Big Lap WA 2015- Days 17 and 18… National Park

Yesterday we packed up and left Hazelmere for the “wilds” we weren’t exactly sure where we were going we had an idea.. but we just went with it.

We had our second horrible night with horrible wild winds, we were prepared this time and brought the things which could blow away into the tent or put them in the car. Star Son was sleeping in our tent for a quick get away the next day. After Midnight we heard the people next to us get up yelling and stomping around and then heard tent pegs being hammered in. The next morning this is what we awoke to.. them asleep in their partly demolished tent.

My Bloke has a saying “Buy once, buy well” when I first met him I was an “impulse shopper” I love a bargain so if it were on sale it was a bargain and I’d buy it… he on the other hand believes that if he researches and pays a top price for a “great  item” he’s happy… so we met some where in the middle… now he does his research BUT he also looks for a bargain or does his level best to bargain the prices down. All except for “Southern Cross tents” before I came along he had a Southern Cross tent, and so he knew their worth, then when I came along and we suddenly had 5 children we didn’t expect to go camping and so he gave his tent to his Sister.. his Brother and his three children have Southern Cross tents too.

When it came time for him to wear me down and convince me to “try camping” he went for Southern Cross and didn’t even try to bargain down the price. So we named our tent “Tamara”. I’ve told you in earlier posts about how we name inanimate objects, and make them part of our family. When we did our first Big Lap, Tamara never let us down and I was sold on his love for “Southern Cross Tents” we wish they’d bring out a caravan and we’d upgrade!!

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                                           This tent did not survive the wild westerly winds of Western Australia

Hazelmere to Leeuwin National park 002Tamara on the other hand, despite doing some serious hula hopping through out the night, remained standing proudly.

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We proudly display this label we believe we can’t do better.

Our drive down here wasn’t too bad, we did it in about 3 1/2 hours and decided to check into a National Park and checked into Leeuwin National Park. We found a lovely site, quite close to the Loo and set up, the park supplies fire pits and logs for “couches” and also a picnic table so we have a 2 bedroom, open planned “home under the stars”

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Heidi and Matilda in their parking spot for the night.

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Two bedrooms

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Kitchen, Dining room and lounge room with fire-place and “couches”

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Dining room, which also doubled as school room and art studio.

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Nothing says “home” like flowers and a table-cloth.. Star Son didn’t realise the White “death Lily” was poisonous so he picked me one.. HA HA!

Pretty much couldn’t ask for more and the first night we were ALL alone in this space.. silence and full moonlight, lullabies to rock us to sleep by the chortling of magpies in the surrounding trees and the odd burst of laughter from the Kookaburras.

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Here’s your sign… camping here is $10 per adult and $2.20 for Star Son CHEAP!! 

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Conto camp ground is divided into sections, our section is called “Whistlers”

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This little sign explained why it’s called “Whistlers”

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My foot enjoying the camp fire. We brought our wood with us from home, in case we could have a fire.. so far we haven’t been able to have fires.. and have been dragging the big bag of wood around, now we are happily burning it to get rid of it.

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Pre Dinner visit from a Local Roo and her Joey, I couldn’t get close enough to take a photo of her Joey, but it’s in there.

Once camp was set up we went off to explore the surrounding areas, so first stop was “Margaret River” We walked along one side of the street, crossed the road and walked along the other side of the street, hot the “Souvenir” shops and brought the obligatory, sticker for Tilly and t-towel, I buy a dish towel (t-towel in Australia) at every place we stop and then when I get home and re settled I am going to sew them all together and quilt them into a wall hanging/ camping quilt. I started that on our Last Big Lap three years ago, great Idea I just haven’t done it yet Laughs!

We also did some grocery shopping and then on the way back to camp we wondered “Where does this road lead to…?” and so we followed it… down a dusty dirt road, where probably two-wheel drive cars shouldn’t be and yet, we asked Heidi and she took us.. we ended up at a look out called “Monument Rock”

Back at camp we had Steak and has browns and went for a walk around the camping area to see everyone elses set up, which is what the Bloke and Star son like to do.

By 9.30pm, it was dark and cold and so we sat around the fire playing a word game and then took ourselves to bed.

Day 18… 29th September 2015

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be “happy” last night there was not a breath of air, it was still and bright with the full moon, the magpies chortled in the surrounding trees and I still couldn’t sleep!

This morning, the Bloke made me breakfast in bed and this was my view as he opened the curtain.

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View from our bed, much better than crowds of people.

After breakfast we were off to explore the area. And found the “Lakes Caves” So we paid the fees to go through, there were warnings about all the steps which clearly we did NOT heed and now I am paying the price.

Lakes Caves were discovered in 1867 but a 16-year-old girl, and the story goes back then there was nothing out here so she lost the caves until 30 years later when her Brother and his friend re found them, the friend Tim went into the caves with just a candle and explored and opened the cave to visitors, it was the first cave opened. It’s huge and goes down 65 meters into the ground, which we had to get down to buy steps made of Jarrah, because it’s a tough wood that does not rot away.

Going down was impressive and fun, and to see the giant trees towering over us “Karri” trees was exciting and then we entered the cave and followed Crusty the guide as he told us stories and threw numbers and dates at us, none of which I can remember now. Anyways he lit up different parts of the caves at different times and then turned off all the lights and made us sit in the dark. Different parts of the formations have different names and there were dragons and straws and all kinds of different stalactites, stalagmites, and even small beginnings where Mother Nature has decided to claim back the pathway we walked on.

So it was very exciting and then we were allowed to hold a piece that had broken off and it was so heavy.. when the water drips down it leaves a tiny fragment of crystalline which hardens and gets heavy.

Then it was time to finish the tour and head for the top of the cave and then face those stairs.. we had all nervously laughed coming down about how there ” must be a lift to get back to the top” there was NOT a lift and we had to walk up the million stairs and back to the top. I “thought” I was kind of fit but that walk almost killed me. My breathing hurt, and my legs felt like jelly. By the time we got to the top I felt like death warmed up! Gasping and stumbling all over the place.

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Close up of some of the rock, on the way down to the cave.

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The Bloke and Star Son the they way down!

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They’re still heading down.

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