Day 25, the last day…

25

Day in Darwin:

Went shopping in the renowned Parap market, we bought some dresses for the girls and Louise had a great hair ‘plait’. In the afternoon visited the super art and natural museum, The botanic gardens, and in the evening went to the outdoor cinema, and under the stars, with a glass of white wine,  saw the rather sad but beautiful canadian film ‘The Whale’.Day 25, the last day... dscn8421-300x225

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First night not in a campground, but on ‘millionaires’ beach!

Got moved on by the police at 1am!, and had to find another place to park! but returned there at 7am to enjoy the best and exclusive views of the sun rise…

 

25

Jour de Darwin:

Courses sur le  fameux  Parap marché (le marché ,un peu bobo de Darwin), nous avons acheté des robes pour les filles et Louise c’est fait faire une grande «tresse» avec des fils de couleurs. Dans l’après-midi visite du musée d’art et d’histoire naturelle,puis promenade dans le Jardin Botanique, et le soir nous sommes allés au cinéma en plein air ! Sous les étoiles, avec un verre de vin blanc,ou des glaces,( au choix…)on a vu un joli film Canadien, mais  un peu triste’The Whale ».

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Unique nuit, hors terrain de camping, mais sur la plage des “millionnaires!

Réveillés par la police à 1h du matin!, nous avons dû trouver un autre endroit pour se garer, c’était interdit de rester là ou nous étions !! mais retour à 7h du matin pour profiter de la plus belle vue de Darwin, et de son lever de soleil …

Day 24

On the route to Darwin, (to fly back home), we stopped at several hot springs, and waterfalls. Great fun. Louise now jumping from even higher ledges, and trees into the pools below…

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Spotted this snake probably dangerous, just in their path!

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Stayed in Darwin camp ground, and ate fish and chips and thai salads at the famous Darwin Harbor. Darwin was rebuilt since the Japanese flattened the town in WW2.

 

24

Sur la route de Darwin, (pour prendre l’avion et rentrer à la maison), nous nous sommes arrêtés à plusieurs sources chaudes et cascades. Un grand plaisir pour tous, il faisait si chaud!. Louise saute,maintenant de corniches encore plus hautes, et meme d’ arbres dans les bassins dessous …

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Nous avons vu trouvé ce serpent dangereux sur le chemin des vasques!

Arret dans un des terrains de camping de Darwin, balade sur le front de mer, puis diner sur le celebre “harbour “: fish and chips pour les filles et délicieuses salades thaï pour les parents .

Day 23

Litchfield Park

‘Put your money in the box’ ! We arrived at our first camp grounds with no guardian office, nor electricity.

Walked to magnificent cascades.

Day 23 dscn8224-300x225Louise, inspired by Aboriginal kids,  dived  off rocks into hot water plunge pools.

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We saw the highest ‘cathedral’ Termite mounds,

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and relaxed painting with Aboriginal ochre powder/paints.

 

 

 

Litchfield Park

«Mettez votre argent dans la boîte! “

Nous sommes arrivés à notre premier camping, sans gardien, sans électricité.Une simple boite à l’entée, nous signifiant d’y laisser le montant du….du jamais vu pour des Français….

A pied, depuis le camping,nous sommes allés aux cascades magnifiques. Louise, inspirée, sans doute par les enfants autochtones, a plongé depuis des rochers en hauteur dans l’eau…

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Nous avons vu  aussi, les termitières «cathédrale»,

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le soir,apres la baignade, atelier peinture( avec de la peinture d’ocre locale) pour se détendre.

day 22

Nitmiluk National Park

Crocodiles are found here year round, and the area is known for a huge number of birds, including Ospreys, Red tailed Black Cockatoos, Great Bowerbirds, white gaped Honeyeaters,  and endangered Gouldin Finches.

But we went canoeing! On the great gorge river we met a family of Parisians, with 3 daughters. Naturally our girls were over the moon and played all afternoon with them. day 22 dscn8219-300x225

 

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22

Nitmiluk National Park

 

Le parc des crocodiles on en  trouve ici toute l’année, mais nous n’en avons pas vu un! tant mieux!! la région est également connue pour son grand nombre d’oiseaux, des Ospreys, à queue rouge,des Cacatoès noir, Bowerbirds Lacs,les honeyeaters, et en voie de disparition les Pinsons Gouldin.

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Le lendemain, nous sommes allés  faire du canoë! Sur la rivière,longée de Gorges magnifiques, nous avons retrouvé une famille de Parisiens, avec leurs 3 filles, avec qui nos pépettes, avaient deja sympathises au camping! Naturellement, nos filles étaient aux anges, et  ont joué tout l’après-midi avec ces 3 filles de leurs ages et qui parlaient Français!!!

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we started writing again! DAY 21

Day 21   Katherine, in the Northern Territories

We stopped at the famous Hot Springs, which turn into a small creek through the town, bordered by tropical pandanus trees, used for everything from medicines (Relieves arthritis, ear and chest pains, also known as an aphrodisiac) to floor mats, to ingredients for food (whole leaves are used in Indian  biryani dishes, Thai cooking, flavoring chocolate and ice cream too). But for us,  swimming in naturally warm water amongst lush tropical vegetation after the long road trips really feels like a reward!

we started writing again! DAY 21 p9250311-300x225

 

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Katherine, dans les Territoires du Nord

Juste à l’entrée de la ville,nous nous sommes arrêtés aux célèbres Sources d’eaux chaudes , bordées par des arbres tropicaux, surtout des pandanus utilisés comme médicaments (Soulage les douleurs d’arthrite, d’ oreilles et aussi connu comme un aphrodisiaque!!!) ils sont également utilises dans la fabrication de tapis de sol, et d’ ingrédients pour la nourriture (feuilles entières sont utilisées dans les plats biryani indien, la cuisine thaïlandaise, ).

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Pour nous, cette baignade dans une eau naturellement chaude entouré de une végétation tropicale luxuriante, après nos longs voyages était avant tout comme une récompense!

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Day 20

He came to climb, but found no mountains!

Amongst the many people we’ve met, most with interesting stories, today was another. The owner of a rather shabby caravan park (with a nice pool) was a 60 year old Argentinian. His story is this: when he was 20, with a climbing mate they took up an offer (advertised in Argentina) of a trip to Australia all expenses paid. the only condition was if they left before 2 years they would have to pay for their return flight. They came here, and discovered there were no serious mountains to climb! but they got work immediately, got great wages and fell in love with the country. Eventually found a small camp ground on offer in their sleepy, dusty backwater town, made a success of it, and never regretted a moment! His daughter runs the areas clinics and has done well too.

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Another visitor for dinner...

 

20

Parmi les nombreuses personnes que nous avons rencontrées pendant notre périple, la plupart avaient des histoires intéressantes, aujourd’hui,c’était l’histoire,du propriétaire d’un camping assez minable (mais avec une belle piscine!!) un Argentin de 60 ans,qui,quand il avait 20 ans, avec un compagnon d’escalade, ils répondirent à une offre (faites en Argentine) pour un voyage en Australie, tous frais payés à la seule condition que, si ils en repartaient avant 2 ans, ils auraient à payer leur vol de retour. Ils sont donc,venus ici et ont découvert qu’il n’y avait pas de graves montagnes à gravir! mais ont eu immédiatement du travail, des salaires bien plus conséquents qu’en Argentine et petit à petit, sans parler un seul mot d’anglais au départ, ils sont  tombés amoureux de ce pays. Finalement, apres un long séjour à Melbourne, il a  trouvé, cette offre pour petit terrain de camping,dans cette ville endormie et poussiéreuse,loin de tout,et a réussi à lui donner vie!, il n’a jamais regretté un seul instant sa décision, il adore cette région du Kimberley, qu’il habite maintenant depuis 30 ans, a son brevet de pilote et des qu’il peut il s’échappe pour en découvrir d’autres richesses! Sa fille, dirige elle, des cliniques et semble avoir bien réussit aussi.

Day 19

Leaving Broome

Today started with an amazing breakfast on the beach (a nice treat from the usual caravan breakfasts!) to prepare ourselves for another long drive.

But before we left the girls went off starfish hunting.

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Still friends, after all this time!

 

 

19

La journée a commencé par un délicieux petit déjeuner au bord de la plage ,(un vrai plaisir,qui nous changeait des petits déjeuners habituels, dans la caravane!) plaisir , pour nous préparer pour un autre long trajet…. Mais avant de quitter définitivement Broome, nous avons une dernière fois, laissé les filles aller à la chasse aux étoiles de mer….

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Two fighting male peacocks - head to head!

 

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Climbing trees was often a welcome break from all the long drives

 

 

Day 18

Cape Leveque (pronounced:  Lev – eek)

We heard about an even more amazing beach 2 hours north of Broome, so we rented a 4wd and experienced an ‘unsealed’ road… With red dust bellowing up behind us, along a 200 km straight red sandy (corrugated and rutted) road, we eventually arrived at the whitest beach we ever experienced. A handful of people on the 7 mile beach, we were in paradise (again!)

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A long and dusty road...

Pure blue water, fine white sand, no hotels, or any buildings, so protected:   a postcard scene.

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After the red, at last, the blue...

 

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and then the white, wow!

Cape Leveque (Lévèque)

Nous avions  beaucoup entendu parler d’une plage encore plus étonnante,à 2 heures de route au nord de Broome, nous avons, donc décidé de louer un 4X4, car la route était parait t il seulement praticable avec ce type de véhicule et heureusement !!!  une piste !!!  Avec la poussière rouge volant derrière nous, une ligne droite de 200 km de sable rouge, ( de la taule ondulée, parfois large, parfois très étroite) l’impression de faire une étape du Paris-Dakar !!!!, nous finalement atteint cette plage du bout du monde….magnifique, elle valait heureusement vraiment cette traversée , très peu de personnes sur la plage de 7 kms, nous étions au paradis.

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The girls chatting...

L’eau était bleue turquoise, transparente,le sable d’un blanc d’une pureté si fine,et rien autour ! pas d’hôtel, ou de bâtiment, une nature protégée: un  vrai paysage de carte postale!

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Day 17

Day 17

A relaxing day around the pool. We went back to the famous Cable Beach in the afternoon, and discovered it was world Peace Day, the idea being that everyone should dance for peace, and we did this by joining a great Zumba dance class in the sunset.

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Dance for Peace!

After we rushed over to the Broome Theatre to see 60 kids perform a sort of circus theatre. Our girls loved that too!

 

 

Jour 17

Une journée de détente autour de la piscine. Nous sommes retournés à Cable Beach dans l’après-midi, nous avons appris que c’était la Journée de la paix dans monde, l’idée étant que tout le monde doit danser, ou chanter, ce jours là, pour la paix, et nous l’avons fait ! en se joignant à un cours de danse de Zumba,organisé sur la plage pendant le coucher du soleil, pas mal ! !

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Dance for Peace!

Après nous nous sommes précipités au centre ville Broome pour voir 60 enfants ,effectuer une sorte de cirque théâtre.Nous avions vu l’annonce, l’âpres-midi, et les filles voulaient ABSOLUMENT, y aller ! elles ont ont adoré.

Day 16

Broome

Woke up, blinking at the bright sea. Unbeknown to us the night before, we were parked next to the beach!, although we couldn’t swim in the sea as there was a crocodile warning that day. So after a wander on the beach at low tide (seeing turtles, and plenty of starfish) and then in town seeing the worlds oldest outdoor cinema, we changed camping ground for another, on the famous Cable Beach, one of the  longest (22kms) white sand, and best known beaches in Australia. The girls were in heaven, Louise jumping the crashing waves, and Rose took out a body board…

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Bodyboard

 

As we swam, we realised it was a great moment in our trip as finally we had crossed Australia, from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean. About 5000 kms!

 

Jour 16

Broome

on c’est réveillé,en clignant des yeux,éblouie par la clarté de la mer. Sans le savoir, la veille, nous, nous étions garés à côté de la plage!, Malheureusement, nous ne pouvions pas nager, car il y avait eu, un avertissement ” crocodile” ce jour-là. Après une promenade sur la plage, à marée basse , ou nous avons méme vu, une tortue! (sans doute surprise par la vitesse de la marée, elle était échouée sur le sable ), et beaucoup d’étoiles de mer, ensuite , visite de ville, et découverte de la plus ancienne salle de cinéma de plein air du monde (1926 !!),du quartier Chinois, et de l’histoire des pécheurs de perles, principale activité de la ville, encore aujourd’hui, avec le tourisme.Puis, nous avons changé de terrain de camping, pour un plus proche de la fameuse plage de Cable Beach, une des plus longue plage de sable blanc ( 22kms), et la plus connue d’ Australie. Les filles étaient aux anges !, Louise a adoré sauter les vagues , et Rose a  essayé de la suivre avec body board …difficile ….

C’est en y nageant,que nous avons réalisé que c’était un grand moment de notre voyage ,que nous avions finalement traversé l’Australie, de l’océan Pacifique à l’océan Indien!soit, environ 5000 kms!

Day 15

Day 15

Another special trip, this time to the Horizontal Falls, a fast-moving tidal flow through two narrow, closely aligned gorges near Derby.

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The 2 gorges, with water rushing back, as the tide drops

Difficult to explain (so I looked it up on Wikipaedia!): The direction of the flow reverses with each change of tide. As tides in this area can reach 10 metres, a peak tide gives rise to a significant difference in the sea level on either side of each gorge.

We went through the gorges by powerful speed boat in the most exciting ride we ever had, a bit like going through rapids, dropping about 3 metres from one side to the other.

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Racing through the gorges, like going through rapids, with a 3 metre drop!

Two other exciting things that day:

We had to get there by seaplane (no other access possible)

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First time for us all on a sea plane

and when we landed near the gorges, we clambered off the plane onto the small floating platform ‘airport’

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Landing on water, and disembarking onto a 'floating' airport platform

Landing in and taking off from the sea for the first time is an awesome experience.

We swam in huge cages as the guide fed morsels to sharks swimming all around us. Frightening, exhilarating, and unforgettable.

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Swimming in 'safe' cages

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Our skipper took us through mangroves and showed us amazing cliffs and rock features in this pristine area.

 

Whilst flying over the mudflats we saw wonderful designs in the sand.

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Natural designs at low tide

 

We drove west (and into an amazing sunset) to Broome that evening.

 

Jour 15

Une autre expérience, un peu particulière , cette fois à l’horizontale Falls:”une chute horizontale”! un débit extrêmement rapide d’eau,du à l’ évolution des marées à travers deux gorges étroites, près de Derby.

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(The shorter) round trip flight from Derby

 

Difficile à expliquer (je l’ai donc regardé sur Wikipaedia!): Le sens de l’écoulement s’inverse à chaque changement de marée. Comme les marées dans cette région, peuvent atteindre 10 mètres de “haut”, une marée de pointe donne lieu à une différence significative dans le niveau de la mer de chaque côté de chaque gorge, avec un courant incroyable, c’est un phénomène unique au monde …

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Natural designs at low tide

 

Nous avons traversé ces gorges avec un puissant  bateau à moteur dans une course, à couper le souffle ! la plus excitante que nous ayons jamais eu,la sensation doit être la méme que lorsque l’on traverse des rapides, “sautant” d’environ 3 mètres d’un côté à l’autre, de la gorge, large de 20 metres seulement !!!

 

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Looking for lunch...

Deux autres choses passionnantes ce jour-là:

Nous devions y aller en hydravion, aucun autre accès n’étant possible, impressionnant pour chacun de nous , nous avons atterri, sur l’eau également, près des gorges,puis nous avons rejoins une petite plate-forme flottante autour de laquelle, nageaient des requins énormes ! des cages “bassins” étaient installées, dans lesquelles nous sommes descendues pour assister au repas de ces monstres qui étaient nourris, par un jeune guide, qui leur jetait du …..poulet ….. Effrayant, exaltant et inoubliable.Les filles , étaient très très excitées par cette journée, “c’était la meilleure journée maman, et Daddy, on a tout aimé !!!” ouf !!!!

 

Atterrir et décoller depuis la mer pour la première fois est une expérience extraordinaire.

 

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Louise grabs a shark by it's tail! Watched over by a specialist!

Notre skipper nous aussi montrer  les mangroves, ou se cachent les crocodiles … et nous a montré d’impressionnantes falaises rocheuses, caractéristiques de cette zone vierge.

Au retour, en survolant les vasières, nous avons vu de merveilleux dessins dans le sable,faient par les mouvement des marées.

De retour sur la terre ferme,nous avons roulé vers l’ouest ,accompagné d’ un magnifique coucher de soleil, direction Broome.

Day 14

Day 14

Fitzroy to Derby

We discovered a sad story about ‘Blackbirding’ (forcing) natives to work in the pearl industry developed by Chinese business men and explorers in Broome in the 1860′s. That made a change from the previous ‘game’ of chasing the natives simply for a pastime.

Once caught, often they were imprisoned in the ‘Boab Prison Tree’ outside Derby on route to Broome, now a famous beach resort. A tree so big that 20 men were squeezed inside for the night, so the  ‘Blackbirders’ and their horses could rest.

 

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The Boab Prison Tree

Derby itself has a population of 50% native Australians, and is high on the government priority list of towns to ‘improve’. So plenty of social programs are tested and developed there, as well as huge sums set aside for social infrastructure.

Further to a delicious lunch on the jetty we visited the Aboriginie Art Centre, where the curator (who sets up these centers in many towns all over Australia) gave us a tour, explaining all about native religious and cultural beliefs transmitted through art. Louise and Rose were thrilled to get a packet of ‘ochre’ pigments (made from special colored rock) and she explained exactly how to mix them with special sap and how to apply them. The girls couldn’t wait to use them.

Day 12 and 13

Day 12

Kununurra to Halls Creek

Along the road we stop off for a dip in a pool, followed by a bite to eat. Later this afternoon we swam in the pool of the caravan park at Warmun, some post cards, Skype to family and friends to wish them a Shana Tova, (Happy New Year), and our special dinner started with traditional apples and honey, for a lovely and sweet year ahead. Some discussion about ‘our’ New Year before bed time. We felt that this was a great way to start the year!

Spoke to Martin too, who is getting along nicely with newly found friends in Cairns. His ‘new year’ in Australia seems to be going well.

Some odd but regular sights on the highways of Australia: Lollypop ladies, and termite mounds!

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One of thousands of huge termite mounds along the route

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Another nice lollypop man. But lots of road works slowed down the driving.

 

on quitte Kununurra pour Halls Creek

Petit stop à midi à Warmun, pour un ” plouf ” salutaire dans la piscine du camping-station service-bar-poste ….

Arrivée à Warmun, vers 16h, baignade dans la piscine à peine installés dans le camping…un peu de skype, quelque cartes postales et dessins.

Shana tova tout le monde ! pommes et miel, que cette année soit douce et belle pour tous ! pour nous elle n’a pas trop mal commencée …

 

Day 13

Halls Creek – Fitzroy crossing

We went off the beaten track to climb the extraordinary  ’Wall of China’, which is a natural vein of sub-vertical white quartz rising up to 6 metres in some place, and it’s located in the middle of a privately owned cattle station. Millions of years old, sandwiched between sedimentary rock, more recently ‘moved’ or ‘pushed’ vertically as a fault line, and with either side being eroded with southerly wind, and massive annual flooding, exposing a wall of quartz!

 

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Wall of quartz aka 'Wall of China'

 

We passed back through halls Creek to fill up again, and saw a sad scene of natives wandering around again. Difficult for our kids to see, and as they explained their fears we tried to explain, once again, in as fair a way as possible the situation, and ‘phenomenan’  of explorers, industrial ‘powers’, colonies, eduction, as well as the native art, way of living, and fitting in to each others societies.

We saw some huge boulders with kids paintings. They brightened up the route!

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Boulders along the route...

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Boulders, painted by Aboriginie kids, along the route...

Later on the long route we explained ‘km  per hour’ to Rose, and she started to equate distances to speed , and encouraged us to speed up to the next pool, and lunch!

We also saw more fields of termite mounds, and spoke about them eating wood, and wooden beams, treatment of wood for building, and the value of ‘Termite certificates’ (EPC’s) when buying a property!

Lessons of maths, geography, biology, property values all in an hour, and Rose was still asking questions!

That evening we stayed in a very nice  but remote camp ground, with well groomed lawns and a nice pool, and a bar stocked with great beer.

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Refreshing swims are a great way to break up the long journeys...

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Washing off the dust...and boredom, of long drives...

Day 11

El Questo

We found the 6 star! (for M.R.and the skiing boys) El Questo is one of Australia’s top resorts where people can experience the best of the best of the ‘outback’ in a certain style… Well, we took a day out of  usual ‘caravan life’ and were collected by a comfortable (but serious!) 4WD and with our walking boots and swimming things we headed off into real ‘bush’. Part of the route to El Questo is on the legendary Gibb River Road, rocky and prone to flooding:

 

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The famous (4WD) Gibb River Road open during the 'dry' season, but not so for the 'wet'...

 

Our own (morning) guide was Gavin Scott, who took us to a waterfall where we swam in clear (transparent) water pools, and discovered all sorts of interesting things on the hike through Emma Gorge: sticky sap from the Swamp Bloodwood trees is not only an antiseptic, but instant healer of open wounds,

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Swamp Blood Tree

we ate certain berries,saw Crab Eye beans which are highly poisonous, and are used on Aboriginie arrow heads, (and apparently swallowed by natives as a way to induce an abortion, with mixed double-fatal results) saw blue, black and red dragonflies dancing over water lilly flowers,

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Red Dragonfly (can fly between 30 and 60 mph!)

and bees that don’t sting, we discovered the ‘Wooly Butt Tree’ with has a sort of fur bark covering it on the lower trunk, and smooth further up, and plenty more, all explained to the girls with extraordinary passion and clarity. We saw extraordinary ‘contemporary’ nests made by male Bower birds, on the ground, that are ‘precision’ designed and made by the birds, to entice the females…

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Bower Birds nest, with carefully placed stones, as an entrance mat...

 

Nous avons trouvé la 6 ieme étoile ! (Pour le ski MRand garçons) El Questo est l’un des meilleurs hôtels d’Australie,d’ où l’on peut explorer le meilleur du meilleur de l’«outback» dans un certain style … Eh bien, nous avons brisé notre routine de “camping car “nous avons pris un 4x 4, nos chaussures de marche nos maillots de bain,et nous sommes partis en «brousse».

 

 

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Emma Gorge

Notre guide du matin,était Gavin Scott,en le suivant pendant une petite heure de marche, il nous a conduit à une cascade inimaginable, dans laquelle nous avons nagé l’eau était très fraiche, mais si claire et transparente !, nous avons découvert toutes sortes de choses intéressantes pendant cette randonnée à travers Emma Gorge: la sève collante des arbres Bloodwood , de couleur effectivement rouge-sang, n’est pas seulement un antiseptique, mais guéri instantanément les plaies ouvertes, nous avons aussi mangé  certaines baies, qui avaient l’apparence de petits haricots,ou de” yeux de crabe”,  très toxiques, elles sont utilisées sur les pointes de flèches.Les Aborigenes les utilisent aussi parfois, afin de provoquer un avortement, avec un double risque mortel !! nous avons vu des libellules bleues, rouges et noires danser sur les nénuphars, et les abeilles. Nous avons découvert l’Arbre Butt Wooly ‘avec une écorce comme de la fourrure qui recouvre la partie inférieure de son tronc,alors que sa partie supérieure est complètement lisse, cette “fourrure”, le protège du feu !! toutes ces explications, ont été données, aux filles avec  passion,et claireté.,par Gavin, notre jeune et passionnant guide. Nous avons également  vu d’extraordinaires nids ,fait par les oiseaux mâles Bower,posés sur le sol ,ils sont conçus et réalisés avec une précision incroyable par ces oiseaux, dans l’unique but d’ attirer les femelles …

 

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Ranger gavin Scott sharing the secrets of his jungle

Then after a sumptuous ‘jungle’ breakfast (sliced fruits, and cheesecake!) laid out for us in the camp grounds , we went off to Zebedee Hot Spring pools, right in the middle of a palm jungle, and again, alone, we bathed and imagined the garden of Eden! An experience we shall never forget.

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Ensuite,  le petit déjeuner «jungle», sur la terrasse du restaurant du site: somptueux (jus de fruit, fruits, cheese-cake,thé,café ….) entouré de Baobabs, on se serait vraiment cru en Afrique!!

Apres cette “collation”… nous sommes partis pour la rivière Zebedee,et ses piscines thermales.En plein milieu d’une jungle de palmiers,  encore une fois,nous nous retrouvions dans le jardin d’Eden,tel que l’on se l’imagine ! Une expérience que nous n’oublierons jamais!

 

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Real jungle forest

Delicious lunch served by Ophelie, la Brettonne! was followed by a cruise through a gorge with towering rock faces in reddened  sandstone rocks, with wallabies hopping about, and crocodiles lounging on the sandbanks…Another spectacular (but rather rapid) sunset with a huge fruit platter and drinks was served…

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Retour, à la réalité, il nous faut partir, et rejoindre le campement principal, ou un délicieux repas par Ophelie, la Bretonne! ensuite ,une croisière à travers les gorges Chamberlain, aux faces de grès rouges, avec pour mission de découvrir les petits wallabies bien cachés entre les failles de la roche, et les crocodiles qui se prélassent sur les bancs de sable … ou entre les palétuviers.Un autre spectaculaire coucher de soleil,accompagné d’un énorme plateau de fruits et de boissons, nous a été servi , avant que l’on reparte et que l’on retrouve notre camping-car…..P91508821-300x225

 

 

Day 10

Stayed in Kununurra, a small town that has grown rapidly in the last 15 years, due to tourism.

We saw an extraordinary range of mountains (The Bungle Bungles) from the air.

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Brand new Airbus

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The Bungle Bungle mountains, about 350 million years old!

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We also flew over Australias largest dimaond mine, currently the largest producers of fashionable pink and blue hued stones, and although they only have a yield of 5% of diamonds (for what they mine) as opposed to 15%, the yield rate for South African mines, the quantity mined is enormous, due to huge mining equipment and modern extraction techniques,  so  that makes it all worthwhile, I heard the guide say.

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Half a mountain, gone!

Séjour à Kununurra, une petite ville qui a connu une croissance rapide au cours des 15 dernières années, en raison du tourisme.

Nous avons vu une variété extraordinaire de montagne (Les Bungle Bungle) depuis les airs.

Nous avons survolé également la plus grande mine de diamond  Australien.  Actuellement,c’est la plus grande production de pierres de teinte rose et bleu, très à la mode aujourd’hui, et même si le taux de rendement n’est que de 5% du marché du diamant au lieu de 15%, par rapport aux mines sud-africaines , la quantité extraite est si énorme, (en raison de l’équipement minier gigantesque et des techniques d’extraction modernes,  que cette exploitation vaut la peine pour les investisseurs, d’apres ce que nous a dit le guide- pilote…

 

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Extraction moderne? Super! Tres intéressante!

Day 9

Victoria River to Kununurra

We woke up very early, with the sun beginning to light up the banks of the Victoria River to see the sun paint ‘fire’ on the red sandstone cliffs. The girls were reluctant, to say the least,  it was, after all,  6.30 in the morning!

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We drove through forests of Baobab trees, (odd as really they are native trees of Africa).

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Afternoon spent canoeing (Louise helped by Rose, in their own canoe) across a lake. We couldn’t find any crocs though.

Nous nous sommes réveillés très tôt, avec le soleil qui commençait à se lever sur les rives de la rivière Victoria

voir le «feu» du soleil sur les falaises de grès rouge, était comme un tableau . Les filles étaient très réticentes, a notre promenade matinale, il est vrai qu’il était 6h30 du matin!

Nous avons roulé en longeant des baobabs, (étrange de voir là, soudainement ces arbres indigènes de l’Afrique).

Après-midi consacré à faire du canoë (Louise aidée de Rose, dans leur propre canot) sur le lac de Kununurra . Nous n’avons vu de crocos ….mais il parait qu’il y en a plein …

Day 8

Mataranka to Victoria River

After leaving the camping ground at 7am, for the long drive to our next stop, we all voted to go bathing again, not in the same pools (as the previous evening) but 1km up the road to another amazing part of the same river, it was even better: A real river at about 32°, clear, pure and wonderfully refreshing, especially at 7.30am!Day 8 P9120505-300x225

 

Après avoir quitté le camping à 7h du matin, pour la longue route vers notre prochaine étape, nous avons tous voté pour aller se baigner à nouveau, non pas dans les mêmes bassins (comme la veille), mais a un kilomètre de la route dans une autre partie de la même rivière,et c’était encore mieux: une vraie rivière !! à 32 °, claire, pure et merveilleusement rafraîchissante, surtout à 7h30 du matin!

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Day 7

Daly Waters to Mataranka

Paradise found!

Le Paradis retrouvé!

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The hot thermal pool set amongst the palm trees really is heaven on earth. If the Garden of Eden was like this, they should have stayed…

La piscine d’eau chaude thermale située dans une palmeraie est vraiment le paradis sur terre. Si le jardin d’Eden était comme ça,” ils auraient dû rester “…

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Mataranka hot spring pools

We basked in the main pool for hours on end, as the warm current did wonders to our dust filled pores.

Set within the Elsey National Park, the hot spring was considered somewhere special by the local Aborigines, and was ‘rediscovered’ by world war 2 soldiers, whilst trying to defend Darwin from Japanese attacks. The soldiers knew a good thing and dammed up the stream, enabling us non- soldiers to enjoy their ingenuity.

The walk to the pools was through the 15 metre tall palm tree forest, with sunlight streaming through, and on closer inspection, the trees were covered in the worlds largest bats called fruit (or flying) foxes.

Nous nous sommes baignés dans la piscine principale pendant des heures, le courant chaud a fait des merveilles pour nos peaux recouvertes de poussière….

Située dans le Parc National Elsey, la source chaude était considérée, comme quelque chose de spécial par les aborigènes locaux, elle a été «redécouverte» pendant la 2ieme guerre mondiale,par les soldats en poste, qui défendaient Darwin contre les éventuelles attaques japonaises. Les soldats avaient endigué le flux, ce qui nous a permit de jouir de leur ingéniosité !

La promenade pour se rendre aux piscines était à travers une foret de palmiers de 15 mètres de haut, avec la lumière du soleil à travers, et en  regardant de plus près, les arbres étaient couverts des plus grandes chauves-souris au monde appelées fruits,ou renards (volants)

 

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Louise was brave enough to swim at night in these pools…her Dad went with…

Louise a eu le courage de se baigner de nuit dans ces piscines …avec son papa  …ils y sont allés à la lampe frontale et ne voyaient rien …..

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Night swim

The park had wallabies and peacocks wandering around. They all loved our Rose

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Day 6

Day 6

Wauchope to Daly Waters

Long (6 hr) drive north, up the Stuart Highway passing through Aboriginal lands, and some of their villages.

Day 6 P9100241-300x225Rather desperate sight, seeing badly nourished, badly clothed, unshod  listless Aboriginies  seemingly wandering around aimlessly. The local ‘white folk’ are clearly fed up with ‘them’. They are given huge government subsidies, their communities or tribes are paid fortunes in mining rights, since they were given back their lands, and leasing rights in 1972. But they don’t seem to have developed anything even self respect, the white folks say. Whilst the other view might be to look at a different culture, another way of seeing life, it seems to me that they are seen as the underdog, and drink themselves out of their misery.

Of course we only see those that venture into the villages we stop in. There is of course the great Aboriginie art culture, with wonderful ‘dot’ paintings that blend vivid colours on dark canvases, (the pictures are recounting their history) but it seems to my inexperienced eye a market controlled by the white population… Another facet of Aboriginal life is ‘natural living’ and  their  use of homeopathic / natural medicine. But as yet, I haven’t found this area exploited b y them. Ti (or Tee) Tree  extracts used in oils, creams, soaps, balms  etc, for example, is one of the better known natural remedies for many skin complaints  from Australia.

The national paper ‘The Australian’ just published a report showing the huge disparity of subsidies favoring the native population, the Aborigines. The gap is clear, and the working (white) folk we met are, to say the least – astounded, or more likely fed up.

Such is what we found so far, and in a way, it may be  a similar story of white/european  invasion of Africa, America, and anywhere else for that matter.

But we keep hurtling up Stuart Highway at 100 kilometers per hour, surrounded by this great expanse of nothing as far as we can see.

Huge areas of blackend scrubland, as result of ‘controlled’ fires look ominous, reminding us of fires in Provence, or Spain or further away, but intelligently , the Australia Forestry and Land Commission clear the ‘under – bush’ so avoiding a huge spread of fire. in the heat of the summer.

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A controlled forest fire

Finally landed up at the legendary Daly Waters Pub and Caravan Park.

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Daly Waters pub

Named after a governor of Australia by scottish explorer John McDouall Stuart (buried in Kensal Green cemetery, London)  who cut through the north / south route in the 1860′s. (serving the gold diggers) The pub is a travelers favorite, and there are hundreds of cards and foreign bank notes stapled to the walls, as well as bras and knickers all signed and dated !

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Knickers, bras, bank notes and ID cards all stapled to the wall by passing backpackers...

A cold XXXX beer on the terrace, watching the sun setting with crackly country and western belting out of the juke box and dusty road trains filling up at the single pump ,make a fine end of a long journey.

Day 5

Day 5

Barkly to Wauchope (Wack-hope)

Great climbing for the girls at the Devils Marbles, amazing granite rocks

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The Devils Marbles

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followed by a short trip in a three wagon road train:

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The Road Train

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Stopped in small road house, near an aborigine settlement. Heard the sad story of their integration problems, and alcohol abuse…

Found out that all the staff at these homesteads (motorway service stations) are european backpackers, that find the jobs on the internet. They stay out here for 2 or 3 months, saving money, as there’s nothing to spend it on!

Day 4

Day 4

Cloncurry to Barkly (via Coomanweal)

We passed through a small mining town called Mt Isa, and apart from the usual wide avenues and single story homes, the only notable thing was a 24/7 adult supermarket for all those lonesome stockmen!

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The road into mining industry town - Mount Isa

The Barkly homestead is a legendary refueling stop miles from anywhere. The route here was probably the bleakest so far, and the size of the country really is brought home. The vast emptiness wherever one looks is simply awesome. I was racking my brains for uses for this flat land with so much sunshine, huge underground water reservoirs,  other than millions of acres of (seemingly) absolutely nothing.

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A petrol station in the outback !

 

Day 2 and day 3

Day 2 to Croydon Normanton wwas long and uneventful

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The long long road...

 

Day 3

Normanton to Cloncurry

On the road there are signs to cattle stations, where huge herds of cows and bulls are tended by teams of stockmen using horses, motorbikes, quad bikes, helicopters and small planes. It must be a tough life, as well as living hours from anywhere.

Hamburger at Burke and Wills Road House, (Burke and Wills were two famous explorers from 150 years ago) we saw huge road trains transporting cattle to ports for export, or fattening up in the south, or simply abattoirs for McDonalds.

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Road train with cattle

The camping ground we chose for the night was a recent acquisition by a firm that owns 36 camping grounds around Australia. The manager explained their interesting business model with low yields, but  low overheads…

 

 

Crossing Australia/ La grand traverse

Day 1

After collecting our campervan and packing it up with clothes, food and maps, we set off at 11am into the Australian wilderness, although in fact the first road out of town climbed high into the rainforest hills, unique to this part of Australia. Trees of over 1000 years old, swinging vines, lush and green vegetation. We were leaving behind the tropical palms that we were getting used to on our eastern coast.

David started the driving and (only) an hour later into todays  planned 4 hour drive, stopped for the  first coffee at the Nut House.

Here, in a tiny village called  Tongo, is the co operative processing centre of the Australian peanut industry  and we were able to sample some of the 30 varities of prepared peanuts, the more unusual were: pink sugar coated, butterscotch, curry, garlic, and they were toasted, roasted boiled or  grilled.

Interestingly they export 99% of their peanuts to Japan, and 99% of Australian peanut consumption is imported from China or Venezuala. Doesn’t sound very organic to me…

Armelle took over the driving, and we headed west towards Undara, our first overnight stop. On the road we saw loads of enormous Termite mounds.

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Undara

After settling in our first caravan park, we headed off with an experienced Savannah Guide, who took us through the wild country where we saw plenty of kangaroos in family groups, and young ‘Joeys’ courting.

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We enjoyed the sunset from the peak of a rocky crag.

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Preparations pour l’ecole

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So proud of their new uniforms...

Today Louise and Rose got their new uniforms for their new school, starting in October. They had a tour of the school classrooms and facilities and were surprised by the friendly  attitude of the teachers, pupils and even the headmaster, whose office door is always open for the kids. They were told that the’ll be given 2 or 3 class ‘buddies’ to show them round when they arrive.

They were so proud to show their new uniforms, and even suggested this photo for our blog. They can’t wait to start school!

We saw Martin this afternoon for our final farewells and to wish him luck with new friends and studies. Whilst the changes are great for him,  he’s aware that its a great country with plenty of opportunities…

Meanwhile back at the HQ we are refining our plans, and getting the last provisions ready. The food is now packed up, and the caravan will be collected first thing in the morning, we should set off for our 25 day adventure by 11 am latest. We have a 4 hour drive to stop number 1, hopefully to arrive in time for a walking tour of 2 hours then our first dinner. The weather is looking good too, despite the fact it’s winter here.

 

 

 

A new start, a new life!

A new start, a new life! DSCN76961-300x225

Ready to go!

With his bags packed, Martin prepares his departure  to college campus in Cairns. Here he is with a brave smile on his way to a new life.

Australia, here I come!

valise prête, Martin sur son départ pour le campus de Cairns. 
c' est avec un sourire courageux qu'il commence 
son chemin vers une nouvelle vie.

Australie, here I come!

 

 

 

Lesser used tracks/Chemins de traverse

Wednesday the 5th September is the start date of our big trip across this continent. We have rented a 4 wheel drive campervan to enable us to travel on the lesser used roads, or tracks. We have been learning about driving conditions (watching out for kangaroos crossing the main roads is a particular local hazard -especially early in the morning, and in the evening), and not driving after 16h00 when going ‘west’, as the sun is so low, and full on, that one can’t see a thing ahead).

We’re also planning:  petrol consumption, location of petrol stations in the outback, shops for basic foods, daily driving times, places to stay (showers, WCs, swimming pools (or water holes)  etc) emergency equipment (satellite phone, emergency GPS locators, medical kit).

There are also plenty of amazing places not too miss; these have to be inserted in the plans too.

We are so excited about this trip, that many Australians would love to do to.

 

Mercredi 5 Septembre est la date de notre départ pour notre grand voyage à travers ce continent. Nous avons loué un camping-car 4 x4 pour nous permettre de circuler sur les routes les moins utilisées, ou les pistes. Nous avons appris que les conditions de conduite  sont assez particulières….comme :guetter les kangourous qui traversent les routes principales et sont  un danger, surtout  tôt le matin et a la tombée de la nuit , évidement…, de ne pas conduire après 16h00 en allant «vers l’ouest»,car comme le soleil est plus bas, on ne peut pas voir les choses en avance…..

Nous prévoyons aussi notre consommation d’essence, et la localisation des stations d’essence dans l’outback,ainsi que les magasins de produits alimentaires de base,les  lieux de séjour avec si possible:douches, WC, piscine etc l’équipement d’urgence (téléphone satellite, d’urgence localisateurs GPS) et trousse de secours,(on espere bien sur ne pas avoir a s’en servir…..)

 Il y a beaucoup d’endroits étonnants que nous ne voudrions pas manquer; ceux-ci doivent être integrés dans les plans de route aussi…. bref c’est une grande aventure qui commence….

 Nous sommes ravis de faire ce voyage, que de nombreux Australiens eux même aimeraient faire, si si meme eux, parait il….

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OPERATIONS ROOM

 

Birthday and wedding anniversary in one day

David started the day at 6h30 on the beach:

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The sun rises in the east

Then we all went to Daintree sub tropical rainforest, for a jungle zip wire:

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following which we discovered amazing beaches where the ancient rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef:

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Martin Bolt

 

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Reflectins in the pure white sand

 

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You Tarzan, me Rose

 

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Views driving home

 

and our anniversary… after 13 years!

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et voila!

 

The Great Barrier Reef / Barriere de Corail

The Great Barrier Reef / Barriere de Corail Great-Barrir-Reef1-300x269

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system, composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands

We visited Green Island,  45 minutes by boat from Cairns, (which is20 mins from our home in Palm Cove).

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Green Island was formed approximately 6,000 years ago by waves depositing sand, coral and other debris onto its coral foundations

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Moses, up to his old tricks

 

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Louise thinking about life...

 

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Down we go...

 

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Our new home/notre nouvelle maison

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The view from the bedroom

 

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The terrace, with views of our rainforest...

 

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enough 'house', lets see what the girls are doing on the beach...

First walk on the beach

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Discovering the beach

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First view of a tropical rainforest

 

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Discovering the beach, and admiring the views...

 

 

After Hong Kong, AUSTRALIA!

Rose, the bravest!

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First friend!

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Welcome to the tropics, Palm Cove beach, near Cairns, 5 mins from home

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leçon de kung fu….

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le plus grand Bouddha du monde

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stop over in HongKong//escale à HK

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Heathrow aéroport

On the ramp...

Boarding the plane for HK, the first leg…

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Départ de Londres//leaving from London

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off to Hong Kong big kisses !!!

Maia’s delicious Kangaroo Cake

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Thank you Maia and all the Smillies

Packing our bags / Nous faisons nos valises…

Thank you Maia and all the Smillies

The farewell party/La fete des “au revoirs”

We had a party with a few friends to say goodbye.
Nous avons fait une fete avec des amis pour leur dire au revoir.The farewell party/La fete des

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Les préparations avant le départ

Nous préparons nos valises,nous rangeons la maison pour les Australiens, Maggie, Damien et Louis.

Preparations are starting, packing bags and preparing the house for the Australians, Maggie, Damien and Louis.




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