This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2004 Travels May 3

MONDAY 3 MAY   ESPERANCE TO THOMAS RIVER   135kms

I phoned son to wish him a happy birthday for tomorrow – whilst I was still in a place with a phone signal. Tomorrow he would turn 30.

After a relatively early breakfast, we did a final small shop for oddments: oil for Truck, a tyre deflating gadget, milk, bread and the like. Collected mail. The expected new aerial for the GPS was in the mail bag, but they had sent the wrong one!

I collected some more books from the library – we would be passing back through town before their due date.

Refuelled Truck – $1.03cpl.

Then it was back to van, where we completed the pack up and hitching up of van.

Our destination was the Thomas River camp ground in the Cape Arid National Park, to the east of Esperance. We intended to have a look out there – where we had not been before. If we liked what we saw, would stay there, otherwise would come back to Cape Le Grande National Park, where we had camped for a couple of nights in ’93. We knew the camp ground at Lucky Bay was adequate and the surrounding area lovely, but also that it could become quite crowded.

The drive took us out through Condingup, and was mostly through farmland – grain growing country. It was quite pleasant. Eventually turned south. The last 12kms was on a gravel road, but it was in good condition.

We came first to the Shire campground, which fronted onto the little Thomas River. It seemed alright, but we decided to go look at the National Parks campground, up on the hill, just in case it was better.

It was absolute magic! We found a site high on the hillside, with a superb view over Yokinup Bay to Cape Arid and Mt Arid. Ours was a deep site, set back with bush on three sides. We could hear the sea. There was an adequate eco-toilet not too far away. There were only two other lots of campers there, and a couple who were acting as campground hosts – Rhyllis and John. We discovered that he was the brother of a lady I’d known for some time, through my then work. She was for a time a State Parliamentarian. Yet again – small world.

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Looking over the mouth of Thomas River & Yokinup Bay from our camp area

This was just a wonderful place to stay. There were no formal fees, but we donated $5 for each night we stayed.

After setting up, went for a short walk to the beach. A path through the scrub met up with a vehicle access that came from the Shire campground. The beach was quite wide with firmer sand where the tide advanced and receded. but softer sand behind that. We judged it able to be driven on, at low tide.

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Cape Arid from beach by our camp

Came back to the camp hosts’ van for Happy Hour drinks. Rhyllis had made little savouries – it was a pleasant, relaxed hour or so. She was yet another former secondary teacher!

There were lots of birds about. The surrounds were mostly banksia dominated scrub and heathlands.

Hearing the sound of the sea as background noise at night was lovely. It was a cold night.

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2004 Travels May 1

SATURDAY 1 MAY     ESPERANCE

It was even colder today.

The planned bowls for today was cancelled, as there were not enough entries, so they were to play tomorrow, only. John was disappointed.

We walked to the shops and bought the weekend papers.

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John arranged for us to practice bowls with a local couple. It was a pleasant game, and we had drinks together afterwards.


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2004 Travels April 29

THURSDAY 29 APRIL     ESPERANCE

After breakfast, we went back to Lake Monjingup. This time, we spent over three hours there, wandering about, watching birds, trying to identify the varied bushes, and just generally enjoying the little oasis of wilderness.

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Lake Monjingup

We spotted a Western Spinebill, for the first time, and a Fan Tailed Cuckoo.

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Very symmetrical banksia

I was quite intrigued by an ant path that extended a long way, over soil and rock. I wondered how many zillion ant footsteps it had needed to make such a clear path? Amazing.

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Ant path with large ant mound in background

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Venerable banksia

The rest of the day, I read and John played computer games.


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2004 Travels April 27

WEDNESDAY 28 APRIL     ESPERANCE

We were woken very early by a phone call from the errant daughter. She’d forgotten about the time difference! She needed to borrow money until her financial situation got more sorted out. Later in the day, we transferred some money to her.

I decided to phone my minister friend P, to see if he would counsel daughter, and assess her state of mind, for me. I knew I could rely on his impartial, and expert, views – and he’d known daughter for years. He agreed. I felt better for having actively done something!

John bowled in the afternoon. He won some beer, for coming second. He came back with the news that there was to be a big bowls tournament on here, next weekend. I agreed that we could stay on longer, so he could play in that, instead of leaving on Saturday, as planned.

While John was at bowls. I walked to the town library, where I was able to borrow some reading matter. I had to pay a $50 surety, though.

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Aerial view of Esperance, showing Pink Lake – from postcard (source unknown)


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2004 Travels April 27

TUESDAY 27 APRIL     ESPERANCE

In the morning, we went to bowls. The game was a new form of Scroungers (for us), and was good fun. That type of game allows individual scoring, and takes off the pressure to perform that goes with the usual team structures of games. It is much more social and light hearted.

Back at camp, after lunch, John did some computer stuff for the first part of the afternoon.

Then we drove the 14kms out to Lake Monjingup – a botanical reserve, with lakes and teeming bird life. It was a lovely spot. We walked about and did some bird spotting, and could have used more time out there. We’d left it a bit late in the day to do the place justice.

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Banksia