Day 52: Rottnest Island to Yallingup

A few people on my trip showed me selfies with a quokka and it went on my must do list. You find them on Rottnest Island and get a half hour ferry across from Fremantle. Packed my bike, parked it at the terminal and jad to take all my gear over as there were no lockers on the Fremantle side.  This is the only schlep of riding a motorbike ie varting gear about.  Left my tent etc on the bike and put my trust in humankind.

Rented a bike, stowed all gear in locker and after a coffee and a croissant (amazing not putting on weight) went quokka hunting.  Asked binman where to get them.  He said they’re nocturnal plus it’s their mating season, so they’ll probably be tired and passed out somewhere under a bush, BUT there’s always one or two at the cafe.  Liked the sign to the store

And a fleeting glimpse of one

Went hunting some more on my horse.  This one doesn’t  have cruise control

And that is my only visual on Perth  Tip:  it’s on the horizon

Although I’m superfit sitting on my bike all day, after 5km just had to go for a swim

And joy of joys, hot from cycling took tshirt off and there they were!  I think the apple in my mouth could’ve encourage them to climb over me!

And then I felt a little uncomfortable when the kissing started cause it’s mating season, but all good and everybody just friends

Got the ferry back a happy man!  Got my selfies.  Travelled south to Yallingup, a beach spot and booked into Caves caravan park. While I was pitching my tent at 6.30, heard live misic from the pub across the road.  Hurried over where The Milkmen were playing.  Lead singer’s mum is from Zimbabwe.  Just released their first album and had a great meal with Coopers and rollie in tow.  Life is good!

 

 

 

Day 51: Fremantle

Fremantle is a vibrant, laidback artsy place and I guess has a permanent holiday feel to it. Barbershop next to my abode and had goaty neatly trimmed (nosehair as well as that constitutes a moustache).  Bought thicker jumper as nights started to get cold and then a much needed coffee from this institution

Had it listening to this guy singing Hallelujah beautifully.  He made the beginning of my morning special singing Ed Sheeran very well too

Watched the high street come by almost like in the graffiti 

A cultural laid-back day was had. The Round House was the first gaol and got locked in probably reakimg of alcohol but definitely not for stealing

From the top of the stairs you get sucked in by rhis spiral

I wanted to know more about all these Dutch names I encountered on the west coast and visited the shipwreck museum

The Dutch set foot on Australian soil in the early 1600’s.  So interesting from my perspective as they all sailed round the Cape. At first they sailed to Mauritius and then on to Malaysia etc, but later they sailed south of Madagascar and used the roaring forties to make the journey much quiker.  The trick however was to know when to hang a left.  Many didn’t and became shipwrecked on Australia”s perilous west coast.  Wow, that took some effort to remember.  Feeling a bit tired now.

And the locals just recorded it

The story of the ship Batavia had it all with shipwreck, mutiny, murder and rescue.  Want to read more about it

Watched the sunset from the Little Creatures brewery

And when you feel tired on a Saturday night, you buy yourself a marker pen and go and plot your journey thus far.  Am I getting old?

 

 

 

 

Day 50: Cliff Head to Fremantle

Slept for 7 hours and woke 4.30 feeling absolutely awake.  Can’t really do anything else, so looked at the moon and counted my blessings thinking of my mum who passed away a year ago on this day.  At first light packed up my stuff and made coffee waiting for 7am to arrive, cause by then the kangaroos will hopefully be off the road.  My German neighbours were packing up as well.  They were heading where I came from and exchanged notes.  Welcome to winter they said

Was 12.5c when I rode off, bit only after a coffee and the perfect rollie.  Felt so proud of myself

They suggested a stop at Sandy Cove 80km south.  Part of the movie The Najed Wanderer was shot here.  Thought of our Sandy Bay in The Cape but not really any connection

The road meandered next to the ocean with long windy bends and it was beautiful.  So beautiful that I didn’t watch my speed and got caught speeding by a cop car coming from the front.  The guys couldn’t be nicer.    They didn’t pick up any traces of Bundi when I had to blow as part of normal procedure.  That surprised me, but all good.  He said I must consider myself lucky that this is the first one of my trip.  Well, it was Friday and we just did THIRTEEN thousand kilometres, so maybe it was my unlucky day.  Wanted to stay over in Fremantle and had the bike serviced east of Perth

The rear tyre had to be replaced and just the usual oil change etc. Didn’t see Perth at all.  Not even a skyscraper.

Met this freehand grafiti artist called Joe where I parked my bike who was decorating this wall showing Fremantle’s main street

Karijini Kristy’s boyfriend was opening a new restaurant on the Saturday, so she had a free pass for the Friday night and joined me for drinks and a few more and some live music and we had great fun. We also walked through the markets where I spotted a Crocodile Dundee hat with real crocodile teeth

No, I didn’t buy it, because there’s no room on the bike 😜

 

 

 

 

Day 38: Broome

This morning Brooke decided to introduce me to the finer art of breakfasting Australian way

I have to say surprisingly good.  The trick according to Brooke is to spread it very thin

Another iconic Oz institution was ticked.  When I thought of visting Australia, there were a few things on my bucket list to experience ie Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach, Great Barrier Reef, The Outback, Ayers Rock (Uluru) and Steve Irwin who personified a zest for life the Oz way.  By now did’em all apart from Uluru (it’s just another rock in the middle of nowhere mate!), but still want to go there, maybe next time…  Musicwise it was Men At Work, Midnight Oil whose lead singer became the environmetal minister (apparently didn’t do a great job, but still well respected), Inxs and Kylie’s cute bum.  Heard them all but didn’t see the latter.  What a BUMmer😜   After seeing Wolf of Wallstreet, wouldn’t mind meeting Margo Robbie.  I spread the word, she heard and phoned, but too busy relaxing in Broome 🤓

A family photo and then it was Broome time all over again

This is a girl wakeboarding behind a Toyota bakkie (yut)

And when we finally got to the bar, I ordered like a true Aussie  We’re not letting the Mozzies spoil our fun!  But they are a pest over here and serves as a reminder that life isn’t always a smooth ride.  But it certainly makes it more bearable with some “Broome underarm”

The routine of sweating, swimming, outdoor shower, sweating, swimming, outdoor shower, sweating… doesn’t put total focus on hygiene but in Broome nobody really cares.  They’re idea of aftershave is just to apply more mozzie repellent but this time on the face.

Don’t know if it was all the spray or the Bundi (now with ginger beer), but I could swear the other half wasn’t there

Had a very peaceful sleep 😴

 

 

Day 49: Denham to Cliff Head

Woke up 4.55 fully charged  Moon was shining on bike and it looked beautiful and photo doesn’t do it justice.  Siri woke up briefly, mumbked something like spread the love, and slept again.  Just can’t help myself, I’m in love with a machine!

There’s something magical about a sunrise.  For me it represents opportunities.  Before this trip I haven’t seen many apart from all-nighters and getting up for golf. 😜

8 am at Shell Bay south of Denham.  On my way there took it easy cause Sarge ( by now my official long distance tour guide) told me about the kangaroos.  A fwit hopped a mere 40m across my way.  No dramas, but still closest I came to one.  A km further on of his family in the middle of the road wasn’t so lucky.

Could swear they are Port Jacksons which are a pest in South Africa, especially the Western Cape.  The Aussies certainly sent us the crappest gumtree of them all and this… We burn the former for firewood and barbeque with the latter

Camped for free for the first time at Cliff Heads 45 min south of Dungara.  The government certainly look after campers.  No showers but toilets and a shaded cooking area.

Took my chair and 2 Coopers down to the beach with intention of swimming but too cold so just watched the sunset.

Sat on my chair heating chicken and corn soop after tuna and crackers and watched the moon through the tree above my tent

 

 

Day 48: Monkey Mia

This little seaside place is in the Shark Bay conservation area about 30km from Denham.  My daughter Mia is no monkey, to the contrary as she has her mum’s brains, so I googled it:  Mia is the Aboriginal term for home or shelter, while the Monkey part of the name is allegedly derived from a pearling boat called Monkey that anchored at the now Monkey Mia in the late 19th century.  The weirdesr thing is they pronounce it Monkey Maya.  No wonder people get confused…

Luckily this guy didn’t try to steal the cheese off my croissant (cheese and jam is just the best!),

but this innocent looking fwit (in Aussie style I use abbreviations now and that’s not the name of a bird) did.

Monkey Mia

A family on an island

Went looking for sealife on a cat and met this group of young boys.  Capes (with his daughter on his lap) runs this young leadership group.  Www.wulagura.com.au. It means “come this way, you”.  The five guiding principles of the program is leadership, teamwork, communication, safety, respect.  These boys had so much energy, so I could see why Capes brought in safety 😜

Relaxation time after the boys wore themselves out

The clouds made patterns

This one looked like a one-eyed cat (if you use your imagination)

Where the desert meets the ocean

A shark came to say hello

And a turtle took a gulp of fresh air.  They can stay under water for 7 min

That is a Dugong, I promise

This is what they look like

The dolphins came to say hello.  Swam in the water about 10m away from them

My artistic impression of a boat

This boat is run by a non-profitable organisation and teaches less privileged kids how to sail

Captain Quin doing his thing

 

 

 

Day 47: Exmouth to Denham

Woke up 4.15am (yes, AM!) and just couldn’t find my phone.  Searched everywhere.  Paid off in kind cause I found a packet of Moods cigars I didn’t know existed.  Searched for a good hour and unpack my backpack 3x.  In cold sweat as my phone is my life.  Well, not totally, but almost.  Eventually retraced my steps.  Remembered that I spoke to Andy before I went to bed and I took a leak afterwards in the bushes opposite as I was too lazy to walk 50m…  Rushed over and YES, there it was in the shiny light of my headlamp.  So overjoyed I leaked on the same spot (after picking it up) and gave it an enormous hug, the phone that is). I lost and found so many items on this trip, but this was the best retrieval ever.  Amazing how dependent we are on communication.  I thought of the time when we travelled Europe as students and when I travelled thereafter a year around the world.  All my parents got were postcards quite a few weeks after I sent it

Packed up camp, left 7am and by 9am already did 250km.  Now that’s the way to start a long day!

Reckoned I would end up in the very northern part of South Africa if I make a sharp left turn here.

Watched two eagles having a dogfight in the air.  Swooped and bombed one another until one went north and the other south.  Wondered if their respective domains stretched to the Equator and Antartica.  Eventually saw 6 in the sky with not a single plane in sight.    Beautiful!

Then thought I did take a wrong turn, just spelled differently from the one in the Cape.

Until I read below:

No difference apart from the colour of the earth

On my way to Denham which is in Shark Bay, saw Shell Beach.  Too tired to turn off and inspect but apparently shells on the beach here are meters deep.

Girl at info centre (they are SO good at sorting you out with accommodation and top things to do) asked me after 2 mins if I want to sit down because I look exhausted.  I gratefully accepted her offer as I was totally knackered.

My camping spot on the beach.  Wind blew so secured tent by packing all my gear inside it

Two guys gave a display right in front of my tent.   I can do one and want to try the other.  Kitesailing is on the bucket list👍

Was cold and wearing jeans and jumper first time since I arrived in Oz.  Noticed that these boots were a little dirty and Siri needs a shower.  She said it’s ok to be dirty as long as you have clean thoughts.  Thankfully the boots said nothing.

Went to the pub (as hardcore campers do) after a short 1hour powernap for a meal, a Coopers or 2 or 3 and a guy did a perfect rollie for me.  Trick is to take less tobacco.  Kristy told me this, but I forgot cause she’s left handed.  Needed a good night’s sleep as I was worn out phone-searching and riding a long way so I took a little sleepeaze tablet with Bundi (the tap was very far away).  Slept like a…. 💤💤💤

 

 

 

 

Day 46: Exmouth with the whale sharks

Had a little coffee off my gas stove to wake me up

Then greeted my new neighbour whom I met only last night but instantly fell in love with.  Her name is Poppy  and her hair is softer than mine.

Got picked up by the Ningaloo Discovery Company in their bus.

The 3 girls were so vibrant and full of life.  She had a flower in her hair, the same that floated in Sarge’s aircon overflow back in Broom

Here she’s giving the briefing on how we go about swimming with the biggest fish in the ocean

On the way there we saw a dingo feeding on a kangaroo killed on the road.

Then anther briefing on snorkelling and we’re good to go

First we went snorkelling on the inner reef.  The coral was beautiful and fish in absolute abundance.  All shapes and sizes and different bright colours while waiting for the spotter plane to do it’s thing overhead on the outer side of the reef, because that’s where the BIG FISH swim.

We made our way there while the young captain (who surfed at Jeffrey’s Bay) put on his 70’s Spotify playlist.  Knew all the songs but will remember first one Wish you were here by Pink Floyd.  My mate Andy can pick this so beautifully on his guitar while I play the basic chords.

Then into the water and swam with this most beautiful spotted creature, 5 times!!

Can’t describe in words this awesome experience.  One of rhe best things I ever did nature wise.  Afterwards a little more snorkeling, relaxation and healthy snacks

And now ready for bed a contented man,  Long way to travel tomorrow.  Already bought the Redbull 😆

 

 

Day 45: Exmouth

Today was going to be a beach day as tomorrow this is what I came for

The whale shark of course, not the campsite cleaning vehicle.

Went for a colourful brunch, did my shopping for the beach and remembered water as well (Siri said I’ve become SO organised, she doesn’t know what’s wrong with me).  Got my snorkel gear and briefly contemplated buying this beach chair

Rode to Turquoise Bay about 40 km away in the National Park. Siri was so taken with the bay, she demanded a photo.  I built her a little throne and told her to own it.  She said it’s not totally suitabke for a princess, but she’ll sit on it 😜

I snorkelled to the left of here as the reef is only about 50m from the shore and floated with the current parralel with the beach.  Fish of different colours in abundance.  Did it twice

My neighbours on the beach, Raphael and Valeria from Zurich looked so happy together in the sea, I just had to take a photo

They are taking a year out travelling and on their way to Indonesia next but time is running out and then back to work for them.  I think I kinda convinced them to go to SA next as he likes his wine.  Valeria is absolutely gorgeous and became even more so when she rolled the perfect rollie WITH a filter!!  If you don’t know it yet Rapha, she’s a keeper 😜

He returned the favour and took some gorgeous photos (subject excluded)

Cast your yes on the ocean, Cast your sole to the sea…

Back to the BBqfather for the best smoked beef brisket ever  Note to self:  get a smoker!!

 

Day 44: Tom Price to Exmouth

First time ever on my trip that I woke up feeling cold.  Forgot what feeling cold actually means or felt like.  Packed up superfast and off 7.30 with weather a very cool 20c.  Noticed the red dust of Karijini is still sticking

Considered myself lucky then, or maybe the Noosa cop would’ve fined me for not wearing it 🤣

While I was having brunch got a visitor 

For my next break this was the only shade I could find.  The landscape changed and close to the coast it turned into desert.  Reminded me a bit of the Kalahari

Arrived Exmouth and went to their super modern visitor centre.  Everything here centres around the Ningaloo reef that runs close to shore.  They booked me into the local caravan park as everything was full because of the school holidays and got charged $40 per night for a little place to pitch my tent.  A touch excessive I thought, or maybe it’s my Scottish frugile nature kicking in?  But it is what it is and got lucky to get a place on a katamaran for the day after to go and swim with the whale sharks.  It was therefore decided for me to stay 3 nights.  Went for a swim in their pool to cool off after pitching my tent in 5 min and then had a beer waiting for my washing to finish. And all joy of joys, one just like mine!  Wondered if they excisted here

Yes, washing on a Saturday late afternoon.  What has the world come to?  Hung it up as well after pulling the creases out of the t-shirts. Calvin Klein has not yet contacted me for sponsorship, so thought I’ll give it another try…

Sat on the veranda of the BBQ Father run by Italians and had Castello iso Coopers as they didn’t have any.  Made a mistake of ordering a pint of Peroni first and got charged $12.  That was my last one…  Blogged while having a plate of spag ball with a humongous side salad and a few Castellos And you guessed it, slept like a baby 👶