This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


1 Comment

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!

Resize of 04-22-2004 01 on the wet Nullarbor.jpg

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.

Resize of 04-22-2004 03 nullarbor outlook

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.

Resize of 04-22-2004 to m


Leave a comment

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.


1 Comment

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.

Resize of 04-18-2004 Fowlers Bay area.jpg

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!


Leave a comment

2004 Travels April 19

MONDAY 19 APRIL     FOWLERS BAY

Having had a look around the place, yesterday, we decided to extend our stay here, mainly so John could go fishing.

I walked on the beach for an hour, in the morning, before John got up.

We drove to one of the access points to the Fowlers Bay Beach and went through a very sandy cut onto the back of the beach, where John drove on further, following previous vehicle or quad tracks.

The tide appeared to be coming in fast, and I thought our situation was rather precarious, so was worried and could not relax.

John caught four grass whiting off the beach.

We left as the water was getting up close to Truck. Going back up off the beach, through the sandy cut, was not easy. John had to gun Truck somewhat, and we slewed badly to the side in the sand – not good on partly flat tyres! John and I have always disagreed on what was an acceptable risk with the vehicle. I guess that, being the passenger, and not in control of what is happening, makes it seem worse. Or maybe I am just more conservative – or more sensible?

We went back to town and fished some more, off the jetty, catching another whiting.

After lunch at the van, drove out to Scotts Bay and fished there. John caught one whiting.

There was a very colourful sunset, whilst we were out there.

Resize of 04-19-2004 sunset Scotts Beach Fowlers Bay.jpg


Leave a comment

2004 Travels April 18

SUNDAY 18 APRIL   CEDUNA TO FOWLERS BAY   145kms

The final pack up and departure from the caravan park was straight forward.

We refuelled in Ceduna, again, having managed to clock up 401kms in our explorations and jaunts around town. Diesel was still 96cpl.

Today’s was not a long drive – only 145kms of towing. We set out on Highway 1, westwards. Passed through the “windmill township” of Penong, without stopping. Just west of Bookabie – a general location rather than a specific settlement – turned to the south, onto a road that led to Fowlers Bay. This was an unsealed but firm road – mostly pretty reasonable to travel on. There was about 30kms of it, before we reached the village.

The country we passed through was pretty flat and uninteresting – grain farms alternating with scrubby sections. More of these as we got closer to the coast. The few low trees were stunted and wind shaped, pointing inland. As we neared the coast, distant, high sand dunes appeared. By the time we reached the little township, these bare dunes loomed over the far edge of the town, leading us to wonder how long it would be before the settlement was engulfed by shifting sands.

We booked into the small caravan park, initially for one night, which cost $17. We really wanted to check the place out before committing to any longer stay. When we did eventually extend, it was $16 a night.

The park was a bit basic, but ok. It was right by the waterfront, by a jetty that extended some way out to sea.

After set up and lunch, went for a walk, firstly out on the jetty, then along the beach front. There was a lot of accumulated weed on the beach, so we walked in flattened tracks made by quad bikes. It seemed that quite a few people had these, here.

Fowlers Bay was an interesting little place. Once, it would have been a small port for the surrounding farm country – the fairly long jetty attested to that. Now, there was only a handful of people there.

At the front of the caravan park was a small kiosk/store, and that was the extent of commerce here.

The village was a couple of blocks deep, extending back from along the shore. The looming sand dunes were already mentioned.

The two main access roads, both unsealed, pass by, or over, salt lake areas.

Our mud map, and information, indicated that the main fishing – apart from off the jetty – was to be had at Scotts Beach, to the west, and – a bit further on from that – at the beach by a conical offshore rock formation known as Mexican Hat. One must follow tracks that skirted the big dune area, to reach these.

John let some air out of Truck tyres, in preparation for driving on sandy areas.

We went for a drive to Scotts Beach and Mexican Hat, being careful on the harder access roads because of the flatter tyres. There was some guess work involved in trying to reach the happy medium in tyre pressures, due to the differing surfaces.

There were people fishing at Scotts Beach, which was apparently a salmon fishing beach.

All we did this afternoon was to check out what the area had to offer.

After tea, John had a phone conversation with his travelling cousin, M. They were at Kalbarri, so quite some way ahead of us.

Resize of 04-18-2004 to fb


Leave a comment

2004 Travels April 17

SATURDAY 17 APRIL     CEDUNA

I did three loads of washing in the morning. It was quite a windy day, so good for drying.

We went into town and did a grocery shop, in preparation for a few days with limited available supplies.

The Chescold fridge we used as a supplementary one, outside the van, had not been working for a while. John had conferred with the local fridge repairer, who had organized for a new element to come in the mail, by plane. He then brought it out to us – great service. So today, John fitted it – the fridge was working again and John was quite pleased with his efforts.

Later in the afternoon, we went fishing. It was very windy and chilly out on the Thevenard Jetty. The little cockles John had gathered on the beach, the other day, proved to be too soft and small to work as bait, but John caught a garfish and that became bait. He caught a good sized whiting and a small Tommy Ruff, but overall it was a frustrating effort.

I kept a very close watch out for my scary seal!

We did some preliminary packing up and, of course, I picked in the dry washing and dealt with it.

We were as ready to go, as was possible.

Resize of 04-15-2004 ceduna sunset.jpg


Leave a comment

2004 Travels April 16

FRIDAY 16 APRIL     CEDUNA

After breakfast, drove into town and mailed daughter’s birthday card, cheque, and a Crossing the Nullarbor polo shirt.

Earlier in the week, when looking at information and maps of the area, had noticed Googs Lake, roughly to the north. This seemed an interesting destination for a day trip. I was able to buy a Westprint map that we could navigate, reasonably accurately, from.

The skies over Ceduna were overcast and rather threatening, but we didn’t want to keep hanging around Ceduna waiting for better, so decided to do this expedition today, hoping the day might improve a bit.

So, after the Post Office visit, set out, taking a packed picnic lunch with us.

The main Quarantine check point was just on the western edge of town, as we’d found the day we went out to Denial Bay. We had some fruit with us, for lunch and snacks, so stopped at the checkpoint and mentioned to the man that we would be returning in the afternoon and might have some leftover fruit with us. He was very pleasant.

Just past the checkpoint, we took a road to the north, towards Lone Oak Farm. Googs Track was built by the Denton family, from this farm, between 1973 and 76, working mostly at weekends. “Goog” was the dad. His idea was to link his farm to the Trans-Australian Railway, to the north, hence giving him access to wider markets than he had through Ceduna.

Lone Oak Farm was about 30kms from Ceduna. It was just a bit before we went through the new electrified Dog Fence – 6000 volts! I had to open and close the access gate, and was cautious about what I touched.

Resize of 04-16-2004 01 electrified Dog Fence Googs track entry.jpg

After the gate, we were soon into the proper Mallee scrub of the Yumbarra Conservation Park. Very interesting – scrub on red desert sand – just the sort of country we love.

Resize of 04-16-2004 04 tree shapes by Googs Track.jpg

There was much variation in colour and texture along the track. We saw no-one else.

Resize of 04-16-2004 02 entering Yumbarra CP Googs Track

In places, there were sections of red sand dunes – up to 25 metres high. Most of these were quite straightforward driving and nowhere near as tricky as, say, the Simpson Desert. It would have been a challenge for truck to have pulled the van out here though.

Resize of 04-16-2004 11Googs Track like Simpson Desert.jpg

We stopped to look at some small pools of water that had collected in hollows in large rock slabs. These were water “holes” for aboriginals. Goog believed that he was the first white man to have seen them.

Resize of 04-16-2004 03 rock pools by Googs Track

Rock pools by Googs Track

At one point, there was a diversion in the track, to take it around a large mallee fowl nest area.

Resize of 04-16-2004 10 Googs track bypass due to nest

Detour around Mallee Fowl nesting area

About 50kms from Lone Oak we came to the track junction where Googs Track continued north, but the side track from there to the Lake branched east. At this point, there was a memorial to Goog and his son. The latter died in an accident in 1993, and Goog died in 1996.

The lake was about 5kms from the memorial corner. There was a little water in the lake, which was salt. It was a fair size – about 1km wide and stretching off into the distance for about 15kms.

Resize of 04-16-2004 05 Googs Lake 1

Googs Lake

Surrounding the lake were scrub covered red dunes – very photogenic.

Resize of 04-16-2004 09 Googs Lake 5.jpg

It would have been a great place to camp for a few days.

Resize of 04-16-2004 08 Googs Lake 4

We ate our lunch at the lake, and wandered about on foot, exploring around the edge and taking photos.

The solitude was superb.

Resize of 04-16-2004 g lake

All too soon it was time to commence the fairly slow trip back to camp, retracing our route of this morning.

Resize of 04-16-2004 fenceline googs track

The Dog Fence stretching into the distance

The man at the Quarantine Station let us keep our leftover lunch fruit.

It was a great day’s outing – I loved it.