The Last Big Surfari! - Mount Warrigal, Australia
Mount Warrigal, Australia
I have been surfing since 1965 and there was a discussion on a beach somewhere with mates many years ago after a surf session about how long we would be surfers. All agreed, forever! How long is forever? Well I remember saying I would surf until I'm 70 or I die! On the 26 of March this year, 2016, I will turn 70 and guess what? I am still surfing, albeit on a Stand Up Paddleboard, but still riding the waves. In early May 2016 I intend travelling to the Ningaloo Reef region of Western Australia in our Jayco Swan camper towed by my 2009 Mazda Turbo Diesel ute. The camper is set up fully self contained with 2 x 120ah AGM batteries for LED lighting and to run an Ironman 12 volt compressor fridge. One of my destinations, Warroora Station, insists on a chemical toilet and if you have seen the mess some people make because they are to lazy to dig a hole and bury their **** and toilet paper you would have to agree with that! So our toilet/shower tent comes along as well as a portable gas water heater. The majority of cooking will be done outside the camper on a gas stove because we don't cook inside the camper The camper batteries are recharged while travelling through a Cteck DC to DC charger mounted in the camper and charged by the ute alternator. The Cteck or a similar charger was essential as there are four batteries for the tug alternator to charge whilst travelling and it needs all the assistance it can get. There is a 100 watt solar panel fixed to the roof of the camper and this is regulated through the Cteck to charge both camper batteries. I also have a 100 watt portable solar panel that can be moved around to follow the sun. This is also regulated through the Cteck. If I need to charge one of the tug batteries it can be charged using the portable solar panel. This is unregulated so I have a portable MPPT regulator that attaches between the panel and the tug battery. The fridge in the Swan is a 3 way Thetford and will not be used on the way over as I have a Ironman Ice Cube 30 litre fridge/freezer that will ride in the back of the BT50 with the seat removed and will run on 12 volt from the auxiliary battery. The Ice Cube runs a Danfos compressor and draws 0.7 Ah/h, at 5C inside temp at 20C outside. 3 way fridges are pretty inefficient on 12 volt and only maintain the temperature they were at when turned over onto 12v so they should always be pulled down on either gas or 240v if available. The Swan slipper springs have been replaced with eye to eye springs and the axle under slung to give better clearance and tow better. I have also fitted an Alko off road coupling even though the Swan is a Touring model and not the Outback which isn't really off-road either. The original coupling had jumped off the towball a couple of times when getting out of a tricky situation at Oallen Ford on the upper Shoalhaven river just after we bought the Swan, Access to some camps in WA are a little tricky through soft sand. I don't intend to do much travelling on corrugations whenever that can be avoided. I intend travelling south from Wollongong down the Hume Highway M31 to the junction with the Stuart Highway A20 turn right toward Wagga Wagga and then continue on the Stuart Highway into South Australia until the junction with the Port Wakefield Rd A1. Follow the A1 to Port Agusta and the A1 becomes the Eyre Highway A1 toward Kimba. Continue on the A1 through to Ceduna and then on across the Nullabor Plain. Continue on the A1 to Norseman. Turn right onto 94, the Coolgardie Esperance Highway toward Coolgardie. Decide if going to Kalgoolie and turn right on 94 or continue straight ahead to Coolgardie. At Kalgoolie or Coolgardie 94 becomes The Great Eastern Highway. Follow the Great Eastern Hwy into Perth. Check out staying at Bindoon Oval caravan park on the Great Northern Highway. Go south of Perth to Coogee Beach caravan park. Good reviews. A lot of bad reviews for many Perth parks! OK! It's Anzac Day, 25 th April and I have decided on a date to set off on the WA trip. I will leave Mount Warrigal on Monday 9th May 2016. I will be doing a fair bit of free camping on my way. It's May 1, My wife Deb has decided to accompany me as far as Perth on my trip to northern West Australia! What fantastic news for both of us as I will have her company for a long part of the trip and Deb will get to see a part of Australia she has never experienced. We left Mount Warrigal on Monday 9th May in the rain and travelled to Hay, NSW, a distance of 630 klms! A bloody long drive. We stayed in a cabin because we thought it would rain all day and booked a cabin. Would you believe with about 150 klms to go the sun came out. So we made Hay while the sun shines! LOL! The next day was only a 430 k day to Morgan SA and we were spent and stayed in a cabin rather then putting the camper up. Morgan is a very pretty old river port town on the Murray a River and we thought we may stay an extra day and stay in a free camp in the Morgan Conservation Reserve, however the wind came up quite strong so we decided to venture on to Port Agusta, also in SA where we put the camper up. From Port Agusta we decided our next stop would be our namesake town, Cummins SA. On the way to Cummins we stopped for lunch at Cowell SA, a seaside town. In Cowell I had the hottest bloody pepper steak pie I have ever almost eaten! 3/4 of the way through it I got hiccups from trying to get my breath! I couldn't believe the garbage bin didn't spontaneously combust! Anyway, onto Cummins, beautiful little town that relies almost entirely on grain growing, namely wheat. We rented a cabin in the Cummins Community Caravan Park, a very nice, clean park and you pay at the Cummins Takeaway Cafe as there is no onsite caretaker. Free laundry facilities as well. Cummins is an RV Friendly town. The locals are indeed friendly and really appreciate the tourist dollars the RV industry brings to the area. Great fresh bread at the bakery! Read up on Cummins in Wikicamps. Met this wonderful retired couple, John and Rose who had ridden pushbikes from Perth across the Nullabor Plain! They had covered just over 3,000 klms. Awoke to a beautiful morning in Cummins! Not a cloud in the sky after a few days of cloudy and windy weather in our travels. We have had headwinds for all the journey so far. Off to Ceduna SA today. A 360 klm trip. Wikicamps distances are very confusing as they are done as the crow flies not by road distances, so I am using the Australian Distance Calculator. Well we didn't make Ceduna. We called into Streaky Bay and decided to hang here for two days. It is a beautiful town. We had a lunch of King George Whiting in a cafe overlooking the long jetty. Great van park, we stayed in a cabin, very comfortable. Awesome sunrise the next morning over the Bay. Deb got talking to a couple from Victoria touring for a week in a ute. Lance and Vanda. We had decided to have a BBQ on the beach using the Ozpig so we invited Lance and Vanda to share the evening. Deb cooked savoury lamb rissoles and sausages for us and Zanda cooked King George whiting in foil for her and Lance. They are a lovely couple and we had a very enjoyable evening. Up at 7.30 am and as the supermarket wasn't open in Streaky Bay we headed for Ceduna ang got supplies there. Another beautiful South Australian waterfront town on a beautiful Autumn day! Fuelled up at Penong and onto Nullarbor Roadhouse. We have done over 400 k's today so we once again took the option of not putting the camper up and staying in a motel room. Basic but very clean and tidy. Looks like an awesome desert sunset happening across the Nullarbor Plain.we are using Wikicamps to navigate this trip with a little help from Google Maps for accurate road distances. It rained very lightly during the night but it dawned a fine day so we decided to do the 6 k's from the roadhouse to Mutiwingini caves. Good gravel road but slippery in places from the overnight rain. The caves were interesting and caves 1 & 2 were accessible, we headed off to Scenic Lookout 2 for a view of the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight. Saw another pair of Wedgetail Eagles feeding on roadkill. We bush camped in a roadside rest area near Madura at Moodini Bluff about 200 metres from the road after we pulled over and got some firewood. Deb set up the camper and wished to try out a setup she thought out where the back bed is left in and the bed fly lis pulled down and tied into the stabiliser legs to waterproof that bed! It worked perfectly and saves a heap of work setting up a bed that isn't needed! I had it easy as I set about getting the Ozpig ready. Two other caravans arrived as Deb was having a bush shower! Bit of a scramble for Deb to hide naked behind the camper but no problems! During the night we had a wild dog hanging around the camper. From the look of the tracks not very big. Deb heard him a couple of times during the night but I slept through the excitement! Up early the next morning and the Ozpig still had plenty of coals so it was just a matter of putting the kindling on and we soon had a good fire going and Deb cooked a delicious breakfast of bacon and eggs on muffins, then set up the van before we hit the road. At Caiguna roadhouse Deb took over and drove the 90 Mile Straight. We continued on to Fraser Range Caravan Park when we couldn't find a suitable bush camp. A great caravan park in a beautiful bush setting. Deb cooked a delicious dinner of rissoles, sausages, and steamed veggies in an awesome camp kitchen and made good use of the onsite fire-pit. We have decided to call a rest day and stay another night. We are on the western end of the Nullarbor Plain. It has been an amazing journey so far and in no way was the trip boring. Got a great night sleep, no wild dogs! Deb cooked pancakes on the little propane cooker. We are waiting to see if Paul Cusack was going to meet us in Perth and if not we will head off south from Norseman to Esperance. Paul called, not meeting him in Perth. We have met two awesome couples staying in the park. Larry and Mervene from Freemantle on their way back home from the East and Wally and Audrey from Queensland on their way to Perth. Mervene went on a walk on the Fraser Range and got lost! The station manager went out on a quad bike to find her. She had the good humour to laugh about it on her return! Left Fraser Range with Deb driving on our way to Norseman for fuel and then on to Esperance, a distance of 321 k's. Esperance is a beautiful mix of a small port town and a tourist destination. We decided to stay in a motel or cabin for two nights. The motel won and we chose the Esperance Beachfront Resort! Beautiful comfortable two room unit for a reasonable $109 per night right across the road from the beach and decided to stay at least another night. $109 a night in a resort is a good deal! Deb has decided to fly from Perth to the Gold Coast on the 26th May to a family gathering and booked a seat on the Red Eye Special! Our second day at Esperance, a bit cloudy in the morning but a beautiful sunny afternoon. We will probably stay until Monday morning then head to Hyden and Wave Rock. Went out to Cape Le Grande today. Very nice! See the pics! Many thanks to resort manager Neil for telling us about Cape Le Grande and the beautiful ocean beaches to the west! Monday 23/5/16 and we leave beautiful Esperance on our way to Wave Rock. Seen lots of pics but in real life very spectacular! A little disappointing that signs abound saying thieves were targeting parked cars whilst watching two feral brothers who should have been in school riding pushbikes around cars and vans in the carpark whilst mum with Mohawk haircut sits in shelter shed watching antics! Needless to say not a very long visit to the Rock some 200 metres away through scrub for us! We got some quick pics and hightailed it back to the van. All good, nothing missing and brothers feral still checking cars! An American tourist said I should have taken the board and got a few pics standing on it under the Rock. Sounds OK but not for the fins on the board! We moved on to the town of Corrigin where we booked into a motel for the night as a drive of just over 500 k's makes a van putup not on with rain pending! 250 k's into Perth tomorrow is an easy run. We will check it a couple of van parks south of Perth to book into. Deb flies to the Gold Coast for a family do on Thursday evening and I won't see her again until she flies into Broome late July for a two week reunion! Going to miss my beautiful wife! Arrived in Perth and made our way to Woodman Point Holiday Park. Pretty close to Fremantle from there not far into the centre of Perth. Fremantle is a neat place with many beautiful old buildings. Sydney was like this before politicians from both major parties sold their sorry ***** for 30 pieces of silver to developers and turned Sydney ugly! Checked Freo out and then went for a run to Rockingham, a neat beachside suburb where the navy has a dockyard. Deb flies out Thursday 26th May to the Gold Coast on the red eye flight! Supposed to leave at 11.30 pm but runner an hour late! We had left in plenty of time and had dinner in a neato Indian restaurant, the Haldi, in Fremantle and continued onto Perth Airport. We had done a practice run the day before and the freeway to the airport was choked with traffic due to road works so we left Freo at 7.30 pm just in case, giving ourselves 4 hours! The flight being an hour late stretched this to 5 hours! SFA to do for 5 hours at Perth Airport. Deb finally flew out about 12.25pm. Next morning I get up to drive up to around Geraldton, however the engine light came on and it's off to find a Mazda dealer. Didn't affect the performance of the ute but the service department via their computer informed me n oxygen sensor had failed and needed replacing. Friday afternoon now so the ute is booked in for 8.00am Monday! Looks like a little longer in Perth so back to the van park and book for a couple of more days! Saturday, a little housekeeping, some shopping and a test run using Google Maps on the iPhone as satnav as I have had a challenge getting around Perth. Test run was to where the Mazda goes in on Monday. All OK! Sunday and booked in for a tour to Rottnest Island. Bus pickup at van park 9.00am to Fremantle for ferry to island. 25 minutes to Rottnest, ocean a little choppy but not too bad! Got off ferry and saw my first quokka! What cute little buggers but he was asleep! Apparently semi-nocturnal animals and plenty will come out in the afternoon. So wish Deb was here to share the experience. Went on a bus tour around the island with commentary. Very interesting history. Was once an Aboriginal Penal Settlement and not many brothers ever came off here alive due to the brutal treatment by the prison guards and malnutrition. Pretty sad as there has been carbon dating of aboriginal artefacts back 20,000 years. They a arrived here by land bridge before one of the many natural climate changes caused a massive rise in ocean levels or there were earth movements that lifted the land? Definitely not man made as so many too lazy to do the science claim is happening. Back from the bus tour and time for some food! A curried Rotto pie and a small flat white. Then this cute little quokka ambles up to the table I'm sitting at and, well I just had to get a photo so I put the pie down and got the iPad into picture mode and bent down to little mates level to get the shot of a lifetime only to hear a squarking commotion beside me! Stopped snapping and started looking just in time to see a crow making of with the rest of the curried Rotto pie! Ah well! Worth 1/2 a curried pie for sure! Plenty of surf, some of it huge, on the island. Apparently the water temp is 4 degrees warmer then the mainland because of a warm current. I have seen all I wanted to see so I caught an earlier ferry back to Freo (Freo, Rotto, getting into the swing of the locals!) only to find I have to sit around for 1 1/2 hours for the courtesy bus back to the van park. Sitting in a ferry terminal all alone. Good thing I enjoy my solitude! Saved! The bloke who repairs the pushbikes has to take a family into Fremantle CBD as they got off the ferry at the wrong stop and has offered to drop me back at the caravan park! This morning Wed June. I had the great fortune to catch up with son in law Miles Bennett, Cleo's dad whom I love like a son. He was a blessing in the days after Ben's death as we're all my family. He got me off my bum and out surfing again! Just what I needed to ward off the black dog of despair/depression! Had a meat pie and a coffee for lunch at Lancelin in a Chinese bakery in a small Aussie seaside town! Beautiful drive up with picturesque views of the Indian Ocean. Fuelled up at Jurien Bay and then through to Geraldton. Travelled 428 k's today to Geraldton and staying in a cabin at Batavia Coast Caravan Park so I can watch the State of Origin. Once again NSW just not good enough - again! Maccas for brekkie, more fuel, then onto Kalbarri. Such a beautiful place and so much to see I decided to stay a week and take advantage of a 10% discount at the Anchorage Caravan Park. Fri June 3. Went out to Murchison Gorge in Kalbarri National Park sightseeing. Pretty impressive, see the pics. In the afternoon I visited Red Bluff and some of the other coastal cliff lookouts. Big swell rolling in from the Indian Ocean. Sat June4. Got a good nights sleep and it started to rain about 11.30 pm Fri and still raining at dawn. Banana pancakes for brekkie and out to watch the surfers attack the big swell at a point break near Red Bluff. Water must be cold as they are all wearing long john wetties! Rained on and off most of the day. The sightseeing flight is still on and what a buzz! 5 seater aircraft and I'm up front next to pilot! Flew over Murchison Gorge and so much more to see from the air. Day was overcast so the colours didn't stand out as much as yesterday but if you get up to Kalbarri then take the sightseeing flight over the gorge and the ocean cliffs. Look at the pics! Sun June 5. Overcast and a little cool. Off to Port Gregory and the Pink Lake which is a 120klm round trip. Len the Viet vet said to watch the coppers as they're "Re d hot"! So I stuck to the speed limit! Port Gregory was a pretty small fishing village with the Indian Ocean on one side, the Pink Lake on the other and one little general store and a caravan park. Whilst at Port Gregory got a text and pics from Deb showing me the jetty under water because of the rain they have been having. So I rang her and during the conversation we decided she and Chelsea would fly to Broome and continue with me on the Last Big Surfari around Aussie. Wahoo!!! On the return run to Kalbarri I called in to see Island Rock and Natural Bridge in the Indian Ocean side of Kalbarri National Park. Very spectacular cliffs and far below I could see a pod of dolphins frolicking in the waves. Monday June 6. Long weekend in WA. Pretty quiet day. Took a few pics of the bar of the Murchison River. As an old boat owner and crosser of some North Coast bars, this is hairy! Some pics of dinner, green curry steak and veggies and rice! Talked with Deb today and she is all about getting her and our Maltese, Chelsea, to Broome to catch up for the remainder of our journey around this fabulous country. See it before the politicians give it away! I am booked into Cable Beach Van Park on Friday 22/7! With Deb to arrive 22/7. WOW! Can't wait! Green curry steak etc just bloody beautiful! Weather has closed in on dark with wind from the nor west and then rain. Safely tucked in bed in the camper with the wind rocking us a little. Hopefully tomorrow will see it clear up. Wind swung around to come from south west and picked up. 1.00am I got up to the awning getting a fair shaking so let it down and tied either end to van legs. Lightening, thunder and heavy rain. Awning rattling against van and van rocking in the wind. I decided to roll the awning up between showers before it is damaged by the wind. Still the wind is blowing fiercely and I'm glad I rolled the awning up. A fine sunny day is forecast for tomorrow with the wind abating. If this happens then things will dry out for a Thursday departure to Carnarvon. Dawned a fine day but quite cool. Plenty of sun and wind to dry the camper out. Should be able to head off for Carnarvon tomorrow. Thursday and in Carnarvon after 480 klick so. A lot of nothing to see today. I will have a look around tomorrow and pick the movie hard drive up. Spent two days in Carnarvon at the Coral Coast Van Park. They put on an $8 dinner that a was chops and sausages BBQ. They had a quiz night and they were easy questions as I got 5 of them correct and we won the quiz, a pack of Ferro Rocher chocolates! The next morning I went to cook brekkie in the camp kitchen but they had run out of gas! I don't think I'll go back there. I decided I'd stay at Warroora Station if I could find it. Instructions said turn left at Lyndon Crossing Rest Area and no problems 23 k's of gravel in but let tyres down to 24 psi on van and ute and no problems. Before I entered onto Warroora land I collected firewood from the side of the road with the trusty Sthill. You have to be totally self sufficient, there's no water or any services and you have to have a chemical toilet which Myles lent back to me. Warroora is halfway between Carnarvon and Exmouth. The Tropic of Capricorn runs through the middle of the station. This is just one beautiful primitive place! Google Waroora Station. Well had my first surf of the trip this morning, only small and the water is just so clear. The wave was a little fast for the SUP but fun. There was a school of Spanish Mackerel about 3 foot long jumping out of the water after smaller fish. I really love Spanish Mackerel. It becomes the best curried fish ever. Very few bones! Breeze was a little cold but water OK. Went for a drive in the afternoon to check out the property and it is truly amazing with miles of white beaches and only 50 metres from shore is the Ningaloo Reef. I saw a good surf break I will check out tomorrow morning. It's cloudy now, mid afternoon, with a light westerly coming off the Indian Ocean. This morning was a little cool with a breeze blowing out of the desert. Tomorrow is another day. Warroora Station is HUGE! Over 260,000 acres! Bugger hectares. If you get the chance, come here! Experience of a lifetime. You can station stay in the old homestead or the shear ers quarters. Monday morning, bacon & eggs for breakfast. Bloody sick of fatty bacon. Baked beans on toast tomorrow morning. Then off to Wedding Hill, which I discovered yesterday to have 2/3 bars of signal so I called Deb and touch base. Then on down the bottom of Wedding Hill for a surf. Had to walk about a kilometre to get to the break. The water was a beautiful colour and it was a nice little beach break going left. Then getting back out I got bogged! It appears the ute wasn't going into 4 WD but the lights were on saying it was in 4WD. Only the back wheels were turning and I was stuck for 4 hours trying to get it out. Finally two other surfers came along in a Range Rover and snatched me out. Bloody ute has been nothing but trouble! Cold night with the desert air doing its thing. Had a lazy time packing camp up and headed off at midday. Took rubbish and emptied porta pottie in the pit. You need to have a chemical toilet to stay at Waroorora Station. Then on the 25 k's back to the Exmouth / Manilya Rd and pumped the tyres back up to highway pressures. Then onto Coral Bay where I am staying in a cabin. I need a little cleanliness after 5 days in a primitively camp! I miss my wife just so much. There were a lot of mice around last night but not in the camper. The swell came up something fierce overnight. To bloody big for this old ****! So that helped me decide to leave and head further North. Coral Bay was a bit of a tourist trap! Only I needed fuel I would have continued on. Stayed in a cabin they insisted on calling a "chalet"! Had a take out garlic prawn pizza for dinner, very ordinary, cooked eggs on toast and then off for Karratha. Nice town and once back onto the North Western Coastal Highway the scenery changed, more hills. A change from the flat coastal plains of the last three days. Found a nice park, the Pilbara Holiday Park and took a cabin, went downtown and got a takeout curried prawns and rice. Bloody beautiful! Leaving for Pardoo Station in the morning. Arrived Pardoo Station about 2.30 pm on, I think, a Thursday? Nice little oasis in the north west. Went for a drive after I set up. Tide dead low and that is low up here. Nice sunset. Back to camp and fired up the Ozpig for a pork chop, tomato, salad, and an egg. Plus a couple of Coronas. Baked beans on toast for breakkie this morning and then time to do Two weeks washing! Won't take long to dry today! Cancelled Cable Beach van park booking and managed to score a dog friendly spot at the Broome Pistol Club. Whoopee! Got to organise Chelsea's special tucker on Monday and have booked in for two extra nights here at Pardoo Station. Talked to a mechanic here today about the BT 50 problem of not selecting 4 WD and he told me what could be the problem. Will get it checked out when I get to Broome. Looks like it could be a problem with final drive selection caused by a vacuum pump problem. Dinner is fish donated by Mick & Lisa next door done in alfoil, garlic, chilli, and soy sauce with salad. ************ the road! Last night at Pardoo Station. What a great stay. Get out and see the real Australia before our politicians give it away! Off to Barn Hill Station tomorrow for 3 days, and then onto Broome as Deb flies in Tuesday week!!! Yippee! Cooling down for the night which is excellent to get a good nights sleep. A cool night for this far north. Got away about 9.00 am and off to Barn Hill Station Stay for 3 or 4 days waiting for Deb and Chelsea to fly into Broome Tuesday week and see if I can get some local info on a Google 4WD mechanic! Barn Hill Station is a beautiful bush camp on Thangoo Station, a working cattle station! The property is approximately 430,000 acres, stretching along 85 kilometres of coast between Port Headland and Broome, and runs 8,000 head of Brahman cattle. I got a powered site with plenty of afternoon shade which is a little better then Pardoo Station where I had no shade. A beautiful beach about 200 metres from my site. I will get a few pictures tomorrow and maybe a SUP, however no waves! On the trip here I fuelled up at Sandfire Roadhouse and got a few pics of the local peacocks, including a white one! This is a red dirt country and the desert runs right to the ocean sand. The drive in was a little slow, 50 kph max because of the corrugations but tyres down to 30 psi and all well! Friendly campers. Great nights sleep and a little cool. Sure warms up after the sun gets up! I got a few pics and will put them on the blog. Got great next door neighbours, Narelle and Noel on a 2 year trip from Townsville, sold everything up and now live on the road! I booked in for another night today and now leave for Broome on Friday morning. I had a SUP and a swim. Water temp is beautiful but a little murky and there is a huge rise and fall difference in tidal levels. Another beautiful day at Barn Hill Station, a few clouds to the east this morning but cleared up and I went for a SUP for about a kilometre almond the beach, however no waves. In the afternoon I claimed Barn Hill after which the station got its name. On top of Barn Hill there is a cairn of rocks left as a historical landmark left by Alexander Forrest and his expedition to the region in 1879. It wasn't a difficult climb but the rocks were quite loose underfoot. There are som pictures of the Hill and a view from the top in pictures. Neighbours over behind me gave me a feed of fish yesterday and I will have poached curried fish in coconut milk and boiled coconut rice for dinner tonight. It's a ************ the road but "Grey Nomads" are wonderfully giving people. Not long now until Deb flies in! I move onto Broome tomorrow which is just as well as I'm on my last stubby! I will get the ute 4WD repaired in Broome as well as I have got a heads up on a reliable and honest mechanic from Fiona & Matt Hart, local friends of ours from up here. Confirmed we are booked in at the Broome Pistol Club caravan park, one of only two van parks in Broome that take dogs! So many nomads travel with their dog and I met a lady at Sandfire Roadhouse the other day who has decided to by pass Broome and spend her money elsewhere where dog lovers are appreciated. Looks like a beautiful sunset over the Indian Ocean. Friday morning and I was awake before natures alarm clock, the good old butcher bird, however out of respect for my neighbours didn't start the pack up as leaving for Broome today. Got away at 9.30 am and into Broome at 11.00am and found the Broome Pistol Club, well satnav did! Got an awesome site with plenty of shade as it's been in the low 30's for a couple of days. Shade is like cc' s with a motorcycle or torque and power with a towing vehicle! There ain't no substitute for power, and there ain't no substitute for shade with camping if it's hot! It is a sort of bush camp atmosphere which Deb and I love only about 2 k's out of town on the way out to the port. Only a few k's from Cable Beach also which Deb absolutely loves and I reckon is pretty nice also. Well here I am! Our flight to Broome last winter was my kickstarter for this journey. I had always thought I should do a lap around Australia and the buzz I got from our Broome holiday last year, 20115, was my catalyst. I sort of floated the idea with Deb however her goal was work related so I decided I would be doing it alone! The planning started and as we already had a Jayco Swan pop up camper there was the accommodation. I then started to organise how I could put that up and down by myself with as little effort as possible. A careful look at the manual transmission 2000 model Ford Courier diesel with a tow capacity of 1800kg and with almost 200,000 klm's on the clock led me to realise I really needed to consider another tug! (Tow vehicle). Having had good runs with my Courier/Mazda's, and not being able to afford a Toyota Hilux I decided on a Mazda BT50 turbo diesel. Fair choice for the money but probably not the right vehicle! Had a few challenges that warranty fixed the first of and then on my own. Went well across the Nullabor and the day I was to leave Perth to go up the West Coast the engine light came on! Found a Mazda dealer, Mazda, who told me using the latest ECU technology, the problem was the EGR valve needed replacement. Quote , "about $1200". Turned into $1400 as the exhaust manifold was car ones up! Despite this work the engine light wouldn't go out! "Leave it with us another day or so and we will sort I!" My reply, "what is IT!" "Don't know, but not mechanical. It is a computer reader problem". "Ok! What happens if I keep driving with the engine light on?" "Nothing! It isn't a mechanical problem! It is a computer fault reader glitch." "Here's your $1400 guys! Gimme the keys I'm through playing 'let's get what we can', The vehicle performed no problems until Warroora Station where it dropped final drive on the front differential in 4WD leaving me a 4 hour job trying to dig it out until a couple of fellow surfers came along in a Range Rover and towed me out! Now going to get it repaired in Broome. Hopefully! I doubt that will happen at the local Mazda dealer somehow! Friend of Deb's from childhood that now live in Broome, Fiona Hart and her husband Matt, have recommended their 4WD mechanic so I will chase him up on Monday. Well first night in Broome at the Pistol Club which is off Port Road, the main road out to the port of Broome. The truck noise died down around 10.00pm however started up at 6.00 am again. Ah well, we live on a traffic noisy street back home. Got me up early todo my stretches and now off to Maccas for a hot cake brekkie, the only thing I eat at Maccas, then do some washing. Washing done and off to Cable Beach for a SUP. Yippee! Got waves, only small but waves! Lost the van keys and walked all over Cable Beach looking for them. Found them in the passenger door pocket! ********!! Broome is a special place for me. During the Second World War my dad was RAAF engineer/navigator on a Catalina flying boat out of Broome and they were flying Dutch women and children back to Australia in front of the advancing Japanese forces. On the 3rd March 1942 dad's flying boat was moored about in Roebuck Bay with a full compliment of Dutch evacuees. At 9.30 am a force of 10 Japanese aircraft and destroyed 16 flying boats on the water. Dad's Catalina was one of them and he was fortunate to escape with his life as the flying boat sank. The Japanese pilots then started to shoot survivors swimming for shore. Dad was a poor swimmer but made it to shore. Many people didn't! The number of casualties is unknown. That affected Dad a lot and he only ever spoke of it once, talking about the body of a Dutch mothers, dead baby in her arms, floating in the water after the Catalina sank. Dad finished the war with PTSD, or shell-shock, as it was then known. Mum and Dad still raised and provided for 7 kids after the war. Mum also served in the RAAF as a truck driver in a Wirraway aircraft training squadron at Deniliquin in southern NSW. She was always a better driver then Dad. LOL! Monday and Deb arrives tomorrow! Went to Broome Mechanical this morning, met Wayne the mechanic who was recommended by Matt and Fiona Hart and the BT 50 is booked in Wednesday to check why no 4WD and why the engine light keeps coming on! Tuesday, Deb & Chelsea fly into Broome at 12.35 today. Yippee! Our little family will be back together. It is another beautiful day in Broome with a slight sea breeze blowing. Well the big Qantas bird arrived right on time and Deb and I went to the freight arrivals and picked Chelsea up. She was so happy to see me. Got her excitement bark going! Awesome to have our little family back together. Back to the camper and unpack and then off to the dog friendly beach where we all had a swim. Well actually, two swims! Settling in well to Broome. The BT 50 went off this morning for Wayne at Broome Mechanical to sort out the engine light staying on and the lack of 4WD. Turns our the Mazda Dealer in Perth who replaced the EGR valve had removed vacuum lines at the motor to access the EGR and replaced them incorrectly! This meant the EGR valve was cycling incorrectly and this was causing an engine light fault to show. By replacing the vacuum lines incorrectly this also prevented the front hubs from engaging. For this wonderful piece of Genuine Mazda Dealership work I was charged $1,400 and left with an engine light consistently showing a fault and a 4WD that wouldn't function as a 4WD! Bloody amazing workmanship! All it took was a genuine bush mechanic with an honest reputation on 4WD's to sort out the problem and rectify it! And not charge me bloody $1,400 but $265! So if you are in Broome and need a decent, honest mechanic, give Wayne at Broome Mechanical a call. The mangers at Broome Pistol Club caravan park, Charlie and Gail are putting on a BBQ tonight for a few of the campers, us included. Just bring your own grog and a salad! Saturday morning and in to check out the markets. Out next door neighbours, Steve and April arrived in Broome a week before I did from down the cold, wet south western corner of the state and they are staying until the end of August to run a stall in the markets in Broome three days per week. A working holiday. Deb and I went in this morning to check out the markets. The usual market fare and Steve and April sell small wooden signage. We then went out to Cable Beach for a swim. Now the BT50 is a 4WD again and driving on the beach allowed here we head about 5 k's down the beach and swim there which we did for four hours yesterday. What a surprise we got as we drove onto Cable Beach today! A sign informing us that there had been crocodile sightings on the beach yesterday! I took a pic of the sign and it is in the picture file. Our swim today was pretty brief! Voting today. What a choice we have! Between an ex- banker and an ex-union leader, accused thug and accused rapist! Both intent on selling us out to whoever has the largest brown paper bag. They will be ably supported by The Greens. Sunday and we are off early for a run up to Point Coulomb Reserve and a visit to Willie Creek Pearl Farm on the way back. Got a pretty small SUP wave at Point Coulombo. The scenery up that way is beautiful with quite a few free camping spots right on a beautiful blue Indian Ocean but no shade. The road up is gravel and corrugated but ok with the ute tyres down to 28psi once we established 70kph was a comfortable speed. However we won't be taking the van up there. Had crocodile for lunch at Willie Creek Pearl Farm on the way back and it was very nice. A little like chicken. Well! Monday 4th July, American Independence Day and our 17th Wedding Anniversary! We have had a great day, a drive along Cable Beach once the tide dropped enough to get past the rocks and onto the beach. For our Anniversary dinner we went to Matsos Bar and Brewery in Broome and it was quite crowded but we both had a great meal. Today Deb has been in Broome a week and while we were on Cable Beach we watched the Qantas service she came in on arrive and about an hour later, depart for Sydney. A bit of a surprise for the passenger as it was about seven degrees when they left Sydney and 32C on the tarmac at Broome! Another beautiful day in Broome. Nights are not hot so no trouble getting a good nights sleep. Drive about 8 klm's along Cable Beach this afternoon. It is about 23 klm's long and started to get a little soft even in 4WD with the tyres down to 26psi. So abandoned our plan to drive the length. Well, some people have no common sense. We are staying in a van park that the Council only allows you to stay in if you have pets, so everyone here has a pet, most of them dogs. All dogs must be on leads. These people have some sort of a pit bull kelpie cross that they allowed to run off lead. Without warning and out of the dark,the dog attacked our Maltese terrier as we walked her on a lead. Deb pulled our dog, Chelsea, out of the mouth of the other dog and held her above her head as the pit bull growled and snapped in Deb's face trying to get to Chelsea. The commotion that ensured caused the owners to come running to control their dog! His comment, "she doesn't bite you know, has never done that before," my reply, "put your ******* dog on a lead"! Chelsea was OK as Deb had held her out of the attacking dogs reach. Deb and I were more traumatised then Chelsea! I thought Deb was going to get her face savaged! We just hope the brainless couple have moved on. I can really understand now why a lot of van parks don't allow dogs. If that had have been a child that was attacked how would the brainless couples excuse of "she's never done that before" have gone over with the parents? Today is Thursday 7th July and Chelsea is OK after the attack last night. Deb has recovered also. We decided to go to the beach for a swim. We have to wait for the 8.7 meter high tide to drop about a metre so we can get around the rocks at cable beach and onto the 4WD section. When the tide starts to drop it does so pretty quickly resulting in the water being quite murky from the white sand. We drove about 2 k's up the beach, parked the ute and went in for a swim. Got into waist deep water and a 1 metre shark was swimming right in front of us chasing fish! Exit the water, got a bit of sun for half an hour and decided that was enough as there was a crocodile sighting on the beach on Monday as well. Back to the Pistol Club Van Park for the rest of the afternoon. Friday and another perfect, hot day in Broome. I just love this town! Cable Beach again and drove about 5 k's up the beach, no sharks or crocs today that we know of while swimming but saw a fisherman haul in two sharks about a metre long on high tide just up the beach from us. I had been out for a SUP but waves to small and Deb and I had a couple of swims. Had a nice meal for dinner at Zanders Restaurant on Cable Beach with Matt and Fiona Hart, local Broome friends and top people. We had left Chelsea in the van and Bob, our neighbour, told us she barked a bit. Well you don't know unless someone tells you. Bob said he would keep an eye on her I we wanted to go out again. Bob once lived in Wyndham, a bit further up the coast and he and wife Margaret were on their way back up to a reunion. Just as they booked in and were positioning their van their F250 snapped a tie rod end so they are waiting for replacement parts. Sunday and guess what? Off to Cable Beach for a swim again, this time for a BBQ lunch on the beach as well. After lunch Deb went for a walk along the beach back toward the resort and about k down the beach the lifesavers reported a crock sighting heading along north toward us. The waves had picked up and I was about to go out on the SUP! Your wave Mr Crocodile! Wednesday 13 th July 2016. The temperature has dropped from 30C to 19C in sunny Broome with a 20 knot southerly blowing, a byproduct of a pretty intense low system in the Great Australian Bight moving toward Tasmania where snowfalls are expected down to sea level around Hobart! The wind rattled the camper and the awning a bit last night and plenty of red Pindan dust in and over everything however no damage. Still blowing Thursday morning after a pretty windy night. Watched State of Origin last night. NSW finally won a game. This afternoon out to the Broome Bird Observatory. 15 k's of corrugated dirt, ok if the tyres are down to 24 psi however rough in patches. Nothing to see. We then went out to the Port to see the Pacific Dawn cruise ship had just docked. We did a Pacific Island cruise on that ship in 2011. The wind dropped away a fair bit on Friday and we had an hour on Cable Beach then back to the park and grabbed a cab with Barry and Sue, our park neighbors, and into Matsos Brewery for a social drink with two other travelling couples. Friday night was pretty windy, about 20 knots at a guess, but no problems for the Jayco pop up camper. It is forecast to abate on Sunday after blowing for a week. Pindan dust is very fine and gets in everywhere! This morning the dogs water was pink and Chelsea has gone from a white dog to a honeycomb dog. We have booked a tour to the Horizontal Falls in a seaplane and a run back from Cape Leveque in a 4WD bus for next Friday. We have heard so much about the falls and we missed out last year when we were in Broome. Deb has really added a woman's touch to the camper and today, Saturday 16th, set up a workstation at the dining table. See the pic. The Broome Pistol Club van park was full up last night and is just the best park, one of only two in Broome that allow pets and mine hosts, Charlie and Gail, are just tops with help from offsider Norm who has a permanent smile on his face. Nothing is ever too much trouble and Gail has offered to look after Chelsea when we fly up to the Falls. Sunday and Deb is working by iPhone and laptop to set up a listing. Working while doing the Big Lap is turning out about as we expected. After she is finished we went and visited the Japanese Cemetery. Nearly all the headstones were in Japanese and so the stories behind them remain a mystery. We then headed off to Cable Beach as the tide is going low which means acres, sorry hectares of beach to share with many, many other 4WD's. I have never seen a town with as many 4WD's as Broome! Just about every one has a shade awning off the side and we purchased one pretty quickly and it is a blessing to get some shade under. We will have a BBQ on Gantheaume Point beach this evening on the tailgate of the ute. Midgies, or as they are also known, sand flies have never really worried me but the last week they have really given both Deb and I a touch up despite the liberal use of Bushman spray and Local stuff cream. We are now into vitamin B1 tablets recommended by the local health food store. We are having an unbelievable trip! Meeting so many great people, one couple in particular, Barry and Sue Rasmussen from Townsville are our neighbours at the Pistol Club and Barry and I hit it off straight away. People ask if we are brothers! We share the same wild crazy sense of humour and our backgrounds are just so similar and both short *****, love our Rugby League and played the game, me very badly, too small for a forward and too slow for a back as one coach told me early in my career. Barry was a lot more successful. We are similar in so many other things as well. They move on tomorrow and I will be sorry to see them go. Such good people. We will definitely catch up when we get to Townsville. Donation sausage sizzle at the Broome Pistol Club tonight and about 1/2 dozen of us saw a meteorite fly over! Large orange ball trailing a long pinkish tail. Just amazing. Wednesday 21 July an d we went and visited the 12 Mile Bird Park and it was really great with a huge variety of birds, many of them Australian native birds that had been injured and would not have survived if left in the wild. It was very disappointing to read comments by brainless people in the review of the Park claiming none of the birds should be in cages! Inner city soy latte sippers I guess! In the evening we went into view the Staircase to the Moon from the small hill above the mangroves near Town Beach. The Staircase to the Moon is a phenomena that occurs around the full moon from March to October whereby the full moon shining across the exposed flats of Roebuck Bay at low tide gives the appearance of a staircase leading up to the rising moon. It is very beautiful and there was a big crowd. We got there early, well before the sun went down and got a ringside seat. My pictures just don't do it justice! Another reason to come and visit beautiful Broome. Make it around the full moon to catch the phenomena! Many of the people around us had also witnessed the meteorite go over Broome the evening before. An early start today with a 5.30am pickup as we are on our way to a trip to the Horizontal Falls. A seaplane trip up and then a fast boat ride through the falls. Google Horizontal Falls because it is a little too involved for me to explain it all here. Suffice to say it was one of the best value for money trips I have ever undertaken and it all happens in Australia! No need to travel overseas. We also went on a helicopter flight and saw 2 saltwater crocodiles resting on the surface until the chopper came in too close and then they sounded! The trip back to Broome was in a Big Foot 4 WD bus from Cape Levique via Beagle Bay. I don't think I will ever complain about Shellharbour Council's roads again! Badly corrugated with many whoop de do's taken at anywhere between 40 and 90 kph but an awesome day out. The Horizontal Falls are a phenomenon not to be missed and all the staff from the operating company, Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, Broome, we're just the best an I highly recommend this company. There are a lot of pics on the blog. Another great day in Broome! We drove up Cable Beach (Deb's first drive on the sand - went well too) about an hour before high tide, parked well up on the dry sand with the shelter off the side of the ute set up. Swam and sun baked, I had a few waves on the SUP and then Deb cooked our lunch! Awesome, bacon, eggs, and a cheese salad on a wrap each. Then apple pie and custard. Leading the luxury lifestyle I guess? No croc sightings today but we still kept a keen eye out. More then 20 croc sightings so far this season on Gantheaume Point and Cable Beaches! Saltwater crocodiles only need one breath every two hours and their heart rate is a phenomenally low once per minute so they can lay on the bottom in two feet of water and wait! Plus the water was pretty cloudy today in close. Leave Broome day after tomorrow, Friday 29th July 2016, to continue the big lap! Started to get our gear packed into the back of the ute! Well! What a huge day! We decided to leave on Thursday 28th as we "thought" we had most of the pack up done! Staying in one place for a month creates a system where stuff gets put everywhere, just so glad Deb was here to help. We didn't leave Broome until 1.00 pm and that meant no way would we make Fitzroy Crossing today. We decided to go to Derby even though it is out of the way a little. That was until we pulled in to Willare Bridge Roadhouse and van park and decided we had enough for the day. Great spot, would recommend it for sure. Didn't feel like putting the camper up so stayed in an air conditioned Donga. Very comfortable.We had a great dinner of bangers and mash' gravy, as per roadhouse fare, it was huge! Went for a walk about 8.00pm, Kimberly skies are marvellous. Out here at Willare Bridge there is no where the light there is in the cities, the stars seem close enough to reach up and touch! Left Willare Bridge 8.00am Friday 28th with Deb driving and onto Fitzroy Crossing where we fuelled up ute and us as well. I took over driving and onto Halls Creek, fuelled up again, Deb drove and onto Lycesters Rest Area which has an interesting story. It was built with local donations in remembrance of a young Halls Creek boy who was killed at this spot in a motor vehicle accident. We camped here for the night amongst a herd of Braham bulls that were very placid! Lycesters Rest Area is a eautiful, tidy spot, enviro toilets and a shelter shed with two tables where we set up the cooker and Deb cooked savoury mince and steamed veggies! Bloody delicious, proving you can eat five star on the road. People next door lived at Thornton, a suburb of Newcastle, near Gary Hewlett at Tarro! They holiday a couple of weeks either side of Christmas at Tuncurry. Bloody cold night in north west Western Australia and we only had a lightweight doona. The sleeping bags were stashed away. Up at 6.00 am and fired up the Ozpig. Plenty of small twigs and sticks and next door neighbor Rod was much impressed with the amount of heat the pig can throw out with little fuel. Our local friends, the Braham bulls had vacated overnight. Deb made cereal, poached eggs on toast and milk coffee. We then packed up in about 20 minutes and hit the road to Kunnunara with Deb behind the wheel where we had a late morning tea. We were most impressed with Kunnunara. Lovely green parks and plenty of shady trees. Deb did about an hours work under a lovely shade tree in one of Kunnunara's parks. I took the wheel and we headed off and soon to Timber Creek where we took a wonderfully shady site powered site for the night. I could smell fruit bats, or flying foxes as I knew them as a child growing up at Ulmarra, on the Clarence River. After we set up we went for a walk around the park and Deb headed back to camp to prepare dinner and Chelsea and I went for a walk along the creek and saw a crocodile swimming along the opposite bank. It was about 2 metres long and had the skinny look of a Freshwater crocodile. I managed to get about half a minute video before it disappeared under overhanging foliage! The video is on this blog so have a look. Deb cooked another marvellous meal of Asian Curried Chicken and vegetables. You really can live the gourmet life on the road with the right super Chef! From Timber Creek once again Deb drove the first leg to Katherine, fuelled up and onto Mataranka where we stayed at Bitter Springs van park. Really cramped in with very little space between sites. We had a swim in the ThermaL Springs in the morning. Very clear water and about the temperature of a warm bath. Deb drove again and the hand she burnt a couple of days ago was not healing well so we called into a health centre at Elliot where a nurse dressed it for Deb and we carried on with Pat driving to Banka Banka Outstation. Nice grassed area however not much shade with about 40 vans in for the night all unpowered sites at $10 per person per night which I thought reasonable for water, hot showers, and a licensed bar! A pair of donkeys and two camels plus a display of old farm machinery, mostly old single cylinder motors. When e got up in the morning it was cold and windy. We are now in Tennant Creek at the public library while Deb catches up on real estate work as we had last night with no mobile phone coverage. Deb drove to Barkley Homestead roadhouse where we had lunch and I drove to Soudan Bore free camp here Deb set up the Swan and I unpacked the Ozpig and found heaps of firewood with the help of the chainsaw. I fired up the faithful Ozpig and as it was burning nicely an old panel van of backpackers pulled up just a little too close for my liking! The tomahawk I also use for firewood was close handy so I picked it up and swung it slowly back and forth beside my thigh doing my best Mick Taylor impression! As I look pretty rugged at the moment, probably more like Mick Taylor's father actually, we had no noisy backpackers that night! Bloody freezing desert night so fired the Ozpig up early to warm up! So bloody good! We packed up and headed off to Mount Isa where we topped up our supplies, Deb did a bit of Real Estate work, thank god for modern technology and our beautiful daughter Natalie Reale back home doing the manual labour! Left Mount Isa and onto Cloncurry where we stayed at the Oasis Caravan Park. Thursday 4th August 2016 and we have decided to stay an extra day at Cloncurry to get some washing done as it is quite windy after a cold night so washing will dry in no time. About 1.00am a road train pulled up in the street behind park and driver left it idling for half an hour! We will have a look around Cloncurry while the washing dries. We were fortunate to be entertained by a couple staying in the park plying guitar and singing early 60's Rock and folk. As per usual I forgot their names! They came from Adelaide and he played and sang in bands since he met Buddy Holly when he was 16 and so moved by the experienced decided to be in a rock n roll band and has played guitar and sang ever since! He had a very good voice. No cooking for Deb tonight, we will eat out. Deb has cooked some marvellous meals on the road. Last night it was savoury mince and veggies. Had a great meal and a couple of drinks at the Gidgee Inn and motel in Cloncurry, just over the road from the park. In an I interesting structure built in 1996 from rammed earth and recycled timber from an abandoned railway line and the old Darwin Army Barracks. Quite a surprise to find this architecture in Cloncurry! Deb driving this morning, she prefers the morning shift which suits me also. We headed off and first refuelling stop was Julia Creek then on and had lunch and a fuel up at Richmond on the dinosaur trail. Didn't check it out but took a picture. I drove from Richmond to our present overnight stay at Pentland Caravan Park. A beautiful spot, plenty of grass and economical at $20 per night, spacious amenities and friendly neighbours, one wanted to sell us his 1984 caravan for $5,000! A little hard to find dog friendly accommodation in Townsville near the centre of town. Because it was Saturday the 7th Da Adventist Riverside Convention Centre Park was closed but Deb did a phone around and booked us into Magnetic Gateway Caravan Park. We got a big surprise as Leo and Edna Huyghebaert called us as we were ringing around the parks to tell us they too were in Townsville! They were also booked into the Magnetic Gateway Park as well, right alongside us! We had a great catchup with stone fired pizzas from a local down the road. Next day we started to work on getting the Swan ready for sale by removing second battery and associated wiring. We have decided to buy another full van we don't have to put up every night! On Sunday Pete and Kirk Newcombe from Bribie Island booked in also in a glam motor home as part of their duties as Ambassadors for The Breast Cancer Appeal. We met them at Dee and Dan's wedding and again at Dee's 30th birthday party. They r also very good friends of Leo and Edna. Well, today was pretty exhausting trying to find a second hand van to replace the Swan that ticks the boxes. First thing is it must have an AGM of no more then 2500kg as that is the maximum the BT 50 can tow because it is an automatic and has to tow the new van back home to Mount Warrigal. A manual can tow 3000kg! Figure that out? There were a lot of older, overpriced second hand vans but after most of the day dragging poor little Chelsea the Malt all over Townsville we arrived at Motorco where e had a good look around their second hand range however the van we liked was about 300kg too heavy and also too long for our driveway back at Mount Warrigal. Our attention turned to new vans, specifically New Age, a Manta Ray 19 footer with three to choose from. The one we chose was white with blue piping and had a black and white interior. It has all the feature that we deemed necessary and then some. No more tedious setting up of a popup camper during the remainder of our travels and future journeys will see the Manta Ray towed by the Jeep which has a 3500kg tow rating. Today is Tuesday 9th August 2016 and it's Census night and much conjecture as for the first time the Australian Bureau of Statistics has decided they will keep names and tie them in to addresses, thereby creating a huge database containing all Census database, that will be sold to any organisation that will pay for it. Last year the ABS made 40 million dollars profit from selling information collected from previous Census and other information collected at the governments behest. BTW, did you know that Adolf Hitler used German census information on religion to round up the Jewish families he sent to the gas chambers? So today was spent with Deb working on her laptop and iPhone tying up a sale back in Oak Flats and valuing a listing! Technology is an amazing thing! I spent the day clearing out cupboards in the Swan ready for tomorrow's changeover to the new van. It is getting pretty exciting! Swan gone! Was ok until after towing it half way around Australia we were heartily sick of putting it up and down each night. The new accommodation arrived back at The Magnetic Entry van park on Thursday afternoon and set up and slept the night. The wiring is slightly different from the Jayco so I have to get two wires swapped over so the fridge charges on 12 volt when travelling and so the battery powering the breakaway breaking system charges. I removed one AGM battery and the CETEK 12v to 12v charger and associated wiring from the Swan and next job is to install these into the New Age Manta Ray. It was awesome to get a wiring diagram to make the job easier! We went for a drive up Castle Hill in central Townsville, an awesome 360 degree lookout over the city. Look at the pictures as they explain it best! Well today we headed off for week at Rollingstone Caravan Park, a beautiful park.