Just saying the name of this beautiful town is like letting out a relaxing sigh. And just like that when you arrive in town and set your caravan up at the First Sun Holiday Park on the beachfront, you know you’ve arrived somewhere special. My latest article in Australian Caravan + RV magazine is all about this place which is a mecca for anyone from backpackers, the alternative crowd, aging hippies and new hippies, to a who’s who of Aussie movie stars, musicians and television personalities. The best part is that the different crowds all mingle together and everyone’s welcome.
I love lighthouses and with a coastline as huge as Australia we have a lot to discover. I am drawn to their resilience and purpose, not to mention the incredibly stunning views they afford from their locations. No lighthouses are manned in Australia these days, they are all automated, but in some cases weather readings and other information are still taken from their locations.
I love preparing for a holiday by researching a destination. The internet, magazines, friends and social media can tell you a lot about where you are going. This is great if you want the facts and figures, the must see and do’s, best places to stay and experiences to try. Even being armed with all of that, there is still one ingredient that can make a holiday tip over into the ‘best experience ever’ category. That extra something is…ask a local!
This is a line from my favourite poem “My Country” by Dorothea Mackellar and the reason I love this poem is, as anyone who has ever travelled in Australia knows, the words resonate so deeply yet so succinctly. This line in particular kept jumping into my mind on the last road trip where we hugged the coastline from South Australia, through Western Australia and eventually to Darwin in the Northern Territory. We were blown away by the vivid colours of the Indian Ocean in particular and so many of the bays and beaches we explored.
One of the things I love about caravanning road trips is having a different view out of the window every day or so. No day is ever the same and even if you’re staying in one spot the view can change dramatically from day to night. What can look quite bland during the middle of the day can look completely different with a spectacular sunrise or sunset, casting a whole new light, literally, on your camp site.
What makes a holiday memorable? Jaw dropping scenery sure, balmy weather absolutely, good food and wines does it for me too and of course the people you meet along the way. But, some of the stand out experiences on our last road trip were the encounters we had with animals.
The experiences we had are now forever etched in my memory and will be synonymous with place names such as Hamelin Bay, Monkey Mia, Steep Point, Francois Peron National Park and Cape Range National Park.
The road trip that we have just completed allowed us to see just a snapshot of Western Australia but we packed in as much as time, money, road conditions and weather would allow us to. Our plan from the beginning had been to see Western Australia, a state we hadn’t been to before and basically hug the coastline from bottom to top, before heading into the Northern Territory and scooting back home down the middle.
We had around three months of touring time up our sleeves from start to finish, not a lot of time when you consider that WA makes up one third of the landmass of Australia. So here are just some of the interesting statistics from our touring.
Our first night back in South Australia was an overnight stop at Marla Travellers Rest, a good old reliable spot to camp with fuel, food, power and amenities all together. It’s far enough off the highway not to hear too much road noise and spaces fill up the later it gets in the day.
The homeward stretch began as we left Darwin behind with its coldest day on record, struggling to get above 21 degrees all day. Too cold here, time to head south (Ha Ha, that’s one for our Darwin friends).
We stayed one night in Katherine then moved on to stay the next at Bitter Springs, Mataranka. There were noticeably more caravans and campers on the road as it got closer to the Easter weekend. Still we could pull up wherever we liked and the sites were big enough to stay hitched on to the car for a quick take-off the next day. Continue reading