Thursday, August 11, 2011

Great Northern Highway Continued - Days 11 & 12

Kirkalocka Station south of Mount Magnet was our second overnight stop on the Great Northern Highway.  It is approximately the halfway point between the 1200 km distance between Newman and Perth.  We had the shearer's quarters and it was basic; thank goodness for the extra wool blankets and flannel sheets as it was a cold night.  The station has 30 000 hectares of pastoral lands for their numerous grazing goats.  Boys and dirt and animals and farms - of course they thought that this was their favourite place to stay. 
Here's what happened after 50 mm of rain.  Nothing compared to when cyclone rains come and swells the road crossing creeks up to 2 metres deep.

New Norcia -  New Norcia Hotel was a luxury compared to the caravan parks, camp trailers, backpackers,  roadhouses, and sheep station stays that we had on our July holiday.  Hot showers and clean white sheets in a heated room, that also came with a breakfast the next morning was heaven.  The stonework at the entrance titled SALVE, Latin for salvation, was fitting.  New Norcia is a monastic community, all buildings belong to the 70 or so Benedictine monks that live, work, and pray there.  The walkabout in the grounds was peaceful and tranquil.
The abbey grows a lot of olives to produce gourmet oil.  They also sell stone baked bread, abbey ale and other hand made crafts in the gallery.  I looked for a T-shirt that said "I did it missionary style in New Norcia", but of course, there was none. 
All in all, we had a great trip, saw lots, experienced lots and made many wonderful memories. Two great big thank yous go out to:

 1) Caleb and Jackson.....thank you boys for being such troopers with all the driving, "interesting" places to sleep and sightseeing.  We had tons of fun with you!

2) Our 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara - we put you through your paces and you never faltered once...and had good gas mileage to boot!

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