We headed north into the real dry country up to the town of Menzies where we walked the street to read up on the town history & visited the only local pub for a coldy. The publican gave us a good run down on the area & its history. The publican recommended that we drive out to Niagara Dam for a stay, which we did & we were very happy that we did. This was a tremendous free camp beside the man made dam & even for this time of year was very popular. We stayed here for five days & did a lot of bush walking around the dam & other areas as well as putting in the yabby pots & catching a feed of yabbies every day. The dam was built over 100 years ago with the help of 400 camels that carried the cement to the area. There was a township 3kms north of here & the dam was originally built with the intention to service the steam trains & provide fresh water for the town, however in a twist of fate, abundant fresh water was found near the township of Kookynie & so went the main purpose for this extraordinary piece of early engineering & was never used to water the steam trains.
We continued north further into the dry country through towns such as Leonora & Leinster. These towns serve the small population that live in the area, however Leinster is a mining town set up by the mining company to serve the employees in that industry. After a long hot drive we stopped at a free camp at the Peter Denny Lookout about 114 kms west of Leinster. There are plenty of sites to choose from but there are no facilities. From here you get beautiful views of the Breakaways looking down onto a sandy plain. A really nice spot to spend a few days chilling out.
We then travelled to the little town of Sandstone, which was a delight. We purchased fresh pasties made by “Lady Di” & also a packet of her special bush herbs that she was selling in a little stall near the info centre. After a short stay looking around the town we continued along the highway & did a detour left to visit the famous London Bridge rock formation. It is a 350 million year old basalt ridge along a very dusty & corrugated road but well worth the visit. Back on the highway we passed numerous wildflowers of various colours on both sides of the road as we made our way to Mount Magnet where we fueled our vehicle. After driving around 140 kms west from Mount Magnet as well as getting late, we decided to pull over into the bush to stay for the night on the side of the road. A very basic campsite but it gave us a short drive into Geraldton the next day.
Driving into Geraldton it was a nice sunny day. We parked at the RV parking area near the jetty, which is within walking distance to the town area. This is a great site, as you are able to fill up with water & empty Rubbish. You can stay here for 24 hours only. It was great just to park & then walk down town getting a meal at one of the local cafes. We continued on to our next stop at Coronation Beach about 36kms to the north. We were very lucky to get a beautiful spot facing the beach. Within the camping area there was a good boardwalk lookout up the hill, which gives a great view of the surrounding area & the ocean. We spent four days, at $14 per night per vehicle, doing walks along the coastline & the beach as well as chilling out. The beaches were amazing with beautiful sapphire blue water sparkling in the sun. We were sorry to leave but as we have reached the northern point we wanted on this trip, we headed south back through Geraldton to our next camp at Cliff Head North, about 51km north of Leeman on the Indian Ocean Drive. This was a basic free camp right on the waterfront.
The Next day we headed down south to visit the famous Pinnacles. This is a marvelous site & not to be missed. It looks like a scene on the moon. Entry fee was $12 per vehicle to drive through the site & view these amazing formations. The Pinnacles are believed to have formed some 500 thousand years ago during the ice age. You cannot camp around this area so we moved on to a free roadside camp at Moore River Bridge. After a pleasant night’s sleep, we drove south & visited the beach area of Yanchep then into the Swan Valley area to have a few nights at The Sebel Swan Valley The Vines Resort, for a bit of luxury & R&R prior to heading back across the Great Eastern Highway to Coolgardie, down to Norseman & across the Nullabor to Adelaide, then Broken Hill, Silverton, Bourke, Tenterfield, Lismore, Brisbane & up the Queensland coast to Cairns.
All in all we travelled 23,491 kms since we left Cairns in May 2016. Again we were very happy with our Coaster especially considering the distances we travelled, our bus performed like magic, however due to wear & tear we did need to replace our house batteries.
All in all we had a fantastic trip in our lovely Toyota Coaster with our next trip being from Cairns to the northern part of NT & then across to do the rest of WA.
Till our next adventure!