30th National Corvette Convention, Perth W.A.

Kev Tresidder

March 30th - April 2nd 2018

Having decided to turn this into a 4 week vacation, we left Newcastle on Saturday 17th March for an easy 430 km run down the Hume Highway to Yass for our first overnight stay.

Day 2 and we left Yass around 7:00am for the drive to Mildura, around 730 km, travelling across the bumpy (for a Corvette) Hay plain where it was blowing a gale, with dust reducing visibility to less than 500 metres at times. The black car didn’t look good after that.

Day 3 (Monday) and we left Mildura around 7:30am for Port Augusta, arriving there around 1:00pm local time (30 minutes behind east coast).

Day 4 and the trip is starting to become interesting …. Heading for the Nullarbor Roadhouse which is new territory for us, never having driven further west than Ceduna in the past.

About an hour west of Pt. Augusta we drove into light rain for about half an hour. The car was really looking good now !

I had planned to top up the tank in Ceduna, expecting fuel to be expensive across the Nullarbor (and I was right) and as we cruised through Ceduna I spotted a Highway Patrol car following us through town ……. all the way into the service station in fact. He was running my plate as he pulled up at the pump beside me, no problem with that. He got out and began refuelling his car and we struck up a conversation (as you do).

Plod “Where are you headed?”

Me “To Perth for a Corvette show”

Plod “You’ll  have to give it a good clean first”

Me “Yes, I will.” “How long will it take from here to Nullarbor Roadhouse ?……at the speed limit of course. That’s where we’re stopping tonight”

Plod “About 4 hours” (smiling.)

 We did it in 3 hours neat…. grinning !    Fuel (98) cost $1.94 / litre                                        

 The roadhouse just popped up out of nowhere on our right hand side, a large area for trucks to park up, camping area, cabins and the upmarket “West Wing” motel units where we opted to stay. The bar was good, the meals great, comfortable bed and the shower time unlimited, unlike the rest of the accommodation where you had to pay $1.00 for a shower.

Day 5 and Balladonia was our next planned overnight stop (around 710 km away). Surprisingly there had been very little roadkill so far and very little live animals sighted, just a few emus, only 1 or 2 roos, no wombats or camels even though the signs warned of them.

Crossing the S.A / W.A. border at Bordertown ( where else) we were thoroughly searched for food, honey etc. and even sandwiches. Leaving Bordertown it was a short run to Eucla where the Eyre Highway drops down the escarpment onto a coastal plain for quite a long way, running parallel with the escarpment until climbing back up onto the plain at Madura Pass. As we crossed into Western Australia we went into another time zone, 45 minutes behind South Australia. I didn’t know this zone existed. Before reaching Balladonia we went into the regular W.A. time zone which at that time was 3 hours behind the east coast. We arrived in Balladonia ( another roadhouse similar to Nullarbor) at 2:00pm local time.

This place has only BP fuel …. BP Ultimate (98) cost 2.04 / litre. We had motel style accommodation again here (although there are camping facilities, caravan sites, and cabins).

Day 6 was a very short run to Kalgoorlie (450 km) and we ran into some heavy rain just before reaching Norseman. We arrived in Kalgoorlie around lunch time with the temperature sitting around 38C.

Day 7 (Friday) saw us arrive in Perth around 2:00pm and check in to a Hotel / Motel for 5 nights to visit family and friends, start cleaning up the car as well as giving it a service using a 4 post hoist ….. (many thanks for your help, Greg.)

We checked in to The Tradewinds Hotel, Fremantle, the base for the Convention, on the Wednesday before Easter, catching up with some friends from S.A. who had also arrived early. Corvettes continued to trickle in over the next couple of days, gradually taking over and filling the secure parking area allocated to us for the weekend.

Good Friday and it was car wash and detailing time, becoming a social event in itself, until lunch time when Registration commenced.

At around 6:30pm the casual meet and greet barbeque began and everyone appeared to have a good time with lots of good natured fun and laughter.

Saturday and we were up early getting the Vettes ready for the Show and Shine which was being held in the Supreme Court Gardens in Perth.

This venue would be without doubt the best one I have been to anywhere. Lots of spacing between the cars (74 on show I think) and lots of people wandering around all day.

Unfortunately I missed the opportunity to have our car take part in a photo shoot after the Show and Shine of one of every generation Corvette from C 1 to C 7 ……. All black but I had to be back to represent CDUCC at the President’s meeting. (Can’t help bad luck).

Saturday night we had a Dinner Cruise on the Swan River with a buffet meal and drinks supplied. (Many thanks to Rod and Lorraine for your help with transport)

Sunday  morning we had an 8:30am departure for the road cruise, stopping at Mandoon Winery for morning tea before heading to Masonmill Gardens in the Perth Hills for lunch.

Having cocked up reading the route instructions when leaving Mandoon Winery about 7 or 8 Vettes took a different route to the lunch venue, but the day was saved by Kevin and Dawn who know their way around the area.

After lunch we made our way back to The Tradewinds to get ready for the Gala Dinner.

Pre dinner drinks commenced at 6:30pm in the Plympton Room at the hotel with everyone seated by 7:00pm when festivities began. Seating was set out by table number and name which was a great idea with people from different clubs all mixed together, our table consisted of members from NSW, WA, Qld and SA. A good way to meet more people.

Auction finished, food served, trophies awarded and alcohol consumed …. A good night.

Oh, and did I mention I managed to pick up two trophies, one for best C5 modified and the other for longest distance driven ?

 

Monday morning and we (about 20 Vettes and several rental cars) set out on a four day Post Convention Cruise down to the south west corner of WA, which had been brilliantly organised by Andy Weatherburn.

We drove down to Albany for a two night stay at the Dog Rock motel, allowing time to explore the National Anzac Centre and  the Whaling Station where we had lunch.

Late afternoon saw many of us gather in the motel carpark behind the reception area, all sitting on milk crates, enjoying nibblies, wine and beer.

Day 3 and we were up early for an 8:30am departure, heading to Pemberton. There was a tricky roundabout not far from our departure point where, if you missed the correct exit, you were headed back to Perth.

We stopped at the tourist information centre in Denmark to wait for the cars that had gone astray at the roundabout. Leaving Denmark we drove to the Valley of The Giants where we did the treetop walk which takes you up amongst the trees, up to 40 metres above the ground and then it was on to Walpole for lunch.

It just happened that there was roadworks happening in Walpole and some of us missed the turn into the Visitors Centre so a quick U turn was needed to get back. The traffic controllers were really good, helping everyone to park safely.

After  lunch we drove to Pemberton where a visit to the Gloucester Tree is a “must”. This tree has a lookout platform at the top for fire spotting but access is by a series of steel rods driven into the tree to form a ladder, spiralling around the tree as it goes up.

From there we made our way to the Karri Forest Motel, our overnight stop. This is the only motel we have stayed in where, if you do not wash up your crockery and put it away, you get charged $25 !

Dinner that night was at Pemberton Pub, transport supplied by CoWA (mini bus both ways).

Day 4 and we were heading to Margaret River, stopping at Aravina Estate Winery for lunch before making our way to Quality Inn for our last overnight stop.

Day 5, Friday (final day) and departure time was scheduled for 8:30am but there were two breakdowns which required tilt trays to get the cars back to Perth so we delayed our departure until they were loaded up and then we set off for our lunch venue, a well known bakery in Brunswick Junction.

After lunch we all split up, going our separate ways towards home, or in our case, back to Fremantle for the weekend to spend time with family before making the drive back across Australia to the east coast.

Monday morning we left Fremantle around 6:30am, headed for Kalgoorlie, the first stop on the way home, arriving there around 1:30pm, following the water pipeline and rail line all the way from Perth.

Tuesday, left Kalgoorlie at 7:00am heading to Caiguna for our next stop. Fortunately I topped up the tank in Norseman and also Eucla (near the WA border) because when we pulled in to Caiguna (a BP Roadhouse) fuel cost me $2.08 / litre, so BP Ultimate cleans out your fuel system with two tanks and your wallet with just one !

Wednesday, left Caiguna at 7:30am on a road that was wet from overnight rain, arriving at Nullarbor Roadhouse by 2:30pm having stopped in at all of the “photo spots” along the Great Australian Bight, the only Corvette amongst motorhomes and caravans, (all driven by old people)

Thursday morning we left the roadhouse at 7:00am in cloudy conditions and within 5 minutes of leaving I spotted what I thought was roadkill in the distance. I started slowing and as we  got closer I thought it was a fox standing on the road, not roadkill at all. Got closer still and it moved off the road but it turned out to be a dingo, with it’s mate standing off the edge of the road just watching us go by.

The sky cleared well before we arrived in Port Augusta (2:00pm) for our next overnight stay.

Friday morning we left by 7:00am headed for Mildura. Just before we cleared Port Augusta we drove past a police car which had a motorist pulled up…… everyone jumping on the brakes because of the new law where you have to slow to 40km/h passing anything with flashing lights …. Ambulance, fire, police etc.

Clearing the town we managed to get caught in the middle of an army convoy and it was difficult to get past them due to oncoming traffic. I kept a sharp eye on my mirrors and sure enough, the cops worked their way through the traffic and sat behind me for quite a long way before they went past. When they overtook a vehicle, so did I, until they finally turned off the highway and left me in peace.

The rest of the day was uneventful until we stopped for lunch somewhere in the sticks. As we were about to leave we were told that a truck had run into the back of a linemarking truck just east of where we were and we would have to detour. That added about half an hour to our travel time.

We caught up with some friends I had not seen for around 14 years, had a great night talking about old times in Broken Hill.

Saturday was a short run to Wagga Wagga so we didn’t leave until about 8:00am and got in around 2:00pm. It rained not long after we arrived, making the car look pretty ordinary with the dust that was already on it …. Not heavy enough to wash it off, just brown spotted all over.

Sunday we left 6:45 am and had an easy run home to Newcastle, arriving just after lunch.

In summary, this was by far the best Convention we have attended, with the bar really being raised with the Post Convention Road Trip.

Congratulations to everyone from CoWA who were involved in the organisation and running of 2018 Convention !

Summary of costs.

Entry                          $ 500

Accommodation  $  6,400

Fuel                         $ 1,357

Incidentals               $ 500

Total                       $ 8,757

 Distance driven     10,030 kmFuel used                810 litres