Archives for the month of: May, 2013

Enraptured by the price of our previous visit, I chose to spend the following fortnight back at the Kambalda Caravan Park with a view to making once a week visits to Kalgoorlie to provide lashings of history for the kids and I – efforts were made to find tourist attractions in the Kambalda township but even a visit to the Shire Office in town provided only a single option “Have you been to the Red Hill Lookout?” Me “Yes” (Enter the sound of silence).

They do have a cool recreation centre and playground, skatepark and a Woolies that has enabled me to save a fortune! I have never seen so many Reduced For a Quick Sale stickers in my life.

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One of our first visits to Kalgoorlie was actually prompted by my friend mentioning the Boulder Market Day, on her blog http://www.followingourhearts.com , and her talking about the free Superpit Tour which you need to line up early for (first in, first served). Some days I manage to surprise myself – we got in to Boulder and snagged ourselves seats on the first tour of the day!!

The tour runs for an hour and they take you along the pit roads, through the haul truck workshop and into a viewing room on the side of the pit that lets you see the trucks being loaded and gives you some idea of the size of this big hole.

ImageAn interesting fact that came up was that for every 6 trucks that get loaded with rocks they manage to extract about a golf ball size amount of gold…..not much, especially given that this is considered by some to be the richest square mile on the face of the Earth.

On Market Day you can also see demos of dry blowing and gold panning and we found these to be really interesting and an informative reality check – it must have been a lot of work for little reward for most of the people who came to the goldfields.

We also visited Kal during History Week and managed to get onto a Town Hall Tour given by a historian employed by the Shire – he was very entertaining but unable to answer a question that has intrigued me for a good decade now “Why do so many magicians, illusionists and hypnotists visit Kalgoorlie?” Not that I want to cast any aspersions on the good people of the Eastern Goldfields but…..?Image

I am assuming that the kids were inspired by the historic tour and just wanted to check the quality of the carpet and pressed tin ceiling….at least I hope so anyway.

When you come to Kal make sure you visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service out at the airport – they run regular daily tours that are well worth the very modest entry charge and a walk around the small display area may well bring a tear to your eye (the patchwork wall hanging) or a laugh outloud (medical chest display). Having lived in the bush before we have used the Flying Doctor and are so grateful for the work they do – here’s hoping that we have no need of them during our Big Trip but always nice to know that they’re around if we do. 

We still need to make a couple more visits to Kal to check out the cool museums (kids groan) so I will leave it there for now.

 

 

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My lovely friend Lynette http://www.followingourhearts.com had recently blogged about staying at a free camp just outside Kalgoorlie called Lake Douglas and so that became our next destination.

Kalgoorlie is a town that is well set up for travellers, well signposted parking areas and dump points and tell me, who can resist those automated toilets that play music while you go about your business? So after a visit to the local Woolies we made the long 12km journey out to the Lake.

Now, I don’t know about you but when I pull into somewhere I haven’t been before I like to get out and do a walk around and establish where we might park up……not my husband though! “She’ll be right” and off down a fairly dodgy looking track we go until we reach that point where you realise that you have to go back out the way you came (at least to appease your panicking wife).

There’s nothing like watching your car and van moving sideways to really get the heart rate up. So after digging a new channel for the lake with our back wheel we entered a lovely parking area accessed by an equally lovely track (which we probably would have found on the reccie walk).  

Trust me, the photo doesn’t actually do the experience justice.

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On our first night we were joined by a couple in a campervan and another couple in a Walkabout van – can I just say that during the design process of our van build it never once occurred to me that I may need a place to cook crabs….thankfully the people at Walkabout include a very large hydraulic powered drop down gas ring on the side of the van for just such a situation. Jokes aside, it was a clever van and B and I got a few good ideas for the next build we are going to do – I know, I know, but never say never I guess.

It goes without saying that we organised a campfire asap – and this time we had marshmallows. The kids knew exactly how many marshmallows they had to space out over 4 days (Little even had them on the table in lovely piles….and then he still ate them all in one night!)

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What is it about free camping that just enables people from all different walks of life to come together without putting up any facade?

We met some amazing people at this free camp who shared their stories, their skills and their meals with us. There was Al and Rosie, Al has been blind since his teens and was on his way to a ten pin bowling championship but during our couple of days together he and Rosie taught the kids to read braille, introduced us to talking computers and audio movies!

There was Brendon & Libby and their kids who were an absolute godsend. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while and will never look at the driver acknowledgement wave in the same way ever again. Thankyou also for teaching us that yabbies don’t actually eat the bait that people put into the pots but are instead just trying to clean up their environment.

Then there were the Bushtracker Prospectors who have now given B’s life a new direction and inspired Sista to rekindle her relationship with crochet.

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We could have actually stayed here for longer but our water tanks were empty and we really needed a shower, so it was time to get moving again.