit further away. They tend to be very, very expensive, but can go absolutely anywhere.

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The Winnie is parked on the verge at the front of our units. We have to take it in for a service and to have the fridge fixed next week, and will be leaving for Dunsborough in just over two weeks, so we will probably just leave it there. It could do with a clean, but I am waiting to have the energy. The outside is quite dirty although heavy rain last night has washed away any superficial dirt and dust.

Backroads to Nanga

We took the less travelled route to Nanga from Kojonup, mainly to avoid travelling on Albany Highway. On the way we encountered about 20 kms of gravel road and made our van even dirtier. We decided to visit Darkan for morning tea, and in typical fashion, arrived there at about 12.00 noon. We were quite delighted with the little town, especially when we found the secondhand bookshop cafe, serving good coffee and home made cakes.

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We noticed a good many older ladies arriving and heading for the backroom. We asked the friendly owner of the shop what this was about. Apparently it was a regular monthly meeting of The Dames. To qualify, you have to be over 75 years of age. The younger ladies’ group is called The Tarts. Stephen asked what happens if you are 75 and apparently you get to choose your group. We asked about men, there are only a few and they call themselves The Dukes.

The books for sale were good quality novels and interest books, such as plants. Stephen bought a couple of wildflower books.

We enjoyed coffee and ‘deconstructed’ sponge cake. We got to choose our topping and chose berries and cream. It was very lovely cake indeed.

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Then on and on, eventually arriving in Dwellingup. Our fuel was down to less than a quarter of a tank and we decided to fill up a bit to ensure that we would be able to use our deisel heater, if necessary. Then down to Nanga to join the line up of cars.

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The other line up was a dinner time. We are self catering for breakfast and lunch, but joining in for the evening meals.

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Arriving in our parking area was a bit hectic, with many campers competing for places. Another camper scared us by saying we had to find our designated spot, turns out that there are no designated spots, we can park anywhere. We ended up with a slight slope towards the front and a slight lean to one side, quite good for the shower water. As we can’t operate the fridge on gas we are not too concerned about not being level. Having our stuff in the communal walk in fridge is working out well. We could use the showers, but find it easier to continue to have washes in the van. We refill our little container as necessary and have been trying to conserve the tank water. I think it is going to last until we head home.

We are not the largest ‘campervan’ here, there is a converted bus and friends have brought their pop top caravan, even though the rules are that caravans are not allowed. Maybe next year there will be a size limit, but we probably won’t be coming as our plan is to be overseas at this time.

We have enjoyed catching up with past and present choir members and friends, as well as other folk we have come to know by attending Nanga and other folk festivals. We haven’t yet managed to stay until the end of the evening concert, even though we are camping onsite for the first time.

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One of our favourite acts, The Loveys – with original songs about the experience of being a woman, aging, etc. Lots of fun.
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The Fildenstar brought their gloam inspired music to delight the child in us.

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Some photos from our walk this morning, and one photo of the kangaroo that always visits to see if people have any suitable food. We didn’t.

This is the first year that there has been a phone signal at Nanga. We weren’t expecting it and I’m not sure if it is a good thing or a bad thing. Anyway, it has allowed me to post this blog.

Stopover at Kojonup

I didn’t write a blog post yesterday because nothing much happened. Stephen and Geoff went out locally to look at wildflowers. Marie was feeling unwell for the third day running and I took the opportunity to have a rest day. Stephen and Geoff also went out to get some Chinese takeaway, which was the highlight of the day for me, but not for Marie as she didn’t feel up to eating it. We have some leftovers for our dinner tonight.

Marie and Geoff were booked until Friday, but decided to go home today. The weather in Mt Barker has been wet and rainy, with today and tomorrow looking pretty much the same. We wanted to leave on Thursday to break up the journey to Nanga. We are due there at 5.00 p.m. on Friday and we tend to take things quite slowly.

We visited the Kodja Centre for morning tea and so that Stephen could go through the gallery/exhibition centre. He finally bought a copy of the wildflower book he has been borrowing from the library. It was cold and wet outside and we didn’t go through the rose garden part. We spoke with a lovely young woman at the Visitor Centre. She said that the farmers in the area are against paying for a Visitor Centre and exhibition area, and can be quite rude. As visitors we think it is a lovely rescource and highlights first people and settlers of the area. Interestingly, the town does have free camping for RVs, plus a public dump point. Seems a bit schizophrenic – on the one hand encouraging visitors, but then not wanting the visitors to be able to find out about the town and local area.

The reason we are paying for the caravan park is, of course, the fridge not working on gas. It will be a bit annoying at Nanga having our stuff in the communal fridge away from the van. At least we won’t have to waste all of our food. We are booked in for all of the evening meals, but need food for breakfast and lunch. We stopped at the IGA on the way here to stock up on fruit, salads, and other necessary stuff, including a non alcoholic rose.

We arrived at this quirky little caravan park in the rain. Stephen connected the power and and had our lunch and a rest. It has been interesting to walk around the park and take photos.

 

 

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We’ve been here before with the Starcraft staying in one of the other drive through bays. I don’t remember taking much notice of our surroundings, perhaps we were too tired last time.

From Friday evening we will have spotty to none mobile phone service, definitely no way to upload blog posts.

 

Albany

Tuesday October 2nd, 2018

We had a sunny spell late this afternoon and the featured image is of us on our campsite at the Mt Barker Caravan Park.

We had a relaxed morning, and a leisurely breakfast. I did some washing and got it mostly dry in the dryer. We have the clothes airer set up in the van, finishing things off. I don’t plan to do another wash as this should keep us going until we get home.

Four of us went to Albany today. Stephen chose to stay at the caravan park. He walked to the Visitor Centre in the afternoon when the rain eased. We found that the weather was different in Albany. We had some sunny spells and no rain.

Glenn caught a bus to Middleton Beach and the rest of us went to a cafe for takeaway coffee and cake before heading up to Mt Mitchell. There are a couple of viewpoints as well as the tower to climb. Can you see Geoff in the tower photo?

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After returning to pick up Glenn we had lunch at the cafe at Middleton Beach, then came home. Soon after we arrived back it began to rain again, a light misty rain.

 

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Our lunch
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Middleton Beach
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at Middleton Beach

We watched the first hour of the movie ‘The Leisure Seeker’. It is by turns very funny and very sad. We are not sure where it is going, but a road movie is about being on the road. We hope we are a little more competent in our travels than the characters in the movie.

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A flower from Mt Melville

The long and winding road (Muir Highway)

Highlights of the day: Visiting Muir Lake Bird Observatory, the Muir Nature Strip and seeing Lake Muir from a lookout point.

Muir Highway meanders between Manjimup and Mt Barker. We had visited the Lake Muir Bird Observatory a few years ago in June when it was disappointingly quite dry. Even at this time of year after good rain, the lake was quite a distance from the bird hide. If we hadn’t accidentally gone down the wrong road we wouldn’t have known that the lake is quite large, with lots of water. I didn’t take a photo from up there, but here is a photo from the hide.

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Going down that road had another bonus, we found lots of wildflowers in the little nature strip on our way back to the highway.

We had a look at the camping area at Muir’s Bridge. It had been a possible place to stay last night, if our fridge had been able to operate on gas. It looked really nice, with a path leading down to the river (the Frankland River). However, it would have been a long way to drive yesterday after the walk in the morning. We has a very comfortable night at Manjimup and the drive today was interesting, without being too long.

We arrived here at about 3.30 p.m. (I think), and have a level slab for parking, with an extra bit for our ‘patio’. Stephen set up all the plumbing, etc. and when Geoff came over to say hello I asked him to help us set up the awning. It has come in handy as a place to use the electric pressure cooker. We are having a chicken ‘something or other’ and it is nice to have all the steam happening outside of the van!

Walk around Big Brook Dam

Sunday 30th September, 2018

We woke up to a sunny morning, quite a change from the night. We had switched the fridge off overnight as usual because it freezes everything inside if we leave it on. In the morning we found that we couldn’t actually get the fridge going again, despite trying many times, and switching everything off and on again, changing gas cylinders – absolutely everything. I even read the manual.

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It meant a slight change of plan for Sunday night, with the need to be able to run the fridge on electricity. It cannot run for long on DC power without draining the battery. We had a look at the Muir Highway again to see if there was a place on the way to Mt Barker for an overnight, but there are no caravan parks on the route. We decided to stay in Manjimup.

We still wanted to do the walk to Big Brook Dam from our campsite. It was supposed to be about a 3 kms walk there, so about 6 kms altogether. When I checked my phone on return it said we had gone 7 kms. It became cloudy on the walk, but no rain, thank goodness. It wasn’t very far to the water and the walk around the dam is bitumen – supposedly for wheelchairs, but also handy for prams. We had a chocolate bar and some almonds which we ate at the ‘beach’ – it looks like sand has been brought in to create a swimming area. That was just over half way around from where we started.

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the beach
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bird hide

There was occasional seating and a couple of bird hides on the route. The first part was overgrown and we couldn’t see the water very much, but the return on the other side had better views.

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vivid colours under the bark

We had lunch followed by a rest, then packed up and drove to Manjimup. We are staying in the caravan park in the town. We wanted to do a bit of shopping, but felt too tired to do it after we arrived, so it will have to wait for the morning even though the Woolworths is just across the road from here.

It’s vaguely damp, with very light rain this evening. The temperature inside is quite comfortable, though I should perhaps put out the heater for the morning. Although we enjoy camping without hookups we are really loving our first night with ‘normal’ electricity, town water to the taps and sullage. TV reception isn’t very good, but we were able to watch the news. Then we watched the final episode of ‘Patrick Melrose’, very good drama with one of our favourite actors.

We have our electric hot water system on and have opted to have our showers in the van rather than go the short distance over to the showers. They look clean and nice, but the effort of taking our stuff over doesn’t seem worth it.

Greenbushes to Big Brook Dam Arboretum Camping Area

Saturday 29th September, 2018

It was grey this morning and we did not feel like going for a walk after breakfast. I had quite a bad headache in the night, but some Panadol and massage from Stephen of the affected area worked a miracle and I woke up without a headache and feeling quite well.

We drove to Mandurah where Stephen spent time in the Visitor Centre trying to get information about wildflowers. I asked about a café and we found a lovely place, the Deja Vue Café, with nice drinks and food, plus a wood fire and comfortable lounge style seating. We spent some time there before moving on. I took a photo of the blossom outside on my phone.

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We fuelled up, then headed down to Pemberton.

Coming through Bridgetown I was a bit disappointed at how shabby the town appears. Lots of buildings need paint, and there doesn’t appear to be much interest in preserving old buildings or making the town attractive. It is set amongst steep hills. As we continued down towards Pemberton the bush was looking rather dry and dull.

Pemberton, in contrast, is very pretty as you drive along the road and into town. Today was the AFL final with West Coast Eagles playing Collingwood. We parked in town close to the public toilets and set up the TV. There were 26 channels available, and we were able to watch the match, whilst having our lunch. It was very exciting, Collingwood was winning by the time we started watching, but the teams were very evenly matched. Despite a series of points rather than goals, the Eagles pulled off a winning goal at the end. It was great to see the teams so well matched.

After that Stephen went off to the Pemberton Visitor Centre whilst I had a nap. We have to commend the public toilets in both Manjimup and Pemberton, they are clean and modern and quite luxurious. They obviously had them built by the same contractor to the same high standard, and have kept them well maintained.

We have driven to our campsite in the forest. There are quite a few other campers in various types of rigs including one other large motorhome. The rain, which was threatened all day, has finally arrived, but it is still probably quite light, just sounds heavy filtered through the leaves of the trees around us before landing loudly on our roof. We are surrounded by tall trees and it is wonderful. We feel safe with so many people around, yet it is very quiet. There are a few children, but there is so much space that the sound of kids playing wasn’t disturbing.

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There is a long drop toilet here and I went to check it out. Lots of insects and a bit smelly, which is disappointing after last night in Greenbushes. Also, we have used other long drop toilets which have been excellent. As tomorrow is Sunday it seems unlikely that the toilet will be cleaned.

We are conserving our battery power a bit as we are not sure how well it will be replenished in the morning with all of the trees around. We will make a decision on what to do tomorrow based on the weather. If it is too wet for walking we may just visit Big Brook Dam, then make our way towards Mt Barker, which is about 180kms from here.

We are paying $6 each per night here as we are in a National Park.