Monday 25th April 2011
Day 25 - Kal to Esperance - 386 kms.

We actually had some spots of rain overnight, nothing serious but heavy drops for very short bursts. Woke up and get up at 6am, had a beautiful shower, woke Marg at 7am and will start packing shortly.
We left Kal at 8:40am and arrived at Esperance at 1:43pm. The drive was uneventful, except our batteries in the van dropped below the cut off limit and consequently, it cut the battery power to the van and the fridge was off, after the first rest area, it came good again, so I am a bit stuffed as to what caused it. Further investigation is required.

Our site at Esperance Seafront CP has a view of the sea. It is a lovely park and chockers with people, there appears to be a group from Birds Australia.

Tomorrow, we are checking out Esperance.

The view from the sea to our site.

The view from our site to the sea.

Another view of our camp.

Tuesday 26th - Thursday 28th April 2011
Days 26 - 28 - Exploring in Esperance.

Tuesday 26th April.

  • Weather: Tuesday - Started mild and damp, it rained off and on all day and reached 22.6° at 4:30pm.
  • Wind: 20 - 40kph N.
We had some intermittent heavy drops and so I was up during the night closing hatches and windows. Finally, got up about 7:30am and even though, it was damp we still drove the Great Ocean drive which is approx 40kms in length. There were some excellent tourist spots, where we stopped and took photos, even though it was very overcast. We had lunch at Red Rooster, because nearly everything else was closed, so our choices were very limited. Spent most of the afternoon back at the van, I also washed the van, it was it's first wash since leaving Melbourne and had a red dust covering.

A misty day at the beach.

The cave was 50 meters from shore.

Nice view.

Wednesday 27th April.

  • Weather: Saturday - Started mild and overcast with patches of blue sky and got to 25.9° at 3:30pm.
  • Wind: 15 - 35kph N.
It was another mild night. Slept until approx 6:30am, and got up showered and on the internet. Marg was finally up and ready to go about 10am. We planned a drive to Le Grand National Park about 50kms to the East of Esperance. First port of call was the Ranger's office to buy an $11 permit, then decided to turn left at every track, so our first stop was at Frenchman's Peak, an awesome 3 hour extreme walk to the top, we gave it a miss. We then drove to Rossiter Bay, which is at the easterly end of Le Grand NP. Most of the main roads in Le Grand are sealed except for the 5kms of corrugated gravel road which goes to Rossiter Bay. We reached the end and got out and walked on the beach, it was beautiful, but still overcast. We headed back and turned left at Lucky Bay, this was where Matthew Flinders sheltered in 1802, another lovely bay. Then off to Thistle Cove, more very nice views, then onto Hellfire Bay, boring, more lovely views and then lastly, onto Le Grand Campground. At the Le Grand campground, you can legally drive along the beach to Wylie Bay.
On the way back to camp, we saw 7 emus, a group of 2 and another group of 5.
After Le Grand, we went to Woollies, this is where we met every resident in Esperance, Woollies was chockers and the checkout chicks were flat out. I was so stressed, that I went into Woollies Liquor and bought a slab of Carlton Mid, that definitely eased my stress, that's what I told Marg and she believes me. hehehehehe..
Mid afternoon, I washed the mighty Navara, it came up a treat, the scratches we got at Yellowdine are still there, but not that bad. Thankfully.

Rossiter Bay.

Gravel Rd to Lucky Bay from Rossiter Bay.

Some of the numerous islands.

Lucky Bay.

Matthew Flinders memorial in Lucky Bay.

The Whispering rock.

Cave on top of Frenchman's Peak.

You can walk to the top of Frenchman's Peak.

Beach Road at Le Grand campground.

Wild emus.

One more.

Heaps of wild emus.

Thursday 28th April.

  • Weather: Thursday - Started sunny and windy, it only got to 19.8° at 1pm.
  • Wind: 20 - 40kph Westerlies.
It was cool last night dropping down to 12°. Got up about 7am, showered and on the internet. Marg wanted to go cacheing ( and I wanted to see Sammy the seal who lives near the Esperance Tanker Jetty. So we did both, first stop was Sammy and he was basking in the sun, on the grass near the pier, there was a crowd of 30 - 40 people there, taking photographs. Marg and I walked out onto the Esperance Tanker Jetty, but it was so windy, that we only got to about half distance before we headed in.

We headed to our first cache, it was at the Rotary Walk, but it was down a big cliff track, so we gave it a miss.
Our second cache was at Twilight Beach and you had to be a bloody mountain goat to find it. We found it. I also noticed that 2 other geocache finders had found these caches today, as you write your name and date on the enclosed notepad.
Our third cache was at the Wind farms, we found it. Our fourth cache was at a 'Gnarly tree', we spent at least 30 minutes searching and while doing that, 2 other geocache finders arrived, we gave up and left them, still searching.
Our fifth cache was at the Pink Lake and we found it, and the lake was pink.

On the way back to camp, we filled up with fuel in readiness for tomorrow's drive to Ravensthorpe.

Sammy resting.

Sammy still resting - Marg in background.

Sammy's home - The Esperance Tanker jetty.

Beautiful beach.

Cache - I see you.

Beautiful islands.

Another cache.

Marg adding our names.

And again.

Friday 29th April 2011
Day 29 - Esperance to Ravensthorpe - 188 kms.

It was a cool night, so we both slept very well. I woke at 6am and got up and showered shortly after. Marg awoke about 7:30am as I have set the alarm. Marg was up and about as she had an ulterior motive, she wanted to watch Will and Kate, so she was ready to leave before I was. Strange that.

Our drive was uneventful and there was only one town that we passed through (Munglinup). We arrived at Ravensthorpe CP about 11:50am, paid $28 per night and Jane told us to choose our site, this took us hours of indepth discussion, in actual fact I picked it. We set up camp put the Satellite dish , so Marg and I could watch the wedding. Marg had trouble connecting to the internet, so I tried and also had trouble, so we connected to our GME AE915 external aerial and 'my' internet worked beautifully. It is the first time that I had to use our external Next G aerial and it came through with flying colours. Marg's wifi modem does not cut it, so Marg and I are connected to the old reliable 'Blue Toaster' modem.

Before the wedding started, we drove into downtown Ravensthorpe and visited the Tourist Centre and got the lowdown on fossicking around town. Back at camp, Marg spent the afternoon watching the wedding and so did I, plus I have had a couple chilled refreshers, they went down extremely well.

Tomorrow, we are fossicking.

Rest area on the way.

Our camp.

Our camp.

Saturday 30th Apr - Monday 2nd May 2011
Days 30 - 32 - Rock Hunting in Ravensthorpe.

Saturday 30th April
Fossicking at Cattlin Creek.

  • Weather: Started cool and finally turned into a warm low 20°s sunny day.
  • Wind: Calm.
I woke about 4am and pulled on my 2nd blanket by 6am, I was looking for my 3rd blanket, which I didn't have, so I was cold, I got up. Self, remember to get my sleeping bag for tonight. I will be warm.
Anyway, enough of my sleeping drama. After Marg and I got up, showered and buggered about on the Internet, it was time to go fossicking. We left about 9:45am and headed towards the Cattlin Creek area. The first thing that we saw was the old Mining 'tower' of the abandoned Cattlin Creek mine. We put the mighty Navara in 4WD and drove beside the dried Cattlin creek, where we parked and then just walked along the dry creekbed and found some nice rocks. After approx 2.5 hours then we decided to drive the Ravensthorpe Wildflower 4WD trail of 30kms. Even though it is not wildflower season, we wanted to test ourselved by doing the 4Wd trail. It turns out that we drove about 10kms from Ravensthorpe into the Ravensthorpe Ranges, where we followeed a fire track across the ridge and finally back to the highway and back to camp. It was great fun.

Marg the rock hunter.

Marg is resting.

The old Cattlin Creek mine.

the fire trail is ace.

Some of the views.

Some of the views.

Going down.

And up.

We sometimes get sidetracked back to rock hunting.

Sunday 1st May
Day trip to Wave Rock.

  • Weather: Sunny with blue skies with a few drops of rain on the way back from Wave Rock. Probably got to mid 20°s.
  • Wind: Calm.
It was another mild night. Slept until approx 6:30am, and got up showered and on the internet. As our Wave Rock trip was 400kms there and back, we had to pull our finger out and were on the road about 9am. Actually 9:06am according to Harry Hema, have I told you lately how bloody great Harry is!!
The drive to Wave Rock had some beautiful scenery and hardly any traffic maybe 10 cars in 200 kms.

First stop was the Tourist Info shop, where we enquired into what the procedure is. We were told to go over the road, where you could buy a $7 per vehicle permit pass from the kiosk or the ticket machine. We opted for the kiosk. Bought our ticket, drove to the carpark about 100m away, parked and got organised.
To my surprise, there was more than one rock to view and walk trails. We walked around Wave rock and I walked across the top of the rock, Marg didn't as she didn't have suitable shoes. Silly girl!! It is a very impressive rock, it is in the middle of flat terrain and then these rocks appear. I got Marg to took my photo in my old surfing pose, as one does at Wave Rock. I rode the wave without being dumped, a great effort. We decided not to walk the 3km circular walk of the complex, but go back to the Info shop and have lunch.

As you enter the shop there are 2 magnificent 'stuffed' Wedge tailed eagles, my photos do not do them justice. They were beautiful and the shop owner would not sell them to us, they would compliment Cyril our croc, beautifully. I had 2 homemade Steak and mushroom pies and Marg had a toasted hamma and cheese sanga. They were yumma.
After lunch, we drove into downtown Hyden, now remember it is Sunday, so you guessed it, the town wasn't open except for a small petrol station, where we bought a pack of smokes, then drove around town. There was a very nice sculpture thingie about 50 meters long and was built using the Federal Gov stimulus package. Again the photo do not do them justice, it was too long to capture everything. I did take a photo from the carpark of the scenery and the gumtree and fields looks like a painting.

I forgot to mention, on the way here, we drove past a truck stuck on an outcrop, so on the way home, we stopped and took photos of it. Very weird. As we got closer to ravensthorpe the weather had clouded over and started to drizzle. Usually, this isn't a problem but we had our washing hanging on the line back at camp, No need to worry, as the camp didn't receive any rain.
We were buggered and had aquiet night watching satellite TV.

A stuffed Wedgetail Eagle.

Marg can't surf.

I can.

I nearly stood on this.

Who is this handsome brute. It's me.

Hyden sculptures.

I love this photo. It looks like a painting.

A nice view.

Sights that you see in the paddocks.

Monday 2nd May
Geocaching around Ravensthorpe.

  • Weather: Overcast with sunny patches. Probably got to high teens.
  • Wind: Calm.
It was a cool night. I was prepared this time and had my sleeping bag ready and slept well.
Today is geocaching day. Geocaching is like treasure hunting using a GPS, like Harry Hema, you join the website and look for locations near you and then go and get them. For example, there are 6 caches around Ravensthorpe, so today we decided to find the 6, if possible. We logged on to the website and recorded the latitude and longitude of each cache with the description, eg: the cache might be a plastic lunch box under some rocks or in a bush etc. When you find the cache, there is a pad and pencil where you write your name and date and time. When you have finished with the cache, you put it back where you found it, so the next person can find it etc.

1st cache was at the lookout in the Ravensthorpe Ranges, 2nd cahce was at the Vineyard along the firetrail that we drove 2 days ago, 3rd cache was at the Mt Chester Lookout, 4th cache was at the old Ravensthorpe cemetery, 5th cache was at Hawk's Nest, this was the old site of the Ravensthorpe township, and finally the last cache was at the old Cattlin Mine site.
We were rapt that we found the 6 caches, we left camp at 10am and returned at 3:50pm so it does take time.
Back at camp, I started packing up ready for our drive to Albany tomorrow.

Dump Truck in Galaxy mining.

This sign was all over Ravensthorpe.

I see you.

Some of the views.

Another cache.

Another cache.

Tuesday 3rd May 2011
Day 33 - Ravensthorpe to Albany - 291 kms.

We left Ravensthorpe at 8:50am and arrived at Albany at 1:35pm. To break up the drive, we decided to find some caches on the way. There were 3 caches available 1st about 80kms out, we found it, 2nd cache was about 180kms out, we found that one and also meet a couple who had sold up and were living on the road, they had a beautiful converted bus and trailler, probably half a million or more, it was superb. the 3rd cache we missed as we were on it before we realised and with the fiver behind us, we couldn't stop and do a u turn, so we gave it a miss.

We arrived at the Big4 Albany Gardens at 1:30pm, what a nice caravan park. The sites are large appear to be approx 12m x 10m, we fitted on with room to spare.
During the afternoon, we visited Woollies and we drove to the Nissan dealer to confirm on tomorrow's service. Everything was in order. Back at camp, I washed the Navara as there were no water restrictions, stopping me. BUT, while washing the Navara, the end came off my flat hose, so tomorrow I will try and get it fixed, as I don't feel like paying $120 for another flat hose. We had a quiet night, Marg cooked bacon and eggs sangas for dinner. As usual, they were yumma.

Cache 1.

Cache 2.

Nice bus.