We were leaving Margaret River today and heading down along the south coast for the next four weeks, but all that changed with just one phone call that woke us at 6:00. The news that a very close and dear friend had passed away unexpectedly the night before at the tender age of fifty seven. The family live in Canberra and we camped with them earlier this year at Arakoon just like we do each year. With this sad news we both agreed that we could not enjoy the remainder of our holiday but would instead head for Canberra to be with the family for the funeral. We had planned to have lunch today with "Motherhen" in Bridgetown but of course we did not have the time to stop and socialise, so unfortunately that was cancelled. We headed east through Nannup, Bridgetown, Boyup Brook, Kojonup, Bromehill and Jerramungup before spending the night just west of Ravensthorpe in the bush.
Ten degrees in the van this morning before receiving another call confirming the funeral arrangements for Wednesday 30th October. We left soon after and stopped in Esperance for a coffee before heading north to Norseman to have lunch and refuel. We still had another 167 kms to travel today. Our camp for this evening is Harms Lake and when we arrived there were several other vans already parked for the evening.
Twelve degrees inside the van this morning with an overcast sky. We have another long day ahead of us and will be crossing into South Australia late this afternoon to camp at one of the scenic lookouts along the Great Australian Bight. We were driving by 7:00 and stopped at Balladonia 25 kms further on to refuel before continuing east. The information given to us at the Norseman Information Centre the day before was that we would have a tail wind as we continued east. How wrong they were, we had quite a severe head wind until we stopped driving at 6:00 that evening. We faced the van into the wind and sat inside looking at the Southern Ocean while we had our first Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum for the evening. Our site was 80 kms west of the West Australian border and there was another van camped nearby.
Another cool morning with just eleven degrees inside the van at 5:30. Thankfully the winds we had experienced yesterday where today much lighter. We purchased fuel at Nullarbor at $2.02 cpl before proceeding on. We emptied our toilet cassette at Ceduna purchased diesel at $1.69 cpl before proceeding further east. It was wheat harvest time and we had to contend with B doubles carting wheat to the silos until we stopped for the night at the Apex Park in Minnipa. The whole camp area was strewn with rubbish including large amounts of toilet paper so it was on with the rubber gloves and when I had finished I had filled a large green garbage bag. Ros then shouted me a very cold Little Creatures Pale Ale for my efforts.
Ten degrees inside the van at 6:30 this morning with a light breeze and clear skies. We left our camp at 7:30 continuing east along the Eyre Highway towards Port Augusta where we refueled before turning south. When we were level with Port Pirie we turned inland passing through Hughes Gap and stopping for lunch at Gladstone. We had planned to camp at Burra Gorge this evening but with so much more daylight available we decided to travel onto Morgan where we crossed the Murray River on the car ferry and camped at the Cadell Recreation Ground for $20.00 per site. The amenities were brand new and also included a dump point. Because the temperatures were so mild we sat outside the van for our happy hour and then cooked outside on our gas ring. Ros had lamb cutlets and I had porterhouse steak which we bought at Margaret River. This was served with mash potato with onion and peas and of course another bottle of red wine.
A lovely warm seventeen degrees at 5:30 this morning with light rain falling. Willy Weather predicts light rain clearing later with winds from the south west so looks like another day driving into the wind. The rain cleared as we left our campsite and we experienced wet roads for the next 30 kms until we reached Waikerie. We refuelled in Renmark and then Balranald before continuing east towards Hay on the Sturt Highway. We thought we may camp at one of the many sites along the Murrumbidgee River but we had already covered so many kms today and driven for 7.2 hours so we called it a day and camped at the showgrounds at Hay. $17.00 per site with power, showers and toilets and best of all we had the place to ourselves. Another warm evening so once the flies had departed we cooked our meal outside again with those wonderful meats from the Margaret River.
This fountain commemorates the existence of a Prisoner Of war camp in Hay from 1940 to 1946 which housed interns and prisoners of the Japanese and Italian forces. This was the headquarters for the POW group of three camps each of which housed 1000 men.
Distance today 535 kms.
We had light rain falling on the van during the early hours of this morning. At 6:00 it was seventeen degrees. The show ground also houses the race track and Ros joked this morning as to whether we would see any horses doing track work. I commented that it's not Royal Randwick, but low and behold while we were having our coffee a 4wd was being driven around the track with a horse tethered to the side of the vehicle. Rain started to fall as we left the showground and continued for the next 177 kms until we reached Narrandera. From here it was an easy run through Wagga Wagga and onto the Hume Freeway. We stopped for lunch at Yass before setting up camp at Exhibition Park in Canberra. Fees for a powered site are $30.00 which includes all the usual amenities and a dump point. It's situated just off the Federal Highway near the northern suburb of Watson.