A Travellerspoint blog

Adelaide

and surroundings

We stayed with Rob and Bev in Adelaide. On the first days, they showed us around and took us around Adelaide. We accidentally came across the start of the Tour Down Under in Glenelg. Christophe got a picture with Thomas de Gendt :) There were quite a lot of people watching the race.

Rob is a cricket fan, so we watched a fair bit of cricket that day as well. Alas, the Adelaide strikers got out in their Big Bash semi final.

The next day we had a day trip and lunch in Hahndorf; cheese fondue made from local cheese, which was pretty nice. Otherwise Hahndorf didn’t have that much to offer. When we were heading back we had the craziest rain ever. The streets turned into rivers and cars just stopped. Dumpsters were taken by the rain and were flowing with the water down the streets.

Then we visited their balloon/party store, Balloons Galore. We tried filling some balloons and after that hopped into the van with Rob and did a couple of balloon deliveries with him.

We met their family as their granddaughter had her 18th birthday just a day before Christophe turned 30. We had a party downtown for her (and for Christophe). For Christophe’s birthday we went to Mclaren Vale for lunch and had a bit of wine at rob’s sister’s place overlooking the area. In the evening we had a birthday cake for him :) It was a nice day (better than last year :P )

Adelaide seemed like a nice town, but the city is built more for cars than for people (or public transport).
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Posted by cjfvdk 16:01 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

From mines to wines

Now, getting closer to Adelaide, we are getting in the wine areas. First there was the Clare Valley, where we tasted some and bought a bottle from MR. Mick. We did a very boring tour of the Seven Hills winery (we thought it would have been more about winemaking, and less about the history of the Jesuits and the buildings there). Well, at least they had some cool old wine barrels there :)

Now we are writing the blog from the Barossa region, where we might taste some wine too, but we aren’t there yet :)

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Posted by cjfvdk 16:50 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Mines and steel industry

The next big stop was Iron Knob, where the Australian Iron ore industry took off. We took a tour of the town, which is pretty much dead (there was an advert to call for a meeting to decide if the town would live on or die …), and we saw the first pit from which they took the first Australian Iron ore and brought it to Whyalla, where there is some big steel industry. Still today, they have iron ore mines active in Iron knob, but the activity is low with the low iron prices these days. Then we drove on to Whyalla, a silent town with 20000 people where the steel industry is big. We walked around, did some shopping (first big shop since Esperance), got online and booked flights to Asia.

Then went on Point lowly, which is in the Spencer Gulf, next to a big gas company. They have a beautiful old lighthouse. We had one of the worst nights there, as the car was full of mozzies (one of the window nets wasn’t attached properly) and we were bitten all over :(

Then we went to Port Augusta, which is really small with not much to see, and drove on to Chinaman Creek. There we met de famous biologist Doug Reilly, who studies wildlife and the climate change in SA. We spent one night there, got eaten alive by mosquitos again, saw some crabs, had a swim, met two Canadians who’d travelled 30000 kms in two months (fiew), and then went on to Mt Remarkable national park. There we had a really bad walk in Alligator gorge (nothing was marked, distances were wrong, we almost got lost and it was full of wasps, and there were kangaroos scaring you do death around every corner).

We went on to Murray Town, which has an amazing campsite and there we met Robert whom we went fishing with. He invited us to dinner, and took us on the bridal track, from where we had an amazing view over the Spencer Gulf and could see Whyalla, Port Agusta and Port Pirie, the tree big towns in SA after Adelaide (15000-20000 ppl). We had a great night with him and his family with some beautiful seafood :)

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Posted by cjfvdk 16:46 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Eyre Peninsula

fishing in paradise

Past Ceduna, you can either go straight across to Port Agusta or down to the Tuna fishing town of Port Lincoln. That would be a huge detour for us, so we decided not to go there. Instead, we just drove 100 km south to the beach of Haslam, a small fishing town with a jetty of which many people are fishing. It is pretty windy here, but the spot we found was a bit quieter.

The plan was to go to streaky bay and then head inland towards Port Agusta. But the next day we got stuck in such an idyllic place that we decided to stay for a couple of days. We could drive our van on the beach under a manmade hut, where we had shade. Some people had left a sofa on the beach, so we could chill in a sofa, while on the beach. It was amazing! Lots of people put their boat in the water with a tractor, as there is a big tide difference (500 m between low and high), but it’s like only half a metre deep on the low tide line at high tide. We decided to put our tent under the hut and enjoy sleeping on the beach and falling asleep looking at the stars. In the middle of the night, the tide came up quite a bit higher than during the day, and we woke up, afraid that we were gonna get flooded. But about 1,5 m before our tent, the water started retreating and we were safe. Some other campers were less lucky and had to move their whole setup. We knew now that the next day, we would have to move our tent up higher, because it had been new moon, and the tide came towards neap tide.

The next day we went for a drive to streaky bay, where there was a kids fishing competition on the jetty. We’ve never seen so many kids fishing. And everybody was catching something. It was quite nice to see. Then we went more inland, towards Port Agusta, and we found a jumping pillow, and fresh water. But it was so hot around here, that we decided to return back to paradise the next day. That day we chilled on our sofa under the shade, and got some fish (whiting) from people that went fishing. We had a nice dinner with some other travellers.

The next day, we both got to go on a fishing boat and could fish ourselves. it took a while before we caught our first fish, and Edda caught 3 shitty’s (shitfish you don’t want to catch), before she got her first good one. We were 4 on the boat and caught 25 whiting, some smaller tommy’s and a travalli. The whiting had to be at least 30 cm long, and you can catch max 36 of them per boat. That night be went to the skipper’s house, cleaned the fish, took a shower, had a yarn at the pub and had a feed with the fisherman. Robert (the skipper) was very very friendly and gave us some bacon for the next morning. Then we had to go back to our tent, where we had a beautiful night sleeping under the stars, with some shooting stars and the high tide coming up to 2 m of the tent in the night.

The 5th day in paradise, Christophe went out fish again, and caught quite some whiting, among which a 40 cm one, but then the skipper caught an ever bigger one of 49 cm! We also caught some snook and salmon. This was the last day fishing of Robert, because the whether was getting worse the next day, and he had to go back to his farm. We had dinner with the other campers on the beach, but in the night, we got hit by a storm and had to abandon the tent and sleep in the car. Everything was fine, but it was to wet and sandy and noisy. As the whether got worse, we decided to pack up and continue our trip to Adelaide.
Bye bye paradise!

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Posted by cjfvdk 20:36 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The Nullarbor!

Today is all about making ourselves ready for crossing the Nullarbor. We have to say goodbye to Romy and Layton, stock up food and water for a couple of weeks (you never know what happens), fuel up, have a good look where the fuel stations are on the Nullarbor and then go! The first day we got to Norseman +100 kms, so about 300 kms. Not much excitement along the way, as there wasn’t much to see. We stopped driving around 3 pm, so that we are well clear of the kangaroo time, and took it easy at our rest stop.

The next day we took off again for another 400 kms past Madura. Today we saw a bunch of camels about 500 ms of the road. Dromedaries that is, which are the Australian feral camels, which they nowadays export to the Middle East. There are roadhouses every 200 kms, but with quite high fuel prices, so we try to make as much as we can with our tank. The third day, we are already crossing the boarder to South Australia. Now comes a long stretch of road along the coast line, with very nice views from the cliffs.

On the fourth day, we almost ran an empty tank, but got to the fuel station, and see what, we are already in Ceduna, where we have to give up our apples (fruit quarantine), and are practically across the Nullarbor. It was about 1500 kms, and went a lot quicker than we expected and had stocked up for!

One miner remark: Many people had advised us to travel anticlockwise around Australia, cause then we have the wind from behind. But unfortunately, the whole trip was with the wind from the side and on our nose, so we used quite a bit more petrol than we would have in ideal circumstances!

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Posted by cjfvdk 20:08 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

New year!

The next couple days, Layton and Romy had to work. Tuesday was a very hot day, so we went to the beach and spent some time on ’Twilight beach, which is pretty nice. We caught some waves. The next days, the weather turned cold, so Christophe worked a bit on the car, to make sure that we have air conditioning on the remainder of the trip. As an amateur, it took about a full day to find out that one of the belts didn’t fit, so we went back to get another one and fitted that. Now we have aircon again, which we might dearly need :).

On NYE, we had a couple drinks at home, and then celebrated which Laytons brother and his family. It was a small party, but a really nice evening. Obviously, the next day was a recovery day from the hangover. Layton wanted to try out his homemade 4WD so we took a back track and got pretty badly bogged in the mud. It took about 2 hours to get out, and after a lot (I mean aa lot!) of muddigging and car failures, we finally managed to get out and get home. By that time, the girls were getting a bit worried. But it was good fun :).

On Edda’s birthday we took it quite relaxed, went to town, cleaned the car and headed for dinner, which was very nice. And on our last day in Esperance, we went bush driving and had lunch at an old abandoned homestead that had been renovated for passing travellers to stay. Ow yeah, and Edda hit a roo! So now it’s time for the big trip over east, across the Nullarbor plain!

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Posted by cjfvdk 18:17 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Christmas

back in Esperance

For Christmas, we are back with the Ridgways, with whom we spent a month before harvest started for us. Christmas eve itself is pretty easygoing, as we all woke up around 4 am and everyone was pretty tired. So we went to bed around 8 already.

The next day we have the whole Ridgway family, with a big brunch table, lots of fresh yummie fish, prawns, crayfish, oysters etc. After everyone was gone we had some salmon and spend our Christmas in the homebuilt spa!

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The next day we went to check out the Boxing Day races with Layton. We arrived a bit early, so to kill time we went for a little drive on the beach, climbed some rocks and had some good ice cream in town. The races itself didn’t seem to be that interesting (maybe it’s different if you are into horses or gambling), but there were a lot of people dressed to impress and it was just fun to watch people.

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On Sunday we went 4Wheel driving on the beach. Layton’s friend had a quad bike, so we had a go with that. We went swimming, collecting some abalone and just chilled out. The next day was even more relaxed. We went again to the beach, but this time we had 2 cars, Romy and the dogs with us :) Christophe and Layton went fishing with a home-made spear. Layton used his spanners for weight :D

We set up a nice sunshade at the beach where we could cook, read books and escape from the burning sun. The day was very relaxed, but also pretty tiring. We’ll definitely miss the beaches of Esperance.

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Posted by cjfvdk 16:55 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

More work

and some fun

The following weeks was more work. Long days, early wake ups. Until we had a massive rain coming through, and the harvest stopped for about a week. We didn’t work for one day, and we used that day to go to Esperance to do some more shopping (it had been three weeks after all). That night one of our co-workers (who had been laid off) played a DJ set in the pub at Lake King. It was a good night, Christophe wasn’t going to drink, but got offered heaps of tequila shots and B-52s so ended up groggy anyway.

The next day we woke up at 5 again, and we did outloading of a some grain in a rainy day. About 150 trucks came through in the next 3 days and we got rid of 10000 tons of Feed Barley, which was good as we needed some more space. After that the harvest got rolling again and we did more inloading. Less and less trucks are coming now, since the harvest is nearing its end and most of the farmers are finishing up. So we are also doing some clean up, which includes going down boot pits and shovel lots of yakkie grain into a bucket. It’s hard and stinky work (there is even a gasmeter to check for oxygen), and it’s very unpleasant, especially if the stinky bootpit you cleaned up is gonna get a truck the next day :(

With Christmas coming closer, harvest is really ending and we are full on cleaning now. The last two days, we woke up at 5 am, because it gets 39 degrees in the day, and that’s too hot to work in. So now we can stop earlier and avoid the real heat of the day. Our last day of work is on Christmas eve. We are going back to Esperance after 6 weeks of harvest work!

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Posted by cjfvdk 16:28 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Harvest and Hyden

It’s more than a month since we started working. In the first weeks it was pretty busy, having trucks come and dump their grain, clean, sweep, cook. Not much else than work happens.

The work is reasonably diverse. You manage a grid for a couple of days, then switch to another, get to work with different people, different tasks etc.

The crew is pretty good, and the site manager is very good. After one week, a lot of moisture started to come and it all slowed down a bit, but afterwards there was a lot of traffic again, and we were busy (or « flat out » as the aussies would say).

A week ago it rained big time. Everything was leaking in the accommodation and people got bogged in their paddocks. The harvest came to a complete standstill for almost a week. Now we are slowly starting to get going again. It’s the last of harvest. Won’t be going for much more than a week now.

The normal work-roster is work 5 days 1 day off. On the day off, we do laundry cook some meals for the upcoming 5 busy days, and relax.

On one free day we went to Hyden to see the wave rock, which is a rock resembling a wave (see pics). It’s formed by millions of years of weathering and erosion and is pretty unique. It was nice, but if we wouldn’t be working close to it, it would not be so much worth the drive we reckon. We also went to the Humps (another rock formation) and saw some aboriginal art in Mulga’s cave. All in all it was an ok day. It’s not bad to get away from work for a while. It was a rather tiring day, which is not that good cause the day after you have to stand again for 12 hours in the sun.

Btw, by the side of the road we saw this hanging truck (see picture).
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Posted by cjfvdk 02:46 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Esperance

We’ve been stuck here for more than a month already. First, when we arrived, we had a training for half a day with our (hopefully) future employer. They said, the harvest season would start within the next weeks, so they’ll contact us about our start date and location. So far we have been waiting… Though, we have done some nice things meanwhile.

The first couple of days we spent around Esperance, just looking at the sites, the beaches and getting to know the town. We visited the Twilight beach and did the tourist drive among other things. After getting bored with spending time by ourselves, we found a nice couple via Couchsurfing who hosted us for the next days. We had some great time with them. They hosted a Mexican party with amazing Mexican food on Saturday, and on Sunday we went for a drive with them to Cape Le Grande national park. That was really cool. They had a good « bushcar » so we could drive through creeks, sand, stones and everything. In the end we reached a strip of beach with clear turquoise water, and nobody else was there :) We went for a swim and continued to the local pub to have a beer.

The next week we started Wwoofing. We Wwoofed for a family with 2 small kids (and a goat), so there was plenty of action and chaos around all the time. The first days we spent clearing a yard with scrap metal and all sorts of « junk ». Then we started working on the metal fences for goats. We shortened them and gave them a rust resistant coating. In the end we did a lot of small, quite manly jobs like changing tyres, fixing up a dairy, soldering, etc.. The father of the family had a lot of ideas and a lot of projects going on at the same time. He was very entrepreneurial and wanted to start many things. We felt that we did long days, but often didn’t achieve so much, because the plan changed all the time and we weren’t sure what to do or how to help him. For us it seemed one of the most disorganised places we have seen so far, but it was interesting to see whats going on in the mind (and house) of these innovators.

After Wwoofing for a week, Christophe got a job offer to be a bulldozer driver until we get the job in the wheat harvest. There was couple of days that, and then the last days were preparing trucks for carting grain. Putting new brakes on, greasing the bearings, putting new lights, refitting an engine etc. It’s interesting! Edda is mowing the lawn, cleaning, cooking, helping around the place we stay at.
2 weeks later

We are still in Esperance. Since the weather brings a lot of rain, the harvest is not getting ready, and we are still waiting for that call. Meanwhile, Christophe is still sitting on a dozer, and Edda found a job cleaning cars. The hours are limited, but it’s better than nothing. The past Saturdays were always sailing. We were 2 times on the winning boat, and the races take about 3 hours each. You go either from island to island or stay in the harbour and race around buoys. There’s always a lot of excitement, tacking, putting sails up and down. It’s good fun, and the skipper is friendly. We didn’t go around that much (we did most of the stuff), but on free days we went to the blessing of the fishing fleet, and that’s about it, because there really is not so much happening. We are really hoping to get to work soon now, because the longer that takes, the less time we will have to get to Sydney in the end!

So…. we are off today. Our work location will be Lake King. Probably very limited phone reception (and forget about internet). Hopefully you’ll hear from us again around Christmas :)

Ah yeah, yesterday a truck lost a trailer, hit a power pole and half of Esperance was without power for a while. Luckily nobody got hurt. It’s pretty wild here during harvest.
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Posted by cjfvdk 18:09 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Fitzgerald national park - Ravenstorp

Maybe it was a mistake to go here, because the roads were so corrugated (we might have caused some damage to the car, again…). We didn’t want to turn back either, so we went. The scenery was picture perfect: white sand, turquoise water, whales, wildflowers, some cliffs etc..

On the first day it was too windy to see whales, but on the second day we saw 2 whales, probably a mother and its baby (as the Southern Right whales come here to have their babies). The second day was also the hottest day for a while, so we had a swim in the ice cold water. The waves were still pretty big and strong, so we had to swim around in knee-deep water. Very refreshing :D

We drove out of the park and the roads seemed even worse… We stayed before Ravensthorpe.
The next morning we entered town just to discover that there is not much there. They have expensive petrol, one super expensive IGA and just one parks. That’s about it. But that might be our base if we are to find work …
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Posted by cjfvdk 04:52 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Porongurup and Stirling national parks

Porongurup national park is pretty small, they only had a couple of walks (or climbs). The first one was a very nice lookout on top of a granite boulder. You could see all the way to the sea and to Stirling national park. The other walks (which we combined) were over other granite boulders, of which the Devil’s slide was the most impressive one. It was a pretty steep climb up, but the view was great (especially on sunset).

We stayed overnight by the road on the way to Stirling national park. Brekkie was at Stirling, and we started the day with a 6km climb to Bluff Knoll. It was hard, as it was quite steep and we did it fairly fast. The views were amazing though. The national park really sticks out, everything around it is just flat farmland. You can so clearly see the borders of the park, because that’s where the trees end. Coming down was hard also (maybe even harder than going up). Edda’s legs were shaking afterwards, but we still had 2 other walks to do today.

We did the second climb to Mt Trio. It was a shorter climb (3,5kms), but a lot steeper and the steps were placed a bit annoyingly for our longs legs. We saw a big black snake slithering on the road when climbing up this mountain. Edda was pretty scared, but luckily the snake continued towards the bush and disappeared. The view from the top was also good. This was the most unpleasant walk, being so steep and a bit bushy. Also Christophe’s legs were shaking after coming down this one.

After lunch we got some more energy to do the last walk, Mt Toondalup. This walk started off easy, but the further up you got, the more difficult it got. In the end, we had to climb over loose stones and big boulders to get to the top. This mountain had definitely the best view though, and by this time there was no wind at the top either, so it was very enjoyable. We had to come down though, as it was slowly getting dark. Christophe would have otherwise stayed at the top for hours and hours.

In the evening we drove on to Borden and stayed there the night.
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Posted by cjfvdk 04:51 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Albany

We had breakfast at the beach, drove to the ANZAC centre and to the memorial. Then we did some lookouts to the King George Sound and then to the visitor information centre. After that we walked around town (pretty dead on Sunday, even the big shops like Woolworths were closed!). We managed to catch some wifi waves however from the library.

We had lunch at Emu point and drove off to Torndirrup national park. First stop was the blowhole. We couldn’t see anything, but the sound of the wave crashing in was pretty scary. The national park has also been burnt down a bit by a bushfire, so some sites were closed. We tried to go look for whales, but it was too windy. In the end, we stayed at the same campsite in Cosy Corner.

The next morning we managed to do some shopping (finally the shops were open) and went on to Porongurup national park.

Posted by cjfvdk 04:49 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Denmark

We drove to Greens Pool, which is a nice and protected swimming spot. Next to that they have Elephant rock, also a nice place to swim right next to the huge rocks. But no swimming now, it’s still too cold!! We continued to Monkey Rock, another one of these granite boulders. And from there to Lights beach just to have a look before entering Denmark. Denmark is a pretty small place, but at least we got some good info from the visitor centre.
We drove to West Cape Howe national park to have lunch and do some walks around the area. We ended up staying at a free campsite at Cosy Corner.

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Posted by cjfvdk 23:19 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Mount Frankland National Park - Walpole

We stayed at Fernhooks falls campground. In the morning we went to the falls. There is so much foam, it’s crazy. It looks like someone put bubble bath into the river. The foam that floats on top of the water almost looks like melting ice and snow in Finland.

We drove one to the forest discovery centre. They had a nice wilderness lookout overlooking the forest. We climbed another granite boulder here. The view was as magnificent as from Mt Chudalup, only the climb was a bit more strenuous.

We also did the Tingle tree walk, which lead us through a giant tingle tree. We drove to the treetop walk, did the free part and then went on. This area is known for huge karri trees, which are poles until 50 m before you see the first branch. We drove by the coast a bit more and stayed at a campsite in Parry Beach.

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Posted by cjfvdk 23:17 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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