A very windy day in Albany, followed by a bit of overnight rain, then a calm, cloudy day

Yesterday (Monday) we spent a quiet day in the van avoiding the very windy day. Sami and Kim, pictured with us above, put us to shame when they revealed that they spent yesterday walking to Bald Head. Kim did manage to do a bit of damage to himself, but nothing a few plasters wouldn’t fix. We enjoyed lunch with them at the Emu Point Cafe and their plan was to do a walk at Two People’s Bay afterwards, whereas we walked back to the Rose Gardens Caravan Park, where we are staying tonight, and had a cup of tea and a nap.

Kim met Sami just before COVID. She is Austrian and they had to endure a long separation before Kim was finally allowed to leave Australia to visit her. He is able to get six month visas to stay in Austria, fortunately he is retired and has more flexibility for travel than her. She has had two weeks here and is flying back soon. He will leave in April for his next six month visit.

In the evening yesterday we went for a walk and found a couple of tracks/firebreaks that lead down to the bay, a little bird sanctuary. We hadn’t quite realised that it was possible until yesterday, after staying at the Golf Links several times over the last few years.

Because we had the time yesterday I cooked us a hearty lunch. Despite using a packet Thai flavouring and a packet of par boiled rice (Uncle Ben style, but the Community Co. label) the meal still took about 1.5 hours to cook. The meat was frozen at the start, so took longer than usual. Anyway, we had the time and by the time it was cooked we had a good appetite.

We’ve been trying to work out when we should return to Perth. Matt is not booked in to do surfing this coming Saturday, which moves one reason to get home early. However, it was the realisation that we only have two months at home before our next two month trip away that made me feel that we could probably go home fairly soon. Arriving perhaps by Friday or Saturday evening. We would probably need to have a couple of nights on the way, so that means leaving tomorrow or Thursday.

Today is quite a cool day, we wore jackets when we were out and both have jackets/jumpers here in the van. We will take an evening walk along the shore towards Middleton Beach. Being at a caravan park means we are doing some washing, of course.

On Sunday afternoon we went to a concert at the local CWA Hall. It was a multimedia presentation of violin, cello and video on the theme of migratory shore birds. The cellist is completing a PhD and asked us to complete a little survey to see if the presentation made us more likely to become involved in conservation of habitat for these birds. Obviously we supported his thesis in our responses. Sami and Kim were there and we chatted for a bit, but saved meeting up for the next day.

On Sunday evening we chatted with Matt for about 40 minutes on Facetime. He is amazingly patient as he doesn’t get a chance to tell us what he is doing. But, his support worker checked the diary and he isn’t booked in for surfing. I asked Matt if he was disappointed to miss out, but he put on his ‘neutral’ face, so I don’t know.


Cape Riche and return to Albany

At Wellstead Community Centre
view to Stirling Ranges from Wellstead
Cape Riche, our first camping spot
Cape Riche
Cape Riche
Walk to back beach
Back beach
second campspot
second campspot in the evening
Cape Riche, evening

I made notes at Camp Riche as we didn’t have enough of a signal to upload anything so I’ve included day and dates in the blog.

Cape Riche campground Friday 13th January, 2023

Yesterday at Cheynes Beach Caravan Park was a bit of a frantic morning with packing up, getting our washing in, and emptying and filling tanks. We bought hot drinks at the cafe before leaving the caravan park and went for a drive to check out the beach.

Then drove to Wellstead where we checked out the community centre and library. I bought honey and freshly baked bread. The bread was a bit of disaster as it wasn’t cooked through. It was obviously done in a domestic bread maker. I always choose a longer setting as I know it can be a problem. But, the honey is local and delicious.

The Cape Riche campground costs $20 per night and has flushing toilets and a cold, but enclosed, shower. The camping spaces are marked out and we had to vacate by 10.00 a.m. We have driven around to a day use camping spot to finish off our washing, etc.

Now we can relax and enjoy being here a bit longer. The beach here is short and rather rocky with lots of seaweed. You can avoid the seaweed, but we keep comparing beaches to the lovely sheltered and clean beach at East Bay, and we’ve not seen anything to compare with it. We walked over to the back beach, a walk suggested by our camp host, but even that didn’t seem as nice. The walk was very sandy and much tougher than it should have been and the beach sand wasn’t as firm as at East Bay, you can see where this is going.

At least our spot at the Cheyennes Beach Caravan Park had view, both of the ocean and the bushfire in front and heathland and rocks to the rear, plus heaps of kangaroos who stuck around for the camera.

The bushfire appeared to be mostly over by the time we left yesterday morning. On the way to Wellstead there was a section marked as having smoke limiting visibility, but at the time we came through it was clear. We saw a couple of fire trucks leaving, probably heading for the Donnybrook region where there has been a much more serious fire threatening lives and homes.

Stephen was wandering along the road and discovered that a couple of better campsites had opened up. So we decided to stay and paid for another night. It’s been a pretty warm day, but I felt too lazy to go in the water, what with dealing with wet bathers. We waited until after 4.00 p.m. when the sun is less intense to go down to the beach.

Saturday 14th January, 2023

We really enjoyed our stay in the second campsite at Cape Richie. We were closer to the sound of the waves for sleeping. It was lovely being closer to the beach for walks. I helped, I think, with a little fishing dinghy as a man and his daughter were trying to put wheels on to take it out of the water and up the beach. The waves kept pushing it away from him and the daughter was busy trying to keep it in place, so I stood on the opposite side for the placement of each wheel clamp.

It was much quieter on Friday due to fewer people camping and no swimming lessons. That contributed to our enjoyment. We had another utility camper next to us, one of the Explorer ones, which always seem more glamorous than the Suncampers. They have a fibreglass hull like a boat so they don’t need harsh edges. They are more expensive, of course.

On the way out of the campground we went to try to find a lookout walk. We started walking the wrong way (back to the campground) so were just able to check the beginning of the walk before heading off.

I now quite enjoy gravel roads as we use high range 4WD, which feels safe, and I feel happy driving at about 60kph which smoothes out the bumps. I think I’ve already said that we couldn’t do this in our Fiat camper as it was too jarring, especially if the corrugations went from shallow to deeper, as they do. This camper handles it beautifully. It is now appropriately covered in red dust!

We had quite a shopping expedition when we arrived back in Albany. We stopped first at Wellstead to empty the toilet, then drove pretty much straight through, just over 100kms. Our steps are still sticking and although I tried the trick of putting the button in the outward position it didn’t release. We’ve been relying on the small plastic step we use to get into bed and it’s beginning to deteriorate, with a long crack and bits falling off. The mission was to find another little folding step, just the same. After going into BCF, Anaconda, Bunnings, Spotlight, another unidentifiable shop I was able to find one finally at an auto store. The BCF was the only shop at a different place and we were able to get mini pizzas from a place next door for our lunch.

I spent money at Anaconda and Bunnings as well, so the long search was expensive, but has resulted in getting a step that looks the same, just a different colour.

When we put the Sherwood in to have the second battery connected and our new storage box installed I will ask them to remove and reinstall the steps. The problem arose back in Port Hedland when they were taken off due to no 12v power and then reinstalled.

Sunday 15th January, 2023

We are at the Golf Links car park, the only camper here. We’ve booked for two nights and it was good to have a peaceful place to go yesterday after our marathon shopping expedition. We are not sure how much longer we will have in Albany and it partly depends on whether Matt has surfing this coming Saturday. I’d like to be back to see it. Otherwise we will still be heading back this week, probably arriving Sunday evening, as we have things we want to do in Perth next week. I’m sorry to be leaving the cooler weather with access to lovely beaches, but it is a sign of a good holiday if you don’t really want it to end.

A little video from East Bay


East Bay Campground

This turned out to be an unexpectedly beautiful place to be. We had all sorts of weather, including a very windy night last night, predictable as we had put out our awning for the first time yesterday morning, with the help of our neighbour, and then I was so anxious in the night that we brought it in again at about 1.00 a.m. this morning!

The campground was otherwise located in quite a sheltered spot with a very steep road in. Further around the bay it was much more windy. Just opposite us was ideal for swimming as the waves were never really rough and the water was shallow for quite a way out. Somehow it didn’t leave us feeling sticky and too salty and other campers were using the sea water for bathing.

Our camping spot overlooked the beach and as we reversed in we could take advantage of our living room windows to enjoy the views. We enjoyed swimming, little walks, chatting with our neighbours, seeing dolphins, being entertained by a fire dancer, and a lightning/thunderstorm.

The family next to us was a couple with three daughters, all pre teens we think. They played boardgames a lot as there was so little internet. We had the frustrating experience of having notifications and emails download, but not being able to upload anything or stream shows. I found I had quite a few books downloaded on my ipad, this proved quite enough for me even though it means rereading books.

We were impressed that the family of five had a small campervan and made it accommodate all of them. One child slept in the pop top roof, two inside the van and the parents had a double swag tent. They lived outside the majority of the time with the father appearing to do most of the cooking. They all seemed to get on very well, though I overheard the father giving very clear guidelines on playing boardgames together (there will be winners and losers, it’s just a game, etc.). He sounded like a firm but kind teacher.

After three nights there and filling up our toilet we have come to Cheynes Beach Caravan Park to do washing and have a reset. The drop toilet at East Bay was initially quite dirty and unattractive. After about a day someone cleaned it up and this morning a truck came to clean the bottom out. Not a pleasant job, but it makes a difference.

I have a lot of photos and video to process, but have prepared just a few for this blog.

the view up the hill from our Cheynes Beach campsite
We were planning to go further east to Cape Riche tomorrow, but this might be a reason to change our plans as it is affecting the road we would be travelling on.

Days 10 and 11 – Rose Gardens Caravan Park to Little Beach Store

Albany Whaling Station amphitheatre

Yesterday we did nothing in particular until it was time to head out for an evening performance of Twelfth Night. After Friday when there were rain squalls and strong winds it was quite a change to mostly clear skies and very little wind on Saturday. Perfect for an open air performance. This was taken early on before lots of people arrived. Still, there was plenty of space for more.

It was an excellent production, a young cast who made the most of the comedy and added local and contemporary touches here and there. It was a lot of fun in an absolutely gorgeous setting. Of course, by the end we were all rugged up with shawls and woolly hats, as you would expect. But, it wasn’t unpleasant.

We had some snack food with us, but also shared a cold meat and cheese toastie Italian style, really good. And later, hot chocolates.

It was about 30 kms away from our caravan park and I was a bit worried about the drive home in the dark. However, I was on a high from the play and found it fairly easy. A lot of people had left by the time we were on the road so I wasn’t holding up a long line of traffic as we drove at about 70kms, keeping an eye out for kangaroos.

The public golf links is out on this road and we noticed that it had dropped off Wikicamps as a place to stay. We have found it quite convenient in the past. We called in on our way out to the Whaling Station to find out what had happened. Apparently it became so popular that they decided not to allow it to continue on Wikicamps. However, we can still stay there. They just want the keep the numbers down. That’s great news, just what we wanted to hear. We don’t need it for the moment, but might later in our time here in/near Albany.

This morning we got up at about the usual time as we had lots to do before heading out to camping spots east of Albany. There are quite a lot to choose from, but each has only a few camping spaces, so we are hoping we can be lucky with our first choice. As well as emptying and filling up with water we had to get fuel and do a little shopping. Fortunately there were options along our route.

Then we were in search of a cafe for lunch and found this delightful little place. There is an animal park for kids, plus a nice cafe. There was a sign saying that the chefs were ill and the kitchen wasn’t open, but fortunately it is still operating as a cafe. We had toasties and hot drinks, just what we hoped for.

As part of our preparation for going a bit remote we contacted Matt on Facetime this morning and had a short chat. We don’t know if we will have a signal in the evening and wanted to make sure we saw him. He got a bit distracted because someone had brought them a large coffee from a nearby cafe and he could hardly wait.


Day 9 – Cosy Corner East to Emu Point

At the beach, Cosy Corner East

We were fairly relaxed yesterday morning as we didn’t really have to leave, according to our parking app, until the afternoon. So we went through packing up our our outdoor stuff at our leisure and actually were leaving by about 11.00 a.m.

Our toilet announced it was full first thing in the morning, without prior warning, so I trolleyed it over to the dump point immediately. After that, we didn’t have to worry as the caravan park has a dump point. In fact, our spot is opposite the dump point, very convenient.

On the way here we went to the IGA and bought food for a couple of days. We plan to move east of Albany to try out some campsites and will shop again before we go. We can probably last four nights with regard to our tanks and drinking water, if we are careful and by buy a few extra litres of drinking water.

The caravan park is very full at the moment and the toilets/showers get mucky quite quickly. Therefore we will continue to use our own bathroom and toilet some of the time whilst we are here.

The location is lovely, within a short walk of the beach, of course, and went for a walk around last night, despite the fact that it turned windy. wet and cold. I kept my shorts on, but added my rain jacket. The rain was very light and at one point when a squall came in we sheltered under a tree which kept us completely dry.

We explored options for an evening meal. There was supposed to be a food truck in the caravan park, but that didn’t happen. We walked to the nearby sporting club, which does meals on Friday night, but it was extremely busy and we didn’t like our chances. Fortunately we asked someone who told us about a food truck doing Mexican meals at the nearby motel. It was less than 500 metres away and although we had to wait about 30 minutes the food was worth it. We came back to the Sherwood to eat out of the weather.

During the afternoon we did our washing, two loads, one of clothes and one of our towels, etc. It felt very satisfying when it was all done. We used the dryer of course as we didn’t feel we could rely on getting the washing dry on the line.

View from the lookout at Cosy Corner East
Path at Emu Point

Day 7 – At Cosy Corner East

Unfortunately Stephen has had a headache all day and we haven’t done very much. The good thing is that it gave me time to process this little video of bird sounds on the morning that I woke up early. I couldn’t adjust the magenta cast in Final Cut Pro despite fiddling with the colour settings. Clearly it can be done, I just need to learn how.


Day 6: Albany IGA carpark to Cosy Corner East

IGA/bus station car park, Albany

Tuesday 3rd January, 2023

So, it was an interesting night. We weren’t accosted and told to move on, so we didn’t. We felt a bit exposed as there were no other vans staying the night.

We went for a walk down to the entertainment area on the harbour yesterday evening. There is a walkway from the street, but an extra set of stairs from our level. It was cloudy, somewhat windy with a very light drizzle at times, very Albany in fact.

Stephen picked up our dinner from the Chinese restaurant. We found it a bit disappointing from the point of view of being just one food, beef, rather than a beef and vegetable dish. However, the meat was very tender and it tasted delicious – beef in plum sauce and spring rolls, with steamed rice.

We felt tired and went to bed quite early. As we were on a sideways lean I suggested that we sleep upwards at the other end of the bed, which meant Stephen had to sleep on the inner side of the bed. That probably contributed to us to not sleeping well. That and the noise of goods trains, road trains, and an early morning visit from the street sweeping truck. After annoying us by going up and down the whole area it came perilously close to ramming us, just sweeping past at the last moment. Although it was still very early, not long after 5.00 a.m., we decided a cup of tea was needed to calm us down.

Stephen has had a headache today, slowing him down just a little. I went out for a flat white first thing, and we made use of the nearby toilets for normal toilet stuff and I was able to use their electricity to blow dry my hair.

After the usual filling up and letting out of watery stuff we headed out for Cosy Corner East. We arrive at around 10.00 a.m. and had a choice of a number of bays. We’ve chosen one on the side fence, well away from the entrance. We had to adjust for a slope, but at least we could do that, not like our ‘stealth’ camping in town.

After setting up, putting out our chairs and folding table, and rearranging stuff inside, we are very comfortable and look forward to a better night’s sleep. I have something easy planned for tea, just heating up really.

Now that we have to pay for camping I was hoping for simple swiping motion on a machine. It turns out we use a parking app and it had me so bamboozled that it wasn’t until late afternoon that I clicked on the option to log in using my Apple ID and we were in. We had the option to have a concessional rate of $10 per night and it included putting in our vehicle registration. Like my other parking app, you spin a wheel on the screen to choose length of stay.

I need to do some washing, but didn’t fancy spending time at a laundromat this morning. Instead I will do a little handwashing here at our campsite, and we’ve booked a caravan park at Emu Point for Friday night to get the washing done. We love Emu Point as a location for walks, etc. and we have stayed at the Rose Garden Caravan Park a number of times over the years. With our membership discount it is fairly inexpensive for Albany peak time and as it’s quite basic, no jumping pillow, etc. it feels like our kind of place.

Stephen has felt too unwell to go out for a walk and I must admit to feeling a bit lazy, so no walk for me either. The fact that we will have two full days here means I’m not worried about missing out.

Cosy Corner East