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Wildflowers down south



Day 1

A bit of a slow start and we only managed to get going well after 9am.

Only one thing to deal with before we got going and that was putting the 24v regulator for the starter batteries back in place as the velcro holding it had let go. Now it is secured with zip ties so it should be a while before it manages to wiggle free again.

The drive south to the Collie area was nothing less than spectacular. The weather might not have been perfect as it was overcast but the fields were all covered in glorious green grass and there was plenty of evidence that wildflowers were out in abundance.

The only stop for the trip was a quick toilet break at the Collie Visitor Centre where the staff were so involved in a conversation about The Voice that they paid no attention to us at all.

 

Collie Visitor Centre
Collie Visitor Centre

 

(Hint) If you work in a visitor centre it might be a good idea to pay attention to people who walk through your doors instead of continuing to yabber on to each other… I may have bought one of the local history books if there had been at least marginal acknowledgement that I existed but there wasn’t so we left.

It was already lunch time and Glen Mervyn Dam was only 14 kilometres away so we decided that it would do as a good place to have lunch while we decided whether to keep going to Boyup Brook.

Wikicamps is listing the areas on the east bank of the dam as ‘day use only’ but as there were no ‘NO CAMPING’ signs anywhere in evidence, we decided that it would be as good a place as any to spend the night.

It was still a rather dull, windy, cold day so there wasn’t much point in moving on and the dam is a very pleasant spot to sit and just relax.

We found about the only level spot at the north entrance (there are others at the south entrance) and then found that we were parked close to a long drop dunny, BONUS!

 

Glen Mervyn Dam
Glen Mervyn Dam

 

After lunch we just wandered along the dam and I spent a small amount of time picking up rubbish that people had left within sight of a bin (sigh).

Towards evening the wind began to drop and the forecast for the next day was at least encouraging.

Telstra signal was good here and internet connection ok.

Day 2

Everything started well. A beautiful morning at Glen Mervyn dam and no wind so I was able to get the drone out and get some quick video shots.

 

Glen Mervyn Dam
Glen Mervyn Dam

 

It was only about an hour’s drive to Boyup Brook and the scenery along the way was spectacular.

Green rolling fields and trees with some cloud and intermittent sun made for a lovely drive.

We arrived in town and visited the visitor centre where I picked up a couple of local history books. We wanted to check out the Quacking Frog and see the teapot collection that had once been with Barlee and Robyn Jones.

 

Boyup Brook visitor centre
Boyup Brook visitor centre

 

Unfortunately a dental appointment meant that the place was closed so we made our way to the end of Williams Road to do one of the walks that is listed as being good for wildflowers.

The Railway Dam Reserve was very picturesque and the walk was very enjoyable.

 

Railway Dam Reserve
Boyup Brook Railway Dam Reserve

 

From there we went out of town to have a look at other reserves listed in the Wildflower Drives pamphlet but found that the Water Reserve was almost devoid of flowers and for some reason we missed the reserve on Six Mile Road.

We made our way to Mayanup and had a walk through the crown land just south of the hall and pony club.

The wildflowers there were quite similar to ones we had seen at the Railway Dam Reserve but we did find a tiny blue orchid.

 

Mayanup Crown Land
Mayanup Crown Land

 

The day was getting on so we decided to head for Jayes Bridge as that was the closest campsite.

This is where things all went horribly wrong.

We had parked up and I went to check out the toilet and then as it was a bit further away I wanted to move a bit closer.

The Coaster swung to the left and suddenly there was a huge crunching sound and it came to s full stop.

The poor old bus had collided with a tree stump that was completely obscured and could not bee seen through the passenger's window from the driver’s side or in the mirrors.

 

Jayes Bridge
Jayes Bridge - damaged Coaster

 

The damage was very nasty. The battery compartment had been pushed in and this had pushed the left hand side of the door frame sideways and bucked the panel behind it.

To start with the door could not be closed and we were worried that the bus would be undrivable as a result.

We rang a couple of businesses in Boyup Brook but they couldn’t help so it was up to me to bend the door frame back enough to allow the door to close.

A big metal rod and a heavy hammer failed to do the job so I resorted to using a bottle jack and the Coaster’s wheel brace. This eventually succeeded in moving the door frame just enough to let the door close.

The Coaster looked a real mess but at least we would be able to drive.

Day 3

After a night to recover and think about things we decided to sit tight at Jayes Bridge for another night as there were plenty of birds that Dorothy wanted to photograph and there really was no reason to leave quickly.

Our plans to head further south in search of the Queen of Sheeba orchid had to be abandoned but we really didn’t want to have to rush home if there was no need.

Plan B became heading back to Boyup Brook for a night at the caravan park and then after filling our tanks (and emptying others) we would head for some nearby halls we had wanted to check out.

As long as the Coaster drove to town with no signs of any problems that would become the plan for the next few days.

Telstra signal at Jayes Bridge is good as is internet connection.

Day 4

We made our way back to Boyup Brook to refuel etc. and the Coaster drove perfectly. Thankfully the damage doesn’t extend to any of the vital systems so the only real issue is not being able to close the bi-fold door when we are moving.

That is ok in fine weather but won’t be too much fun if it starts pouring with rain.

It won’t matter when we are stopped because we can put the awning out but rain isn’t forecast until Sunday so hopefully it won’t become a major problem.

One chore I got done the day before was the long overdue oil change in the Honda generator. It was made much easier with the oil change kit I bought some time ago at Aldi (yeah I know Aldi again LOL). I buy so much gear there and say nice things about most of it, I think they should sponsor the channel :)

The new drone (DJI Mini 3) is proving to be worth while. It is so much easier to use and transport than the Phantom 3 Adv.

The only issue so far is trying to use a 3D headset and a long USB C cable as the signal constantly drops in and out.

It works fine with the short USB Micro and USB C adaptor but not with the longer cable.

The following day we settled in at Eulin Crossing and the information provided on WikiCamps that the site is no longer available for camping is wrong. We rang the shire to find out and they confirmed that camping there is ok.

 

Eulin Crossing
Eulin Crossing

 

Telstra phone signal at Eulin is a little dodgy and the internet is mostly a text only affair.

Day 5

It wasn’t quite as cold overnight and we managed to crawl out of bed a little earlier as a result.

The first stop for the day was at Kulicup where we had a look at the nature reserve and found 4 types of orchid. Two donkey, one cowslip and one pink fairy but nothing out of the ordinary.

We drove through the small settlement to film the old hall and the church but didn’t stop as there was no sign of any other wildflowers.

 

Kulicup
Kulicup

 

Our next stop was at Qualeup where the old hall looks a bit run down but isn’t too bad on the inside.

There is a warning about presumed asbestos in the building but it was open so we went in to have a look and to film it.

 

Qualeup
Qualeup

 

Then came Muradupp, a slightly bigger settlement, where we found an old church that has been turned into a private residence.

The hall here was much more substantial, being made of brick and it certainly looked as though it was still in use.

 

Muradupp
Muradupp

 

The final stop for the day was at Orchid Valley. A promising name but short on delivery of the flowers.

The old school/hall was much more interesting though and it was also open to wander through.

A two room building with an outside lean-to. It also featured an old shelter that had once been a place for children to eat lunch.

 

Orchid Valley
Orchid Valley

 

Although partially collapsed it was easy to imagine the shelter with leaves and branches covering the chicken wire roof with children beneath sheltering from the sun enjoying their lunch.

The school operated from 1935 to 1943 but the building looks quite a lot older than that.

Nearby we found a large flat paddock area where we settled in for what remained of the day.

 

Orchid Valley
Orchid Valley

 

Surprisingly Telstra signal was very good here.

Day 6

Plan A was to head in to Boyup Brook and stay at the Caravan Park for the night but along the way we had a look at the Querijup Pool campsite.

There was plenty of room and more importantly plenty of bird sounds so the decision was quickly made to stay and look around.

The stream was flowing nicely and the water was crystal clear. On a warmer day we might have been tempted to get a bit wet and go for a dip but the water was still pretty icy.

 

Querijup Pool
Querijup Pool

 

Despite being listed as a campsite on the shire website, we had the place to ourselves.

It was a sunny afternoon so after looking around a bit it was just a matter of relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet.

We did have to use levelling blocks on the Coaster as the whole area is on the side of a hill bit we managed to find a half way decent spot to park.

There was, on this occasion, no phone signal at all so there was even more reason to sit and veg out for a while.

Day 7

Sometime later than originally planned we arrived back in Boyup Brook and booked in for the night at the caravan park.

As we are self contained we stayed on an un-powered self contained site for $18 a night. That gave us access to the toilets, shower and laundry.

The caravan park is situated on the old flax mill site just a little out of the main part of town.

The river runs along one edge and the whole area is open and attractive.

 

Flax Mill Caravan Park
Flax Mill Caravan Park

 

First order of business for Dorothy was a proper shower and for me it was getting the scooters out and ready to go.

I wanted to take a bit of a ride to the old Skeleton Bridge. This used to be a rail crossing point and is a few kilometres out behind the caravan park.

We located the walk trail and negotiated a muddy section with care and then rode out to the bridge.

It is still in pretty good condition but it has been fenced off to discourage people from walking across it.

It was a lovely ride on the scooters with cool sunny weather and a few fluffy clouds to make the scene complete.

 

Skeleton Bridge
Skeleton Bridge

 

From there it was back into town and out to the Quacking Frog that we had missed out on seeing the first day we arrived in town.

The teapots that used to take pride of place in Barlee and Robyn’s home are now all neatly displayed in a large shed and it was wonderful to know that Barlee’s huge collection was still intact.

The lady who now looks after the collection, Ruth, was very friendly and welcoming and besides showing people the teapot collection, also does pre-ordered, home cooked, authentic Indian food, something we wish we had known in time to make an order.

 

Quacking Frog
Quacking Frog

 

Next stop was Bert’s Classic car collection and this was really top notch.

Bert owns the whole collection and has done a wonderful job not only on the cars that sparkle like gems but on the buildings that house them.

The entrance has been done up to look like an Amercian diner and right outside is an old restored fire engine with the original ladder.

There are also three vintage caravans and if you visit, be sure to check out the before and after shots for the buildings and one of the restored caravans.

There are some really iconic vehicles in the collection and anyone with even a passing interest in cars should make time to go and see it.

 

Bert’s Classic car collection
Bert's Garage Classic Cars

 

By the time we had finished looking around the day was already starting to fade so it was time to head back to the caravan park and check that out before the light completely got away.

The park is very attractive with different options of site type including en-suite, powered, un-powered, self-contained with amenities and self-contained without amenities. Pretty much something for everyone.

The toilets blocks are nicely renovated and absolutely spotless. Very impressive and a credit to the CMCA who administer the park.

There is a large under cover camp kitchen with sink, BBQs and a large fridge.

There is ample seating and tables and the park is one we are happy to recommend.

In a large shed you will also find some models showing what the old flax mill looked like back in the days when it was still operating.

Boyup Brook has turned out to be an area worth getting to know as there is a lot to see and do.

Day 8

We were on the road by about 8:30am and heading for Frog’s Hollow and Gnomesville.

Along the way we passed the turn off to Grimwade – a campsite we have stayed at a few times in the past.

As I had neglected to get any decent footage of Grimwade, we decided to make a detour and stay the night.

Being a Sunday the place was quite busy and the main spots were already taken up. We could have waited to see if they cleared but it was still quite early so I got the scooter out and went in search of a more secluded spot.

Grimwade was once a timber mill and scattered around are the foundations of old buildings and if you have a look, you will find open areas where workers houses once stood.

 

Grimwade
Grimwade

 

I found what I thought was a good sport but Dorothy wasn’t keen on it so I kept looking until I found a site that she approved of.

It was a bit of a manoeuvre to get the Coaster in but we managed and we set up camp.

With only a couple of nights of the trip left I decided that now would be a good time for a campfire.

Someone had thoughtfully left some sawn up hardwood logs and it wasn’t long before we had a nice fire ready to cook dinner on.

The day trippers and their noisy two stroke motorbikes eventually left and the area was once again lovely and peaceful.

Dinner included some marinated pork belly bites roasted on the campfire, YUM!

Day 9

The first order of the day was a nice bacon and egg cooked breakfast. Our usual breakfasts are either toast or muesli but at least once on a trip we like to enjoy something a bit more special.

After a relaxing breakfast watching birds flitting through the blooming wattle trees I made my way down to the main campsite and the dam to get some footage.

Dorothy grabbed the bird camera and went off in search of something worth taking pictures of.

We had decided to stay a second night before heading off to Frog’s Hollow and Gnomesville so the rest of the day was all about enjoying nature and relaxing.

Day 10

Well despite the accident on day two we had still managed to have a nice trip even though it wasn’t the one we originally planned.

Once again the Queen of Sheba orchid has eluded us but hopefully there will always ne a next time…

We dropped in to Frog’s Hollow on the way home but it still has a very long way to go to be anything like Gnomesville. There are a handful of frog sculptures and models scattered around but the shop across the road is probably more interesting than the frogs at this point. We have to wonder if it was the shop owners who started Frog’s Hollow in an effort to get more passing trade.

 

Frog’s Hollow
Frog’s Hollow

 

From there we drove north to Gnomesville and this really has expanded since out last visit.

There is now a toilet block and nice pathways. The gnomes are somewhat better organised but the scope of the place really is mind blowing.

I have no idea how many gnomes there are at Gnomesville but there are many many thousands and it just goes on and on.

It is an amazing attraction and well worth taking the time to stop and have a good look around. There are also some touching memorials to loved ones here as well.

The whole thing is astounding!

 

Gnomesville
Gnomesville

 

Sadly that was the end of this trip and it was just a matter of finding our way back to Forrest Highway and heading home.

Now comes the hassle of getting the poor old Coaster repaired as soon as we can because this is the peak time of year for our travels.

 

 

Updated September 2023

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