St Helenian tour in classic Chevvy

After farewelling Jason at the Coffee Shop on the wharf (the scene of many tearful goodbyes), we joined Colin Corker for his renowned charabanc tour of the island in his 1929 Chevrolet. First stop was The Briars Pavillion, which we Aussies were excited to see as Marijke and I are guides at The Briars, Mt Martha Australia.

We found that The Briars Pavillion had a restored attic. We return here on Tuesday for an official ceremony with the Head of Government, but for now we are happy to be guided by Trevor Magellan, who is a mine of information. In Napoleon’s day the Pavillion consisted of only one room, which is now open to the public. His secretary, Count Las Cases slept in the attic with his son, Emmanuel.

This is Trevor Magellan.

We continued to Longwood House, Napoleon’s home and prison until his death in 1821. It also was in beautiful condition for the bicentenary.

The garden featured an endemic ebony rose in flower.  

  The painted hills, seen from the car, are a multi-coloured wonder. 
The island’s highest peak is Diana’s Peak, located between two other peaks, Cuckolds and Acteon, which are topped with Norfolk Island Pines.

After a takeaway lunch near the new airport, we continued to Napoleon’s tomb, in a secluded valley. Th tomb itself is empty – Napoleon’s body was exhumed and taken to Paris in 1840. But it’s a peaceful spot.

 Colin then took us to the governor’s residence at Plantation House, where we met Jonathan, the 180 year-old turtle.

After observing the Castle and St James Church from  The top of Jacob’s Ladder, we negotiated our way down the narrow roadway called Ladder Hill Road back to Jamestown.  
Reaching Jamestown safely called for a cleansing ale at the bar in Mule Yard, by the foreshore, before watching the Fire Engine Pull, an event for Cancer Awareness Week. Everywhere we go we meet people we know from the Mail Ship or another island event. This is the fun of living in a small community.

One could get very fond of Island life, with its mix of community events and natural beauty.

(Written on Friday 9th October and posted when we have access to free wifi).


Remarkable walks

Mt Remarkable National Park, just south of Port Augusta in South Australia, is well named. Although it is on the Goyder line and turned out to be unproductive for grazing, it supports huge river red gums. Apparently, the secret is Mambray Creek, which only flows in wetter periods, has underground counterparts which the deep-rooted gums are able to access and siphon upwards.

We did three walks and the first was among the gums, which continue to thrive even after they are hollowed out by fire and termites. Can you see David, cleverly concealed inside this one?

Along the river were native pines as well as gums, affording a pleasant shade.

After a caffeine fix, with sandwiches in our backpacks and we headed off on a second walk, this time to Sugargum Lookout.Ironically, the view from the lookout was almost obliterated by sugar gums!

However, a historic shepherd’s hut proved a pleasant lunch stop.

The spring wildflowers were beginning, including this native hibiscus:

Bulbine lily:

In the late afternoon we tackled a short walk to the ruins of the original homestead, where generations of lessees had struggled to make a living grazing sheep. The cemetery provided a moving reminder of how harsh life was for families, with several graves of children.

Threatening clouds and the lure of King Island Blue Ash cheese with a pre-dinner drink called a halt to play and we returned to the caravan, but not before I had uploaded yesterday’s blog near the park entrance, which had 3G connection.

Back to the Nullarbor and Australia’s longest straight road

We started from our bush camp amongst the salmon gums and drove to Newman Rock, which we had also visited coming across from the eastern states. There was more surface water this time.

We proceeded to Balladonia roadhouse where we had a hole of golf to play. The green and fairway were okay but the fairway was pure saltbush. Even though it was only par 3, the green was so difficult to locate that a red target was required to show us where to aim.

The roadhouse museum, included remains of Skylab, NASA’s space research laboratory, that re-entered the earth’s atmosphere and exploded around Balladonia.

Beneath the Nullarbor are many caves and near Caiguna is a ‘blowhole’. It seems that caves ‘breathe’, with air exiting through holes as temperatures increase. We visited it, but it was underwhelming. The blue bush plains after rain, however, provide attractive reflections, views of complex skies and clouds and are a pleasant place to spend an evening.


We couldn’t get enough of Greenough¬†

The word ‘enough’ gives a reminder of how to pronounce Greenough (‘Grenuf’). But let’s start at yesterday’s first stop; leaving Eurardy we drove to a well-known free camp beside a bridge on the Murchison River. As Wikicamps users had reported, it was very popular although some of the ground was damp.

Leaving the Great North West Highway, we took a scenic route to Geraldton and then down the coast to the historic settlement of Central Greenough, a National Trust set of properties.

They had been carefully restored in the 1970s and we spent an hour going between school, churches, gaol and convent between the llamas, who kept the grass down.

 This gave time for the group of bikers to be served their lunch, although they had used up the supplies of cottage pie, so we were left with lasagne, dearer but delicious.

We watched surfers tackling the surf at Flat Rock, and I am filled with admiration for photographers who cover surfing events – apologies for the poor focus – the camera couldn’t adjust fast enough!

Last night’s sunset view shows the pretty reflections at Port Denison marina. We have spent the night at a caravan park and are now using the free wifi on the foreshore before we head further down the West Australian coast.


Northampton has cool capuccini, quilters and historic buildings

Little Pickle’s Kitchen in Northampton was a great spot for a cappuccino during a town walk of Northampton, one of Western Australiaimage‘s oldest towns.imageimageNorthampton has a Quilt Festival in October and we saw a local embroiderers’ guild at work in a shop.

Many of the historic buildings are in the rich rust-coloured local stone. I’ve chosen the Sacred Heart Convent designed by a famous bishop/architect Monsignor Hawes in the early Twentieth Century. It now offers accommodation and function facilities.

President of the United States in Outback Australia 

Herbert Hoover, who later became 31st President of the United States established the Sons of Gwalia Mine and celebrated his 24th birthday in the partially completed manager’s house. We learnt this when we visited the mine site (which is now a modern underground and open cut operation. The house now provides accommodation to visitors and we enjoyed a cappuccino on the shady verandah after touring the mine museum, which is south of the goldfields town of Leonora.



Museums at Kalgoorlie

The Museum of Western Australia has a Kalgoorlie branch with tours at 10.30am. Sue, our guide, showed us Australia’s narrowest pub and the relocated panelled office of a wealthy Perth entrepreneur. Here, two students were rehearsing The Crucible by American playwright Arthur Miller. They posed for a photo. We also toured the Vault, and admired gold bullion.


The courtyard had relocated cottage, complete with outhouse and a bank.


 This armchair made of packing cases is an example of ‘making do’ in remote areas.

As our tour of the Superpit was cancelled, we drove up to the lookout again. A historic trolley car was taking tourists to view.