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Tales of the travels, trials and triumphs as we explore Australia in a converted bus

Motorhome Travels - June 2006


Exmouth continued to rain while we remained there - we decided that it would be best if we left while there were still roads. After a bit of a delay, we picked up the radiator for the Moke (now hole free) and headed for dry weather - inland. We made a few stops along the way and at one I managed to poke a new hole in the Moke radiator while trying to re-fit it. Fortunately, I have been able to successfully solder over the hole. While it is yet to be fully tested, I think it will be ok.

The countryside changed rapidly from the arid coastal plains to green undulating rocky hills as we headed for Karijini National Park. Before entering the park we stopped off at Paraburdoo - this is a busy little mining town that seems to have more flag bearing Toyota Land Cursers than people to drive them. After picking up water we headed a few km out of town to stay at Kellys Pool. This is a pleasant little spot despite being close to a large mining site. The grass is well looked after and the pool is well stocked with fish (not that you would eat them - visions of Blinkie the three eyed fish from the Simpsons came to mind).

The strange little woman on the gate (a volunteer I assume) asked us if we were a tour operator as we entered Karijini National Park - I stopped myself from asking her in return if she was here for the annual Karijini Mastermind contest.

We decided to park the motorhome and walk down into Dales Gorge. This has got to be one of the most spectacular pieces of natural scenery that Australia has to offer - it is just mind blowing.

Tracey at Knox Gorge, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Tracey at Knox Gorge,

The walk from the car park down into the gorge, along the bottom of the gorge to Circular Pool is quite amazing. The scenery changes every few meters. The pool itself is crystal clear with a faint teal blue colouring - it is fairly warm and quite refreshing after the walk. Along one side of the pool a ledge provides a place to stand while being showered with warm water seeping from cracks in the rocks high above. This place looks and feels like something from a movie set.

From Circular Pool we trekked along the gorge past some incredible rock formations and small waterfalls to the base of the Fortescue Falls. Another track headed further from the motorhome, but it was by this time getting late and we still had quite a climb to get back to the motorhome. We drove the motorhome the short 500m trip to the camping area and parked up feeling fairly tired from our days activity.

Dales Gorge from the top of the Fortescue Falls, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Dales Gorge from the top of the
Fortescue Falls, WA

The following morning we were up fairly early and headed off to investigate the track that we had seen the day before. This track begins at the Fortescue Falls and winds further up the gorge leading to the tranquil Fern Pool.

Fern Pool is another magical place - the water is warm and there are lots of little fish swimming near the surface. A waterfall tumbles water into the pool and trees cling to the rocks on all sides.

Perhaps we are just here at the right time - or perhaps we are just in the right frame of mind for this - whatever the reason we feel sure that this is one of the highlights of our travels so far. I think one of the key things about Karijini is that it is not over-managed - there are not the normal 500 warning signs at every ledge or view point stating the obvious (if you fall from here you might break ya neck) - the walks are natural with very few board walks, bridges or concrete walkways.

Tracey at Fern Pool, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Tracey at Fern Pool, WA

At times we were picking our way across some fairly rough ground - it leaves you with this great feeling, almost like you are actually discovering the place. After leaving the pool we decided to reverse the walk of yesterday and head back along the base of the gorge to the camp. We got back to the motorhome a little after 2pm - even more tired than the day before.

We spent a further 3 days exploring Karijini and continued to be blown away at each turn. If you see no other Australian National Park - you just have to visit Karijini.



Mobile phone signal is hard to find out this way - and so, no email or web updates for some time.

As we left Karijini through Tom Price we found out that the guys we were to meet up with on the coast had been delayed. So we decided to check out the most remote of the Karijini gorges - Hamersley Gorge. We stayed at Hamersley for a couple of days then headed west to a camp area by the Beasley river - one we had looked at on the way into the park. There was a sign in the camping area looking for people to work on the local (beef) station.

The motorhome parked at Cheela Plains Station, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
The motorhome parked at Cheela
Plains Station, WA

We decided to see if any of our skills would be useful and drove the motorhome to Cheela Plains Station. We met Evan and Robin and their four boys and found that they had a number of things we could help with. We stayed at Cheela Plains for six days and really enjoyed working for the Pensini family and had an opportunity to look around their massive property and gain a small taste of both the challenges and rewards of outback living. Many thanks to Evan, Robin and the boys for making us feel so welcome.

From Cheela Plains we headed for the coast - we are meeting up with Lee and Howard (sister and bro-in-law) who are now travelling in their Bedford bus. We found a nice camp just south of Onslow on the Ashburton River (rumour has it there is a large saltwater croc in the river - swimming and inflatable kayaks' are off the to-do list.) L & H arrived about 6pm on Saturday having driven from Perth in just 3 days!

We have a few things to do to tidy up both the Moke and the motorhome, so we will camp here for a week or so before heading north.


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