Back Home (for just a little while )

Now we are back home for a couple of months. We flew home just in time for Bob’s 60th birthday party. What a terrific turn out it was with many friends and family coming to help us celebrate.

Having been absent from many meetings etc, we are not swamped with lots of pre-Christmas parties and such and that was very nice not to be frazzled. I had time to finish all my Christmas cards which I had started back in Perth and most of the gift shopping was done without duress. (Those that know me know that I do not like shopping unless it involves crafts).
Oh it is so good to be home but now that Christmas is over I am hankering for the simple life of caravanning. So here’s to the new year and hanging out with friends and family over the next few weeks before we head back to the Robbiebago and continue with the adventures God has in store for us.
I really like one of the quote I saw back in a Perth mall: it is a great reminder not to waste time in the new year.

No minute gone ever comes back again. Take heed and see ye nothing do in vain.


With the kindness of friends of friends, (Thank you Colin & Donna), we have a place to stop for 2 weeks and then store the Robbiebago whilst we run back home for Rob’s birthday and Christmas. It is right on the Swan River in Bassendean, Perth. Whilst in Perth we get to catch up with friends and family often taking in a meal with many of them, including Nikki & Neil, Bill & Hillary, Tina, Mrs S, Ben & Kate, Frank & Teena. We were also able to follow up on new friends made on the road including Joan & Bill as well as Peter & Alison.
A view of Perth
Bob beside the Percy Button Statue in Perth Mall

Day outings included a train trip into Perth where amongst various activities including watching a solar powered slot car inter school competition, a 2 hour guided walking tour around town which was very interesting, shopping and of course a meal.

 Another day we travelled into Freemantle and just walked around the shops before having a fish and chips lunch on the wharf. One of the little treasured nuggets was several hours spent at the Aviation heritage Museum in Bull Creek. including a semi private viewing of a magnificent historical lace panel depicting London during the Blitz. I really do recommend a minimum 2-3 hours to see this museum.

A small part of the magnificent lace panel that is long than floor to ceiling
Another night was a romantic date in town including dinner & an overnight stay in a classy hotel. (Thanks Manna House). On awaking the next morning after a lazy sleep in & breakfast we finally made our way into the fabulous Kings Park where we spent a couple of hours walking on some of the many trails there. The bridge walk was spectacular with its views over the Swan River and all the sailing boats out on the water. The wildflowers especially the kangaroo paws and the banksias were superb.

A late lunch in the park followed by a stroll through the gallery shop there finished our time in town. New friends Peter and Alison, whom we had met back at Barn Hill, graciously took us an all day trip around the Perth Hills camp site. Whilst in Perth I also got to spend some time in various stamping & scrapbooking shops and bought some lovely tools. A girl’s gotta have her tools!
An original sculpture available for sale at Kings Park inspires Bob.

Then there were also the quieter days bike riding and walks along the river, days reading and playing games and the sort of relaxing things one does on holidays. Whilst in Perth we enjoyed christian services & fellowship mostly at various Reformed Services as well as the local Bassendean Church of Christ on a few occasions.

Gin Gin & New Norcia

As we were passing through Gin Gin on our way to New Norcia, we noticed a lovely park with a creek, ducks and even a paddlewheel in it, so we stopped and had a delightful walk through the park, discovered a lily pond as well as a historic cemetery and church. One family lost 3 little kids within 6 days back in 1865 – I am guessing from some disease –shows how tough it was back in the pioneer days! We also went on a board walk through a forested swamp is just across the road. All in all it is a very pretty little town.

Moving on, we stopped for lunch at Wannamal (400 in the Camps 5 book). This is a good place to free camp. It is on a quiet road – not many trucks at all. It has flushing toilets that are cleaned daily, a good gas BBQ with a delightful tiled mosaic concrete table under cover. We will come back this way and stay.

 We finally arrived in New Norcia where the camp fees are just $7 per night for self sufficient vans. We stayed for 2 nights. We took in the 2 hour walking tour as well as the museum. Our guide was very informative with a slight off beat sense of humour. We enjoyed the tour. There are 7 chapels and we went into 5 of them plus other buildings etc. There are a lots of statues, altars, artwork etc depicting Mary, Joseph or one of the many saints as can be expected in a Catholic Church. Neither of us is big into art but the museum was still very interesting and also has a lot of historical artefact too. The next morning, I went along to a prayer session with the monks which I found very good. The songs and prayers are sing song chanted and easy to follow (with a paper printed of such) and I was grateful that there is no reference to Mary, Joseph or any of the saints in the prayer meeting. It is all directed to God and our Lord Jesus. (The monks pray 6 times a day, and the public is invited to join if desired.) We also stopped by the hotel which has a big grand staircase.

The Pinnacles

What a wonderful place! The Pinnacles truly is wonderfully different. There are acres upon acres of sandy desert dunes interspersed with hundreds of pillars of limestone.

You can walk it or drive through it with lots of places to pull over for hopping out to take a closer look or to take photographs.

 Though it was very interesting, we were in and out of there within 2 hours. So we took a few detours on the way home, stopping past coast vistas, a lake with stromatolites. (We saw different types near Shark Bay) and then a drive around the small town of Cervantes.

Wild flowers and some drama

After leaving Geraldton, we free camped right alongside a seaweed covered beach at Cliff Head North where there were a million flies per person. It was so bad that no one wanted to sit outside until Happy Hour and even then it was a battle with the flies though thankfully with the cooling temperatures they mostly disappeared.

The next stop was the Western Flora Park near Eneabba which is owned by an amateur botanist and his guided wildflower walk came highly recommended. However we were unlucky in our timing as there was a bushfire burning nearby to which our guide was fire fighting and thus unavailable for the guided walk. So instead I went off and walked myself. At first, I thought there wasn’t much there but when I really looked there were heaps and I took 2 hours walking and taking photos. So if you aren’t interested in flowers, then you had better skip to the end to find out about our mini drama. The wildflower photos are mostly from the Western Flora Campsite. I tried not to give you too many wildflower photos but it is so hard to leave some out...yet I did leave out many!

The wild man amongst the wildflowers


And our little drama???

Packing up to leave we noticed we had a bad burning smell. As there was a bush fire burning nearby and roads were closed off around us, it took a while to find the source which was inside the Robbiebago. A light wire near the fans cooling the fridge was burning almost to the point of catching alight. Thankfully it happened whilst we were still stationary and inside the van so that we were able to notice the burning smell – it could have just as easily happened whilst we were driving and thus gone un-noticed until there were flames. Bob isolated the current and removed the wire to be replaced at the next place with a larger wire and a smaller fuse put in place to prevent it happening again.

Geraldton, Western Australia

We arrive at Marjorie & Barton’s place which is a small sheep property just 20km out of town and they also run a Pet Cemetery there as a service for the community. We did some sightseeing and saw the HMS Sydney Memorial which is beautiful. It has a huge metallic dome made of some 642 seagulls, one for each sailor who lost his life on the Sydney which was damaged & was lost at sea during the war. (Actually the resting place was only just recently discovered in the last year or two.)

On Sunday we went to the 10am service at the Cathedral and then after the coffee after church we went onto a Quilt & Craft Show which is where I found a lovely necklace for Bob's Mum’s birthday. They have a good selection of quality crafts at the show - not just quilts. We were staying in Gero to help at the Seafarer’s Mission but as they don’t open until noon, we had lazy mornings.  We were working alongside the Chaplain Bill & his wife Jocelyn who runs the shop there. For once I worked more than Bob. We were to do some gardening tidying up but someone surprised Bill by doing it for him over the weekend, hence Bob did a few odd jobs whilst I worked with Jocelyn doing the stock take and recording it on the computer. We were surprised at one tiny shopping centre to run into Kathy and John, the couple we did a few camps sites together some time ago most notably the Cape Range National Park and Ningaloo. We all had so much to catch up on that we invited them to dinner where we had a grand time together.

A leaning tree right in town - that is how windy it can get here!
On our last night in Geraldton, we invited bart & Marjorie for a thank you dinner, and were given the opportunity to meet Richard, the minister from Wickham whom we had missed when we were passing through. It was great to meet him and hear about his work there and his life in and amongst aborigines there. Then on the morning we were to leave we had a quick reunion with the Kununarra ministry team, Garry, Glendon and Andrew. (There was a Synod being held in Geraldton over the next few days and many ministers and others were in town for the series of meetings.)

Driving back to Geraldton

Bob sitting on top of London Bridge
First stop was Mt Magnet where we left the van for a trip to Sandstone to see a natural land feature called London Bridge. Sandstone is delightful. It is a small, friendly, lovely, clean and tidy town with lots of public garden filled with flowers in which we stopped for a picnic lunch. We then went on the heritage trail drive seeing the old brewery site, London Bridge, a gold battery, and a water pump before heading back home. (Home is wherever the Robbiebago is.)
The elusive Wreath flower (taken off a photo)

Meekatharra Festival (Part 3) The Grand Ball

Belle of the Ball

Back home around 4.30 to freshen up and rest before the grand ball that night. Ellen wore her beautiful bright pink Thai silk suit, at least I think it is Thai silk. I wore my black & white long skirt with a lacy black sleeveless top. The hall was beautifully decked out in burgundy and white, with the colours carried through with balloons, tablecloths etc.
Two friends from Covenant Players

Meekatharra Festival (Part 2) The Rodeo

On the Sunday we attended church which 3 members of the Covenant Players were playing a major portion of the service. These are talented actors creating scenarios without props etc and making it seem very real. After coffee at the church, and then lunch, we left for the rodeo.

I will just let the photos tell the story.

Meekatharra Festival (Part 1) Markets and street parades

Our friends, Ellen & Erik are heavily involved in community affairs and the last weekend we were lucky enough to be there for the Meekatharra Festival. E & E were busy with various roles during the festival and so we packed the van and moved to Meeka on the Friday.
Working hard to cut all the lollies for the Kids Icing the biscuits activity
We camped in the grounds of the Uniting Church whilst E & E stayed in the rectory with the minister, Lesley and her husband, Alistair. It seems as though we brought half of the dusty road back with us. It was unbelievable how much dust we had inside the Robbiebago, the floors, walls and drawers were full of the red dust. We borrowed a vacuum cleaner and took a good 90 minutes for Both Rob & I to clean up and still we found more dust later on.

Visiting friends out past Meekatharra

One of the lovely sunsets at mt Seabrook
Cue Police Station
Rocky landscape around Mt Seabrook
We travelled to Meeka via a brief stop in Geraldton (more on Gero later) and passed through the beautiful little town of Cue with the wonderfully restored Police Station, with an overnight stop at Mt Magnet. We then passed right through Meeka on our way to visit our very good friends Erik & Ellen. It was so good to catch up with them again. They are Mine Managers some 160km way past Meeka on a dry dusty road. We spent just under 2 weeks with them with a couple of outings out, including a day trip into town (Meeka) and a day traipsing around sadly abandoned station, as well as a interesting 4WD trip for a picnic lunch away from the mine. For the first week and half the weather is much cooler than I expected. In and amongst crafting and fellowship time we helped them where we could with meals, gardening, pulling out dead saplings etc. I don’t think I have seen such dramatic colouring in a dawn before as what I saw at the mine! Rob had some ‘playtime’ operating this huge loader at the mine. (I reckon it is more like playing with boy’s toys) Erik & Bob also took some time out to test out the Bog Assist on a nearby sand creek bed. It got them out of a bog when they deliberately got themselves bogged. (More play time for the boys!)

Old truck found on the abandoned station

Our land abound in Nature's gifts

As we came into Kalbarri we were to start to see our first fields of the famous WA wildflowers. Oh boy! God has created so much beauty, he is to be praised. They are beautiful here. Sometimes we see fields and fields of flowers, so much so that I am tempted to wonder if they have been sown. The sides of the roads are lined with pockets of colours, yellow, purple and white being the most common colours though the species vary. I can’t begin to name the flowers. My sister in law loaned me three field guide books which I admittedly have rarely referred to so far, though my intentions have been to do so. I am just going to post just some of the hundreds of photos that I have taken. I have been assured that we haven’t really reached the wildflower areas yet. The mind boggles. You can click on any of the pictures to get a larger view if you wish. I kept it small to fit so many on this entry.


Later, we travelled inland on the way back to Geraldton from Meekatharra (which I have yet to post about!), we ventured through 'The wildflower country' which sadly is not very prolific this year as they just haven't had the rains that would bring out the magnificance of the wildflowers. We searched particularly in this area for the elusive Wreath Flower, which we did finf but only in the dead stage. Just days before we arrived, the temperature was in the mid 30's for about 4 or 5 days and this killed off many flowers here that had managed to poke their heads up depsite the lack of rains. Oh well, here are just a tiny portion of the photos we did take, but most of these are from around the Kalbarri to Northampton (just north of Geraldton areas).