Having traversed the Madura Pass and admired the scenery as we travel from the plateau down to the coastal plain, our travels take us towards Mundrabilla and on to Eucla. In this area, some unique trees can be seen and we would have taken more photos, but where they are growing, it is too dangerous for us to park a big rig by the road.
These singularly unique trees are all from the same family and are normally leafless. The family includes the “Thong Tree” (Flip-flops), “Cup Tree”, “Undies Tree” and “Bra Tree”. A small “Shirt Tree” seems to have sprouted as well.
Continuing our trek along the 90.mile straight, we today again drove through a section of road designated for the Royal Flying Doctor Service as an emergency runway, clearly marked and with gravel sidings to get out of the way.
Lee was driving when about 60.kms before the Caiguna roadhouse, the Kamakazi Locusts started, in their thousands, all the way to Caiguna where Mike was distressed to see the front of the motorhome. What a mess – and the splattered insects cooked in the heat on to the window and paintwork, were smelly too.
Mike cleaned it up and we pressed on towards Madura, but two minutes down the road, the window was covered again and it got worse and worse, for at least another 30.kms. See video below for some of the action.
As we passed by a cyclist on a push bike, we wondered how he would fare, cycling towards nearly 100.kms of locusts. He was covered in black clothing and no illuminated colour on him. A silly thing to do at the best of times, but especially on this highway.
Time to refuel and Balladonia roadhouse is a popular place to refuel and take some time out. Playground for the kids. Museum related mainly to the story of Skylab – a USA space station launched in 1973, abandoned in 1974 and then it broke up in space and debris scattered across the area of the Nullabor and eastern goldfields in 1979. Next to the roadhouse, motel units and a caravan park. Ample space to park and rest.
Special ‘hello’ to Andrina, who passed us at the roadhouse, looked up our web site and emailed us a nice message. Happy travels Andrina and family!
From Bakers Hill and on through the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, the roads are often not as smooth as one would wish. Today our Fit Bit watches read that we had done over 20,000 steps on the drive towards Norseman, passing familiar landmarks, and following the Kalgoorlie Pipeline. (C Y O’Connor & Pipeline: Blog 02.11.2018 – Shall we pick up a hitchhiker?)
One of our rest stops: Southern Cross, at the site of an old cemetery. What remained of headstones from the surrounding area have been preserved, laid into concrete, and panels listing the deceased from 1888-1899 show Typhoid a major problem in the last 1800’s in the area. One panel lists lives lost away from town, mainly thought to be because of thirst. Tougher times back then.
We set off early on our next long road trip: Perth – Coffin Bay (SA) & surrounds – Burra (SA), Canberra, (ACT), to Tamworth (NSW) for the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival, from 17.January until 27.January 2019.
First stop: Bakers Hill Bakery, a little over an hour from home on Great Eastern Highway, where we met up with our partners in crime, Fiona & Barry, with whom we are travelling to Tamworth. The Bakers Hill Bakery sell THE BEST PIES and have lots of other delicious pastries, cakes and bread rolls. Early morning pies eaten at tables outside the bakery, and then we hit the road in convoy for the first day of our road trip.
Parking our Suzi down the Leschenault Inlet from the Parade Hotel, we went on a pleasant walk at the end of the Inlet over the George Baxter Boardwalk (named in recognition of his contribution to the development of tourism in Bunbury) and on to the 200.metre Mangrove Boardwalk. From there – and watch for the speeding cyclists as you leave the boardwalk – it is a short walk past an open picnic and BBQ area, following the path with metal walls to another meeting/play area and large car park, across the road from the Dolphin Discovery Centre currently under renovation.
Back in Bunbury, and we had a busy week. While Lee was working, Mike was attending to getting new tyres fitted to the motorhome (as the old tyres were the original ones and too old) and spending what time he can with his dad.
However he still found time to do a bit more beach combing with his metal detector and as a result, it is Mike’s firm opinion that the beer of choice in Bunbury is… (drumroll): Corona.
We enjoyed a “$10 special” breakfast at Henry’s Café before driving back to Perth on 15th – restaurantwebx.com/HenrysCafe/
Every night we were out to dinner on catch-ups. Enjoyed and can recommend the following:
The Bayview Bar – Upstairs restaurant overlooking Koombana Bay – www.bayviewbar.com.au
Nicola’s Ristorante – Fine Italian dining – www.nicolasristorante.com.au
Prince of Wales Hotel – Perfect evening to dine outdoors – www.princehotel.com.au/bistro
Parade Hotel – Revamped and overlooking Leschenault Inlet (pictured above) – https://www.paradehotel.com.au/
This is our third time to visit Wave Rock and still we are amazed by it. Wave Rock is part of Hyden Rock – an outcrop of granite – and we took the upgraded walk trail to the top and walked the trail on top, looking across the nearby golf course, farming country and salt lakes. Near its base is a caravan park adjacent to a large parking area, able to accommodate our rig.
This area is a top tourist spot and unsurprisingly, tourist buses came and went during our time on the rock, as did the stupid tourists who risked life and limb climbing over barriers to take their selfies.
One expects that on top of the rock would be ‘just rock’ but it is far from that. We could imagine the Aborigines who came to drink from the pools of water lying in the lower areas of the rock and hunt the lizards chased into rock crevices. The surface was undulating and small trees and bushes grew here and there. Large boulders balance on open areas of rock and the views are fantastic. As we came to the end of our walk over the top of the rock outcrop, down in a bit of a gully was an area covered with a large number of rock piles tourists have put together which turned a majestic place of natural beauty into something of a ‘kiddies corner’. Pity.
Also in the area, other rock formations to visit and marked walks, but not today, we are way too hot after our trek.
On our return to the caravan park, we stopped to order a pizza and walked down by the water while waiting for it to be prepared. Families were out walking with their children for photos at the Christmas Tree overlooking the port.
We found a great idea for a seat: Solar panels and fittings that re-charge your phone and provide light, while you watch the world go by.
And our pizza from Ricardos Pizza, 51.The Esplanade, Esperance, was delicious!
Previously, we were taken to dinner at Fish Face Takeaway and Restaurant, 1.James Street, Esperance for a fantastic fresh seafood meal, and if dining in, make sure you book in advance – it is very popular! (08).9071.1601