Day 52 – Orleans Bay to Fraser Range

After five glorious days at Orleans Bay, the time has come for us to pack up the van and head on our way again. Another morning of no surprises. When Ava is awake, she is awake – and wants to make the most of the day – just like me. Audrey on the other hand is exactly the same as Caroline when it comes to morning routines – they love their time in bed, taking their time. Taking the morning at a leisurely pace. The complete opposite of Ava and I. When we are up, we are up!

We had our breakfast outside and were greeted by one of the neighbouring kids, B.A.N.J.O, Banjo was his name. A lovely little 4yo boy who was very skilled on his bike and enjoyed popping over to chat with the girls. Caroline and I often wondered of the origins of his name. Was their a link to Banjo Patterson, or did his parents just particularly like the instrument? We were never bold enough to ask the parents – one of life’s mysteries that will remain unanswered! Audrey seemed to really enjoy her breakfast, Bovril on toast. The enjoyment displayed all over her face, Bovril was smeared almost from ear to ear!

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Van packed, we said farewell to our lovely neighbours Mel, Tim and their children Ryan and Amy. We think our stay at Orleans Bay would have been quite different if we hadn’t met this family – a similar experience we have had at other caravan parks. While Orleans Bay was in a fantastic location with a well equipped camping ground, most of the inhabitants of this particular caravan park were locals that frequented these grounds year after year. A pilgrimage of sorts. Due to their familiarity with the area, they were a close knit group whom weren’t interested in communicating with ‘the outside world’. We were fortunate to meet the lovely people we did meet over the Christmas period and hope when travelling eastward that we will have the chance of bumping into more friendly families on the way.

We are looking at a 400 km drive today, Caroline as driver with me as co-pilot. It was a funny feeling being on the road today. The realisation that we will have to cross the Nullarbor again makes me feel that our holiday is coming to an end. I am not sure whether it is because we have previously crossed this stretch of road or that we are migrating homeward. This sensation is easily overcome when thinking about how much more time we have on our travels, around another month, so many more things to see and wineries to visit!

The girls have played extremely well in the car today. Audrey, playing with Elsa and singing songs that she recalls from Frozen, while Ava is playing with Barbie. Dressing her up in different outfits, putting her to bed and watching the light reflect on the different outfits Barbie has bought along for the trip. I think Barbie has more outfits than all of us combined! Caroline and I entertained ourselves looking at the different towns we passed. ‘Grass Patch’ was the first town that took our fancy. I would ask Caroline “Where do you live?” She would reply “Grass Patch”, I would then ask again “No, where do you live?” Her reply “Grass Patch”. “Do you live in a house?” “No, in a Grass Patch” she replied. “What’s your occupation?” I then asked, “Grounds keeper” she said. All this driving is making us a little batty it seems! Salmon Gums was another funny named town that we passed through (you can imagine what that conversation looked like) and we missed Widgiemootha (a little further north of where we were headed today) but required a mention as it had a funny name!

After turning right at Norseman onto Eyre Highway we started our journey East on the Nullarbor. We sped through the last 100kms of our trip trying to spot the only camel we had seen on our travels, almost a month ago to the day! Caroline and I wondered what would have happened to the camel. Would we still see it on the side of the road? If so, what would be left of it. I imagined spotting the skeleton of the camel by the side of the road. Unfortunately we didn’t see any remains – we assume the camel had been moved by a local farmer to dispose of the remains.

We arrived at Fraser Range around lunchtime, did a small unpack of the van, keeping the caravan still attached to allow us an early exit tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is one of the largest trips we will do on our trip, around 550kms to Eucla, approximately 10kms West of the border between Western Australia and South Australia.

The girls spent their afternoon eating ice blocks and roaming around the caravan park with their ‘Australian hats’ on. All three of my girls looked beautiful, like they belonged in the outback. Ava wanted to demonstrate how brave she was and went to pat the goats and sheep that were roaming around the campground/farm. From memory, the black bloated goat was a little horny (not in that sense). It would walk around you, hugging your periphery and then try and get its horn into you. Ava wasn’t afraid, Audrey was and sought the shelter of mummy’s shoulder, and approached the goats for a pat. Immediately the black ‘devil’ goat walked around Ava and gave her a nudge with it’s horns. Ava screamed in shock, I escorted the goat away from my girls. Ava spent the rest of the short walk back to our van exclaiming “that is a naughty goat. Naughty, naughty goat!”.

Tonight will be a cheats meal. Fraser Range offers meals every night, so I think we will take the easy way out and have someone else cook and clean up after us. We made new friends with some of the guests that were nearby. A family from Flemington (Victoria), Kellie and Andrew, that are on the tail end of their 12month adventure. They have the smaller Jayco Expanda and seemed to have had an amazing time with their son and daughter. We also befriended another family Darren and Donna from Albany (WA) who were escaping the colder weather of Western Australia to move to Airlie Beach (QLD) and enjoy the warmer weather. We all sat down to a lovely meal, including desserts, with the adults on one table and the children on the other. Nanna, Nonna, Grandpa and Jamps you will be extremely pleased to hear that the girls ate ALL of their dinner and had two courses each of jelly! Not sure whether it was fantastic food or good company (peer pressure) that caused our dainty ladies to devour their dinner.

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A first for Caroline and I tonight. The girls are in bed (it sounds like they are already asleep after putting them down only ten minutes ago) and we are sitting outside wearing the same clothing we were wearing during the day. It is a warmer night, the breeze is blowing through the trees that boarder each caravan site – which is keeping the mozzies at bay. Hopefully Caroline and I can pull ourselves away from the Kindles for a few moments to look upwards and appreciate the uninterrupted view of the starts in the sky.

3 responses to “Day 52 – Orleans Bay to Fraser Range

  1. We feel very privileged to share time with you all at “The Duke”, and to retain a mention or two on your blog. I’m enjoying reading about your travels and look forward to reading about the rest of your trip. We returned to Perth with no problems – overnight at Wave Rock. Now to the numerous mundane house chores that you manage to escape while on the road. Enjoy the tine with your family. Mel

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  2. It’s been a busy time here and I have caught up on the past few days of your Blog which we have enjoyed hearing the antics of Trixie and the excitement of finding that Santa had visited even leaving behind crumbs. So pleased that you had a little bit of Eastwood Christmas with you and enjoyed Nanna’s shortbread, if you are all good chopildren you might get some more! We are so pleased that the special bottle from the cellar was not consumed prior to Christmas and that it made it safely all the way.
    It was fabulous to have Al, Marjo, Sacha and Marie-Paulle stay with us arriving on Christmas Eve after they had devoured fresh crab and a visit to the beach.
    We were well prepared thanks to Dad who has put in such an effort in preparing the turkey which I usually do and the ham and vegetables for Christmas Day. The pudding was done and all that goes with it and Dad also whipped up a batch of meringues as well as the “special ice cream”.
    It was lovely having Sacha pottering around playing on Christmas Eve, exploring the Christmas tree. We had dinner outside then a storm arrived and thunder and lightening persisted for a couple of hours.
    Our dear friends Anthony and Paula came in for the usual Christmas Eve drink and we relaxed finally.
    We were up bright and early it reminded us of the days when we had small children to head of to Jess and Gus’s to see Max and William open their presents. We loved sharing this time with them. We had beakfast with them and headed home to prepare for our guests.
    Christmas this year has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster but we got there and Gran made the day thanks to Sam ad Al who collected her and took her back even getter into her nightie and into to bed on her return after 6. Mum did well to last the whole day and managed to enjoy her dinner from the comfort of a chair in the family room with doors open looking at the family, relatives and extended family popping in and spending time with her. Marjo’s friend Marie came to experience an Australian Christmas and we loved sharing the day with her, she is a delightful young French lady who has been in Australia for eight years.
    Sarah, Dylan and Lawrence spent the day with us as well which was lovely that they were able to spend time with Mum as well.
    All in all we had a lovely day, we missed all our family that were not with us as it was our “off Christmas” and look forward to next year when we will have all of us together and Lynne and David from the UK.
    We are are now on the count down for our little adventure in SA with you all.
    Near panic reading the blog about Lach loosing his fishing gear and putting his arm, then most of his body into to unknown waters. A man will do anything to save his rod, be careful Lach.
    We cannot thank you enough for all your contact not only by Blog but your calls and face time even when it’s been so difficult, it has made it a great deal easier for both Dad and I to hear from you and know that you are safe. It’s the most amazing experience for you all and the bonding experience alone is well worth while. We do wonder how you will be able to settled back into mundane daily life again in the “burbs”. Lovely to hear of the girls exploring and making new friends. This experience will give them both so much confidence hopefully the black goat did not frighten them too much, doubt if they will have to deal with one when they are home.
    Drive safely today, love you all.
    Mum, Rosie Nanna xxxx

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  3. Heading east – yes, but as you say still a month of travelling ahead of you, not to mention time with Nanna and Grandpa on the way. Lots more experiences are yet to unfold.
    I hope the goat incident hasn’t undone all the amazing bravery Ava has built up over the holiday. It is certainly another story she can tell.
    I loved hearing the girls social skills are coming into their own – and to sit down to dinner with the children on their own table is so French and possibly you are right about consuming all their food. All grandparents will be delighted to hear it.
    Nicki just about to arrive with us. Then off for a walk.
    Safe drive tomorrow. xxxxxxxx

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