Tuesday 12th April 2011
Day 12 - Fossicking around Norseman.

It was a cold night, I used both my blankets, too warm for full blown sleeping bag. Woke to a cool and sunny morning.

Today our main objective was to go fossicking, for Agate but at the last minute, we changed our minds and decided to go fossicking for Gypsum near the airport. We will look for Agate tomorrow.
We drove over to the airport, which is on the Lake Cowan dry lake bed. We found some crystals and other bits, after about an hour and a half, we headed back to camp and washed our crystals, a lot just fell apart, no big deal. Left all the crystals drying in the sun, had lunch and are deciding on what to do for the rest of the day.
Shock horror, we went fossicking to the Agate area, we picked up half a Coles bag of Agates.

Tomorrow, we are going to be Tommy Tourist and check out all the tourist sites of Norseman.

A typical Salmon Gum tree.

Our camp at Gateway CP, Norseman.

View from the lookout.

Another view.

View of a Goldmine.

Our free loader...Grasshopper, Jose!!

Wednesday 13th April 2011
Day 13 - Sightseeing around Norseman.

It was a mild night, finally, putting on my 2nd blanket about 4am. Slept until 6:55am.

It is 10am and there are 4 vans left in this park, last night there would have been 30 odd.
Today, we plan to drive around the tourist trails and play the 2 holes at Norseman GC. We will wait and see what eventuates.

We're back after after 3.5 hours of sightseeing and GOLFING.

The following is today's hole by hole description of how I tamed the world famous Nullarbor Links Golf Course(s). Well, I am now thinking that Golf may not be my new sport.

  • Hole 14 is called Golden Horse at Norseman and it is a par 4 436 meters. It was a beautiful sunny day with a light breeze. Just a brief summary, I am in the middle of my 1st swing when my mobile rang. It was Dad, he wanted Luke's address, no drama. About 4 strokes later and 150 meters from the tee, my mobile rang again, it was Luke telling me, that Grandpa had rung him, but he couldn't hear Luke, so he wanted to know if Grandpa can read SMS, I said yes. Back to the golf, after a couple of putts, I finish the hole with a comfortable 14. Not bad considering all the interruptions.
  • Hole 15 is called Ngadju at Norseman and it is a par 4 354 meters. After a magnificent tee shot, well it passed the ladies tee, just, so it was a magnificent shot for me. I am about 200 meters from the tee for about 5 strokes, so not bad. My mobile rings again, this time it was Jay, he wanted Grandpa's mobile number. Shit.. What's with all these phone calls, I never receive any and now I have had 3 calls in 10 minutes. The only one who hasn't called me is Marg and she is with me. After a couple of strokes later, my bloody mobile rings again. You have to be joking. It was Marg, she said that she felt left out, so she rang me. I am on the green for 8 and looking good for a 10. The green is a bit fast so after I had 6 good putts, I leave the hole with a steady 14.

  • Today's summary is 28 off the stick or 20 over par for these 2 holes. Of the 5 holes that I have actually played, I have had 64 off the stick or 42 over par.

  • Hole 16 is at Kambalda - tomorrow.
  • Hole 17 is at Kalgoorlie.
  • Hole 18 is at Kalgoorlie.

  • After the golf, we drove upto the Norseman Lookout, it is about 420 meters high, took some photos and then started the self drive "The Dundas Coach Road Heritage Trail" The Heritage Trail is great approx 28 kms of gravel, so I was in 4WD and it took approx 2 hours after stopping at 10 heritage sites. Well worth the drive, we had a map which gave directions and distances, it was great and the 'march flies' were bastards.
    On the way back to camp, we stopped in downtown Norseman at the IGA and as we left and turned left, I noticed a Roadstar caravan being towed by a Triton, this rig could only be owned by Dave from a Caravan Internet Forum that I am a member of. I did a U turn and followed him and when he stopped, we stopped and introduced ourselves to him and his wife. After a chat, we went our separate ways. It was great meeting up with Dave.

    Tomorrow, we are booked in at Discovery Holiday Parks - Kalgoorlie, Burt St, Kalgoorlie-Boulder for 5 nights.

    Thursday 14th April 2011
    Day 14 - Norseman to Kalgoorlie - 184 kms.

    It was another mild night, finally, putting on my 2nd blanket about 4am. Slept until 6:00am, as we were leaving this morning. I didn't pack up until this morning, usually, I pack up stuff the day before, but I did everything this morning and we finally left just on 9am. Marg was ready well before me. We stopped at the Norseman Tourist Centre to use their Dump Point and emptied our shitter. It is difficult to empty the shitter when the dump point is uphill. But I managed. I spoke to Russell in the Tourist Centre and told him that the Heritage Trail was great fun.

    We left Russell and headed to Kalgoorlie, our first stop was at Widgiemooltha and then we stopped at the Kambalda GC for the 16th Hole of the Nullarbor Links. We arrived at Discovery Holiday Park in Kalgoorlie at 12:05pm and setup camp. As we are staying for 5 nights, it is full setup which includes awning and satellite dish. About mid afternoon, we drove over to the Tourist Centre and got brochures on things to do and see.

    The following is today's hole description of how I ripped the Kambalda GC apart.

  • Hole 16 is called Silver Lake at Kambalda and it is a par 4 392 meters. Typical, bloody typical, the only time Marg didn't follow me to the green, I absolutely ripped the hole apart. First stroke goes about 100 meters plus into the rough on the right, but I find my ball and hit another 100 meters plus. Here I am about 100 meters off the green for 2, absolutely brilliant. Then something happens, I am on the green for 5, so my first putt was just to tap it near the hole. I am 12 inches off the hole for 6, still brilliant, only 2 more putts, I have finished this hole for 8. A magnificent score.

  • Hole 17 is called Golden Mile at Kalgoorlie and it is a par 4 339 meters.
  • Hole 18 is called Hannan Street at Kalgoorlie and it is a par 4 365 meters.

  • My golfing summary of the Nullarbor Links. I played 6 holes for 72 off the stick or 46 over par for these 6 holes. I think that this has proved that golfing is not my forte. I got my certificate of completion from the Kalgoorlie Tourist Centre, with a score of 200. I thought that was pretty close to true.

    Tomorrow, we are checking out Kalgoorlie.

    Rest stop at Widgetmooltha.

    Rest stop at Widgetmooltha.

    My Ultimate Certificate.

    Friday 15th April 2011
    Day 15 - Sightseeing around Kalgoorlie.

    • Weather: Started mild about 15° and sunny. It got to 24.6° at 2:30pm.
    • Wind: 15kph E.
    Another mild night, I pulled on my 2nd blanket about 4am. Slept until 7:00am, as we weren't doing anything early, so we just relaxed.
    About 10am, we drove into downtown Kal and went to the Tourist Centre got some more brochures then walked upto 'Finders Keepers' and booked a gold prospecting tour for tomorrow, which lasts all day. We then drove to the mall in the street where the brothel is, and had coffee and lunch. After lunch, we drove to the Mining hall of fame and will visit that either this stay or at Easter when we return to Kal. Us locals refer to Kalgoorlie as Kal. Next stop was the lookout at the Water Tower and then onto the lookout at the Super Pit. On our way back to camp, we stopped at the Super pit shop and booked a 1 hour tour for Sunday. As it also is the 3rd Sunday in the month, it is also Boulder Market Day, so the tour is only $5 each. Very good value.

    Most of the afternoon was spent reading my 'Barassi' book and watching Melbourne TV, so at 4pm, we are watching 6pm Ch7 news. very weird. I felt like dinner then.

    Tomorrow, we are booked in for an all day gold prospecting tour.

    Marg waiting for me at the Water Tower.

    View of the Super Pit taken from the Water Tower.

    The Water Tower.

    A big scoop.

    Marg at the Super Pit lookout.

    A large tray.

    Saturday 16th April 2011
    Day 16 - Our Gold prospecting tour.

    • Weather: Started mild about 14° and sunny. Forecast is sunny and 27°.
    • Wind: 15kph E.
    Another mild night, I pulled on my 2nd blanket about 4am. Slept until 6:30am, laid in bed and listened to 6KG Radio West. Finally got up about 7am, just buggered about camp, well, got on the internet and updated our website. We are prepared for today's Gold Prospecting tour, we are even taking Harry Hema, so we wouldn't get lost.
    Wish us luck, if you don't hear from us again, send the search party to the outback, we will be wandering around with a metal detector and a bag full of gold nuggets.

    Well, we are back and didn't find our fortune.

    We left camp about 9:15am and drove to Target, where Marg and I both bought long sleeve shirts to keep the flies off us. We parked over the road from Target in an all day car park. We walked over to Finders Keepers, which was our meeting place, we arrived about 9:45am for our 10am departure. There were 7 gold prospectors and Tom our tour man. I took Harry Hema and recorded bits of our route, we headed towards Coolgardie and turned right onto the Coolgardie North Rd and near the abandoned Sydney Mint mine we turned left and went bush or a kilometer or 2. Here we stopped and Tom gave us metal detectors and explained how it worked by putting a nugget in a hole and each detector had to find it. After that we were set on our own. We walked around in pairs and Marg and I followed the dry riverbed, well, actually a dry water bed. At one stage our metal detector went wild, we even called Tom over as we zeroed in on the noise. We were very excited, even Tom was getting excited, until all the excitement washed away. It was a bent small rusty nail. I think that this nail came off the horse that the guy who discovered Norseman rode. It looked about that age. So we found a bit of history and also a bit of modern history, as we also found a ring pull top. Very rare.

    The biggest find of our group went to Alex and Rose who found a tent peg, that we reckon was used by that same guy with the horse. What a rare coincidence.
    While all this was happening, Tom made a fire and cooked a BBQ lunch, sausages, hamburgers and salad. Very Yumma. After lunch, we continued with our prospecting. Marg and I continued down our dry water course and found a very small, but nice bit of rusted tin. As you can imagine, the time just flew by, it was soon time to pack up and leave. Tom said that as no one found any gold, he knew where there was real 'liquid gold'. After about 30 minutes driving, we arrived at the Ora Banda Hotel, where 7 gold prospectors then had some real 'liquid gold', Marg and I both had Carlton Mid 'Liquid gold', it was beautiful.

    The next port of call for more 'liquid gold' was the Broad Arrow Tavern, here I had a pint of Hahn Extra Dry, that went down extremely well. We arrived back at Finders Keepers, smack bang on 5pm. Tom, you are a marvel.

    It was my turn to cook dinner, so on the way home, I bought us, Maccas. How bloody good, am I?
    It is currently 7:41pm and Marg has just turned her light out, I am also going to bed.

    Tomorrow, we are booked in for a 1 hour Super Pit tour and then it is Boulder Market day. Another busy day.

    Finders Keepers - The shop that runs the tour.

    An old guy is restoring this dam. He is mad.

    Our Gold Prospectors group. - A motley crew.

    The real prospectors - what an odd couple.

    Marg's first off the bus, heading for the pub.

    Our next pub - Broad Arrow Pub.

    Sunday 17th April 2011
    Day 17 - Super Pit tour and Boulder Market Day.

    • Weather: Started mild about 15° and sunny and got to 29.8° at 3:30pm.
    • Wind: 15kph N.
    Another mild night, I used 1 blanket about 3am. Slept until 6:30am, laid in bed and listened to Macca on ABC Radio over Australia.
    Today we planned to go to the Super Pit tour and then to Boulder Street Market, that changed when Marg finally woke up, she had a headache, so I was doing the tour. I left camp about 9am and drove down to the end of Burt St where Boulder is located. I parked in a side street about 200 meters from the Super Pit shop. First thing I did was go to the Super Pit shop and tell them that Marg will not be on the tour and consequently, there is a spare seat. The shop assistant was pleased that I told her. The tour leaves from outside the shop at 10am. To fill in time I walked up both sides of Burt St where the street market was and that took me 10 minutes, as there was nothing of any interest. I got back to the shop and waited out the front for the bus to arrive. Eventually, the bus arrived and I was about 10th person on, so I got a nice window seat. Matt was our bus driver come tour guide.

    We entered the main KGCM entrance and got security clearnace and proceeded past the Toyota that was crushed by the big dump truck (Cat 793C). First port of call was the Maintenance workshops, there were 3 big Cat 793C Dump trucks there, in various stages of undress. We continued on our merry way, past a pile of black stuff. This black stuff is actually where the gold is and this pile was a circular pyramid shape probably 30 feet high and all black, but there was $35million worth of gold there. After this we drove over to the Super Pit and believe it or not, but we gave way to a couple of the big 793Cs. They were huge, we arrived at the Pit supervisor's hut,where they can see down to the bottom of the Pit where all the action is happening. I took photos and asked questions, then it was a slow trip back to the entrance and then back to the Super Pit shop. The queue for the next tour were there ready to jump aboard. It was only an hour, but well worth it.

    During the afternoon, Marg was better so we visited IGA and did some shopping for our next few days at Southern Cross.

    Tomorrow, if Marg is upto it, we are going to the Miners' Hall of Fame and the Brothel.

    I told you - Give way or else.

    793C truck being serviced.

    OK! I will give way this time.

    A bit of the Super Pit.

    An old mine shaft.

    On the way to the 'rubbish' area.

    4 scoops and 200 tonnes later, it is full.

    These 2 793Cs have gold on board.

    The sculpture in Burt St, Boulder.

    Monday 18th April 2011
    Day 18 - Miners' Hall of Fame and The Hay St Brothel.

    • Weather: Started warm about 20° and overcast and got to 24.7° at 12pm with a few drops of rain.
    • Wind: 15kph N.
    Our warmest night so far, I only pulled on my blanket about 5:30am. Slept until 6:30am, laid in bed till 7am.
    Marg was back to her old self, so we planned to leave about 9:30am for the Miners' Hall of Fame, as I was doing the Underground mine tour commencing at 10:15am. We got there about 9:45am and paid $35 for me, this including all the attractions, plus level 1 underground mine tour, 793C dump truck tour and the gold pour. Marg's cost $20 and included all the attractions, plus the gold pour.

    I left Marg at the Cafe area and walked over to the Undergorund Mine Tour area, selected my hard hat. Jim and Richard were our tour guides and with 4 others, we descended 160feet below the surface, in a 4 man cage. So it took 2 trips for the 7 of us to get to level 1. Jim did most of the talking and lead us through the tunnels, most areas were quite roomy, but some were quite narrow and about 5 foot high. As I am 6'4", if did feel abit close, but one of the guys, in the narrow section, freaked a little bit, but he continued, luckily, after the close bit, it opened into a large area, so he was alright. After an hour the tour finished and I had to find Marg and get to the 793C truck for the tour, Marg had to take photos of me. I am so photogenic. After my photo shoot, the 793C Truck tour was over and we walked down to where the gold pour was happening. This was a bit of an anti climax, as all the guy did was heat up some gold and when it was hot enough, poured it into a crucible. I thought that they may show you how gold is made from that black stuff. BUT it did say a gold pour and that it exactly what we got.

    We went back to the cafe and had some nice sandwiches for lunch and then toured the main building, which had some lovely rocks and many exhibitions. We finally left after 3 hours and could have spent more time there. Next port of call was the Brothel tour, I wonder if they were giving away any freebies. As it didn't start until 3pm, we had 2 hours to kill, so we parked in the main street of Kal and walked into the 3 jewellers' shops, Marg wanted a nice bracelet. Thank God, she didn't find any suitable. All that means, is that we didn't spend any extra money today, she will eventually find one and will buy it. With still some time to kill, we drove down to the Little Lolly shop in Boulder, then called into camp, before arriving at the Brothel at 2:45pm.

    We parked right out the front and I walked in to check if there were available tickets for today's tour. There was. Goody. I purchased our tickets ($18 each) and went outside and got Marg out of the car. We were shown to a lounge room with chairs, there was already another couple waiting. They must be keen. About 3pm, the receptionist started the tour by showing us various size rubber dicks and passing them around so everyone could feel them. This was to make the 15 of us feel at ease. Thank God, for those internet spam emails about enlarging your penis, because after some of these enlargement, I no longer feel inadequate.
    After our softing up, the madam came in, her name is Carmen and she was a quietly spoken woman. She spoke for approx 1 hour and a bit and showed us four of her rooms. Both Marg and I enjoyed the tour. It was great fun.

    Tomorrow, we leave for Southern Cross.

    Our camp at Discovery Holiday park, Kal.

    How big is a 793C?

    An old miner.

    The underground shitter.

    Taken from the cabin of a 793C.


    Gold pouring.

    Marg didn't want to give it back.

    Marg and the 793C.

    Starting Stall, this is where you agree on price.

    Who's the awesome brute in the mirror.

    Small door.

    Tuesday 19th April 2011
    Day 19 - Kalgoorlie to Southern Cross - 223 kms.

    • Weather: Started mild about 15° and sunny. It got to low 20s° today.
    • Wind: 15kph SE.
    • Daily distance travelled with fiver: 223 kms. Total towed this trip: 3,205kms.
    • Next G Mobile reception at Southern Cross: Yes
    • Next G 'Blue Toaster' reception without external aerial: Yes
    • Next G Telstra WiFi Modem reception: Yes
    It was another mild night, I am getting used to these nights now. Slept until 6:00am, as we were leaving this morning. I did pack up a few things last night. This morning we left just on 9am. The drive was very uneventful and I think we were passed by 4 cars and we passed one truck, we were sitting on 90kph.

    We arrived at Southern Cross CP at 12:10pm and setup camp. The CP is used by John Holland workers who are repairing the railway, they finished today and tonight they have a pissup at the local footy club. So there may be some noise tonight.
    During the afternoon, I walked upto the office and Kay and her husband explained to me, how to get to the Quartz crystals at Yellowdine. This involves driving about 15kms on gravel and then finding a track which leads to Heaney's Find Mine.

    Tomorrow, we are fossicking somewhere near Yellowdine looking for Quartz crystals. Wish us luck.

    What you see on the road.

    Our camp at Southern Cross CP.

    New arrivals at Southern Cross CP.

    Wednesday 20th April 2011
    Day 20 - Fossicking at Yellowdine.

    • Weather: Started warm probably high teens ° and overcast, but cleared to a lovely sunny day with light breeze.
    • Wind: 10kph S.
    I had a great sleep last night and woke about 6:45am.
    We buggered about camp until 9am ish, then left for the 40km drive to Heaney's Find Mine, where there is supposed to be quartz crystals. First off, Harry Hema showed Heaney's Find mine on Ozi Explorer and using Google earth, I loaded the latitude and longitude into Tom. So we had 2 GPSs, they worked well. I also double checked the directions with Kay from the Caravan office. All good, so away we go.

    We arrived at Yellowdine and found the track and then followed the directions on Harry Hema, the track was just that, a track, it went for about 5kms from the highway to a dried lake. Marg and I parked the mighty Navara on the edge of the dried lake and its shore was covered with quartz. There was an old mine there and a small hill which was covered in quartz, I walked to the top of the hill and it was covered in quartz, even at the summit there was some topsoil but mainly quartz. The whole hill is made of quartz, very interesting. We walked around the shore and found some nice bits of quartz, but I walked upto the top of the hill, it looked like there was better quartz there, so we drove the Navara to the top of hill and found some lovely quartz, there was heaps of lovely quartz. We took about a Coles green shopping bag full of quartz.

    On the way back to camp, we filled up with fuel and sussed out the counter meals at the local Pub. At camp, we cleaned in the quartz in water with a brush, it came up well. We buggered about during the afternoon, and at 5:45pm we drove to the Palace Hotel, Southern Cross for a counter meal. Marg and I were the only people in the pub along with the English backpacker barmaid. Marg ordered roast lamb chops and I had a beef shnitzel. Both were yumma. When we left, there were 2 other people having dinner, so business was a bit slow.

    Tomorrow, we drive back to Kal for Easter and relaxing.

    Parking on Quartz.

    Marg enjoying herself.

    Like a kid in a candy shop.

    Even the top of the hills made of quartz with little soil.

    Nice view of the lake.

    The track was narrow in places.

    Thursday 21st April 2011
    Day 21 - Southern Cross to Kal - 223 kms.

    • Weather: Started mild about 15° and sunny. It got to 26.3° at 3pm.
    • Wind: 15kph SE.
    • Daily distance travelled with fiver: 223 kms. Total towed this trip: 3,428kms.
    • Next G Mobile reception at Kalgoorlie: Yes
    • Next G 'Blue Toaster' reception without external aerial: Yes
    • Next G Telstra WiFi Modem reception: Yes
    It was another mild night, I am getting used to these nights now. Slept until 6:00am, as we were leaving this morning. I did pack up a few things last night. This morning we left just on 9am. The drive was very uneventful, but I did have an interesting conversation with a truckie. As usual, I was talking to the truckie who was coming up from behind and telling him to 'yell out' when you want to overtake me. Anyway, he was diving behind me and said 'Frosty go down 1 channel' so I turned to Ch39 and we talked for 10 minutes while he was quiet happen to follow me, he had his wife on board and they live in Box Hill. We had a good chat and as we pulled into Coolgardie, his wife leaned out the window and was taking photos of us. It was good fun chatting to the truckie.

    We arrived at Kal about 12:15pm, and did a full setup which included awning, clothesline and satellite dish.
    During the afternoon, after the camp was set up, I finished reading my 'Barassi" book, it was brilliant. So I will be using my Kindle from now on, it is recharging now.

    It is a beautiful mild evening and everyone is sitting outside, drinking and preparing dinner, I am drinking and Marg is preparing dinner, so all bases are covered.

    Tomorrow, we plan to do NOTHING.

    Friday 22nd - Sunday 24th April 2011
    Days 22 - 24 - Chillin' in Kal.

    Friday 22nd April.

    • Weather: Friday - Started mild about 20° and sunny and got to 28.2° at 3:30pm.
    • Wind: upto 20kph NE.
    It was another mild night. Slept until 6:30am, as we planned to do NOTHING today, there was no need to get up, so I laid in until 7am ish.
    The mighty Navara was not even unlocked today, we were camp bound and past the time by reading and updating our website and also talking to our fellow travellers. Marg made some magic salad sangas for lunch and she cooked hamburgers on our built in BBQ for dinner. They were yumma.

    I have finally updated all our photos to date. I have taken 1,065 photos so far, of which 689 have been resized to 800 x 600 and uploaded to photobucket, that's why it takes so long to attach them to our website.

    Saturday 23rd April.

    • Weather: Saturday - Started warm and sunny and got to 33.6° at 3:30pm.
    • Wind: Gusting to 35kph N.
    It was another mild night. Slept until 6:30am, as we planned to do SOMETHING today, there was still no need to get up, so I laid in until 7am ish.

    The Caravan Park is full, mainly families and a few 'old farts' like us and the permanents (aka Miners). Talking of full, I rang Ravensthorpe CP yesterday and booked in for 4 nights (Arr: Fri 29th Apr Dep: Tue 3rd May). So we have a site upto Tue 3rd May, we will have to organise where we will stay after that. The mighty Navara was not even unlocked today, we were camp bound and past the time by reading and updating our website and also talking to our fellow travellers. Marg made some magic salad sangas for lunch and she cooked hamburgers on our built in BBQ for dinner. They were yumma.

    I have finally updated all our photos to date. I have taken 1,065 photos so far, of which 689 have been resized to 800 x 600 and uploaded to photobucket, that's why it takes so long to attach them to our website.

    Today, we are off to Bunnings to buy some bubble wrap and plastic tubs - (we have to wrap some of our fragile rocks in it), and a roll of duct tape (aka go fast tape). Over to the Info Centre to buy stuff maybe a bit of gold, who knows.
    When we get back to camp, we have to get out all our rocks and photograph them and repack them. Ohh, the joy of it.

    Ok, we are back and spent most of this afternoon, photographing rocks and packing the softer types in bubble wrap. The following links shows our fossicking exploits.

    Our Norseman Agate fossicking.

    Our Norseman Gypsum Crystals fossicking.

    Our Yellowdine Quartz Crystals fossicking.

    Sunday 24th April.

    • Weather: Sunday - Started warm and sunny and forecast top of 34°.
    • Wind: Forecast 10kph NW.
    It was another mild night low of 19°. Slept until 6:30am, and laid in bed and listened to Macca on ABC, then got up about 7:15am and showered. The kids are up and playing. At 9am, the CP has an Easter egg hunt that should be exciting for the kids.

    Today, We plan to visit the Kalgoorlie Museum this morning. Well, we did go to the museum and it was great, extremely interesting. Well worth the $5 donation each.

    Tomorrow, We plan to drive to Esperance.

    Our camp at Site 77 at Kal.

    A view from the Museum.

    The Super Pit in the background.