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Motorhome Travels - August 2011

07/08/2011

Cape Keraudren

Our new (Chinese made) water heater was sent from Sydney on the 26th of July. The less than informative Aus Post tracking system tells us exactly nothing about its location or expected delivery date - but the woman in the Port Hedland Post Office tells us that it takes 10 - 12 working days to get items from eastern states to Port Hedland, and transit times of 3 weeks are not uncommon. With this in mind we have decided not to wait in Port Hedland, but to have it sent on once it arrives.

Cape Keraudren and the battleship, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Cape Keraudren and the battleship,
WA

The old water heater is still working - but it is not very reliable or easy to use ... we will manage with it for another week or two.

Cape Keraudren is a large coastal reserve located about 200km north of Hedland. It has changed very little since last time we were back in 2006. This is where we were camped when we received the phone call that prompted our rapid return to NZ that year.

The Cape has a number of camping areas and has become very popular. The price is one thing that has changed - it's doubled to $6.50 per person per night (plus an $10 entry fee per vehicle). There are some new facilities including two new dump points.

 

Our camp overlooks a large lagoon leading to a tidal creek. Due to the massive tides in this part of the country, our view is forever changing. There is a large rock at the entrance to the lagoon that is for obvious reasons called the battleship. This stands about 3 meters off the sand and it is possible to walk out to and around it at low tide each day. At high tide it completely disappears and the light blue water that covers it leaves no hint of the structure below. The image below is a combination of a number of photos taken throughout the day and shows the dramatic transformation as the enormous volume of water arrives and recedes with each tide.

With some help from a couple of readers of our blog, we seem to have the bus brakes working about as well as they ever have. New linings, correct adjustment and a minor alteration to one of the push arms has (for now) done the trick. Lets hope it stays this way as it is really nice to be able to stop when we want to.

 

07/08/2011

Broome and the Gibb River Road

Our new water heater finally found us in Broome (after nearly three weeks in transit - (thanks AusPost)). As I mentioned, expectations were low - to my surprise it is actually not bad. At about one tenth of the price of a Bosch unit and perhaps about half the build quality - not a bad deal really :-). Fitting it was not too much of a job - I really hate plumbing. Give me electricity any day - pipes and joints leak, wires and connectors don't. This road that we are currently on will be a great test for the water heaters robustness (and my pipe work) - if it can handle this it should be ok. 

Its not easy hiding an 11m bus! Our free camp near Windjana, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Its not easy hiding an
11m bus! Our free camp
near Windjana, WA

We have heard lots of conflicting reports about the Gibb River Road. Some people say "it is fine, just take it slowly", others claim that it "eats even the toughest of vehicles". We just have to see for ourselves. We have traveled about 150km and  so far it has not been too bad. We are told that this is the good end - we will see. I don't spend too much time worrying about the bus - it is very tough and well proven in conditions like this, I worry far more about the poor little Vitara being dragged behind it in all the dust and stones.

Smile for the camera. Freshwater croc at Windjana, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
Smile for the camera. Freshwater
croc at Windjana, WA

Yesterday we visited Windjana Gorge - a truly amazing place. The landscape has to be seen to be believed, none of the (500 odd) photos we took really do it justice. The many fresh water crocs that make the gorge their home are very used to having their photos taken, and allow well mannered photographers to get within a couple of meters. This is about as close as anyone really wants to be to a croc in the wild. The walk up the gorge is fairly easy (about 6 km return) but the heat of the day made it quite exhausting. We were both very tired by the time we returned to the bus and were glad to have use of the new water heater for a shower. Sunset on the cliff face near the camp ground was amazing and the full moon made its appearance not long after sunset.

No, not the mother-in-law ... a bat at Windjana Gorge, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
No, not the mother-in-law ... a bat
at Windjana Gorge, WA

Today we traveled the 40km to Tunnel Creek leaving the bus in the campsite at Windjana Gorge. Tunnel Creek is just that - a tunnel through the range created over centuries by a creek (that I guess becomes a serious river in the wet season). It is possible to walk right through the range. There is a section in the middle of the tunnel where the roof has collapsed . Here the claustrophobic few can seek a brief reprieve before heading back into the dark to complete the walk. The water was waist deep in a few parts, but not really unpleasantly cold. We took our time and enjoyed the walk stopping often to take photos. We thoroughly recommend the walk to everyone.

We have closely studied the maps and guides for this part of the trip and it seems that there is an awful lot to be seen up here. It might just take us a few weeks to cross this Gibb River Road.

The collapse at the halfway point of Tunnel Creek, WA - [Click for a Larger Image]
The collapse at the halfway point of
Tunnel Creek, WA

 

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