..... Tuesday 22nd February 2011
We got up early and packed the van with the last few things left in Allan's house, we then made bacon butties before saying our good-byes and hitting the road. Sat nav took us through some lovely country lanes on the way out of Perth, the more we see of Perth the more we like this City it has a lot to offer. We are heading inland to a town call Kalgoorlie, but first we are stopping at another Australian phenomenon, Wave Rock in the town of Hyden. They call this area the Golden Outback and I thought that referred to the fact that Kalgoorlie and the surrounding towns had one of Australia's biggest Gold rushes in 1893. However as we drive towards Hyden we are surrounded by acres and acres of cornfields which give the whole area a beautiful golden appearance, mix it with the blue skies and striking trees it is one of the prettiest drives we have done. There are also a great many sheep.
Weather Clear and Sunny 32degrees
We arrived at the Wave rock campground and received free entry to the nation park because the campground was part of the park. We parked up and walked through the park to the Wave Rock, which is just as it’s described a large rock shaped like a wave ready to break.... it’s incredible. Over Millions of years, during the wet season, rainwater has shaped the rock, as it runs over the edge and down the sides. We took loads of pictures including Gary surfing the waves. We left the wave and took a short 1.4km walk to Hippo’s Yawn, a rock shaped like a hippo yawning, there was also a mooning rasta but you need look at the pictures for that one. Back at the campground, we finished unpacking the van and settled down to watch some TV while eating a tea of cheese and crackers.Wednesday 23rd February 2011
We had a very cool evening, the van went down to 19 degrees in the night, might be time to get the doona out (Australian for duvet). We didn’t have a check out time so we had a leisurely morning before wandering back over to the Wave Rock to get some photo’s with the sun on it. We walked up the rock, which was like walking on the surface of the moon, so barren. ...maybe this was where they filmed the moon landing not the Arizona desert???
We have a long drive today and we’ve had to put our trust in Satnav as she has found a short cut from Hyden to Kalgoorlie. Our biggest worry is that most of the roads around this area are unsealed and we didn’t want her to take us down one of these. Luckily for us, and her (as she would have gone out the window if she got it wrong) she led us right and saved us about 200km on the journey. The road we drove down was so quiet we only saw three cars in two hours. We stopped for petrol and lunch in the town of Merredin. We have left our small quiet road and are now on the main highway to Kalgoorlie. This has to be the worst road we have driven on in Australia, the road is so rough it is shaking the van to death, it is worse than an unmade road. There is a lot of heavy traffic that uses this road and it is obviously taking its toll, not a very pleasant drive. We thought the weather would be hotter as we heading inland but in fact it is actually much cooler even during the day.
Weather Overcast 27degrees
It was quite late by the time we reached the caravan park, so we just unpacked the van and made dinner, there is a lot to do in the town and we planned to fit in as much as possible in one day, so first stop in the morning will be the Information Centre.Thursday 24th February 2011
Kalgoorlie is a large town that is 600km inland from Perth, it has a population of over 30,000 people and its main trade is GOLD. The working gold mine produces 75% of Australia’s gold and 8% of the world’s gold but it all started in 1893 when three men left the nearby town of Coolgardie to go explore the area to the east. Their horse lost a shoe having got his foot stuck in a hole on the way so they were forced to set up camp for the night. While camping they were surprised to find large amounts of gold nugget just sitting on top of the ground and at first dismissed it as being Iron Pyrite (fool’s gold). Realising it was the real thing, they filled every pocket and all their saddle bags up and went back to Coolgardie to stake their claim. It didn’t take long for word to get out about the big find and it triggering one of Australia’s biggest gold rushes. However, Kalgoorlie was a land locked town, with nothing but salt flats surrounding the area, it had no drinkable water supply and no agriculture could grow either. As thousands of men turned up, sanitation became a problem, a typhoid outbreak killed off hundreds and hundreds more died from dehydration. Water became more precious than gold as fresh water only came in twice a week, these were hard times. Nevertheless, news still travelled far and wide and people continued to pour in, within a couple of years the town had 93 hotels, 8 breweries and 25 brothels. It took a further ten years for fresh clean water to be pumped from Perth via a 563km water pipe, which still follows the road to Kalgoorlie today and is still providing the only fresh water to the town.
Once we left the visitor centre we drove up to the Super Pit viewing deck to get an aerial view of the Super Pit open-cut goldmine. This enormous open-cut goldmine is 3.5km long, 1.5km wide and 370 metres deep and when you look down from the top of the pit the 6m high and 7m wide Caterpillar trucks look like Tonka toys. If you look at one of our pictures you can see a normal Ute parked next to one of the Caterpillar trucks..... it looks tiny.
The Museum was also interesting, it held large amounts of gold in the basement vaults, which included the first Kalgoorlie stamped gold bar marked with 000001 and large examples of gold nuggets found in the area. After we left the museum, we planned to have lunch in a local pub that had a mineshaft in the basement. This mineshaft once lead to the old pit and the miners had dug it out firstly to steal gold from the mine but also so they could go for a swift pint during their shift. As we drove up to the pub we noticed all the hotels in this area had scaffolding outside and the pub we wanted to visit was under renovations. We found out later that this was due to an Earthquake that hit the town in April 2010 and caused a lot of local damage. We ended up having lunch at Hungry Jacks as time was getting on and we had to make our 3pm session at the local brothel.
There are only three brothels’ left out the twenty-five in Kalgoorie and one of them gives a regular tour at 3pm every day. Not really knowing what to expect we turned up with two other couples, a mother and daughter and two backpackers. The tour guide introduced herself as the Madam of the establishment and proceeded to hand round very large dildos. After an icebreaker like that there was no coming back, we spent the next two hours just chatting as she shocked us with stories of the early settlers and prospectors queuing down the road for their turn with ladies of the night. How the lack of water meant none of the girls or clients ever washed before or after the act and often the women would have thirty or forty men a night. One of their ladies holds the record for this establishment of seventy men in one night...Yuk!! The price to visit these ladies now starts at $125, that’s for 15mins which includes a massage, oral sex and missionary sex. If you want anything more additional costs range from $50 to $200 dollars depending if it’s just a case of wanting her to be on top, to the girl wearing leather boots and...well I’ll leave that to your imagination. If you pay by credit card, it comes up Mobile Mechanic on your bill, which works unless you are a mechanic. We got a tour of some of the rooms before leaving feeling a little grubby and in need of a shower....still it was an experience.
Back at the Caravan Site, we made dinner and settled down after an exhausting day, big drive back to Perth tomorrow.Friday 25th February 2011
It was an early start and straight on the road as we had an eight-hour drive to do today. Gary took first shift while I uploaded the blog. This is the first time we have had wifi connection as we have driven along, pretty amazing considering we are in the middle of nowhere. As we drive back to Perth we are following two very interesting things, one is the Water Pipe Line and the other is part of the Rabbit Proof Fence. In 1859 twenty-four rabbit where brought over from England and released on a landowners property in Victoria for the sport of hunting them. The rabbit, being rabbits, soon multiplied and started spreading over, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland causing devastation to crops in their pathway. By the time they reached the Western Australian border it was a serious threat and there was a commission to build a fence to keep them out. In 1901 the world’s longest fence was started from Port Hedland down to just above Albany with two other fences leading down to Geraldton, upon news of further threats. The three fences totalled a distance of 3256km (2023miles) and where completed in 1907. More than four hundred men were employed to travel the length of all the fences to make repairs and set traps. The rabbit threat reduced in the 1950’s when better poisons were introduced but some of the fences, now called the State Barrier Fence, were kept to help keep out emu’s and feral goats from the farm lands.
We drove all day stopping once for petrol and lunch again at the town Merredin, were I took over the driving for a bit. Just before Perth, I was thinking about passing the keys over to Gary so he could do the last hour and the difficult city driving, when we drove into a rainstorm. Bolts of lightning, thunder and torrential rain appeared out of nowhere. I couldn’t see the front of the van the rain was so hard, bolts of lightning were shooting out the sky in front of us, it was very scary. With no visibility, it was difficult to find somewhere to pull over to get out the rain, but eventually we found a BP Garage and pull off the road until the rain stopped. Gary took over the driving from this point, not that we saw any more bad weather, in fact the sun had come out with a vengeance and the temperature soared into the high 30’s.
Weather Clear Sunny 38 degrees
We booked back into the campsite at Fremantle and text a few people to say we were back and did anyone fancy meeting up one last time.Saturday 26th February 2011
We woke up early, as the van was hot, by 8am it was already 34 degrees, it was going to be a hot one today. Paul and Jan text us in the morning to say Paul was working this weekend but did we fancy meeting up next weekend and going out on the boat..... it was so tempting but we have been in Perth three weeks now and need to get back on the road, such a shame.
Desperate for some aircon and in need of a grocery shop we headed out to one of the big shopping malls. We spent a few hours wandering round the shops and getting some shopping before jumping back in the van and driving over to Allan’s for one more night and a last game of cards.
We are starting a strict diet tomorrow, too much rich living in Perth, so have to eat up a few leftovers out the van. We ended up having a bit of a continental dinner, with cheese, meat and dippy oil.....very delicious. We finally did well at cards, Allan’s beginners luck had to eventually wear off, we were up by a few quid by the time we went to bed. Oh a story from the brothel that I forgot to mention, there are two washing powers out here called OMO and FAB. The story goes that if a truck driver looking for a bit of company sees a house with the washing powder OMO in the window, they know to stop and knock on the door as the lady of the house’s husband is away. If the same house has FAB in the window it means the husband is back home.
OMO = Old Mans Out FAB F***king A***holes Back. Well I thought it was funny.