Australia · 48 Days · 37 Moments · August 2017

Jean and Patrick's adventure in Australia

29 September 2017

And it's a final good bye to our Maui motor home, our home on wheels for nearly seven weeks!!! Good bye Australia we've loved our big adventure.

28 September 2017

Well we are at the end of our big Australian adventure with the Top End Trekkers! Our final destination is Perth and we stay in the Swan Valley Wine area with lovely old houses, take shelter from the rain with a long lazy lunch at a vineyard and then it's the awards ceremony in the Maui for our final evening!! Patrick wins the Cafetière award for spending all holiday trying to teach the Aussies that a cafetière is not a plunger ( hence the plunger around his neck!) We say a very sad goodbye to De and John, who have planned this wonderful trip and escorted us all the way showing us the magnificent sights of the Australian outback and coast and now have to drive back across the desert to Adelaide on their own- no more watching out for the Maui in your rear view mirrors! Thank you both for giving us such memorable experiences and such good companionship and to John "Gordon " Badgery for all the excellent meals!!!

26 September 2017

Today we visited the Nambung National Park to see the eroded sandstone Pinnacles in the desert. We were amazed how extensive the area is and were able to to wander around through this natural sculpture gallery. Then it was off to the Lobster Shack for a rock lobster lunch and another busy day by the beach, as you can see!

25 September 2017

After another wet start and drive with big storm clouds looming, we follow the wild flower route to Jurien Bay. On the way we see Banksia, Kangaroo foot, Wattle and many more lovely wild bush flowers. We arrive at Jurien Bay to sunshine and a brisk breeze so no swimming today!!

24 September 2017

Well what a change in the weather! Here we were a couple of days ago with blue skies and warm sun and now it's 14c raining and windy!!! Today we visited the Port of Geraldton which is a nice old town with interesting buildings and a lovely memorial to the 645 lives lost on the HMAS Sydney just off the coast during World War II. Then we head of on the wild flower trail through massive wheat fields and native bush in flower to the little rural town of Mingenew deep in farming and cow boy country. We hope for better weather tomorrow as we head back to the coast!!!

23 September 2017

Today we do a longish drive with grey skies and cooling temperatures to Oakabella Homestead for an overnight stay. This is an historic homestead with resident ghost and we are camped in the paddock with a great view of the hills! It's beginning to look like the Yorkshire Dales in this rural farming area of Northampton!!! Today's wildlife are a kangaroo and a shingle back lizard.

22 September 2017

Ps we had a great evening at a pub eating excellent seafood and watching the Adelaide Crows ( Aussie Rules football team) have a great win at the Adelaide Oval to get through to the grand final!!
Today we booked for a sail on Shark Bay and what a brisk sail it turned out to be!! We had rain early morning and then it was very breezy as we headed out to sea and the winds got even stronger as the trip wore on- we had a lovely sail and returned to shore wind beaten. We managed to see the elusive and solitary Dugong , turtles and lots of dolphins so another great day wildlife spotting and John and Patrick even helped with the sails! The weather is worsening after six weeks of sunshine and temperatures in the 30s and a big storm is expected to blow through Perth and move up to where we are heading on our journey southwards- it's getting us ready for the weather at home!

21 September 2017

After a quick visit to Carnarvon, centre of the tropical fruit growing region , and looking at some historic machinery we do another big drive across the outback to Denham and Shark Bay. As you can see the road was very busy! We called in to see the Stromatolites ( the black rocks in the sea are living organisms! Then it's onto shell beach which, as the name suggests is made up of billions and billions of Fragum Cockle shells. Finally we arrive for a couple of nights in Denham ready for another sailing trip to see the marine life tomorrow. The day finishes with another beautiful sunset.

19 September 2017

Our final day in Coral Bay and so we head out in a glass bottomed boat to see the Coral and fish of the Reef. We have two snorkelling dives over the Reef to get close up and personal with the beautiful fish and Coral and the. Head off to the feeding grounds of the green turtles and we see loads of them!! Then it's a walk along the coast for more marine wildlife experience , this time it's the shark nursery!! We stand up to our knees in the sea whilst about 40 Reef sharks swim around in circles just in front of us, whilst we are trying to avoid stepping on sting rays!!! A great day of marine wildlife here at Coral Bay. Tomorrow we continue our journey ever southwards towards our final destination of Perth.

18 September 2017

So here we are for a relaxing few days at beautiful Coral Bay where we can literally walk off the beach to snorkel on the Ningaloo Reef ( the dark patches in the turquoise sea).We went for an early morning snorkel but John and Patrick set off at high speed and nearly got swept out to sea!!! Anyway they survived the adventure and live to snorkel another day as we head off on a snorkelling boat trip tomorrow.

16 September 2017

So here is our first sight of the beautiful and pristine coast and The Ningaloo Reef. The sands are brilliant white,the water turquoise and we literally swam from the shore at Turquoise Bay to snorkel on the Reef! The sea is warm and the Reef full of beautiful fish large and small. Tomorrow we head for 3 more days of the Reef at Coral Bay.

15 September 2017

We wake at our overnight camp to find we are next to this beautiful river! Then it's back on the very quiet roads to drive to Exmouth and Coral Bay to have more time by the sea and to go and visit the world heritage site Ningaloo Reef. At the camp site 3 emus try to join us in the Maui van and Patrick guards our door! Sadly another couple in our party has had car problems and will now have to fly home from Port Hedland to Adelaide and have their car and caravan taken home by tow truck. So it's a sad good bye to Jeff and Karel , we are so sorry we didn't get to say goodbye as we had gone on ahead expecting them to catch us up. That just leaves John and De and us Brits to finish the journey to Perth and then they will drive back to Adelaide across the desert. This is a massive country and a very hot climate and it takes its toll on vehicles.

14 September 2017

We have a lovely overnight stay at Port Samson with fish and chips on the seafront- but it's a bit hotter than Whitby here, reaching 38c during the day. Then it's on through the mining area of Karratha and Dampier as we drive south through vast and ancient landscapes and stay over in the outback at a campsite at a roadhouse in the middle of nowhere!

13 September 2017

So here it is, a tiny bit of a very beautiful Eighty Mile Beach- white sand, blue seas and lots of shells. But it's just overnight as it's back on the road again, heading south past the big mining port of Port Hedland with these massive road trains everywhere! We soon leave them behind and are back on the empty roads of the outback!

12 September 2017

Then it's back on the road again and now heading south to eighty mile beach along the red roads and pass the massive road trains!

11 September 2017

Our last couple of days in Broome and we go searching for dinosaur footprints in the rocks , checkout the pearl luggers( and try on the pearl diving helmet !) swim in the sea and watch the sun go down whilst sipping cocktails!

9 September 2017

It's another beautiful day here in Broome and so we head out to sea to go whale watching. We are taken out to the lovely catamaran in this little amphibious boat! We have a lovely afternoon sail and see sea snakes and hump back whales with their calves- what a treats they come close to the boat! There's also another beautiful sunset as we sit on deck and watch the sun go down.

8 September 2017

Today we drive the red dirt roads to Willie's Creek to see the Pearl Farm. Broome is famous for its pearls which brought many Japanese pearl divers here. Willie's Creek is beautiful, with white sand and clear blue turquoise sea, the only problem is the saltwater crocodiles- so no swimming here!! Tonight we went to watch the moon rise and it's reflection on the mud flats creates the Stairway to the Moon, which is a famous sight here in Broome.

7 September 2017

We are half way through our outback adventure and, as you can see, we still have a long way to go until we arrive at our final destination - Perth. We are now in tropical Broome and so we set up camp, and the Maui, for our six nights here chilling out beside the sea. De and Karen enjoy a glass of champagne as we watch the moon rise over Roebuck Bay!

5 September 2017

Then we had two more trips out in the jet boat to see the beautiful Talbot Bay, islands, mangrove swamps and wildlife, including a Sea Eagle and an Osprey on her nest with her young. After an amazing day we take the seaplane home flying over more of this incredible and wild landscape. A day to remember!
Wow what an amazing day we've had today! First of all we flew in a seaplane from Derby up to Talbot Bay in the northern part of the Kimberleys to see the Horizontal Falls. The flight their was over the salt flats and hills of this pristine wilderness and then The Falls came into sight. We boarded a floating platform, had a quick swim with Tawny Sharks- with a cage between us! And then it's aboard the jet boat to ride through the Falls! The Falls are called horizontal because it is an enormous tide (9m) surging through 2 small gorges and the power is enormous. We had 3 boat trips during the day.

4 September 2017

Today we have a day in Derby, an historic port which was used to ship thousands of head of cattle from the cattle stations,out along the pier and onto ships to the rest of the world. We also visited the Prison Tree,an ancient Boab used to imprison aboriginal men who had been enslaved. It's been 36c here today so, after all that sightseeing ,it was cool drinks on the pier!

3 September 2017

After a wonderful visit to the Bungle Bungle we've had a couple of days travelling across this vast land to get to our next destination, Derby. We've travelled several hundred kilometres and in all that time passed only a handful of vehicles a few kangaroos and cattle on cattle stations.We ended the day watching sunset over Derby Pier whilst eating fish and chips!

1 September 2017

From the wildness of El Questro it was on to Purnululu ( Bungle Bungle) National Park and what a magical place this is. The sandstone domes ,formed by weather erosion , are 350 million years old and yet this place was only discovered 30 years ago. We walked Cathedral and Echidna Gorges after a 2 hour drive on dirt tracks in an off road vehicle to get into the area. We have such a sense of being in the remote outback here.

30 August 2017

We have been out of contact for a few days at El Questro in the Kimberleys. Originally a million acre cattle station it's now a beautiful and massive wilderness. We walked some of the rivers and went by boat through one of the many gorges and watched a beautiful sunset a top Saddleback ridge looking across this wild unspoilt landscape. This is a special place!

27 August 2017

Yet another hot sunny day here in the outback and so we went out on a boat trip on Lake Argyle which is a massive man made lake. We got close up and personal with Rock Wallabies, Wallaroos and Johnson Crocodiles and sipped champagne as the sun went down over the lake!

25 August 2017

Have a lovely camp site on the edge of the river in Kununurra. It was the last day for Tom and Di as they now head home to Adelaide following the their car breaking down. We were sad to say good bye to them but had a lovely evening out at a restaurant, created out of an old pumping house by the river. Today was supposed to be a quiet day chilling out but I ended up spending 3 hours in A and E in Kununurra Hospital as I have snapped a ligament in the last joint of a finger on my right hand. It was like being in an episode of24 hours in A and E with people drunk, vomiting and shouting and the police arriving to make arrests. In the end I told them to strap my finger up as I was leaving!!

24 August 2017

Another day driving across the massive Australian outback, this time to Kununurra and beautiful Lake Argyle, which is our home for the next few days whilst we explore the area. The sunset view is from in front of our motor home pitch and tonight we saw a shooting star!

23 August 2017

We've been on the road today driving through the wild Australian outback and we find the Yorkshire Rose camper van in a lay by driven by a Yorkshire man who emigrated here 48years ago and still has his Yorkshire accent!!! Fridge now sorted but Tom and Di's car broke down in the middle of nowhere and they've managed to limp into the campsite. Tomorrow it's onwards with the car on a tow truck!!

22 August 2017

So here we are in Katherine and spent a lovely morning on board a boat sailing through the Katherine Gorge. There were trees full of thousands of fruit bats and we found a baby fresh water crocodile known as a Johnson's Crocodile. To cool off we went swimming in the river in despite the crocodiles( apparently they don't attack humans!)

20 August 2017

It's another beautiful and hot day here in Kakadu National Park and so we set off early to see more amazing rock art , walk through to bush to lookout points to see this massive landscape and visit lovely wetlands and billabongs full of bird life. Then it's dinner around the camp before packing up for the next part of our adventure!

19 August 2017

We have arrived at Kakadu National Park, the land of the aboriginal people and of saltwater crocodiles. It's beautiful and wild here with bush and wetlands and stone cliffs with rock art. In the heat of the day we take a boat along the East Alligator River( the first explorers thought the crocodiles were alligators hence the name!) and step into Arnhem Land.

16 August 2017

We arrived at the motor home hire to find that they had upgraded us to a six berth van- it's like a house on wheels! Despite the size Patrick did an excellent job of driving and parking it at our camp site. Then it was off to Berry Springs billabong for a swim only to find that they had to close it last week because they had found a saltwater crocodile in it!!! Today it's been a trip to Litchfield National Park, with monumental termite mounds and proper Australian outback. Temperatures hit 34c this afternoon ( Wednesday) so it was off to another beautiful billabong for a cooling swim and sitting under the waterfall with one eye out for the salties!

14 August 2017

Day 2 and we've been exploring tropical Darwin. We saw beautiful aboriginal art at the Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory and then watched another amazing sunset whilst eating dinner at the sailing club!

13 August 2017

Well here we are in Darwin at the Top End of Australia. After a quick practice on a digereedoo it's down to Mindil Beach with all the Aussies to watch a beautiful sunset. Our camper van adventure begins!