Home Again: Winnieleaks

Friday 7th June, 2019

We came home from Brookton on Wednesday morning, arriving at Iveco about 11.00 a.m. We left the van there and caught buses to our place to pick up our Working Voices stuff for the gig on Friday night, plus our car. We had lunch at the Mt Lawley Dome Cafe, then went to see Matt for a brief catchup visit. He was doing artwork, though probably not his favourite activity, yet at least its something different. We paid for four meals from his pop up bar which he will freeze and bring home on Saturday night to share.

Then we went back to pick up the van. We were assurred that all would be good, though we would only really know if we filled up the fuel tank. His words, meant in jest, echoed in my mind. We drove separately to Roly, then together up the Brookton Highway to fill up. Checking underneath, the fuel was absolutely pouring out.

This puddle got bigger and bigger and we apologised to the service station staff.

We arranged to take the van back to Iveco in the morning, then drove back to Roly. We parked on the verge as there was still a strong leak. We had power piggy backed from Marie and Geoff’s van and spent the evening in the house, cooking tea, watching TV and having showers.

leaked fuel under our van at Roly (on the verge)

In the morning we filled our water tank with a view to free camping in East Victoria Park overnight after choir. On arrival at Iveco our man was cross with his team for not solving the problem. We spent most of the day there, going to a nearby Gloria Jeans for lunch, but mostly sitting in their customer lounge. They worked out that the non standard fuel tank needs a special part to link it to the fuel inlet pipe. The part has been ordered and should arrive Monday about lunchtime. In the meantime, they’ve done a patch, but told us it will still leak if we refill the fuel tank.

at Gloria Jeans

The weather was quite weired yesterday, strong, gusty winds, cloud and smog. Bush fires and a nearby fire at a plastics factory contributed.

the sky

We stored our van at Queens Park Caravan Park last summer, and I asked if we could go there for the night, rather than free camp. I felt confident we could easily park there in the dark. We arrived after 9.00 p.m. and couldn’t work out how to access water, but connected up to power for a comfortable night. How glad we were to have filled up the water tank at Roly.

This morning the plan is to drive up to Roly and settle in. We can use our car for shopping  and going to tonight’s gig in Fremantle.




Day 75 – Katanning to Roley…oops! We only got as far as Brookton.

Tuesday June 4, 2019

Owing to another later start to our driving day. Unlike yesterday when we drove until shortly after sunset with the sun in our eyes, today we stopped at around 4:00 pm. This means we will have to make an early start in the morning to get to Iveco in Rivervale for the repair work.

Katanning provides free camping for fully self contained vehicles, plus a dump point. A very short walk takes you to Woollies, then a beautiful, brand new Dome Cafe in an old factory. The interior design is ‘factory’ and there is a special evening menu. It is also a hotel, which explains the luxury toilets. We shared a plate of bacon and eggs, possibly the best bacon we have ever had.

The featured photo shows an artist at work on a nearby building.

Our camping spot in Katanning

After breakfast we wandered around the town and I went to Woollies for one or two essentials.

We enjoyed our driving day on the quiet Great Southern Highway with very little traffic and no trucks.

Brookton has a small council run caravan park with full hookups, $2.00 per wash machines and en-suite style bathrooms. $26 per night concession rate.

Day 74 – Denmark to Katanning

Monday June 3rd, 2019

Sunday in Denmark was much like Saturday, listening to music in various venues, catching up for a meal with Eversley, and going home at around 8:00 pm because we couldn’t get in to listen to the group we chose and weren’t that enthused about anything else.

We booked ourselves a spot at the Rivermouth Caravan Park around midday and went to check it out. S & A we’re right next to us, and M was camped on the other side of them. These are former Working Voices Choir members who we see at festivals.

We dropped Eversley back at her accommodation, Stephen sitting in the dinette where we have seatbelts for two extra people. We enjoyed camping nearby, but emptying tanks and refilling for today is easier at a caravan park.

On arrival we met with S who invited us to join them later for drinks and singing. When A and M came home we all crowded into the big caravan and enjoyed chatting and some singing. S plays the guitar well, entirely by ear and was mostly able to work out what key we were singing in, not always if we chose something weird

We went back to our van at about midnight. We thought we would sleep in this morning, but woke up at about 7:00 and although we took it easy, we were ready to leave not long after 10.00 am.

We decided to park outside the gates and walk along the river. A and M came back from their walk just as we got ready and we were sidetracked by sharing many different travel experiences. We agreed that we are all very fortunate to have the wherewithal to travel. M has a tiny A-van and has travelled long distances in it, as well as travelling overseas.

By the time we finished we felt we only had time for a short walk, then headed for the Denmark Bakery for pies and hot drinks.

There were, of course, some sunrise photos of the estuary.

Our camp for the night in Katanning is a newly designed RV site, with marked bays and a nearby dump point. It is a short walk from the Main Street with cafes, etc. I’ll take a photo in the morning.

We shopped in Mt Barker, including buying some slightly alcoholic ginger beer at the bottle shop. Eversley gave us some fresh capsicums and S of S and A, gave us two freshly caught fish. He fishes whilst she goes to listen to music.

We made a salad with the capsicum and cooked the fish in a pot with vegetable stock on the stove top. S suggested cooking them in the oven, but we don’t have a suitable baking dish. They turned out beautifully, and I served up using a spoon, trying to avoid giving us too many bones. I’m not used to cooking whole fish, but this method works well. We don’t have a photo of the fish, but this is what we had for desert.

We have a lot of dishes to do now, but it is well worth it. As we started driving later, then shopped, then had a nap, we ended up arriving here slightly after sunset. It was a bit challenging driving into the sun at times. What a relief the Great Southern Highway is after Albany Highway. We were so glad when we turned off at Cranbrook. We had a cup of tea when we arrived. There isn’t much to do when we free camp, just switch on the gas, rearrange some bits and deploy the slide.

The photos are unedited and possibly slightly tilted, my apologies, but it’s all I can do for now.

Day 72 and 73 – Denmark Festival of Voice

Sunday June 2nd, 2019

We’ve been enjoying lots of music, good food, and communion with old friends here at the Festival. Too much to mention it all.

A highlight was attending a conducting workshop with the St George College Choir, where Stephen had a chance to conduct and be given one on one help. Then some audience members, including me, got to sing a short piece with the choir.

We are staying at the B&B with Eversley and another friend. We have the van parked up the hill on a fairly flat road from them, and eat and sleep there. I walk down in the mornings to blow dry my hair.

We have a beautiful view and as we had clear skies this morning it was good for photography, with a mist on the estuary.

Day 70 – Norseman to Ravensthorpe

Thursday 30th May, 2019

Today has been a fairly nice day of driving, with the last bit being a challenge because of driving in a north westerly direction into the sun. Fortunately there were extensive roadworks as we got close to Ravensthorpe which slowed the traffic down.

We are in the caravan park, with power, water and sullage and en-suite style bathrooms. That sounds very posh, but it is actually a bit run down and bush style. We love it, of course. There are some animals which I hope to photograph in the morning before we go.

We went through Gibson, home of the Gibson Soak Hotel and former free camping site. Apparently they were overwhelmed with backpackers behaving badly and had to close it off. They hope to be able to open it again in the future. The old pub is special, we didn’t check it out last time. So stayed to have $6 pumpkin soup. This delayed us a bit, but was worth it. We bought fuel as well.

We will have a scrap tea tonight and get to bed early (this is also important for our strategy of getting up early).

The bar with juke box – Gibson’s Soak Hotel

En-suite style bathrooms at Ravensthorpe
Our view from the van tonight
Stephen plugs us in

Our street

Day 69 – Caiguna to Norseman

Wednesday 29th May, 2019

We had a bit of a later start this morning. We had a good conversation with our neighbours in a sort of souped up and more modern version of our Winnebago. The woman is the sole driver and they use WikiCamps to find good camping places as we do.

When we started up a light was flashing on the dash. It’s a simple beast, the Iveco Daily and we quickly diagnosed the problem using the short handbook. Stephen carries oil with us and topped up. We decided to switch to the WA time zone so we didn’t feel so late.

After refuelling we were on our way. It was cloudy during much of the morning and we were often driving through light rain that looked like low cloud. We had morning tea at Balladonia, just in the van making our own coffee and fruit cake.

For lunch we stopped at the Frazer Range Rest Area overlooking a dry lake. This is one of our many favourite spots on this route. We are in the Great Western Woodlands again. Then on to Norseman, to fill our tanks and get some fruit and salads.

We are staying at the same free camp site as before. In the morning I thought I wanted to go to the caravan park for the night, but as the day became fine and sunny it seemed a good idea to free camp. We have leftovers for tea, which made it easier.

It will be cold tonight, but not for us with our diesel heater and level 3 down doona.

Teddys and Dolf enjoy the view at Frazer Range Rest Area

Day 68 – Eucla to Caiguna

Tuesday May 28th, 2019

Nothing very much to report on today. We had some sunshine, some light rain, and lots of cloudy skies. Good driving conditions on a very good road.

We are still on a different time zone to Perth, at Stephen’s insistence. It means we have more daylight travelling hours, waiting up at 5:15 Perth time.

We had BLTs at Cocklebiddy and enjoyed the nostalgia of revisiting that place.

We have stayed here at Caiguna before, probably in the Starcraft. It’s very crowded with lots of big rigs, caravans mainly, but a few motor Homes. We have power, but no water to our campsite. Our $30 fee includes a token for the shower each.

We had a brief show of colour at sunset. We arrived in good time this afternoon, a shorter day of travel allowed us to relax on arrival. I did one load of washing, just a small load that fits on our little clothes dryer. It’s in the bathroom with the heater on and hatches up.

Because we had time to relax we are cooking tea, stir fry beef and mixed frozen vegetables.

Stephen relaxing after we arrived in Caiguna

Day 67 – Penong to Eucla

Monday 27th May, 2019

Today was a long day of driving with some small breaks to eat, etc. I thought we wouldn’t have time to visit one of the cliff top viewing areas on our route, but it happened to coincide with our afternoon tea time, thank goodness.

There was some rain on the way, just drizzle, and we saw rainbows. We only had one truck pass us and he used the two way to contact us. We slowed down as he passed and even got a thank you. If only there were more like him.

We passed a vehicle this afternoon, only the third time on this trip that we have passed another vehicle. It looked like the garbage collector for this section of the highway and he signalled us to pass him.

We reached the border late in the afternoon and surrendered our stuff, some lettuce and honey. We didn’t mind about the honey this time, as it wasn’t very good honey. Last time we came through we had an expensive and beautiful honey and I was quite upset.

Disposing of our food at Border Village. Our quarantine inspector was very nice and chatty. Newly up from Perth and not feeling jaded by all the inspections and having to tell people they have to throw away stuff, like prawns.

We went to the restaurant here at Eucla. We were tired and a bit grumpy and needed something to cheer us up a bit.

No photos tonight, we have four bars of 3G and that is normally quite good, but having tried and failed to upload an image I’m giving up.

We have worked out the steps necessary to get us to Denmark on Friday, and if nothing unexpected happens it should work. If we get to Norseman by Wednesday night we only need one more stop (Ravensthorpe) on Thursday night. We are not quite sure where we will camp tomorrow night, but approximately half way from here to Norseman.

We were able to get a gas bottle filled at Border Village, it turned out that the other bottle did have gas in it. The person helping us said that in cold weather the gas can’t turn from a liquid to a gas. We have used the gas stove in very cold conditions in the past and haven’t had a problem, which is confusing, Anyway, the bottom line is that we now have two full gas bottles and should be OK to camp without hookups. Unless it gets too 🥶

At lookout no. 3
The whale at the Nullabour Roadhouse where we had lunch of pies and the rest of our salads.

We chose to stay on a flat spot rather than under the tress at the edge with the best view. We were a bit too tired to bother with propping the van to get it level.