den: (Photos)
Gold Wall
The far wall of the Super Pit, Kalgoorlie.

Photos of Perth and Fremantle )
den: (Default)
And finally at home.

The country from Port Augusta to Dubbo is green like I have never seen it before. The Darling River at Wilcannia is 2m below the road bridge - normally it is 12m below. Dry lakes are full, and the Topar Hotel is a little island connected to the road.

To do this trip properly - ie to stop and look at stuff - you need a minimum of 7 days. 2 weeks would be better. I really do need to do this trip properly.
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That was a long drive.

I left Eucla at sunrise and headed East. It wasn't long before I was cruising the high slopes above the Bight. At this point the fall to the sea is a very steep dune, not the sheer cliffs you see in photos.

In 12km I was in South Australia and the Nullabor Park. At first the land was covered in low trees, grey shrubs and yellow grass, but around Nullabor Village the trees failed and it was the endless grassy plain you see in photos. The Nullabor itself only takes an hour-ish to drive across, then yu are back in the low trees. I wish I weren't on a time-table, or I'd have taken the side roads to look at things.

Dingos were hunting on the side of the road. I considered stopping to take photos, but dingos are DOGGY the way a grizzly bear is Winnie-The-Pooh. They are dangerous animals, and so I didn't stop.

Around Yalata the first signs of farming show, and then it's the huge stations that do dryland farming and sheep.

And then the long, long drive to Port Augusta, where I think I got the last vacant room in town. I passed through Kimba, which has a sign announcing that I was half way across Australia. Hooray! Almost home!
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Norseman is one of those sad country towns fading into history. There used to be gold but when that ran out, so did the people. Most of the shops are shuttered and closed, the cinema is a roofless shell, as is the take-away. The only place doing any business was the pub. Houses are separated by vacant blocks, some of which still have the rubble from the old house piled in the middle.

Eucla is a roadhouse, which means it's not a town as such. It is a service station/motel/tavern/caravan park complex. It looks like it was built in the early 80s. Everything is pale pinks, slate greys and wood panelling. It has a well-maintained, slightly shabby look to it.

Dinner last night was an over-sweetened pork-and-rice take-away, eaten in the motel room and washed down by diet coke.

Dinner tonight was crumbed camenbert starter, followed by pink snapper on a bed of mashed potatos with green salad. Washed down by a bottle of icey cold Coopers Pale Ale. I was a welcome (but epensive) change from road-hue food I've been eating for 2 days - even counting the surprise chilli sausage roll* at Belladonia.

If you are ever travelling through this area, seriously seriously seriously stop here.

Petrol is cheap, too. Only $1.80/litre.

*I bought a sausage roll, and didn't know it was a chilli sausage roll until after I stuffed the first mouthful in.
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Today's Drive

Such a long drive. Not boring!

Left Norseman at about 6.30am. The day was cloudy and mild, driving wass good. I found the ABC and listened to "Macka In The Morning" aka Australia All Over. Excellent listening for a long drive through the Bush. At 10am Macka finished and Grandsand "All Sport All Day (ie All AFL" started. Zenbook to the rescue. Let's listen to every single Beatles song ever.

And so I cruised at 100kph. Filled the ute at Belladonia ($2.27 per litre) and hit the 90 Mile Straight - the longest straight road in the country. I duct-taped the Ixus to th dash board and took a 1f/2s@100kph time lapse.

Along the straight the clouds cleared and the day grew hot. I kept up my hydration, and by Caiguna I was just bursting with hydration. Emergency stop.

The country is amazingly flat, until Madura. The road drops suddenly down a steep escarpment which it follows until climbing again to the top at Eucla.

The view from my room is a patch of scrubby bush, then the escarpment, then the Great Australian Bight. It is pretty bloody good.
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And so here I am in Sydney, Terminal 3, Gate 13, with an hour to kill.

I am doing this easily with a nice hot cup of tea that hasn't been brewed at 17,000 feet, and is therefore properly hot.

My new Asus Zenbook is rather nice. It weighs slightly more than a fondleslab, but has a proper screen and keyboard. It's a lot easier to lug around that the old compaq laptop.

The airport has a 4G connection so my dongle is super fast. I can't wait for the new system to make it out to where it is actually needed - ie everywhere outside a capital city. When I lost my 3G dongle in Perth on the last trip, Telstra replaced it free of charge because I have my landline and mobile with them. The 4g dongle has a better plan than the old 3G dongle, which is nice.

So. Flight from Dubbo.

Smooth, uneventful. Just the way I like it. We landed from the south which meant flying over Botany Bay. "Lunch" was an undientified baked product in cellophane that turned out to be a cube of quiche with a little too much crust. I washed it down with a moderately warm cup of tea, and finished off with a packet of dried fruits - banana chips, raisins, dried lemon cubes and... DRIED APRICOTS! YUM! Curse you, Qantas! You have discovered my kryponite and hid it in a packet of tasty dried fruit.

"Exuse me sir, you seem to be eating the whole packet of fruit at once. And the packet."

den: (bastard)
So here I am in Dubbo Airport, about to start the fist leg of a trip to Perth that will look a lot like this:

View Dubbo Perth Dubbo in a larger map

I wish I could say it's a holiday, but it's not; it's a busiess trip and I have very limited time. Even so, I hve my camera to photograph the MAMBA. Apparently the Nullabor Plain is very green at the moment.

I'm a bit bummed I have such limited time, because everything between Perth and Port Augusta will be new territory for me. Plus, I'll be in a works ute, not my Lexus, so it won't be as comfy as I would like.

Bugger. QF2043 is delayed. Not to worry, I had a 3 hour wait in Sydney. Now it's a 2 hour wait.
den: (revs)
April 8

The night crossing of Bass Strait was so smooth no one got sick. I sort of missed the gentle rocking motion of the 3 metre swells. I got up at 6am, showered and went straight for breakfast. I could see out the windows that Port Phillip Bay was like a mill pond. I finished breaky, grabbed the camera and hit the deck a few seconds after sunrise.
Photos from the last day. )
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April 7

Left the motel in Launceston early and headed.... I dunno. South, I think. The ferry departed Devonport at 8pm and I had a day to do stuff. I must have headed south because I went through Longford, took the back roads to Westbury (missed the Steam Museum, dammit!) and ended up in Deloraine. Mmm Breakfast time! Curry meat pie and a coffee. Perfect! The day wasn't; clouds had closed in from the Strait and it was drizzling. The guide at Marakoopa mentioned the Gunns Plains caves and the giantfreshwater crayfish there, so that's where I headed.
Day 9 - with some photos. )
den: (revs)
April 6

I left the motel early. The day was clear and sunny, but a little cool. The perfect day to visit... CAVES! I planned on going to Mole Creek to tour one of the three, but as I reached Deloraine I noticed a heavy band of cloud to the North, over Bass Strait. Change of plan: Cradle Mountain first, then the caves. First stop, the Deloraine bakery for a yummy steak pie breakfast.
Day 8 in photos. )
den: (revs)
April 5

Got up early, said Goodbye to Milan and the Split Cafe, and headed North.
North, with photos )
den: (revs)
April 4

Off to Port Arthur. I've been check up on some dates, and I know I was last in Tasmania before April 1996. The Broad Arrow Cafe was in operation when I was there. Now the ruins are a memorial garden. So, [ profile] tatterdemalion, it's been more than 10 years. Sorry about that. I promise I won't leave it that lng next time.

First stop, some rocks.
Day 6 With Pictures )
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April 3

Last night was really windy, and I fully expected to find a wheely-bin embedded in the car. The morning news was full of the wind. I was relieved to see the car was unharmed, which was nice.
Southward ho! With Pictures. )
den: (revs)
April 2

Morning: Mt Field National Park, rainforests and waterfalls
Afternoon: Visiting [ profile] tatterdemalion, tea, laughing a lot, and not wanting to leave
Evening: Dinner with the rellies, chicken and talk.
Day 4 with Pictures )
den: (revs)
April 1

The alarm woke me at 6am, about an hour before we were due to dock. I slept surprisingly well, considering that all the cabins around mine were all night making the sounds of "blergh! *flush*" I found the gentle rocking of the 3 metre swell quite soothing. I don't understand some people.

"Flush" really doesn't convey the alarming sounds a ship's toilets make. It's more like "fluSUCKksh gurgle." Last night I heard the noisy and excited kid from across the hall use the one in their cabin. "fluSUCKksh gurgle. WAAAAAAH! MUMMY MUMMY! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" Oh good, I thought. The toilet has eaten her. But alas no, it just scared the crap out of her. Which was handy, it being a toilet and everything.

I went up to the deck for an early morning constitutional. The night was still dark so I didn't take my camera. Night? Morning! Who invented 6am? The bastards! The eastern sky was just bright enough to see the horizon, and still dark enough to see the lights of some fishing boats making their nightly catch. The horizon and boat lights went up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down... I took a deep breath. AH! Time for breakfast.

There were few people in the bistro. I don't understand why.

Day 3, with photos )
den: (revs)
March 31

Woke up at 8ish and discovered I'd missed [ profile] azhdragon, who had to go to work. Thanks Alex, for once again letting me put up with you.

The ferry sailed at 7pm, so I had most of a day to kill.
Day 2, with pictures )
den: (revs)
Day 0 was all travel from Dubbo to Melbourne. Ada the GPS* got me through Melbourne with no hassles except for once telling me to turn left to get to [ profile] azhdragon's place, when no turn existed. She was a little fixated with travelling on the motorways and didn't like me taking minor roads. The motorways through Melbourne are great, except they make my e-tag bleep alarmingly every few kilometres. I wonder how badly my account was hit.

Day 1 with Pictures. )

* named after Ada Lovelace, first lady of computing.
den: (revs)
I'm off tomorrow.

[ profile] azhdragon eta Melbun 8ish pm.

[ profile] damienps, I'll call about then for meetinges on Sunday.
den: (bloke genes)
I will spending the rest of the week here. Expect photos of big boys toys when I return.

Not looking forward to the 5am start tomorrow, but it'll be a few interesting days.
den: (happy den)
Tomorrow I head off to Sydney, and on Friday I fly out. I might not have a chance to update while I'm O/S, but there will be updates and photos galore after December 1.

I'd like to meet up with my Pommy friends but the 10 days there will be tied up with business, a trainee, and old family friends. There will be a little touring, but only what can be done between factory sessions. I'd much prefer a longer trip, like about 4 weeks, at a better time of the year such as Spring, or early Autumn. So I'll have to see Siggy, Targaff and Tal next trip. I owe [ profile] boodie and [ profile] azhreia a Road Trip to Melbourne and Tasmania first.


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