It had been almost 2 years since we returned home from our big lap around Australia when a window of opportunity presented itself to travel, we bought a van with bunks for our now 2 children, packed up and left for the only state we didn’t visit… Tasmania (Tassie!). After falling pregnant with our second child (another beautiful girl, Leah) on our last trip we opted to skip Tassie for a later date.. and now we are here! It felt like it was so much harder to physically pack up and leave the house this time, with 2 children unpacking behind me as I packed and prepared the house for house-sitters. We have not only been blessed with another child but we moved to a 12 acre property with a big garden, chickens and a rooster to look after. So with perfect timing a high-school friends parents returning from Tassie will stay there and love our pets and house for us.
Smoky Bay, SA
On our way home last time we stayed in Streaky Bay, so we thought we would try Smoky Bay. We locked in 3 nights. Got some washing done, relaxed a bit with walks on the beach, bike rides on the jetty, sifting through shells under the little beach shades and some crabbing. We would definitely visit again.
Aka Broome-town, is a tourist town, known for its white sandy 22.5 km (14mile) cable beach. This destination was three-fold for us, I had a 4 week clinical placement at Broome Hospital as part of completing my nursing degree, we have family friends living in town and what better place to be between May and June in WA. We stayed in Broome for just over 8 weeks, it is a place hard to leave and many don’t. If it wasn’t for the rest of our travels that lay ahead we might have stayed too. The pace is slower, most services and facilities are all under a 5 min drive and then there is the magic of the Kimberley Region to discover on your doorstep. Dan loved going out fishing with his mate Bryon, being stay at home dad while I was on placement and bringing 8 month old Esther for Breastfeeds and cuddle on breaks! We all went to the outdoor cinema “Sun Pictures” in town. Even had a plane fly over while we were sitting there and baby girl Esther falling asleep… finally… in my arms was so sweet. Dreaming of buying some gold pearl stud earrings one day whilst touring all the pearl jewellery stores, Broome still harvests Pearls today. Last time we were there we went out to Willie Creek, and the Mango farm, this time we headed up to Cape Leveque, which will be a whole new blog post.
Discovering Cable Beach…
Cable Beach @ Sunset…
Coconut Wells Lagoon
I heard about coconut wells from a nurse I was working with, but it was hard to find directions on google. So I tagged along with some family friends, our first visit was at high tide, unable to see the rock pools only the pinnacles exposed just above the water, our second visit we went at low tide and we were able to see all the rock pools.
Staircase to the moon…
A natural phenomenon that occurs between March and October in Western Australia’s North West. The recipe, a full moon and a low tide. In Broome it can be seen over Roebuck Bay. There are photo’s and paintings all over Broome and at the Courthouse markets (a must-do… crepes and lemonade stand are the best) to see it oneself was amazing. Think beautiful balmy evening, hundreds of people, finding a parking space, standing on a bin to see the sunset and get a shaky photo and that is your image below! Then slowly watching the “staircase” disappear as the moon continues to rise. I personally think it looks more like a sunset than a moon-rise!
Fishing on the Fitzroy River…
Crocodile country, crocodile country, crocodile country! Just look at that water… what is lurking beneath? Other than crocodiles, turns out a saw fish. We headed out for a day trip to the Fitzroy River, just off the Great Northern Highway. I stayed right away from the shore, unless someone else was standing in front of me. We heard the rule was 3m from the shore should keep you safe from crocs lunging out of the water. It was made easier with Esther not even crawling at her young age. So we didn’t have to worry about her near the water. No Barramundi on the line for us though that night.
For those travelling with kids, we found a plug in the shower worked great, we later found a collapsible baby bath at a Broome op shop which we put in the bottom of the shower also worked great too, using less water.
Western Australia’s second largest National Park, filled with beautiful gorges carved out of red rock. We headed to the Eastern side of the park, near Dales gorge and Fortescue falls. A fire had passed through the summer before we arrived (December 2016) and it was burnt out. Photos below show little foliage which meant little respite from the hot sun in the day. Dan recalls us using the generator so I could cook a chickpea curry in the thermomix, one of only two times we actually used the generator, we could’ve made other dinner arrangements.
We had a short stop in Port Hedland, refuelling the fridge and the car. We struggled to find any green grass at the caravan park, but we did find a really nice cafe/restaurant for dinner, where the service provided was so above standard we went out of our way to leave a facebook review! We spent the day perusing the town, walking along the foreshore, visiting the art gallery and South Headland library.
The drive into Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park is a long gravel road, which we took nice and slowly, limiting the trail of dust we left behind. As we reached the caravan park there was a caravan high on the hill advertising for sale, we came over the hill and along with views of the beach was a beautiful green grassed caravan park. After parking the caravan we made friends with other residents, so fresh and excited to be on this adventure and with Esther on board, it was easy to connect… her cuteness even scored us a freshly caught and filleted threadfin salmon, as she won over the caretakers of the caravan park who we chatted to on the beach. Esthers’ first experience eating fish… fresh as fresh could be. She loved it and still does. Spoilt!
It has now been almost 12 months since we left. I would love to finish the blog before we get back, but I have also picked up 2 units at uni and uni should probably be prioritised over the other…
We left Perth on 21st April, 2017. It was a busy time after welcoming our Esther only 7 months prior, packing and renting the house out, preparing the caravan, tying up loose ends at work, as well as catching up with friends and family one last time before we left, including this farewell, what an awesome cake (thanks Tamara). Although we still have a few more things to see on the map next time, (Yes, we plan to return to the road to see Tasmania and South Australia sometime after the next baby arrives).
We have definitely seen crocs, drove past the big pineapple at least 30 times while Dan was working on the sunshine coast (although never got a photo). We saw the big banana in Coffs Harbour, but while towing a caravan didn’t stop for a photo. We saw Dolphins in Byron Bay and Dan just recently saw a penguin washed up on the beach in Apollo Bay, (does that count?). We plan to visit Ayers rock next time and hopefully we’ll catch the whales migrating in the Bight.
Our set up:
New Age Oz Classic, with a very luxurious ensuite and our Ford Ranger.
Our very first night on the road, Seven Mile Beach:
It felt pretty amazing to leave town. It may have taken a few extra hours than planned to pull out of the driveway but we did it. This was a dream of Dan’s for almost 20 years and after much debate we decided on a caravan over a camper or pop top. We looked at caravans on Gumtree for at least 3 years, before we bought one and then needed a car capable of towing it. Dan liked the Ford Ranger and we couldn’t afford a landcruiser 200 series. I found one (an XLT) on Gumtree that had low kilometers and all the accessories Dan wanted already fitted (UHF, Suspension upgrade, long range tank, bullbar, spotlights and trailer brakes).
I researched every port-a-cot available trying to find one that would fit into the gap between the couches, only to convert a couch into her bed a few days before we left. We still took the port-a-cot and it has been well used for camping, playing and visiting any friends or family along the way.
So when we pulled into this free campsite just south of Geraldton, using WikiCamps for the first time it was quite the feeling. It was even Romantic! Living the dream! There were only 3 other vans at the site with front row parking still available. We weren’t sure what the etiquette was but took the risk and parked up. Perfect views.
It was so nice. We had many lessons ahead of us, including one we learned the next morning. We left the fridge running in the boot of the car and it drained the car battery, So we needed a jump start. From then on (until we got solar on the car and a dual battery system) we kept the fridge in the caravan when we were parked up.
Esther trying Black Sapote for the first time after we visited a store front with fresh local fruit for sale.
We were impressed with Tom Price, so much greener than we thought, the town was clean and there seemed to be lots of young families. We met a few couples at the caravan park who were headed in the same direction (clockwise) and we have seen 3 of them since, some in Cape York, another in the Northern Territory and just recently another couple in Canberra, it has been great to catch up and share stories as well as get further recommendations on places to visit.