Elizabeth has a classmate, Zac, whose family manages a cattle (2000), sheep (6000) and goat (10000) property between Carnarvon and Shark Bay. Their homestead is only 2 km off the main highway so we made arrangements to call in and ended up staying a few nights. The family are from Rainbow Beach near Gympie and are also travelling for three years, but working as they go and they’ve spent much of that time in WA.
The girls had a great time playing with Zac (11) and Courtney (13). They have a pool and huge backyard backing onto the Wooramel River so had a campfire and toasted marshmallows one night. Zac and Courtney were caring for a baby joey and goat, so E & K loved feeding and holding them, Kate seemed to always have the joey with her.
|Scratch, the joey|
|Penguin, the baby goat|
While there, Zac and Elizabeth also did an on-air lesson. It was interesting to see how Zac and Courtney go about their school work. They currently have a governess, but normally their mum, Kirsty is their home tutor. On the days we were there, they pretty much worked a full school day so I can see how it was impossible for us to do the full school load and sightsee at the same time. I spent a lot of time talking school with Kirsty, and it was great to learn first-hand how a different family manage the workload and the new curriculum.
|Zac and Elizabeth during an on-air lesson with Mount Isa School of the Air|
Both Zac and Courtney can drive, muster with motorbikes and use guns. All the kids went off in one of the station cars with Courtney (13) driving. E & K thought it was very exciting to sit in the back of a car with no backseat and with another kid doing the driving! Elizabeth wanted to ride a motorbike and at first we were reluctant to let her but relented in the end. She approached the task sensibly and was whizzing around in no time. Kate on the other hand, had to settle for a pillion ride, which after her disappointment at being told no to the motorbike, was ecstatic.
All of Elizabeth and Kate’s school of the air classmates live on stations so it was a great opportunity to see one in operation. Larry was to go out for a day to help with some windmill repairs and was disappointed when it had to be cancelled at the last minute. It’d be great to be able to stay on a property long enough to get a handle on how everything operates. I’m sure it could be arranged through the school, even we just went on a volunteer basis for a couple of weeks/months next year. Will have to think on it……
|Taken beside the sheep truck|
After saying our goodbyes after three days, we drove to an area called Gladstone Lookout. We had planned just to stop briefly to check out the view. You could see for kilometres in every direction. The lookout has been nicknamed RIP lookout as it’s become an area for tributes to deceased friends and relatives, with many leaving garden gnomes and messages. It’s the sort of thing you can imagine will grow over time so it’d be interesting to stop here again in 10 years. We decided to stay the night and although it was a large area, there was only us and one other camper there overnight, another sign the tourist season is slowing down. We had to watch the sunset from the window of the caravan though as it was so windy outside.
|RIP lookout (Gladstone Lookout)|
|The view, looking toward the ocean!|