Saturday, March 31, 2007

Day 660 – Esperence, Australia

Day 660 – 30th March 2007 +7:00 GMT

Had to get up fairly early as we had booked on the 9am wildlife cruise.

Wildlife Cruise
Martin looked very worse for ware. But we all boarded the boat at 8:50am and set sail at 9am.
Our Boat
The cruise started by taking us around the harbour where we saw huge ships that come over from Asia to fill up with grain or nickel. Then we started cruising the archipelagos.

Jill And I On The Boat

The Beautiful Clear Water

Within a few minutes we saw a few pods of dolphins so stopped to take photos and the dolphins followed the boat for a while.
A Dolphin

A Dolphin

Pair Of Dolphins

We then saw Australian sea lions and New Zealand fur seals.

Australian Sea Lion
New Zealand Fur Seals
We encountered a few sea eagles and many other birds.
A Sea Eagle

A Sea Eagle
We then stopped at woody island which is a nature reserve. Here we were served a morning tea and then taken on a nature tour of the island, we saw many wild birds and some amazing scenery.
A Bird On Woody Island

View From Woodys Island
We then got on the boat and it returned us to Esperence harbour.
Esperence Water Front
We stopped at the tea rooms for some lunch and then headed back to the hostel to catch up on some well earned sleep. We had a quiet evening watching TV and eating take away.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Day 659 – Esperence, Australia

Day 659 – 29th March 2007 +7:00 GMT + 120

Espernce is supposed to have the best beaches in the whole of Australia. So today we drove about 50km West to Le Grand national park. Here we parked and found Lucky Bay which is supposed to be the best beach in Australia.

Lucky Bay

Lucky Bay

The bay was lovely with white sand, the sand was very compact and hard and the top part of the beach was covered with seaweed.

The Beach At Lucky Bay

We found a spot with not too much seaweed and put down our beach mats and towels. The water was quite cold but the sand was lovely, unfortunately the tide was in so not too much of the white sand was showing.

The Beach At Lucky Bay

Jill At Lucky Bay

We spent a couple of hours lying on the beach and paddling in the water, it was quite surprising how deserted the beach was.

Me Paddling At Lucky Bay

We then had a picnic by the local campsite and then made our way to Thistle Cove.

An Australian Wasp Visiting During Our Picnic

Thistle Cove

Here we had a wander down on the rocks and watched the massive waves crash over the rocks. The Bay here also looked wonderful.

Whistling Rock

Rocks At Thistle Cove

Rocks At Thistle Cove

We then headed back into Esperence and Martin persuaded us to go to a karaoke bar. So we went to a local bar which was full of drunk locals. We had a beer and then were going to leave but some girls from the hostel turned up who Martin had promised to sing for if they turned up.

Martin Performing At Karaoke

After his first song Martin found he got a free drink every time he sang. So four hours later Martin had sung three songs and we headed back to the hostel.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Day 658 – Kalgoorlie – Esperence, Australia

Day 658 – 28th March 2007 +7:00 GMT

Checked out the hostel and made our way south on the 94 heading for Esperence. It is a 4 hour drive and we stopped at Norseman for some coffee. We arrived in Esperence at around 2:30pm and checked into our hostel. The hostel was nice enough but yet again had a very under equipped kitchen. We took a walk into the town centre and visited the tourist information. Then we walked back along the waterfront but it started to rain, so we got some food and headed back to the hostel. We sat around and watched the news and them Martin and I went to the local pub and spent the night playing pool.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Day 657 – Kalgoorlie, Australia

Day 657 – 27th March 2007 +7:00 GMT

Got up and walked up the shops to get some milk for breakfast. Then drove into the town centre and visited the tourist information, they suggested a few tours and supplied us a map of the town. The Town is called Kalgoorlie-Boulder which was two mining towns which amalgamated. The area called the golden mile is where the super pit is so we went here first. We parked at the lookout point and they have a viewing area with lots of information about the super pit.
The Super Pit
The Super Pit
It is a huge gold mine and is mined as an open pit. The gold has to go through a complicated process to get extracted as it is not found as nuggets. The rock has to be crushed down and the gold extracted using chemicals. They get approximately 6.5g gold for every ton of rock. The vehicles they use in the super pit are massive the tyres alone are 12 feet high.
One Of The Large Mechanical Scoops
The pit is over 3km longs at present and they are constantly blasting and making it bigger. We then moved on and took a drive to Boulder which is just down the road, we had a walk along the highstreet.
Boulder High Street
Then made our way back into Kalgoorlie, here we found a lovely café and had some lunch.
Typical Style Building In Kalgoorlie
We then drove to the mining hall of fame. Here there are many things to see including many buildings set out to represent an old mining town, they have all the machinery that has been used in a mine over the years.
Me Panning For Gold

Jill At The Tourist Mine

A Mine Lift

Martin On An Old Mine Train

We had a look around for an hour or so and then went to a gold pouring demonstration. Here they have to start heating the furnace two and a half hours before the demonstration to get it hot enough to melt the gold. So he basically melted down some gold and they pour it into and ingot.
Gold Pouring Demonstration
It only takes about a minute for it to be cool enough to be taken out of the ingot and it to keep it’s shape. It is then placed into a barrel of water and left for about ten minutes and you have you ingot of gold. After the demonstration Martin and I went on a tour of one of the mines. We went down in a tiny lift which can only hold four people into the first level of the mine.
The Mine

Me Down The Mine
Here we were given a guided tour and they even showed us the machines working. The drill runs at 110 decibels and the fan at 116 decibels so no one in the mine could ever talk.
A Mine Drill
The underground mine was a slow process and they drill 14 holes and fill them with explosives, they move back 200 metres set off the explosives which takes them another 2 metres along the tunnel and then they repeat the process.
Mine Cart
The mine we were in had five levels and we were on the first, nearest the surface. They showed us an area where they found gold and had taken a slice out just the area with gold in.
The Mine Rig
After the tour we had a look around the museum but only got half way around when it closed up and we had to leave. It was worth the money and I did not think I would spend so long there. We then made our way back to the hostel via the supermarket and I cooked some food. Martin and I then went out for a beer at the Exchange Hotel and then came back and played some cards.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Day 656 – Perth – Kalgoorlie, Australia

Day 656 – 26th March 2007 +7:00 GMT

Got up at 6am and updated my blog then checked over the car filled up the water and packed the car up. Then drove into the city centre and picked up Martin. We signed up for YHA cards in the city centre while we were stopped and then hit the road. We drove along the great eastern highway heading East for 600km. Along the side of the road is a huge water pipe, as the water in Kalgoorlie is pumped all the way from Perth.

The Pipeline

Water Tower

We stopped at Merredin for lunch here we found a nice little café. The drive took about 7 hours and there is no to much to see other then desert. We did drive through a sandstorm as the wind was starting to pick up and blows the sand across the road.

Driving Through A Sandstorm

We arrived in Kalgoorlie at 5:30pm and checked into the gold dust backpackers which is a purpose built YHA. It was probably the worst hostel I have stayed in. The hostel had nowhere to sit other than in an open area in front of the TV which was always on and turned up loud so you could not chat. They did have an outdoor area but it was hardly lit and you could not see much. The kitchen only had 2 cups and no glasses, it had no bowls and for a hostel of 60 people it was very under equipped. Almost everyone staying at the hostel was working at the mines and they also had families living at the hostel. I recommend you avoid this place. As for the town it is famous for gold, a man named Paddy Hannan first came here in 1893 and discovered gold soon after the town grew and grew and it is one of the worlds biggest gold towns now.

Me With Paddy Hannan

The town is not very welcoming and looks a bit rough is an understatement. They have a red light district which although illegal in Australia has always had a blind eye turned towards it. They even run brothel tours here. Also the town is famous for it’s skimpies, basically every pub has girls dressed only in there underwear serving behind the bar. When we arrived we went into the town centre to get some food and a beer at a local hotel. We came back to the hostel and we watched a movie and then went to bed.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Day 655 - Perth, Australia

Day 655 - 25th March 2007 +7:00 GMT

Got up eary although it seemed later in the day but the clocks had gone back.Had a quiet morning Peter cooked us all a nice fry-up and we sat outside and ate. Jill and I then drove into the city and visited Harbour town and did some shopping. We picked up martin after we had finished and took a drive along the cost. We stopped at Scarbouough beach and had a walk along the beach then headed back to the hosue. Sarah's friend Kim came over and we had a BBQ, the food was great, when had some wine and then went and had an early night.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Day 654 - Perth, Australia

Day 654 - 24th March 2007 +9:00 GMT

Happy Birthday Sophie.
Jill got up early and went out shopping with Sarah. I got a text from Martin saying he had just left the casino it was 9:22am... Peter and I went to Joondalup shopping centre to get a few bits and then the market and bought the weeks fruit and vegetables. We then came back to the hosue and had some lunch then hired out some DVD's. We spent the afternoon watching The Departed which is a fantastic film. Sarah and Peter's friends Sarah and Simon came over as the girld were going out with the hockey club and the boys were having a poker night. The girls had to dress up as school girls and had an organised coach to atke them around the pubs, so the girls all dressed up and left around 6pm.

Jill, Sarah and Sarah

Jill, Sarah and Sarah

We drove down and picked Martin up from the station and went to Brian's house for the poker. They have a good system here the host cooks dinner for everyone then you play poker but all the money goes into a kitty and at the end of the year they spend the kitty on a night out. So tonight we had roast beef and a few beers then all played poker.
Poker At Brians House
To add to the kitty you all had to give the person to your right a name and you had to call everyone by their new names or you had a 50c fine for the kitty. So everyone had a normal name until I choose to name Martin, Susan which was very funny as everyone had to call him susan all night. Martin won the poker quite clearly and they made $420 for the kitty. Peter and I got home just after 1am while the others went off into town. The girls got in about 1:30am and we tehn crashed out.

DSL Service Provider