Yes we know: we waited waaaay to long to post a new update from us. Truth is: since we are in New Zealand we have been very busy! When we arrived here, we immediately bought a van and after 3 weeks of traveling through Northland, we started working at the Top 10 campground in Hot Water Beach. Here, we made a lot of hours every week during 3 months, and besides the work we were also working really hard on our van (which we turned into our own little house and which is as good as done for now!) so it were a couple of tiring months. Half of February we stopped working on the campground and since then we have been traveling through the North Island for a few weeks now already. You would say that we have plenty of time now, because we have such a long time to travel around, but nothing could be further from the truth. People who know us may know that we always want to see as much as possible and search for the undiscovered places everywhere, so even though we have been traveling for 2 months already, we haven’t seen everything in the North Island yet! And even though autumn has just started, the weather is still nice here and we still enjoy the beautiful nature of New Zealand. Also, last week the parents of Bram came to NZ: life is good!
But first we go back far in time. We could’ve skipped this story, but after our holiday in Indonesia, we have also experienced a lot during the last weeks of Australia and we actually really want to tell you about that as well. So sorry if you don’t want to be so far in history for a while.. so be it 😉 or you could skip this story 😛
So: In the month of October we did a lot of things in the surroundings of Perth, to make sure that we saw the last bits. Especially Bram also worked a lot to save some money for NZ, but in the meantime we did plenty of fun stuff too. We even had a mini vacation to visit the wildflowers in this area. It was the ideal season to see them!
In our previous update we told you that we flew back from Bali to Perth on Monday the 25th of September (2017), where we were welcomed with 12 degrees and rain. Brr, that was so terrible! Luckily this cold didn’t last that long and we had great weather almost all of October. That Monday afternoon we had a good rest from our intensive holiday and sadly we were notified that our cleaning job would not continue. John, our boss, wanted to do the work by himself to save some money. That’s a shame, because we could need the money, but it was also nice that we had some more time off.
The rest of that first week back Bram started working again at the camper hire, part time now. They couldn’t offer him a fulltime job now, which means that he worked 3 to 4 days a week. Manon didn’t have much work, except for some baby sitting and working in a food truck now and then. Of course it had little use now to go job hunting for that last 4 weeks. Sitting at home the first week was a bit tough, because it was a bit boring here, and also chilly! She was a bit down, but luckily she could go through all the photos and edit some and also write some blogs about our holiday! And that is very nice to do 🙂
After a week the weather was also getting better and we were doing a bit more fun stuff too, so slowly Manon came out of the black hole again and the life in Australia got better again.
On Sunday the 1st of October we went out for a day trip. We wanted to go to the Serpentine National Park, But when we arrived at quarter past 11, they just closed the park! So weird, but apparently they often close the park after 11 because it will get too crowded in there otherwise. Well, then we will look around in the area a bit. While driving around we found a scenic drive and suddenly we ran into a Log Chop Contest, haha! There was a big market around the contest and it was super crowded! We had a quick look at how fast they could chop a tree and had some ‘poffertjes’ (Dutch mini pancakes) from a competitive stall. They weren’t as good as ‘ours’ of course!
Then we decided to go to the Cohunu Koala Park, which was nearby. It’s a wildlife sanctuary with koala’s and kangaroos etc. They had a field as well, where the kangaroos and wallabies walk freely, so you were able to feed and pet them. This again caused some nice selfies haha. Still fun!
You can also cuddle with a koala and take some pictures, but we were a bit broke so we sadly couldn’t 😛 Then we just look at those fur balls, how cute they are!
We ended the day with a drive on the Zig Zag Tourist Drive. A, yes you might have guessed it, zig zagging road through the Perth hills. From here you have an amazing view over the city, and we could see the skyline in the distance. The road went down with a lot of hairpin bends, so it was a fun drive.
The week after was a bit more quiet again, Bram could work 4 days and Manon could work at the food truck and went babysitting at the Dutch family. Bram also bought a really cheap second hand suitcase at the Salvos store, which we want to take with us to New Zealand. Yes, an extra suitcase, you read it well! It’s pretty bad, but we collected so much stuff throughout this year in Australia and we think it’s a shame to throw it all away and then buy it again in NZ! We are talking about work clothes, books that Marti sent and useful stuff we will need again over there etc. So we brought some extra stuff to NZ, because we all need it again in our van here 😉
The weekend of the 7th of October we scheduled something fun again: Bram didn’t have to work until Wednesday and neither did Manon, so we went for a lovely 5 day mini vacation to check out some more of Western Australia! These few days we especially wanted to look for some wildflowers and explore the surroundings of the Perth Hills and the Avon Valley. At the end of winter and the beginning of spring is the ideal time to see wildflowers throughout the whole of Western Australia. It’s one of the best and largest areas in the world for wildflowers, with more than 12,500 different types of flowers, of which 60% only occurs in WA! And this while this state is normally so bare and dry. Quite special. The best month is apparently September, so we were a bit late but we hoped that there were still enough flowers left to be found. We planned to drive all the way up to Mullewa (approx. 500km North of Perth), because that seemed the best area to be.
So that Saturday we left early towards the north. Our first stop was Gingin, where they had some special flowers close to a cemetery (a bit weird…): Kangaroo Paws. And they actually look like kangaroo paws.
After this brief visit we drove further to the Moore River NP. Google maps ain’t really reliable and we didn’t follow the small road it sent us to for very long, because it was flooded. We couldn’t go through and it didn’t seem to be very interesting here so we continued our way to Badgingarra NP. Again we had a nice touristic drive organised by Google Maps tours, but eventually we found it and you could do a nice little walk in this National Park. There were not that many flowers, but it was pretty beautiful.
During our Pinnacles roadtrip back in May, we already went to Lesueur National Park but now we went again. There is a wide variation of plants and flowers in this park, yet there were not as many of them blooming as we expected. We still did a nice walk here, which we didn’t walk last time, and it is such a nice park!
Further up the route we thought that we saw a kangaroo, or no an emu. Or neither of them, but someone who is running in the middle of nowhere, haha. Crazy! A bit later we arrived at Lake Indoon. Here we parked our car at the free camp, an ideal spot, right next to the lake!
After a good night we drove towards Dongara. Along the way some more flowers could be seen and we stopped at the Western Flora Caravan Park. This campsite is hidden in the bush, and there is a beautiful walk through the wildflowers. It was quite a bit of walking, but it was gorgeous. There were many shrubs blooming, and sometimes those shrubs even blocked the entire path.
Back at the car, there were some big kangaroos, so nice to see them in the middle of the day.
The road continued to Depot Hill Reserve: an old shooting range from the army. There is an old trench from where the soldiers held up targets, to be shot by the others. The trench is still visible, but not really a must see. The walk over there was pretty nice though, full of flowers!
We had lunch with a nice view over the river and drove further to the Coalseam Conservation Park. It seems to be THE must see in the wildflower season and there seems to be a large meadow full of flowers. First we went to the miners camp over here, where there is a campground too. There are some old mine shafts, but we didn’t feel like visiting them. There is also a ‘river’ which was dried out. From the Irwin Lookout we had a nice view over this river, and we went a bit further down to walk through this dry river.
At the river bend was a meadow with lots of flowers. But these were almost dried out. We made some nice pictures there anyway! The flowers you see the most over here are the Everlastings, but they only last for a short time.
The next spot was Mullewa, where you can see the unique Wreath Flowers. Or well, it was still a 40km drive. Bram didn’t feel like driving this far to see a flower, but since we were this close to see a really rare flower we went anyway. You can only find this flower in this area of the world, so that’s pretty unique. They are special because of their wreath kind of shape and they grow in the dry sand next to the gravel roads.
It was getting dark and we decided to look for a campground in Mullewa.
The next day we briefly explored Mullewa. There was a lookout with a view over the town, but it wasn’t too special. Furthermore there is an old church, designed by Monsignor Hawes (we don’t know the guy, do you? :P).
Later on we came through a small town cold Canna, where you actually only have a roadhouse. In front of it was a nice old rusted car which was used as a planter box. So cool!
After this visit we arrived at Koolanooka springs. You would think that there would be water here, but no: It was typically Australian with red sand and dirt roads, and no water anywhere! It was more like a picnic spot in the middle of nowhere in the outback.
We doubted which way to go next and decided to go towards Coorow. There is a big grain farm where you can drive through the fields. Quite funny to see!
After looking around a bit, and finding nice little back roads (yes we were lost again),
we found the Jingemia Cave in the Watheroo National park. Not a real cave, but more like a small chop out in the rocks. It looked really nice!
You can’t miss a visit to the Western Wildflower Farm while following this wildflower route. Just before closing time we were warmly welcomed inside. The friendly lady showed us around. They grow hundreds of wildflowers here which they ship all over the world, many are shipped to Europe as it’s Autumn over there now. She was really proud to deliver flowers to the Netherlands as it is a flower country. It looked really nice here with so many little flowers!
To finish the day, we visited New Norcia, a small settlement with a huge population of 70(!) people, which is famous for its Monastery. There are some beautiful buildings with Spanish influences, and monks are still living there, running this town. We decided to eat something in the hotel over here. It looks very beautiful and luxurious, and the food was great!
It was already dark when we went looking for a place to stay the night. There is a free camp spot at the beginning of the Old Plains Road, which we want to drive tomorrow, but at the other side of the road was a controlled (we think :p) bush fire. Not the ideal spot with all the smoke, and we didn’t know how controlled it was. So we drove 10km further where we parked the car next to the road.
We left early next morning to drive down the Old Plains Road, apparently one of the states most beautiful gravel roads, which goes from New Norcia to Toodyay. And it was a nice road indeed, and we even saw an Emu crossing the road, a real one this time!
When we arrived in Toodyay, we visited an old mill and a little church and afterwards we went to the Avon Valley National Park. After driving a long gravel road we arrived at an amazing viewpoint: Bald Hill. From here you could see the complete Avon Valley.
We were getting close to Perth again, where we went to visit the Hills, starting with the Bells Rapids. You can see the city again from this point. We didn’t expect much from these rapids, but it was actually really beautiful! We did quite a long hike, with hundreds of flowers along the way, and we saw some awesome views and even saw some kangaroos hopping around.
Furthermore, there are some nice parks to visit here in the hills, and we visited Walyanga NP first, a bit further at the same river. It looked a bit the same as the Bells rapids, although there were some more roos, which we captured with our camera.
Meanwhile it was already 5 p.m. and most of the parks are closed by that time, except for the Whiteman Park. We have been here before, almost a year ago with Bram’s birthday at the Caversham Wildlife park, but this time we visited the huge park around this place. There are hundreds of kangaroos in the fields, and there is an awesome lookout with views over the skyline in the far back.
We camped at the Midland Tourist Park, but not without a visit to our favourite restaurant (McDonalds!).
It’s only a one hour drive from our appartement in Perth, but by staying the night here we could start exploring the last bits over here in the early morning. Starting with the Greenmount National Park, where you had a great view after a short walk.
Next we arrived at the Mountain Quarry, a former rock excavation which is used for abseiling these days.
Not a must visit, but afterwards we went to went to the John Forrest NP. Here is another amazing view. And after this view we arrived at Glen Brook Dam.
In most of the NP’s, you have to pay a 13 dollar entrance fee, but we rarely pay, because we only visit shortly most of the times, and they don’t check it often (bad ass!). In this NP you officially had to pay the fee as well. It was a bit more touristic over here though, and we did a nice walk to the Hovea Falls. A couple of bridges were closed in this park, because they are about to crack, so we had to climb the rocks to get to the other side of the falls. It was a beautiful place!
Via a boring lake, Lake Leschenaultia, we continued the road to Mundaring. Yet we saw another animal on the road, the Bobtail lizard. It’s named like this because of his short blunt tail. This special lizard is pretty common in this area.
At Mundaring we visited the Mundaring Weir, a huge dam.
We also visited the Beelu National Park over here, where we had this amazing view over the Mundaring Weir.
As a last stop for this road trip the Lesmurdie Falls were still on our list. We didn’t expect it to be so beautiful since it’s located so close to the city, but it absolutely was! Why didn’t we visit this place before?
And that’s how our mini holiday ended and we went back to our apartment. We had to clean it thoroughly because we had an inspection the next day. The days after our trip we had to work again. The weather was really lovely now, and we had to make the most of that too. That next Sunday (15th of October) we visited some nice beaches which we had not visited yet. We were not alone though, everyone in Perth had the same idea at this first warm day! But we managed to find a quiet beach, with almost nobody around at Watermans Bay.
After these exciting weeks, we still had a couple of weeks left in Australia, where we still had enough to do before we went to NZ, like visiting Rottnest Island, but more about that in a next update. Which will come much sooner than this one! For now: thanks again for reading!
Cheers from us!
Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures