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.

To the North: homeward bound

On Monday in Carnarvon we shopped, then went the space museum. There was lots to see and we spent a few hours there, with a lunch break as well. We went back to the caravan park where I sorted our washing which had been hanging on the airer at our campsite. It was a windy, partly cloudy day and we wanted to make sure we had the washing in before going out for the late afternoon/evening. Stephen had put our gas bottle in for a refill in the morning and he spent a bit of time getting it secured in the van. The sealed cabinet makes that slightly difficult, although we appreciate the safety.

Later we went to the main area of Carnarvon on the water. Cafes were closed by the time we got there, but we found a nice spot to park up for afternoon tea. In the evening we went to the nearby Carnarvon pub for a meal. We liked the atmosphere and were surprised that it was so busy on a Monday night.

Yesterday morning after packing up and filling up on water and fuel we went to the nearby indigenous cultural centre. I was appalled at the prices of some of the artwork – not so much paintings as the materials are expensive and you’ve got to cover that before charging for the painting itself, but a simple woven basket was over $400 and it couldn’t see the value in that! There was a very good exhibition on the local indidgenous history, but it seems people’s memories don’t go further back than European occupation. There is nothing about traditional culture separate from the often negative encounters with Europeans. It’s important to have this perspective, but I would like it if people remembered customs, etc. from before the occupation.

We drove about 80 kms to the Edaggee Rest Area. We were relaxing and reading our books when a man with a tag around his neck came to our door and greeted us. It was the census man! He said his area covered our camping spot and he had a form for us to fill in. Our plan had been to do it online at the next roadhouse today, but we were charmed by the idea of filling in our census form on the night as occupants of a Rest Area on the road. This morning we handed it in at the roadhouse to be collected, probably by the same man. Now, isn’t that interesting!

I had a call from Eli and Matt yesterday morning to clarify a few questions for Matt’s form. He was fairly patient as we went through things, but keen to get on to watch staff doing housework.

Today we’ve driven just over 200 kms to the Nerren Nerren Rest Area. We’ve come off the blue metal area into some bushes. As usual, the rest area is fairly packed and although we have chosen a private spot we could end up surrounded, as happened last night.

Marie sent me some photos of new equipment Mum has, an air mattress to relieve pressure and a falls monitor. For the first time she looks really comfortable lying on her bed. However, she has ‘the look’ and I now feel that I don’t want to do any more exploring, I just want to get home. We are about 230 kms north of Geraldton and should be able to get home in about four days at our normal pace of travel.

We’ve been wanting to see wildflowers and realise that we don’t need to go anywhere special to see thick beds of everlastings and other flowers as we’ve been driving through them today on both sides of the road. There are even some flowers here at the rest area. Our plan is to continue down the road to Dongara, then head inland to Mingenew and come down the central road through Moora. We are now far enough south that there are plenty of facilities for free camping the rest of the way home.

Stephen has noticed a slight swelling in the corner of his right eye, which I can see as well. It is making his eye ache. He has made an appointment to see a GP in Geraldton late tomorrow afternoon. We can spend the night in one of the free overnight places afterwards. The local weather forecast is for fine weather with cool nights. Chilly in the van, but we love to snuggle under our doona.

On the moon, thanks to green screen technology. But, why was I sticking out my tummy.