Header image  


A short drive in the Southern Hemisphere

Australia Blog Archive



Arrival in Australia
by ash on Thu 26 Feb 2009 04:02 GMT

Well, we arrived in Perth, WA; on 02FEB09, Flo is due to arrive only on 02MAR09.

 The first week in OZ

by ash on Thu 26 Feb 2009 04:11 GMT

We just relaxed a little around Perth and Freo, caught up with Pete and met his friends. 

We also made a few preliminary enquiries with shippers and logistics companies in order to prepare the way for Flo’s arrival.

First impressions of Australia are very good! People very friendly, the place is clean and tidy, fuel is cheap, but everything else is expensive…

Out and about in WA
by ash on Thu 26 Feb 2009 04:25 GMT

In the absence of Flo, we’ve rented a car to do a little local touring around the South West.  Had a day trip up to the Pinnacles, then went a little further a field to Albany and the Margaret River region.  Albany is a lovely place with a beautiful natural deep water harbour.  It also has a very interesting whaling museum and endangered indigenous animal “park”.  While there we also took a trip out on the Leeuwin II, a tall ship training vessel.

A trip to Walpole included the famous treetop walk in amongst the tall Karri trees.  The treetop walk is a well built and safe steel walkway, in rather stark contrast to the Gloucester Tree lookout post access! Look at the photos…

The week was completed by a visit to Donnely River Holiday village, a visit back in time to 1950. All of the huts, furniture and equipment are suspended in time, very quaint.  But the resident tame wildlife was delightful, Hungary Kangaroos, Face-Eating-Emus, Cute Possums (with big boots on the roof), parrots and rosellas. Shame about the FLIES!!!!

Thursday, February 26
View Article  Untitled
by Ash on Thu 26 Feb 2009 07:19 GMT

Thursday, March 5
View Article  Flo!
by ash on Thu 05 Mar 2009 12:27 GMT

Well we had a brief reunion with Flo yesterday and today.

 Yesterday the container arrived and we drove her out into the sunshine for the first time in six weeks (since Cape Town).  Today we had the Customs and Quarantine inspections.  All is okay but we have to submit Flo to special AQIS cleaning to ensure there are no African nasties waiting to devastate the fragile Aussie ecosystem.

After cleaning we have to get temporary permits in order to drive Flo prior to submission to a roadworthy inspection.  We should be on the road in the next couple of weeks.  Back into the desert.

Monday, March 16
View Article  Flo is free!
by ash on Mon 16 Mar 2009 12:54 GMT

Today, I picked up Florence from the AQIS Approved cleaning and fumigation facility.  The compulsory cleaning only took one hour (well one hour was charged), but she doesn’t look any cleaner, although most of the oil has been cleaned off the engine and gearboxes.  Also picked up the loose equipment from the logistics company, Coote Logistics; Jan has been fantastic and very helpful during the import process. Incidentally, we’ve been very pleasantly surprised by everybody’s co-operation during the past couple of weeks, Australian Customs Service, Mr P. Price also deserves a special mention.

 Next step is to have the roadworthy inspection carried out…and then to cram all of the loose equipment back in.

Tuesday, March 17
View Article  The Roadworthy Inspection and Registration
by ash on Tue 17 Mar 2009 06:43 GMT

So the plan was to wake up at 0600 and drive to the government test facility, the early start to get a place in the queue after making sandwiches and a flask plus cold drinks and not forgetting plenty of reading material.  The gates open at 0630 and testing starts at 0730, first come first served.  We’ve been there on recce before and chatted with people who’d waited all day in a enormous queue only to be turned away at closing time without the test being done!

However, I woke a little early at 0300, read for an hour and then fell asleep until 0830.  Out of the door by 0832, racing down to the inspection centre, thinking about what I’m going to do all day…

Strangely enough, one of the three pit queues had no cars parked in the lane and only one over the pit. The other two both had queues, so not wishing to perform oral examinations on equine considerations, I quickly parked up to the empty pit lane and ran to the office.  $83.30 later, I walked back to Flo to wait for the inevitable announcement that my lane was shut and I would have to move.

But after a short time, and a little “who’s first” haggling, the inspector came over and started on Florence!  Of the two blokes in front one hadn’t paid and the other was working and quite happy to wait whilst we discussed Land Rovers, ambulances and South America.

The roadworthy inspection proved to be okay, only gaining a few verbal advisories.  The biggest shock was at the end in the form of a request for $340 for a pair of number plates; “But I’ve already got some”, said I.  No, you have to have these as we now have registered your vehicle in Western Australia; Registration 1DAG605

After a few gentle words, we all agreed that Flo didn’t need to be registered in WA but only the CTP (compulsory third party insurance had to be paid). Okay, great, but I have to go to a different office for this.  I then found out where the queue was today, in the registration office...

Some time later, after four clerks had all had an input, a telephone back to the inspection centre and another fee was paid ($119.70) I left the building clutching my sticker.

Flo was now fully legal in WA for six months. 

I don’t even want to think about the rest of Oz though.

Sunday, March 22
View Article  Preparations for the Off!
by ash on Sun 22 Mar 2009 03:14 GMT
BODY { font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px; }

Once the roadworthy was sorted, we set about preparing for the first part of the journey, the Outback Way from Perth to Cairns.

The most important thing to do is to gather all of our stuff up and cram it back into the Land Rover, once again it looks as if it will never fit in…

 Whilst here in Perth, we have also carried out some maintenance:

Lubricated the front and rear prop shafts

Lubricated and freed off the steering shaft

Replaced the clutch master and slave cylinders

Replaced the rear half shafts and wheel bearings

Modified the rear driving flanges to “MaxiDrive” units

 We’ve also rearranged the load on the roof to redistribute the weight to the centre.

 We should be off in the next couple of days…

View Article  Sunday 22 to Wed 25 March - Preparations
by ash on Sat 28 Mar 2009 09:25 GMT


Gill and Pete arrived back in Australia late on Saturday night, so we all had a lazy day on Sunday and did nothing more than go to lunch with Louise.


Today was spent packing and repacking Flo until we gave up and read our books.


Today was spent packing and repacking Flo until we popped over to see Brian and Rhona to show them Flo and catch up with some family photos.


Today was spent unpacking and repacking and fitting the new and improved fly screens organised by Louise.  And would we need them as well!!!

View Article  Thursday 26th March - We're Off again...
by ash on Sat 28 Mar 2009 09:36 GMT

So, all packed and raring to go, we expected to make an early start today.  At least before 10:00, we finally left just before 13:00…

But still arrived in Hyden with enough time to see Wave Rock before supper.

We got reacquainted with the bush flies and made sure that we would sort out the flyscreens and find our cork hats.

Friday 27 March - Holland Track
by ash on Sat 28 Mar 2009 09:50 GMT

After a quick dash to the Post Office to send Pete’s car keys back to Perth…(no more to be said…)

We set off on the Holland Track, a 4WD track faithfully following the track opened by John Holland in 1893 to access the Goldfields from the port of Albany.    

Although only 350 kms long from Hyden to Coolgardie it seems to go in the most convoluted way possible.  We put it down to one of two possibilities: 1, He didn’t have a compass, or 2, the flies drove him to drink and he was permanently sloshed.

We bush camped overnight at Karaoke rock, cooking on our Aussie PC BBQ (more on that later).

The silence was deafening and the dark of night was only illuminated by the milky way.  

Saturday, March 28
View Article  The Holland Track
by ash on Sat 28 Mar 2009 10:05 GMT

There’s something great about waking up in the wilderness with not another soul for miles around.

After a hearty breakfast of tea and biscuits we continued along the Holland Track until finally arriving in Coolgardie at around 1300.  We refuelled and bought some fresh provisions whilst also spotting a mechanical workshop that was still open.  We just popped in on the off chance to get the rear near side shock mounting sorted and 30 minutes later the jobs done.  By Zeph, from Bulawayo, who now has ended up in the Australian Outback?? He left Zim shortly after Independence, going to Namibia but then came to Oz a few years back.

We then cracked on to Kalgoorlie and made early camp before positioning to Laverton on Sunday to start the Outback Way proper.

View Article  Laverton - the start of the Outback Way
by ash on Thu 16 Apr 2009 10:14 BST

After an easy drive on tarred roads we pulled into the Explorers Hall of Fame (The Great Beyond) in Laverton and met up with Andreas and Claudia from Heidelberg, who were also on their way to “the Red Centre”.

A few beers and a barbeque later we decided to travel in a very loose convoy, meeting up with each other at the evening’s camp location each night. This arrangement worked well and provided excellent company along the sometimes deserted road.

View Article  Laverton to Ayres Rock 30MAR - 02APR
by ash on Thu 16 Apr 2009 10:14 BST

After learning about the intrepid explorers at the Great Beyond we set off for the Red Centre of Australia, at around 1130.

After many hours of empty road we pulled into the Tjukayirla Roadhouse (The Zoo) and camped for the night, Andreas and Claudia were already there with cold beers ready.

The terrain was mostly like this...

...but occasionally like this!

We saw our first heavily fortified fuel pumps, with wire cages and anti-ram raid boulders at this roadhouse and suspected that we were entering into Mad Max territory.

The road was reasonably good gravel with a few corrugated sections, the worst being after Docker River on the way to the Olgas.  But the Outback is rather barren with surprisingly little wildlife that is readily apparent. Except, of course, for the flies…Why there should be so many flies in Australia is anyone’s guess but there are rather irritating to say the least.

We continued on, camping at Yarla Kutjarra (no water or facilities - bush camp in practical terms) and Docker River (also no working facilities) before arriving at Yulara (Ayres Rock Resort) for a well needed shower and beer.  These two campsites were supposed to be run with facilities by the local Aboriginal communities but were unfortunately left to deteriorate with no attention. Although when Ash reconnected the disconnected water supply to the camp a small herd of local horses came by and dug the pipes up again! Ah well! The only sign of any management at this site was a box to put money in for the camping fees.

Here comes a road train...

...getting closer...

...just going past now.

Flo parked up whilst we study a Len Beadell (Gunbarrel Construction Party) plaque.

Not just kangaroos out here you know.

That explains the welcome shower at Yulara but what about the beer situation and the desperate need for a frosty beverage at Yulara.  Well, Ash made the mistake of having only enough for himself and Andreas made the mistake of believing the no-alcohol signs as we went through the Aboriginal Homelands. So, with only one ration of beer but two drinkers we ran out of beer too early (note to self: always carry extra beer), Docker River, remember no water, well also no beer…

We arrived at the Olgas had a good walk around and adjourned to the Resort for a beer and shower.


Ayres Rock
by ash on Thu 16 Apr 2009 10:14 BST

Ayres Rock Resort is a massive place owned by one company and is the only place to stay for miles around, it is the best advert for competition going. Its like having to go to the company store in the company town, if it fits in with your plans rather stay at Curtin Springs just down the road, much better for camping.

But, absolutely gagging for a cold beer, looked for the bottle shop, found out that its in the pub, fine – expensive but fine, but you need to have a room/camping chit before you are allowed to buy alcohol. So you have to check-in first, and you need ID to check–in (for camping!) so we had rather a long winded procedure for the most routine action. And then, you’re only allowed to buy six beers as off sales…and we forgot to take the chit…


 However, the resort aside, Ayres Rock is quite spectacular, we settled down for the “sunset show” and toured around it in the morning. If you’re passing through its worth the effort.

View Article  Tech Report - Oil Px Sw
by ash on Thu 16 Apr 2009 10:15 BST

Driving to Ayres Rock on Friday morning the oil pressure warning light illuminated.

We pulled over and shut down the engine. The oil level was fine but the pressure switch had failed and was also allowing oil to leak through the body.

Who carries spare oil pressure switches?

Luckily, we do. So after ten minutes we were happily on our way again.

Where’s that warranty paperwork…

Kings Canyon
by ash on Thu 16 Apr 2009 10:24 BST

We left Ayres Rock and drove to Curtin Springs Roadhouse for the night, excellent place, nice people and plenty of character. Curtin Spring is a working Cattle Station and the roadhouse is a small part of their operation but this where to meet the real Outback!

Free camping, $2 for a shower (pay in the bar) I left the bar two hours later still carrying my wash bag.

 Went on to Kings Creek Station to refuel and ended up flying over Kings Canyon in a Robinson R44 helicopter, a spectacular flight that made us wake early the following morning to hike the 6km walk up and around the rim.

After the walk, we made the mistake of driving to Alice Springs via the Mereeni Loop, this road has the worst corrugations known to man. Next time we’ll take the long way around and save the $5.50 rip-off permit.

We got to Alice around 1830 and made camp and soothed our nerves and shock absorbers with beer and barbeques.

Alice Springs
by ash on Thu 16 Apr 2009 10:15 BST

We stayed two nights in Alice, doing little but relaxing and restocking on essentials.

We had a nice meal in the Red Ochre restaurant and a few good beers in the unashamedly touristy Bojangles Saloon Bar (a must see when in Alice). However, on ordering a Baileys Liqueur Coffee, Gill was told that cocktails were not allowed and that she could have coffee and Baileys but not together…And, she wasn’t allowed to mix them before consuming them…

We also found some more weird licensing laws in Alice, such as; you cannot buy sherry before 1800, and no more than two pints; you must show ID (which is logged on computer) to buy any alcohol; if you buy any more than $100 of booze you also have to give your address, and the names and addresses of your friends who are going to drink it with you,   ;o) .

Alice is actually a nice town even though obviously set up for the tourists.

View Article  Alice to Boulia, 07-09 APR
by ash on Thu 16 Apr 2009 10:17 BST

We said farewell to our friends Andreas and Claudia, although we’d only known each other for a week, it seemed we’d known each other ages having completed the Great Central Road together.

We left Alice around midday on Tuesday and decided to continue along the Outback Way to Boulia and Townsville before heading to Cairns and Cooktown.

Crossing the Tropic of Capricorn for the first time in Australia.

We were pleasantly surprised at the good condition of the road, after hearing some horror stories about people blowing six tyres, etc, etc. We camped at Gemtree and bush camped at (???) before arriving at Boulia a day early and in plenty of time for the Rodeo over the Easter weekend.

So, we had two days off in Boulia, as the locals here say “…there’s nothing to see, but you’ve got to come and see it…”

We like Boulia.

View Article  Boulia to Winton to Longreach to Winton to Hughenden and then to Townsville
by ash on Thu 16 Apr 2009 13:03 BST

So, we had Good Friday off for reflection, relaxation and quiet contemplation.

On Saturday we went to the Rodeo, a nice local affair somewhat lacking the polish of the US Western events but enjoyable none the less.  We also managed to squeeze a visit in to the MIN MIN centre on the main street, all we can say is, if you’re ever in Boulia – you just have to visit it!

Sunday, we headed for Longreach (via Winton and promising ourselves to come back to visit the birthplace of WALTZING MATILDA) to see the Stockman’s Hall of Fame and the QANTAS Museum, both places are great and took far longer to see than we thought.

After a night in Longreach we headed back to Winton to the North Gregory Hotel and to see the Waltzing Matilda museum.  A great time was had in exploring this excellent small town and its pubs…

We then headed to Townsville via Hughenden and the rains caught up with us…

Townsville Wednesday 15th April

by ash on Sat 18 Apr 2009 11:42 BST

We arrived in Townsville in time to get some shopping done, a few essentials only:

OME Steering Damper

Engine Oil


Toilet Chemicals

And Food.

We’ve got enough beer at present.

In the morning Ash checked the g/box and diff levels before reprofiling the front bumper with a coconut tree.

We then drove up Castle Hill to lookout over the town before driving North up to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef 16 -20 April
by ash on Sat 18 Apr 2009 12:01 BST

We’re just spending a few days in Cairns and taking the opportunity to see the Barrier Reef, and what a spectacular sight it is too.

We flew over it yesterday in a Piper Chieftain and were rewarded with stunning views of the reef and various fauna such as turtles, manta rays and a shark.

Today, we’ve just returned from an all day snorkelling and diving trip on “”Reef Magic”.  It really was an excellent day out with a very professional crew. Again the reef was spectacular. Although the photos do not do justice. Don’t laugh at Ash in his Super Hero outfit…


Tomorrow (Sunday) might just have to be a day off, because we’re both exhausted having all this fun…

View Article  Tropical North Queensland
by ash on Tue 28 Apr 2009 08:31 BST

Well, Sunday was indeed a day off! We didn’t even leave the campsite, just spent the day sorting out, cleaning, maintenance and such like.

On Monday we took the skyrail/train combination to Kuranda where a parrot decided that Ash looked like Long John Silver and decided to take up the vacant position of shoulder mounted parrot – and within seconds started to eat all of the shirt buttons he could reach.

Tuesday saw our journey continue North to Cape Tribulation, “where the rainforest meets the reef”, we camped yards from the beach in a coconut grove and had fresh coconut from the tree for tea, then had a bounty bar for pudding to compare the taste.

Cape Tribulation is joined to Cooktown by the Bloomfield Track, a 4wd track with some challenging inclines and sometimes tricky river crossings.

So that’s what we did on Wednesday and had great fun doing it too, however, we didn’t see any cassowaries and only one crocodile.

Cooktown is a quiet and out of the way sort of place, very sleepy, we had a walk around the town and along the sea front before climbing (in the land rover) Captain Cook’s lookout.  

Thursday, April 16

View Article  Tech Arisings for 12-13April
by ash on Thu 16 Apr 2009 22:49 BST

We had our second flat of the trip, the first one on the Australian continent. But, it was caused by another cracked wheel – at this rate we’ll be all out of wheels before we get to Chile.

Also we now have an occasional heavy front end vibration when travelling on the rather bumpy Australian bitumen. We’re still investigating the cause though…

Saturday, April 18

View Article 
View Article  The road to Walkabout Creek
by ash on Tue 28 Apr 2009 08:50 BST

After leaving Cooktown we headed straight to Walkabout Creek (McKinley) to have a beer at Crocodile Dundee’s local pub. It only took two full days of driving to get there and when we arrived it was shut…

Still, as the shock was just wearing off, the landlord arrived and reluctantly opened the doors so we could get a beer after all. In fact we stayed there all night and camped in the attached campsite.

We then had to drive all day to the next stop, Barkly Homestead, where we happened to meet up with John and Dee again (last seen in Normanton).

 Tuesday, April 28

View Article  Daly Waters Pub and the road to Darwin
by ash on Tue 28 Apr 2009 08:50 BST

After leaving Barkly Homestead we drove all day to the Daly Waters pub, where we stayed for the night and enjoyed (or suffered) the entertainment. Daly Waters Pub is another “oldest pub in Australia”, Oz is full of them, with all kinds of unsavoury things plastered on the walls or hanging from the ceilings…

But the beer was good, and free when winning the “toss the boss” coin tossing for a free drink, a great form of happy hour, if you lose you pay normal price but if you win you get your drinks for free.

Entertainment consisted of a lady with a saxophone (Sax and the Single Girl) who was excellent and Frank (plus two chickens) who had probably been there some considerable time.

After a latish start (again) we headed North to Darwin but stopped about halfway in Katherine because of driver and navigator fatigue. Darwin can wait another day.


Wednesday, May 6
View Article  Katherine-Darwin-Kakadu-Katherine-Kununura
by ash on Wed 06 May 2009 00:59 BST

Arrived nice and early in Katherine, raided the tourist information centre and camped early to sort through the assorted info.

Got talking to the neighbours after noticing the absence of a towing vehicle for their caravan, they had been there nine days sp far due to the engine “blowing up” and becoming BER on the journey up, they estimated another ten days before a replacement engine could come up from Melbourne.

Apparently, everything in Australia has to come “up from Melbourne”, I popped into Land Rover in Darwin for some springs and gearbox oil, yes, you’ve guessed it, it’ll take a week to come from Melbourne. For the springs fair enough but for a litre of oil?

The neighbour on the other side was only there for a night but he had the best camper that I’ve seen on a truck/UTE/backie yet. It all unfolded and deployed at the push of a single button, and put itself away again too!

Anyway, on to Darwin, being the biggest town for thousands of miles we expected it to be a largish centre and fairly self sufficient, but no why would they bother when you can pick up the phone and get it from Melbourne…

We spent two nights in Darwin and studied the bombing and other elements of WWII and how it affected the top end of the Northern Territory. We were staggered to find out that more bombs were dropped on Darwin on the initial raid than were dropped on Pearl Harbour, and how close the Japanese were to the Australian mainland.

After all of this war stuff we went on to Kakadu National Park for some R&R but were somewhat disappointed by the lacklustre bushland and amount of closed roads – it was not so much Kakadu as Kakadon’t! We much preferred the Lichfield NP.

Back to Katherine for a nice boat cruise on the gorge before shooting off for Kununura in readiness for the Bungle Bungles.


Monday, May 18
View Article  Kununara to Broome
by ash on Mon 18 May 2009 12:28 BST

So we left Katherine and drove straight to Kununara, where we had to decide whether to follow the Gibb River Road or visit Bungle Bungles and then drive up by Skeleton Creek and Windjammer Gorge.

We decided on the latter and took a mad corrugated 4wd track to Bungle Bungles. A lot of people take the easy way out and fly over the Bungles but we thought that we had to get up close and personal with Echidna Chasm. The track off the road to the “entrance gate” is 53 km and takes a good two hours, then the road deteriorates into corrugations for the last few hours of travel around the park.

But the scenery is spectacular, just take a look at the photos, we had not seen anything like it before now. Well worth the trip and lost fillings.

After Bungles we drove up to Tunnel Creek and armed with torches, we went paddling through what is large cave filled with stalactites, stalagmites and columns, bats, fish and snakes…(well one snake, but we think one snake is enough for anybody). The great thing about tunnel creek was, the fact that it was open to exploration without any development, alteration or “management”.

We camped at Winjannar Gorge and had a nice walk amongst the crocodiles the morning after. The crocs were only the freshwater variety-nothing to worry about.

After having our various treks in chasms, caves and gorges we took the GRR to Derby, saw the “longest cattle tough in the Southern Hemisphere” and the Prison Boab and decided to carry on swiftly to Broome instead.  


Tuesday, May 26

View Article  Broome to Exmouth via Karajini and Tom Price
by ash on Tue 26 May 2009 11:04 BST

We had two days in Broome relaxing and watching the “stairway to the moon” local phenomenon each night…I think we must have been here too long. We’ll post a photo and you can decide…

Our scheduled departure was delayed somewhat when the brake servo vacuum pump (on the engine) decided to start popping rivets and covering the engine bay with engine oil. A little later a bush repair was carried out using a drill and some nuts and bolts and we were on our way again. We’ll look at a permanent repair in Perth.

After leaving Broome, we had a long unremarkable drive ahead to Karajini National Park, about 850 kms so we decided to split it up; drive approx. 380 kms the first day and stay on eighty mile beach. This was a good decision as the beach was great, fine white sand, very few people and very long. The remainder of the journey was predictable and ever so slightly dull until we got closer to the national park where the standard Australian bush gave way to some hills and gorges.

We expected to stay in Karijini for two nights and Tom Price for one but the gorges in Karijini were quite similar to others we had been studying and the iron ore mine in Tom Price was shut to visitors for the weekend. So we carried on through at the double and decided to bush camp on a roadside rest area before carrying on to the Ningaloo Reef with all haste. It was starting to get cooler as we pulled off the road to our quiet bush camp when we saw that this was obviously a popular spot – twelve other assorted caravans, trailer tents and campers…


Exmouth, Coral Bay and the Ningaloo Reef

by ash on Tue 26 May 2009 11:01 BST

The Ningaloo Reef is located around the North-West corner of Australia, sort of opposite side to the Great Barrier Reef. It’s not as big and the coral is not as brightly coloured but the marine life seems as plentiful and varied, and, it is much more accessible, in some places being only a few metres from the beach.

We had originally planned to stay around the reef area for about three days but in the end had to double the time because we were having so much fun.

The first full day was spent out on a whaleshark tour, this is a day out on a boat around the reef, snorkelling and swimming with the whalesharks when they appear. To help find the fish, the operators use a spotter plane as well. The price for the day out is astronomical but the experience was also “out of this world!”. There will be some photos on the blog photo pages, if they turn out okay… We had a great day and saw/swam with five whalesharks, saw one breach (or more precisely, feed on the surface), also saw a turtle, and leopard and tiger sharks. The tour operator was Kings, and they are highly recommended.


For the rest of the time here we just snorkelled from the beaches at Turquoise Bay and Coral Bay…the sun shining on the crystal clear waters and pristine white fine sandy beaches, the coral reef teeming with all kinds of marine life, brightly coloured tropical fish swimming around us in unimaginable numbers. And at the end of the days activities the campsite is only five minutes walk away from the beach…In actual fact, we may stay a little longer after all…


Shark Bay and the journey South to Perth

by ash on Tue 02 Jun 2009 11:33 BST

Well! The weather took a turn for the worse and became almost chilly with a threat of humidity so we decided to pack up camp and move South to see the dolphins at Shark Bay.

Took in the Stromatolites on the way down, interesting in theory but ever so slightly dull in real life…

Spent three days in Shark Bay (another world heritage site of course) but never saw one Shark, just dolphins and turtles about 2m from the beach and jetty.

View Article  Return to Perth (via Northampton)
by ash on Tue 02 Jun 2009 11:45 BST

We got back to Perth on Tuesday 26th May after a short look-see in Northampton and an overnight stop in Dongara (we happened to coincide our visit with a National lawn bowls championship, all the competitors also seemed to be staying in caravans thereby causing a few headaches when we looked for somewhere to camp).

Tuesday, June 2
View Article  Preparations to leave Australia and cross the Pacific
by ash on Tue 02 Jun 2009 11:58 BST

One week to prepare our vehicle, equipment and belongings and carry out the final shipping arrangements for the next transit, Fremantle – Singapore – Busan – Valparaiso.

A day to strip everything off of and out of Flo and prepare for two days in the garage carrying out the much needed service and repairs.

The brake servo vacuum pump was finally replaced, swivel preload reset and various other little jobs sorted. We also reverted back to standard (length and strength) front springs.

We also got the oil and grease back inside the engine and gearboxes and cleaned off the outside.

The next two days went on cleaning and repacking all the stuff and some new shoes for Flo, two new XZLs for a bargain £100 the pair, badly needed to replace the worst two tyres – the others should (hopefully) last the course. Also got the new wheel shod, hopefully we won’t have any more cracked wheels!..



View Article  Final preparation to leave Australia and cross the Pacific
by ash on Thu 11 Jun 2009 09:04 BST

So, we loaded Flo into the container as scheduled on Wednesday 03JUN09 and the ship sailed on Sunday 06JUN09, hopefully carrying the container and Land Rover.

We then had to hang around for the Bill of Lading and get the Carnet signed off.  This was all done by Tuesday and we could relax and finalise the plans for our complete change of itinerary for the six weeks before we are reunited with Flo. The reason for the change has been brought about partly by the amount of rain hanging around the South East of Australia and the rather chilly spell currently being felt in NZ.

Our new plans are approximately:

We leave Perth tomorrow and fly to Sydney for the weekend.

We then fly to Rarotonga (via Auckland) for a relaxing week in the Cook Islands.

After that we head for Quito (via Santiago) for a few days.

A week in the Galapagos Islands on a motor yacht.

A week in the Amazon on a canoe.

Back to Santiago for a few days and then on to Valparaiso to await the ship.

And then we will start our Patagonia section of the tour.

 Sunday, June 21

View Article  Sydney - Australia
by ash on Sun 21 Jun 2009 23:58 BST

After leaving Perth we had a couple of days to look around Sydney before leaving Australia for New Zealand.

We stayed at the Travelodge which is well located and within easy walking distance of the bridge, opera house and other sights. Visited the convict exhibition, had a harbour cruise (it was really just the Manly ferry but every bit as good as the "cruise" and a lot cheaper. Looked around the opera house - which is much smaller than you think it will be (looks like a bus station inside).

For the time we were there they were illuminating the opera house after dark (photos now posted) with various designs and setting small fires in the old rocks area harbour.

Sydney is a nice city, it remided us of London, or made us imagine how London should be