Perth Zoo

Today we went to Perth Zoo for a Birthday party! Spencer’s friend Chelsie from kindy invited us along to celebrate her birthday at probably one of the coolest places you could be!

We packed a picnic and headed off. There was live music, bouncy castle, face painting, fairy floss and popcorn, and of course, all the awesome animals and attractions at the zoo.

Jet Tent Bunker

Yesterday the courier arrived with some boxes. Aah yes, the Jet Tent Bunker

I ordered two, one for Quentin down the road. We reckon these will be ideal for some blokes fishing and over-nighter’s out and about.

I wasted no time unboxing the bunker and setting it up. Talk about EASY, wow. No parts to go missing, just unzip the bag, pull it out, flip it open, raise up the two integrated poles, throw the fly on top and clip it down, done. Easily can be done in less than thirty seconds.

I’ll write more about it after I’ve had it out in the wild!

Here’s a few photos:

Dwellingup Camp Scout

Sunday gone, we went scouting around Dwellingup for some good camp grounds. Wifey was in Bali, so I buckled the kids in the FJ and took off with the the neighbours (Quentin and Janine in their challenger).

We started out on the popular Captain Fawcett Commemorative Trail, which I’ve written about before on here, soon deviating off in to some other areas. There is so much to explore here!


Download the track waypoints gpx or kml (google earth)

I tracked the whole trip with GPS KIT and marked some good camp spots, also taking some photos along the way. We stopped for lunch on the riverside and the kids had a great time getting completely drenched playing in the river rapids.

We crossed the river then headed back north up along the other side of the Murray River. We explored even more side tracks and potential camp sites, then stopped at Yarragil for a snack and stretch.

some fun with some ruts and climbs

It was a fun day, the only casualty was one of the side-steps on the FJ, I was taking some very tight turns around some trees and managed to knock a tree stump with the drivers side step, it’s well bent!

Down South in WA

little beach

A few weeks ago we packed up the FJ and headed down to Mount Barker to stay at my Uncle Lindsay’s place and day-trip down to Albany and Denmark.

Lindsay’s property is approx 8 acres of mostly bush, a stone throw from the town centre. It really is a lovely spot and quite a great place to use as our base-camp for the long weekend.

On Saturday we headed out in the FJ to check out some beaches and trails. We drove down to Albany and further east to Two Peoples Bay where we parked up and had a look at Little Beach. On the way back we also had a bit of a run down on Nanarup Beach where we setup our beach-camp for a little while, had a swim and relax. It was very nice, the water down there is cold but stunning. A local fisherman walked past our camp with about 40kg of freshly caught Oz Salmon over his shoulder in a beach towel, nice catch!

We drove in to town and had a look around, checking out the old gardens, marine area and the visitors centre. We grabbed some lunch then ventured over toward Frenchmans Bay where we found “The Gap”, “Natures Bridge” and the salmon holes. Spectacular! We also drove through the Albany Wind Farm on all the gravel roads and trails, right to the end. Further past is beach access to Muttonbird, but we decided to head back as it was starting to get late and the kids needed a feed.

Heading back to Uncle Lindsay’s for the evening we were treated to wood-fired pizzas in his absolutely killer outdoor entertaining area. I swear, his alfresco is bigger than his house and very well appointed with huge hand-made timber bar, TV, fridges, pizza oven and more.

Sunday morning we jumped back in the FJ and headed to Denmark. First stop, coffee in town. There’s a new place open down there (new to me anyway) called Ravens Coffee Roasters. Really great flat white, and Melissa bought a bag for me to take home. Some Ethiopia Michiti. It was tasty!

On to Boat Harbour, a nice little spot on the coast which is mostly rocky. I bumped in to fellow FJ owner and FJCC member Scottie who was having a fish there with his missus. After letting the mutt run around for a bit, we took off down some trails and found a nice little ‘secret’ beach. The entry was very over grown and quite a descent to get to. Drove all the way to the other end and turned around, only to get the FJ bogged! For the first time, I’d managed to bog the FJ, the sand was nothing like what I’m used to back here on my local beaches where I run 25PSI without dramas. It was my opportunity to finally use the maxtrax on the FJ which, until now, were only roof ornaments. After three maxtrax recoveries I decided to let some air out, I went down to 15psi and it was super easy. Honestly, I probably could have skipped the maxtrax had I just aired down to begin with! oh well it was fun!

Next was “Greens Pool” and “Elephant Rocks”, a VERY VERY busy and popular tourist spot in Denmark showcasing some absolutely stunning turquoise water that is protected from the ocean waves. It was really busy with cars actually spilling out of the large carpark. The ice-cream truck man was just killing it.

We headed back towards Denmark but stopped at the Chocolate Factory and a number of wineries. Several children at the Chocolate Factory thought that Cooper was the cutest dog ever, poor little guy was a bit overwhelmed with the hordes of kids trying to pat and hug him. We headed to a mates, aunties winery, Rickety Gate Wines. It was a very well setup place and was super busy with people dining and wine tasting. Impressive. From there we visited some other wineries and I thought I’d be smart and take some shortcuts through some bushes… it ended up taking longer as we drove through over-grown fire-break trails and all kinds of other areas, oops! I also lost the top off my UHF antenna which managed to unscrew itself! lesson learned!

We dropped past Ravens Coffee Roasters one more time before heading back to Mount Barker where we had prawns and salad for dinner, thanks Lindsay!

That night we spoke to Lindsay and Elaine about how we’ve been quite restricted with our touring because of Cooper. You just can’t take dogs in to National Parks and Reserves. They offered to mind him so we could go check some more stuff out on Monday.

We went straight for Whale World in Discovery Bay (frenchmans bay) in Albany, and I’m glad we did. This place is just bursting with amazing history and cool things to see and do. It’s really quite well setup and very well maintained and preserved. Many a lesson was learned here. We went past “The Gap” and “Natures Bridge” one more time before heading back, this time, the kids had a look too, they were impressed!

We made our way back to Lindsay’s in Mount Barker, picked up Cooper, packed the car, and took off back home.

What a great long weekend. Mount Barker is 30 minutes from Albany and 45 minutes from Denmark, it served as an excellent ‘base’, and Uncle Lindsay said we were welcome any time we liked, even if we wanted to bring mates down with us. Cool!

Check out the photos: link to flickr gallery

Check out a little vid clip/trailer I put together:

Penguin Island

We went to Penguin Island!

I haven’t been here since I was a kid. The kids loved the ferry ride over and of course the penguins. We spent some time watching the penguins in the discovery centre, looking for them in the wild, watching the feeding, walking around the island and also having a swim.

This guy having a nap

It was a fun day and the conditions were great. Looking forward to heading back there again, maybe for a fish next time too!

Roof rack configuration

So I’d love to get a better roof rack, flat, large space, better for storing items, especially now that we are travelling with the fridge AND the dog in the back (in a cage). But, for now, we need to make do. This means working out ways to store things with what we have.

A while back I ordered some mounts from Fourtreks in the USA. I’ve changed the roof configuration a few times. Here are a few photos of the maxtrax mount I made utilising the Fourtreks clamps, some right-angle alu, and the genuine Maxtrax mounting pins. It’s solid. The photos also show the Fourtreks dual-tool mount with quick fists which I’ve recently removed because we are now running another shade awning on the back of the FJ.

view of the dual-tool config. great for shovel and axe:

closer view of the maxtrax mount. Note the quick-fists underneath for shovel or fishing rods:

Having the maxtrax mounted this way allows me to store more items on the already-limited space of the OEM FJ rack. I can still fit my large cargo bag or cases, etc.

The rubber quick-fist mounts are awesome. About $5 each and just brilliant for all kinds of items. Poles, fishing rods, shovel/axe, etc. Since removing the dual-tool mounts off the back to fit the extra awning, I’m now using the existing quick-fists just ‘pipe-clamped’ to the OEM rack bars for holding more rods, etc.

One day I’ll swap the entire thing for a full-length rack. Certainly starting to need the extra space!

FJCC Feb 2014 meet Brunswick Junction

On Sunday we headed south to Brunswick Junction where we met up with the FJCC crew for an explore around the “bobs hill” area, then back over near Wellington Dam to check out some of the tougher parts of the Lennard Track.

It was a great turn out with around 15 FJ’s. Mostly trails with some fire-breaks, hill climbs, a small creek crossing, lots of ruts and some great scenery.

waypoints Download the track waypoints gpx or kml (google earth)


Harvey Fire Break Hill Climbs

Harvey, Western Australia, it’s 140km south of Perth between Pinjarra and Bunbury, just east from the coast. Well known these days for dairy, it’s also home to a number of Dams, lakes, and some awesome trails that will have you white-knuckling the wheel.

We set off on Monday (public holiday) in a convoy of five and tackled some of the fire break and powerline trails. Mostly tame, but some very hairy sections which would have been rated extreme if it was winter time for sure. Huge ruts, deep bog holes, and very steep sections!

waypoints Download the track waypoints gpx or kmz (google earth)


Preston Beach Fishing

Last Saturday evening, myself and seven of the neighbours jumped in three 4wd’s and headed south to Preston beach to chuck a line in. The weather was lovely.

We arrived at Preston, “aired down” and drove south approx 3km’s to set up and get our fish on.

We fished for a few hours and caught maybe 20 fish. Tailor and Whiting. Only about six keepers however. Lots of fun was had and it was just nice hanging out with the lads from the street (we’re all good mates).