This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


2007 Travels September 30


We took our time getting organized and away.

I was dreading trying to link up Truck and van on the backwards  sloping driveway. John would have to be really accurate in his backing – meaning me in directing same! The van had to stay chocked so there was no capacity for moving it in any direction to “fine tune” the match up. If John backed a little too far van would be pushed back on chocks. Much potential for things to go wrong – and with an audience!

In the event it all went beautifully. John did a perfect backing display, especially considering that for the last little bit he was trying to move Truck back a cm at a time! Much relief!

The way home was the usual – Heathcote, Seymour, Yea, Lilydale.

We got the van backed into its parking bay – uphill this time – and unhitched.

Our sitters had prepared a hot lunch to welcome us home, which we enjoyed with them. What a lovely thoughtful gesture. They were such pleasant people and very organized, thoughtful  and efficient house minders. The place was immaculate. No wonder they were in such demand, and booked up so far ahead. We were lucky to have managed to book them again, for next year – but three months was all they could manage for us, between other bookings.

After lunch, they departed and we were left to make a start on the unpacking and van cleaning.

The house always seemed so huge, after months in the van.

Statistics for 2007 trip:

* Kms travelled:    17,702kms

* Cost of diesel:   $3851.89

* Dearest diesel:  $2.29cpl  Kalumburu

* Cheapest diesel:  $1.25cpl  Bendigo

* Accommodation cost:  $3199.15

* Accommodation discounts gained:  $46.25

* Dearest accommodation per night:  36.50 – Broome

* Cheapest paid accommodation per night: $6.60 –  NT National Parks

* Number of different places stayed at:  42



2007 Travels September 29


Daughter and I went shopping in the morning. I bought some T shirts that were on sale, and a couple of windcheaters.

The Grand Final was watched – on their big screen TV – in the afternoon. In this sport-focussed family, an event like this was an occasion to be marked with drinks and snacks through the afternoon. John thoroughly enjoyed himself.

It was our final night, for this trip, in the van.

Although I had enjoyed the time spent with family here, overall, it was a pity that the trip had concluded in a fairly negative way, for me, with the focus on long days and sports viewing. It tended to cloud the great times that had come before.

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2007 Travels September 28


We had another early wake up visit from grandson, and a snuggle session in bed. Mornings here were cold, so even the young chap was content to keep warm under the doona.

The idea of building that wood fired pizza oven in our yard had been quietly simmering away in John’s mind, ever since Tennant Creek – or earlier. A more urgent domestic undertaking was the renovation of our swimming pool, that had been a well visited duck pond since 1998, when we naively entrusted its upkeep to son, while we went travelling. It had become very green! Grandchildren would certainly appreciate being able to actually swim in it.

Visiting duck had left us an egg!

So – John was thinking of combining swimming pool reclamation, with re-laying the slate pool surround, with building his oven. Why not undertake three projects at once?

To that end, we took grandson to visit a Bendigo place that had a massive display of different types of pavers and stone wall materials. We found some retaining wall blocks and capping stones for same, that would be ideal for renovated garden bed walls around the pool area.

Grandson was surprisingly interested in the stone displays. He probably had never seen anything like this before! Some proved to be just the right height for grandson sitting, whilst grandad browsed. A bit low and undignified for grandma though.

As a reward, and because this could be a possible future project too, we also visited the nearby cubby house factory. That was a big hit!

Met up with the boy’s mother, in the town centre, for lunch.

Then it was back to base, for afternoon naps for the two males.

Fish and chips all round, for tea.

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2007 Travels September 27


Grandson was knocking on the van door at 7.30am. He’d been up, had his breakfast, and mum was about to leave for work, so it was over to us. The boy was happy to snuggle up in bed with us for a little while, but then we had to stir ourselves to face the day.

I had forgotten how much energy it takes to keep up with an active and enthusiastic four-year-old! We had to come up with some ideas to keep him busy and interested – and that we could cope with.

Grandson just loved travelling around in the “Grandad’s Truck”. I guess to someone his size it looked huge! For the two someones of our size, it was an intellectual challenge to fit the boy’s car seat into Truck. I could not believe how much of a hassle it was. When my kids were little, one did not need an advanced qualification in engineering to take them to the shops!

We visited a shopping centre and walked around for a while looking at shops. The boy and Grandad scored icecreams each. We tried a visit to the Art Gallery – thought we might introduce some different aesthetics into his life, since he was an enthusiastic generator of art works that graced our fridge, my study walls and his fridge at home. But it was not really his thing – fair enough.

The walk in Rosalind Park, and the climb up to the top of the big poppet head tower, was much more to his liking. We valiantly battled up the several flights of steps – that thing is high! I appreciated the views over the city, but all grandson was interested in, was going back down again! We probably could have amused him by repeated trips up and down the Tower, but we were not up to it, although I am sure he would have been.

The playground at Lake Weeroona was definitely to his liking – and ours, because all we had to do was watch him – one at a time, whilst the other sat it out……

Fortunately, the afternoon nap still happened for the four year old. Grandad needed one too!

Throughout the trip, I had regularly dispatched postcards to the boy. After his nap, out came the collection, all faithfully kept, and we had to tell him the story of each one, and read them to him afresh. Obviously it had been worth making the effort to send them.

I, for one, was very happy to welcome his mum home from work, and hand over duty to her!

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2007 Travels September 26


The early morning light on the Murray River was interesting.

After all the horrendous driving stages of the time just gone, done to fit in with the TV football schedule, we now found ourselves with a few days to spare before our house sitters’ time was due to end, and they would expect us home, on 30th.

John could think of nothing he wanted to do, to fill in the time, except he was adamant that it should not involve National Parks or walking! We had previously spent time in the Riverland and around Mildura. So we decided to go on to Bendigo and visit with daughter and family there. At least we would be able to give grandson a couple of days’ break from child care – and John would have some enthusiastic company – and a good TV picture – for watching the AFL Grand Final on Saturday!

So, it was on through to Mildura and down the Calder Highway, to Bendigo.

Refuelled at Red Cliffs – $1.38cpl and again on the outskirts of Bendigo – $1.25cpl.

We parked the rig in daughter’s driveway. With some trepidation, due to its slope. The wheel chocks were reinforced with stacks of bricks, before van was detached from Truck!

No more caravan park fees for this trip!

Grandson was thrilled to see us, when he and his mum arrived home. She had not told him we were coming, so it was a great surprise for him.

Bendigo was cold, after the places we had been! I had to burrow under the bed and drag out the little fan heater from storage, to warm the van up in the evening.

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2007 Travels September 25


Back to the early starts in the morning…..

On the road again. We went the same way as we had on Sunday – east through the hills and winding roads of the Horrocks Pass to Wilmington, then through Orroroo, Peterborough, Burra. This was a familiar route for us, so it was just a matter of covering the distance.

The wind turbines that had sprouted in recent years, along the ridges through here, provided something extra to look at. I don’t think they enhance the scenery, though.

John decided not to stay at Morgan, where we had sometimes overnighted before, but to press on to Renmark. However, we did stop to eat our packed lunch at Morgan.

Refuelled in Renmark, before finding the caravan park. $1.29cpl.

At the Riverfront Caravan Park, we went on to a site that fronted on to the Murray River. After discount, paid $27.

The site was scenic – a pleasant change and the nicest we’d had since leaving Eighty Mile Beach. The Murray River was quite full.

After the basic set up for a one night stay, I walked into the town, for some exercise. John didn’t feel like the exertion, and stayed at the van.

We had not long been set up when we were visited by a hopeful – and friendly – pelican. He did not stay around long, after I told him there would be no handouts at our van.

The sunset reflections on the river were wonderful.

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2007 Travels September 24


A proper sleep in this morning….

Today was John’s birthday.

After breakfast, went to the main shopping complex, so I could buy the makings for a birthday meal of his choice – a roast chicken dinner.

Topped up the fuel again, after yesterday’s drive – we’d done about 120kms. Went to the other major brand servo on the main highway and found the fuel was cheaper – $1.35cpl.

John played computer games for much of the rest of the day.

The roast chicken, vegies and gravy turned out well, “roasted” in the electric frypan.

After tea, watched the Brownlow Medal Award count on TV – the reason we had stayed put these couple of days here.


2007 Travels September 23


For the first time in a week, we were not moving on today, so there was no alarm waking us up at some horribly early hour. I got to sleep in – until all of 8am!

John had agreed, yesterday, that since there was no football on today, we could have an outing of my choice. My preference was to go walking at Alligator Gorge, in the Mt Remarkable National Park, east of Port Augusta. Many, many years ago, whilst still uni students, M and I had hitch hiked from Melbourne to Adelaide, and from there joined a group of phys ed students who were doing a two day hike in the Mambray Creek section in the south of this National Park, but I had never visited the northern part.

Refuelled on the way out of town, at one of the servos favoured by truck drivers. $1.37cpl.

We had to take the very familiar Horrocks Pass road to Wilmington, then the Alligator Gorge road to our destination, the Terraces and Narrows Circuit walk – a bit over 3kms.

Alligator Gorge (Parks SA)

From the car park, we descended down some steep steps to the creek level, then turned roughly north, to walk along Alligator Creek to the Terraces.

Going down into the Gorge – little indication here of the sights to come…

The creek was incised into a gorge, mostly not all that deep, compared to, say, those of Karijini, but still interesting with red rock walls.

Red cliffs and spring flowers

The track was rocky and rough until we reached the Terraces.

Look down, not up!

The Terraces were, as the name suggested, broad flat “steps” in the creek valley. It was a tranquil place, with varied plant growth.

The Terraces
A longer walk followed the creek from here, up onto the ridge beyond
Going back along The Terraces. …

We had passed section of grass trees.

After spending some time looking at rock pools – there was a trickle of water in the creek – and just sitting enjoying the spot, we retraced the way, past the steps we’d come down, and on along the creek.

Here the gorge was deeper, and in parts overhung the path below.

The Narrows was a section of the gorge where the rock walls really closed in, forming a cleft that was only just wide enough for a person to walk through.

Approaching the entrance to The Narrows
The Narrows
Flood debris in the narrow chasm

This was not a place one would want to be in a heavy rain storm – I felt that it could be subject to flash floods at such times. It was actually quite a spooky section, I thought.

This short walk was really quite dramatic, with much contrast in the nature of the Gorge. It was quite a little gem, and a walk I’d like to do again, if we ever came back this way. Given that it was a weekend, it was surprising that we saw no other people walking, although there were a handful picnicking up top at the carpark area.   

A contrasting section – smooth track and grass underfoot

What comes down, in this case, must go up again…..after passing through the Narrows, a track climbed steeply – including up lots more steps – to the Blue Gum Flat car park. From there, we followed the road back to our parking area, and Truck.

Almost to the path that would take us up the cliffs again….

This had been a most enjoyable short walk. It was so good to get some exercise after the week of sitting in the vehicle. The weather was just right for this sort of walk – not too hot.

John was not in a particularly good mood, and not interested in any more exploring, so it was back to camp for the rest of the day. Computer games for John, reading and sewing for me.

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2007 Travels September 22


Onwards again……

With only a few brief stops for “comfort” and to alternate drivers, we reached Port Augusta in time for John to see the next football finals match.

We booked into the Port Augusta Caravan Park, onto an ensuite site. For what I had endured over the past six days, I deserved a little luxury, I thought! It cost $34.20 a night, after discount.

John’s TV reception was not as clear as he thought it would be, though. I was not sympathetic!

While John was fiddling about with his TV and watching football, I walked to shops a few blocks away, bought the weekend papers.

It had been quite hot, the past few days, and was still warm here.

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2007 Travels September 21


We were away early. Sleeping late was not an option in a place such as this!

Not far from our overnight stop, I did manage to convince John to slow down, for a little sightseeing! It was still the season when whales and their calves were to be seen off the coast, and this was an experience we had not encountered before.

Detoured south from the highway, to go to Head of the Bight. Here, we paid $12 for entry to the whale watching area. From the parking area, walked to the viewing platform area.

We were absolutely thrilled to see two whales with calves, really close in to the cliffs below us.

Whale and calf playing at Head of the Bight

These creatures were fascinating to watch, just lazily and slowly swimming around, with the calves playing around their mothers. It was so pleasing to know that, these days, they were mostly safe in a place such as this, and not subject to the hunting depradations and cruelty of earlier times in the Australian colonies. Just a pity that this is still not the case the whole world over. Superb creatures…..

Diving under mum…..

We stayed there, watching the whales, for over an hour. It was the most interesting thing I had seen for years!

Calf somersault

Then it was pressing on to Ceduna, passing through the quarantine check point not far before that town. We did not have anything to hand over – the food supplies were actually getting quite low. It was ages since I’d done a comprehensive food shop – Broome, Over the last couple of nights, I’d made meals that used up what vegetable matter I had on hand.

We obtained a powered site at the Foreshore Caravan Park, in the town. It cost $19.50, after discount. We were informed about the security gate arrangements and codes. When John asked about the TV reception, he was informed by the lady that it wasn’t the best. He was not happy about this and was actually rather terse with the person.

After setting up, we walked out onto the jetty and along its length. From out at the end, the town looked deceptively attractive. Then walked through the town, and bought some food for tonight and for a sandwich lunch tomorrow.

We were browsing in the Information Centre, when an indigine came in. I think he was demanding something – to use the phone, perhaps,  and was very unpleasant to the lady operating the place. He told her it was “a blackfellas town and we can do what we want!” It was quite an embarrassing display to witness, with her speaking politely to him and trying to be reasonable, and him abusing her. I don’t think he was sober. After he wandered out again, she indicated scenes like that were not unusual.

We took Truck out – we’d had to unhitch on this site – and bought a dozen oysters for tea, at a seafood sales outlet. One great thing about the coastal towns in this region is the excellent seafood.

From dusk, and well into the night, there was a gathering of locals on the foreshore area, near the caravan park. They were very noisy and argumentative, and it was not pleasant listening to the ruckus.

We had previously found the Shelly Beach Caravan Park, out of town, a much more peaceful place to stay, but John vetoed going out there this time, because he thought the TV reception was better in town. Thoughts of karma crossed my mind……..

John watched the football preliminary final, after tea. Between the poor TV and the external noise, it was not the quality experience he had been expecting. We might have been better to have stayed in Kalgoorlie until after the weekend, and then had a more pleasant time across the Nullarbor – but I did not think it wise to say so.