Mandurah and Christmas, 2015, WA

27th November to 31st December

After a relatively quick drive up the freeway we arrived at Chateau De Burton, AKA as my aunty Robyn and uncle Max’s gorgeous house just north of Mandurah. We quickly set up and spent the rest of the day catching up with Rob and Max. Over the next couple of days we continued catching up with family we hadn’t seen for at least 5 years.

However after a few laid back days it was time to get sorted and unpack, unload, sort, bin and send to salvos all the stuff we haven’t been using and carting around. We started by unloading the car, we think it grew about 4 inches without the extra weight on board and breathed a sigh of relief. Nik had a few jobs and bits and pieces he needed to do with the new van now that we are based somewhere for a while, so he kept himself busy gathering contact numbers, locating willing tradies, welding and generally enjoying tinkering with the new van.

The spectacular Chateau de Burton.


Christmas spider.


20151201_160104-01 (1)
Getting into the Christmas spirit.


Bec and Zoe santas
Guess who?


fireworks at xmas parade
Fireworks after the Mandurah Christmas parade.


The Griswalds are here!!! The van all lit up at night.


The Christmas tree by night.

Not long after we arrived in Mandurah Zoe was lucky enough to recieve her grade 6 graduation certificate, it was finally official, she wasn’t a primary school kid anymore!!! To keep ourselves active we also decided to join a local surf lifesaving club, after some quick research by our friend in the know, Kerry, we chose to join Secret Harbour Surf Lifesaving Club. It was only 15km away from ‘home’ and it gave the girls a chance to meet some new friends and for Bec to requal for her Surf Rescue Certificate and notch up some hours patroling for the club.

zoes graduation
Zoe has offficially graduated from primary school, woohoo!!!


Bec patroling at secrets
Bec patrolling at Secret Harbour Surf Lifesaving Club.

However after a week or 2 we needed to get into the Christmas spirit and get organised for the big day, so we spent a lot of time exploring and discovering the abundance of shopping centres available around the Mandurah/ Rockingham area, the choices were numerous!!! Finally after getting ourselves sorted with van stuff and Christmas we set about going out to be tourists!!

First stop, Fremantle Prison, what an amazing place full of historical stories both humorous and horrible!! We chose to do the ‘Doin Time’ tour and the ‘Great Escapes’ tour and certainly enjoyed ourselves. We learnt about how the prison was built and used for the convicts and later on the ‘modern day prisoners’. Where and how the infamous Irishman John Boyle O’Reilly, came to be a resident at the prison and how he made quite a successful name for himself in the US after he had escaped from the jail and sailed to the US on a whaling ship. We also saw the whipping post and gallows, listening to the somewhat gruesome and terrible history being told by our wonderful tour guide and story teller, John about how the last man was hanged in 1964 and the blood curdling techniques used by the guards during the whipping or lashings to the prisoners. We learnt and laughed about the infamous ‘Moondyne Joe’ and his escapades and John also told us about the famous 1988 riot and the damage it did to the structure of the prison, whilst no one knows to this day still what the rioters actually wanted or tried to achieve………

We also learnt about the very nasty husband and wife resident serial killer that were undone by the courage of a young 17 year old who was able to escape and alert the police to their atrocities, god knows how she recovered after what she endured. John, our guide, was very aware of the kids present and was very discrete and mindful of the more horrid stories he partially told. All up we had a great day, the kids really enjoyed themselves too, we also contemplated doing the tunnel tour and night tour but the minimum age was 12 so that ruled out half of our mob, much to Bec’s dissappointment. Our tours finished anout 1:30 and we were starving so naturally we headed off to Little Creatures Brewery just down the road for a bite to eat and a beer of course!!

The Fremantle Prison and our guide John.


The exercise yard at the prison.


Theres no getting out of here unscathed….


Fremantle Prison from the ground floor.


Looking up the 4 stories of the main building.


The early cells that were single width.


In the later years the small single cells had the wall knocked down to make a larger twin share cell. Think I’d prefer the single myself……..


No description needed.


On a happier note we went to Little Creatures Brewery.


The creatures kombi.


Little Creatures Brewery.

Whilst in Mandurah we also had our second magazine article published in 4WD Action, it was very exciting and the kids loved seeing themselves in a magazine, we also have a special mention and thank you to our dear travelling soul mates the Leeds who once again starred in the many photos in the article and shared such a wonderful time in the East Macs in Central Australia with us. We were also lucky enough to have dinner and a catch up with a dear friend from home, Keiran, poor guy probably couldn’t get a word in with the 6 of us constantly chatting and asking him questions. Whilst I also spent some time with my inspiring sister inlaw, brother and their precious boys and finally managed to pin down my best mate for a long overdue coffee, even if it was 11:00 at night!!!!!!

Yay for us, featuring in 4WD Action magazine.


I was lucky enough to catch up with my best mate Elissa and have a much overdue coffee and chat about nothing in particular, even after nearly 12 months apart……


with Keiran
Dinner with Keiran at the Windsor, South Perth.

And before we knew it was Christmas eve, Nanny had arrived from Melbourne and we were lucky enough to spend a wonderful Christmas Day with Mum, her sisters and brother and all of their kids and grandkids. It was a great hectic day and of course the girls got spoilt by Santa Claus. The celebrations continued on for the week that Mum was here as we also celebrated the New Year and reflected on the wonderful adventure that was our 2015.

Opening our presents on Christmas morning.


Present opening time for all the little ones!!


blurry hny
Happy New Year!!!

So after a busy December sorting and celebrating with family we have decided to stay put for the time being, to recharge our batteries and most importantly our bank balance as we have discovered that money does simply not grow on trees, no matter how hard and how high we have looked. However our hearts still have that yearning feeling to get back out on the road again, we have come so far and have seen so much, BUT we have so much more to see and do and we can’t wait to share it with our 4 precious daughters and also to all our family, friends and followers on OZLAP. So stay tuned as we bunker down and begin to prepare ourselves for the next exciting instalment and adventures on our OZLAP………


van mods surfboards
Caravan mod number 1, new surfboard carrier on the front of the van.


van mods toolbox side
Caravan mod number 2, new toolbox.


van mod bbq slide in
The weber now has a new permanent home, instead of living in the van when we travel.


van mods slide out bbq
And out she slides ready to be used, awesome design Nik!!


And so I leave you with our current and up to date map of our travels for 2015…….. we have done so much but also so little. This country that we call home is a large, vast, remote and beautiful land that just may take us a lot longer to discover, explore and enjoy.


7 thoughts on “Mandurah and Christmas, 2015, WA

  1. Doing a great job Amy all looks pretty kool. Look forward to your next report but knowing you wont be here makes it a bit hard for us we will miss you all so much. Xx

  2. I’m looking at your map…..this odyssey is going to take closer to 5 years than 2! Keep the posts coming, I am greatly enjoying reading of your adventures. You all look so well and happy…jealous!

    1. Ah yes Eric, that is our dilemma……tough one to have, I know. We are quite prepared to stop for 3 month work stops and then travel for 3 months….. its a tough slog 😉

  3. I have a message for you Amy and Nik, We got our chimney swept by Peter Sundstrom yesterday. First thing he said when he walked in the door is “How’s the bloke over the road going with the trip?” So we brought him up to date. He was very interested to hear how it was going, and sends his regards and best wishes.

    1. Haha, thats wonderful Eric. Peter is a top bloke and a great brickie and chimney sweep as well. We always had great chats with him about our plans!!! And well done on getting your chimney swept, its a great fire preventative 😉

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