Where are we?
We have arrived at Kalgoorlie via Hyden and Coolgardie.
Collecting the van
A taxi took us on a $40 ride from Perth CBD to the Apollo Van Rental Depot which was on the far side of the airport.
We were pleased to find that the van was ready for us when we arrived unlike the last time when we had to wait too many hours for it to be
cleaned. It had a new set of tyres all round (very good) and a new stove (which we thought was very good - little did we know how this would turn out). Having hired the same type of van before, we knew how it worked and it was a matter of minutes before we were ready to leave
once a photograph had been taken.
250$ spent at Coles Supermarket nearby provided provisions for the first few days and more, and we set off for Hyden in order to see Wave Rock - a distance of about 340 kms.
On the way we stopped at the Dog Cemetery in Corrigin which is also
known for its Dog in a Ute competition (how many vehicles with a dog in the back, can they line up in a parade at the same time).
Just to make sure that you understand for whom this cemetery is intended, in the entrance is a large dog.
There is no standard grave, each one is designed by the owner
and they vary from the grand to the simple
One of the problems in this area at the moment is the weather - it is very wet. Australians blame El Nino, whatever the cause there has been a lot of rain dumped on the area and
it looks like there is even more to come in the next few hours.
We avoid the rain however and arrive at an RV Camp in Hyden,
and after a well deserved cup of Tea / Coffee,
we got everything stored away and then we set about making dinner. But
We found that the new gas stove on the outside of the van would not connect to the gas cylinders. After some thought, we decided that when they fitted the new stove, they did not know that the gas hose which came with the new stove was unique to the stove. They simply left the old one in the locker assuming it would fit.
So it was sandwiches for supper because (disaster two) we found out that this RV Camp’s idea of a Camp Kitchen was a room with just a microwave and a fridge. We had no microwavable food and so could not cook anything.
Luckily, WIFI was very good at the camp so we were able to send some emails to Apollo explaining our plight and asking what they intended to do about it.
Their initial answer was “Nothing until Monday (today was Friday) because all of our repairers are closed over the weekend"
The next morning, we went to see Wave Rock which was about 500 metres away from the van. There are a number of these in the world
but this is the first we have seen. It is a concave wall of granite and streaks of Black Algae give it its characteristic colours.
The shape comes from water weathering the rock.This Wave Rock is about 20 metres high and around 200 metres long. It is impressive and well worth a short visit.
Just as we finished looking at it, the rains came. El Nino has been dumping a large amount of unseasonal rain over the west coast for the past few weeks and the rain storm reached inland to Hyden this morning. Luckily we were off north and west and after a few hours of torrential rain and flooded roads, got out of it as we drove towards Kalgoorlie. We had planned to go up a 4WD track towards Kalgoorlie which would have been much shorter but I felt that the heavy rain might have washed parts of it away so we stuck to the main roads.
The road to Kalgoorlie (a place where we hoped we would be able to get the stove repaired), passes through the Rabbit Proof Fence.
This fence was constructed in an attempt to keep rabbits out of Western Australia
which were bought to Australia in 1859 when Thomas Austin imported 24 rabbits and released them on his property. Rabbits did would rabbits do and soon they were eating all the crops and pastures and costing the farming community dear. In 1901 a Royal Commission decided that a fence needed to be built to keep them out of the State and the result is the longest fence in the world.
In the 1930's Emus started to become a problem and during a drought in 1976, 100,000 emus had gathered along the northern part of the fence looking for food.
The State Barrier Fence (as it is now known) is designed to keep out Rabbits, Wild Dogs and Feral Goats - all animals introduced by Europeans and Emus who were here before Europeans.
Quite close to Kalgoorlie is Coolgardie - home to a Singing Toilet ! We first met a singing toilet when we were at the southern tip of New Zealand and we were delighted to find another one here.
As you do your business, you are told you have a maximum of ten minutes before the doors open and then you are entertained with “What the world needs now is love sweet love……"
Coolgardie is a perfect example of a town which was enormous and thriving during the Gold Rush and as soon as the gold went, the people went as well.
It has the widest Main Street through the centre of town we have ever seen. Apparently it is this wide so that you can turn a Camel Train around in it - this being something which needed to be done during the Gold Rush apparently.
This magnificent building was built during the Gold Rush as a Claims Court and is now the Visitors Centre.
This is the Victorian Hotel
and these are a variety of perfectly preserved Victorian offices and shops.
In a less pleasant period of the past, Aboriginals on their way to the local gaol, were chained to a tree in the town overnight.
This is the remains of the tree today - a tree which before the fire which has almost destroyed it, was said to have had the original shackles still fixed to it.
Not long later, we arrived in Kalgoorlie with the task of trying to get our stove repaired.