The trip you have when you can’t do your trip – part 2

As per the classic Cold Chisel song, we’re “back in Bow River” barring this being our first visit, but here we are at Waalitchup Farmhouse in Bow Bridge, approx. midway between Denmark and Walpole.

A working beef and aquaculture farm, we think the owners have refitted the original farmhouse and now offer it as a lovely, remote and tranquil Airbnb location.  With the fantastic weather we’d experienced in Albany coming to an abrupt end, the drizzle set in and the temperature dropped as we arrived.  Luckily there’s a slow combustion fireplace in the living area, and with plenty of wood supplied, we’d soon settled in with a glass of wine in front of the fire.

The farmhouse
Enjoying the serenity from the balcony
Now enjoying a lamington and cup of tea on the huge day bed
Lunch? Why the hell not.
A Swallow trying to stay warm on a chilly day
Some of the flowering trees on the farm
A largish, say 50mm wide spider living in the lounge room, under the fireplace. He comes out when the fire is too hot and just hangs near the wood until it’s cool enough to return to his hole. This is a 60’odd sequence of photos, focus stacked together.

The schizophrenic weather pulled a doozy on us on the Monday, with relatively clear patches of blue sky and sunshine drifting through so we used the opportunity to do a bit of exploring in the Mount Frankland National Park, doing a bit of peacock spider hunting.  Alas, no spiders were sighted, but Jules did enjoy herself hunting frogs, freaking them into a croaking frenzy when she replayed their recorded song back at them.  Dropping into the ghost town that is Walpole on a dreary Monday afternoon, we frequented the only open café to grab a toasty and some supplies from the IGA, before once again retiring to the fireplace (and wine).

Our master plan this evening, however, was rudely interrupted by an unscheduled power outage that left us cooking our roast lamb and veg in the outdoor BBQ and playing Boggle and Bananagrams by camping lantern.  Luckily, the roast turned out delicious, if not a little crispy on the underside of the vege’s that’d sat above the BBQ elements, but otherwise scrumptious.  

Me winning (again) at Boggle by camplight whilst we waited for the power to be restored

Tuesday was a sleep in and do nothing day.  Late to rise, we started the fire as first priority and then proceeded to lounge around reading books, talking shit, playing games, whilst watching the “sometimes” torrential rain and hail fronts pass through.  It’s amazing to think that the Stirling Ranges copped a light dusting of snow today, when only a week ago we were there in bright sunshine and relatively warmish weather climbing Mt Trio.  We then got adulty by popping a bottle of champas’ and enjoying a cheese platter for lunch.  With tonight’s master class in cooking a three mushroom fettuccine with creamy sauce dish we’d magic’d up – yum.

Because I (Tony) can’t sit down for more than 30 mins without getting antsy, we did a bit more exploring on Wednesday, albeit via the main roads after my planned ‘back route’ was stopped short by a long and deep flood across the track we were following.  Unfortunately, the view from Mt Frankland summit was reduced due to the cloud and bands of rain, however, it’s a lovely spot and would have beautiful views in clear weather.  We then visited the Fernbrook Falls which were HEAVING.  The heavily tannin stained water of Deep River was frothing like a Mentos in a bottle of Coke.  You certainly wouldn’t want to go swimming, or fall in, as it’d be the last swim you’d ever have.

Our first attempt to get to Mt Frankland, stymied by a very flooded road. Whilst the water didn’t seem to be flowing very much, it looked pretty deep and was a very long way across, no way were we going to attempt it.
The view our from Mount Frankland
Some of the bush along the walking trail on Mount Frankland
Some of the bush along the walking trail on Mount Frankland
Deep River at Fernbrook Falls
Deep River at Fernbrook Falls
Deep River at Fernbrook Falls
The lovely drive through tall timber at Mount Frankland
The lovely drive through tall timber at Mount Frankland

Thursday, our last day down south and we decided to do another cruisy day, hanging out on the farm.  With some early sunshine I decided to go hunting Peacock Spiders down near the Frankland State Forest.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find any Peacock variety, but I did find an Orchid and 6 or so of the following, very tiny, 2 to 3mm long, black jumping spiders with bright yellow faces!  I’ve posted my spider pics to a Facebook spider ID group and no ID provided yet, though one mate has suggested they’re a known, but scientifically undescribed and unnamed species.  Pretty cool to know there’s still stuff out there to be discovered.

A little wasp or native bee I practised my focus stacking on prior to finding my little spiders (below)
Some tiny, probably 15mm tall, fungi. Again, another focus stacked shot
A solitary Jug Orchid
A solitary Jug Orchid
What I think is a bush Weavil
My first spider sighting of the morning, but not a Jumping Spider
My first sighting of the tiny, as yet still unidentified and possibly unknown/unnamed Jumping Spider. He was tiny, 2 to 3mm long at most.
The conspicuous yellow moustache of my little spider
The rather plain looking carapace, legs and abdomen of my spider
Playing peek a boo. By this time my back was caning having to essentially lay flat but reach forward into the leaves with my macro lens
A cute pose
The white circles in his eyes are reflection from my macro lights
Another tiny but spiky native wildflower
Another little jumping spider I saw
Yet, another little jumping spider I saw

And that’s a wrap! Not the trip we’d planned, or wanted really, but nonetheless we had a great time down south. We’ve been keeping an eye on the escalating COVID situation and maybe we were lucky not to have continued with our original trip as I certainly wouldn’t want to be paying a couple of grand to hotel quarantine somewhere during the trip.. We’re keeping an eye on BJ and Rod as they now make their way across the top of Aussie, somewhere in the NT as I type this post. Hopefully, their trip remains uneventful and safe.

We’ve heard from our insurance again and Goldy (our van) is with the repairers so we just need to wait for it come back, shiny and new looking again!

Till next time – hasta la vista from the Budgies!

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