Friday 13th May 2011
Day 43 - Busselton to Karrinyup, Perth - 240 kms.

  • Weather: Started off at 3.1° outside and finished at about 21°. A Beautiful day.
  • Wind: calm.
  • Daily distance travelled with fiver: 240 kms. Total towed this trip: 4,988 kms.
  • Next G Mobile reception at Karrinyup, Perth: Yes
  • Next G 'Blue Toaster' reception without external aerial: Yes
  • Next G Telstra WiFi Modem reception: Yes.
We left Busselton at 9:10am and drove the 240kms to Karrinyup waters Resort, Perth. Most of the way was on highway and freeway and the view coming into Perth around the Swan river were awesome. We turned off the Mitchell Highway and about 1 kilometer away was our Caravan park. We arrived about 12:30pm and I had a choice of 5 sites, I choose the site with shade from a willow tree. We did a full setup but without the awning. While I was sitting outside, there was a black and white rabbit just eating the grass about 10 feet away, our neighbour tells me that there is also a white rabbit (not Jefferson Aeroplane). The rest of the day was spent relaxing.

The Bussell highway.

The camp rabbit.

The camp rabbit.

Saturday 14th - Thursday 19th May 2011
Days 44 - 49 - Exploring Perth.

Saturday 14th May
Day 44 - Dinner with Stuie and Rachel.

  • Weather: Started cool and stayed that way, it did reach 22.1°.
  • Wind: 15 - 30kph E.
A mild night, I only used my blankets.
We did some washing this morning and went to Karrinyup Shopping Centrefor some food shopping. Back at camp for lunch and during the afternoon, I emptied the shitter. That was interesting as the dump point was about 6 feet from a tent site. The occupants were sitting outside when I wandered up with my tote tank full of shit. 2 trips later the fiver was empty.

We had organised to meet Stuie and her girlfriend Rachel for dinner. During the afternoon, Stuie rang to tell us where and when dinner was, we had a booking at 6:30pm at 'The Saint' aka Saint George Hotel in Innaloo. We arrived at 6:15pm and our dinner guests were already there. They were just excited to be having dinner with Marg and I. Stuie and I had steak, which was nice but only came with chips and nothing else. Marg had Garlic prwans, which were very nice and Rachel had a pizza, which was nice when it finally arrived. The chef had trouble cooking the pizza, so to keep Rachel happy and us, they gave her a complimentary drink and a garlic bread. After dinner, we went our separate ways, it was great to catch up with Stuie and Rachel.

No photos for today.

Sunday 15th May
Day 45 - Day trip to New Norcia Monastery.

  • Weather: Started off overcast and stayed that way all day with a light sprinkles of rain.
  • Wind: Calm.
It was a mild night, but actually warmed during the wee hours, enough to take off a blanket, which I did.

We left camp about 9:50am for the 130kms drive to New Norcia, arriving about 11:45am. The daily tours commence at 11am and 1:30pm, so to fill in time until 1:30pm, we visited the Art Gallery and the paintings were unbelieveable. There were original paintings, painted in the 16th century absolutley unbelieveable. I would hate to guess how much the art collection is worth.
As I shared the faith of this community (I am a Catholic), New Norcia was special, I loved it and all the buildings and historic artifacts. There are only 10 religious members at the monastery now, The Abbott, The Prior and 8 monks. Our tour guide was Richard, a lay man with a wonderful voice. All the chapels had great acoustics and in one of the chapels, Richard sang "I am Australian' written by Bruce Woodley, some of us joined in. I didn't, Marg did.
This is what you can expect to see and hear on the guided tour. (taken from the New Norcia website).
    Daily Guided Town Tours last 2 hours.

  • Hear stories of the town’s changing history from when a small group of Spanish Benedictine monks made their way north from Perth to establish a mission near the banks of the Moore River in 1847.
  • See Baroque, Gothic revival, Byzantine, Italian, Renaissance and Latin architectural styles rising up between the eucalyptus trees and dusty scrub.
  • Sit in the monks’ private chapel the heartbeat of New Norcia where the community joins together six times daily to pray the Divine Office.
  • Visit the Abbey Church, which houses one of only two large Moser organs crafted in Germany and imported to Australia in the 1920s. The church walls display a rare form of art called sgraffito alongside more conventional and familiar religious icons and paintings.
  • The castle-like St Ildephonsus’ and St Gertrude’s Colleges are striking enough from the outside but for many people, the highlight of the tour is discovering what awaits inside. With your guide, you’ll discover interiors reminiscent of what you’d expect to find in a village chapel in Italy.
We managed to help increase the New Norcia economy by approx $200. We had lunch at the Roadhouse owned by the monks, toasted sangas. Yumma. The 2 hour guided tour and shock horror, after the tour Marg and I descended upon the shop, buying 3 books (A town like no other-The living tradition of New Norcia, The story of New Norcia, The Salvado memoirs) and some other things like 6 stubbies of Abbey Ale and an Abbey Muscat for the child bride.
I was a little disappointment that I didn't see a monk in the flesh, but I did hold a door open and 5 elderly nuns walked in. That was pretty impressive. The monks were in prayers while we were in their monastery, so I left them to do their own thing.

Isn't she lovely! (Joe Cocker).

St Gertrude's College.

Gold leaf ceilings.

The Abbey Church.

Tomb of Salvado - The Founder in 1847.

Marg in another beautiful chapel.

Monday 16th May
Day 46 - Doing odd jobs around camp.

  • Weather: Started off overcast with mostly sunny periods.
  • Wind: Calm.
Another mild night, just a one blanket night.

Marg had a hair appointment at 9:30am, so I took the opportunity to get a No4 crew cut at the men's hairdressers. I left Marg at her hairdressers and walked into the men's hairdressers, it was run by 3 women, in actual fact one women and 2 girls. One of the young girls probably in her early 20s, attended to me. Why is it that the 2 younger women wear low cut tops to show off their boobs, after a quick glance, I was embarrassed, as she bent over, so I closed my eyes. Oh to back at Mordialloc at Bruno's with Tony and Mario, the 3 italians guys, we never had boob problems there. We may talk about them, but they weren't in your face, so to speak. Anyway, I know it is hard to improve on perfection, but she did a good job.
After my haircut, I went back to camp and played with our battery setup, it is causing me some grief at present, as it is intermittently working and not working while we are towing. After speaking to Phil, he gave me a few options to try. I also am in the middle of changing both the fiver 7 pin plug and socket as a pin is faulty. So today was spent doing those things. Mid afternoon onwards, it was relax time, so the chilled refreshers appeared from the fridge, very nice too.

No photos today, it was work day, not fun day.

Tuesday 17th May
Day 47 - Perth Mint and Freo.

  • Weather: Started off raining, stopped and then started again - all day.
  • Wind: Calm.
Another mild night, just a one blanket night.

We left camp at 10:30am and headed to downtown Perth. I cannot believe the lack of traffic, their roads are big and the traffic works well.
We parked out the front of the Perth Mint in a 60 minute zone and went into the Mint. The guided tour was just starting and only takes 45 minutes, so we bought the $15 tour ticket and did the tour. I was glad it was only $15 per ticket, because it wasn't that great as a tour, but you did go into the vaults and see heaps of gold. You were not allowed to take photos after you went inside, consequently, there are bugger all photos of the Mint. The gold pour was very informative and more in depth than the gold pour at the Miners' hall of Fame in Kalgoorlie. We got back to our car in 58 minutes so didn't get a parking ticket.

Next port of call was Freo Tourist Centre, believe it or not, we couldn't find it, so we drove to the Marina area and had fish n chips for lunch at Kaili's. They were yumma.
We drove around Freo and the marinas and then headed along 'Beach Rd' back to camp, the rain stopped when we were out of the car and rained while we were driving, so it ws all good. Got back to camp about 4pm and it hasn't stopped raining since.

Me with 'the hand of fate' nugget. Check my new haircut. Pretty handsome.

Entry to Perth Mint.

Kaili's Marina.

Fish n chips at Kaili's, Freo.

C gull in flight.

Freo marina.

Wednesday 18th May
Day 48 - Visiting the Perth Aquarium.

  • Weather: It appears the rain has stopped and it is sunny with cloudless skies.
  • Wind: Calm.
Another mild night due to the rain and cloud cover.

We laid in bed and watched Sunrise and finally got up about 7:45am.
Our sullage point is connected to the sewer and Andy the camp caretaker said it was OK to empty my black water in it. Of course, he told me a couple of days ago, just after I had emptied my black water tank using my 60 litre tote tank. Typical... So I emptied the shitter this morning and toppedd up our fresh water with Perth water, in preparation for Coral Bay and Eighty Mile Beach, as the water there is very salty, so I read on Badger's CP reports.

Around 9:15am, I drove to Bunnings to buy a tarp, to use as a skirt around the hitch area on our fiver. PS: It didn't work. We are undecided as to what we are doing today, maybe take a drive along the Tourist Drive 204. Talk later.

Well we ended up driving along the Tourist drive 204 and finished at the Perth Aquarium at Hillary Boat Harbour. We reckon it is the best aquarium we have visited, it contained fish and coral from West Australia and broken into 5 sections, Great Southern coast, Perth coast, Marmiom Marine Park, Shipwreck coast and Far North. As we left the aquarium, we wandered over to the Boat Harbour and took some photos.
This afternoon we packed a few things in readiness for tomorrow's drive to Cervantes.

A sea dragon. very hard to see.

Blue ringed Octopus.

Hilliary Boat harbour.

Thursday 19th May 2011
Day 49 - Karrinyup, Perth to Cervantes - 191 kms via Indian Ocean drive.

We left Karrinyup Waters Resort at 8:53am and drove the 191kms to The Pinnacles CP, Cervantes. We turned left and headed to Karrinyup Rd, because it was a lot easier to get onto the Mitchell freeway and then headed North and finally got onto Wanneroo Rd, which turns into the Indian Ocean drive.
The Indian Ocean drive was excellent, there was next to no traffic and also no service stations on the road, but you could turn off at Lancelin and get fuel, if you wanted too, but it is only 200kms so you shouldn't need fuel, if you fill up before you left Perth.
The Nilgen lookout had a bushfire recently, I think around Xmas. We stopped there and walked to the lookout, there were nice views of the Indian Ocean and interior. Further along the drive, as we got closer to the ocean, the sand dunes started appearing and they were awesome, the photos do not do them justice. there was a rest area which showed the sand dunes and the ocean. Very nice. We arrived at Cervantes at 12:10pm. Set up camp and relaxed.

About mid afternoon, actually 2:45pm thanks Harry Hema, Marg and I decided to go caching as there were 5 caches around Cervantes. The first cache was at Thirsty Point, we couldn't find it. Bugger. 2nd cache was at Lake Thetis, Marg found this one. Our 3rd cache was on the other side of the lake, so we walked over to it, via the Stromatolites observation decking. Marg found this cache, check the photo, the guy had drilled out a rock and glued a plastic film case in it. Brilliant. We didn't go to the 4th cache as it was further out of town, we may do this tomorrow. The last cache was in a park in the centre of town, but we couldn't find it, so we went to the Tavern and I bought a slab of beer.

Another small world moment. The relieving Hotel Manager served me and it turns out that he grew up in Mordialloc, has friends in our street. Unbelieveable.

This was the typical view. No traffic.

The burnt out view from the Nilgen lookout.

Indian Ocean drive.

Nice scenery and weather.

The sand dune looked like the Sahara.

This emu was seen in a side street. We must be in the country.

View from Thirsty Beach.

We startled these guys, while walking around the lake.

This is the modified cache rock. Unreal.

Friday 20th May 2011
Day 50 - Visiting the Pinnacles at Cervantes.

I awoke about 6:30am to wind and rain. We stayed inside until about 11am, then headed the 20kms out to the Pinnacles. We paid the $11 per vehicle for entry into the Nambung NP. There is a discovery centre and you can drive the 3km drive or walk it. As it was a shit day, we drove. The Pinnacles are rock formations, the landscape looks brilliant, we were rapt that we saw them, even though the weather was rough. Between rain squalls, we walked around the shapes. There was also a cache in The Pinnacles, but we couldn't find it.
After driving the track twice, we headed back to our Caravan Park which has a cafe in it, so we had lunch there. Marg had a nacho and I had a hamburger, both were yumma.

Most of the afternoon was spent inside on the computer, while Marg managed a nanna nap. Hopefully, the weather will improve tomorrow, as we drive to Geraldton.

The Pinnacles map.

Marg and The Pinnacles.

The mighty Navara looks go amongst the colours.

The Pinnacles Track.

The Pinnacles meet the Sand Dunes.

More pinnacles.