Barn Hill

Arrived here around midday yesterday after a 4 hour drive from the Cape. It was hot when we arrived so we chose a shady site with 10 amp power that allows us to run our air con, which we were grateful for last night. The unpowered sites though are overlooking the beach, and are positioned so as to take better advantage of the breezes, so perhaps it would have been worth it to have taken one of them, especially as they’re $13 cheaper a night. Never mind, this is where we are now and probably will be for the next week.

We’ve been here less than 24 hours and Maurice, whom we shared a few happy hours with at the Cape has also arrived and is camped next to us. We’ve also met up Jack and his dog, Jill whom we were camped next to at Lyndon River, and have been very pleased to once again meet up with Lucy and Wally.

We first met Lucy & Wally at Lucky Bay in Esperance, then again at Bremer Bay, again at Walpole, again in Margaret River and now again here. They are beginning to feel like old friends now, so it was a welcome sight to see Wally at our door this morning dripping wet after his morning dip in the ocean. Guess that’s one really good thing about our little Travelhome, it’s easily recognised, so Wally knew there was a good chance it was us when he’d heard a Travelhome had arrived yesterday. I’d been looking forward to Barn Hill and now with Lucy and Wally here, I’m doubly looking forward to the rest of our time here.

cape Keraudren

After spending the first three nights in free road side places we reached Cape Keraudren, about 160 kms past Port Hedland where we spent the next five nights.

Cape Keraudren is in a nature reserve so camping is basic and cheap. It cost us $10 to get into the reserve and another $9 each night to camp there. There is no power, and the only water is bore water which we could pick up from the ranger station each day. There are drop toilets, but no showers. What it lacks in facilities though is made up for in nature’s rewards. I woke up each morning in time to watch the sky turning deep red, orange and yellow over the ocean before the sun finally appeared as a fiery ball on the horizon. It was such a peaceful way to start the day.

The tides are huge, and while we were there high tide was around mid-day. By around 4pm the tide had receded a few hundred metres leaving behind hundreds of rock pools on the sea bed. Walking out on the damp sea bed is amazing, watching octopus, crabs and a multitude of other sea life left behind by the receding water. It’s mind boggling to think we were walking around on dry land were only a few hours before the water there was most likely about 6 metres deep.

One of the campers we met there travels full time like us. He said people often ask him what he does all day. His answer is that he does nothing all day, but it takes him all day to do it. That about sums up what we do as well.

A typical day at Cape Keraudren went like this.

5.30am – wake up and watch the sun rise.

6.30am – make a cup of tea and take it back to bed, maybe do a sudoku, or read for a while.

7.30am – get out of bed, breakfast, coffee, a bit of tidying of ourselves, washing, and the van, another suduko or two, by which time it’s around 10.30am and time to get the fishing gear organised.

11am – wander down the beach as the tide comes in to throw in a line, or if we’re not fishing, go for a walk or a swim. We fished on two of the days there, and Paul pulled in two good sized thread fin Salmon on the first day, and on the second day we each pulled in one only.

1pm – return to camp for lunch and to clean up our catch and ourselves by which time , if we’re lucky we’ll have time for either a bit of a read or a game or two of cards before it’s time for happy hour.

Happy hour is often anywhere between 1 and 3 hours and it’s where campers meet up and over an afternoon drink or two, share stories of where to go and what to see. It’s an important part of life on the road not only for information sharing, but also for the commeradie. After happy hour it’s time for dinner and shortly afterwards, bed. Doing nothing all day is certainly knackering so we’re usually tucked up by around 8.30pm, but will usually watch either a bit of TV or a DVD in bed, and if we’re lucky we’ll keep our eyes open long enough to keep track of whatever it is we’re watching.

So, as you can see in a typical day we don’t do much, but it manages to keep us occupied for the whole day.

Camped overlooking Cape Keraudren

In bed watching the sun come up

The first Three days travelling North

We spent the first three days staying in free roadside campsites. The first and the third at Nerren Nerren and Peawah River were comfortable but not memorable. The free camp spots are so useful for caravaners and are well used. Staying in them, means you can leave your van rigged up and there’s no backing. Not to mention of course that they are free. We have found that it’s best to try and get to one showing the green symbol in the camp seven book, which indicates there’s usually, drop toilets and a dump point for our van toilet to be emptied. They’re usually quite large and we’ve found if we get there before three, there’s a good chance of getting a place to park quite a distance in from the road and a chance of a good walk before dinner.

We were lucky on our second night when we stopped at Lyndon River. We managed to get a spot over looking the shallow but clean flowing river and as we were conserving our caravan water, the clean water in the river was inviting. We took our environmentally friendly shampoo/soap on a short walk down the river to find a spot out of view and washed our hair and bathed in the river. It felt wonderfully primitive and left us feeling clean and fresh. Afterwards we were treated to a wonderful sunset over the river as the sun went down.

Sunset over the river from our free campsite.

Sunset over the river from our free campsite.

Lyndon River

Lyndon River

Finally leaving Perth behind

Paul’s back from the UK and is almost over his jet lag. We’ve had our car serviced and now only have to do our final shop tomorrow, and pack everything up and we’ll be ready for departure on Wednesday.

Going down south for two months was ok as a trial run, but it was all previously covered territory. It feels better to be heading towards new territory.

I don’t know if or when we’re likely to be back in Perth. It really is a very isolated city and I imagine that once we’re over East the distance to here will seem daunting. But who knows what roads the future will take us on.

Our plans for the near future are to leave Perth early on Wednesday morning and put as much distance between us and Perth as we reasonably can on the first couple of days. We’re not going to travel at break neck speeds or drive silly distances, but we figure we should be able to get past Carnarvon by Friday. Then we’ll slow down a bit. We’re heading for Barn Hill just south of Broome for our first major stop.

After that, we’ll spend a month or so travelling slowly towards Darwin, hopefully arriving there before the end of July. By then we’ll be needing to find some work for a couple of months to keep us going.

Can’t wait to get going now.