Christmas and New Year came and went in a blink of an eye. We are now settled on our block in the Clare Valley of SA! Yes, we have our own block!
It’s been a long process but some land we first saw in June last year finally became available….so now it’s ours!! After 12 1/2 years on the road we now can use this as a base….that’s all, as we still wish to travel Australia as much as we can…before we can’t!!
We moved the van onto the ‘house site’ area next to the shed. The rest of the block is pasture for sheep. B feels right at home, but I’m having more trouble….keep thinking we’re doing another house sit for someone!! Jeda loves it. She’s used to sheep, but these big dogs called Alpacas that make a weird noise when she comes too close are crazy!
Over the next few months we hope to do some improvements: a septic, solar and some plantings. So travel is on hold for just a short while, but we have big plans for winter this year…..hint: BRB & Races….Birdsville, Qld…….wanna come???!!!
Our first sunset evening
Pre moving to the block, tanks & shed
A huge gum – great shade in summer
Earthmoving coy on site
Hot day, Hot sky
Jeda helping B dig a trench
Found this guy on base of elms in driveway
Jeda checking water troughs
Start of my collection of Alpaca Poo!
A few inquisitive visitors
The two sheep guards
More compost being made as I watch!
View from rear of property
Found many of these around
B doing some plumbing
What a brilliant encounter-Wedgetail in paddock tree
We headed south from the wheatbelt to Margaret River in the South West to meet up with other “Traveller” friends for a while. Because we had farm sat in this region for over 6mths previously we did a highlight tour with them over 3 days.
Cellar Doors, chocolate & coffee places, ice cream, cheese….all the naughty spots!!! And they have an abundance from Busselton down! Onwards south-east to Northcliffe where we camped at Sid’s Campground just outside Pemberton (find him on Facebook or Wikicamps). A bush camp with free range sites, quirky loos & showers and brilliant walking tracks around the property. At $10 per site per night (more for power) great value. This was our base to explore Northcliffe, Pemberton, Windy Harbour & D’Entrecasteaux National Park.
From here we moved on to Walpole (for smoko) then on to the Valley Of The Giants. Because we had friends with us to mind Jeda, B&I got to take a look at this walk amongst the tree tops. Luckily it wasn’t windy! B loved it, me – not so much. Hate heights! But I did like the walkway on the ground called the Ancient Empire walk.
Onwards to Denmark and thru to Cosy Corner Campground. It’s a small campsite near the beach. We had the most uneven site we’ve had in over 11 years! But B got us sort of level. It was only for one night, as we moved to another the next day…even more uneven! It had a camp host, but he was moving on soon as not happy with the Council who run it. We did the tourist route and visited a Toffee Coy, Ice Creamery, Ugg Boot maker and a Meadery.
Broke up the eating and drove out to Green Pool and Elephant Rock in William Bay National Park. Noice. It was eating time again, so off on the tourist route to Denmark Farmhouse Cheese & Ducketts Mill Wines! Cheese & wine tasting in one! So good we stopped and ordered a platter (and some sample bottles for later!). Unfortunately the weather turned bad so we filled the truck tank with water at Denmark Info Centre and headed back to Cosy Corner.
Next day we checked out the fishing on the beach at the day use area. Spent a lot of hours there to have nothing to show for it! Nothing legal to keep. Story of our life! Even went back for more the next day….same result!
So we decided a day trip was in order…off to Albany. As our friends were with us we had Jeda minders so B & I visited the National Anzac Centre. Brilliant! Highly recommended. You could spend hours there reading about the history, and then we walked around the grounds of Princess Royal Fortress and Mt Adelaide. From there we had a photo op at Dog Rock, checked out Emu Beach for fish and chips and general drive around.
Soon it was time to farewell our friends who headed to SA, so we checked into a park at Two Peoples Bay about 20km’s from Albany. A basic bush park on private property really. We were able to visit Albany many more times, including their op shops which I loved. It suited us as we decided what was our next move as it was coming up to Christmas…..where are we going to hide??!
It’s been a while but I’ve finally sat down to post what has happened since leaving the Wheatbelt farm.
The hay was all cut, baled, stacked and ready to store. That was it for us as we decided to move on. I’ve put up a few pics from the farm – we loved our time there – it was a great experience and I urge anyone travelling to give it a go if you are looking for something different for a while instead of always being a tourist.
In my last post we were in Ayr (Qld), rained in. A week later we headed off south just above the flood waters. We kept an eye on where the water was and skirted around or stayed in one place till it subsided. We visited a number of places for the 2nd or 3rd time, but it’s alway nice to go back and see what has changed.
At Carmilla Beach we had an ‘issue’ with the deep sand; Balgal Beach was beautiful (in between rain showers); until we arrived in Redcliffe (where I grew up) to visit family. At the time the Bee Gee Way was opened and I and thousands of others attempted to get a glimpse of Bazza Gibb. I won’t be changing professions to ‘Paparazzi’ any time soon, as I was in the wrong place for any close-ups of the man. I think the photos and statue are great for Redcliffe – it will bring more people to the Peninsula.
Finally, we have set off on our next journey in the Australian Outback. We decided to head west due to the amount of rain most of the east coast has been receiving the past few months. We haven’t gone far really. We found some wonderful 3 night stays along creeks and rivers for a donation to the councils. Apart from battling the flies and mosquitos, they have been lovely. In Meandarra (between Toowoomba-Surat) we found a great Anzac Memorial Museum with some wonderful war memorabilia. For a little town it has accumulated a vast amount of equipment from the WWI&II – including a Canberra Bomber.
We are on our way to Roma for the Easter in the Outback Festival. I am camera-less at present (just using B’s point & press) and feeling almost naked – mine is in for a major service/overhaul in Sydney. Ordered a new one online (upgrading to Canon 7D) and fingers crossed it will arrive in Roma same time as us!
Have put a photo of the rubbish left at a roadside stop on the Moonie Hwy in this post as I am disgusted that this sort of stuff is left by the road we travel. It’s a common occurrence in most states, but in SA we found the RA’s to be a lot cleaner (due to payment for cans, bottles etc) – maybe other states should do the same – and what about National licencing & Road Rules – don’t get me started!
Hey there! Since arriving back in Brisbane after our Western Qld short jaunt we have put our travels on hold for a month or so as we get a new canopy built for our F-truck.
The old canopy was great but cumbersome getting access to things inside, as we had an outboard motor, tyres & a car fridge to navigate over to reach chairs and storage items towards the front. Anyone who owns a canopy like ours might understand what we mean. So we bit the bullet and organised the building of a 5-door aluminium canopy for the old truck. Our ‘Tinnie Tosser’ boat loader & tinnie will still go up top and the same items will now have a new, more accessible home in the canopy.
I’m hoping ‘B’ will not forget my photos and display boards too! Somehow all the ‘mens stuff’ gets first preference in trucks – has anyone else noticed that?! 🙂
After that we are back to Ayr in North Queensland for the Cane Season. So if you are passing through Ayr on either the first or third Sunday of the month when the Plantation Park Markets are on, drop in and see me, mention my blog and I might be able to find you a photo memento too hard to resist!
If you are travelling north this winter don’t skip Ayr. It’s a lovely small town with some great cane fires for photo ops – the Burdekin region is one of the last remaining areas to burn their cane so stop for a night or more and check out what Ayr has to offer – it’s only 85klms from Townsville.
Recently we spent a family Easter weekend at Bjelke-Petersen Dam near Murgon (west of Gympie). We were lucky enough to have fine weather nearly the whole 4 days. I have uploaded a few photos of the dam & its wildlife in my catalogues. On the Sunday the park put on a market which we decided to join. There were around 30 stalls, not bad for their first market. If you ever get the chance go take a look or camp there – it’s a lovely spot (probably better when there’s not so many people there though). There are powered & non-powered sites & cabins. Lots of birdlife, if you own a boat you’ll enjoy the dam for waterskiing, wakeboarding, fishing & redclaw. Can’t tell you how the fish are because we didn’t try. It’s a lovely place for a day out – and for those who like their wine, there’s a Wine Trail in nearby Moffatdale!
I don’t know if you have heard of Kilkivan but it’s a small country town north west of Gympie. We were lucky enough to be passing through when they were holding the Great Horse Ride (see photos under ‘Outback’). It was quite an impressive display with over 500 riders. Whilst there we camped in the old rail yards with permission and put our stall up the next day. Unfortunately most of the riders were not advised of the market so not many people showed, but we met some lovely people and Kilkivan is a lovely town to stop in if you are ever out that way.
We finished the cane season in Ayr and we decided to head south to do some routine maintenance on the van. On the way we thought we’d check out some of the dams we hadn’t visited before.
First stop was Finch Hatton which has a beautiful Gorge. Then on to Eungella Dam up in the hills west of Mackay – tested out our F-Truck at least on those steep mountainsides. Plenty of room around the dam and bird life was in abundance – especially a Darter who squawked all day and night! We had visits from a couple of friendly horses grazing around the dam edge most days. Didn’t catch any fish but enjoyed the surrounds.
Next on to Lake Elphinstone (north of mining town Nebo). Unfortunately we had bad weather the whole time – windy and rainy, so we kept going. On to Clermont and Theresa Creek Dam south-west of the town. We loved the wildlife there. It was a bit more ‘structured’ – with a kiosk and sheds for shelter (and you had to pay to stay), but it’s worth a visit. You will be knocked out by the amount of waterlilies covering the dam and the cattle that continually spend the day munching on them, up to their neck in the water. We were woken to the sounds & sites of lorikeets (so tame they eat from your hand), miners, apostle birds, spoonbills, brolgas, egrets, darters, comb crested jacana (or lilly trotter), magpies & magpie geese – a heap of photo opportunities!
Unfortunately we had to keep moving, so next stop was Clermont where we continued our history lesson of the area with a lively old fella called Bernie Bettridge and his wife Jeanette. He is solely the ‘Master keeper of Clermont’s history’, going from his stories and photos he showed us. He comes out to the dam every afternoon to talk and meet the travellers – he invited us to his home and we spent two fascinating hours checking out all his ‘treasures’ he’s collected most of his 80-odd years. You begin to wonder what will happen to all his things when he’s no longer around to ‘teach’ and show younger Aussies all about their past.
From Clermont we headed south-east to Bundoora Dam (near German Creek Mine). This would have to be our favourite spot on our short trip. It’s mostly used for the workers for skiing and recreation. No fish to speak of but some Redclaw near the dam wall. We had a beautiful sunset and sunrise the first day, but after that the wet weather set in, which was a bit disappointing, but didn’t deter us from enjoying the scenery. Not as profuse in bird life but still a pretty spot and perfect for the locals for fun sports.
Even though it was only two weeks I did get some lovely photos that I will shortly upload to my catalogue for you to see.
Hey fellow Grey Nomads & travellers alike. This is my first post on my site so forgive me as I’m a Newbie!
Hubby (‘B’) and I sold up our business & house and hit the road back in 2005 and have enjoyed travelling Australia ever since. As a hobby I started recording our travels in photos (as most of us do). Some of them were pretty OK I thought, as did others and so I started selling some of them at local markets along the way.
We are currently sitting still whilst ‘B’ works as a cane haul driver in the Burdekin Region in north Queensland, so I thought I’d have a go at putting my photos online. If you like any of them please email me, more information on photos on Gallery page.