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.

sunny morning (1 of 1)

sunny morning2 (1 of 1)

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.

accessible path around the dam (1 of 1)
accessible path

flowers 2 (1 of 1)

the beach (1 of 1)
the beach
fungus (1 of 1)

flowers 4 (1 of 1)

flowers 5 (1 of 1)

bird hide (1 of 1)
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.

bird hide2 (1 of 1)

bird hide3 (1 of 1)

cut wood (1 of 1)
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.

wood fire.jpg


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.

winnie in the forest (1 of 1)

Stephen sorting out the payment (1 of 1)

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.