This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2004 Travels April 26

MONDAY 26 APRIL     ESPERANCE

Today was a public holiday.

We went driving, firstly around the 38km long Tourist Loop. This followed the coast west from the town, then looped back around past the Pink Lake, to town. This had got to be one of the best coasts in Australia. It was so beautiful. The road wound about, and each rise crested gave an outlook over the sea and islands, and occasional beaches.

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There were also occasional glimpses of the wind farms.

The day was a bit grey and slightly chilly, so we were not tempted to stop and walk on any of the beaches.

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We saw the Pink Lake – faintly pink, due to its salt-tolerant algae. Apparently, it could be really quite vividly pink, but not so at the moment.

We drove back through town and out the other side, around to the Bandy Creek boat harbour – an anchorage place for fishing boats and smaller craft, away from the seriously large shipping frequenting the main harbour.

From there, followed a track that took us on to the point beyond, and Wylie Bay. There is so much beautiful coastal scenery around Esperance that, after a while, one starts to become a little immune to it!

Today was an enjoyable sight seeing day.

At night, there were more of the ongoing phone call and text messages with daughter, concerning her situation and plans. They just perpetuated my unhappiness with it all.


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2004 Travels April 25

SUNDAY 25 APRIL     ESPERANCE

After breakfast, took ourselves off to the Tourist Information/historic Museum complex.

There were a number of craft outlets within the historic area. John got a leather maker to put a tie, or thong, onto the good Akubra hat he’d bought last year in Charleville. Without this, it was only going to be a matter of time before it was lost forever, off a cliff or jetty!

I bought a beaded anklet, for $6 – a pretty little thing.

There were some Anzac Day commemorations happening in the town.

After lunch back at the van, we went for a walk. There was a very pleasant path along the Esplanade – pretty, interesting, and with the sea outlook to the offshore islands, that were part of the large stretch of islands making up the Archipelago of the Recherche.

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Brilliant ocean views abounded in Esperance

We walked as far as a shipping pier where a boat was unloading something that was grey and dusty – fertilizer?

Couldn’t make actual phone contact with John’s travelling cousin, but our criss-crossing phone messages established that they were leaving Perth tomorrow, heading back to Melbourne, so our paths will not quite intersect, this trip.


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2004 Travels April 24

SATURDAY 24 APRIL   FRASER RANGE TO ESPERANCE   310kms

Today’s aim had now become to get to Esperance in time to get the two problem tyres fixed!

We refuelled at Norseman – $1.04cpl – and turned south for the run to the coast.

It was pleasant to get back into the farming country south of Norseman. The roads became lined by stands of the salmon gums whose vivid pink-red trunks had so impressed us when we first encountered them in 1993.

Reached Esperance about midday.

Pulled straight into the first tyre place we came to – a Beaurepaires. They fixed the tyres then and there, while we waited. Great service! Both needed new tubes.

Booked into the Seafront Caravan park – a Top Tourist one. This was $19.80 a night, after discount, with the seventh night free because we booked for a week. Quite reasonable. It was a very pleasant caravan park.

After a quick set up of the basics, we headed off to the shops. Fresh produce again! But some of their stocks were low, as it was a long weekend in WA, and getting close to shop closing time.

Back at camp we finished the setting up for an extended stay.

Went out and bought fish and chips for tea. It was expensive – $6.50 a piece for flake! Not what we expected in a seaside location.

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2004 Travels April 23

FRIDAY 23 APRIL   MADURA TO FRASER RANGE   427kms

We were soon driving up the – comparatively low – Madura Pass. It is here that the road descends from the plain to the west, to a lower level one – maybe reflecting a former sea level. We had already come down onto that lower level at Eucla, yesterday, where it was not so noticeable. Now we were leaving it again.

Continued driving over the Nullarbor.

The fabled Ninety Mile Straight stretch seemed to pass quickly, because we were talking.

Today’s refuels were at Madura ($1.35cpl) and Balladonia Roadhouse ($1.36cpl).

We stopped at Balladonia Roadhouse, for fuel, and because I wanted a cappucino to cheer me up. But John heard the sound of a tyre going down, as he was filling up. It was on the back driver’s side of truck, as opposed to the front tyre on the same side, which seemed to have had a slow leak ever since we left Fowlers Bay. This surely had to be from running the part deflated tyres, especially when we rolled the tyres to the side. coming off the beach. It was just too much to be coincidence.

I never did get my coffee, because, after doing the necessary wheel change, John just wanted to get going again!

Decided to try out the new Fraser Range Station Caravan Park – only a km off the highway. It cost $18 for the night. The place was still being developed, but was really pleasant, already. It could be excellent, in the future. There were good, drive-through, powered, caravan bays, and the best Atco type amenities I’d ever encountered. It was better already than many caravan parks we’d stayed at.

We did not have to do much setting up.

Went for a walk on a track up through their valley, beyond the camp area, and through some lovely bush. We actually spotted three new birds, for us. John found an old station rubbish dump and had a close look at that – such “old stuff” excites his imagination.

It was a chilly night.

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2004 Travels April 22

THURSDAY 22 APRIL   FOWLERS BAY TO MADURA   576kms

There was rain during the night, and wind. The day was grey and windy, and there was rain on the Nullarbor. It all matched my mood!

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Wet Nullarbor

We had a long day of slower than usual driving – into a head wind. There were too many trucks – going both ways.

We topped up the fuel three times: at Nundroo ($1.23cpl), Eucla ($1.13cpl), Mundrabilla ($1.07cpl).

John took the opportunity, when he could, to keep the tank topped up. He was mindful of our trip back across the Nullarbor, in 2000, when he passed up chances to top up, relying on getting fuel at Yalata – only to find that roadhouse had closed down! No more chances like that!

I was not really in a mood for dawdling and sightseeing. But took photos at the Bunda Cliffs – where the Australian continent plunges dramatically into the ocean, in a long line of sea cliffs. I had not before seen these in rain and with a grey sky back drop.

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The edge of Australia

As we travelled, I was doing lots of thinking, of course. Three times now I had crossed the Nullarbor, and each time I had been miserable – for different reasons each time.

There was a very thorough going-over of Truck and van at the border quarantine station. They netted a lemon quarter, which was left from a fish dinner, and which I’d forgotten was in the fridge.

We were back in WA! Third visit to that state: 1993 on long service leave, 2000 for months, and now.

We booked for the night into the Madura Pass Hotel Caravan Park, for $16. It had rather a bushy setting and was one of the better places to stay across these parts. There was TV too, which pleased John.

Put our time pieces back another 45 minutes, which put my system out of synch.

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2004 Travels April 21

WEDNESDAY 21 APRIL     FOWLERS BAY

Surprisingly, the fog was gone, when I got up at 8am.

We had a lazy morning. I sewed. John packed up his fishing gear and got things ready for departure. He did some things on the computer. He used our handy air compressor system to put the tyres back up to normal running pressures. I wrote grand daughter’s next postcard and put it in the mail box at the kiosk.

Phoned my daughter to wish her a happy birthday for today – 32. And received one hell of a shock when she informed me that she and husband had split up. I was certainly not expecting that, and it really rocked me.

Over the rest of the day we had several phone conversations – I used up a heap of phone cards. No mobile service out here!

Daughter seemed fine – it was all her idea. Their house was already on the market. I worried about the future of my little grand son, though – only 15 months old. Poor little baby!

John and I went for a long walk along the beach, talking about it all. I’d offered to turn around and go back home, to see if we could assist in resolving whatever issues there were, or have her move into our place. But daughter was adamant that we should continue our trip. She indicated she was thinking of returning to the country to live.

I was still not so sure, though, about going on. It would be hard to enjoy the travel, for a while, with all that bubbling away.


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2004 Travels April 20

TUESDAY 20 APRIL     FOWLERS BAY

As yesterday, I walked on the beach for an hour, in the early morning.

Again, we fished in the bay, in the morning. But, this time, we walked in, from the parking area back in the dunes. Much safer! Maybe John was not as sanguine, yesterday, as he appeared!

We caught one whiting.

After lunch, drove back again to Scotts Bay. We drove further along the bay, this time, to where others were fishing for salmon. We didn’t get any!

Saw a shark cruising very close to shore.

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Fowlers Bay coast

At least, John had experienced a chance to try for the salmon, out there.

A big sea mist came rolling in, late in the afternoon. By dark, back at the caravan park, this had become thick fog – so moist that it was almost rain.

The Fowlers Bay whiting were very nice eating!