Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

Western Australia at the start of our journey

15-Sep-2004
We moved out of the hotel and into the caravan on Tuesday 9th Sept and spent our first night in the van on a very nice site just to the East of Perth. We spent 3 nights there kitting out the van and sorting our bank account out (Another story!).
We headed North out of Perth and stopped at Moora for a night. This area is famous for its wildflowers and being spring, there are flowers everywhere. I am told they are everlastings for those that know these things.
Here is our new home for the year
This is what we look like on the road From Moora we drove to a site 22kms North of Eneabba to a site that was recommended to us by George Day, the chap who owns the company we got our caravan from. The site is called the 'Western Flora Caravan & Tourist Park'. If anyone is travelling up this way I can highly recommend it.
The site is run by Allan & Lorraine Tinker. Lorraine looks after orphaned kangaroos and emus and Allan is a real expert when it comes to flowers. Each evening he takes a group around the park and explains everything you ever wanted to know about the plants growing on his mini nature reserve. The tour ends indoors where he puts various plants he has collected on the tour under a microscope which is connected to a TV screen for all to see. The next day we followed him on 4x4 tracks around the area where he described the different plants and how they change according to the different soil types. We have never seen so many different orchids in one place. Driving through Smokebush
We are now in Kalbarri in a site alongside the Murchison river. Its very warm with a steady breeze - great. Yesterday we droveout to the Kalbarri National Park and walked 'The Loop'. Well, we should have taken notice of the sign at the start of the walk. It said it was 8kms (5 miles, that not too bad) but difficult in places. Someone had scratched 'Very' in front of the difficult! The path followed a loop in the river which flows through a rocky gorge. The scenery is spectacular. A lady who was travelling alone joined us for the walk (Maggie, an English lady who lives in Germany). The start of the walk along the top of a ridge wasn't too bad. We met two other people along the track and got chatting. When the young lady asked where we were from she said 'Fawley!, my Gran lives there and my Uncle runs the windsurfing shop in the square.' It's a Small world isn't it?
Back to the stroll around 'The Loop' - We eventually got down to the bottom of the gorge alongside the river where the track changed a little. We had to scramble around rocky ledges and climb small cliffs for about 2 kms. Maggie has dodgy knees, Ali has knackered hips so it took some heaving and shoving and cagouling to get us through this stretch. We set out at 11:30 'ish so by now we were in the full heat of the sun (Yes I know, Mad dogs and Englishmen. . .). After this, the track turned to rocks and sand which was a bit easier but very hot. To finish off, we just had to climb back up to the top of the gorge to get back to the car - 4 hours later and down to our last drop of water!

Today we are resting - not too many aches and pains and catching up with the washing and stuff.

We are having to use libraries to get access to the Internet so don't worry if you don't hear from us for a few days (or weeks). My mobile phone uses Optus which doesn't seem to reach this part of the country. Ali is managing to send a few texts though.