Derby to Halls Creek

It was hard to leave Broome, we had become quite cosy there and accustomed to the beautiful weather and surrounds, the chilled out pace and the time we were having together as a family. After finally leaving Broome… we headed to Derby to explore some of the sites on the Gibb River Road. Even though our caravan was “semi-off road” we weren’t keen to take it off road, so we parked up in Derby and took a day trip to Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek. (June 2017)

Tunnel Creek (Dimalurru), King Leopold Ranges

There are freshwater crocodiles here and some shallow water to walk through at times in order to get to the other side.

Windjana Gorge

Spot the croc!

Derby

We found Derby to be a clean little town with ageing infrastructure, once the hub of the Kimberley until Broome established the Regional Hospital. At night the salt flats (opposite the caravan park) attracted the local hoons. In all our travels around Australia this was the first time we were kicked out of a caravan park at 10:00am, without any wriggle room. The owner came around on his bicycle at 09:00 reminding us of this!

The Boab Prison Tree – 1500 years old.
120m long cattle trough, one of the longest in the Southern Hemisphere.

Geike Gorge – out of Fitzroy Crossing

Do you like hiking in soft sand? This is what I remember about this walk, the pain of walking across soft sand, my least favourite thing to do. There is also a track but it begins after the soft sand ha ha. Lots of wildflowers and birds on the walk too.

Larrawa Station Nature Stay & Laarri Gallery

Larrawa Nature stay and Bush Camp is between Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek, it was the perfect overnight stay, from memory about $10 pp/pn. They have flushing toilets and hot showers, bush style. Dan will always take the opportunity to make use of available facilities and convinced me to have a shower there. It was so good, it felt like I was having a hot bush shower, with the corrugated iron shelter starting a foot off the ground and partially uncovered to the sky it was really refreshing in more ways than one. Super clean and peaceful. There is a small walk to a lake, which I took with Esther at dusk. We made custard and facetimed family on the phone.

The next morning we saw a sign to an art gallery so decided to pull off, caravan in tow to check it out. It was a 5km unsealed road into what turned out to be a community and school with an art gallery at the back. It was awesome… although we found some leftover custard dripping out of the fridge and across the floor of the caravan, turns out glad wrap isn’t sufficient to keep custard in when falling horizontal in the fridge while driving on an unsealed road.

We bought a beautiful piece of Art from the gallery which we now have framed in our home.

Halls Creek & Wolf Creek Crater

We arrived into Halls Creek late afternoon so we found this free camp called Caroline Pool just out of town to stay at before heading into town the next morning, parking up and making the long drive out to Wolf Creek Crater.

I was a little frustrated Dan wouldn’t take our semi-offroad caravan down this small hill to the below camping area, where other people (albeit with off road camper trailers) were already set up. But not too long after we set up a couple arrived and took their caravan down and got bogged. Sometimes I’m glad Dan puts his foot down and doesn’t listen to me.

Wolfe Creek Crater

What a drive! 150km from Halls Creek on the unsealed corrugated Tanami Road. Looking back I don’t know how we managed so much driving with a youngen. We remember passing backpackers on the road in a Preggio Van, we wondered if they would make it but sure enough as we were leaving they arrived.

This was a bucket list item, which is now ticked so not sure we would go again. The landscape is amazing and as you can see below the meteorite definitely left it’s mark. There were beautiful wildflowers, large eagles eating dead sheep on the side of the road, broken down cars and even a dead caravan!

The drive back to Halls Creek….. Oh dear!

Dampier Peninsular

Beagle Bay Creek, High and Low tide.

Gnylmarung Campsite

After a full on 4WD on the Cape Leveque track, snapping our aeriel off at the base over the corrigations we turned off to the Gnylmarung campsite. This was the beginning of the rest of our trip around Oz. I had just finished my hospital prac and a bit of remote camping was just what I needed to relax. There’s really only so much you can do while camping and I find it helps me to switch off. Going back to basics with minimal meal prep and facilities, nil technology or mobile reception, no power so ablution blocks were lit by a truck battery on a solar panel, fresh caught fish, new snorkel mask bitten by coral trout freshly caught and landing in the boat, the boys almost walking on water when 3 sharks became aggressive after the coral trout was speared, campfires and tents… but nothing prepared us for our first night in our “2-man” hiking tent in the heat. It barely fit our double mattress, Esther had to sleep with us, we had to try not to touch each other to stay cool and be mindful of not squashing the child. I think we were awake most of the night. We were ever so grateful that our friends offered us their tent for the rest of our trip up the cape while they returned back to Broome. They had brought their trailer up and even had a camp kitchen set up!

  • Check out the size of the tent compared to Dan.. and our awesome tray set up 🙂

Kooljaman Campground @Cape Leveque – Northernmost tip of the Dampier Peninsular.

I love the beach, this was a little windy though and a whole different ball game when trying to keep a youngen out of the sun, wind, sand and above water ha ha.

Meeting Ken Duncan OAM – Australian Landscape Photographer.

Being at the cape meant we could take sunset and sunrise photo’s, sunrise was early and I had put off sneaking out of the tent before the little one woke up to take some sunrise photo’s until the last morning. I took my camera and camera bag and stumbled out. It was beautiful and I have tried to capture that below. There were a few other people on the beach doing the same, although they had definitely risen earlier than I!!!

I am very much an amatuer photographer but would love to develop the skill, from memory I had a couple of questions on my mind regarding night photography and manual mode when I noticed someone also taking photo’s with the same cameras as me. I stopped and asked them my question, they then pointed me to a man coming up from the beach and suggested that he would be the best person to ask. This man was friendly and took my camera to have a look and answer my question… when he couldn’t turn it on, the battery had died. So I reached for my spare battery in my camera bag, only to realise my spare battery was in the nappy bag as that bag went everywhere. So no more assistance there with the camera and my question. I expressed how I would love to do a TAFE photography course and learn more, he proposed I only needed to do one course that would teach me everything I needed to know, to go to http://www.kenduncan.com and I would find the course there.

I asked him if he was Ken Duncan, he said yes. I thanked him for his time and he left.

There I was on a remote beach, alongside Ken Duncan, Australia’s most awarded Landscape Photographer, with an opportunity for a mini one on one lesson with camera in hand and the battery was dead. *face palm moment for sure.

Sacred Heart at Beagle Bay aka ‘Mother of Pearl Church’ – est. 1918

Banana Well Getaway – Dampier Peninsular

A perfect halfway stop driving back to Broome from the Cape. We loved the friendly feel of the place, the animals roaming and the sound of the donkey’s somewhere in the distance. Farmer Dan was right at home. I’ve seen peacocks before, but I don’t remember noticing how beautiful the female Peahen’s chest was. The green was so vibrant I had to take a photo! We again stayed in a tent here, went for a drive out to the Beagle Bay Creek, which is huge and has a significant change between the height of the tides as seen in the pictures below. The fear of crocodiles was real and I was on the lookout for any movement in the water, as well as keeping my distance from the edge. The creek is a popular fishing spot, but with stern warnings about cleaning fish near the water and ensuring you remove any waste!

High Tide/Low Tide – Banana Well

The Road in.
What made that ripple…..???

Smoky Bay To Hahndorf, SA.

Another 780km would take us to Hahndorf. After stocking up on fresh Oysters in Smoky Bay we hit the road.

Port Augusta: We only stopped for a short break in Port Augusta, trying to get to Port Pirie, that’s right, we drove 540km in one day (Smoky Bay to Port Pirie)… it is often stressful by the time we pull up to a location. The kids are completely done from being strapped in the car seats, we’ve eaten all the snacks, listened to the playschool and wiggles cd’s over and over, encouraged them to use the magic water colouring books we bought and even read a book or two from the front seat which is a balance of being able to read the words and show the kids the pictures #soreneck. The kids were troopers!

Berry/Fogg Family Get Together: Being welcomed by extended family again was such a treat, even more so when your cousin is a chef and his wife runs a restaurant! We shucked the oysters, added a squeeze of lemon and they were enjoyed by most and many for the first time. Casey, the youngest of the clan was a favourite with all.

Hahndorf, SA: A small town in the Adelaide Hills with Australia’s oldest German Settlement. The main street is bursting with restaurants, cafes, little shops, icecream, cheese, chocolate and candy shops, bakeries and pubs, with elm trees lining the boulevard. The weekend was so busy it was hard to drive in and out, but we were privileged to stay walking distance from the main street at a dear friends house. With kids similar ages they had a blast together.

Eating dinner can be dangerous… always wear your helmet.
Thankfully I married the ultimate handyman and he can fix almost anything, anytime, anywhere. This time the 240V heating element for the fridge, it hadn’t been working since we bought it, so we picked up a new one in Port Pirie. There are often things to improve or sort out whilst on the road and given the short time period we gave ourselves to leave this time round we were still preparing as we journeyed.

Beerenberg Farm, Hahndorf, SA – Strawberry picking/eating with the kids! After buying some jam from the farm shop, we discovered it was available from the supermarket, along with piccalilli, beetroot and tomato relish.. so good!

Beebes Big Lap Take 2 With 2

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.

A late start, a catch up, a handover, lunch at the park.. then finally a quick shower and OFF WE GO!!!
First stop, an overnight roadside at Burracoppin Centenary Park Rest Area …
Our Family of 4 and our van.
A picture can tell a thousand words.. or yawns.
Melts my heart..
Sometimes you need a pillow to sleep…
The Great Australian Bite…
So close to the cliff edge.
Amazing colours.
Sun setting over the bite.
mwah
After a long drive, some play in the caravan at the Roadhouse.
smile!
Nullarbor!
Quick stop near Ceduna Quarantine, cooking all our fresh fruit and veg.
Always a playground stop where possible after long drives.

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.

Sunset Smoky Bay
Breakfast time in the van and our ongoing Bunnings to do box.
Leah Smiling…
Blue Steel..
Esther trying to smile like Leah, although she had it down pat when she was Leah’s age.
Dan trying t0 smile like Leah
New eyes of a child.. everything to discover.
Riding her bike on the Jetty.
Dad’s apprentice in everything he does.
Dinner in the bike basket!

Sydney, NSW.

12 Months ago!

Driving into Sydney suburbs towing an 18ft Caravan was hairy.. but Dan did it, sweat marks on his shirt to prove it. As we squeezed our way through 3 lanes that appear to have been made from 2 lanes. Semi-trailers either side, breathing in, hoping it would make a difference, we made it unscathed into inner Sydney, warmly greeted by Dan’s Aunty and Uncle. We stayed a whole ten days (although it still wasn’t enough to win a round of Contract Rummy!), we enjoyed reconnecting and getting to know family, washed the caravan, bought some clean (no red dirt stained) clothes from the DFO’s, took Esther on her first train ride, visited the Bus Museum (Dan), with Bob & Carol’s hospitality so good it was hard to leave!

Well done to Dan for driving the caravan through the streets of Sydney, then parking it up.
When you require all of the above in your cot before you will go to sleep.
Playing in the curtains like she did at Grandma’s.
About 17 Weeks Pregnant with Leah.
My one and only photo of the Harbour Bridge ☺️.

Dinner out on the Parramatta River.

Esther’s first train ride.

Totally independent at the age of 16 months.
Oh my this chocolate is so good… my savings account is extremely lucky they don’t have a Haigh’s in Perth.
So many of my friends have moved to Sydney, it was great to catch up with a few while we passed through. I’ve known Anna since I was about 8. (So about ten years ;p)
Primary School friends! We visited Darling Harbour, then an awesome ice-creamery, which you can just see people outside lining up in the background.
While I lined up the camera for a timed farewell photo, Esther got serious with her posing!
Squeeze in! Don’t forget I did beat you at Contract Rummy last time we saw each other!

Karijini National Park & Eighty Mile Beach, WA.

Karijini National Park: April 2017

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.

Karijini National Park
Free foot exfoliation from the little fish for Esther.
Esther and I waited in the shade while Dan did the Spider Walk on the way to Kermits Pool. It was warm, so I stripped Esther off and we waded in the water. It was so refreshing. Although there were a few awkward moments when the passers by realised she was naked.. meh, she’s a baby!
Dan the Man
Dan prior to the Spider Walk.
Fig trees bursting out of gorge rock.

Port Hedland:

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.

Port Hedland
This is a random selfie we took one night in Port Headland. I’ve put it in as I love seeing the inside of others vans and how they lived. Dan is sitting on Esther’s Bed. I’m sitting on the edge of the cafe lounge as we have the cushions resting on the couch. The Chaos. We started off setting up and packing away her bed, it didn’t last long, it stayed set up most of the time and given it was enclosed like a cot, it became a great place to store anything that might roll around on the move.

Eighty Mile:

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!

5 mins after we got out we watched a shovel-nose shark swim by.
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