First signs of spring

Seasons are a bit vague here in Perth.

If you judged Perth climate by UK summer – we have summer all year round.
Autumn is a week of changing leaves between 35 degree summer days and the start of rain and a cool change
Winter comes and goes, but only exerts itself hard enough to warrant a jacket for a few weeks. It can be wet though – much wetter than a UK winter.
Which leaves Spring.   Spring is hard to pin down – it can be wet and cold but also hot and dry like summer.  If viewed by the calendar Spring definition, Perth has 2 or 3 seasons during that time.

The Aboriginal Noongar people that inhabited the Perth area before colonisation had defined 6 seasons.  We should use these really, they make a great deal more sense here than the English seasons the settlers brought with them. Read More

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Off road ride to Mt Dale

I’ve been off the bike for serious rides for a bit due to winter being crappy (see radar pic!) and very wet and the fact that I’m a big wuss and also I was back in England (as you may have gathered)

But there was a serendipitous break in the weather, I didn’t have any commitments and my family were all stuck into art or TV shows or other stuff.

So I fired up the mighty DR and went out on another adventure off road. Read More

Off-road goodness

So, having just talked myself up on the internet about how badd-ass I’m going to be riding my bike into the inhospitable red centre of Australia, I thought I’d actually take it off road.   You mean I haven’t actually been off road on this thing?

Pah, details.

*ahem*

So I fuelled up and headed for the hills.

Read More

Holidays, part 6 – off road to Cape Peron

The next day the weather wasn’t so good, so we decided to go to the Peron Homestead, an old sheep station in the Francis Peron national park and then take the car off road and go up to the top of the peninsula to Cape Peron.

The homestead was very cool – the people that used to do this stuff (and still do I guess) in these remote, hot and dusty places really did it tough.   We saw a bloody great big goanna lizard thing just sitting there in the sun – it was probably 3 feet long – eyeing us up for food 🙂

We pulled over to let the tyres down to 20psi for the sandy off road track to Cape Peron – 40km of sandy rutted 4×4 only track right up to the Cape.

The lady in the tourist place said it was ‘fine except for some sandy patches’, but I for city folk like us, it looked pretty gnarly with long stretches of deep sand.  We got stuck behind someone who got bogged towing a boat – right in the deepest sand, so it was really hard to get going again.  He eventually got underway, but we had to reverse so he could get moving, which meant we had to scrabble around to get going without bogging ourselves and managed to scratch the car on some bushes as we bounced about. Gah!

We carried on ploughing along, but got fooled by some deep sand that hid some pretty big dips so we bounced hard a few times, causing everything in the car, children included, to crash about. It was good fun though.  We got to the end and discovered that the bounces had smashed off the power coupling from the towbar and caused the right rear wheel to crack the underside of the wheel arch – oops

Luckily we met up with a couple and their young daughter who had some zip ties, so we managed to secure the bits that were hanging off.   They were in a new Landcruiser that was totally covered in red dirt – they had come all the way from Brisbane to Western Australia off-road, so had every spare part imaginable.  Awesome adventure – I suddenly have visions of wanting to do that kind of thing!!

Other than that, the Kia did very well off road – much better than its SUV classification would have you believe – its actually pretty competent.

Cape Peron is famous for the red cliffs that come almost all the way to ocean, a thin strip of white sand and turquoise blue ocean, but sadly it was high tide and overcast when we went, so we didn’t get the full effect, but on the plus side, we didn’t get our brains roasted in the heat either!  It was very barren, very striking and there were lots of goannas about in the red dirt.  I walked up to the top of the cliffs and looking down at the ocean below, I could see pretty big shark swimming lazily along in the blue water.  Awesome.

We had lunch, but there really wasn’t much else to see, and Jay’s back was starting to hurt, so we packed up the car and drove back again.  We did loads better off road on the way back, never even once looking like we might get stuck.  I was also much better at spotting the potential bouncers in the sand and we had a really good drive back. That’s my manly status assured then 😉

Back at the homestead carpark, I got the compressor out and re inflated the tyres whilst the girls went off to check out the thermal spring hot tub in the homestead grounds.  It was way too hot apparently.

The car done good 🙂

Next up – more dolphins, black pearls and dugongs

Holidays, part 3 – Kalbarri Gorges

Day 3, we set off from Kalbarri early as we had a long drive (again) to Denham in Shark Bay.

Stopping briefly for petrol and a quick walk along the beach (we arrived in the dark the night before so we thought we’d at least have a 5 minute poke around), we quickly decided that Kalbarri is a place we’d come back to.  Clean, pretty, lots of variety of food (for vegetarians, vegans and gluten and dairy free) and enough to keep children occupied for a week.

We drove up the Ajana Kalbarri road towards the Kalbarri National Park so we could have a gawp at the amazing Murchison River Gorge.  This was a little way off road – 20km or so along well made dirt tracks – through the vast open bush.

It was a pleasure to see to no evidence of mankind (the road excepted) as far as the eye could see in all directions.  We even saw emus wandering through a thin patch of bush just off the road.

We parked up at a little car park and walked out into the heat – it was really warm compared to Perth – and took a walk down a little rocky track to a lookout over the Murchison River.

Wow – it was an awesome view.  Not very many folks about either, just a few brave souls and a teenage kid who was curious about my Hasselblad camera.  This was also the first time we really got to see the red rocks that make this part of the world so famous.

It’s spring in Australia at the moment, so there were a fair few desert flowers about – very pretty.

We still had a long drive and Anja was in a foul teenage mood, so we didn’t get to see the fabled ‘Nature’s Window’, which I was ok with – it was hot and there were lots of flies about, and besides, its such a stupid twee name for a gorgeous rock arch.

We drove back down the track and continued north along the highway into ever more barren countryside and ever increasing temperatures.

Next up – Hamelin Bay and Shark Bay