After we landed back in Perth, we spent one night on a campground in the city. The next day we went shopping like world champions and drove to Lancelin. We wanted to go kitesurfing as much as we can before we would sell the van and fly back to Los Angeles. Kai got lucky and was able to go out on the water with our smallest kite. He almost knocked over a whole family of dolphins! Afterwards we enjoyed the sunset beer at the happy hour at this beautiful spot. Now the last kitesurfing holiday in Lancelin could begin.
But then everything came differently. The next morning, I woke up with a fever and tried to cool down in the shade at 35 degrees Celsius, alternately in our sardine can (van) and under the lawn sprinkler. The fever went up during the day more and more, so we decided to call the medical center in Lancelin. When they heard that I had a fever and was travelling, I was turned away immediately. Probably out of fear of the corona virus. Kai phoned around for an hour to organize some kind of help, only to be finally referred back to Lancelin. So, we just drove there without further ado. Unfortunately, they remembered our call and so I not only had to put on a protective mask but also had to wait outside the Medical Centre like a leper in temperatures above 35 degrees. Then finally a nurse came out (with a mask of course) and explained to us that they didn't want to examine me. The doctors would work from 8-17 o'clock and they would have no time for patients who would simply come in without an appointment. And they could not help me anyway. I should go to the next hospital. There Kai's collar burst! How were we supposed to drive for almost an hour and a half in our can of sardines towards Perth in this heat when I had a fever of almost 39 degrees? If it was that bad, we should call an ambulance, but that would cost $1000, the nurse told us. Well, thank you very much! We decided to wait for the next morning and to drove to the hospital in Perth in the "coolness" of the morning (hahaha...).
The next morning, I still had fever of course. So off to the hospital. There I was first pumped up with medicine and checked out. After I was transferred for the fourth time, I was hospitalized overnight. First tropical diseases like dengue and malaria had to be ruled out before I was allowed to leave again. But of course, I was not allowed to go to the ward until I had paid the limp 1237$ (about 730€) by credit card. Well, hopefully I will get this back via the international health insurance…
So, I spent the night in the hospital and Kai on a camping site nearby. Unfortunately, all our food supplies were in the fridge in Lancelin and we had already paid for four more nights there. But maybe I would have to stay only one night in the hospital... It was very strange to be separated for the first time after almost one and a half years. And then to be apart like that!
The next day malaria was fortunately ruled out, but Dengue was still open. I also had a virus. Which one was not clear yet. I was at least allowed to go for a little walk, but had to wear a mouthguard. So, I walked with mouthguard, hospital bracelet and cannula through a shopping mall. it is interesting to see how people walking by reacted to it. Either they stare at you openly or they look away immediately. Also, in the hospital all the nurses and doctors suddenly wore mouthguards and even plastic coats when they came into my room. This would be for my own protection, as one does not know which virus I have. How reassuring... Kai on the other hand went in and out every day in board shorts - of course without protective clothing... And then influenza broke out on the ward. Great! But at least no Corona...
I was in a private ward (due to the virus), but the treatment was not appropriate. Apparently, I flew out of the system daily, so I was constantly forgotten at breakfast and lunch. At least I wasn't really hungry anyway, but Kai always had to wait very long for my or his food... Although after this "appetizer" he still allowed himself a pizza at Domino's before he went back to the sauna and mosquito party at the campground.
Every day I was given hope to finally be able to leave the hospital. And every day our hopes were destroyed. Every day Kai came to the hospital and we zapped through the TV program together. So, we spent Valentine's Day romantically together in the hospital.
Then it was finally clear: bacteria were to blame for my misery! I only had to take antibiotics and as soon as the fever would go down, I could finally leave! I was already as good as dismissed, when the physician came again into the room and communicated to us that now also the last test for Dengue virus was back: Unfortunately, positively. Shocked we listened to the doctor. As soon as my fever would go down, my platelet count would drop. That would be the critical stage. I would have to stay in the hospital until my body had regained platelets. If my platelet count dropped too low, I would have to be fed some.
Now we have been travelling through Latin America and the largest dengue areas for over a year, we were eaten by mosquitoes and nothing happened. Then we fly to Indonesia for not even two weeks, spray ourselves with insect spray because of the five mosquitoes a day and it still gets me. Unbelievable! Now I should pay more attention when I visit dengue areas, because a second infection can cause complications.
It came just as the doctor had predicted: my fever went down and the platelet count dropped. But I was lucky and my body produced new ones quite quickly. After a week and a few kilos lighter, I finally got out of the hospital! At least I didn't have to worry about whether I still fit into my bike pants...
Since I was only released in the evening (we had to wait for the doctor all day long, but nobody came, finally a nurse just pressed the discharge papers into my hand) we spent one night in Perth on "Kai's" camping site and drove back to Lancelin the next day.
Fortunately, there was no wind for kitesurfing anyway, otherwise I would have gone crazy. So, I was able to rest and relax at the pool in the shade and in the bus. Kai got lucky, went surfing and I accompanied him to the spot, as long as the sun didn't burn so mercilessly from the sky. A not very small and not very trustworthy drawn snake was the main attraction on the campground one afternoon (see photo). Afterwards we preferred to close all doors of our bus...
Since Kai had scrapped the surfboard, we drove back south, to Fremantle. It had been raining for a couple of days now and even more rain was predicted for the next days. So, we made extensive use of the common room on the camping site. In addition, I had to go to the doctor again and have a blood test done. Of course, this test took longer than expected.
After the result of the test was back (everything was ok, rather too many platelets) and it stopped raining, we drove to Fremantle one last time and had some fish & chips. Because the wind forecast didn't look very good, we decided to move to an Airbnb at short notice and prepared the van for the sale. We found an affordable accommodation just outside of Perth and with a heavy heart we moved out of our van after more than three months. We were lucky and had an appointment the very next day for a viewing. Then everything went really fast. The very same day we actually sold our Kimberley! We really didn't expect this. We celebrated the sale in the evening with a bottle of red wine and beer.
The next days we planned our further trip in the USA, booked the flights and did other things that still had to be done. After we couldn't sell the smallest kite of our family for our desired price, we sent it home without further ado. We hope it will arrive and we don't have to release it from customs again (like in Costa Rica)...
On the penultimate day we drove to Perth for the last time and said goodbye to this beautiful city.
After we had packed and repacked everything so far (hm... on the way there everything somehow fit in without any problems?!?), we spent the last day in Australia with the research for a motorcycle insurance for USA and Canada and finished the route planning for the USA. We also enjoyed or rather endured the last hot day in boardshorts. This will be different in the USA...
Since we had to renew our visa for Australia and therefore had to travel outside the country, we went to Lombok, Indonesia for two weeks. We have been there almost nine years ago and we liked it very much. At that time there was no airport and we had to take the ferry from Bali to Lombok (click here for the report). In contrast to Bali the island is still quite original, tourism is increasing, but it is much more relaxed than in Bali.
At night we arrived on the island and the tropical heat hit us immediately in the face. The forty degrees the day before in Australia had been quite pleasant...
The first day we went on an exploration tour on a scooter (50.000 Indonesian Rupiah = 3 EUR per day). Things had changed a lot in the last nine years, but many things had also changed for the better. Now there were some warungs (local restaurants) and small shops. The accommodations were even as cheap as back then. The price was 5-8€ per night including breakfast (banana-chocolate pancakes) and coffee or tea all day long - that's how you can stand it! Also, the traditional food was with 1-2€ still super good and cheap. Gasoline was still available at the roadside in Vodka bottles, we had to drive slalom around cows and one or the other monkey sat at the roadside. Some things fortunately never change.
We headed to Gerupuk on the second day for our first surf. We went with a fishing boat into the bay directly to the surf spot. This time everything was more organized, but unfortunately also more expensive. You have to pay 150.000 Indonesian Rupiah (approx. 10€) per person for the boat including surfboard. Like everywhere else, 5.000 Rupiah (approx. 30 Cent) for parking are added. In contrast to back then, we were only allowed to surf for two hours now. Very sad, especially when the spot is quite full and you have to wait a long time until you get a wave. The first two days we were still lucky, there was relatively little action, the waves were quite big but gentle. But then there more and more surfers showed up. On one day we counted over forty surfers in the water! Record! Unfortunately, there were some plastic bags swimming around you. Really sad what humans do to the world...
Then a regeneration and exploration day was on the agenda. Whereby a regeneration day for Kai is always accompanied by a lot of food. But with these prices you can also order two courses... And we changed the accommodation. We moved up the hill a bit further, but still quite far away from the center of the village. So, we lived more in a small village with cowsheds and many other animals. You had the impression to be part of the village, which was a very nice experience.
The next day we tried another spot: Tanjung Aan. With even smoother waves and cristal clear water, this longboard spot was perfect for us. We borrowed two bigger boards and paddled 10-15 minutes out to the wave. You could also take a boat, but we were too stingy for that. For two days we had the most beautiful, endless waves there. Sometimes we could even ride them together. Only, the longer you could ride a wave, the further you had to paddle back to the line-up... You only had to be careful when falling in: The reef was very close to the water surface, not sharp-edged, but you shouldn't risk a header.
The remaining days we went surfing in Gerupuk and Tanjung Aan and chilling on the beach. We rarely saw rain, even though it was the rainy season. Almost every evening we sat down for "Beer-Time" (Bintang, what else), in front of the sea. Kai smoked the local clove cigarettes very sparingly. Christmas scent at over thirty degrees on the beach. Daily we were joined by local children who sold their chains to be able to finance the school. We talked to them and tried to help with the math homework. But in this attempt, we both failed miserably.
We bought the most expensive sunscreen of our lives, because we couldn't take much in our hand luggage. And still we continued to burn ourselves mercilessly. As the sun was almost merciless in Australia. Luckily, we had a zinc cream from Ecuador with us, so at least we didn't look like lobsters in our faces...
Then the adventure found us again and we had the third puncture on our whole journey. Of course, far away from Kuta at our favourite beach. Luckily a local guy was with us on the way, who wanted to show us a secret surf spot. So, he took us to a "tire shop" and negotiated the local price of 1,5€ for the repair. Of course, we gave a generous tip.
Unfortunately, the time passed much too fast and we went to the airport with a last Nasi Goreng in our stomach. We had packed enough snacks not to die of starvation in the almost four hours of flight time. After the airport control we bought some water, because we had to pay a lot of money for it on the plane. But then all of a sudden a second control was pending and the just bought water bottles were taken from us. Our collars burst. But our receipt from the airport supermarket was ignored and any discussion was nipped in the bud. We would have been in the "Domestic Airport" and would have bought the water there, but now we would be transferred to the "International Airport". Only in the latter there were no shops! So, we had to buy expensive water for the remaining Indonesian Rupees in the plane. What a shame!
After more than a week in the southwest we went back to our favorite kite spot, Australind. In the south, due to the school holidays, there was simply too much going on and also too expensive. Australind was quite well-disposed towards us and so we did not only get a place on "our" campground again, but also had two days of wind. Afterwards, however, a cyclone settled in the northwest and sucked the complete wind literally away. We had experienced this in Mexico already once. All forecasts looked great, but the wind just didn't come or was gone after one very good looking gust. Almost like at home at Lake Constance or Lake Como...
So, we had time to take care of the further travel planning. Our visa for Australia would soon expire and we had to leave the country. We found a cheap flight to Lombok, Indonesia and booked for almost two weeks. Nearly nine years ago we had already been there once and we had enjoyed it very much. It is currently rainy season, but it is also wave season. We hope we will catch some waves.
After our tent had fallen victim to the storm in Southern California at the end of October last year, we slowly had to look for a new home. We didn't want to buy a tent for a lot of money in the last minute. Therefore, we had watched the prices over and over again and finally closed the deal. However, it was not so easy to find a tent what could be sent to the USA. Many of our preferred brands unfortunately dropped out due to the shipping issue. In the end we bought a tent from MSR, because we had already heard good things about it from other travellers. We hope it will be our faithful companion until the end of our journey.
Besides the planning we also had time to talk to our neighbours and to sit together with the other Aussis on the campground. We also had the pleasure to try crayfish / marron. We had already seen them swimming past us in the "Honeymoon Pool". There we had already asked ourselves if you can eat them - you can! And they are very, very tasty! Only my dessert was gone. Someone had actually stolen my chocolate from the fridge! If I catch him or her...
Almost every evening we watched the possums being fed. We still had grapes left over and our neighbours tried cooked carrots instead of peanut butter. At first a bit sceptical, but then driven by hunger, the little animals came climbing down the tree. To our surprise, they left the sweet grapes and went for the cooked carrots. They didn't eat raw carrots, our neighbour had already tried that. They must have been little gourmets...
In front of the caravan of our "Kiwi" friend (New Zealander) a small kangaroo family had gathered and grazed peacefully. Not far from the campground we also got to see a whole herd of these animals. Simply beautiful to look at.
In the second week we had wind every. Sometimes the wind was so strong that we reached our limits with the smallest kite of our family. In addition, the water level in the lagoon was sometimes so low that we had to be really careful. A few times we touched the sandy ground with the short fins, but luckily we didn't hurt ourselves seriously. Then we tried the surfboard while kitesurfing in higher water levels and voilà, it worked! Even better than we thought! But what was that? All of a sudden smoke rose up behind our campground! A bush fire! We were informed that although the fire was at least three kilometers away and the wind was against it, we were still on the alert. But the fire brigade to air had the fire already under control until the evening. As it turned out the fire was even presumably set. There are probably fools all over the world...
After two weeks the farewell was imminent. We had dinner together with our Australian friend, so Kai finally came to his "Barbie" (BBQ) and watched the fireworks on "Australia Day" together. It was not easy for us to leave this great kite spot and the nice people. But with Lombok we now had another nice destination in front of us. Hopefully we will not only sit there in the rain, but also come to surf!
On the way to the airport we made a stopover in Mandurah, which reminded us very much of Venice in Italy. The sun popped mercilessly from the sky and we sweated at over forty degrees until we arrived at the air-conditioned airport. On Lombok it would not be quite as hot, but it would be very tropical.
After six days on the water, it was time for a few days of regeneration. Besides we wanted to see something of the country and Kai had injured himself a little bit during the first jumping attempts. So, we drove further south. We shuttled from one tourist attraction to the next: Busselton Jetty, Meedelup Beach and Cape Naturaliste. At the first one we were not willing to pay the entrance fee to walk along the jetty, but it is also nice to look at from the beach. Meedelup Beach is beautiful with turquoise water and white sand. From Cape Naturaliste we were a little bit disappointed, because you had to pay entrance fee for the lighthouse again and you did not see so much on the way along the cape. Because of the school holidays all campgrounds were full or much too expensive. Therefore, we looked for a place for the night on a parking lot in Dunsborough and experienced the coldest night in Australia: 8 degrees. With our down sleeping bags (stored with our motorcycles in California) this would be no problem, but with thin cheap sleeping bags from the supermarket it is a challenge.
After we defrosted ourselves again the next morning, we went on to the surf spots in the southwest. Yallingup Beach has a great wave, but it breaks over a very shallow reef. Besides, there were heeps of surfers in the water. We just watched and went on to the next spot: Smiths Beach. This wave would have been just right for us, with white sand and crystal-clear water. But here again thirty surfers in the water. That´s why we preferred to take pictures of the dolphins hunting in the bay.
After a short stop at the Injidup Spa (natural pools in the rocks) we drove straight on to Margaret River. There we watched the pros cutting the waves on surf, kite and surfboards. This spot is one of the best known and most notorious on the southwest coast. The wave breaks very close to a reef here as well. That is why we prefer to leave the field or the waves to the experts.
In Margaret River we were lucky and found a campground outside the village which was not fully booked and also the price was ok. Free running sheep and Country-Western concert included.
The next morning we went to visit the stingrays in Hamelin Bay. Again, the beach was packed and we were lucky to get a parking space. But as soon as a stingray showed up, someone shouted: "Stingray!" and within seconds everybody ran into the water to touch the poor animal. No wonder that the stingray quickly was looking for distance...
In Augusta we finally found slipstream and enjoyed the afternoon at the protected lagoon. This kitespot only works with easterly winds, on this day it was blowing from the west. We continued east towards Walpole. For the night we had chosen a free resting place. But it was very deserted and not really inviting. We drove on to the next one. There we were welcomed by a group of "backpackers" who played boules as a drinking game. We drove on again. Meanwhile it was getting dusky and we hoped that our bull bar would not be used. From time to time kangaroos jump in front of cars, similar to deer. We were lucky and only saw them grazing peacefully on the meadows. On the third parking lot there was a group of "backpackers" again, but it was getting dark and we didn't want to drive on. Thanks to earropax and beer we didn't hear anything of the drinking binge during the night.
In Walpole we had breakfast at an idyllic lagoon and for the first time in months we had a croissant, even if it was very expensive. We hiked through the "Valley of the Giant" and admired the large and especially wide trees. At the Greenpool and the Elephant Rocks we pushed ourselves with all the other tourists from one viewpoint to the next and barely escaped a parking ticket. We got the last place on the ecocamping at Parry Beach and drove the next day to Ocean Beach. We were looking forward to this spot. I still knew it from my student days. An absolute dream spot. But unfortunately, many others saw it the same way. Not only the beach was full of people but also the water. And of course, nobody followed the right-of-way rules here either. Ten surfers on one wave. Almost like in Mexico. Great! The campground was pretty expensive with 40$ (about 24€). But the grazing kangaroos were included. Before we mutated completely to "kettle surfers" (surfers with big bellies), from now on we only had salad in the evening and the lunchtime bread consumption was drastically reduced.
Three days we gave the surf spot a chance. I only went surfing when the waves were so bad that hardly anyone went surfing. I just didn't want to kill anybody. But on the third day the waves were so bad that we went to Albany and saw "the Gap". There we met again the masses of tourists we were already used to. It was choppy from the southwest, so we headed for Nanarup Beach, a surf spot that is oriented to the east. Unfortunately, there was too much wind here as well. We went on to Little Beach, which was recommended to us several times. We were not disappointed. The sand is so fine and white that it squeaks under our feet! Then a whole school of dolphins came into the bay, we were just happy.
We checked the wind forecast for the next few days and decided to head north again to "our" kitespot: Australind. Before we left, we got hold of a smoked salmon for 2$ (otherwise it costs at least 10$) and enjoyed this rare delicacy for the first time in over a year! On the way to Australind we stopped at the Honeymoon Pool and camped directly at the river.
Hopefully Australind will not disappoint us concerning wind!
The van was packed up to the roof with food, beer and water (in Lancelin there is only a small and above all expensive supermarket) we drove to Lancelin. On the way there we went through the bush fire area. For days it had burned extensively in North of Perth. You could still smell the fire. It was impossible to imagine how many animals had fallen victim to this fire. The week before we had seen kangaroos and koalas in the immediate vicinity!
In Lancelin we were welcomed not only by the wind but also by the dolphins. Four dolphins swam in the bay, through the turquoise water, very close to the shore. After a short lunch we went directly on the water. The wind picked up so much, we had to take our smallest kite.
We were lucky and were able to kite every day, except on Christmas Day. On some days the dolphins were close enough to touch from the board, an indescribable feeling. In addition, there were not many kiters on the campground, so we were often almost alone on the water although it was holiday season.
Despite 30 degrees and sunshine, this year there was indeed some Christmas atmosphere on our campground. The second year Christmas in boardshorts and flip flops! With our light chain and little Christmas trees we made ourselves comfortable. Everywhere on the campground you could hear Christmas music and we got food from the "Barbie" (BBQ), wine and small presents from the neighbors. That's what you call hospitality! We were very happy and enjoyed our Christmas dinner.
On the last day the dolphins came into the bay again and a sea lion said goodbye to us. We had seen him on the very first day in Lancelin. This time he accompanied two stand up paddlers for quite a while and splashed curiously around them.
A little bit wistfully we left our little paradise on the second Christmas day. We drove south of Perth to Mandurah to a kitespot. There was no wind and the weather was very unstable so we moved on and spent the night at a resting place. Further on we went to Australind. By chance we had heard about this kitespot. We felt like in Holland at the Ijsselmeer or at a Fjord in Denmark. Only here the temperatures and the water are much, much warmer. The water was even so warm that while taking a break you could just lie down in the huge, shallow bathtub. It was also very pleasant to kite over knee-deep water. The chances were not very high that a shark came too close to you. Although a white shark was supposedly sighted in the deeper waters of the lagoon just a few days before...
The first night, we searched a long time for a place to sleep. But since it was already dark, we saw at least kangaroos grazing peacefully at the roadside. Finally, we parked in front of a primary school and drove back to the kite spot the next morning.
Since the possibilities for wild camping were very limited, we called a nearby campground and got not only a place for the night, but with 20 $ (about 13,5€) also a very good price. On the place we fed possums (pouch mammals). We could set up the tripod directly in front of the feeding place and watch the small animals at their feast. Who could deny a peanut butter bread? A bigger and thicker possum stayed on the roof of the kitchen. Either it had eaten too much peanut butter or the Christmas holidays had left their mark. One possum was even so cheeky and wanted to go straight for the source, the peanut butter jar, and jumped into our storage box without further ado! After we scared it away it took our beer crate (our "trash can") and stole the rest of our apples. The little rascal piled up with it and settled down not far from us smacking his lips.
We went kitesurfing every day, met nice Aussi kiters and also on the camping site we made nice acquaintances. Especially with our neighbours we drank the one or other beer. From them we also got crabs as a present, which they had caught in the lagoon in the morning. We ate these crabs on New Year's Eve and enjoyed a good West Australian white wine. Afterwards we celebrated with three Aussis and one "Kiwi" (New Zealander), whereby the party was ended by the groundskeeper at ten o'clock without further ado.
If our bodies hadn't shown us limits, we would probably have stayed another week and would have been kitesurfing, kitesurfing and again kitesurfing...
As Kai had to fight with a bad cold, we stayed two days at the Sunset Beach Camping in Geraldton. Since there was no wind for the next days anyway, we drove to Tarcoola Beach at the African Reef campground. There you could at least go surfing. Arrived there we were told the horrendous price of 40$ a night. "We are not geared for backpackers here. Older campers come to us. Why don't you drive to the camping site Belair. You're better off there", said the receptionist politely but firmly. Unfortunately, my repartee let me down at this moment and I just stared at the lady speechlessly. We checked the wind again and weighed our alternatives. Finally, we drove to Port Denison to the camping site Dongara Tourist Park. The receptionist was at least very nice on the phone and also the price of 29$ was much better...
In Port Denison, Kai was able to recover and rest, while I threw myself into the small waves with the new surfboard (we had left the other one in Los Angeles for cost reasons). While I was sitting there in the turquoise water, I happened to see in the corner of my eye that a rather large stingray was swimming leisurely past me. I rowed back, so he noticed me and left.
As there was still the early season, the campsite offered a special: four nights for the price of three. Well, of course the Swabian heart was beating faster. Kai wasn't fit yet anyway, so the offer was just too good.
The last evening in Port Denison we went to "Christmas Carols in the Park". Since the Aussis are usually not stingy with Christmas decorations and everything is blinking and colorful, we were a little disappointed here. Just a string of lights decorated the small pavilion of the park. From young to old the whole village had gathered together with tourists and sang Christmas songs together. It was nice to see how Christmas is celebrated in Australia.
We went on to Cervantes. There we wanted to go kiting. But there was nobody on the water and there was too much wind for even our smallest kite. So, we drove on to Lancelin and hoped to get on the water there. We were lucky. For two days we could kite! In the evening we saw dolphins in the bay again. Since we wanted to go to the workshop before Christmas, we made an appointment at short notice. On the way back to Perth we made a stop at Yanchep National Park. There we saw not only koalas but also kangaroos. I had promised Kai that he would see kangaroos in Australia. So far, we had only stumbled over their remains at the roadside. Now we saw 15 of them and even a baby looked curiously out of its mother's bag.
Arrived at the workshop we celebrated with the mechanics and drank beer. Then we prepared everything and removed the driver's seat and everything else. The night in the yard was extremely hot and we were hunting mosquitos half the night. We are a well-rehearsed team there meanwhile.
The next day we started early because 40 degrees were predicted again. In the afternoon we were sweating, but Kimberley was ready to go again. No more noise! Because in Australia the campgrounds usually close between 5 and 6 pm, we were standing in front of closed doors. The campground in Woodman Point was still open, but too expensive for us with 47$. In South Fremantle we were lucky and had to pay "only" 38$. At least we finally got to enjoy a shower!
The next morning there was a big commotion on the campground: Four campervans were broken into! We had already read in the Camper App (Wiki Camps Australia) that there had been thefts and break-ins at all three campsites in the vicinity, but we hadn't thought that this would happen right next to us to such an extent. Kimberley was still unharmed and nothing was missing - we were lucky! But for the next two nights we took tightened security measures, hid everything and secured it as best we could. However, we didn't fall asleep with the best feeling, and we kept jumping up at the slightest noise.
We visited the Fremantle Markets again, enjoyed the evening atmosphere in this magical place and drank our "Sunset Beer" on the beach. Unfortunately, the wind was not enough for kiting, so we hoped for the next days and drove south to Safety Bay. There we got lucky, even though the lagoon was full of other kiters and too much action for us. Soon a routine was established: relaxing in the morning, kiting at noon, looking for a place to sleep in the evening. We found good places for wild camping at small parks or ponds, only the sprinklers robbed us of our sleep. First, we thought it was raining very hard until we realized that this was just the irrigation systems. Fortunately, we skipped an overnight stay at Point Peron, because the next day we heard that a bush fire had broken out here during the night! But now there was a great white shark swimming around in the Safety Bay (there is actually a page with warnings and sightings on the internet, but usually you can also find out from other kiters on site), but there was no wind anyway. Also, our kite pump was broken. Therefore, we had to invest the dollars saved by wild camping directly into a new pump. Luckily, we had a kite school with shop directly at the spot.
Since we wanted to spend Christmas in Lancelin (we had already made a reservation, most campsites were already fully booked) we drove north again. After weeks of blue sky and sunshine, the next day greeted us unusually with big, dark clouds. We had just finished breakfast and stowed everything away when the first drops started to fall on us. For the whole day pouring rain was predicted and we allowed ourselves the luxury of a night on the campground in Fremantle. We could spend the day in the common room, work on the laptop and just relax.
Then we turned our backs on Perth again and drove to Lancelin. After we had been surfing last Christmas, this time we hoped for wind for kitesurfing.
Finally, we could start! After more than two weeks we turned our back on Perth and drove north to Lancelin. There it was really windy and we tried in vain to find slipstream. Unfortunately, our smallest kite was much too big and so we sat frustrated on the beach and watched. The next two days we could go kiting in the morning, but then the wind became much too strong again. We needed a smaller kite! We talked to many kitesurfers and they all advised us to buy a kite in Perth. Further north it would become more and more difficult to get material. We searched online for used kites and drove the next day the 1,5h back to Perth to buy a 7m kite. Directly after we drove back to Lancelin and tried out the kite. It felt very unusual and more like a stunt kite. But we were not used to it yet. The next two days we were happy about the purchase and got more and more used to the new addition to the family.
Everyday Dolphins came into the bay, which was protected by the reef, sea lions passed by once and rabbits hopped over the campground again and again. We met very nice Swiss windsurfers and kitesurfers and got one or the other recommendation concerning kite spots in the northwest.
As the wind forecast kept going up and up, it was clear that it would be too much for even our smallest kite (35 knots), we packed everything up and headed north. Kimberley made her off-road debut in the Pinnacles Desert. She mastered it with flying colours. We continued on to Sandy Cape to a beautiful beach, unfortunately it was storming there too. We used the time and drove on to a parking lot where we could stay overnight for free. At least we were even more sheltered from the wind.
The next day we drove on to Geraldton. We had to stop sightseeing after a short time, it was just too windy. We used the time and drove on to Port Gregory passing a pink lagoon. On this lagoon we actually wanted to kite. Unfortunately, it was already pretty dry, so we were advised against it. The next day we drove further north to Kalbarri. There we visited the spectacular cliffs of Kalbarri National Park, admired the "Mushroom Rocks" and walked through the heat to the "Rainbow Valley". After a short lunchbreak in Kalbarri under a tree full of grey-pink parrots (one of them gave me luck on my shorts, well, we wanted to do laundry anyway...), we went to the campground Murchison River. On the way there we unfortunately heard the familiar sound of the exhaust pipe again - please not again! We tried to distract ourselves the afternoon on the beach, with moderate success. But the sunset was magnificent and the evening mood at the typical Australian "Barbie" (BBQ) was wonderful.
On the campground, under the clotheslines, were the remains of kangaroos. Unfortunately, we did not see the animals in nature. But I had promised Kai kangaroos! The next morning we could at least watch pelicans feeding.
The next day we went on to Kalbarri National Park to the famous Nature Window (see photo). We still had hope the loud noise of the exhaust pipe would go away again. But no, the noise stayed. Lost in thoughts we drove the lonely road back to the highway, when suddenly there was a loud thud and we came to a halt beside the road. Oh my God! What was that? Carefully we got out and saw that it was "only" the tire. This one was completely ripped once! Probably it was too old and the temperatures too hot (it was about 40 degrees). We immediately stopped the next car that came by. Who knew when the next car would pass by again. After all, we were in the middle of nowhere and of course we had no mobile phone reception. The previously completed roadside assistance service didn't help us either. The drivers of the car had a jack and tools with them. Kai was able to change the tire quite quickly. After the first shock was overcome, we slowly drove on the highway and headed south. The usual plan was to go a little bit further north, but now we could forget about that completely.
We spent the night at Coronation Beach. There was still some wind, but it was not really enough for kitesurfing and was extremely gusty. We were also too exhausted from this eventful day. Since wind was forecasted for the next day, we drove to the tire dealer in Geraldton after breakfast. He recommended us to buy two new rear tires, but the front tires were still in a good condition. Well, that didn't matter anymore. We asked him if he knew a garage where we could have a look at our exhaust pipe. Luckily, we could have it done at his place. The mechanic took our Kimberley on the lifting platform and checked everything. Within an hour the exhaust pipe was functional again. Relieved and over $100 lighter, we drove off the yard. But the old familiar sound was still there. Only a lot of beer helped!
Swabians like we are, we chose the cheapest flight. In comparison it was a real bargain (about 460€ per person), but with two stopovers and a total duration of more than 35 hours it was quite exhausting. We also had to take care of the necessary visas ourselves, which was no problem online.
The airplanes of Air New Zealand are not only very well equipped (own screens, many new movies), but the airline also leaves nothing to be desired culinary. We dined with red wine and beer high above the clouds and watched one movie after the other. Kai watched one Korean cooking show after the other. I am still waiting for him to put his theoretical knowledge into practice 😊
With a stopover in Auckland/New Zealand and Sydney/Australia we landed two days later in Perth/Australia, our final destination. A former fellow student (I had spent a semester abroad in Perth in 2011) picked us up and let us stay for the first days. This was an incredible help and we are really grateful to her! Since she lives in the immediate vicinity of my university, I was able to show Kai where I had studied and lived. There is also a shopping mall and even an Aldi just around the corner! There I celebrated a reunion with my favorite dark chocolate and we were happy about the low prices. Kai stocked up on beer (62 cents per can!) and I found a good and cheap red wine (about 2€). Australia is otherwise a rather expensive country.
From L.A. we had already searched online for campervans and looked at two vans on the second day after arrival. We had high hopes for the first dealer, because he had some campervans online that were suitable for us. But on site we were disappointed: There was not one (!) van for sale. They only showed us how a van would normally look like. The chance that they would soon buy and extend a van would be very low. It would be better if we bought a van and then had it converted. For about 1.500€ (without refrigerator!). No thanks! Before that we prefer to build a bed ourselves, like last year with our Caddy (Caddy conversion).
The second van was a disappointment. Much too old and in a dilapidated condition and that for too much money. Frustrated we visited Perth Downtown on the way back and took the train and bus back to the house. The search went on immediately. There has to be an affordable camper for us!
The next two days we had no van to look at, so we spent the two hottest days of the week (over 35 degrees) with sightseeing in Fremantle and on the beach. The public transport in Perth and the surrounding area is very well connected and if you are well informed about specials (yes yes, the Swabians again) you can save money. You can buy a "Day-Rider" ticket (approx. 8€) and ride all day through Perth and surroundings (busses, trains and ferries included). On weekends it gets even better, you can buy a "Family-Day-Rider" ticket with which up to seven people can use all means of transport for the same price (about 8€) the whole day.
The next day we had two viewing appointments. For the first one we had to drive 1,5 hours to the south. Already from the outside the van looked very run down. Inside it was a little better, but the refrigerator did not work. The owner of the van started the engine and it rattled properly and swung back and forth. Moreover, it did not sound really healthy. All of a sudden it went out completely. The owner desperately tried to restart the engine, but the van did not want to be sold. Well, we rather head out now… It was so uncomfortable for the owner that she drove us to the next bus stop. Because on Sundays the buses here only run every hour.
We drove straight through to Perth City and visited the second van that day. We liked it right away and the owners, a young couple from Slovenia, were also very friendly. We almost bought directly. Unfortunately, we mixed up the facts due to the many different advertisements and the van was not from 2008 as we thought but from 1997. Thus, too expensive for the age. But equipped with a switchable four-wheel drive. Now we had to consider whether we wanted to take more money in hand to get a four-wheel drive vehicle. We also had to think about the resale.
The next two days we wrote inquiries and advertised our search in different portals. With moderate success. Slowly we became restless. We didn't want to get on my colleague's nerves forever. We needed to find a van! Therefore, we completed a van sightseeing marathon on the two following days. With almost 40 degrees in the shade! We had the highest hopes for the first van and were bitterly disappointed. The driver's door didn't lock completely and fell apart because someone tried to break in. Oh, how nice! The tailgate did not lock either - no idea why. Probably because of an accident, at least the dent and the bent bumper let assume. And by the way: There was a wasps' nest in the driver's door! Of course, the van was not at all cleaned and there were all kinds of crusts and trash in the bus. The seller didn't even know how to convert the bed into a settee...
We went on to the next appointment. We arrived and immediately got the news that the van had just been sold. Thanks a lot! But there would be another van with a similar design, but for more money, more kilometers and an older vehicle. Seriously? Certainly not. Accordingly frustrated and depressed we went back to the house.
New day, new hope. Only hotter than the day before. We sat in the bus for an hour until we reached our destination. This run-down thing, which stood in the yard, was hopefully not for sale. We entered the hall and we were relieved to see a van in quite good condition. But no. This one was not for sale! It was actually the van that was in the courtyard. Oh my god... This Kia Pregio was falling apart and some parts were saved from total decay only with cable ties. In some places the outer wall was even almost rusted through. But, we had hardly any alternatives and not so much time left. We gave the van a second chance and took a closer look at the interior. But during the test drive everything clattered and we saw that two tires were almost completely worn out, we left. Desperately we wrote again inquiries to sellers regarding viewing appointments (we had written inquiries the night before, but had not received any answers). We stalled for some time in Perth City and bought $1 hamburger at McDonald's. After a short visit in King's Park we went to the last appointment of the day. The other two salesmen did not answer.
Actually, we didn't want a van older than twenty years, but we had to make some compromises. This van was even 25 years old, but it looked quite good for its age.
Since the alternatives didn't look much better and our feeling was right, we decided to buy this older van. However, the negotiations dragged on all day long, but finally we came to an agreement. After we got all the cash (a bank transfer from Germany would have taken too long and the ATMs only spend a certain amount per day) and wanted to pick up the van, the odyssey continued. The cutlery was missing ("Oh, did I forget to rinse"), the fridge did not work, the original exterior mirror was missing etc. etc. We were slowly at the end with our nerves and about to call it all off. But we finally wanted a van and off we went!
The next day we bought a surfboard and were ready to go. Only shopping and equipping the bus. But suddenly a noise at the engine became louder and louder. Well, the van was old. Maybe you just had to get used to certain noises. By chance we drove past a scrap yard to buy a new exterior mirror, when we drove into the yard it was said: "The engine is very loud. We should take a look at it." In the end, we opened Pandora's box, spent three days in the workshop, helped a lot to save costs and drank a lot of beer. After everything was fixed, the next bad news came: The axles had to be measured and the wheels had to be adjusted.
When we were finally out of the workshop and ready to go, we thanked again for the angels who had helped us. Because these mechanics had become our friends in the meantime and if they hadn't helped us so much, we would have lost much more money. For this we are infinitely thankful. The fact that we were allowed to stay with my fellow student for two weeks was much more than we had expected. In a hostel or Airbnb it would have cut down our budget a lot. Moreover, we were able to enjoy very good Pakistani cuisine, and in return we cooked traditional German food.
The adventure Australia could now begin!