Shells that make up Shell Beach
Coral Bay, the perfect beach
Exmouth Beach, second best beach
Coral Bay, the perfect beach
Exmouth Beach, second best beach
Ok ok I know it has been some time since our last post and you have all thought no more blogs from the Bates family. Well some days I wished that I hadn't started one at all, because of the pressure to maintain one, but I have recently been inspired to start again because of the Mortons!!! Craig and Fiona and the kids joined us for a little caravaning fun just recently in the lovely W.A. town of Fremantle and reading their blog about what fun we were having has made me get "back on the horse" and start writing again!!!!! So perhaps duck out now and grab a cuppa, because we have seen and done some fantastic things since we left Broome, so this may be a very long post!!!!
There were a couple of very long drives after leaving Broome and some overnight stays in some places where we only just stopped, unpacked, slept, got up packed up and left again. Broome to Port Hedland was 650 ks and then Port Hedland to Exmouth was 750ks. Two big days of driving but it was worth it to arrive at beautiful Exmouth. There is not much to see between towns and at one of the road houses we stopped at we paid $65 for 2 salad rolls, 2 sausage rolls, a pie and some bottles of water yes folks it was a little bit pricey!!!! In Exmouth we did a Whale Watch cruise and spotted plenty of whales and also a pod of dolphins frollicked along side the boat for much of the journey. The kids (and myself) were just blown away by the playfullness and the curiosity of the dolphins. They were simply beautiful.
The other thing that the kids enjoyed here was the big sand dunes. We found some that were just begging to be played on, lots of running to the top and rolling down, who knew that sand dunes were so much fun for kids (and Andrew)!!!
After leaving Exmouth we arrived at Coral Bay. Just a little place with only a couple of caravan parks and a resort and a few shops. We had a lovely time here, Andrew Courtney and Cait spent lots of time snorkling the reef again and Jen and I took out a glass bottom canoe to get a good of view the coral. Here in Coral Bay the beach is very protected and calm. I loved just sitting in the water and getting a bit of sun. Just a little walk around the point here to the shark nursery saw lots of black tip reef sharks coming in the shore to mate in the warmer waters and Andrew and Courtney walked right out to them to get a close up view.
We arived at Denham after leaving Coral Bay, which is just a short drive down the road from Monkey Mia. We were very excited to be getting another opportunity to see dolphins again. You are allowed to get into the water with the dolphins at Monkey Mia and we took lots of close up photos amazing to be able to get so close. We also did a cruise here were we spotted many more dolphins and dugongs. Denham has an aquarium where all the guides are Marine Bioligists. The tour and information is unlike any other aquarium we have ever been to, and let me tell you we have been to a few. The guide we had was just great, taking time to impart knowledge and answer any questions anyone had. The aquarium is not anywhere near as flash as the Melb one but we sure learnt much more here.
Next we went onto Geraldton, this is the first big town we have seen for a while and we are also getting a bit excited about the opportunity to be going home shortly for Louisa Helmores wedding. The weather is not as warm here as it has been and even though there is a free water park down on the beach the kids dont even ask to have a go. What they did enjoy doing though is when we were walking on the beach they have fitness machine stations set up along the track which Cait just loved. She wanted to walk and work out everyday!!!! I celebrated my birthday in Geraldton and I got to choose what we got to do for the day. We took a drive out the road to the historic town of Greenough and had a lovely morning tea at an Olive Farm, where we stocked up on olives and olive oils etc yum yum!! We also saw the strange sight of the trees that get so blown about that they lean right over and this is how they grow. Geralton has a great memorial to sailors that were killed on the HMAS Sydney, and is just a short drive to the town of Horraks where there is a beautiful pink Lake, we then drove on to Kalbarri for a picnic lunch but were chased back to the car by the flies!!!!!
On the 6th of October we drove 445kms to Fremantle where we parked the van to come home to Melb for a holiday from our holiday!!!! We had much fun catching up with our friends and really enjoyed our time at Louisa and Troy"s beautiful wedding. Thank you so much Helmores for inviting us to the wedding of the year, it was truly worth the trip home!!!!
After sad goodbyes, (but knowing it will only be for a shorter time this time) we left Melb again and flew back to WA where our caravan was waiting for us to come and resume our trip. We spent much time looking around Perth and Fremantle, we spent a day in Kings Park, we spent time at the Bell Tower, we did tram tours, the Old Fremantle Jail tour, we went to the Maritime Museum, the Shipwreck museum, we had a tour of the Sea Shephard ship that protects the whales against the Japanese whaling boats, we had a tour of a real submarine, we went to SciTech (like our science works) we spent some time at the aquarium, we did shopping, we ate at some fabulous restaurants, we had lots of fun the day we went to the Fremantle Chocolate Factory, we went to markets and the list goes on and on. Our fun time in Freo was highlighted by the fact that the Morton Family just happened to roll into the same caravan park where we were staying and we spent loads of time together hanging out with a little wine and cheese, discovering the delights of Rottnest Island, having dinner together and just talking about our travel plans. It goes with out saying that the kids all had a ball, they made the best cubby out the back of the vans and spent long periods of time playing in and planning traps around the cubby. It was great they spent so much time outdoors because when they were indoors they all had their heads stuck firmly in their DS games.
The other extreme highlight of Perth for both our families was that we got to spend an "all to quick" evening at the home of LeVearne and Jay Hagen. LV had not told her kids that we were all coming so Jaysons face was priceless as he greeted his long lost buddy Zac in the driveway of his Perth home. He wasnt so sure who Cait was but after they all got reaquainted they had plenty of fun. Fiona, LeVearne and I also had loads of fun and we were all very sorry that when we looked at the clock it was after 11pm. We had a fantastic night and we were very grateful to LeVearne and Jay for opening up their home and welcoming us with open arms.
On MondaY the 25th oct we had a lovely day out to Rottnest Island and we were lucky enough to have the Morton family join us on this adventure. We caught the Rottnest Ferry over, had a bus drive around the island to get our bearings and then made our plan for the day over some lunch at our new "favorite place to eat" Dome!!!! We decided that we would take a little stroll down the track for some snorkling and swimming and a bit of fun in the sun. On the way to and from the beach the kids were very excited to see many, many, many of the famous Rottnest Quokkas. Courtney as per usual had them eating out of her hands, which was fine until we learned that they were full of lice. Yuk Yuk Yuk.
If you have come this far people stick with me now as I am nearly up to date. Andrew by this time is itching to get back on the road, I think Freo is the longest time we have spent anywhere and with only 3 or 4 weeks left of our great trip we still have a way to go, so after a, final day of picking up some souvineers, and a last supper with the Mortons we got packed up and headed on down to Bunbury. There were some very sad people in the car on Wednesday,.I think the kids had really enjoyed having the company and it really goes without saying that I loved having Fiona there for a bit of girlie chatting and sipping, and yes Andrew was also sad to leave his new found drinking buddy, dive master, boat lover, lover of all things to do with rock formations, and outsidey things that Andrew just loves. I think these two found they had more than a little bit in common. So we said goodbye and headed South and they head North. We may catch up again on the Nullabour as Craig needs to be back at work about the same time we think we will arrive home.
Bunbury is a lovely little town, lots of good shops, restaurants, things to see and places to go. Already we have spent a lovely day out, Beer, Wine and Cheese tasting. Yesterday we went for a lovely drive into the Ferguson Valley, not unlike our Yarra valley, where we had some little tastes of the local boutique beers and some lovely wine and cheeses. We also visited the quaint little roadside stop of Gnomeville. Gnomeville, Gnomeville, I have never heard of that I hear you say, well I am about to tell you all about Gnomeville. On the side of the road in the Ferguson Valley are thousands and thousands of gnomes, just placed on and about the side of the road. People have bought them to here form all over the world, some have names, some have long written explainations of where they have come from, some have poems and banners next to them, they are in trees, in the little river, in dolls houses, in kennels, in glass cases. It is truly bizarre, it must have been going on for years. No we did not leave a Bates Gnome!!!!!
Andrew has taken the girls to see the movie "Diary of a whimpy Kid"they have all read the series of books whilst travelling so they were looking forward to seeing the film today and then I could spend uninterupted time on this blog.. I hope you all think it has been worth it. It has been for me because writing about all the things we have done and seen has bought back some very happy memories for me. I will pop up some photos now and we will be all up to date. I am feeling quite happy with myself now!!!!