Nursing and Navigating around Australia and the world!
Hi! I’m Rachel and I started this blog to document my travels and experiences while finishing my Registered Nursing degree and also when I’ve finished and start working. I feel it’s important to keep a diary to share with others so they can see snippets of life outside their usual routine. It’s also for students, present and future, to see what kind of placements they can apply for...
It’s been over 2 months since I last updated this blog and you know why? Because I didn’t think I had much to really tell you about! However I thought it would be nice to give you an update on what’s happening in our lives in Alice Springs and what we are hoping for in the future.
I have been working full time since the 1st November 2018 and really enjoying my job, role and team I am with. I am learning a lot and enjoying having some structure in my days! However I am also still yearning to be on the road exploring the country so we have tentatively decided that we will travel down through SA and Victoria to Tasmania in April 2020.
It is summer here in Alice Springs and really really hot. I mean, 45.6 degrees Celsius hot (114.8 degrees fahrenheit) so you can only do very little during the day time due to such sweltering heat! For Tim and I being such sand-gropers who came from a climate that barely reached 30 degrees in the middle of summer, we are feeling really claustrophobic and stifled by this heatwave. We dream of the ocean and crystal waters!
Tennant Creek (four hours north of Alice Springs and one of my favourite towns) is even hotter and one day (if not more) it reached almost 50 degrees (122 fahrenheit)!!!
Tim and I moved into a 3 bedroom rental property in early November and we love it there. I have been planting flowers and keeping the garden green and lush despite the suns harsh treatment!
I’ve also made a few lovely friends here in Alice Springs so it’s wonderful to see them and have a laugh. I miss my friends and family back home HEAPS! And we look forward to seeing them when we visit Albany.
As many know, Australia has heaps of killer animals just waiting to pounce and attack! And we found two enormous spiders in the first few weeks of being here!
The first is a mouse spider and was discovered crouched in the cupboard under the sink of the apartment we were renting. He was placid though and seemed confused as to how he got there. I scooped him into a box and let him go outside without a fuss (from both me and the spider!).
The next was a Huntsman spider who scampered up my windscreen while I was driving causing me to scream like a banshee and almost swerve off the road!!! He then sat on my roof while I was driving so I was too scared to wind my window down to swipe my card to get into the work carpark! I ended up leaping out of the car and using an old box to swipe him from my roof. He ran under my car and I believe he is still there to this day, waiting to leap on me while I’m driving! Argh!
We were planning on flying our dog Izzy over to be with us but after talking to Tim’s sister, it was decided Izzy would live in Albany with her and her family as she is very settled there and the kids love her. We miss Izzy a lot but comforted that she is loving life and being really well cared for. We get photos of her at the beach and she radiates contentment.
We love having a pet so recently we adopted a beautiful little scruffy terrier who came from a camp near Ti Tree about 2 hours north of Alice Springs. A local vet (Alice Springs Veterinary Centre) rescued her and provided treatment for her mange and undernourishment. We named her Georgie and she is about 6 months old.
Georgie is the light of our lives. As she is still a puppy, she is extremely adaptable and demands our attention to play, cuddle and simply just know that ‘I am here! I am Georgie! Let me bite your ankle!’. She has put on weight and getting used to being carried around and smooched on her fuzzy cheeks and fat little paws. We play and exercise her in the morning before it gets too hot and she gets a lot of attention during the day so is blossoming into a beautiful smart pooch. She wants me to tell you she can sit, lie down and almost roll over!
Georgie has missing/patchy fur because of the mange but I am keeping photos of her progress as she heals and grows more fur. She has also recently been spayed hence the stitches on her little tummy. We are so blessed to have her as part of our family and enjoy getting to know her and her quirky personality every day.
2019: I am starting full time studies towards my Master of Forensic Mental Health in February and will also start my full time graduate program in late March. It is going to be a huge but rewarding year and although I am super nervous about my graduate program, I have heard the team are really supportive and great to work with – yay!
So that’s about all we’re up to in our lives at this stage! Thank you for reading and keep in touch!
Hello! G’Day! Howzitgarn? Please accept my many apologies for such a long absence between blog entries! I am sitting at a cafe called Red Dog cafe in the Todd Street Mall in Alice Springs. The weather has been really weird the past few days with drizzle, a few thunderstorms and rain! But let’s start back to when we were in Darwin!
We arrived in Darwin on the 10th October. My graduation ceremony for my Bachelor of Nursing was held on 12th October at the Darwin Convention Centre. I have to say, Charles Darwin University really made it a very special event for everyone and I felt so proud to be amongst a group of students who had made so many sacrifices and worked so hard to be there in their gowns and mortarboards.
I wore my beads made by a lady in the remote Aboriginal community of Canteen Creek. It was a reminder and a symbol of where I had come from, where I want to be and the people I want to serve and care for as a nurse.
The two parts I felt teary were when the doctors were given their degrees and called ‘Dr’ for the first time and when the people were receiving their Certificates; the tradesmen who had taken time off work, still dressed in their work boots, shorts and hi-vis shirts wrapped in a black gown and looking so proud of themselves. The people who had worked hard to learn English as their second, or third, or fourth language. The one and only recipient, a female, who had gained her certificate in metal fabricating!
Everyone receiving their qualifications on that day were from different socio-economic backgrounds, different families, different abilities but everyone had achieved what they set out to achieve regardless of whether it was a Certificate 1 or a doctorate. We were all in the same big room shaking the hand of the university Chancellor and feeling really damn proud of ourselves and each other.
My Mum came all the way up to Darwin from Albany and along with Tim, my brother Simon (who lives in Darwin) rearranged his work to be there to see me accept my degree; even though that meant he had to work longer to make up the time. I was so thrilled and proud to have them there with me on that day and very thankful they were able to come. I looked up at them after I accepted my degree and saw all three looking down at me with pride; an amazing feeling.
It was a long arduous journey to get my Bachelor of Nursing degree. There were many sleepless nights full of anxiety and self-deprecation. Mornings of clinical placements where I was in tears and wishing I had never started studying! But I had immense support from family and friends and I am now at the beginning of my next journey.
Last year, when I was up in Darwin for my clinical training block, I stayed with my brother and his family and made a promise to my sister-in-law that once Tim and I got to Darwin for my graduation ceremony (what seemed like a looooong way away!) we would sip champagne and laugh about how stressed out I was! So Katie, Tim, Mum and I floated around in their swimming pool, sipping champagne and I couldn’t believe I was finished!!
I wish I could say the rest of our stay in Darwin was as fabulous, however over the course of a few days I developed a tickling cough and on the Sunday, put myself to bed just after lunch where the cough quickly escalated into a raging fever, headaches and general malaise. I was as sick as a dog for days and couldn’t leave the granny flat bedroom where we were staying. Tim caught it off me and a few days later developed the same miserable symptoms. We both were in quarantine for just under a week until we felt slightly better to emerge and plan our trip down to Alice Springs! It was the worst flu-type illness I remember having and we were both feeling extremely worse for wear!
I bought a car in Darwin so on Friday 19th October, Tim and I planned to drive to Mataranka then Tennant Creek then Alice Springs. And that we did. Dosing up on Sudafed and cough mixture, we made the long journey to these destinations, stayed one night to rest then back on the road. We didn’t visit any attractions, focussing our energy on keeping alert while driving to each stop-over!
We arrived in Alice Springs on the Sunday and checked into the best caravan park in the town. ‘G’Day Mate’ Caravan Park is lovely and we had a grassy area with an en-suite bathroom – luxury! The swimming pool was large and clean so we floated around in it to escape the heat. Before long we were joined by a few people who live at the caravan park, 2 of them nurses! One was even a mental health nurse! So we had a lot to chat about and in true territorian fashion, they were quick to invite Tim and I on their social occasions and welcomed us to Central Australia. We are keeping in touch with them and hope to attend lawn bowls this Thursday!
Unfortunately the heat was too much to bear living out of a camper trailer so Tim and I bit the bullet and checked into a furnished apartment until we can move into our little rental house early November.
I have full time work which I start this Thursday until my graduate program starts in late March. Tim is taking it easy and looking at his options for the time being!
I met a fellow graduate student last week and we chatted for hours which was lovely. Other than that, we’ve been getting paperwork ready, viewed potential rentals, a little bit of sight-seeing and generally settling into a new city!
I’m looking forward to making new friends here in Alice and really miss my friends back home. I guess we can sometimes take having friends around for granted and I’m really feeling it being away from everyone. But this is what happens with change and I know both Tim and I will make wonderful new friends here!
So that’s about it for where Tim and I are at! We survived travelling around WA and have made it safely to our destination of Alice Springs!
We are now Territorians!! Goodbye Western Australia!
We’ve arrived at our first major destination of Darwin! Getting in yesterday in the late morning, we splashed around in my brother’s pool until it was time to pick my mum up from the airport who has come up from Albany especially to see my graduation ceremony.
We’ve had a great time on the road the past couple of weeks since my last post. We stayed in Kununurra for one night before making our way to Lake Argyle. Swimming in the infinity pool, we looked out over the ‘inland sea’, Australia’s second largest man-made water reservoir on which we would be sailing the next day.
Tim and I hiked down the 400m rocky zigzag to a pontoon where we met and chatted to a guy who was from the town of Denmark, only 40 minutes from Albany. He had picked up a Russian girl who was cycling her way around Australia or as the guy said ‘hasn’t done much cycling since I picked her up!’. It was beautiful swimming in the deep clean green water surrounded on one side by steep rocky walls and lightly scattered with houseboats and a million dollar yacht, all of which would never leave Lake Argyle after the rigmarole of getting them there in the first place!
The sunset tour of Lake Argyle was beautiful with two tour guides who gave a great informative tour as we sailed around the enormous dam. The highlight was the swim while we watched the red bushfire sun set over one of the islands.
We stayed for 3 nights and were all packed up and ready to leave on the third day to be told me Lake Argyle employees that the road to the Northern Territory was closed and there would be an escorted convoy back to Kununurra. As we couldn’t be bothered unpacking and setting up the camper again, we decided to join the convoy to Kununurra and stay in a hotel for the night (or as it turned out, a couple of nights! The air-con and great swimming pool at Kimberley Grande hotel were too inviting!).
Before the convoy started, a long line of cars waited at the Lake Argyle road turn-off and we all watched as flames licked and gnawed at bushland right across Victoria Highway. Willy-willy’s took smoke and turned it into a dark grey spiral high into the sky as we stood mesmerised. It was a strange but great opportunity to have a chat with a few people before we all moved onto the next legs of our journey.
Once the road as open through to the Northern Territory, Tim and I made the 4.5 hour drive to Katherine and rocked up the Shady Lane Caravan Park where we planted ourselves next to a mango tree laden with hard green mangoes. Night time crept around the corner, actually it was sprung upon us because we lost 1.5 hours due to the time difference, bats came out to play; shrieking and throwing themselves into the branches of palms and mango trees creating a racket. We shone our torch into the trees and watched them hang upside staring right back at us until they flapped loudly and crash landed into a another tree, away from prying eyes.
We went on a 2 hour boat ride along Nitmiluk gorge where you ride on one boat, get off at the end of one gorge, walk past some beautiful and intriguing ancient Aboriginal art, then hop onto another boat to ride down the second gorge. We were lucky enough to spy a freshwater crocodile nestled in a crevice under one of the gorge walls, his beady eyes looking at us with a ‘bugger off’ expression.
Hey! Look who’s doing the whole collaborating thing! Moi!
Outbaxcamping.com.au and yours truly have sussed each other out and they have written a cool article for you about new and tried camping equipment that can, will, may, hopefully, make your next travels or ‘just for the weekend’ getaway a lot more glamp than camp. More royal than ragged. You get what I mean.
Now we use a few of these such as the portable toilet and the solar panels. NOTHING is better out in the bush than a portable camping toilet compared with a deep hole and a toilet seat made-up of bitey ants. And for the Dale Kerrigan serenity, we charge our batteries with the solar panels and don’t have a generator piercing the sunset calmness.
So have a gander at what they have to offer and I’ll see you around!
The 10 Coolest Camping Innovations Today
With the advancement in technology, camping becomes easier. Gone are the days when you need to pitch a tent for an hour, take a dip in the cold stream, or build a fire using available logs.
Data show that in 2017, there was a huge increase in the sales of camping equipment across the world. In the United States of America alone, some $51.4 million was spent on camping equipment. Among the bare essentials in camping are tents, sleeping bags, water purifiers, and backpacks.
For a complete list, here are some of the coolest innovations that you might want to consider on your next camping trip:
1. Instant Tent
There are a lot of camping innovations today which include instant tent which allows you to set it up in seconds. Aside from tents, hammocks and portaledges are now being improved to provide options for different people in various camp conditions. If you don’t feel comfortable sleeping on the ground, you may consider tying a hammock on trees or protruding stones. Portaledges are the best equipment for rock or tree climbers who would want to elevate their camping experience.
2. Solar Camp Stove and Grill
Solar ovens, stoves, and grills allow you to enjoy home-cooked meals while camping. A solar oven is a like a microwave that can heat and cook food in minutes. Because it is solar, you won’t need gas. It is thus safer for the environment and the kids. You just need to prepare the food, place it inside the solar oven, and let it bake under the sun. A solar grill, on the other hand, allows you to cook food in less than 20 minutes by using reflectors.
3. Portable Camping Toilet
After a day in the wild, you are feeling the need to go but you don’t feel comfortable digging a pit in the ground. A camping toilet allows you the comfort of doing your business like you are at home. A 20L portable toilet in Outbax Camping is only $99.80 and it comes with free shipping.
4. Solar Portable Shower
Because you will be outdoors most of the time and sweat is your companion during the day, you will badly need a shower before you go to sleep. Fill your camping shower with water and let it stay under the sun for a day while you go about your activities. In the evening, you already have hot shower that will soothe your tired muscles. For privacy, you may pair this with a portable change room. Both are available at Outbax Camping for less than $100.
5. Water Purifier
Staying hydrated when you are outside is very important. This adds burden on the back of campers, as water is not light to carry. Instead of adding ten gallons of water on your load for your two-day trip, why not take advantage of a nearby stream. Water purifiers are now very portable, allowing you to drink water anywhere. It does not only remove visible dirt and impurities, but it also filters bacteria and viruses.
6. Solar Toothbrush
This is an environment- friendly innovation. The solar toothbrush allows you to remove food bits and even plaque in your teeth without the use of toothpaste. Best of all, you do not have to exert effort in moving your arms up and down. It will brush your whites on its own. As this is solar- powered, all you need is to stick it out in the sun to power it up for your next use.
7. Airbeds and Portable beds
Do you complain about back pains and sore muscles after a night in the tent? With airbeds, you will no longer sleep on hard soil nor will you have to bring a bulky cot or mattress from home. Airbeds are your new best friend in sleeping. If you want a bed that you can convert into a sofa, you may also look for bunk beds that are convertible.
8. Solar Back Pack
Instead of bringing your power banks and countless cords to camp, why not bring a solar backpack. It will take care of all your recharging needs including for your phone, speakers, and music players. As solar panels are lightweight and are already attached to your bag, you will not feel burdened.
9. Portable Washing Machine
A scrubbais a portable washing bag that does not need electricity. You can clean clothes in 30 seconds with just water and liquid soap. You can put it inside your pocket because it is foldable and weighs less than 5 oz.
10. Solar Panels and Solar Lanterns
Solar panels are the craze nowadays. They are used for various purposes. Aside from charging your gadgets, you may connect them to a mini-fridge or to your camp lights. This will make sure you have cold drinks and a bright campsite.
There are a lot of great innovations for camping out there. Some of them will surely make your camping life easy. Some, however, are just nice to have. If you are a beginner, select the basic necessities and choose the things you cannot absolutely live without. While these are the coolest inventions, some are a little pricey. You also need to be wary of the quality of the products.
As these are mostly innovations, product reviews are still few. For the best camping supplies that are affordable, durable, and good options to choose from, visit OutbaxCamping now. You are assured of the quality of the products you are buying because all of them come with a warranty.
In the wise words of Hanky the Christmas Poo: ‘Hooooowdy Ho!’
We are in Kununurra WA after spending 6 days doing the Gibb River Road. But let’s start back to… Cape Leveque?
We drove along a shit of a road from Broome to the Dampier Peninsula and turned up to Kooljaman Cape Leveque caravan park to be told there was no room at the inn. So we drove up to Cygnet Bay and checked into a cute little campsite a couple of kilometres from the main reception/pool/reception.
The next day we drove back to Kooljaman Cape Leveque, determined to swim at the iconic beach. We paid $35 to access the beach in our car so we made the most of that by soaking up the sun (a little too much), drinking apple cider and swimming until our skin macerated.
We were keen to get going to start the Gibb River Road so after two nights at Cygnet bay, we zipped along to Derby arriving in 39 degree (celsius) heat. So what did we do? Checked into a cheap motel with an air conditioner and swimming pool just to relax and ‘luxuriate’ before we headed off again!
Our first stop on the Gibb River Road was at Windjana National Park where we visited the start of Tunnel Creek; a tunnel and creek in the pitch black. I say the start because we clambered over the rocks to the entrance, stood oohing and aahing at the striped granite and dark green pool of water while the buzzing of bees filled the entire cavity THEN realised that the one and only torch we brought along with us was almost on the blink. We had searched for Tim’s powerful headlamp but couldn’t for the life of us find it so we settled on sharing the torch. Tim was still keen to give the tunnel a crack with the dodgy torch but I envisioned us sitting in thick pitch blackness waiting for a good samaritan (AKA a tunnel visitor with light) stumbling across us. So we erred on the side of common sense and turned back.
Reading some other stories about how travelling came to be, it occurred to me that there are lots of you out there in this spectacular world who have no idea who I am nor how I came to be a nurse and travelling Australia.
So this is our story.
Tim and I met way back in 2010 and I moved in with him in 2011. Initially we decided we would like to buy a few acres and a house somewhere on the outskirts of our hometown Albany in Western Australia.
I was working as a personal care assistant in aged care and Tim was (and is) a boilermaker working for a locally owned company. In 2011, I was offered a scholarship by my then manager to become an Enrolled Nurse. Working towards this goal, I also worked full-time while studying part time. As is required for many areas of study, I was required to attend clinical placements at hospitals so I used all my annual leave attending these full-time placements.
Tim and I loved to go away on weekends (or whenever I had a few days off, working shift work and all) and one particular weekend in 2012, we camped at Bluff Creek, a beach further up the coastline from Cheynes Beach WA. Sitting under the black sky scattered with bright stars and a warm campfire burning next to us, I realised I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in Albany paying off a mortgage having never travelled. I told Tim that I wanted to travel when I finished studying (both my Enrolled Nursing Diploma then Bachelor degree in Nursing). Tim said he would do it with me, so that night, we decided that when I had finished my degree and Tim was due his 10 year long service leave, we would pack up and become nomads. That year, so far in the future, was 2018.
For the next 6 years, I finished studying my Enrolled Nursing Diploma then my Bachelor of Nursing all the while working full time. I spent every hour of my accrued annual leave to attend clinical placements which left me feeling really exhausted and pretty burnt out. However I left aged care and began working in Mental Health, an area I have and always will be passionate about. I was extremely lucky to have a brilliant manager who encouraged and supported staff studying so I was able to attend clinical placements when offered and even travelled to the Northern Territory for a full 2 months of clinical placements in various Aboriginal communities. I had the best time of my life in those 2 months and it ignited a deep and profound respect and passion for providing health care to Indigenous communities. I had wanted to be a Remote Area Nurse for a long time and this placement cemented my goal to become one and work all around Australia.
We set a date of 17th August 2018 when we would be driving out of our driveway and on the next part of our lives. This date was quickly creeping up and we had heaps to do.
We listed all our furniture on Facebook Buy & Sell groups and were surprised at how easily and quickly we were able to sell everything. The house became more and more empty until the final night was spent on a mattress on the floor.
We had saved money and added the dosh from selling our belongings to our travel kitty. I had paid off my debts over the years and Tim had chosen a real estate to lease his house through.
I didn’t have much furniture, having given away or sold a lot of it when I moved in with Tim. However it was harder for Tim emotionally as he was selling everything he had worked hard to buy especially his beloved motorbike, couch and TV.
We had a cat Leila and dog Izzy as well. Leila has gone to live with Tim’s dad and reports back are saying Leila is loving being a lap warmer and spends her days snoozing on ‘Grandad’s’ lap or under his bed covers! Izzy is staying with Tim’s sister until we settle in Alice Springs. Tim’s sister has 4 kids, the two younger ones being at home more and are loving playing with Izzy. We feel so comforted and grateful that our pets are being cared for so well and in homes full of love and attention. Of course we could have taken Izzy with us however we really wanted to see a lot of National Parks and decided it would be kinder for Izzy to remain in Albany rather than having to spend time in random kennels while we are on the road.
So that was how we came to travel, in a nutshell. Of course there were a lot of emotions going on. I had been living back in Albany for 12 years and Tim had lived there all his life (apart from stints living away) so we were leaving friends, family and pets behind, not to forget stable jobs! However now we are on the road, we keep in touch regularly via social networking, phone calls, texts and postcards!
I’m sure many people who travel, both overseas and around Australia are often told how ‘lucky’ they are. But luck has nothing to do with it. Travelling and having the funds to travel requires a lot of work, sacrifices and dedication. For seven years while I studied both my EN and RN I never had a holiday, not to Bali, not over east, not one holiday. Tim and I took little breaks for a day or two but otherwise I was either working and studying full time and/or attending clinical placement in hospitals (full time shifts).
We both had our sights set on becoming free from the daily grind and worked hard to achieve it. Once I finish my grad year in Alice Springs, we will be back on the road picking up nursing/welding work to fund our travels.
I am sitting at my laptop at a place called Cygnet Bay on the Dampier Peninsula. It is a balmy evening and I’m sipping on icy cold apple cider, looking forward to what tomorrow brings. In a couple of days we will be doing the Gibb River Road then heading to Darwin for my graduation ceremony on the 12th October.
So if you want to travel, anywhere in the world or around your own country, you CAN do it! It doesn’t need to be expensive and you can do it on a budget. Just work hard and save as much as you can, you can always pick up work on the road if you need.
There are heaps of Facebook pages that are really informative and helpful. I have found quite a few really helpful, here are some links:
Tim is on a couch. This may seem unremarkable but it’s the first time he has been on a couch for 5 weeks and for Tim, that is a lifetime…and a half. Thanks to a person very dear to me, we are spending the night in a really nice apartment suite in Broome WA before we leave for Cape Leveque tomorrow. One of the prerequisites of booking a hotel/motel/apartment was that it HAD to have a couch, lounge, settee, sofa, a rose by any other name. For me, a microwave. Not that I’ll probably use it but it’s the things you just don’t have when camping.
Moonlight Bay Suites – A beautiful place to stay.
ANYWAY, we are in Broome WA and Broome WA has impressed us hugely. We have spent every evening swimming at Cable Beach in calm inviting turquoise water, floating around, chatting, diving under the water and constantly appreciating being here swimming when 5 weeks ago we would be working, or studying, or just still entwined with the daily grind. I’ll get back to Broome.
We spent two nights at Cape Keraudren, a coastal reserve north of Port Hedland in East Pilbara. We camped overlooking oyster reefs where the tide came in and out twice a day. We saw a little octopus with a few missing limbs who seemed really friendly. We also loved watching the hermit crabs scuttle slowly around.
We would like to have more fond memories of Cape Keraudren but every time I look at my arms and lower thighs, I see sandfly sores, multitudes of them. We got eaten alive at Cape Keraudren! Yes, we did have Bushmans spray on but they got through the mosquito mesh of the camper trailer and attacked us as we slept. They are nasty nasty nasty little buggers! They are the itchiest itchy’s we’ve ever ever had!!
We did walk around the beach and had a beautiful swim in the water and also listened to our neighbour gently sing along with his ukulele as the sunset which was a real bonus. The view when waking up was just beautiful! So maybe Cape Keraudren wasn’t all that bad!
We aimed to get into Broome on Tuesday 18th September and were making good time until we came to Sandfire roadhouse where the rest of the highway was closed due to a bushfire. We joined truckies and other tourists who were all waiting around and hoping they could get on their way sometime soon. We sat around for a few hours but had enough so went back 40 km’s and stayed at 80 Mile Beach for the night.
Hi! I’m writing this under our annexe overlooking the blue water of Cape Keraudren, north of Pardoo. I have never seen such turquoise blue water and we can’t wait to go swimming tomorrow! We have set up and relaxing after a week of no-so-great holidaying!
We packed up from Shark Bay and were hoping to check in at an AirBnB in Coral Bay but alas, ’twas not to be (for the fact Coral Bay has bugger all AirBnB’s) so we decided to camp at Warroora Station. We stocked up on supplies in Carnarvon and one of my brother’s rang and suggested we visit Gnoolara Station so we set off there.
Turning right at big sign saying ‘KING WAVES KILL’, we drove the second most corrugated road we had ever driven! Arriving at the camp, we looked around in dismay at the dusty, windy, crowded campsite swarming in surfies while overlooking reefy, rough ocean. We’d come this far, it was getting dark and had to camp the night. Not happy Jan.
The place was interesting if wind surfing, surfing and whatever else is your cup of tea. But for Tim and I, give us swimmable water and beach access any day of the week. So we stayed one night listening to the howling wind batter out camper, packed up the next morning and took off like a bat out of hell. Our number plate ripped off so Tim had to tie is back on with zip ties! That’s how corrugated the road was!
The blowholes down the road were awesome and we had a look at the lighthouse and humpy camp over the other side.
Planning on camping at Warroora Station, we stopped at Milynup Roadhouse where I made the executive decision to drive straight through to Exmouth and stay in a cabin for a couple of nights to feel a bit more civilised!
Exmouth is a gorgeous town with amazing crystal beaches and so much to do. We had plans to snorkel, go on a glass bottom boat, fish and swim swim swim! However that afternoon I started to feel lethargic and achy. Over the next two days, it developed into a stomach bug where I was left with horrible abdominal cramps and … let’s just say, ‘the tummy bug stuff’. We did go for a drive to have a look around and watched the sunset one night which was beautiful. Tim went out by himself one afternoon and saw whales breaching in the ocean.
After three nights in Exmouth, I started to feel slightly more human and we set off to Miaree Pool for the night on our way to Broome. We left there this morning and are now at our current spot.
The place we are camping now is pretty quiet with beautiful views overlooking the ocean. The tide comes in and out regularly, with the next high tide due, according to our neighbours, tomorrow around 2.30pm. We’ve just had a walk down to the water with the tide out and the sand feels like that magnetic sand and really sinky! Tim and I had a race back which was hilarious with our feet sinking deep into the sand with each step!
It’s a bit of a cloudy day here on Double Beach, a secluded paradise on the southern peninsula of Shark Bay, on a station called Tamala. On the North peninsula, almost at the end, is a town called Denham which reminds me of a mix between the coastal towns in the TV shows Sea Change and Home & Away; sunny, friendly and beachy.
The last time I wrote, we were staying at 40-mile beach around 50km south of Karratha. It was a pleasant campsite with warm sunny weather and plenty of space. However, the tide went out in the early morning and didn’t come back until later in the evening so swimming wasn’t really possible. Tim and I spent the first day exploring via 4WD along the sand dunes and reefs. We loved looking at the rock pools where brightly coloured crabs would hear our impending company and scuttle away. Slow or sleepy crabs weren’t so quick and made a mad dash around the edges of the rock pools when we approached; one crab even leapt through a hole landing right at my feet causing me to squeal!
Due to the magic of geocaching, we found a beautiful billabong called Miaree Pool only 20km north of our campsite. It was obviously a favourite place for motorhomes to pull up but there was plenty of space. The water was deep and dark green, a rope swing hung still from the branch of a grandfatherly white gum while ibis, black swans and the odd willy wagtail would swim and scoop up fish. We swam for about an hour, floating in the coolness and appreciating the landscape sharing this refreshing part of itself with us.
We stayed three nights at 40-mile beach then made the 4.5 hour drive to Carnarvon where stayed at one of six caravan parks. We did the usual load of washing, showering and I made use of the swimming pool. We visited the Carnarvon Space Museum which was fantastic and very interactive. The best bit for me was getting pat Buzz, the resident cat who managed to sleep on the front counter while hordes of people came bustling through!