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Old 16-02-2019
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Default Holidaying again in the JKU

Well, just a few more days and then off on a trip again. Pretty tame, this one.

Across the Nullarboring and down to Cape Le Grande in SE Western Australia. Then track along the coast via national parks until I get to Bunbury. I will head back east and eventually follow the Holland track to Kalgoorlie. Follow the bitumen down to Norseman and back home across the Nullarboring again (for about the 10th time, may be more... I forget).

I think the trip will cost about $2500 in fuel for about 8500kms.

I will post pics when I return.

Old 16-02-2019
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Old 1 Week Ago
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Well, I guess I had better write a report re my recent and somewhat aborted trip to WA. The plan was to cross the Nullaboring again (now about 11 times) and camp out in Cape Arid and Cape Le Grande NP on the south east coast and do some serious bushwalking etc in both. I was also intending to track along the coast from here to Bunbury.

So, tripping the Nullaboring was boring (again) and I noted on the going and return trips that there was so much more form and function in the flora than there appears to be in any other aspect of this dreadful drive. I have no idea how truckies can do this week in and week out… but I suppose that they earn their living in this way. Needs must!

The Nullarbor looked very healthy in terms of vegetation but I did not see much in the way of living animals. A few dead roos (nothing like normally), a few live ones (smallish) and a couple of Emus… that is all. Not even a camel or a wombat. Oh, I did see a dingo. And, I did see a 1-2 year old Wedge Tail eagle. These numbers were very, very much lower than with previous crossings. I guess that the mid country longstanding drought has accounted for the death of much fauna over the last few years.

My plans to visit the 2 parks above were scuttled by bushfires. The Balladonia – Cape Arid Road (dirt) was closed and had been for a few weeks apparently because of persistent bushfires. I had intended to take this short cut to Cape Arid as a jumping off point. That stuffed that plan. On to Norseman then, and down to Esperance. This meant an additional 400 odd kms. But what can you do?

In fact the evening that I travelled from Norseman to Esperance, the Coolgardie- Esperence road was closed. It opened 24 hrs later. A bushfire swept through to the west of the road. There was also a bushfire near Hyden. The next day fires were burning (or had re-started) in Cape Le Grande NP so that stayed closed for about 2 more weeks. This meant access to the Cape Arid NP was also closed. What a bummer.

Oh well, to make the best of this situation I stayed in Esperance in a CP on the beachfront for 3 nights and did what sightseeing and walking that I could. Esperance is quite a pretty place, with many nice beaches with pure white sand. Some surfies (shark bait I think) were braving the water.

Headed to Albany for 3 days. Like Esperance, there were many nice beaches, lots of accessible walking trails and touristy things to do. The Whaling Station has vastly improved from when I first visited it about 25 years ago. The National Anzac Museum was impressive and they had a memorial Field of lights (about 16000) display that was also impressive. Spiritual, even.

After walking through one of the nearby parks (Botinyuk or some such name), that evening a bushfire hit it and it was also closed.

By this time I was made aware that a long week end was looming and that this meant that half of Perth heads to the SE and SW coastal towns. I was having to change my plans on the fly so to speak because of bushfire warnings and actual bushfires in the vicinity. The Esperance fires were so problematic that 100’s of fire fighters were shifted to the region on standby for the Long W/End because of the fires and the extreme fire risk. Albany, too. The risk came more from the strength of the winds rather than temperature, and the fact that a serious burn off had not occurred for years.

Of course, the long W/E meant that staying longer than I had already booked was impossible because trying to get any accomm in any of the towns along the SW and SE coast was impossible. Even the army was called in to supply tents etc for the firefighters and to provide catering etc. Many public spaces were used for these purposes. Serious business.

So I headed north to eventually try the Holland Track over about 3 days. On the way, I called in to visit a sister in Bunbury. Her husband, who works with the Parks and Wildlife Dept. and also doubles as a firefighter for them, tells me that the area around the Kalgoorlie and the Goldfields, through which the Holland Track runs, was subject to catastrophic fire warnings and that it would be wise not to travel the Holland Track in these conditions. Sure enough the Fires Near Me App confirmed the same and so did all the reports and warnings on the radio.

Bummer, bummer, bummer. This was to be the highlight of my trip.

Leaving Bunbury, I had no choice but to follow the bitumen to Southern Cross in order to go home via Coolgardie, Norseman etc and once again across the Nullaboring. Even this road was a point of risk, since throughout most of the backroads, the fire risk was extreme or catastrophic. The fuel load was very very high. The winds were fierce and this was the main reason for the fire risk. Along the road, the locals were telling me how wise it was to stick with the bitumen and that the Hyden – Norseman road had been closed. Apparently, so had the Holland Track and nearby tracks. This meant no hope of doing the track or of following the Hyden-Norseman short cut. It also meant spending more time on bitumen and more $ on fuel. Oh dear, the cost of staying alive!! There was quite a bit of UHF traffic that was interesting to listen to re the fires.

Anyway, the trip was not a complete loss, even though there was no hope of my doing the off road tracks that I had intended. Even the best laid plans need to be modified at short notice from time to time. I had to be constantly vigilant and be prepared with alternatives in terms of getting safely from A to B. I know that I have had my share of forest trips… all you see is tree trunks. And things that can burn! At least deserts don’t burn.

The JKU was flawless again. Exxy on fuel though. Interestingly, I did not see as many grey nomads with vans etc on the road as I usually do. I did come across a lot of single old blokes in their variously configured camping set ups. Some had left their women, some had been booted out, some just wanted to do what they had wanted to do all of their lives. Good for them, I say. Also, single older women in their various camper vans were noticeable. Good on them, too. CP managers were all saying how the tourist numbers had been dropping off over the last couple of years and this was what I had also been thinking. There just wasn't as many on the roads.

I will post some pictures when I get the time.

Last edited by humdingerslammer; 1 Week Ago at 08:51 AM.
Old 6 Days Ago
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Nice write up, looking forward to the pics
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