Wandoan Show 2017 – Part 4

On Monday, a full program was provided for those who wished to participate. In the morning a bus trip to Possum Park, originally a WWII ammunition bunker which has now been converted to a cabin and caravan park while retaining much of the original structures.

Busses were provided to transport us to the park approximately 50kms south of Wandoan.

Some of the former ammunition bunkers have been converted to self-contained accommodation along with a number of train carriages. One of the features currently being worked on is the conversion of a former TAA Vickers Viscount aircraft to provide unique overnight accommodation.

Video of the transportation of the aircraft to Possum Park can be viewed here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cs9JAkf3iEQ.

Following our guided tour by the owner, we were treated to a delicious morning tea.

Whilst enjoying our morning tea, Erich photographed this Grey-crowned Babbler in a nearby tree.

The resident pooch.

Back at camp, Erich was alerted to the presence of a Black-necked Stork a.k.a. Jabiru.

Later in the afternoon, we were taken on a tour of the Windmill Village, a purpose-built miner’s camp servicing the nearby mining areas. The village was built by one of the Shadforth group of companies which also built RV Homebase where we live.

Prior to the tour, we were given a talk about the establishment of the village and their ideas for the future.

As well as providing sleeping accommodation for the miners, there is a huge dining area staffed by professional chefs, recreation rooms, and even a tavern.

The very well equipped gym includes a golf simulator.

The Tavern has been converted from an old school house brought to the property.

This massive fire-pit beside the Tavern provides a cosy spot to watch the footy on the two huge outdoor TV screens provided.

A recent addition to the village is the construction of transportable dwellings which are then onsold for use wherever such accommodation is required. The intent is to provide an employment opportunity for the Wandoan community. The following photos show how well designed they are and how comfortable one could be, for example as a holiday home for a cost of around $30,000 plus utility connections.

Sunset from the veranda of the Tavern.

Tuesday was Anzac Day and busses were provided to transport campers to the War Memorial for the Dawn Service. The service was very well attended by around 600 people, many of them miners from the Windmill Village who headed off to work as soon as the service was finished. Unfortuately it was too dark for photographs. Many of our fellow campers participated in the traditional Anzac Day march and subsequent ceremonies but we had planned to leave that morning so it was just a quick pack up and we were on our way home again.

We decided to overnight again at Wooroolin to break the journey.

An afternoon shot of the wetlands.

And a few more birds.

This Speckled Warbler is apparently uncommon in this area.

Willie Wagtail

Female Red-backed Fairy-wren

Together with our neighbours, Peter and Helen, we had a lovely dinner at the Grand Hotel, adjacent to the camping area.

Erich was up early to take this wonderful shot of the wetlands.

We love this photo so much that we have had it mounted on canvas and now just have to find a place to hang it.

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Wandoan Show 2017 – Part 3

Following an ecumenical church service at the Juandah Historical Village, we were treated to a camp oven lunch prepared and cooked by members of the Juandah Historical Society.

The fires were lit at 3.30am so that the coals would be ready to receive the camp ovens in time for the roast beef and vegetables to be cooked for lunch.

It’s hard to beat a good camp oven roast – it was delicious!

After lunch a game of Klop (also called Finska) was enjoyed by many.

While Ellie got to know one of her neighbours.

There is lots of old machinery located within the village providing Erich more photo opportunities.

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Wandoan Show 2017 – Part 2

Friday was the first official day of the two day Show and Erich was out early to capture photos of some the local birds.

Apostle bird

Female Red-rumped Parrot

Varigated Fairy-Wren

Indian (Common) Myna

Jacky Winter

We headed out to the Showgrounds to watch some of the ring events and check out the entries in the various cooking and craft competitions.

Back at our campground there were more birds to photograph.

Double-barred Finches

Restless Flycatcher

And one of our 4-legged companions.

And another stunning sunset.

And, what else but Happy Hour.

Next day was the main Show Day with a full program of ring events including wood chopping, vehicle displays, show jumping and cattle judging.

A few more shots around the campground.

Jacky Winter

Superb Fairy Wren

 

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Wandoan Show 2017 – Part 1

Our first trip for this year was a week away at the small country town of Wandoan as part of a group of fellow residents of RV Homebase to attend the annual “Show”. The founder of RV Homebase began this tradition last year as part of an effort to support the struggling town by bringing much needed funds to local businesses and non-profit organisations in the area. We attended last year as part of a group of just over 20 units while this year saw a vast improvement with almost 70 rigs attending.

We planned the trip with our neighbours and left home on the Tuesday after Easter. Wandoan is around 250kms west of Maryborough as the crow flies but around 460kms by road which is just a bit too far for one day’s travel towing a van so we planned to stop in the tiny town of Wooroolin 175kms away and around 2.5 hours drive.

We arrived just before lunch and set up camp adjacent to friends Helen & Graeme who had arrived about 15 minutes before us.

There is a wetland area within walking distance of the camp ground which we decided to explore before settling down for happy hour with our friends and neighbours.

Unfortunately it was rather late in the day for the bird hide to be of any use but it is a pleasant area and we enjoyed the walk.

There were heaps of different types of dragonflies buzzing around.

And a couple of the locals checked us out on our return walk.

It was a lovely evening to sit outside our vans at happy hour. Left to right from front centre – Neville, Ruth, Lindsay, Peter, Helen, Helen S, Ellie in her bed, Graeme, Lesley and Merle.

Sunset was quite special and Erich took photos of some of the buildings opposite the camping area.

It was an uneventful drive from Wooroolin to Wandoan over some bumpy back roads but we were all set up at Juandah Historical Village in time for happy hour again.

Left to right Denise, Graeme, Ruth, Lindsay, Clive and I think those are Helen M’s feet.

As usual, Erich was out and about taking photos.

The next evening a welcome bbq and entertainment was provided for our enjoyment.

An enjoyable evening had by all.

 

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Lithium (LiFePo4) batteries

My LiFePo4 post from 2013 (https://nussbaumerweb.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/lithium-lifepo4-batteries/) on this blog still receives a lot of views. More than 3 years later it is seriously out of date. For a starter, the Kedron was sold together with the LiFePo4 batteries back in 2014. In fact the lithium batteries helped us to sell the Kedron.

When we returned from our trip in September 2013, we decided to upgrade our caravan. There was nothing wrong with the Kedron and it had served us well. But over the time we used it, we realised that a different layout would suit us better.

We looked into replacing the Kedron with a new caravan – but everywhere we looked, ended up in a dead end. We looked at various manufacturers, did factory tours of quite a few. Nobody wanted to manufacture a caravan and then allow us to install a Lithium battery. They told us if we installed our own battery system, it would void our warranty for the whole van. We couldn’t agree to something like that.

Therefore the solution was to buy a second hand van that didn’t come with any warranty at all…

2014 was a busy year for us as we had sold our house in Brisbane and were building a new home at RV Homebase in Tinana near Maryborough. While the new house was being constructed we spent the time at Standown Park Caravan Park located between Gympie and Tin Can Bay. During our stay, a Davidson built caravan which met most of our criteria came on the market. Caboolture Caravan Repairs was the original builder of the Phoenix Vans which had an excellent reputation for a quality product and the Davidson family is well known for their expertise in caravans. However, the Phoenix brand had been sold many years ago and the three vans built by CCR in 2011 could not bear the Phoenix name, hence they are Davidson RVs. The van advertised was the last caravan ever built by Caboolture Caravan Repairs – they now concentrate on their repair business. We jumped at the opportunity and purchased the van with the intention of replacing the AGM batteries with LiFePo4 batteries.

I grew up in Switzerland and Do It Yourself was never part of my upbringing. In fact, DIY was frowned upon, being viewed as “cannot afford to have it done properly”. Having built the LiFePo4 system in the LandCruiser and having been heavily involved in building the LiFePo4 system in the Kedron, I felt I should be able to complete the install in this new van. When we purchased the van, we didn’t really know how to do the changeover as the original AGM batteries were mounted external to the body of the van on the rear of the A-frame in a protective enclosure which was not suitable for the Lithium battery. After extensive discussions with LiFePo4 experts, we decided to install 400 amp hours of LiFePo4 batteries on a slide in the front tunnel boot.

The first challenge (and probably the biggest challenge) was to figure out how the van had been wired in the first place. The documentation we had received didn’t help and the manufacturer of the van couldn’t provide a wiring diagram either. In order to regulate the charging of the LiFePo4 cells, it is essential to separate the charging circuit from the consumption circuit. With the help of a multimeter and hours of removing panels and crawling around on the floor, I figured it all out. Unfortunately, it turned out that the charging and the consumption circuit were joined a long way from the battery. This meant installing a new run of cables from the back of the van to the tunnel boot in the front of the van so that the solar and the mains battery charging circuit could be separated from the consumption circuit. I hesitated (Lesley would say I procrastinated) for a long time before deciding on drilling the holes and pulling the cable through to reach the batteries on a separate run. The cable is mostly in cupboards, but I had to run it from the top to the bottom – not exactly nice, but it is hidden from the main area of the caravan.

Similarly the charging circuit that was charging the batteries from the tow vehicle needed to be separated from the consumption circuit. This was a major challenge for me as it involved drilling holes, connecting very heavy cables to existing runs and soldering cables to achieve what I wanted to connect. I removed the solar regulator, feeding the solar panels voltage straight to the batteries, via the T1 Lithium charging regulator

Having completed this rewiring, time came to install the fridge slide, construct the battery box and mount the LiFePo4 battery in the box – fortunately I have a neighbour who assisted me with this part of the build. Then the charging components needed to be installed on the front of the battery box. The main component, the T1 Lithium charging regulator, which is the brain that ensures the cells do not reach critical voltage, was supplied by T1 Lithium with connectors clearly labeled so that it was relatively easy to connect it all up. This time I also installed a Victron battery monitor which allows us to keep track of State of Charge. This was all fairly straightforward as it was similar to the install in the Kedron. Having a better understanding how it all works also helped.

This photo shows the battery box mounted on a slide in the tunnel boot, allowing easy access to the components.

This photo shows the cells – normally they are protected by a plywood cover. This prevents dropping anything onto the top of the cells.

The control panel.

The changeover was completed just in time for our six month trip to Western Australia. If you are interested, check out our blog from the day we left: https://nussbaumerweb.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/leaving-rv-homebase/

During this trip we had a Xantrex 1800W inverter installed. This allowed us to utilise the vastly increased capacity of our new LiFePo4 system. We were very happy with the new system. It takes some time to get your head around the capabilities of this increased capacity. Having a State of Charge of 50% means we still had as much useable capacity as we had on the previous system when it was fully charged. So while we were enjoying the benefits of the new system, we didn’t take advantage of some of the capabilities during the 2015 trip.

We did a few short trips in 2016, including a 6 week trip over Easter. We had purchased an induction cook top which Lesley used a few times during this trip, taking advantage of the free energy.

Prior to our 4 month trip to Western Australia in 2016 (https://nussbaumerweb.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/day-1-to-calliope-campground/), we also purchased an additional 2 x100W semi flexible solar panels, but only used one, as the other one is defective. I use the panel to provide additional input into either or both batteries (van/tug batteries). After our 4 month trip to Western Australia, I can report the following performance:

  • on travelling days, the alternator/DC-DC charger together with the solar panels mounted on the roof of the van, supplied sufficient input to keep the batteries full by the end of most days
  • when stationary, the solar panels provided sufficient input to keep the batteries full on most days
  • the challenge was to keep the batteries full on very hot days. The compressor fridge runs continuously when the temperature is above 40 degrees Celsius inside the van. To keep the batteries charged, the 520 watts of solar panels on the roof of the van were insufficient. Even when augmented by a 120W moveable solar panel the battery charge decreased. However with the new 100W flexible solar panel, the 740W of solar panels in total managed to keep the batteries fully charged. I find that the moveable panels are so much more efficient than the stationary panels on the roof of the van because they can be positioned for maximum input by correctly angling them to the sun.
  • Worst scenario was continuously cloudy, hot days when stationary. We struggled to keep the batteries fully charged under those conditions and reverted to using gas for the hot water system, probably erring too much on the cautious side.

We do not carry a generator – which obviously would assist in keeping the batteries fully charged during continually cloudy days when camped in one spot. During this trip, I ran the engine of the LandCruiser only once to charge the batteries from the alternator while we were stationary. I think the decision to not carry a generator was a wise one – we only needed the additional charge once – and the LandCruiser could provide the necessary charge, probably with less noise than a generator.

We have installed an 1800W Xantrex inverter on the circuit that is wired to the 240V inlet. The inverter is auto-switching when we connect to an outside supply, such as in a caravan park. We use the coffee machine and milk frother every day. The hairdryer is also frequently used. We use an electric kettle for our cups of tea in the morning. We use an electric sandwich maker. We use a toaster. When the batteries get full early in the day, we use the electric hot water system to heat our water. We have an induction hot plate that we sometimes use for cooking. The stick mixer and the food processor are used occasionally. We carry a vacuum sealer to seal food in plastic bags, however we didn’t use it on this trip. The airconditioner can be run on this inverter, but we have never used it. I think it would drain the batteries too quickly but again we are probably being over cautious.

On a separate 240V circuit we have a 300W inverter that is always switched on when we are stationary. We use it to charge phones, tablets, laptops, electric toothbrush, electric clippers, vacuum cleaner and camera batteries. When Lesley does the washing in our twin tub, it is also plugged into the 300W circuit. Two satellite receivers run on this circuit as well. The television runs on the 12V Circuit.

All lights are LEDs and are wired to the 12V circuit. Our 4 fans are also wired directly into 12V.

I also changed the setup in the LandCruiser considerably. We still have a 100Ah LiFePo4 battery used primarily for an Engel Fridge. To charge this battery while driving, we installed a Ctek DC-DC charger. Whereas previously the LandCruiser battery was always connected to the van batteries, this connection is now only active while we are stationary combining the two batteries to effectively become one system that is charged and discharged in unison. While driving, the van batteries are being charged via a Redarc DC to DC 40amp charger in addition to the solar panels on the roof of the van.

The changeover between the stationary and the driving configuration is achieved by changing the connections via Anderson plugs.

We are very happy with our setup.

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Days 114-122 – Heading for Home – Elliott NT to Maryborough Qld

22nd September, 2016. Elliott to Wonarah Bore

Longreach Waterhole was the last of our multi-night camps as the weather was now too hot for us to linger in the north. Lawn Hill and Porcupine Gorge will have to wait for another year and much earlier in the season. Once we are in going home mode we are almost on autopilot though we still do not travel long distances each day as that is just too tiring and no fun at all. As we had Wonarah Bore planned for our overnight stop and we would be arriving well after lunchtime, we took advantage of our fuel stop at Three Ways to try out their Three Ways Burger and very good it was too.

When we pulled in to the roadhouse we had just caught up to a cattle road train which was the last of four fully loaded cattle trains stopping there for a lunch break. As we had not had any internet or phone signal for the past few days, we also took the opportunity to get a few things done online. Blog posts to send and I finally had a message from the Katherine PO that our mail had arrived the previous Thursday, a full 10 days after the “Express” post item had been sent from Tinana. On checking the tracking number online, we found our mail had had a trip via Boorooloola from Darwin, meaning it would have passed through Katherine along the way. Thanks for nothing Australia Post!! So now I had to call the AP service centre to request the mail be returned to sender. As I type this now on the 3rd October, no further tracking of the item has happened since 22nd September. I wonder if we will ever see that mail! While we were going about our online business, I heard one of the staff saying that the cattle trains were headed for Qld. Yikes! We didn’t want to be stuck behind them all the way along the Barkly Highway so we quickly concluded our business and prepared to leave – just as the first road train was leaving the roadhouse! We needn’t have been concerned though as the driver maintained around 95kph for the whole trip which was fine by us to stay behind him and the other road trains did not catch up to us.

I had marked Wonarah Bore campsite as a favourite on Wikicamps when we passed by on our way west. It is a very large area with room to get back away from the road and there were just a couple of rigs there when we arrived in the early afternoon. Though it did fill up later in the day.

 

We couldn’t quite believe our eyes when the cattle train ahead of us pulled in to the rest area as well, followed at regular intervals by the rest of the convoy. Erich had a chat to one of the drivers asking why the beasts were being trucked from WA to Qld. Apparently they hadn’t been sold as we had thought but were simply being relocated from one property in WA with poor feed to another in Qld with good feed, both properties belonging to the same owner. I can’t imagine how that can be economical but it must be. This was just a rest stop for both the cattle and the drivers as they were heading to a holding yard somewhere near Mt Isa for the night.

Later in the afternoon, two ladies in a camper van pulled in and came over for a chat. They were on their way to Tennant Creek, where they grew up, for the dedication of a memorial on the 50th anniversary of a plane crash in which their 12 year old brother was killed. Erich asked them to take photos and to send them to him so that he could have them added to the Monument Australia website. He received those photos from Jenny, who coincidentally lives in Tiaro, a small town about 10 minutes drive south of where we live, a couple of days ago and the entry is now on the website http://monumentaustralia.org.au/display/109854-lockheed-hudson-plane-crash Eventually this monument will make its way to the National Archives. What a fateful meeting in the middle of nowhere.

23rd September, 2016. Wonarah Bore to WW2 Memorial 50kms north west of Mt Isa.

The WW2 Memorial campsite was another that I had earmarked for the return journey. Commemorating the building of the original road between Mt Isa and Camooweal during WW2 and funded by the USA, the rest area is quite large enabling us to get away from the worst of the road noise.

I’m not going to try to ID these little brown birds – probably Robins of some sort.

24th September, 2016. WW2 Memorial to Julia Creek.

Once past Cloncurry, we were travelling a new route for us along the Flinders Highway. We had heard much about the official free camp in Julia Creek so that was our destination for the night. It was fairly busy when we arrived at around 1pm with plenty of vans making use of the 72 hour limit but still we were able to get a fairly level spot beside the creek. A nice quiet campsite.

25th September, 2016. Julia Creek to Campaspe River.

Sometimes choosing a campsite is a bit of a lottery, often decided by the distance we want to travel and with the following day in mind. So we decided on the Campaspe River Rest Area. The best thing about it is that it is level but it is close to the road and therefore noisy. Ok for one night but that is about it.

The dry river bed gave Erich something of interest to photograph.

26th September, 2016. Campaspe River to Guthalungra Rest Area.

We stayed at the Guthalungra Rest Area last year so I should have known better but distance and time wise it ticked the boxes but I had forgotten how noisy and busy it is. I won’t make that mistake again!

27th September, 2016. Guthalungra to St Lawrence.

We set a record for early departure from Guthalungra. We were on the road by 6.15am heading for the St Lawrence Campground which turned out to be nothing like I was expecting. It has recently changed from being a free or donation campsite (I forget which) to being $10 per night. What a bargain at that price. No power or water but full amenities ($1 for a hot shower) and a dump point and the ability to pay online. As we drove in I realised our neighbours from RV Homebase, Michael and Jo, were set up beside the stables. After a quick chat, we decided it wasn’t a bad spot so we pulled in behind them.

I’ll bet these railings could tell some tales.

There were hundreds of Magpie Geese at the waterhole.

Erich was told by a fellow camper that the Magpie Geese fly over every evening at sunset. Unfortunately it was much later than sunset when they finally took to the sky so the resulting photos were pretty bad but it was an experience to see and hear them.

Finally the first kangaroo with a joey that we have seen on this trip.

28th September, 2016. St Lawrence to Bajool Pub.

Over the past couple of days, Erich had been having problems with a bladder infection which was getting worse. He was able to book an online appointment with a doctor in Rockhampton, so that became our focus for the day. We hadn’t been to Rockhampton before so did a bit of a reconnoitre of the parking availability near the doctor’s surgery and then found a good parking spot close to the Woollies shopping centre where we were able to kill time in the air-conditioning. With the doctor visit completed and prescription filled we were on the road again by around 12.30pm but we decided to make it a short drive and settled on the vacant land across the road from the Bajool Pub, which had rave reviews on Wikicamps. We certainly had no problem finding a good parking spot as we were the only ones there.

That’s the pub to the left of the tree.

Not exactly the most attractive country pub but their meals were reputed to be really good as we were able to confirm when we had dinner there.

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29th September, 2016.

What was to be an easy run home turned out to be a little problematic due to a very bad accident that closed the highway between Calliope and Benaraby, forcing us to take a detour through Gladstone. Had there been a few detour signs to point us in the right direction it might have been a bit less stressful but we eventually found our way back to the highway at the right spot. Stopping at Bororen for a break, we noticed fellow RVHB residents, Edna and Kevin, having morning tea in the park. We had a quick chat with them before they continued to Mackay for a funeral and we headed home.

122 days, 20,053kms, Qld to WA via NT and return.

A big thank you to our lovely neighbours, Peter and Helen, for looking after our place in our absence. It was wonderful to come home to a lovely clean deck!

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Days 111-113 – Longreach Waterhole NT

19th – 21st September, 2016.

Following very heavy rain overnight, we had a rather messy time packing up in the morning to move on. We had been greatly anticipating our stop over at Longreach Waterhole, just west of Elliott on the Stuart Highway, Northern Territory but were concerned about how much rain had fallen and whether we would be able to travel the 10kms of mostly sandy track from the highway to the Waterhole.

We stopped in town first and checked at the Service Station where we were told that they hadn’t had any recent rain so we set off to find our camping spot. Apparently this is such a popular spot during high season that it becomes very crowded. As it is now well past high season we found the camp ground almost deserted, not only by campers but also by the hundreds of waterbirds that make the waterhole their home over winter. This was a bit disappointing but we enjoyed having plenty of space around us.

We set up camp at a reasonably level spot close to the water’s edge.

Although the birds were relatively few in number, they were still entertaining to watch. The Australasian Darter, aka Shag, is a great fisherman and it’s fun to see how they manage to get their catch from the point of their beaks and down their gullets.

And after a successful fishing expedition, it’s time to dry the wings.

The Egrets stalk their prey at the water’s edge.

The Caspian Tern lines up its prey and then dives vertically into the water.

For such large, ungainly birds, Pelicans are remarkably graceful as they land on the water.

There were plenty of Kites around too.

A White-breasted Woodswallow.

Bath time!

A Black-necked Stork, aka Jabiru, from a long distance.

We thoroughly enjoyed our few days relaxing by the water.

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Days 108-110 – Bitter Springs

16th – 18th September, 2016.

We had been tracking our mail forwarded from RV Homebase and expected that it would be in Katherine when we passed through on Friday. The Express Post article had been scanned through Winnellie NT sorting facility on Wednesday afternoon so one would think it could make the additional 250km journey to Katherine over the next 24 hours but no. It wasn’t there and no one had any idea where it was or when it would arrive. The lady in the parcels section of the Katherine PO did her best trying to get some answers from the Winnellie facility but to no avail. After a couple of hours hanging around in Katherine, we decided to head south to Bitter Springs for the weekend and wait to see what Monday brought with regard to the mail.

A stay at Bitter Springs had been on the agenda for the trip home so we couldn’t think of a better place to spend the weekend. Bitter Springs is just a couple of kilometres east of the town of Mataranka, approximately 100kms south of Katherine. It is certainly obvious that the tourist season is almost at an end as there were only about a dozen rigs at the caravan park. The attraction here is the thermal spring on the edge of Elsey National Park where the water is 34 degrees all year round.

The best way to enjoy the spring is to float on a pool noodle 200 metres downstream with the current, climb out walk back to the start and do it all again. Very relaxing!

The caravan park was a very casual place where you are given a map and told to choose your own site. Our site had bush close behind which was home to lots of wildlife. Families of wallabies visited the vacant sites next to us in the mornings and afternoons foraging for tasty morsels.

There was also a lot of varied birdlife to keep us entertained as well.

A Sulphur-crested Cockatoo.

A Blue-faced Honeyeater.

A Yellow-tinted Honeyeater.

On Sunday we drove out to the Elsey Historic Cemetery and to the site of the original Elsey Station Homestead. Unfortunately we neglected to take a photo of the impressive entrance to the cemetery where there is a monument to Mrs Jeannie Gunn, author of “We of the Never Never”, and her husband, Aenaes Gunn.

Cairn and plaque commemorating the Homestead.

As rain was predicted for Monday, we packed up as much of the outside gear as we could on Sunday afternoon and this little fellow followed Erich around like a puppy.

Overnight we had around 70mm of rain so we were happy to have packed a lot of stuff away the day before but it was still a messy and slow process to do the final break up of camp and get on the road again.

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Days 106-107 – Sullivan Creek Rest Area

14th -15th September, 2016.

Our drive out of Keep River NP was a little easier than our drive in as our tyres were cold and therefore had significantly lower pressure. Still we took it easy just to be sure. We were driving over familiar ground once back on the Victoria Highway but we still appreciated the beauty of the area.

We stopped in Timber Creek to refuel – two service stations side-by-side and a 10c difference per litre. I don’t get it but obviously the dearer station gets enough business to maintain their pricing policy. If y ou happen to be passing through Timber Creek, the Mobile Servo, the most easterly, is always the cheapest. I also bought a cucumber which I had forgotten in Katherine. A continental cucumber and a short one at that – $3.85!

We arrived at Sullivan Creek camp ground around lunchtime to find the place empty except for a whizz-bang stopped for lunch and departing shortly after our arrival.

We set up in the same spot where we camped on our westward journey – out of the way and with the awning side of the van facing roughly east to give us shade in the afternoon. As we were waiting on our mail to arrive in Katherine, we decided to spend two nights here. It’s a National Park site, unlimited stay but $3.30 per person per night.

The countryside is looking dry and thirsty.

A quiet couple of days with nothing very noteworthy about them.

There is a waterhole close by but nothing to get too excited about.

So Erich spent his time trying to photograph the local birds.

A Peaceful Dove – they seem to be everywhere around the country.

I first thought this was a Restless Flycatcher but this area is out of their territory. Finally identified him as a Paperbark Flycatcher.

A Yellow-tinted Honeyeater.

Don’t bother searching for a bird here – there is none. Erich just liked the tree!

Similar to the Rainbow Lorikeet which does not occur in this area, this is a Red-Collared Lorikeet.

Here is a face that only a mother could love – similar to the Noisy Friarbird found it Qld, this is the Silver-crowned Friarbird.

And a close relative – the Little Friarbird.

I’m not 100% sure about this one but I lean towards Brown Honeyeater.

Another Great Bowerbird – they have a very distinctive hissing call.

The Peaceful Dove is really a camera hog

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Days 104-106 – Keep River National Park

12th – 13th September, 2016.

On the road again and heading for the WA/NT border, we stopped briefly in Kununurra to restock the larder and refuel and then we were in the Northern Territory again. Last year we passed the turn off to the Keep River National Park and also again this year as we headed west. Not knowing anything about it, we decided to drive in and if it was worthwhile to stay a couple of days. Our mail was being forwarded to Katherine so we had a few days to kill till it would arrive.

It was an 18km dirt road to the first camping area, Gurrandalng, and our tyres were at highway pressures which meant we had to slow right down for the relatively rough drive in. When we arrived, there was only one campsite occupied, so we did the circuit looking for the best site which was big enough and not shaded.

We kept an eye out for this bird but did not see it.

Rainbow Bee-eater.

Next morning we set off before 6 a.m. to do the 2 km return walk.

There were some unusual rock formations near the start of the walk.

I had not seen seed pods like this on Grevilleas before.

The view across to the west from the top was amazing – like a mini Bungle Bungles but with lovely green vegetation.

This walk was really special and we were so pleased that we ventured in to this unspoiled area. The walk would have been spectacular with the afternoon sun shining on the cliffs but it would have been just too hot for us. The morning walk was mostly in shade making it very pleasant.

Posted in 2016 Trip to Western Australia | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments