Friday, 30 May 2014

Onwards and upwards!!!!!

Well we are leaving Perth and the south west of WA, we have had a great time, enjoying campfires and exploring the caves at Margaret river, climbing tall trees and tall lighthouses, walking through amazing forests and national parks, dodging the rain as much as we can and spending time with family in Perth. 

After two weeks in Perth dealing with 'minor' mishaps with the car and the computer (and that is the last we will mention the lemon car we are driving) we have reset the sails and are ready for our next adventure. We are looking forward to warmer weather, the friendliness of fellow campers and lots of snorkelling at the amazing Ningaloo Reef! 

Monday, 12 May 2014

Southwest WA

From Lucky Bay we headed into the southwest of WA. We set up camp in the sterling ranges national park for a few nights and explored lots of great walks in the park. We attempted bluff knoll, the highest peak in WA, but it was a little tough for the kiddies, the views were still amazing though, Oscar attempted scones in the weber as part of his school project and after such a great attempt he is now on baking duty for the rest of the trip.

We arrived in Pemberton with an excited Oscar who was keen return to this area as he was on a mission to attempt all the climbing trees. One afternoon he snuck off with Mike, a mischievous grin on his freckled face, he blew me a kiss as they drove off and I knew they were going for a climb. My stomach was in knots until I received the picture of him at the very top of the 57m tree. He was so excited that the next day we went to the Gloucester tree in the national park. It is the tallest climbing tree at 67m and it had been wet the night before so I was not inclined to let him climb, but in a blink of an eye he was gone scaling as fast as he could. I watched as he got smaller and smaller, the knots in my stomach getting comparatively bigger and bigger, I think the climb up isn't as bad as watching the climb down, Oscar feeling his way down the metal pegs, me hoping he doesn't slip, my breathing only returning to normal as his feet reached the ground. Scarlet and Lola still haven't  stopped giving Mike darkies for not letting them climb and quite often remind him that it's their turn the next time we find another tall tree!

After seeing the joy on Oscars face at achieving his goal I decided to see  if I could break my record for climbing the trees, a whole 12 pegs!!!!! Well I accepted the challenge and with my knees knocking I made it to peg 13!!!!! Woohoo record broken!!! Oscar may have climbed  nearly 200 pegs by by golly I made it up 13!

Each night Mike had a big fire as the weather was a little cold and drizzly, the kids spent a lot of their nights eating the oozing goodness of cooked marshmallows.  With each marshmallow Oscar would repeat 'I'm melting, I'm melting', as his marshmallow rotated on his stick. The girls would giggle as each marshmallow met the same slow fiery death.  I was happy to have a big more space to move in and made use of the camp kitchen in the caravan park, I became friendly with a of French backpackers who were working in Pemberton and living in tiny tents for 6 weeks. Every night after work they would roll in, I'd call out 'hi honeys how was your day at work?', and they would giggle at the crazy women stirring her pots on the stove. I was always so impressed with the simple but delicious food they would whip out of next to nothing, they certainly had their cooking down to a fine art, they even made swigging on wine out of a brown paper bag look stylish and super cool!

On the final morning I went for a walk, it had rained all night so it was misty and the forest was a deep, deep green. The ground was soft underneath and the smell of the eucalypts strong. Pemberton is a beautiful little town surrounded by the most majestic trees, so tall and the smell of the forest invades your senses, I always thought I felt so at peace near the sea, but the invigorating freshness of the forest seems to be challenging the stormy seas for top place.

From Pemberton we moved to Leeuwin naturaliste national park just near Margaret River, it is such a beautiful part of the world, more gorgeous forests to walk through, cool underground caves to explore, amazing light houses to climb in Augusta......oh and did I mention the wine..... Hello heaven!!! Clever old me timed our visit to Margaret river to coincide with Mother's Day!!!! What better way to celebrate Mother's Day then touring the beautiful wineries, breweries and cideries in the area. I picked our tour to be suitable for all of us, a brewery every hour or 2 so the designated driver could complain about the 'crap'  overpriced boutique beer he drank, and most of the wineries chosen for me also had a playground for the designated driver and the kids to amuse themselves with whilst I savoured the wine tasting! Happy days, it would only have been better if I had some of my favourite women folk with me to share a bottle with, I don't think I'll be able to save any bottles for my return though....We had  a long leisurely lunch at cheeky monkeys brewery and enjoyed the music and beautiful scenery for a few hours, we finished a perfect Mother's Day at the ice cream shop just out of town.

During this lovely week exploring Margaret River we have met some lovely people and spent long nights around the campfire sharing dinners and a few beers and bottles of wine. I have got to do a few things on my list of things I love to do, hang out with really interesting people, play cards and drink wine in beautiful surroundings, go to the farmers market and stock up on delicious food from the type of holiday.  (Wow i just read that back to myself and I am so cool, markets cards and wine......maybe I really am getting old??)

So next stop who knows, we have a week or so before we get to Perth, we may stop near donnybrook, pick some apples, visit more markets and maybe even update the Watson gnome family at gnomesville with any later additions since Sharon's visit. Happy travels xx

Friday, 9 May 2014

I love.......

I love that every morning when my kettle starts to whistle Oscar screams 'you're scolding my insides!' On behalf of the kettle.

I love that the kids have a system in place so they know whose turn it is to sit next to me for tea and whose turn it is to sleep with me each night. 

I love that Lola comes up every day and gives me a big big squeezy hug and looks me in the eye and says I love you more than dad, then does the same thing to Mike. 

I love that Lola attempts to cheat when playing uno and go fish.

I love that Oscar gets up extra early to sneak time on the ipad when he thinks I won't know.

I love that Scarlett has me addicted to the stoopid bejeweled blitz frozen game and the mad excitement of her attempts to help me get to the next level!

I love that every morning the kids say what can we have for brekky and  take forever to decide, when they always decide on the same thing. I love how much this irks Mike even more! 

I love that each time we go to the beach mike tells the kids, 'don't get wet', and each time they end up saturated!

I love the slow mornings, big walks before breakfast, card games at night.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Crossing the Nullarbor

When a lot of people think about the trip across the Nullarbor many assume it is a long boring drive of nothing. This was our second trip across and I loved every minute of it again. The scenery changes, but  the sky remains blue and the flies remain sticky. I prepared myself by stocking up the ipod with lots of Australian music, as I felt the Nullarbor, a truly iconic Australian drive, deserved great Australian tunes. Mike was not so impressed and so started the 3 day complaining about my taste in music. By day 3 of driving I was a little over his negativity so I thought he would enjoy my stunning renditions of every song I played at the top of my voice. Fair to say I don’t think he will be complaining about my music choice again! Although I was tempted to spend the Nullarbor singing the frozen soundtrack with the girls, I don’t think I could put up with the whining from Oscar and was happy with my Australian song tune decision.

at the border, one foot in SA, one foot in WA

We only stayed 2 nights crossing over, one at Eucla, which had a major refurbishment and looked amazing. It has a beautiful new pool overlooking the ocean and lovely gardens which is very surprising for the middle of the Nullarbor, the next night we stayed at Fraser Ranges, which did not disappoint again. We set up camp at the first cattle station to be settled across the Nullarbor and spent the night sitting around the camp fire with other campers having a few drinks.  I got chatting to a guy who has spent the last 35 years working the mines around Western Australia, he was so interesting and explained so much of the mining process, (either that or I had a few too many beers and I just thought it was interesting). 
the long straight road!
the pool at Eucla in the middle of the Nullarbor

the Eucla telegraph station 

fraser ranges station

After a scratchy start to the next day we finished the last leg of the Nullarbor and arrived at Lucky Bay, Esperance for a week of camping at the beach that was voted to have the whitest sand in Australia. I had an amazing start to our week at Lucky Bay, going to the dawn service for Anzac day on the beach. It was really moving and after wards enjoyed the conversations explaining Anzac Day to the backpackers who didn’t know what it was and why we commemorated the Australian soldiers on this day. We have had a great time at Lucky bay, swimming in the ocean, walking the beautiful nature tracks and pretending to do a little school work with the kids.