the far side

Hindsight… Throughout the past dozen years of my city living – highrise dwelling – office life I dreamed of a gypsy-like roadtrip around Australia and simple country life. A year later, living my dream life in reality I can report it’s nothing like I thought. Some aspects have been far more difficult, others far more wonderful.

my-gypsy-self free camping in a riverbed
my-gypsy-self free camping in a riverbed aka Barradale Rest Area off the North West Coastal Highway of Western Australia

For instance, my blog blurb states “Part of that dream is also to hook up a caravan to our ute and explore Australia.” It once also had the words “and blog about it as we go” tagged on the end. When it came to life on the road I couldn’t manage productive online time, only a single life as art blog post from Broome, NT on 12 August; 59 days into our trip, coincidentally the half way point.

I did manage 118 days -the duration of our travels around Australia- of Instagram posts. My fellow Instagrammers were marvellous company throughout the trip and provided welcome constancy and connection to balance my ever-changing days.

In planning and setting off on our trip we never had a fixed route-timetable. As a mud-map we were following a motorcycle ride the G.O. had done from Darwin to Perth via Broome over 40 years earlier and revisiting a short holiday we’d taken together in 2007 to Broome & Darwin.

We estimated we’d be away for three-four-maybe five months dependent on ennui, funds, weather. As it turned out all those factors became connected and under consideration as we left the north of the west coast and the dry season to encounter an unusually long, cold Australian winter season firmly entrenched down south.

From Broome, we journeyed in a southerly direction -along the far side of Australia- following the West Coast to Perth, across South Australia to Victoria where a stopover in Portland connected our travels to the trip we did in March.

An additional -unconsidered- factor turned out to be the G.O.’s bad knee which has worsened over the years and ultimately hit its tipping point via a long sunset walk along Cable Beach at Broome completed a little too quickly as daylight rapidly diminished. It was going to happen eventually but the timing was unfortunate. Despite him stoically nursing the injury it became apparent in combination with the other factors it was nigh time to head home, and save leisurely exploration of the south for a future trip.

Below is a selection of photos from the second leg of our trip.

01-eighty-mile-beach-wa
Just south of Broome, WA is Eighty Mile Beach. 129 kilometres of waves, sand and shells. A Must Do for fisher-people, beach bums and shell seekers.
02-dampier-wa
There’s no doubt that Red Dog (of the Pilbara) c. 1971 – 21 November 1979 featured in the 2011 film of the same name is well-loved. His statue in Dampier, WA is shiny & smooth from being stroked. We contributed our pats.
03-cape-range-national-park-exmouth-wa
A regular refrain on our trip was Let’s Just Have a Look. Which is how we came to explore the previously unknown to us and stunning but chilly-on-the-day Cape Range National Park near Exmouth WA.
04-carnarvon-wa
Feeling very much at home among the bananas. Proximity and availability -in August- of fresh tropical produce via farm gate stalls made Carnarvon, WA a foodie highlight.
05-wildfowers-wa
Did we see the famous Western Australia springtime wildflowers? Couldn’t miss them!
06-monkey-mia-wa
However, we almost missed Monkey Mia, WA because I didn’t connect its location with nearby town Denham and the legendary Shark Bay. Which would’ve been a shame as it is one of our of Must Return To places.
07-kalbarri-wa
Nor had we heard of Kalbarri National Park, WA famous for its coastline and wildflowers. Unmissable thanks to our fellow travellers.
08-bon-scott-rip-feeemantle-wa
Never too old or too late for hero-worship. Ignoring imperfect Perth weather we paid our respects at the final resting place in nearby Freemantle of Bon Scott (9 July 1946 – 19 February 1980) a Scottish-born Australian rock musician, best known for being the lead singer and lyricist of Australian hard rock band AC/DC. R.I.P.
09-watershed-winery-margaret-river-wa
Western Australia’s south offered many redeeming features as solace to the unseasonable season. The charms of Margaret River and Watershed Winery & Restaurant outshone inclement weather.
10-southern-wa
After enjoying the hospitality of Glenda & Maureen our friends of the Passion Fruit Garden blog, in beautiful Bridgetown, WA, we had a taste of the majesty of the native forests around the South Western Highway for which we will make a future return trip.
11-the-great-australian-bight-sa
A roadtrip across the Nullarbor rates high on the traveller To-Do List along with the Great Australian Bight, en route. Standing in this spot was a trophy moment.
12-kimba-sa
A.A. Milne’s Halfway Down poem jumped into my head at Kimba, SA halfway across Australia “It isn’t really Anywhere! It’s somewhere else Instead!”
13-in-maggies-kitchen-barossa-valley-sa
Another wild wet weather day another pilgrimage… Maggie Beer’s Kitchen (location of the TV series The Cook & The Chef) in the Barossa Valley, SA was warm and dry.
14-port-eliot-sa
Suitably stormy weather on the Fleurieu Peninsula, SA for a family history mission from Dad to find Currency Creek Cemetery and the grave (far LHS) of Herbert Newling Barker who died 1881 aged 11 years 8 months. R.I.P.
15-western-victoria
No point in attempting to outrun the weather, the journey and destination became one along the western volcanic plains and Victoria’s Princes Highway, home to numerous and impressive networks of dry stone walls.
16-portarlington-victoria
Batten down the hatches part 2 in Portarlington, Victoria. A week earlier we’d been in the midst of the controversial #adelaidestorm. Throughout it all the nannavan didn’t leak a drop.
17-gundagai-nsw
Dog lovers, we couldn’t drive past the statue of the Dog On The Tuckerbox, five miles from Gundagai, NSW inspired by a bullock drover’s poem, Bullocky Bill, which celebrates the life of an allegorical drover’s dog that loyally guarded the man’s tuckerbox (lunchbox) until death.
18-taylors-arm-nsw
Day 118: the home straight into Taylors Arm village lined with flowering Paulownia trees and fat cattle.

Trip synopsis:
Departed Taylors Arm: 15 June 2016
Arrived Taylors Arm: 10 October 2016
Distance Travelled: 24000+ kilometres
At our first fuel-up at Dalby, Queensland the speedo read 160112 kilometres.
In between we travelled through the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria.
Our last fuel-up was at Pheasants Nest, NSW where the speedo read 180390 kilometres.

broome-to-lochinvar
The second leg: Broome to our last stopover at Dad’s in Lochinvar before driving the very familiar 360 kilometres of Pacific Highway north to Taylors Arm.

“Hindsight, I think, is a useless tool. We, each of us, are at a place in our lives because of innumerable circumstances, and we, each of us, have a responsibility (if we do not like where we are) to move along life’s road, to find a better path if this one does not suit, or to walk happily along this one if it is indeed our life’s way. Changing even the bad things that have gone before would fundamentally change who we are, and whether or not that would be a good thing, I believe, it is impossible to predict. So I take my past experiences… and try to regret nothing. -Drizzt Do’urden”
R.A. Salvatore, Sea of Swords

We’ve been home for two four six eight busy weeks, and pencilled in a staycation to recover from our holiday and its aftermath. Future blog posts [under my new daleleelife101.blog banner] and visits are in the pipeline but in the meantime for glimpses of our everyday life you can see my Instagram snapshots on the right (hover cursor over the pics for the captions) or if you’re an Instagrammer you can follow me at daleleelife101 and the G.O. at welshy055.

*The Far Side was a single-panel cartoon series, often surreal and anthropomorphic, created by Gary Larsen that was syndicated internationally to over 1,900 newspapers from 1980 for fifteen years.

P.S. If you think of it, would you please advise via Comments if this blog post appeared via email notification or in your Reader, as since changing to .blog it didn’t appear in my Reader until I unfollowed then followed. Thank you.

 


38 thoughts on “the far side

    1. I’ve missed blogging, the interaction & inspiration of bloglandia (wonderful name!). I have hundreds of posts waiting to be read and/or commented on. I did send you a quick email to touch base after we didn’t spend as much time in Melbourne as we’d thought we might. Glamorous, moi? Thank you. Must be the big sunnies 🙂

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  1. What a beautiful country you live in and wonderful to have the opportunity to explore. I have always found that traveling tricks me…on envisions quiet hours of parking off under a tree with tea and computer, blogging away – NOT! You are not alone. But as a wise blogger once told me 🙂 it is quality and not quantity that counts. I have enjoyed your Instagram posts btw. x

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  2. What a trip you had! I find it quite challenging to be on the road for long periods, so you have my admiration. We love Australia’s regional areas so much. I do hope Wayne’s knee is not needing immediate surgery. My cousin just had a knee replacement and the recovery is difficult and took most of a year. I agree, hindsight is a pretty useless tool, much better to just regret nothing. So glad to have your post to read on this Sunday afternoon. xx

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    1. Thank you for reading – it was so lovely to be able to sit, cobble together a selection photos (out of 25 GB worth!) & write a blog post. For me the travel and indeed this new life is still a mixed bag of challenge & reward. The remote areas were the highlight and future trips will gravitate toward them. Wayne has an appointment with the specialist next week so we’ll know more then.

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  3. Welcome back to bloglife. I’ve loved the photos, but I’ve missed the ‘voice’. I hope the G.O. has given his knee enough rest to let it recover, but I suspect not…. I got an email notification and you appeared in my Reader, so all is well from my point of view. Let’s have a Skype some time this coming week, if you’re free?

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    1. Much of the country we travelled was flat. I come from and we now live in hills so it’s very novel for me to see such flat land, and that sheer drop off into the ocean is amazing. One of the things I’m enjoying about being home, living in just one place is when I do work around the house & garden I get to stay around and appreciate it.

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  4. I loved following your trip on Instagram, but as Kate says, it is lovely to have your voice too! Welcome back. Such a shame about the GO’s knee, for so many reasons. He will be a new man once it is fixed and you will be off on the next adventure in the nanavan.

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  5. Welcome back, Miss Dale. So glad to read you again. I don’t have an instragram account, so I missed the updates on your travel. Loved seeing the photos. I have no idea where these places are in Australia, but that one you called “Nullabar” was breathtaking. It looked so barren. Was there anything around there?

    I hope G.O’s knee is healing. Enjoyed reading about your trip.

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  6. Wow oh Wow oh Wow!! What a trip. Gorgeous photos! I’ve been working on ‘getting my things in order’ for several month now with the final thought being to put my beloved yellow farmhouse on the market SO I can just take off! What an experience… driving all around Australia. As for me, I often head out – last for a month – with a general direction in mind, as well as a few things/people I plan to see. Otherwise – I just see what the day brings – just as you two have been doing. ; o )

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      1. Because my husband was an international banker – we traveled A LOT. And, coming from a very small town here in America, I felt sooo very lucky. I lost my husband nine years ago, so I’ll be ‘going it alone’ but I know he’ll be with me as I have new adventures. ; o )

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        1. I love it – the idea that your friend is 70, rents her house and travels solo FULL-TIME!! Can you imagine women doing that years ago? No Way! I loved that one of my sons told he how he’d told one of his friends that I’d be fine traveling solo because I’m independent & ‘I’m only 66’!! ; o ) And I’m also glad to hear that you met lots of people traveling solo !!! Looks like I’m not alone with plans of doing just that.

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  7. Hello D, good to have your words back! I got the email. Been a bit tardy at getting around to reading – what a trip. Wow. Hope you didn’t walk the whole of that beach? I think that would have done both my knees in! As you know I did check in on your Instagramming earlier in the trip but a few months of introspection and a bad bout of flu put it beyond my capacity for a while. The question is, where is life leading you now – or perhaps, where are you pushing it? ! Fingers crossed for good news re the knee. And looking forward to news of life in and around Taylors Arm. Mx

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    1. Thank you. Tardy is my middle name at the moment! We are settling in… more on that shortly. Not the whole of Cable Beach – it is very long, just the end towards Gantheaume Point. Far enough but ok had we set out earlier for an afternoon walk rather than sunset and dawdling taking photos and shell seeking.

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