Autumn at Robe – SA

We are having a restful Autumn break away in South Australia, good to get away from the routines at home.

After Warrnambool the weather gradually improved as we drove west. The weather has been mostly overcast but some blue skies and the cold wind has gone despite our unit over-looking Hooper Bay.

Trip to Tasmania.(January 2018).

It was 20 years ago exactly since  we first visited the north, north-west and southern regions of Tasmania,and as we had yet to explore the east coast and its many wonders, that led onto becoming our next holiday destination.

Initially, we had considered going over on the Spirit of Tasmania and take the car, however,  on doing the sums and realizing we would be losing a day each way, the decision to fly over and hire a car  was a good one.

Wanting to ensure not  to risk missing our flight on departure day, considerable extra time was allowed as major road works were underway between the ring road turn off and the Tullamarine freeway leading to the airport.

Well, you wouldn’t believe it, we had an uninterrupted and swift drive all the way from home to the long-term parking, found a car park almost at the entrance, the shuttle bus arrived within three minutes and the passage through check in went as smooth as one could wish for. Without a doubt, of all the traveling by air we have done, I was delighted how good fortune smiled on us all the way.

Once on board, buckled up and taken off, there was just enough time for a quick cuppa before we were ready to land in Launceston. Oh, how nice it was to arrive in such a small, easy to navigate airport where collecting our baggage, collecting the car and on our way to Bicheno that was about two and a half hours away through a beautiful meandering mountain range all on first class roads.

Our base was to be about a 10 minute drive before Bicheno at a place called “The Douglas River Cabin, so, before heading there we went straight for town to firstly have a look around and pick up some supplies.”

Below is a view of the beautiful beach on the approach side of town.

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Douglas River Cabin.

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From both inside and outside the cabin we had magnificent views of the Douglas River, the beach and endless countryside where sheep grazed.

Within walking distance, the property extended down to the ocean where the sand was soft and white and also it was possible to walk for hours through bush and grazing lands.

The tee-pee shape/s in the photo below were scattered along the foreshore and built by children from driftwood that had been washed ashore.

There were two days that were overcast and on one of those we headed north up to the Bay of Fires,mistakenly I had believed its name had arisen from the color of the Lichen on the rocks, but in actual fact it was named by an early explorer observing the many fires lit by the native population of a night cooking their meals.

Not far out of Bicheno one of its highlights was the Blowhole, an event that occurred when every wave came into shore rising up through a natural phenomena. A very popular spot for the tourists.

The Blowhole.

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The Mountains below are at Coles Bay and needed to be climbed to see the bay, and, if you were to continue on further up the walking track eventually you would reach the Wineglass Bay lookout.

 After a (grueling) hour plus trekking ,the magnificent view of Wineglass Bay could be enjoyed.

Whaler’s Hill located nearby Bicheno was a short and enjoyable climb up to the towns highest point where Whalers of old would look out to sea for the water spouts of whales. An industry that took whales almost to annihilation.

Whalers Lookout.

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Easy walk to the top.

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Another day we journeyed south down to the town of Swansea,a very old pioneer town with an array of historical buildings.

The Swansea School house (below)  now converted into a town museum and information centre.

Well worth a look for its historical information,old original class room and tribute to its soldiers that were lost in the great war.

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And, finally a lovely night out in town at the Seafood Restaurant over looking Bicheno Bay to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.

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Our souvenir tea cozy from Bicheno!

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Athens, The Parthenon, Corinth, Mycenea, Olympia, Ionian Coast, Delphi & Meteora.

Finished our travel and had an amazing time in Greece, followed the incredible journey of the ancient Greeks and their monuments….Tom & Heather.

Meteora a rock formation in central Greece. The 6 Eastern Orthodox monasteries are built on immense natural rock pillars that dominate this area.

Cheers…Tom and Heather

Reflections of Spain and Portugal

Tom and Heather’s travels continue :-

The Valley of the Fallen (Valle de los Caídos) near Madrid – a monument to those who died in the Spanish Civil War.
The monument precinct covers over 3,360 acres (13.6 km2) of Mediterranean woodlands and granite boulders on the Sierra de Guadarrama hills, more than 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level and includes a basilica, a Benedictine abbey, a guest house, the Valley, and the Juanelos — four cylindrical monoliths dating from the 16th century. The most prominent feature of the monument is the towering 150-metre-high (500 ft) cross erected over a granite outcrop 150 meters over the basilica esplanade and visible from over 20 miles (32 km) away.

A Snapshot of Morocco & Spain

In front of the Alhambra, ancient palace and fortress – Grenada

Having a great time traveling through Spain and Morocco. The temperature has been in the mid to high thirties and 44 in Marrakesh. Morocco was certainly different to what I expected, a very fertile country. Moving on to Tangier tomorrow then back to Spain and Portugal. Hi to all.

Jacko’s August Travels North

Our trip north was a dash to Narrandera for night 1…turned out to be
0c in the morning though. Then a long drive to Bourke and it was 1c the
following morning. Then we went on a bush road to Hungerford just over
the Qld border for some much better weather of mid 20s daytime, and cool
single figures overnight, so we stayed 2 nights at th CP….$11 per
night for power and full bathroom facilities….fantastic, but the pub
meal in the town of 9 permanents was superb. Currawinya NP was nearby,
so we explored the past of this vast sheep station, now NP

Shearing stands at the old wool shed -Currawinya Station

More bush road to Thargomindah for a snoop, then on to Quilpie on
another dirt track to camp on the banks of the Bulloo River. Nothing
better than a freedom camp with big camp fires for 2 nights. We had been
to Quilpie before, but didn’t see the Amy Johnson tribute, so nailed it
this time. An amazing adventure for a young British aviator in the
1930’s trying to beat a Bert Hinkler record crossing to Australia.

We have spent another 300km on a dirt bush road today from Quilpie to
Blackall where we will stay 2 nights…to do some washing and re-stock.
This “Channel Country” in Qld is amazing and challenging, for its
remoteness, flatness….hence the channels when it rains, and for its
harsh dry climate.

Here is photo of Blackall’s version of the Black Stump….this one
a survey peg from the 1860’s, but since blackened. All black stumps have
the common thread of marking the edge of nowhere!

Blackall’s black stump

Also some pics of the partially resurrected plant, funded by a
$100,000grant from PM Hawke, and massive vollunteer input from the local
community. The buildings have been recovered from desolation, and much
of the working plant stripped and overhauled to safe working order. The
plant was the only scouring plant for hundreds of kms, and sheep would
be herded for shearing and scouring from surrounding farms. Water at 58c
from the Great Artesian Basin (capacity…170,000 Sydney Harbours!!) was
heated and maintained at 60c for scouring, and the entire plant,
including workshop, and amenities, was run by steam from 2 boilers, and
the giant flywheel….returned to working order today. It is all started
up (now small diesel steam engine) to show the plant in running order
for every guided tour….every hour! They even have a dozen or so
merinos on hand to show what they would have looked like.

With the advent of synthetic fabric and subsequent demise of the wool
industry, hastened by the uncontrollable menace of wild dogs, there are
NO SHEEP in western Qld any more, now turned over to cattle. The
Blackall Woolscour Plant closed in 1978, and the town virtually
deserted. It is now making a steady comeback.

Nice town, with obvious civic pride and certainly RV Friendly

Broome W.A.

July 2017 and finally a destination we have longed to visit for quite a while!

On arrival in Broome, from cold and wet Melbourne the days gave way to beautiful, warm, sunny days averaging 30* every day,  giving the old pins to once again adorn shorts and soak up the sun.

Our accommodation was the “Bali Hai Resort” that gave the feeling of being on a holiday in Asia, with the rooms, decor, buildings, garden layout and atmosphere all allowing relaxation to kick in within minutes of arrival.

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This particular holiday we decided not to rent a car, and instead, do lots of walking each day to discover the town and its surroundings utilizing the magnificent and very reasonably priced town bus service.

 It was our desire to experience as much as possible during our stay, the only downside of the trip was mainly due to ocean tidal changes, and, one only bus service connection to “Gantheaume Point” first thing in the morning, the opportunity to see and stand in the 130 million-year-old Dinosaur footprints was to hopefully  see them at any future visit we may embark upon.

Some of the outings we experienced included attending the huge local “Court House” markets set amongst tropical frangipani trees in full flower, displays of local produce, local entertainment performers, various stalls on yummy smelling food outlets and trash and treasure of all varieties,from there a stroll into town to visit the “Pearl Luggers” outlet reflected many of the origins of Broome’s primary pearling industry.

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On three separate occasions we visited Chinatown in the heart of Broome and enjoyed the towns unique multicultural character, the vast amount of outlets where pearls/jewellery could be inspected and purchased, and indeed the wonderful variety of eating establishments, all having both indoor and outdoor dining on the footpath where  the sunshine and fresh air could be enjoyed.

A point of historical interest was that 75 years ago the Broome airport was the target of a Japanese air raid resulting in a high cost of 70 lives being lost and the destruction of a fleet of flying boats that were enclosed in nearby “Roebuck Bay”.

Our resort was about a five-minute walk to the magnificent 20 kilometers plus length of Cable Beach to view the evening sunset.  The villa was fully self-contained amongst beautifully manicured gardens, we additionally had a secluded outdoor dining area and also a secluded outdoor shower for use on hot days.

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Cable Beach.

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Another highlight was the “Astronomy lecture and star viewing night’; we were collected from our accommodation in a huge 4WD vehicle, and driven about an hour out into the hinterland where a large area of scrub had been cleared for seating about 100 people on fold up chairs and 10 big telescopes pointed out into deep space. The lecture on the universe went for a very informative hour followed by the viewing of the night sky.

The absolute experience that we both thoroughly enjoyed was a 10.5 hour day adventure, that is truly a natural wonder of our world.The Horizontal Falls are only accessible by either boat, helicopter or sea plane.

We were collected at 5:30 am in a 4WD that took us to the Beagle Bay Mission where a welcome stop for a cuppa and biscuits was enjoyed. At this mission is the Beagle Bay church that had the altar and backdrop made from a collection of Mother of Pearl shells that gave a unique and interesting look.

Beagle Bay Mission Church.

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On the road again our next stop was “Cygnet Bay” pearl farm where breakfast was waiting for us prior to going on a tour through the establishment, a history of pearling and a demonstration of pearl seeding was given.

All fed and watered, we next boarded the 4WD again and headed to a small private tarmac,where we climbed aboard a combined land/seaplane for a half hour flight over the Buccaneer Archipelago consisting of in excess of 2000 small islands situated in the most beautiful blue/aqua colored waters to our destination of “Talbot Bay”.

 

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We smoothly landed on the water and taxied to the “Horizontal Falls Pontoon” to have a wonderful Barramundi lunch and refreshments and also if one was game enough have a swim with the sharks.

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Finally the most exciting part of the day trip was when we boarded a 900hp very fast Jet Stream boat (The fastest in all the Kimberley) that took us through the most thrilling ride into the horizontal falls (6x) and then to let the adrenaline subside a cruise around the surrounding creeks and bays prior to returning to the pontoon and boarding the Seaplane. This was a direct flight back to Broome airport and on arrival to be delivered back to our accommodation.  Wow, what a great holiday and new experiences to tick off the bucket list.