Picked up the Camper this morning ready for the first leg of the road trip in the South West of Western Australia. Carey and Anya were super stars and dropped us off to the pick up point. A few bits of paperwork needed to be completed, and physical checks of the camper. Si had a run through of how all the gadgets worked and once we were happy we loaded up. Conveniently in the camper depot there was a small table with peoples leftovers on. I availed myself of a four pack of toilet roll (always handy) some salt and pepper, rice cakes, lactose free milk and some bug spray. With my safely stashed away we strapped Bob in, posed for the obligatory selfie, and got our trip underway.
The camper itself comes with an electric fridge, gas hob, running water, and two double beds if required. The roof has a solar panel on it and there's plenty of room inside to stash Mildred and The Sturdy One. Si is able to stand upright in it without bashing his head which means that I OBVIOUSLY can.
The route we decided on was York, to Beverley, hang a left at Brockton towards Corrigin, where incidentally, there is a large dog cemetery, and to our first stop of Hayden. Either side of the highway are acres and acres of wheat, well there was a few weeks ago maybe, now there's just stubble and the occasional stack of bales. The parched ground around the outside of the fields and on the roadside was like crazy paving the cracks were so deep. Ironically a few kilometres on there were flood warnings signs and water depth measuring sticks.
We saw a few flocks of sheep, and everyone knows, sheep are stupid. Instead of taking advantage of the limited amount of shade from the few trees scattered about, they were huddled together with their tongues hanging out. You see?? Stupid. Other than that the only other animals were 4 donkeys and 3 horses. There were actually 5 donkeys if you include the nodding donkey sat in the passenger seat.
The roads are all good, and we're banned from off roading. Something of a disappointment but there you go. The sharp contrast of the golden fields, the rusty earth and the sky was dazzling. Add into that the leaves atop the multicoloured trunks of the trees along the roadside and I was in colour heaven. Could have done with a little more pink but I don't wish to be tooo picky. There was only light traffic to Hyden which consisted of a couple of road trains and some cars. Not a traffic jam to be seen. Outstanding! I did almost have a goddamn heart attack when we crossed the train line and a parked up train honked. It was a very good job I wasn't stuffing my face at the time, the windscreen would have been sprayed.
A stop for fuel in Hyden, for us and the van, then a spin around the corner to the little supermarket. We grabbed some bits for a picnic supper and carried on to wave Rock.
The wave Rock campsite's webpage says to book it two days in advance. Well, we hadn't done that, so called them a couple of times. Each time the phone was picked up and then promptly cut off. When we stopped for fuel we asked the lad behind the counter for info and he said it was really quiet at the moment and we should be ok with just turning up, which is precisely what we did.
The Wave Rock is well signposted and only a few km from Hyden, the site itself has museums and cafe on the one side of the road and then the car park campsite and The Rock on the other side. A kiosk selling essentials is where the reception for wave Rock campsite is. We went in and explained we hadn't got a booking and that we were there on the off chance. To our great delight she fixed us up with a spot. Not just any old spot but one that was an en-suite no less. Get us!! Finding said en-suite was a something else, despite her indicating on the map of the site where it was, it kinda wasn't there. The issue being that the pitches weren't numbered. Si got out for a wander around to see if he could locate it and was assisted by a couple who asked "are you having trouble too? " Seems like we weren't the only ones. Obviously we found it and the problem was us, we had no idea what the en-suite entailed and had completely overlooked the buildings that were sat there, just minding their own business. In fairness, unlesss you had super amazing vision you wouldn't have seen the tiny number 2 on the door.
We parked up next to it, made a note of the fire hose, because you just never know when you need one do you? A concrete pad that is covered is ideal for plopping the chairs and table on and just off that is the door to a large washroom. Inside are separate toilet and shower cubicles and a decent sized drainer sink with a large mirror over it. bright strip lights illuminated the space both inside and outside. An amusing sign on the wall stated Bright lights illuminate body parts, you might want to dress in the shower cubicle. Signed Management.
Outside the door was the hook up point, which we plugged in and proceeded to make sure everything was charged and ready to go.
There is a fee for parking at Wave Rock, and you can have 12 or 24 tickets. The cost of that is included in the camping fee.
Arriving about 1730 hours, we had a quick drink and set off to find Wave, hoping to see it lit up in the sunset. From the campsite we went a slightly different way from which you would go from the car park, but as it's all well sign posted it's easy to find. Wave rock itself is wheelchair accessible, and I would say accessible for people who are good to walk short distances. The surface is solid, but slightly pitted and a little uneven in places, by as long as you're careful it's fine. It's stunning. The rock is 15 metres high and curved like a wave.... I wonder if that's where it got its name?! It's 2.8 billion years old and is constantly changing and evolving. You can climb up to the top of it and walk along looking down over. There is a wall built along the whole 100 metre stretch to stop people trying to surf down it. Getting to the top of it, even though it's only 15 metres, isn't something for the mobility impaired as the rock is very slippery and has no footholds or hand holds that I could see. The sun had more or less vanished over the far end of the rock so we decided that we would take the path to Hippos Yawn. There is a loop of 1.5km, the one bit is all hard standing and accessible for wheelchairs pushchairs and bikes, the other part is just sand pathway through the bush which is obviously not accessible.
Hippos Yawn is pretty cool, and also bloody huge. You can tell that it's a hippos mouth. All along the trail there are information signs to educate you on the wildlife, flora and fauna, and to show to the way. Always helpful. Due to the high salt content things struggle to grow but incredibly there is greenery, although it's pretty sparse.
After Hippos Yawn there is a trail out to the Magic lake. A salt lake that is so salty that you float in it like the Dead Sea. We didn't make that as sunset wasn't far off and we wanted to see if the rock changed colour in the dusk. The whole route is about 4km total if you do the salt lake you are allowed to swim in it, or float. Apparently it also has healing properties in it. On our way back, there was a tree full of pink and grey parrots and with the blue sky providing a fantastic backdrop for them. I'm not sure if they were roosting for the night because there wasn't any cover for them. note to self check out the nesting habits of parrots...
Returning to Wave Rock we were a bit disappointed as the sunset wasn't brilliant and the sky had gone overcast and a bit hazy. Although the colours seemed to me to be marginally different. With that we went back to the van and contemplated supper. As the Only things missing in the van are a toilet and a shower it's pretty self contained so making tea was
a breeze. We lit some sticks to keep out the mozzies and tucked in.
Pretty knackered after a lot of driving. Or in my case sitting watching the world go by, we were in bed by 2030hrs ready for sunrise on the rock. Surprisingly the sleeping area is remarkably comfortable and the fly nets on the roof windows enabled us to have the windows open overnight. We thought a sheet would
Be sufficient to sleep under, but the temperature dropped significantly overnight, and I got a little chilly. A sleeping bag opened out sorted that minor niggle, I suspect that shutting the windows may have gone some way to warming it up a bit too.
Looking forward to where tomorrow will take us and the adventure yet to come