So what is all about? Well... hopefully, by the time we are done, it will be a comprehensive journal about a family of 5 who have travelled around Australia to see the sights and also do some volunteer work around the country! In Mid 2010 we started thinking about what it would take to fulfil a life-long dream... We wanted to bundle up our 3 kids, pack-up the house, jump in the car and hit the road - probably for about 12 months. It sounds so simple ... At the start of January 2013, after almost 15 months on the road; we finally completed Our Big Aussie Road Trip. We hope that you enjoyed following our adventures, trials and tribulations as much as we enjoyed having them!

20 February, 2012


We left Norman’s beach fairly early on the 12th of Feb and headed into Albany (only about 40kms away).  We went straight to the visitor information centre, picked up a few supplies at the supermarket and headed to the caravan park that was the closest to the town centre (as we needed to get the car to and from the service place the next day and we wanted to be able to walk to pick it up). Since were going to be without the car the next day we headed out to see the sights of Albany.  First we headed to the Mount Clarence lookout to get an aerial view of Albany.

At the top of Mount Clarence, Albany
Looking over parts of Albany
Then we headed out to Torndirrup National park and went to The Gap and Natural Bridge, after checking out these we headed down the road to the blowhole.  As we walked down the track to the blow holes we bumped into a few fellow travellers: Cath & Dean and Kev & Sonia - two other families who are also travelling around Australia in the same direction that we are, and who we get along really well with.  After a brief chat we headed on down the path to the Blowhole .

'The Gap' in the National Park

Josh and Sam at the Blowholes
The Natural Bridge - this part of Australia used to be joined to Antarctica

The next morning  Mike dropped the car to the service place and walked back to the van park, we got our school work done for the day and walked into town to visit a few shops.   The next morning we organised a late check out, which gave us enough time to head into town and do a big food shop and a few other bits and also get school done before we hit the road again.
Josh using an improvised 'Pan Balance' for school

With the car all going well, we left Albany and headed just 30km out of town to our next campspot  - Cosy Corner East - another great campspot by a beautiful beach.

Normans Beach

Our car has been having a bit of trouble with a slight overheating issue, so we booked it into a place in Albany to get the car looked at in a few days time.  So instead of heading straight to Albany we decided to camp at Norman’s Beach for a few days, another beautiful campsite - this time on the inlet just back from the beach.  We were at Normans Beach from the 9th Feb to the 12th Feb.

There was lots of friendly wildlife at this campsite, a family of 6 magpies would join us each meal hoping we would share our food with them and then they would come in and eat anything they could find in and around the table afterwards.  Also a goanna wandered to the campsite each day, it would go under our caravan and poke around all the campsites.
A friendly Goanna

At the beach it was windy and the surf was huge and rough - not suitable for a swim, but we did manage a swim in the inlet next to our campsite one day and that was nice and refreshing.
At Normans Beach

Natalie enjoying the sand on Normans Beach

On another day we walked along the beach to the western end and found another intlet,  the kids had collected cuttle fish bones along the beach, some of them were very big and they made fantastic "boats".  We ended up spending and hour or two at this inlet playing with our "cuttle fish boats" and making a huge castle with its own river system for a moat.

A small storm front moves over Normans Beach
The Beauty of the beaches in this area of WA never ceases to amaze us
The Great little inlet that we played in for ages
Josh zooming a 'Cuttlefish boat' along the inlet
Now that's a sandcastle!

19 February, 2012

Wave Rock

We really wanted to go to Wave Rock, but we also wanted to stick to the coast so we decided to make it a day trip without the van.  We had left Mason's Bay quite early and drove to Ravensthorpe.  We checked into the Ravensthorpe caravan park very early and headed for Wave rock – 200km’s away.  It took us two hours to get to wave Rock and when we got there it was stinking hot.  We had fun walking and running up Wave Rock and the kids enjoyed pretending to surf the wave.

The Kids surf wave Rock

Underneath Wave Rock

Wave Rock is used as a water catchment (as are all the other big rocks in the area).  So after checking out the wave we walked up past the water catchment to the top of the rock and did a loop walk at the top.
A view from the top of Wave Rock

Just down the road from Wave Rock is “Hippos Yawn” which is a rock and cave formation that looks like a Hippo yawning.
Hippos Yawn

Inside Hippos Yawn
Next we headed just out of town to “Mulka’s Cave”, which is an Aboriginal rock art site, the biggest in Western Australia, with over 400 handprints. Some of them were quite faded, but interesting to see.

The Entrance to Mulka's Cave

Some great Aboriginal Rock Art in Mulka's Cave

After picking up some ice creams at the visitors center we hit the road again to travel back to Ravensthorpe for the night.

The Masons at Mason's Bay!

After leaving Cape Le Grand, we spent one night in Esperance to give us all a nice hot shower, and also do a big food shop to get us the next stretch of our journey. While we were back in Esperance, we walked out onto the Jetty which we hadn’t done the previous times we were there.  We saw a sealion in the water waiting for easy food from passing fishermen!

We spent the next 2 nights camped at ‘Mason’s Bay’ – we just couldn’t go past this place without stopping!!  It was a bit 'off the beaten track’ and there was some very corrugated dirt roads to get there, but it was definitely worth the effort.  We got a beautiful spot right by the water.  It was Tuesday so we spent time in the morning doing schoolwork and in the afternoon we went for a long walk on the beach to see what we could find.  After a lovely 2 hour walk we were all pretty tired but we’d found some really great places along the way – including a beach where we went beachcombing and collected lots of nice and interesting shells.
The Masons at Mason's Bay

Fishing and Playing in the Rocks

A beautiful bay we found when we went walking

Beachcombing on our long walk

Sam enjoying a little rest on our walk

That afternoon, we got out all the art equipment and did some artwork for a school competition.

Working on the School Art competition entries

14 February, 2012

Cape Le Grand

Between Friday the 27th January and Sunday the 5th of Feb, we camped in the Cape Le Grand National Park (not too far east of Esperance).  We wanted to have a decent chunk of time in one place - and that’s exactly what we did.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the National Park.  We spent the first 5 nights camped at the Lucky Bay Camp Grounds.  There were quite a lot of people there while we were there and it was full (or mostly full) each day.  We had a few days to settle in at Lucky Bay before we started the School Routine for the year.  There are lots of resident Kangaroos that hop around the campground (sometimes VERY close) looking for food, and the kids loved spotting them each day.  One day they even came right to the door of our caravan.

Some of Lucky Bay's resident Kangaroos

What's up Skip!  No Food?

Lucky Bay

Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand

While we were staying at Lucky Bay we didn’t rush around too much.  There were enough things to do to keep us very happily occupied, but we also got quite a bit of time to just sit down and relax while the kids rode bikes or played lego with some of the other kids who were camping there too. 

Each day we did school in the morning, and then in the afternoon we drove somewhere nearby to have a look at that area.  Some of the things we did around the kid’s schoolwork were: swimming in the beautiful clear waters at Hellfire Bay, We drove out to Duke of Orleans Bay, a spot of fishing, Drove along the beach at Lucky Bay to the lookout at the end of the Beach, Visited Thistle Cove and walked through the sand dunes, and Mike and Josh Conquered Frenchman’s Peak.

Enjoying Hellfire Bay

Relaxing in Dad's Hat

Lucky Bay from the lookout

Near Duke of Orleans Bay
Frenchmans Peak

Josh sitting on the summit of Frenchmans Peak

On Wednesday 1st of Feb we moved to Le Grand Beach campground.  In contrast to Lucky Bay, Le Grand Beach has individual ‘sites’ for Campers and there are only a dozen spots  and each spot was isolated by at least 5 metres of bush.  It was much quieter than Lucky Bay.  At both National Park Camping grounds there were Toilets and showers, but the showers were solar powered (and had a limited supply of hot water) so if the day was cloudy, or you left your shower a bit late, it was luke warm at best!  Nonetheless, the facilities were really very good.

Josh's First day of school for 2012 - He is now in Year 2

Natalie's First day of school for 2012 - she is in Kindy

Once we setup our Caravan at Le Grand Beach, we Jumped in the car and headed for Esperance to re-stock our supplies.  We had been told you could drive 22Km’s along the beach to Wiley Bay and cut about 15Km off the trip to Esperance, so we decided to drive along the beach.  It was lots of fun to do a real beach drive, we even passed a Brumby trotting along the beach.
A Brumby trotting along Le Grand Beach

While we were in Esperance, the kids got a go on the skate park (which they’d been wanting to do ever since watching the competition on Australia Day), and since it was a school day they had it all to themselves.

We spent 4 nights camped at Le Grand beach campsite, we enjoyed many walks on the beach and a bit of fishing , the weather was not quite as good when we were camped here.  It was very windy and rained off and on. It was a very relaxing couple of days.

A view over the back of a sand dune at Le Grand Beach

The Mason Family enjoys Le Grand Beach

05 February, 2012


We left Coolgardie (a quick stop on our way down from Kalgoorlie) and had quite a long driving day (about 5 hours to travel the 400Km’s to Esperance), but we were in Esperance by about 3pm which included a few quick breaks to stretch the legs.

During our long drives we’ve been listening to a lot of Audio Books, which the kids love.  We’ve listed to the Faraway series numerous times, as well as bible stories, the Lighthouse keeper stories, Winnie the Pooh stories and a few others.  Auido books  are great because the kids can still look out the windows (or draw etc).  We do have the DVD players setup in the car but we’ve only used them half a dozen times in the last 3 months and they certainly have a use at times, but we find that we can limit their use quite well.
When we arrived in Esperance, we pulled into the ‘Bushlands Caravan park’ - which was a very basic caravan park 5km out of town (with horrible tasting Bore Water – complete with sand!) and very basic facilities – but we have found that with Caravan Parks, you generally get what you pay for -  which is fine by us.  The rest of the day was spent with a quick drive around town and picking up a few supplies at the supermarket.

On Wednesday we looked at Esperance’s ‘Pink lake’ (named because the high salt content allows only pink coloured bacteria to grow) and then went into the main part of Esperance.  Liz and the kids played at the park on the foreshore and had a ride on the miniature train that was riding around the park, while Mike took the car to change the position of the tyres to allow even wear while we drive.
Pink Lake - Esperance

Esperance Foreshore Adventure Playground

When the car was ready again, we drove to the Rotary Lookout which gives a great view of Esperance and the coastline.  The main features of the coastline around Esperance are large granite rocks which form many islands off the coast, and also form the headlands between beaches in the area.  It is a beautiful part of Australia.
From the Lookout at Esperance

After lunch, we donned the swimmers and went down to the (very windy) beach.  The water was a little bit cold, and the windchill made it feel much colder too, but it was a brilliant sunny day and we all had a good splash around in the water for the afternoon.  All 3 kids were very tired when we went to bed that night.
Twilight Beach in Esperance

Thursday was Australia Day and we had found out from the Visitor Information Centre that there were some activities down at the foreshore, so after a Bacon and Egg Breakfast, we went to have a look.  We were really impressed with the show that Esperance put on – and how well attended the event was.  There were lots of stalls, as well as displays by the Fire Brigade and Police.  There were Also vintage car and ‘muscle car’ displays.  The kids got free ice creams which was a bonus.  It was a beautiful sunny 30 degree day as we walked around all the displays and stalls.  We stopped and watched the competition at the skate park for a while too.  After we’d seen everything on offer, we got out the kids bikes and the kids rode along the pathway from the foreshore to the jetty (probably about 1km).  When we got to the Jetty, we saw a massive Sea Lion basking in the sun.  It was a busy morning, but we enjoyed the ‘vibe’ of a Country Australia Day.  Normally on Australia day we would try to see our friends The Hodges, The Blythes and the Reeves (a tradition we’ve had for quite some time now), but this year we were all in different parts of the country – but we were thinking of you.

In the afternoon of Australia day, we went back down to the same beach as we had been to the day before (but this time it was pretty packed with people) and had another good (but windy) swim.

Not far from Esperance is the Cape Le Grand National Park.  We planned to spend quite some time in the National Park (maybe 2 weeks) to settle Josh and Natalie into school and have a bit of time in one place (because we have been travelling quite fast from place to place since we left South Australia) and so we were looking forward to getting down to the National Park and having a look around there.