Coral Bay, my slant on a week at the Peoples CP

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 20:32

Martyn (WA)

Hi Bloggers and Blog readers,

So this is my slant on a week week at Coral Bay recently, the week of the 5th of August. So a bit of information up front, my wife and I are a little North of 50, no kids at home, grown up and residing close enough to be loved, cared for supported and listened to.

We have a 2001 LR Defender and in tow a TVan. In prep for the trip I've recently done a head gasket replacement as a precautionary measure, together with replacing the radiator and a couple of new o-rings in the fuel heater. Checked all the oil levels and replaced where required. Also changed out the top and bottom radiator hoses again as a precautionary measure.

I only bought the Deefer six months ago so I'm still feeling my way, one of the so I thought good buying points was that the Deefer had been serviced entirely since new by a reputable LR agent. Since doing my own servicing and other investigative things I'm a little bit more wary about dealer servicing.

I always try to put a positive slant on dealer servicing, these people know the vehicles. When you find twine jammed in between the head and the top of the gearbox mounting flange to stop an oil leak you have to ask yourself........... No the previous owner didn't do this he wasn't what I would regard as a car mechanic.

Anyway onto Coral Bay, left the suburb of Byford at 05:30 in the morning, stopped at Gingers on the G.N Hwy for a bit of breakfast and coffee. Then cruised up the North West coastal Hwy stopping roughly every two hours for a walk, fuel, a look at a historical monument, a bakery or anything else that took our fancy.

In hindsight being on holiday and doing a fifteen hour drive day one was a bit silly, next time we'll do an overnighter somewhere, possibly Kalbarri, we also like it there. Got to the Minilya Roadhouse in the dark, fuelled up and left cautiously after being warned by the Roadhouse attendant that there were a lot of cattle on the road between there and Coral Bay. He wasn't wrong. Even with a bull bar on hitting one of these cattle at 80 klms an hour would have left you on the back of a flatbed on your way home.

The Deefer is a solid truck, I still wouldn't like to come into contact with a fully grown bull. There were also lots of roos, goats and sheep around.

Arrived at the people CP around 19:55 hrs, this time is critical, after 20:00 hrs you have to phone the CP owners to come and let you in through the boom gate. The greeting was a bit "Colditz" style, the rules about arriving at that time of night were quite strict, no banging, nailing or excessive noise setting up due to a more aged generation getting its beauty sleep and various other reasons. Reasonable however after a 15 hour drive I wasn't in the mood for a truck load of rules and regs, I wanted to set up and have a coffee.

We were allocated site 76 which for us was perfect, plenty of room to set the TVan up, plenty of room for the Deefer and also some room to set down a mat and table, sort of half grass and half sand, the sand at that time of the night was moist so it didn't take long to transfer a considerable amount of sand onto the rear tail of the TVan and the inside of the Deefer. Oh and the tow ball must face the road (rule 1), being on a corner site this gave us some flexibility.

The amenities were close enough to be convenient, they were clean and well maintained, there was a four second rule for pressing the flush button, it is apparent by some of the things left behind that some people can't count to four. I feel for the cleaners, nobody deserves to face that sort of thing.

The laundry again, clean, tidy, well maintained, however it was busy when were were there, there was plenty of washing lines available. We didn't use the laundry on this occasion, however looked the part, the dish washing facility was outside and was strictly for washing utensils, however one guy obviously missed the sign and was washing his fishing reel in the sink, at least it wasn't the fish.......

Day one, we took a boat tour out over the Coral in a glass bottom boat, if you haven't done this before it is definitely worth going doing. I might suggest the afternoon tour though, with the sun coming up in the morning the pictures I took all have reflections of the hand rail, my wife the other couple in the boat, the tour guide and various other parts of the boat, a pity really the views were awesome..

Day two, decided to do the Whale Watching tour in the afternoon, costs $120/ person with this you get to go beyond the outer reef, a good three hours on the ocean, some very knowledgeable tour guides, a glass of champagne and some nibbles to finish the trip off. All very nice, oh and you get a USB stick with all the pictures taken given to you the day after. Our tour guide took some great pictures and Photoshoped them afterwards to get the best out of them. I managed to get one decent picture .

Day three, trip to Exmouth....... set off nine (ish) steady drive up, got there for morning coffee, drove up to the lighthouse, I was expecting a coffee shop to be there or souvenirs, or something, nothing apart from fantastic views and some very informative plaques. The Lighthouse caravan park was a bit of a find, looked fantastic, well placed and reasonably priced about $40/ per night powered sight, not school hols.
We were going to take a drive down to Yardie Creek and then do the 4WD track back to Coral Bay however time was getting on we hadn't had lunch and weren't really that well prepared. Something to do next time. All bitumen to Yardie Creek.

Day four, was just a relax and chill out day, read books, visit the local shops, go to the resort bar, couple of drinks, bit of beach walking, another visit to the bakery, another coffee and then buy some burn cream, forgot to put the sun block on, not the smartest thing I did on holiday. Hooked up the Engel today to the 240v supply. 60l litre Engel didn't want to suck the auxiliary battery dry.

Day five, it has now become apparent that between 7am and 8am is bleep O'clock, no doubt that will get bleeped out, however it seemed to fit. During this time the ablution block is always busy and you have to queue up for a cubical, before 7am and after 8 am sweet, no problem...... there is only one ablution block and when the CP is full it does get very busy.

Day six, did some more exploring, all local went down to the new jetty to see if the apparently huge Du-gong was around, usually drops around around the 15:30 hour period when the boats come back in waiting for a feed, we didn't see the fish. Decided to BBQ some meat on the BBQ provided, worked well and very clean, this is the one by the entrance gate, the one on the other side of the park wasn't performing as well as it should have done.

While we were cooking our meat we heard a loud bang and a sound of metals coming together, when we spun around an asian couple in a Ford Falcon had tried to come in through the going out gate. The going out gate has these spikes that go down when going out and puncture tyres when trying to come in. Luckily they only burst one tyre. Looking in the boot, you've guessed it, no spare. In steps "Doug the Deckie" a permanent resident in the CP who does what appears to be a lot of good work around the place. Drives a bus during the day and fixes everybody else's issues when he's not sitting in his chair having a bit of a relax. Nice guy, very helpful and knows where to go and what to do. Lives in the old bus opposite bay 76.

The latter part of the day we spent preparing for a handy exit the following day, left around 08:30 and got home around 21:00 hrs. Slow and steady, stopped off and had coffees and bakery stuff and lunch at a roadhouse, can't remember which one now, food was nice though.

Just like to say the Deefer never missed a beat, returned about 11.5 litres/ 100 klms for the entire trip. the TVan was a brilliant as it has always been, one thing to replace is the manual water pump. The seal has gone so this took out the electric pump as well, a bit of a tricky one that one.

Lessons learned for me:

Don't do this drive in one step, take a break, it is a holiday not a mission.

Fit a long range tank, fuel was $1.90 in Coral Bay, you need fuel, could have saved quite a bit of cash taking more fuel up with me.

Study the sun pattern if you want good pictures.

Fit a water tank to the Deefer.

and lastly get to the CP at a reasonable hour and get set up before it is dark. The new work light on the Deefer worked a treat but setting up at 21:00 at night isn't a holiday.

Hope you enjoyed the read.
Keep the shiny side up

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