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Indian Summer - Mid West



The weather was great for the time of year. With blue skies and 27-30C temperatures, it was more like summer than the last few weeks of autumn.

We took off for what we expected to be the last major trip before winter so we went north along the coast.

For the first time ever, we stopped to have a look at the shack settlement at Grey. This is one of the last squatter settlements on the coast. The government is intent on removing all of them, which is a great shame as they are a unique part of our heritage.

 

Shack settlement of Grey

 

We thought about stopping the first night at Sandy Cape Campsite north of Jurien Bay but when we arrived we found is was completely packed.

As it wasn't a school holiday or a long weekend this was a bit surprising but we assumed that the grey nomads were gathering and waiting for the weather further north to cool down a bit before they all headed north for the winter.

Sandy Cape price had risen to $20 a night and as far as we are concerned, that is too much for a bush campsite. It certainly doesn't seem to be putting other people off but we have a strict budget we have to keep to and $15 a night is our top limit for bush sites.

Our first overnight stop was at the relatively new campsite of Milligan's Island. This is only about 5km from Green Head and at $15 a night is at the upper limit of our budget for bush camps.

 

Milligans Island

 

It is a good campsite with toilets, skip bin, shelters, seats, tables and 2 BBQs (one shelter has no BBQ for some strange reason). The beach is attractive and there is a walk trail along the coast.

Telstra signal was available.

Further north we stopped to have a look at Freshwater but the sea has removed most of the area that used to be available to park on and there is very limited room left now, so we kept going.

 

Freshwater

 

After seeing how crowded Sandy Cape was, we were worried that all the campsites on the coast would be the same. Thankfully Cliff Head was almost empty when we arrived and we got a nice place next to the beach.

The changes to Cliff Head North seem to all be finished now and there is only one main entry point that goes to Cliff Head South, Cliff Head and Cliff Head North. The old entry to Cliff Head North is now closed off.

The track between Cliff Head and Cliff Head North is getting very close to being washed into the sea. It will probably only take one or two good winter storms to close it permanently. It is a bit boggy in one spot so 2wd vehicles should take care.

 

 

There are now toilets at all three campsites and shelters, seats and tables are also provided. There may be NO toilet paper so BYO.

There is a three night limit at the Cliff Head sites and it is such a nice place we decided to stop for two nights as we did the first time we visited.

A pair of ospreys were nesting in a tree next to the Coaster so I was able to get some footage and pictures.

 

Osprey

 

Telstra signal available at Cliff Head South but it was a bit patchy at times.

We moved on a short distance to Port Denison / Dongara. At port Denison we found good parking spots for large vehicles and a thoughtfully placed water pick up point. Not only that but there was FREE WiFi!

The Shire of Irwin has to rate as one of the most RV friendly shires in all of W.A.

After looking around the port we went to Dongara (in reality it is all one town) and bought some supplies and some pies for lunch from the bakery.

We set up for the night at the free 24 hour self-contained RV rest area at the recreation centre.

Along with all the great campsites (Cliff Head South, Cliff Head, Cliff Head North and Seven Mile Beach ) there is also a dump point at the RV rest area. We just couldn't help but be impressed by this shire. If only all shires in W.A. had this attitude, our state would be a magnet for inter-state travellers.

 

Port Denison

 

We went north from Dongara to Central Greenough and then turned east to Walkaway before arriving at Ellendale Pool campsite.

Fees at Ellendale have risen from $5 per vehicle to $5 per person but it is still one of the cheapest campsites around the area.

The corellas were being their noisy selves most of the day but Ellendale is a very pretty site and worth the visit. Facilities include bins, BBQs, tables, seats, shelters, dump point and there is a nice walk along the side of the pool.

 

Ellendale Pool

 

Ellendale pool is located east of Walkaway via Nangetty-Walkaway Road, Ellendale Road and Ellendale Pool Road.

Originally the pool was located on private property on land owned by the Logue family.

There was no public access and only the friends and family of the Logue's were able to visit.

The name originated with the wife of Major Logue who married Ellen Shaw in 1856. (Major was not a military rank in this case but an actual first name.)

Logue purchased just over 400ha of land but as he selected land that contained the best water sources in the area, his control extended over some 38,000ha in reality.

A fruit orchard was established by the river but by the 1930s it had ceased to exist.

It wasn't until the 1960s that the area by the pool was resumed as public land and became available as a reserve for picnicking and camping.

The river was an important source of food and water for the Aboriginal people before European settlement.

Today the site remains a popular picnic and camping site and has excellent facilities including flushing toilets, an outdoor cold water shower, BBQs, shelters, tables, seats, bins and a dump point for campers.

The site is dog friendly and a small fee is charged for camping. Campers can stay for up to 7 nights.

Large flocks of corellas come to the pool and times when they are visiting can be very noisy indeed.

There are warning signs asking visitors to take care when using the pool due to the possible presence of amoebic meningitis and also asking people to take care near the cliff on the far side of the pool.

 

Ellendale Pool

 

We took a bit of a detour to Mingenew to have a look at the self-contained RV rest stop at Enanty Barn. The RV stop is quite small and apart from some historic displays at the barn, there isn't much to do at the site but if you are in the area and need an overnight spot, then it would be suitable for self-contained RVs.

 

Enanty Barn

 

We had intended to stop at Lake Indoon but when we arrived it was bone dry, hot and infested with flies so we dropped in at Coolimba for a very late lunch before heading back to Milligan's Island for the night.

 

Milligans Island

 

We woke early and headed for Yanchep National Park where we had booked in for the last two nights of the trip. (You need to pre-book sites at Yanchep online.)

The weather forecast was for storms by evening so we wanted to get settled before the rain started.

The drive down was good and we arrived in time for lunch so we had a chance to try the lunch special at Yanchep Inn. It was a seafood platter for two and cost $38 and it turned out to be quite good value.

There was plenty to eat and the quality was good too, all except for the seafood sticks which I don't really care much for.

 

Lunch at Yanchep Inn

 

We took a bit of footage around the park and found that the koala enclosure is now free entry with donation boxes if you want to help with upkeep costs.

Visited the chocolate café and bought some yummy dark chocolate and then it was time to settle down and wait for the bad weather to arrive.

The rain started in the evening and with the high humidity it was uncomfortable. The rain became heavy and we started to wish we had ended the trip just one day earlier as the prospect of being stuck in the bus most of the day wasn't very appealing.

 

Yanchep National Park

 

We discovered a small leak in the roof that needed repairing once we got home but putting an absorbent towel under it was enough to stop any wood inside from getting too wet.

The weather remained grey, gusty and with intermittent showers during the following day but there were enough breaks between the rain to let us get over to the inn for lunch without getting wet.

The special was sirloin steak for $17.50. It was nicely cooked and came with chips salad and a choice of sauces.

The inn has a lovely old world atmosphere in the main section or there is a more bright and modern feel in the atrium.

 

Yanchep Inn

 

On the final day there was nothing left to do but make the long drive down the freeway home to Rockingham.

The weather was dreadful and high winds buffeted the Coaster all the way but we got home safely and overall it had been a very good trip.

 

Updated May 2018

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Places to see on this route:

Guilderton

Seabird

Lancelin

Pinnacles

Cervantes

Jurien Bay

Stockyard Gully

Green Head

Leeman

Dongara

Greenough

Walkaway

Mingenew

Eneabba

Lake Indoon - Eneabba

Yanchep NP

 

Osprey
Yanchep National Park
Banksia

 

 

 

 

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