A Travellerspoint blog

Windy Harbour

First stop was Mt Chudalup, a big granite boulder in the middle of the forest and swamp. We climbed to the top to have a good view of the surroundings. All these big granite boulders have been impressive mountain ranges millions of years ago, but are now the only thing left after they eroded away. We continued to Salmon beach and Tookulup in d’Entrecasteaux national park. This area has been burned by a bushfire about a year ago, so many walks are still closed, and the forest looks a bit « burned ». Still, the coast is always beautiful with its magnificent cliffs, turquoise ocean and sandy beaches.

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Posted by cjfvdk 23:16 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Manjimup - Pemberton - Northcliffe

We went to the OP shop and as a result, Christophe has boots! Not a perfect fit, but close enough.

We thought Manjimup would be a bigger town. We sat a bit in the library, strolled around the timber park and did our laundry (in town, there is not much more to do and it’s wet cold weather). In the evening we drove to the farm of the people who we met while wwoofing. We stayed the night there. They cooked us a nice meal and we watched some telly (it’s been a long time since we’ve seen any tv).

The next morning we went on a drive to see their sheep and some cattle. They gave us some fresh fruits and eggs from the garden, and off we went again. We had a really nice stay and were very grateful for their reception! The next stop was the diamond tree, one of the 3 huge thees which you can climb. The climb is pretty interesting. You have to step on metal pegs and go round and round the tree, until you reach the viewing platform. They used these trees and viewing platforms previously to keep an eye on bushfires in the area. The next climb was Gloucester tree. Pretty much the same story with this one. We ended up staying in Warren national park. The nights are bloody cold here btw…

The next day we climbed the bicentennial tree. This was the highest of the trees, 65m, the viewing platform is even higher that the tree itself. You could see the sea from the top. We continue to Beedelup national park to see the falls and walk around the artificial lake. We also found cheap avocados from a local farm, yummy!

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Posted by cjfvdk 23:14 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Busselton and the South West

Margaret River, Cape Naturaliste, Cape Leeuwin, Augusta…

We did this whole Cape to Cape area in about 3 days. Started in Busselton, where it was super windy (normally it’s calm) and even the 2km Jetty was
Margaret River, Cape Naturaliste, Cape Leeuwin, Augusta…closed. We didn’t do much more than drive around town desperately looking for boots for Christophe. We went through all the 6 OP shops that they had - no luck.

On our way to the South West, we saw a lot of lilies (white flowers, which apparently are a weed here taking over the farmland), but they are very pretty.

We drove one to Cape Naturaliste, walked around the cape looking for whales, but it was way too windy to see any. We continued to Canal Rock, a very impressive rock structure where the water from the ocean flows between the rocks (canal) giving an impression of a horizontal waterfall. The next morning we had breakfast in Yallingup where all the locals seemed to have a morning dip. Christophe had a go as well, and it was very cold! Why do these people do this??? We wondered …

That day we saw a bit more of the coast and even managed to find a free limestone cave (for the others you have to pay about 20$ entrance fee). The bush track to the free cave was a bit tricky, but we used the GPS in the phone to navigate :)

We went on to Margaret River and did a couple more yard sales and op shops - still nothing. In the afternoon we did a wine tour to 4 wineries. Christophe was the responsible driver, but we bought 2 bottles which he can enjoy later. Edda discovered she has quite an interest in wines ;). They also gave us an opened bottle as a gift to enjoy in the evening :) We stayed at an estate close by, where they had a lot of kangaroos and a funny looking donkey. We even got a video of 2 kangaroos boxing/fighting. The place was full of backpackers working in the close-by wineries.

The next day we drove to Cape Leeuwin and Augusta. There was not that much to see there besides the lighthouse. We had lunch in Augusta and drove on to Nannup.

When we were almost at Nannup the engine overheated and we pulled over. Edda got some distilled water from the gas station in town and we didn’t dare to drive much further anymore today, so we had to freecamp at Nannup. The next day we went to the mechanic, but he didn’t find anything wrong with the cooling system (could be that we just didn’t put the radiator cap on properly when we checked the fluids). So now the trip continues towards Manjimup.

PS: our camera seems to have some impurities inside the sense, so the pictures have black and white spots randomly across photos. I guess it’s time to buy a new one soon…

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Posted by cjfvdk 00:13 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Bunbury

They have the coolest farmers market here. It’s a shop, where all the farmers around the region can sell their produce. They have a lot of tastings, cheap prices and fresh stuff! We loved it. Bunbury also has free town wifi, which we like. The first day we walked around the town a bit and visited all the OP shops we could find, to find working boots. Edda found some, Christophe is still looking. We had a nice dinner at the beach. And now we are in the library because we have our first rain for 3 months!

In the morning we had some action, as first at a supermarket they had a power failure just when we were paying. However, that sorted itself out quickly. Then we went back to our car, and just as we were reversing to get off from our parking spot, there was an old lady racing by and she hit the rail (broke it off), damaged 4 cars and stopped to a land cruiser. We were witnesses to the event, so we waited for the police, but they didn’t come in the end as it was a private car park.In the end the shopping centre’s security was left to deal with the situation, which seemed a bit weird. Nobody got (seriously) injured, but it was a very close call. she just raced across the pedestrian crossing, where a couple of people were about t cross.
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Posted by cjfvdk 22:13 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Perth

We were getting closer and closer to Perth, but hadn’t found place to stay. From what we heard in the news, it’s a dangerous place, something not nice (rape, shooting, killing etc) seems to happen every day, and we wouldn’t feel safe leaving our vehicle anywhere in town. We also didn’t find a good place stay (applied to couple couchsurfers), and in the Info Centre of Jurien Bay they told us of a way to just drive past Perth. So … We went in the morning to Lancelin for brekkie, then to Yanchep national park for a morning stroll among caves and koalas, then we did the Alcohol and Drug test required our possible workplace, and up, 2 hours later we had gone past Perth. And we were in Rockingham. We enjoyed our dinner, and drove on. The next morning we went to Preston beach, Australind and then into Bunbury.

Posted by cjfvdk 22:12 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Dongara - Port Denison - Jurien Bay

Back to the coast again. We pretty much drove past of the twin towns (Dongara and Port Denison), as it was Sunday and everything was closed. After Port Denison we found the most perfect little camp spot by the ocean. No wind and only 2 caravans there. Unfortunately we only stayed there that night, as we had to drive on. We continued to Jurien Bay, did a 3 bays walk on the way. We did the essentials; did laundry and had a nice dinner, after which we continued to Mt Lesueur national park. They had some short walks there to look at the rich vegetation. We saw this « dragon » again. Now we found out, what it is actually called - it’s a skink (but we forgot the real name already).

Another national park visit was to Nambung national park to see the pinnacles. First we did the drive around, then visited the information centre and then did the walk among the pinnacles. They looked pretty impressive. Nobody knows exactly how they are formed though. We also passed Wedge point, which is a shacking community, with people who just built houses on Crown land, and nobody can tell them to go … A good place for some beach driving with a 4WD!

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Posted by cjfvdk 22:11 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The wildflower way

After Geraldton, we spent a night at the Flat Rocks beach campsite, and from there headed a bit inland to see the famous WA wildflowers. We did a tour to Coalseam, Mullewa, Morawa, Mingenew and back to the coast in Dongara.
Coalseam was the first stop where we had a good lunch, unfortunately the flies seemed to like it too. The place was full of flies. There were quite some flowers in Coalseam, but not enough for Christophe, so we went on to Mullewa. The information centre there wasn’t the friendliest, also they didn’t have much flowers. We spent the night in Gutha Hall. It’s an abandoned looking town, where there is not much more than a railway and a couple of buildings. We were also the only campers there. The next morning we continued to Morawa, which seemed to be a very lively and nice town. Here we also had success with the flowers. We even saw the wreath flowers, plenty of them actually. Just by the road. The wreath flowers are the « round » flowers. They grow in a ring shaped bush.
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Posted by cjfvdk 22:10 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Geraldton

We continued to drive South. Went past pink lake, which is pink (they say) because of naturally occurring beta-carotene, but there is a factory of the chemical company BASF right by the lake, so you never know… Didn’t feel like taking a swim there though.

In Geraldton we strolled around a bit, went to the jetty and walked by the beach. Mostly we were actually trying to find wifi to check some things for getting a job etc… (the boring stuff). We had a nice dinner at the waterfront and stayed at a wildlife refugee campsite. They had kangaroos, chicken, pigs, emus, dingoes, etc. We got to feed the kangaroos and emus the next morning - which was pretty cool :) Though, the emus are very scary! The next day, we visited the museum of Western Australia, the HMAS Sydney memorial and the Point Moore lighthouse.

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Posted by cjfvdk 22:07 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Kalbarri National Park

Double rainbow!

We started with the lookouts overlooking the river gorges. We couldn’t do some other river gorges, because it was pretty bad gravel road :/ Instead, we went on to the township of Kalbarri and continued from there to view the impressive coastal cliffs and the Indian Ocean. We visited each cliff and beach on the way and in the end did a 8km return walk along the cliffs.

While walking we saw whales splashing in the water, dolphins playing in groups and a weird lizard or a dragon or something (Edda got very scared of it). After doing all the other small walks, the 8km walk seemed very exhausting, because of spending 2 weeks at the station and not doing much long distance walking.

We had dinner at a place overlooking the ocean. Just then, we saw 4 or 5 humpback whales come straight out of the water and splash like a plank in the water. Very impressive :)

The next morning we had breakfast at the same place and saw a whole double rainbow. It didn’t fit to the picture, but at least we managed to capture a part of it. After the whales waves to us again, we drove on to Geraldton.

We passed by the Pink Lake after Kalbarri. The weather wasn't the best, so the lake didn't look super pink unfortunately.

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Posted by cjfvdk 22:45 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Carnarvon - Shark Bay

We did some shopping and visited the veggie shops in Carnarvon. We walked to the Jetty and looked at some old buildings. The lunch was the stakes from the station at a BBQ by the water, delicious! We went to the grower’s market on Saturday, but that was disappointing. They didn’t have almost anything there.

The mouse story…

For a couple of days after we left the station we had a feeling there was someone else in the car besides us (because Christophe left the small back window open and they told us that we should check the car for snakes..). From time to time we heard some noise and one evening Christophe felt something moving from his arm to his legs. We stopped, but didn’t see anything. The next day Edda felt something on her legs, but also didn’t see anything. While we were still reading in the car/bed, we heard some crunching sound from the back of the car. We thought, this is our third passenger! Christophe went out and took all the boxes off from the car. He started getting stuff from he boxes and Edda saw a little mouse in the purple box. It was eating spaghetti. We got rid of it, and could go back to bed. No more creepy stuff crawling on our feet.

After Carnarvon we went Woomarel roadhouse to have the « cattle station » breakfast - white bread, 2 sausages, bacon, eggs, fried tomatoes, deep potatoes (slightly on the unhealthy side, and Christophe was burping all day). We continued towards Shark Bay. First stop was Hamelin pool. They have ancient life forms, stromatolites, living there in very saline conditions. We had a stroll at the beach and continued to Eagle bluff, where we saw rays, sharks, turtles and some other sea creatures from the viewing platform. We didn’t go all the way to Monkey Mia (which is famous for its dolphins), as we’ve seen plenty of dolphins already. Instead Christophe had a swim at shell beach - super salty water there too. The whole bay is super salty because of the way it developed.

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Posted by cjfvdk 22:43 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

WWOOFing at the cattle station!

Some weeks ago, we decided to have a go at Wwoofing (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) on a cattle station, to see how it works and what the life is like. We emailed one, and they sent a positive reply. After some more emails, we finally set the arrival date, and we arrived! A bit late, but before dusk. They were playing footie, with a square ball, and we got quickly introduced to the crew before having a very welcome shower and then dinner. And that dinner was very tasty. It must have looked like we had been on a diet for years, and got our first bit of very tasty food after a diet. Not that the food we eat is that bad, but this was incredibly fulfilling! We ate a lot of beef during our 2 weeks here :D

We didn’t say much the first night, listening to what was being said, asking some questions about the size of the station and so (half the size of Occidental Flanders), and when we had to wake up, what mustering was and so on. The next day would be a bit of day off, so we could sleep longer. In a BED!!!! :D.

Wake up was at 6 am, we had bacon and eggs for breakfast, got introduced to some more cattle terminology and going-about, and got to work. We started up the pump to water the lawns, fixed some cars bush-style, and got everything ready for the next day of muster. C mowed the lawn and Edda got her IT skills tested fixing pc’s and helped in the kitchen. The crew was about 12 people, so some help cooking was welcome! The day went by quite fast, and was very nice, but the next day would be going hard! Just before dinner, a chopper arrived which would be helping in the mustering.

So what is muster? Since the property is about 1/15 of the size of Belgium, it is quite big, and you need to search the cattle, because they are everywhere. You need a helicopter or plane to help you spot the cattle and drive them towards the yards. Then there would be help from a motorbike on the ground to bring in the cattle. The chopper pilot coordinates it all and the communication is by 2-way radios. During muster we couldn’t do much more than join along in one of the cars and watch what was happening. A couple of times you need to stop, and keep the cattle in one spot while you wait for other cattle to come in. Then they control the cattle with the bikes to make sure none escape (which they try to). While you move cattle, bikes race up and down along the line to keep the cattle in line. It seems like hard work, but also fun. That’s probably because they have a crew which works well together and have experience, so they know what to do. It could get quite chaotic otherwise. At the end of the end, C was walking behind the cattle making some noise to make the last animals move a bit faster, but it didn’t help that much. It takes two full days to muster the cattle in one part of the property. The whole muster takes about 3 weeks. But that includes other things as well. After the 2 days of muster, the cattle went through a race, and they were processed. That means getting an ear tag, vaccination, ring to castrate, and all the cattle is selected into different lots. One lots goes back in the bush, another lot goes on the truck to be sold, and then there are the neighbours cattle :). The cattle to be sold is then transported by truck to another holding yard 40 kms away within the property, where they are processed again before they go on the truck. The whole process from the start of the muster to putting them on the truck is about 6 days. It’s a lot of activity and it’s interesting.

The people here are very experienced, and sometimes it looks a bit scary for us, but they are all used to it. There was one steer which went through the process as a calf, but never got mustered afterwards (each year about 15% is left out), although they tried. He is called bananas, because his horns are banana shaped and very peculiar. Last year they found him and got him in the mob, but at one point he left the line and just went in a bush, but never came out. Because it was all spinifex around it, nobody could get to him. This year they got him in the mob again, and even in the yards, but when being processed he attempted escape, smashed a gate and broke a horn, jumped four fences and ran away. But that doesn’t happened to often luckily. During the muster life at the homestead is very busy. At peak times we are about 12 people, and the chopper pilot stays here, and the truck driver, a lot of coming and going and a lot of cooking. Edda usually helped making tea and dinner in the morning, and was in the fields after that. C was mostly in the fields, trying to help and not run in the way.

After the actual muster was done, we got the job to paint the donga, where some of the crew stays when on the farm. It had first to be washed, then painted in the undercoat and then topcoat. We ran out of undercoat, and had to wait a couple of days to get more, but in the end it seems like we will get the job done before we leave. Edda was very enthusiastic about the painting job in the beginning, but the washing and the undercoat wasn’t that fun. The top layers went better and faster and that was a bit more fun. It’s a good experience!

When the truckload of cattle (approx. 200 heads on 3 trailers) was off, we went to Coral Bay. It’s only 50 kms away in straight line, but on the road, it’s about 180. You just get of the beach and you are on top of coral which is quite nice, but we liked Cape Range NP more, because it was more natural. This town is very much a resort like place, with all your wants catered for. We had a nice time with the crew in the pub and got supper offered by the station owners. On the way back it was a bit stressful because lots of kamiroos were on the road.

The last days here we need to finish the paint job, and help around with some fencing to make new paddocks in the property. Slowly the crew is leaving, and numbers are dropping. As we write this, another 2 go south. It’s fun when there are lots of young people around, and since everybody knows what they are doing, the atmosphere can be and is quite relaxed. The coming days we will do some other jobs besides the painting, as there are not many people left. The station owners are very nice, and we are having a very good time here, learnt a lot about running cattle, got to do some fun stuff too. But soon it’s time to hit the road again, because we are onto work!

Over the past weeks we applied for a couple of jobs. The one in the acoustics business resulted in an interview, but that didn’t give a good feeling. Then Edda got a phone call for an interview for a call centre job, but we were out of reach and didn’t see it so that didn’t work out either. So it seems like we will be working in the grain harvest. We got into the next level of the selection process and we had to fix some things for that, but all seems to be going ok, and in a couple of weeks we will hopefully attend some training sessions. After that, we’ll know more again!

Today we finally finished the paint job! We did some fencing as well, putting barb wire out, putting posts and droppers. It was quite fun work, but probably gets a bit monotonous when you are doing it for a week or more. All in all, we had a really good time here, some 4-wheel-driving, some truck driving, some motorbike driving and some normal driving for Edda ;). It was very interesting, and definitely worth it! We even got sandwiches and beef to take on the road. Edda also got roses from the garden :)

We said good byes to the family and the station dogs, Chuckie and Socket and off we went…
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Posted by cjfvdk 23:33 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Exmouth and Cape Range National Park

We passed the town of Paraburdoo which is a travellers heaven. Free wifi, cheap fuel, free barbies, plugs and water. So we spend some time of the day there, had lunch and drove on for three more hours to our rest stop for the day. The next day another 200 kms before hitting Exmouth (with sheep on the road, and a bit of stress for finding the cheap fuel station) with on the way some spectacular views of the gorges in Cape range national park, and a not so easy road for the van. We had a stop in Exmouth, checking mails and having fish and chips at the waterpark and stocking up for the next couple of days in Cape Range NP. We tried to find the speciality: big king prawns, but they are all exported and you can’t have any :(.

In the afternoon we drove to our campsite which was about 80 kms away from Exmouth. We needed to make a call for an interview the next day, so we checked for reception which we still had at the Vlaminghen head lighthouse, and there we saw a couple of whales splashing about in the ocean! We had a walk on the beach of Kurrajong campsite and saw the sunset. This national park is a range on the peninsula, which runs straight into the see, where there is the Ningaloo coral reef. We put up the tent, cause Edda thought it would be nice to hear the ocean sounds falling asleep. It was pretty windy when putting up the tent, but we thought we put it up tight. At 2 am though, the tent was going everywhere and we woke up and decided to pack up the tent and sleep in the car. It didn’t go very smooth but all in all it went and the rest of the night was not too bad.

In the morning we drove to Yardie Creek for a walk, saw a wallaby from very close, and had a look at the gorge. We drove back to the beach near Osprey camp, which was very very nice. We walked for a bit and then had a big drive to Vlaminghen Head lighthouse. There C had his interview, but that wasn’t so much fun. We then looked a bit longer to see more whales, went to see the wreck of the Mildura, which was transporting cattle but sunk in a cyclone, and then we watched the sunset from the lighthouse. We had to drive home in the dark and did about 1h over 40 kms, because the road was full of kamikaze kangaroos. We got safely to the Tulki beach campsite and had an ok night in the car. The next morning was sooo windy that we could not even make tea or have decent breakfast.

We drove to the Mandu Mandu gorge, which was a nice loop through the gorge and then beside it. We had a look at the displays in the NP info centre about the whalesharks and other animals living along the reef. Then we went for a snorkel at Turquoise bay, which had reef just 20 m of the coast. There was a quite bit to see, but the water was very very cold. So we each went a couple of times sharing our 1 snorkel (luckily we had our wetsuit with us), and saw a few big fish, a sea turtle, and some reef. It wasn’t as spectacular as what we saw on the other reef, but we haven’t been on the outside of the reef, just on the inside near the coast. Probably the best things are on the outside reef, but then you need to take out the dollars. We went back to the campsite afterwards, sat with the other campers for some stories, cooked a nice dinner and enjoyed the evening.

The next day we woke up early for some snorkelling at Turquoise beach, and we both went for another snorkel, which was nice and a bit warmer. We went back to the camp and walked along the shore all the way to Turquoise bay and had another snorkel, which was again very nice. But the next day was the big day, because then the tide was high enough early in the morning for a snorkel at Oyster stacks. We went around 8 am (high tide at 9.15) and there was nobody (yes). C went in the water first and it was good! Just of the rocky beach, the reef started and you could snorkel around 3 big oyster stacks, see many fish, a turtle, some black tipped reef sharks. The water was quite warm and it was very nice snorkelling. E also went for a couple of times and she thought it was very nice. She didn’t see anything scary, luckily.

Around 10, we left the water and were about to go and then still a lot of people were arriving to snorkel, although it was too late and the tide was already too low, and you risked hitting the coral, which is bad for both you and the coral. Stupid tourists! We went to the info centre and there they said: « «well, if they destroy it, it won’t be there anymore and they won’t be able to watch it anymore, too bad », which is a bit the wrong attitude for a national park ranger. We passed the lighthouse again, saw some whales jumping and splashing about, checked our mails in Exmouth, and went on to our wwoofing place!

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Posted by cjfvdk 23:30 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Karanjini National Park

Now we are still 1600 kms away from Perth, but we were told about this place that it is a must do! Many people said these are the most spectacular gorges in all of Australia. So the expectations were high! It involved a lot of planning because there is an east and west part of the park, which are connected via a shortcut only used for 4WD, so we needed to make a serious detour, cause camping was only allowed in the east part.

When we arrived we did the walks in the east part of that park, which was Dales Gorge. It was nice, but did not meet the expectations. We went to see the Fortescue waterfall, and Christophe had a swim at another smaller waterfall which was nice, and we got some fish nibbling our toes in the water. After our dinner, sadly, the camping was fully booked, and we had to go to the overflow camping, which happened to be free (this was not our plan at all :P).

The next day we drove to the west part of the park, going first to Knox and Joffre gorges, dressed in the wetsuit to be prepared for any swimming or water crossings. Looks aren’t everything, but Edda thought it looked ridiculous. Knox gorge was nice, and you could go all the way in the gorge until a point where it said stop, but then only guided tours could go there (300 $ pp). These tours apparently went through the network of gorges and came out at another part of the park, that we’d go to later. We went in the gorge, had a little swim and exploration and then went to Joffre gorge, where Edda went Viking style without wetsuit through the water. I hope I don’t have to see that face ever when she gets angry, or I doubt I will survive!

After Knox gorge, we negotiated 13 kms of corrugated dirt road to Weano gorge, the highlight of the trip! Here we were not disappointed. Although Edda was already sick of gorges by then, these had something special to offer! First we went down the Hancock gorge and had to do some spider walking and water walking to get to the end. And this is where the guided tour came out also! It was good fun to go here! Then we went into Weano gorge, also swimming and exploring and a bit of canyoning to get to the end of it. Here the wetsuit was really useful! From the lookout on top, you could see four gorges meeting in a big pool, named after a rescue worker who fell down in a rescue mission. It is quite dangerous in these gorges, and quite some have injured or died here :(.

Because there was no toilet here, we couldn’t bush camp anywhere, because the next day we wanted to climb Mt Bruce, WA’s 2nd highest mountain (1253 m). So a toilet in the neighbourhood is useful. So we drove back 70 kms to the east camping, and in the morning went to Mt Bruce, to find that recently a toilet had been put there! We climbed the mountain, which was kind of dangerous, a fall of a cliff wouldn’t need any stupid moves, so the message was to be careful. The walking path had been recently destroyed by wildfires and heavy rains of the wet season, and was more slippery with more stones than usual. It took us longer than expected, but we made it and the views on top were rewarding!

Getting down the hill was not a piece of cake either, but we got to the care and drove on to Tom Price, a mining town. Not much to do here, except stock up and check mails, and now of the the Coral coast and the Cape Range National Park with the Ningaloo reef. We just managed to book some last campsites, so we were happy. After that we’ll be on the Mia Mia station for a while to wwoof, we’ll see how that works out, and don’t really know what to expect!

The Pilbara region is rather big for the mining. There is a lot of iron ore and other complementary minerals here. From Mt Bruce, we could see one huge mine being operate and trains with 400+ wagons driving in and out to bring it to the ships. And there are a couple of these huge mines around here. All economic activity and the towns around it live of that. Most people who work in the mines are FIFO (Fly In Fly Out) and don’t really live here. But they do make huge amounts of money (100000+ € per year). The ports here work mostly for these mining operations and each mine, which its owning company (Rio Tinto, BHPiliton) have their own harbour from which they ship their product. It’s a beautiful landscape to come to and drive through, and we hope it will be so for generations to come!

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Posted by cjfvdk 22:14 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Port Hedland

entry to the land of the mines

Port Hedland is a shipping port, with Iron ore and many other minerals being shipped overseas from here. There is not much else in the town, but the seeing the ships coming and going is quite interesting. They have the times of entry and departure listed at the information centre.

From here we have free wifi in the Pilbara region, a test project the government is running, which is pretty awesome for us (also makes us waste a lot of time reading news and so). Stocking up for food and fuel before going to Karinjini national park is the main thing to do in this town for us.

Ah, we also walked on a sand peninsula that was now mostly flooded because of high tide. We left quite late from Port Hedland and did some 100 kms in the dark, which lots of road trains passing us, almost sandwiching us, until we found a gravel pit where we could sleep without too much road noise. It’s just a lot of driving actually here. 300 kms to the next stop again.

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Posted by cjfvdk 22:12 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Broome

4 days


We arrived and managed to get a spot at a very nice overflow caravan park. Christophe got an interview for the wheat harvest job :) We strolled around town and applied for one more job. 

The next day we went to a pearl information session at Cygnet Bay pearls. It was very interesting and we learned a lot about pearl farming. Here they farm South Sea pearls in the oyster Pintada Maxima In the early days, they send aborigines down the sea to go diving for pearls (and many died), but now they are harvesting the pearls, and they are called cultured pearls. The pearls grow during 2 years after which they are harvested and some are reseeded to grow bigger pearls after another 2 years. We also saw an oyster being opened and there was a pearls inside (worth about 100$). The pearls are made of nacre, the same as the shell itself. The farming itself goes a bit different to what we thought. They harvest the oysters, let them open and gently insert a small ball made of nacre. Then the oysters are put back to the sea and within 2 years they grow more nacre around the ball, so the pearl grows bigger. They never know how much nacre and in what quality the pearl would be when it’s harvested though. There are a lot of bad quality ones too (not round, with impurities etc..). The South Sea pearls seem to be quite expensive compared to freshwater pearls. It was a big industry in Australia, but now they have an oyster disease which has taken its toll on the industry in Broome.

In the evening we went to watch the dinosaur footprints in Gantheaume point. We also watched the sunset there. We got some very nice neighbours at our campsite. They are around 80 years old, but still travel around with a tent and do all the crazy stuff.

The next day we went to the courthouse markets. Lots of expensive and useless stuff for sale :P so we didn’t buy anything. After that we went to check out the famous Cable beach. It was indeed really beautiful. Lots of white sand and turquoise water. In the evening we went to the ‘staircase to the moon’ markets. They had the exact same stalls and same stuff at as they had in the courthouse markets, which was a bit disappointing. We watched the moon come out and witnessed the staircase to the moon. We tried to take some pictures, but we should have a bit more advanced camera for that. In the evening we passed by Woollies and bought cheap grilled chicken for dinner - delicious!

We spent most of our Sunday online, doing laundry and reading books. In the evening we went to watch the sunset at Cable beach - it was beautiful :) From there we went again to the staircase of the moon. It was as impressive today as it was yesterday. Passing by Woollies again, we met a German couple that we had met in Alice Springs. Tomorrow Christophe will have his interview and we are off.

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Posted by cjfvdk 22:44 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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