It’s 5.42 p.m. on Saturday 31st October, 2020. We are at the main event, the Stargazing session (with BBQ) at the Wongan Hills Airport. The sky is somewhat overcast and there’s a bit of uncertainty about what we will actually see here.
We arrived yesterday around lunchtime and hit the IGA for some basics, especially salads. We found a parking place in the shade where we had lunch, then moved to a better parking area near the pub.
It was a fairly hot day and we spent time hanging out in the library until it closed, then in a cafe within the pub, enjoying the airconditioning. We then went to the free camping area and were somewhat surprised to find that we were one of three vans there. The temperature dropped in the evening and it was touch and go as to whether we would need the fan overnight. It ended up not being necessary, but having it on the kitchen bench helped us to feel comfortable.
This morning I woke up suddenly wide awake at about 6.30 a.m. This meant we had no difficulty being ready by about 8.30 for the cooked breakfast. There were many stalls with the usual arts and crafts, and managed to find a few interesting things for gifts. Including something interesting for Matt. He’ll be so relieved to have a gift that is something other than clothing.
It was a bit warm in the morning, but we had increasing cloud cover and a coolish wind by the afternoon. We enjoyed a talk by gardening guru Sabrina who presents on the radio and is very funny as well as knowledgable about Western Australian plants. By the time we were hungry the kitchen had closed at the pub, the Bakery Cafe was closed, and the only place open was a cafe with no air conditioning. We opted for takeaway sandwiches eaten in the van with a lovely cool breeze coming through.
We had a good night’s sleep and our usual morning stuff of music practice and blogging. We are waking up naturally at about 7.00 a.m. each morning as I switched off the alarm a few days ago. There was shade on the van for much of the morning, which made the case for coming to a caravan park overnight even more compelling.
Parking at Greenhills
The big carpark at Greenhills
Our journey to Koorda was interesting as there seems to be no way to order Google Maps to avoid gravel road shortcuts. We had a couple of interesting gravel road sections before we learned to ignore Google’s instructions and just follow the road.
A brief stop in Wyalkatchem (‘strange name but beut place’, as they say of themselves) confirmed that like so many country towns the main street has been prettied up with a pleasant park across the road from the shops.
Arriving in Koorda in the late afternoon we made straight for the caravan park and settled in. It was warm most of the evening though we didn’t need the fan going when we first went to bed. I put it on later when waking up to rather humid and still conditions. As I was going to sleep I could see clouds arriving and some lighting in the distance. The clouds are still around this morning along with some very light rain – not actually wetting us very much.
We have yet to pay as it’s a council run park with no one onsite to take money. There is an honour box, but you would need to have the right change. Stephen plans to ring the council and see if we can pay by credit card over the phone.
I’ve found it handy to have the camper’s kitchen for washing up pots and pans and have had two showers, so really taking advantage of the facilities. I also used the tub in the laundry to do some hand washing which had dried before we went to bed.
Next to the caravan park is a small woodlands where there are still wildflowers, mainly the Tall Mulla Mulla(featured image). I had a short walk around the bushland with the camera before I cooked our dinner last night, taking advantage of the evening light.
We had a vague idea of going to York yesterday, but opted for a diversion to Greenhills instead. Greenhills has a beautiful old pub that offers the usual pub meals and free camping (with access to toilets and showers ($5 each). The thought of a nice evening meal that we didn’t have to cook or clean up after was just too tempting. Our parking spot has turned out well as we have shade this morning.
We had lunch at the camping spot in Beverley, then went into town for a few matters. We emptied our toilet and had permission to fill our water tank behind the Visitor’s Centre. Although there was a tap at the campground it was slow filling and really only suitable for getting drinking water. Stephen also did a wander around with the GoPro. It was hot in the sun and as we were parked in the shade I stayed in the van.
We enjoyed the short drive to Greenhills and checked out meals at the pub. In the evening we walked out to look at some of the plaques showing the layout of the town in it’s heyday before going in for our meal. The dining room is called the Queen’s Room and featured other royalties as well as Elizabeth. It is quite lovely. There were six other people dining besides ourselves. We tried out the ginger beer on tap and voted it very good. It is 5% alcoholic so we only had one midi each.
We went to bed quite early, even for us and enjoyed the strong wind swirling around. It was quite cool again overnight. The wind died down later, but it’s very windy outside now. Our power is a little low due to not very much driving and having to park in the shade. Stephen has suggested Koorda as our next overnight and I’ve suggested a caravan park so that we can really charge up our batteries again.
We have a good battery setup (240ah of AGM batteries) but may have to consider getting a set of folding solar panels that we can set up in the sun whilst we park in the shade for the summer months. We have a small 25ah lithium battery/300w inverter as a backup for charging devices and that is proving handy as well.
I have some more photos but we only have 1 bar of 4g, not really enough for uploading photos.
We are enjoying our little trip so far with lazy mornings and time for reading/listening to radio (which Stephen does on his phone). We will head to Wongan Hills on Friday for the beginning of the little festival. Koorda, our next stop, is fairly close to Wongan Hills which means the main driving day is today.
We woke to a mist which took some time to clear, but we were making a late start anyway and it didn’t matter. We spent the morning in and around the van, me blogging, Stephen practising his music, doing exercises and van chores. By midday it was a bit hot and we wanted to move the van into shade. We decided to take it into the town near the railway line where there is deep shade.
Trying out the bakery for lunch seemed a good idea. It was nice, but not really special. We seem to have light appetites at the moment and didn’t try out any cakes after our ‘main course’ of hamburger and zucchini pie. The IGA is just across the road and I bought bananas to fill us up.
We spent the afternoon either resting or walking around the town. Many shops weren’t open and the Red Vault cafe only opens from Wednesday (today) so it wasn’t an option as a place to sit. Stephen found a couch at the Visitor Centre.
We drove back to our camp site in the late afternoon where we had a cup of tea. Later we took a walk in a nearby nature reserve, which was better for exercise than anything else – it was rather scrubby bushland.
We had a beautiful night’s sleep again last night – perhaps because of the fresh air. It seemed colder due to a breeze.
We made a later start to our first day of travel. Beverley is only about 1.5 hours from Perth and hot weather was forecast making a later arrival seem sensible. Let’s get the weather out of the way quickly. There was a cool breeze all day which made it seem cool even here in Beverley and the temperature dropped after sunset making it nice to snuggle under the doona for sleeping.
Our route took us along the Brookton Highway, which meant that we would pass by my sister’s house. I had to beg for us to stop and see them and we had a lovely visit catching up on family news.
We pulled into a parking bay a little way along Brookton Highway and were fortunate that we could walk a little way into the bush on tracks to see wildflowers.
We arrived here in Beverley around 3.00 pm. Beverley provides free camping just over the bridge from the town. There are clean flushing toilets, bins and a water tap. There is a dump point in town we will take advantage of when we are leaving. We are allowed to stay here 48 hours which is ideal because it gives us a day to explore and get to know the town.
After a rest and afternoon tea we took a walk over the bridge and along the main road. There are many beautiful old buildings. Not many people about, but when we went into the hotel to buy some cider we found many of the good folk of Beverley in the beer garden.
Back at the van we had found the TV reception a bit spotty and set up the Apple TV so we could watch the news and Australian Story via the internet. We had a meat meal already cooked and I only had to cook some pasta to make a meal. Stephen made us each a bowl of salad. This was followed by herbal teas and a chocolate.
We slept extremely well, for my part only getting up once in the night.
We had coffee after my uncle’s funeral at this cafe. It was a sad day, but I have good memories of him.
No, I’m not talking about the diagnosis of ‘the leader of the free world’. I’m talking about our local Coles supermarket. Suddenly, they’ve adopted COVIDSAFE checkouts. The staff are behind screens, shoppers are standing about a metre away where we can pay at a sort of remote pay station and we are encouraged to do our own packing. This has happened since I went to Coles last week.
Why would they just do this now? I went to Roleystone Shopping Centre a few months ago during our lockdown LITE and all of the shops had screens and COVIDSAFE plans. Yet, Coles has only just brought it in. Whilst I was shopping I noticed that they were reminding shoppers about social distancing over the intercom, but thought nothing of it until I went through the new checkout system.
The photos are from some of our outings in the past few weeks. We’ve been to Kings Park a couple of times, once with the car and once in the van. Stephen has a choir rehearsal in Basssendean sometimes and I like to take him there in the van as it’s such a lovely place to be. We can take a walk after his rehearsal. It rained on our way back from our walk, but we were close to a sports complex where we could take shelter.