Journey’s End

After a great time on the Nullarbor, we began the final leg of our journey homeward.

We had a sneak peep at Gawler National Park as it was so close by and we couldn’t resist. A taste of things to come on our next trip back to SA.

Gawler NP. Where the desert and coastal environs meet. Those clouds were a sign of things to come.

 

Great to see a few emus again. SA is the wildlife state.

The Organ Pipes.

Flowering gum

 

We decided to revisit Warren Gorge near Quorn where we had spent an afternoon at the early stages of our trip. We also hoped to spot the beautiful Yellow footed Wallaby again.  Alas, no luck in that department but we took a lovely 5km walk around the gorge and enjoyed the sunshine. Given the recent spring rains it was far greener than last time. 

Top camping spot at Warren Gorge.

All VERY green.

 

From here we travelled across to the Clare Valley and stayed in a small town 30kms north of Clare called Yacka. Once again we had a day of sunshine. We popped into Clare the following day and spent several hours sipping the best lattes in our whole trip while the weather began to decline.

Love birds doing the spring thing.

Camping at Yacka pre storm

Looking ominous over the Clare Valley.

Super cell storm.

We ended up sitting out the storm in Yacka. Lots of thunder, rain and rocking, howling winds. We had a hilarious day with lots of chocolate being consumed and game playing. The lack of power was no issue for us as we are self contained. We barely left the van all day.When we left on the Friday we were amazed to see that the ‘creek’ had become a river. 

We avoided cabin fever by eating and playing games ( as you do).

 

 

View from campsite post storm. Instant river where there was only wetlands.

We circumnavigated Clare to avoid the worst and headed to drier lands.

 

Across the border and into Vic at Lake Walpeup Reserve near Ouyen.

 So here we are back in our home state. The Bulldogs have just won their first grand final in over 60 years and it’s raining again.

With over 25,000 km’s travelled, no flat tyres or other incidents of note, we consider ourselves very fortunate indeed. We have a magnificent country and look forward to exploring it further in the future.

Many thanks to all those who have followed our blog, it’s been great to have you along for the ride.

Over and out…..fandl

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On the Nullarbor.

After crossing into South Australia, we decided to do a small section of the old Eyre highway, a rough dirt road and wide open spaces. What a treat.

Starting with the old Nullabor Roadhouse which was attached to the Koonalda Homestead. Being one of the few fuel stops it became the graveyard for many a car that died on the arduous journey. FJs, mini minors, Dodges and Bedfords just to name a few.

The original Nullarbor Roadhouse.

The homestead built with sleepers sourced from Cook and window frames from the old telegraph station at Eucla.

The shearing shed.

The graveyard.

Chewing the cud!

Fencing must have been a huge job

Water for the station was drawn from Koonalda Cave, the entrance to the underground lake system.

 

It’s HUGE.
With Maralinga to our north, it’s no surprise the Brits thought this was a perfect location to drop a few nuclear bombs.
Isolation at its best!
Check out this handsome fella.
A spikey little devil.
We then returned to the main Eyre Highway and went to view the Great Australian Bight.

 

 

Heading East along the Eyre Highway

A very different type of Eucalypt to the northern variety.

We have been taking our time heading east staying at lots of free campsites and soaking up the atmosphere of the inner south of WA. Changes in landscape and more wildflowers are the order of the day. 

This is a sample of some rare type of forest landscape.

Almost ghostly but beautiful even in death!

Maybe I’ve shown these before?

Better include the good old Sturt desert pea.

The daisy, flourishes in these harsh conditions.

…and the clouds put on a beautiful display out here.

 

Kalgoorlie and Julie.

Our dear friend from Tasmania, Julie, had raced across the Nullarbor and met up with us at Lake Douglas just out of Kalgoorlie. We are now travelling together back towards Melbourne. It’s great having her and her pooch Missy with us. Julie is a seasoned traveller who knows all the best spots. 

Lake Douglas

More flowers

They threatened but we managed to dodge them.

We went approx 150km’s north of Kalgoorlie to a place called Lake Ballard.  This is a significant spot on two accounts. It is listed as one of the few breeding sites for the Banded Stilt, with the last season being in 1995 when it filled with water, a very rare event.  Following this, a British artist Antony Gormley then decided it was the perfect location for his sculptures. He installed 51 in total with each representing a person from the small population of the nearby town of Menzies. (One was apparently used by some guy who decided to drive around the area, which is prohibited, and got bogged. He used it to winch himself out and took the sculpture with him).

We got us a convoy now.

The view from our camp.

Female figure with mirage in the background. There was no water, I checked!

The figures are dotted all around a 10km radius in this eerie but beautiful landscape. 

At the summit of The Hill.

Julie, Missy and Lynn

 

The plants out here are incredible. Who needs water?

I really love these salt lakes, the contrast is fab.

It’s the space….

 

 

Turning Left – New Norcia

We wove our way through from the coast today on a beautiful drive to New Norcia.  There were wild flowers a plenty and we even chanced upon an orchid by the roadside.

Wild orchid. We found one at last!

New Norcia is the one and only monastic town in Australia (I doubt we could support anymore than that). The monastery was founded in 1847 and is still home to a community of Benedictine monks. It’s a very picturesque little town set amidst lush green fields and rolling hills. Apart from praying for our lost souls, they are very productive in the bread and wine business. They grow their own wheat and their bread is highly sort after. We can highly recommend the sour dough and the fruit loaf was to die for. 

…and of course they run a Hotel.

They even cater to the grey nomads!

 

Cervantes

 

We stopped off at an old historic area just south of Geraldton known as Greenough where we stayed overnight at the Hampton Arms Inn, built in 1863.   

The old inn.

 

Then we headed to Cervantes, our last west coast town on the itinerary. This is situated close to the Nambung NP.

We visited Lake Thetis which like Shark Bay has these ancient type life forms in it.  We are really worded up now on the Geological front so feel free to ask any questions! 

Lake Thetis with stromatolites.

The NP is also home to the Pinnacles, one of those must do’s on the tourist list, so full of bus loads of international tourists from Perth. Despite this we still managed a short walk through these limestone marvels. They actually allow you to wander through and even have a road through the area.  Not all understand the no climbing signs unfortunately, so it will be interesting to see how they last. Needless to say there are also a few wildflowers around.

Kalbarri

From Denham we had a relatively long drive down to Kalbarri. On sighting typical farmland, we both felt we had really hit civilisation again. Given we are fairly close to Perth now it’s not really surprising! 

Kalbarri is very much the tourist town but it is also the base from which to explore the small but spectacular Kalbarri NP. With the magnificent Murchison river flowing through it and the pounding waves of the Indian Ocean, it makes for some pretty special scenery. Put that together with the Spring wildflowers and it’s magic.

There are over 100 species of wildflowers in Kalbarri NP. Of these over 80 are considered rare or in need of protection, whilst 21 are endemic to the area.

I had hoped to be able to identify these specimens but not being of the botanical bent and the fact that I can’t find them in my brochure from the info centre means they shall remain nameless. Nevertheless they are all so beautiful and I hope you enjoy the pics.