Catch up, catch up, catch up

Well I have realised I haven’t been keeping up blog posts of our camping trips we have been doing recently. So I am going to try and do a few updates.

Way back in December last year (that’s 2021, I think…who can keep up with this time business) …we took the rooftop tent for a camping trip to Lane Poole reserve in Dwellingup,

The weather was warm and the campsite was lovely. The sites were all quite secluded so no one nearby to bother us.

BUT…..one thing we were not prepared for – MARCH FLIES!!!!!!! OMG! These are not good, not good at all. Giant, falcon sized flies THAT BITE. AND YOU CANT KILL THEM!!! Because if you do it’ll attract all their friends who will come and attack you to avenge the death of their friend.

March flies aside, it was quite lovely there. We stayed at the Chuditch Campground, which was a short stroll away from a large amount of water. Some people were swimming in there and playing bad music on a portable speaker.

Still water
More still water

We wandered around a bit and enjoyed the nature. Had a can of coffee. That kind of thing.

The Boss

As the afternoon rolled on, it was time to set up camp, have a drink and cook up some dinner.

Dinner is on

It really was lovely there (just don’t mention the flies) Dinner was fish and prawns and a peach salad.

Dinner

Another look at the water whilst the sun set.

And then it got real dark. There were less flies after dark, so that was nice.

Darkness in the woods
Breakfast in the rooftop tent

Then we packed up and headed home. We stopped at a fruit farm on the way home and enjoyed a coffee.

Coffee near the raspberries

And then we were off home. A nice time was had at Lane Poole reserve and we hope to go again sometime soon. But

preferably not during March Fly season!

One day in Toodyay

On a random weekend in October, with nice weather forecast and warmer sleeping bags in tow we decided to head up to Tooday for the night. We booked a site at the caravan park there which looked quite nice. It’s only about 1 1/2 hours away, but we drive the long way.

First we stopped off in York, which is a cute little town. We looked at some second hand shops in our never ending search for a Wilco cat.

This is roughly what a Wilco cat looks like. One day we will find one.

I believe we had a coffee and possibly even some lunch. I could be wrong though, I can’t quite remember. Anyway, then we stopped off at the York Olive Oil shop and bought some local produce.

This otter was in the olive oil shop

Then we headed on to Tooday and set up camp for the night. We made some friends with the local wild life.

Oh hai!

It was really lovely at the campsite. Lots of beautiful big, shady gum trees.

We cooked up some burgers for dinner.

Set up

Had a couple of drinks, looked at the nature and watched it get dark.

It ended up getting quite chilly.

Luckily we had our new super duper sleeping bags that in the end were actually too warm but better than freezing to death in 30 year old Kmart sleeping bags.

Making breakfast coffees

It was really lovely at the campsite in the morning. Lots of birds and quietness.

Breakfast in the tent

We had to leave eventually. We went for a bit of a drive around and wandered around Toodyay a bit and stopped for coffee and cake at the Toodyay bakery.

Mini railway
Kaffee und kuchen

On the way back to Perth we stopped by Canning Dam. We didn’t even know this place existed. We had a bit of a wander but it was really hot.

The view from the top

Then we headed back home, ready for work the next day. Not a bad way to spend a weekend. Would definitely do this trip again.

Why does it always rain on me? part 3

After another freezing night, we cooked up some bacon and eggs for breakfast. Was nice to have a warm breakfast.

Though still cold, the weather at least was looking clearer today, so we set out to see some sights.

First up the “famous” Natural Bridge and The Gap. Despite living in Western Australia my whole life I’d never been here before. And despite it being touristy, it was actually pretty cool.

View from The Gap
Natural Bridge
Rocks, ocean
More rocks and ocean

We walked around the area a bit and saw some other natural things. Quite beautiful around here. Then we drove down to the Whale museum. In the old days, Albany used to be a whaling town. Thankfully that no longer happens, but it’s part of the history here. We didn’t actually go in to the museum because it was rather expensive, so instead we had coffee and cake in the cafe. Which was really good. And we were nice and warm and out of the elements. Definitely a highlight of the trip.

Just a piece of pecan pie
Who can resist a vanilla slice?
Surprisingly good coffee

Our original plan was to hike the Bald Head walk trail, but the rubbish weather put us off. We went down to check it out anyway and ended up walking quite a bit of it. We were actually disappointed we didn’t leave enough time to do the whole thing. The weather had cleared up and the scenery was stunning.

Oh did I mention that I (Blainie that is) had a horrendous cough the whole time we were away? Yeh well I did and that was another reason we decided not to tackle the whole walk.

Just keep walking
Views
I think this was Misery Beach. It wasn’t that miserable
Not miserable at all

For dinner we went to Ocean and Paddock for a fish and chips dinner. We came here last time we were in Albany so we were looking forward to another dinner here. Luckily we got in early as just after we arrived all the tables were full. We had some fish and chips and other delicious sea delicacies. Would recommend.

Scallops and whitebait
Snapper and chips

Then, one more freezing cold night to go. We survived it…just. In hindsight we probably should’ve just gone to BCF up the road and bought better sleeping bags. But it is easy to say that now. Plus we have learnt our lesson and have since bought better sleeping bags for future trips.

The next morning we packed up and headed home.

And jus for an extra amount of fun times, we got rear ended by another car at a round a bout just out of Albany. Thankfully our car was barely damaged (small dent) but it did leave Blainie with a bout of whiplash for the next couple of weeks. So yeh, probably not the best holiday (certainly not the most relaxing,) we have ever been on, but hey, you live and learn, right?

Edit: this pigeon was sitting on top of the amenities block next to us. It was constantly making a dull, repetitive sound – not unlike a mobile phone on silent. Oh my freaking god was it annoying!!!!

SHUT UP!!!!!!!

Why does it always rain on me? part 2

After surviving the freezing cold night, we had some breakfast in the cold.

Trying to stay warm

And then decided to try and do some exploring despite the horrible weather. Went and saw some nice beaches and coastal landscapes and got caught in several downpours.

Views
Morning tea
It’d be lovely here when it’s warm
Dog Rock in Albany

We headed back to camp early hoping to cook dinner before it was pitch black and freezing. We managed to buy some local seafood (fish and scallops) so that was nice.

Cooking in the trunk
Would you like salad with that?
Cooking up
Looking good
Dinner is served!

Dinner was delicious. Then by about 8pm we were huddled in the tent again trying hard not to freeze to death.

Why does it always rain on me?

So back during the September/October school holidays, we planned to finally test out our awesome new car rooftop tent. Now, historically, the first week of those holidays are normally cold and rainy, with a few warmer days in between, but by the second week it’s usually lovely warm ish spring weather.

And so, with this in mind, we booked 4 nights away during the 2nd week of my school holidays. The first night we had planned to stay at Potters Gorge at Wellington Dam in Collie, and then 3 nights in Albany.

As the time approached for us to leave, the weather forecast did not look good. Rain, rain and more rain. And freezing cold nights. The first night was forecast for a 3 degree (Celsius) minimum. We decided that was way to cold for us to handle and piked on our camp site and managed to book a cute motel type place for the night in Balinyup instead.

First we stopped by what would’ve been our campsite at Potters Gorge. It was lovely and we were disappointed we wouldn’t be staying there. But…too cold.

Wellington Dam

Then it was on to Balingup. The place we stayed was lovely, and we met some nice people who were staying in the room next to us. We sat out in the porch and chatted with them and the owners until it got too cold to be out there.

View from our verandah
Just chillin’

Then we retreated in to the warmth and made dinner (I think it was a Japanese curry if memory serves) and watched like 7 episodes or more of Parks and Recreation until we fell asleep.

Parks n Rec marathon

After breakfast, we headed off to explore Balingup a little.

Breakfast if champions

We walked around some gardens with huge trees. It was quite chilly, but very atmospheric. It rained on and off.

Florida cypress or something like that
Pretty,
Nice, but cold
Lovely trees

We stopped for lunch at our new favourite cafe in Balingup – The Mushroom at Number 61. They make a damn fine bacon and egg toasty.

Yum!

Then it was onwards to Albany. When we got there it was cold and miserable. We managed to cook up some dinner in the camp kitchen and enjoyed an episode of Home and Away that a local was watching on the communal television.

Shakshuka

After dinner, we did our best to insulate our tent as best we could, with extra blankets and hot water bottles. But….oh my god it was cold. We actually thought at one point we might die. Of course, it would’ve helped if we hadve brought proper, warm sleeping bags instead of 20 year old Kmart ones…but we shan’t mention that here.

Looks snug, but don’t be fooled

It rained hard all night and was about 4 degrees and yes, did I mention it was cold?

See you next time

I just realised I never posted about our trip home from the Tree Chalets. So I better do a quick recap now.

We actually really wanted to stay longer as it was so lovely there, but alas, it was time to say goodbye.

See you next time, Tree Chalets
Short morning stroll

All packed up we headed off. We stopped for morning tea by a random body of water in Dwellingup.

Coffee and muffin

Then on to the town of Balingup, which we really liked and we had THE BEST bacon and egg toasty in a small cafe there. We will be returning here.

The best
We liked Balingup

Heading off and on to other towns we stumbled across “Gnomesville” which is pretty much exactly what you think it is. LOTS AND LOTS of garden gnomes which have been left by people over many years. It was pretty cool, but gnomes are a little creepy really.

So many gnomes
They are everywhere!!!!
He’s quite cute

Then it was on to Wellington State Forest and the VERY impressive Wellington Dam mural. So large.

Very cool indeed
Must’ve taken a while to paint

We had a bit of a drive and walk around the surrounding areas and made a mental note of appropriate areas for future camping trips. It’s really lovely around here.

Lovely

And then, ladies and gentlemen we headed home again. All in all a good trip if a little (well a lot really) rainy and cold. We are crossing our fingers for sunshine on our next trip!

Winter Break part 3

Facing another day of rain and storms, we pondered what to do with our day. We eventually decided to drive to the Boranup forest and see the Karri trees.

We drove through the town of Cowarumup and had to stop for an obligatory photo with one of the many cow statues they have around town. And a visit to the lolly shop.

Moo!

Then on to the trees. And trees there were. It was quite spectacular. We went for a bit of a hike through them, but didn’t go too far as the skies were threatening once again.

Trees
Our car and trees

We drove up to a lookout spot to have our coffee. When we got there, there was a family up there all frantically looking at their mobile phones trying to work out why people were there. “There must be SOMETHING! “ I overheard one of them say. They just couldn’t understand that maybe people just liked the view. Anyway, the view was lovely, and we had our coffee and a blueberry muffin whilst enjoying it.

Why would you want to look at this?
Muffiny goodness.

After our snack we drove on to the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse but not only was it freezing and windy, it was also incredibly busy so we moved on. We headed towards Augusta with the hope of getting some lunch.

Alas, it was not to be, so after a quick look at some beaches we headed back to camp. Actually we stopped off at the Margaret River Cheese factory and bought a couple of things first, which ended up being our late lunch.

Not from the Margaret River cheese shop, but still delicious

Had a bit of a wander around the property and finally saw some kangaroos.

More rainbows
Omg is that sun???

That was pretty much it for today. Mostly a lot of driving around and looking at trees. Nice, but would’ve nicer to have done a proper hike. Oh well.

Winter break Part 2

So it rained a lot throughout the night. A lot. It was also very windy. We were a bit worried that some of those beautiful Eucalyptus trees might fall down on us. Luckily they didn’t. It was nice and cosy and warm inside the chalet, but the hiking we had planned to do was just not going to happen.

Instead we cooked up some farm fresh eggs for breakfast and had a large cup of coffee and enjoyed the views from the breakfast corner.

Breakfast with a view

Unfortunately we couldn’t see any kangaroos.

We decided to drive down to Cape Naturaliste and see how the weather goes. There were patches of sunshine intermittently but then suddenly from out of nowhere it would pour with rain.

Anyway, we made it to the coast and it wasn’t raining so we went for a bit of a walk. It was lovely for most part, until it pelted down with rain when we were right at the top of a hill with no shelter anywhere in sight.

The sea was angry that day

We were told that there may be a chance of seeing some whales. We looked but couldn’t see any.

No whales to be seen
Foreboding skies…
Rainbow after downpour

We saw a lot of rainbows over the three days so that was a bit of a bonus.

By the time we had got back to the car we had dried off from our drenching and we decided to go look at a rock called Sugarloaf rock.

When we got there, it was windy but not raining, but as soon as we walked up the stairs on to the viewing platform, guess what happened? Yes, that’s right, driving rain and gale force winds began. We took shelter as much as possible under our rapidly deteriorating umbrellas and waited for it to pass.

Sugarloaf rock was actually really cool to look at. It was so wild and woolly seeing the waves crashing on the rocks. Like something out of Zelda or something.

Sugarloaf rock
Wild n woolly

Having had had enough of nature for the day we decided to head into Margaret River for lunch. Neither of us could remember the last time we had been there. Maybe 10 years ago?

With the promise of barbecued meat, we decided to go to the Settlers Tavern for lunch. The last time we had been here was when my band Burgers of Beef played there, so it was a bit of a flashback.

After some initial disappointment with the menu (turns out the barbecue meats were mostly not on offer), Steve settled on the fish tacos, and I got the only BBQ offering which was lamb ribs.

Ribs and chips

Our concerns were quickly eased as the food was actually incredibly delicious and we wondered why we hadn’t been back sooner. It was really nice and chilled there and we actually didn’t want to leave.

See you again soon we hope

The day was rolling on, and the storms were rolling in, so after a quick coffee at Yahava Coffeeworks, we headed back to the chalet.

Yahava coffee
Running through the trees

We had Japanese curry for dinner

Oishii!

Then I had a bath in the cool outdoor bath. And a gin and tonic.

Winter break

During the July school holidays we went on a quick 3 day trip to stay at a place called Tree Chalets. It was just out of Busselton in the town of Acton Park. We knew it would be cold, because middle of Winter and all, but we weren’t expecting all the rain, all the time. In fact two out of the 3 nights we were there we experienced cold fronts that we usually only get once or twice a year. We are so good at timing these things. The last trip we took, a cyclone came straight through. We had planned to do a bunch of hiking trails, but it wasn’t to be.

We drove down on the Monday. It’s only about 3 hours from home. We stopped in at Busselton for lunch at a new (well new to us) brewery. It was pretty decent. The beer was nice. We both had fish burgers, but I foolishly got mine gluten free. It was fine, don’t get me wrong but gluten free almost always disappoints. But I didn’t want to start the holiday off with a stomach ache, so what can you do?

Gluten free fish burger

We tried to have a bit of a wander around Busso, as it’d been quite some years since we had last visited, but the weather was so disgusting we decided to give up on that idea and head to our accommodation.

Tree Chalets are about 10 mins inland from Busselton. We managed to make it there before the storms hit. There are only 2 chalets there, set amongst a Eucalyptus plantation. Really quite serene and beautiful. The best thing was that the fire was already lit when we arrived.

Views
Fire!

The rain held off just long enough for us to have a bit of a wander around the property. We tried to spot some kangaroos but I think they were all hiding from the rain.

Kangaroo walk
So many trees

The chalet said it provided breakfast for your first morning. I’m not sure how much food people eat for breakfast, but there was more than enough here to feed us for the whole 3 days we were here. The farm fresh eggs were our favourite. Also, the avocado seemed to replenish itself after we ate the first one…haven’t solved that mystery yet…

Delicious breakfast foods

Even though it was cold and rainy, it was nice just hanging out and chilling by the fire. We made a Japanese hot pot for dinner which was really delicious. It was cooked in my new portable mini cookers. And they worked a treat!

Soup base and Itaki
Tofu, salmon and veges ready to go
Looking good!
Itadakimasu!

The hot pot turned out really good and just what we needed on a cold stormy night.

Homeward Bound

Time to go home again. But first a walk around the salt lakes and surrounding areas. We had heard you could swim (well float) in the salt lakes, but we saw no evidence of this.

Salty

We saw this cool old bus that we guess one day drove people around for tours of the area

One last look at Wave Rock

Such posers
Byeeeeee

Before we left Hyden, we stopped by Mulka’s Cave. Inside were hand prints from many, many moons ago. We didn’t take any photos inside as it didn’t seem right to do so.

Mulka’s Cave

Then we headed off, bound for home. We stopped by the local bakery and picked up some crossiants and a local Mulberry preserve which we had for our morning tea at a rest stop.

Delicious!
Cool sign
York
Afternoon coffees

And before we knew it we were back in the big smoke of Perth. Stopped by BCF to refill the gas tank before heading home.

Sunset over the Swan River

Overall a great trip, and would definitely recommend hiring a campervan! It was great fun and very convenient to have our coffee right there whenever we wanted! Would do again.