Monthly Archives: October 2013

Tunnel Creek

DSC_0189Tunnel Creek was really cool!  I know I sound like a big kid when I say that but it was just really fun and quite amazing!  We had read lots about it but I wasn’t really that excited about walking through a dark tunnel filled with bats and freezing water and if rumour had it correctly – fresh water crocodiles!  But after being strongly encouraged to visit by a follower on our Facebook Page (thanks Tracy!) we decided to check it out and boy are we glad we did!

Tunnel Creek is Western Australias oldest cave system, in Tunnel Creek National Park, and is famous as a hideout used late last century by an Aboriginal leader known as Jandamarra. He was killed outside its entrance in 1897.

The entrance is actually a little tricky to find which adds to the experience  – the kids were so excited running off ahead of us along the path to the cave entrance that they totally missed it and had run off up a hill and we all had to turn around and come back!

Can you spot the entrance?

Can you spot the entrance?

Off we go!

Off we go!

The cave is about 750metres long and quite dark in places so taking a torch is a must.  You have to wade through quite a few permanent water pools which were mostly only ankle deep when we were there – except for the last one which was about waist deep.  I think if you are there after the wet season there is quite a bit more water around and you may even have to swim in parts.  There are a colony of bats living in there and some beautiful stalactites that descend from the roof in many places.  It was really quite fascinating.

The boys loved it!  Lex wasn't quite as keen!

The boys loved it! Lex wasn’t quite as keen!

Tunnel Creek

Tunnel Creek

Exploring

Exploring

Opening where the tunnel has caved in and where most of the bats can be found

Opening where the tunnel has caved in and where most of the bats can be found

Adventurers

Adventurers

Hard to capture the stalactites - they were beautiful!

Hard to capture the stalactites – they were beautiful!

We finished with a quick dip in the water hole at the other end of the tunnel which the backpackers swimming there assured us was croc-free!  It is really quite a quick sightseeing trip – we spent about an hour there and felt like that was heaps of time and tunnel creek is only about a 45 minute drive from the Windjana Gorge campground where we had based ourselves for two nights.  There is also some Aboriginal Artwork on the cliff face at the end of the tunnel which was quite easy to spot and something else interesting to see.

Having a dip in the water hole at the end of the tunnel - a little chilly!

Having a dip in the water hole at the end of the tunnel – a little chilly!

The whole family enjoyed our afternoon out at Tunnel Creek, although be warned – all that time in a dark cave can make you go a little crazy!

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Categories: WA Camping | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Derby & Windjana Gorge

DSC_0046Ok – now for the last two weeks of our trip on the road!  After a great week at Middle Lagoon we reluctantly packed up reasonably early and were on the road out and headed for Derby by about 8am.  We were all feeling a bit grumpy and sad as we left Middle Lagoon as we were now heading ‘back’ to the East and commencing the journey towards home.  Up until now we had always been travelling ‘away’ – this was the first day heading back, signalling that our trip which had been almost two years in the planning was just about over!!!

At least we had the fact that we were heading into new territory again and the excitement of getting to tackle the Gibb River Road ahead of us.  We had ummmed and aaahed all week at Middle Lagoon as to whether we head home via the infamous Gibb River Road or back the same way we had come across to Western Australia, via the Great Northern Highway.  We were keen to not travel the same road again, but also a little worried that we wouldn’t be doing the Gibb the justice it deserved by trying to cram it all in to a week – before our trip plans were changed, we had planned to spend about a month exploring the Gibb!  It was also worrying us that by having to travel quite hard to get across the Gibb in a fairly short amount of time, we might put a lot of strain on the car and camper and given that the Gibb has a name for being quite a rough stretch of road, we were not keen at all to have something major breakdown only 2 weeks out from home.  However, after talking to other campers at Middle Lagoon who had done the Gibb in their caravans not to many weeks before us and said that the road was pretty good, we decided to give it a go.

So after a quick stop to check out the Church at Beagle Bay (pics in our Cape Leveque post) and a last longing look at the turnoff back in to Broome (if we had still been travelling we definitely would have spent another few weeks in Broome after exploring the Cape!), we headed to Derby (it took us about 4 hours from Middle Lagoon) for a quick look around, a late lunch and some grocery shopping to stock up on supplies before we headed off on the Gibb for a week.

We checked out the prison boab tree on our way in to Derby (it is about 7km’s outside of town on the Broome side), it is huge!

Prison Boab Tree - Derby

Prison Boab Tree – Derby

The kids were really interested!

The kids were really interested!

We splashed out and had some lovely fish and chips for lunch down at the famous Derby Jetty.  The tides in Derby are the highest in Australia and we were there at just about high tide which was lucky!  The jetty in Derby used to be used for live export but is now mainly used for barges exporting lead and zinc from a mine at Fitzroy Crossing.  We all thought it was pretty interesting as we had never seen a big commercial wharf before.

Lunch at the Jetty in Derby

Lunch at the Jetty in Derby

Yummy treat lunch!

Yummy treat lunch!

We stocked up on groceries from Wollies and had to wait in line for half an hour at the bottle shop to buy a carton of beer as it was rodeo weekend in town so everybody was out buying their alcohol!  Then it was off to start the Gibb River Road!!  It was late by the time we started the Gibb which had the bonus that we got to witness a beautiful sunset, but once again it meant we arrived in to our campsite in the dark!

Airing down at the start of the dirt on the Gibb.

Airing down at the start of the dirt on the Gibb.

Beautiful sunset

Beautiful sunset

I had Matt taking photos of Boab Trees all over WA for me - I think this one is the pick of them!

I had Matt taking photos of Boab Trees all over WA for me – I think this one is the pick of them!

We had decided that our first stop on the Gibb River Road would be Windjana Gorge.  The road to get in to Windjana was very corrugated and we again lost a headlight – not ideal when you are driving in to a new campground at dark!  Lucky for us when we arrived at the campground a lovely couple saw us come in and pointed out a great campsite for us right near the shower block and then also offered to mind our tired and grumpy kids while we set up.  The funny thing about arriving at a camp site in the dark is that you really don’t know what to expect when the sun comes up in the morning and you can see where you are.  We were so surprised to wake up and see that this was the view that greeted us;

Windjana Gorge

Windjana Gorge

As we had heard that the best time to see the crocodiles at Windjana was early in the morning, we had a quick breakfast and then walked over from the campground to the Gorge to have a look around.  We thought we were ‘gorged’ out after all the gorges we had seen in the Northern Territory but Windjana was definitely worth the stop!

The 'tunnel' entrance into Windjana

The ‘tunnel’ entrance into Windjana

Time to find some crocodiles

Time to find some crocodiles

Can you see any?

Can you see any?

Heaps, and heaps of Freshwater Crocodiles!

Heaps, and heaps of Freshwater Crocodiles!

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Really beautiful

Really beautiful

Time for a walk

Time for a walk

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Someone before us had built this 'sand crocodile' very clever!

Someone before us had built this ‘sand crocodile’ very clever!

We spent the morning at Windjana, but didn’t do the whole gorge walk as it was very hot and other campers had suggested that the best part of the gorge was just the first couple of kilometres so we were happy to just do that and then headed to Tunnel Creek for the afternoon.  You will hear all about that in our next blog entry!

We camped for two nights at Windjana Gorge and it was a nice spot!  The showers were hot and free – pretty good for a National Park Campground!  The only downside to our time at Windjana was that after a week at Middle Lagoon without power, and then some very hot weather at Windjana – the fridge in our camper just didn’t seem to cope!  Which made us very grumpy as we have struggled all along to get the camper fridge to run well on gas.  Anyway – we decided for the rest of the trip to just turn it off and run with our car fridge only which worked out fine!  Stay tuned for Tunnel Creek details next – it was one of my favourite stops on the whole trip!

Relaxing afternoon at camp - Windjana Gorge

Relaxing afternoon at camp – Windjana Gorge

Fun with play dough - Windjana Gorge

Fun with play dough – Windjana Gorge

 

Categories: WA Camping | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

We’re Back! An Update ……….

Just another sunset here in Far North Queensland!

Just another sunset here in Far North Queensland!

Yes – the Fealy Family is still alive!!  Aaaargh – where to start???  We have so much to tell you!  Firstly a big apology for anyone who has been missing our posts (surely someone has!), eeeeek – it has been 7 weeks since our last blog entry!!!  I’m feeling excited to be back and trying to get our blog rolling again!  I really, really want to finish off the entries about our trip as there are still two weeks of travelling to tell you about!

So first, the big news  (and one of the reasons we’ve fallen behind with the blog) is that I haven’t been feeling too great …………….  You see, we are expecting Fealy Bub Number 4 in April next year!!!

Fealy Bub No 4

Fealy Bub No 4

Eeeek – yes – we are a little nuts but we are all very excited to be having one more little member added to our family!  We are now 15 weeks along and I am starting to have more energy back at night and not feeling so sick so time to get the blog up to date!  And if anyone dares to make a comment about ‘so that’s what happens with no TV on a trip around Australia’ – there will be trouble!

Ok – where to start?  Well, the kids are all pretty much settled at their new school/kindy.  It is a big school and things are a bit different up here so it is a big change but the kids are happy so far!  Lexi loves kindy and has already made a great little friend called Moana.  Next week they will begin catching the bus for the first time!  We live not too far out of town – only about 10km’s but a school bus service goes right past our driveway and the kids are keen to give the bus a go.

Kids in their school uniforms on Day 1 at their new schools at the end of August.

Kids in their school uniforms on Day 1 at their new schools at the end of August.

After only a week at the new school, the kids all went down with a very nasty bout of gastro!  It seems our three months travelling on the road kept us pretty much out of the ‘germ’ cycle so the poor kids went down hard!  It was an awful week and lets just say that not having a washing machine in the house with three very sick kids, plus ‘afternoon’ sickness, does go down in my book as one of the worst parenting experiences ever!

Lexi alseep in Matt's office in the packing shed while I ran the boys to school.

Lexi alseep in Matt’s office in the packing shed while I ran the boys to school.

But we all survived and the kids went back for the last week of school before the school holidays.  They even made it to the school fancy dress ball – just!

Fancy Dress Ball time!

Fancy Dress Ball time!

I will do a seperate post on what we got up to in the school holidays but in brief we had a great time with a few days up at Ben Avon Station and then having the Townsville cousins come to visit our new place!  We also had the Brissie cousins come to visit just last week too!

We picked the Townsville cousies up from halfway at Mission Beach and had a great day there with the Tronson cousies too!

We picked the Townsville cousies up from halfway at Mission Beach and had a great day there with the Tronson cousies too!

Ute tour of the orchard

Ute tour of the orchard

Other than that we have done lots of unpacking, sorting and purchasing a new lounge, washing machine and dining table – all items we sold thinking we wouldn’t be needing them for at least 12months!  We were lucky that our shipping container sold in just a couple of days so that funded our new furniture purchases!  We have enjoyed spending lots of time having our families close!

My mum & dad braved the gastro germs to come over for afternoon tea for my birthday!

My mum & dad braved the gastro germs to come over for afternoon tea for my birthday!

Matt's mum hard at work on the weekend helping us get our garden back under control!

Matt’s mum hard at work on the weekend helping us get our garden back under control!

On the farm front it has all been happening!!  Matt has had a HUGE learning curve but is really enjoying the new role so far!  He is very proud of the fact that he can now drive numerous tractors, sprayers, forklifts etc and can not only use a chainsaw but can fix one too!  His office worker hands have been taking a bit of a flogging ………

Matt's whopper splinter from unloading hay - ouch!

Matt’s whopper splinter from unloading hay – ouch!

We have now had two loads of passionfruit and limes be shipped off to Melbourne – so much hard work goes in to the picking, sorting and packing and it is such a nice feeling to see those boxes head off in the refridgerated trucks bound for the markets!  Matt will do a more detailed blog post on Farm Life soon, but just a few photos for now.

Our first run of passionfruit through the polishing machine

Our first run of passionfruit through the polishing machine

Then the limes turn

Then the limes turn

Packing the fruit up in the packing shed

Packing the fruit up in the packing shed

Loading our first pallet on to the truck - wahoooo!

Loading our first pallet on to the truck – wahoooo!

It hasn’t all gone smoothly.  We have had breakdowns, a smashed tractor door (don’t talk to Matt about it), a pallet of fruit returned for re-packing and lots of long hours of research and phone calls but we are all learning fast.  Speaking of learning, look who has learnt how to ride the four-wheeler all by himself???

This makes us happy to see our biggest boy riding the four wheeler!

This makes us happy to see our biggest boy riding the four wheeler!

And that is pretty much what we have been up to.  At the moment we have four german backpackers staying here on the farm helping out with all of the farm work such as mulching, pruning and helping to plant the new lime trees which are going in.  Hopefully by December we will be picking Mangos – yum!!  I’ll finish with just a few other photos of farm life over the last few weeks. Life is pretty good!  Hope you are all well!  Stay tuned for the first of our Gibb River Road posts to come!

Running the water lines - a job that has to be done a few times a day to check the sprinklers are working on all the trees

Running the water lines – a job that has to be done a few times a day to check the sprinklers are working on all the trees

Feeding the orchard birds - in togs - cause that's how we roll in Far North QLD!

Feeding the orchard birds – in togs – cause that’s how we roll in Far North QLD!

Afternoon Walk

Afternoon Walk

Matt built a chook pen for us!

Matt built a chook pen for us!

Laying boxes pinched from Grammy & Grunda's place

Laying boxes pinched from Grammy & Grunda’s place

And remember these fluffy ducklings?

And remember these fluffy ducklings?

Look how much they've grown!

Look how much they’ve grown!

Categories: About Us, Every Family Needs A Farmer | 3 Comments

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