The One When We Stayed Under Budget!
Month 5 was all about the west coast. We’d left our week of R&R in Broome behind and started the month in Port Hedland. By the end of the month we’d reached Perth, having experienced several trip highlights along the way.
The great thing about the WA coastline is that it’s beautiful, rugged and pretty wild in places (Cape Range, Quobba and Kalbarri, for example). In places it’s dedicated to the mining industry (e.g. Port Hedland and Karratha) and is focused more on functionality than anything else. For us this meant some great value, beautiful, national park and station stays as well as some expensive, anonymous caravan parks. Certainly in the more remote locations there’s less to spend money on so entertainment is more about sunsets, looking out for whales, books and chatting to other travellers. All good for the budget as well as the soul!
On reflection we think this has been our favourite month so far in terms of things we’ve seen and done. But there’s still a lot more to come of course.
Before we get to the numbers, remember that we’re two adults travelling full time in an 8-metre motorhome (affectionately known as Della). We’ve saved long and hard to travel from the UK for this trip, don’t have dogs or kids with us, and we’re not working while we’re on the road. And for those readers who work in £, the exchange rate we’re working on is £1 = $1.80. The average for our Month 1, 2, 3 and 4 figures are in brackets for comparison.
One bonus figure for this month is kilometres cycled to date: 1200 🚴🏼♂️🚴🏼♀️
Budget for Month 5: $4590
Total spend in Month 5: $4170 ($6327) Yay!
Groceries, including toiletries: $1169 ($1098)
Booze: $146 ($155)
Misc: $24 ($245) The high average from previous months is mainly down to buying a GoPro camera. This month’s spend was on three DVDs for $20 (haven’t watched any of them yet!) and renting two DVDs at our CP in Carnarvon – we watched both of those on a chilly evening when we didn’t have TV reception and had overdone the Yahtzee a bit!
Kilometres driven: 4711 (3665)
Fuel: $927 ($692) We averaged 12.22l/100km this month which is up on previous months. Chris is putting this down to headwinds.
Clothes: $0 ($132)
Eating out: $515 ($506)
Attractions: $124 ($907) Most of this month’s spend was on a WA National Parks pass which we’ve had good use out of all the way down the coast.
Medical: $0 ($107)
Transport: $0 ($51)
Phone: $51 ($50). Includes 25GB data.
Van consumables and maintenance: $106 ($232). Includes gas refills, van polish and some nuts and bolts. Wooooo!
Hairdressing: $0 ($6). That’s still only one $25 haircut for Karen since the end of February and it definitely shows!
Laundry: $28 ($27)
Sites: $1081 ($967), average $36 ($33) a night.
1 x free/donation
1 x low-cost (less than $20)
6 x national parks
22 x caravan parks
Most expensive: RAC Caravan Park in Exmouth @ $57
Least expensive: Dales Overflow in Karijini NP (free) and Oakabella Homestead ($18)
Ongoing Yahtzee scores (games): Karen 57, Chris 46
Books read: Karen 4, Chris 6
Kurrajong Campground in Cape Range National Park – We loved everything about this place. Great snorkelling straight from the sandy beach, only 12 sites but all really spacious, super-clean toilets and great camp hosts, all for $11 per person per night. We spent a very happy hour every evening with our fellow travellers, watching whales breaching and the sun setting. You have to book ahead for all the campgrounds in Cape Range but they’re all accessible by 2WD and all give access to the Ningaloo Reef. Unless we find somewhere really spectacular, this is likely to be our favourite place of the whole trip!
Quobba Station – We’ve enjoyed all the stations we’ve stayed at but this one is probably our favourite so far. Stations offer some of the facilities of a caravan park (usually at least toilets and showers, sometimes drinking water / laundry, etc.) without the crowding, and they’re often in a picturesque setting. Quobba Station is down an unsealed track, which we took slowly in Della, but right next to the beach on a stretch of coast where whales are passing, waves are crashing and shells are waiting to be marvelled at.
Dales Campground in Karijini National Park – Another great national park campground with spacious pitches, easy access on foot to Karijini’s most popular gorge and walking track, and clean toilets. The main campground was full when we arrived so were directed to the overflow area for the night (no cost). Our hearts fell at the thought of another overflow experience like we’d had at Uluru, but this was a totally different experience and if there hadn’t been a one night limit, we’d happily have stayed there longer.
Special mentions this month also for Hamelin Outback Station Stay – the best shower Karen’s had since leaving home – and Kulin Caravan Park. Kulin’s a small town in the Wheatbelt area of WA which is doing its best to attract some travellers’ $$$s. The CP asks guests to pay what they think their stay is worth and has 12 clean, modern pitches all with power and water and great amenities. We drove along the Tin Horse Highway to get there, then spent a happy evening having dinner, chatting to the locals and playing darts in the pub. We’d definitely recommend this one if you’re passing.
Favourite things in the last month
Everything about Kurrajong!
The beach at Quobba for walking, whale watching, and watching the sunset with friends and a drink.
The gorges in Karijini NP for swimming – get there early enough and you’ll have a waterfall pool to yourself – and dramatic colours and shapes.
The cliffs and coastline of Kalbarri for their drama.
Wave Rock for its sheer (literally) uniqueness.
The wildflowers all the way down the coast which brightened up some long driving days. We’ve been lucky enough to be here for the best season in a decade (so we’re told) and the further south we drive, the more spectacular they became.
Neither of us can think of anything to write here this month – unless we mention other campers continually walking through our pitch in Kalbarri, but that would be a bit petty. 😉
We’re currently in Peppermint Grove (lovely name, ferocious mosquitoes) just south of Bunbury and we’ll be in the south-west corner until we fly home from Perth for two weeks to catch up with family at the start of October. More when we’re back!