Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….

Archive for June, 2010

Broome Time:)

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on June 19, 2010

Hi Everyone,

Well we have spent a lovely week in Broome this week.  We chilled for a few days, took in numerous sunsets (just can’t get sick of the sunsets!:)) and did more touristy things.

We got back from Middle Lagoon on sat arvo and found out that Shrek 4 was playing at the Sun Pictures.  We wanted to take the kids to the outdoor cinema anyway and what better movie to see all together than our trade mark SHREK 4. It was only on Fri, Sat and Sun so Sat night was as good as any.  Great family movie and kids loved the outdoor cinema.  They don’t do wood fired pizzas anymore at the cinema so we had a quick meal at the cafe at the edge of the caravan park (nice cafe meals) before we left.

We went to Chinatown and looked through the shops and stopped at the old fashioned ice-creamery. Mmm yummy.  Kids kept wanting to go back to Chinatown, everyday, can’t imagine why:).  Looked through the Pearling Museum in town, some nice displays of pearling ships and gear used in the industry.  Joel showed the kids a little of what happened on the pearling luggers as he did a stint working on them in his youth – yep long time ago!

Pearling Lugger at Pearling Museum

Joel, Wade and Daniel measuring footprints

Daniel and Wade Dinosaur prints

We had checked the tide times and decided that Wednesday was the best day to go to Gantheaume Point at 7.05am so we could see the Dinosaur footprint fossils in the rocks.  We got up at 6.30am – yes i did manage to get up at that hour – (anyone who knows me well, knows i don’t do mornings very well, (I’m sure I’m part owl) but i did get up and off we went.  As we got out of the car and started walking down to the rocks, Wade looks at me and says “Mum, did you know you still have your PJ bottoms on?” Mmm, not much i could do but keep on going – they are blue with cartoons on them, so not really shorts but hey not much i could do about it by then.  We went to look at Anastasia’s Pool, one of the Lighthouse Keeper’s Wives had bad arthritis and he used to carry her to this particular pool so she could bathe as she couldn’t get down to the water. We kept on with the other tourists and found the dinosaur prints in the rocks. Took the obligatory photos and then the boys decided to take the path less travelled back up the rocks, rather than the path.  The kids won the battle of the breakfast and Maccas is was.  We needed some energy as we were going to the Wilderness Park at 1030am.

We had wanted to go and see the Crocodile Farm in Broome but found out there was a Wilderness Park as well, so we opted to go to the Malcolm Douglas Wilderness Park and see not just crocs but all sort of different animals and birds.  Rick was the man of the day and took us on a tour of the Park, explaining all sorts of different facts about the crocs, snakes, kangaroos, dingoes, cassowary birds (pretty looking but i wouldn’t get too close!), owls and other creatures.  Wade had found heaven and we stayed there after the tour and went to look at all the other animals.  It’s a huge park with lots of shady trees and bamboo and lots of australian animals.  At the beginning of the tour, Rick held a black-headed python and walked around for us all to feel the snake (Yep Nicole i can hear you from here:)).  Daniel was a little apprehensive but we managed to get him to have a touch at least and it felt very muscular!  They also had a hatchling crocodile, mouth bound with a hair tie, and everyone could have a turn to hold it and have a photo with it.  Wade’s favourite animals were the dingoes, Dan’s and Joel’s were the crocs and mine were the big red kangaroos.  They just lazed around and they all seemed to lie with their front paws crossed like “Hey man, whatcha doin’?”  Did a pop quiz with the kids to see how much information they could recall from what Rick had been telling them and they remembered nearly all of it.  It’s amazing how when they are so engaged they remember everything nearly verbatim! On the way out of the park was a lily pond with the most beautiful flowers in bloom. The entrance is a big crocodile head which was another photo opportunity waiting to happen! A great day out for both the kids and us.

Daniel with hatchling crocodile

Wade with hatching crocodile

Rick the Guide with python

Alligator feeding

Wade and Dingoes

Red Kangaroo

Had an action packed day today and finished it off with a sunset camel ride.  Fantastic!  The guys and girls walk alongside the camels and take your camera and take photos of you as you ride along.  On the way back they take some with the sunset in the background as well.  They were such a friendly bunch of people and am so glad we went with them.  Oh and i even got a pair of fresh water pearl earrings as well, just for going on the ride.  It was quite magical and an absolute must do if you are in Broome!  That night we dined down on the foreshore at Zanders and watched the awesome colors in the sunset, just amazing.  Left my good camera in the car and the lights were changing so quickly so i grabbed my phone and took this one.  That’s actually a star in between the palm trees – awesome!

Sunset colours from Zanders

Sunset on camelback

Camel ride:4 of us

Joel and the boys gave me the second part of my birthday present – It was a 3 hour spoiling at the Bali Hai Spa across the road from the Caravan Park.  I found heaven…….a massage, separate feet, hand and head massage, sea salt scrub, mud scrub, and a facial that seemed to last forever!  I was thoroughly spoilt and loved it! I can understand why rich people do this regularly!:)

Went to the movies at the inside cinema on Friday, during the day and saw The A-Team.  I used to watch the tv series many, many years ago and the kids absolutely loved the film.  A real light-hearted adventure film with guns and things blowing up, the boys thought it was great.

Drove the following night down onto Cable Beach to try to get sunset shots without so many people in them.  We all played some beach cricket, with lots of drink breaks! and nibblies.  We waited till the sun had set and watched the rest of the colours fill the sky – absolutely beautiful!  We also managed to see Venus in the night sky, rather right on dusk, as a bright, shiny , reddish light through the haze of colour on the horizon.  I’m trying to get used to picking out the stars to show the kids when we’re on the Gibb River Rd next week.

Cable Beach Sunset

Cable beach sunset

Spent the last day or so swimming and packing up as we head out of lovely Broome today, making our way out to Fitzroy Crossing.  We bid farewell to our lovely neighbors Judy and Trevor.  Thanks for all the advice and cakes! If you are reading this guys, pop us an email and we’ll be sure to look you up when we get to Qld.

We are staying at the Fitzroy Lodge Caravan Park, which we have stayed at before, a couple of years ago when we went to Kununurra with Joel’s parents.  A really nice caravan park and very busy at the moment.  We could only get an unpowered site tonight, then onto a powered site tomorrow night while we prepare and pack the car for camping on the Gibb River Rd for 3 weeks.  We sat down and planned our meals for the next 3 weeks as there are limited places to buy supplies and you have to be fairly self-sufficient with water and food.  Shopped up big in Broome just before we left and have packed all the food stuffs into the shower cubicle in the van.  No showering in the van tonight, lucky we are at the caravan park!  Tomorrow we will be attempting to pack it all into and onto the car.  Should be an interesting challenge but on we are looking forward to. So after Monday, no more online until we finish and get back to Fitzroy Crossing in 3 weeks time.  Should be looking forward to the van and a soft bed by then i would reckon. Till then



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Camping at Middle Lagoon

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on June 13, 2010

Hi Everyone,

Well we decided to spend an extra day in Port Hedland to have a bit of a look around and swim at Pretty Pool. Driving around we found a street and the kids and I wanted to get a photo under it and send to our friends the Websters – We were thinking of you a lot when we were here. We left Hedland and stopped overnight at the Stanley Rest Area on our way to Broome.  We got in early so we thought we’d make a fire and cook on it tonight.  We used the camp oven that Joel got from his mates at work – here it is in action Frank, thanks too,  it was a really nice roast and we thought of you guys while we ate:).

Webster Way street sign

Camp oven cooking

The Swamp at Stanley Rest Area

When we were in Hedland I rang the Palm grove Caravan Park in Broome, after a powered site for 2 weeks.  Everything was solidly booked out in town but as luck would have it, someone had just cancelled their booking that morning so we fluked a powered site for almost 2 weeks. We got into Broome and we looked at the site they gave us – OMG, but with help from our neighbours Trevor and Judy, we managed to squeeze our 25′ Swamp into the site.  We were in the overflow area, amongst cabins.  We backed onto a nature reserve of some sort and Wade found that a heap of wallabies and birds would congregate right near our annexe, just on the other side of the fence.  They are friendly and cute little critters.  The boys found a way to get onto the other side of the fence and were almost able to pat them. Wade is very stoked!

We wanted to go up to see Cape Leveque and Middle Lagoon on the Dampier Peninsula so we managed to book a few days so off we went.  We had to re-pack the car as we would be tenting it along this part of our trip. The first part of the road is dirt/gravel and they were grading it when we were going through so it wasn’t too bad.  The last 20 – 30 kms before the bitumen was the worst of the corrugations but still not too bad.  It was weird to hit the bitumen after so much dirt but not for long as Middle Lagoon is another 40 odd kms along dirt. The campsites up here are all managed by aboriginal communities.  We found our allocated site at Middle Lagoon but there were heaps of empty ones, some closer to the beach so we asked to swap to one closer to the beach.  The powered sites are set back a little way from the beach but the unpowered ones are either just back from the beach or right along the edge of the grounds, almost cliff edge views.  The wind picks up a bit in the mornings so we opted for a site just under the trees, but full view of the lagoon.

Our camp at Middle Lagoon

Middle Lagoon - paradise

Wallaby at Broome CP

Our neighbour, Trevor, had told us he drives some of the tours up to Cape Leveque, etc so he gave us a bit of a run down on the things to see and do up there.  We took a full day to drive to Cape Leveque and One Arm Point but the only dirt is on the road from Middle Lagoon back to the Cape Rd as the rest is all bitumen.  Unbelievable! The last 5 kms into Cape Leveque itself is dirt though.  The resort there is very nice.  The office is surrounded by green, buffalo grass – a very stark contrast to the red dirt surrounding it.  It was amazing to see the different sort of accommodation available there – there are powered sites, cabins, on-site tents, some unbelievable safari tent cabins too.  Very schmicko! and the view from them would be amazing.  We had to stop in at the office, even for day visits, as you need to register and pay a day pass fee.  We asked about the Aqua hatchery in One Arm Point and set off to go see.. We got to One Arm Point and stopped in at their office and paid another fee just to be able to have a look around.  We found out that we had missed the last tour before lunch – i don’t know why they couldn’t tell us that at Cape Leveque before we left – Agh! So we drove back to CL and had lunch at the restaurant. Lucky it was only 17kms apart and all bitumen but still!  So off we went back to One Arm Point to see the Aqua Hatchery there.  Was so worth going back for.  Bloke called Barry runs the hatchery there and does a short tour to show you what he does.  There are about 16 fibreglass tanks that he uses to rear barramundi and other aquatic animals, corals and sea creatures.  The turtles were our favourites and you can put your hands in the tanks and scratch their backs – they weren’t shy at all.  Barry got a few unsuspecting folks to feed the big barras – my god- he explains it as a sucking noise/action as they take the fish from your hands.  Each time someone fed them, you waited for the splash but it still made us all jump even though you knew what was coming.  A thoroughly enjoyable and informative time was had by all.  We bought a polished trochus shell there – very nice.  I think Joel and I loved this place just as much as the boys did.  The hatchery is located right on the edge of the peninsula and the edge of the King Sound.The tidal currents running here are about 12-14 knots and it didn’t look like a good place to swim! We headed back to CL for a swim and then back to Middle Lagoon.  We underestimated how long it would take to get back and managed to get back just after dusk – not good when driving on dirt roads!

Hatchery - Dan petting a turtle

King sound Tidal currents

One Arm Point

Dirt rd on Dampier Peninsula

Kids fishing at Middle Lagoon Beach

We spent all day at Middle Lagoon today. Tried to fish in the morning but no bait at the office till the afternoon.  We don’t have a throw net so we used lures instead.  The kids had blast just casting in anyway, but no fish for tea tonight:( They did try over near the rocks but after a few snags and mum and dad getting in to free them, they decided it wasn’t their day.  The tide was in so we decided to go for a snorkel instead.  Good choice as there are heaps of rocks around and we saw heaps of different fish.  The tide was moving out pretty fast and Wade wanted to explore the bay so he and I went off to do some more snorkeling.  Dan came over later to see us and he was yelling to come quick.  We raced over and saw hundreds of little crabs – but these crabs had bright purple/blue backs and reddish legs.  There were literally hundreds of these things coming out of the sand – it was an amazing sight. We watched them, mesmerised, for ages.  I wanted to get to the cliff top for some sunset shots so off for early showers and wash the salt off. There are solar hot water showers but as everywhere first in, hottest showers and tonight it was us – yeah!  Went over to the cliff with a drink and managed to get some absolutely beautiful shots.  Hard not to really as the place is just so god damn beautiful and peaceful!  We had decided to stay another day but alas got a hole in our air bed and the ground is just too hard for Joel’s back- We had tried re-inflating it, in the hope that it had just lost air and didn’t have a hole but both of us woke up with sore backs and a flat mattress.  We added the puncture repair kit to our list of things we had forgotten when we are tent camping!  It was  good though as it made us sit down and write a list of things and change a few ideas we had for storage, etc, which will serve us well on our next camping adventure on the Gibb River Rd.

Purple Crabs

Sunset at Middle Lagoon

Colours in the sunset are amazing!

We packed up to leave and had eager campers waiting to jump into our spot – couldn’t blame them really as we did have a really nice spot.  On our way back to Broome, we stopped in at Beagle Bay to see the Church there.  It is truly a work of art.  It was built by the pioneer Brothers and Aboriginals of the community at the time.  It took Father Droste, the Sisters and local Aboriginals 2 years to decorate the inside of the Church with mother of pearl and cowrie shells.  I’d heard about it but it is an amazing site to see. Even the 14 stations of the cross pictures are framed with a shell border. Amazing.   Trip back to Broome was not quite as bad as on the way up as the road was not as corrugated. The grader must have made its way right up to the bitumen. We left on a saturday so no grader on the road but we did see a few big rigs in Beagle Bay with half a house on each of them.  We followed the pilot vehicle for a short time back towards Broome – glad we didn’t get stuck on the road when those big buggers were going through though! Back to Broome for some more touristy stuff- Croc park, Cable Beach, Kayak Tour, Dinosaur footprints, etc.  Big week ahead!

Beagle Bay inside Church

So till next time


“The Swamp”

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Big Rigs on the road

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on June 2, 2010

Before i go any further i should have sent a big thank-you to Goldie and Janice for our meal on our first night in Karijini.  We felt pretty special sitting down to a feast of Red Emperor and Rankin Cod with vegies in the middle of Karijini, far away from the sea! Thank you guys it was delicious:)

Start of Kalamina Gorge

We spent the next day going through Kalamina Gorge.  It is a beautiful gorge and walking the gorge you basically follow water the whole way.  We headed off after an early lunch and spent the whole afternoon here. There’s just something about the water – i mean the rocks and different colors are beautiful but when there’s water it doesn’t seem as hot and the sound of running water is very relaxing.  The kids ran on ahead several times and were fascinated that you could drink the water.  They stopped at most of the fast-flowing little falls and had a drink, with calls of can i fill up my drink bottle from here! Very amusing as i grew up near rivers and not the sea so it was interesting to see them so excited about fresh water.  For once there no reminding them to drink water to keep hydrated:)

More water Wade

More water Dan

We stayed at the end of the gorge for quite awhile.  I soaked my feet in the icy water and the boys and Joel stood on either side of one of the pools skipping stones to eachother.  I say to eachother but at times is looked more like at eachother.  Ah magic! We then headed back off towards the start of the gorge walk to the Kalamina Falls.  The kids seem to have decided that all falls must be tried out even if they are freezing cold. Joel and i weren’t quite that keen at the later stage of the afternoon but the kids were keen.

Dan and Wade in Kalamina Falls

Kalamina Falls

We headed back to the car then the 25km of red rock road to our camp.  We were running short of water in the tanks so it was a quick flannel wash tonight – kids had already had showers albeit cold ones! Spent

the night cataloging photos and kicking back in the cold.  Stars sure look pretty tonight.

The next day Joel and Daniel went to the water tank near the visitor’s centre to filter and fill the water tank on the car to put into the caravan tanks so we had water to drink and cook with.  Wade and i made early lunches for everyone and we headed off on our pushies to the Fortescue Falls.  We locked up the bikes and took off towards Circular Pool.  We had done this walk 5 years ago when we first visitied Karijini before the rains hit and we had to get out of the park.  No chance of rain this time.

Circular Pool

We made it to Circular Pool and this time Joel was the first one to dive into the cold water.  Neither of us had worn bathers but we were the only ones there so down to nix and in we went. Holy shit it was cold. After a little while it didn’t seem too cold but that could be because my body was going numb!  The kids actually had to be coaxed in this time – and there were more people here by then too.  So after promises of some chocolate for dessert, in they jumped.  Got out, dressed and headed back up the gorge towards Fortescue Falls.  On the way the kids found a few areas where people had built little ‘cities’ with rocks.  They were groups of smaller rocks all stacked on top of one-another but so unusual  to see.

Rock Cities

We found a few different patches of these rock stacks – not sure if or what they signify but they were really well built and balanced.  Kept on until we made Fortescue Falls.  They are beautiful also – kids stripped off again and into the water they went. Joel and I were still drying off from Circular pool so we didn’t go in – that and it was about 4pm so sun was starting to go out of the gorge.

Fortescue Falls

The kids were mucking around on the rocks so we did some perspective shooting – and no Bezza they’re no really rock climbing.

Rock climbing Fortescue Falls

All in all a great few days at Karijini.  We started packing so we could get an early start in the morning as we are heading toward Port Hedland to stay for a couple of nights.  I need to catch up on the washing and stock up on some more food.

We headed off from Karijini about 9am after stopping at the visitor’s centre for a sticker for the car.  We stopped at Auski for 50L fuel ($1.62/L!) and kept on towards Hedland.  I’d sent an email on Sunday night to the Point Cooke Caravan Park but hadn’t heard anything back so we’ll see how we go getting in.  A few minutes later we had to pull over into a parking bay as directed by an escort vehicle.  As we got closer there were other cars and trucks already pulled over as well, not on the side of the road but into the parking bay itself.  Crikey this must be a big load we thought.  There were 2 escort vehicles and 2 traffic police escort vehicles tag-teaming ahead to stop and pull over traffic.  Turns out there was some mining equipment coming down for BHP and first one on the back of the truck was 15.1m wide and 9.8m high.  Massive!  It took up both sides of the road and still hung over the shoulders of the road on both sides! The other two trucks weren’t quite so big.  The trucks stopped and parked up for lunch on the road, so traffic could still get around them by detouring into the parking bay to get past.

Big rigs view 1

Big rig 2

There were some people waiting with us from Victoria and they had never seen anything quite so big moving on the roads before.  And in the true unsusual fashion of meeting people you know in the strangest places – Rhianna your brother Jamie was there as well.  How bizzare!  We were stuck here for about 40 minutes so i unlocked the van and made some lunch and we headed off after taking heaps of pictures.  We got to Cooke Point Caravan Park and when i went to the office i asked about a powered site – only 2 left and they’ll only take a 16′ van.  Buggar our van is 25′.  After the lovely lady showed me the way to another park, i mentioned that i had emailed on sunday for a site but had not had any reply.  Well, why didn’t i say so – they had booked us a site for the two days as requested in my email but hadn’t let me know.  Yeah, one for the sat dish for internet.  So now we are parked up in Port Hedland for 2 days.  After some discussion we found Joel and Daniel haven’t been into Hedland at all.  Wade and i came to Sth Hedland last year for NorthWest Teeball but Daniel had a soccer final and Joel stayed with him in Karratha.  I’ve managed to do a couple of loads of washing and need to do towels and sheets tomorrow.  Ah the joys of housework – can’t get away from them even on holidays!  It was nice to all have showers and wash our hair!  Mmmmm we almost smell human again!:)

Till next time


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