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Across the Nullarbor and back – October 2015 – Part 2

Part 2 – Coming home

Getting back

Monday, 26 Oct 2015: Fremantle to Augusta (~400 km)

2015-10-26 Monday - Fremantle to Augusta

We left Fremantle around 8am, down the Kwinana Freeway to Bunbury. It was cloudy but dry. Bunbury was surprisingly attractive around the bay and beach where dolphins swim in season (not now).

From there is was on to Busselton with its 1.8 km long jetty (very touristy). At the visitor information centre, Bruce bought a T-shirt and we enquired about whale watching. We bought tickets for a tour running out of Port Geographe (10 minutes back east) which started at 1pm. We ordered hamburgers nearby and went to Woolies to buy groceries. By the time we had returned to pick up the burgers, it was 12.30 and time to find Port Geographe and the Kerra Lyn. We ate the burgers on the boat as we headed out into Geographe Bay.

By now the weather was perfect: mild, very sunny, and very little breeze. Bottle-nose dolphins joined the bow of the boat for a while as we made our way out to water deep enough for hump-back whales (20-30 km deep). The whales were heading south after calving around the Kimberly.

We found a mother and calf; the calf had quite a lot of white which indicated it had probably been born that season. One of them breached as we approached, but after that they periodically surfaced without coming right out of the water again. We had tea/coffe and biscuits on the boat as we followed the whales around. On our way back, we came across another mother and calf, so the boat stayed out longer to watch them. We had thought it would be a two-hour tour, but we stayed out well over three hours.

Back in the car, we continued on through Dunsborough, stopped at a lookout at Yallingup, and then drove south along Caves Road. We went into Prevelly thinking there might be accommodation, but didn’t stop. There were great views, however. Back on Caves Road in the dusk, we went through Karri forest and big grass trees, finally arriving in Augusta around 7.

At the Augusta Hotel, we took an excellent family room with windows facing the inlet for the Blackwood River. The room had semi-separate bedrooms divided by a very large wardrobe, and a good kitchenette. If it had a balcony facing the inlet, it would have been perfect.

 Tuesday, 27 Oct 2015: Augusta to Ravensthorpe (~700 km)

 2015-10-27 Tuesday - Augusta to Ravensthorpe

Up early to have breakfast on the Augusta Hotel’s grassy embankment and watch the sun rise over the estuary. It started out a brilliant day, and at around 7.30 we drove south to the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse – “where two oceans meet”. This is still a working lighthouse, and was not yet open. We explored the area and climbed down to the Indian ocean side, before driving back to the dirt road leading into the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park. We followed the dirt road for a while, but realised it was taking us away from the coast and back to Augusta. We back-tracked to the turnoff to Skippy Rock on the Indian Ocean coast. In backtracking, we found the view back to the lighthouse was spectacular. After spending quite a while exploring around Skippy Rock, we returned to the main road and headed back north.

Passing through Augusta again, we drove to Pemberton through more karri trees and large grass trees, plus deer and cattle. At Pemberton, we stopped at the Millhouse Tearooms for morning tea, before continuing on through Denmark to Albany. The weather had turned very grey and showery, and Albany felt very large after all our travels through small towns. We had panini for lunch at Kate’s Place in Albany before driving along the Albany coast for some very misty sight-seeing.

After Albany, it was a long drive to Ravensthorpe. The cattle gave way to wheat, and it was decidedly cool and grey, with more light rain. We had hoped to get to Esperance, but that was still 190 km away. So we settled for a very ordinary, small twin motel room at the Ravensthorpe Palace Hotel. The food was OK – Moroccan soup for me, which was very tasty, and lamb chops for Bruce.

Wednesday, 28 Oct 2015: Ravensthorpe to Madura (~1,000 km)

 2015-10-28 Wednesday - Ravensthorpe to Madura

Ravensthorpe may be very nice, but it wasn’t our favourite place – rain overnight, a mosquito in the room, and waking very early to rain, lightning, and thunder. We left around 6.15 am and it rained all the way to Esperance, with vivid lightning. Esperance had had a total power blackout because its power station had been hit by lightning.

However, by the time we arrive in Esperance around 8.30, power was back and the rain had eased to showers. We had breakfast of very nice toasties and coffee at a Vietnamese bread shop before setting off on the Great Ocean Drive. This is a very scenic 40 km tour of Esperance’s fabulous beaches, lookouts, and off-shore islands to the east of town, looping back via the Pink Lake (which wasn’t even remotely pink).

After Esperance, we continued north to Norseman, and then turned east. The weather started out with some sunshine, but the bulk of the trip was in cloud with some rain and storms visible in the distance. There were quite a few eagles by the roadside on the way. We stopped in a lay-by for lunch of sandwiches bought at the Esperance bread shop.

We had hoped to be at Eucla today, but we stopped at the Madura Roadhouse. Madura Pass is very scenic, and the roadhouse had probably tried to take advantage of that, but it was now very run down. The room was OK, but the woman was very brusque. We planned a very early start, so we just ate sandwiches and rolls in our room.

Thursday, 29 Oct 2015: Madura to Fowlers Bay (~560 km)

 2015-10-29 Thursday - Madura to Fowlers Bay

As we wanted to have time to explore Fowlers Bay, we had a very early start today … up at 4.15 Perth time, 5 am local time. There were a few kangaroos by the road, and more of the strange, brown speckled birds with long necks and legs that look like wading birds (but can’t be, because there’s no water!). The weather was clear when we started, but cloudy most of the way. We were following a rain squall that was also moving east; fortunately, it stayed ahead of us and we had no rain.

We stopped at Eucla for fuel and breakfast, and regretted we had not stayed there the previous night. The accommodation looked much more pleasant than Madura, with a pool that could actually be used, and gardens with ponds.  We also stopped at Nullarbor and Nundroo, and arrived at Fowlers Bay around 2.30.

The excellent cabin at Fowlers Bay had two bedrooms, full kitchen, and lounge/dining, with the huge sand dunes just behind. There were no views, but the jetty was only 50m away.

There’s not a lot at Fowlers Bay, but Eyre set up base camp here in preparation for his overland trek to Albany in 1841.

Fowlers Bay Today
Fowlers Bay is situated in the unincorporated area of the State. (Only 15% of South Australia is under Local Government, the western extremity of which is the western reaches of the District Council of Ceduna extending approx 40 kms west of Ceduna.) There is no reticulated power or water to Fowlers Bay and as a consequence each property in the township generates it’s own power (diesel/wind/solar) and either relies on catching rain water or accesses water trapped in the adjoining sandhills by digging shallow soaks and pumping the water to the town. A local TV scheme has been established through the efforts of landholders, the Coorabie & Districts Progress Association and the Outback Areas Community Development Trust.  A satellite dish and rebroadcasting equipment has been set up at the Fowlers Bay Hall, and is powered from a private diesel generated supply, augmented by a wind generator. Three channels are received via UHF – Imparja, Central 7 and the ABC.
After a period of more than twenty years as a ghost town, Fowlers by is enjoying a resurgence in popularity both as an overnight and a recreational destination.

We walked to the sites of the pub (no longer there) and old telegraph office, and then climbed the extensive sand dunes which gave great views over the area. We had some sunshine by now; it was a bit windy and coolish, but not too bad at all.

At around 3pm we ordered fish and chips from the only store (the caravan park kiosk) and walked along the jetty while they were cooking. The lovely girl at the kiosk was watching for us and brought the fish and chips out to us when we returned! We went back to the cabin for a short rest and to eat the very excellent fish and chips.

We then drove out to the ruins of the old Yalata homestead. This was fascinating and we spent a couple of hours exploring. It was getting dark when we left there just after 7. We started down the road into the Fowlers Bay Conservation Park to see if we could get to the other side of the peninsula, but the road was very corrugated and we turned back.

In town, we again walked down the jetty and chatted to some of the people fishing. They were mostly after squid. Back in our cabin, we ate sandwiches we had purchased at Nundroo.

Friday, 30 Oct 2015: Fowlers Bay to Port Augusta (~1,000 km with side trips)

2015-10-30 Friday - Fowlers Bay to Port Augusta

We had a big storm overnight that woke us up with fluoro lights flashing and a smoke alarm going off. We overslept and got away much later than planned. But at least the storm had passed.

At Ceduna we drove out to the old OTC radio telescope (there used to be two), now run by the University of Tasmania. Back in Ceduna, we had lunch of roast beef and gravy rolls plus salad at the fancy new Ceduna Foreshore Hotel. We sat outside, overlooking the jetty. Ceduna is very pleasant indeed on a sunny day.

After Ceduna we drove on to Kimba (“half-way across Australia”). We had a bit of trouble locating the Eyre and Wylie sculptures we were keen to see. We eventually found them a bit out of town at Whites Knob Scenic Lookout – they were worth the drive. We skipped seeing the Big Galah at Kimba, but did stop briefly for a photo of the ‘half-way across Australia’ sign. The wheat fields and Viterra silos had returned.

Then it was on to Iron Knob and the impressive mine workings. However, the town itself is now very run down and only has a population of a couple of hundred.

On the drive to Port Augusta , the Flinders Ranges were clearly visible in front of us. When we arrived, we quickly booked into the very pleasant Standpipe Golf Motor Inn. At around 6pm we set off north-west towards Woomera, hoping to get pictures of sunset on the Flinders Ranges. We realised we were driving too far away and turned back. Instead, we went north-east towards Wilpena Pound. We drove through Quorn as far as Hawker, but didn’t make it as far as Wilpena Pound as it was now getting very late. We settled for sunset photos looking to the west.

On the way back, we stopped to view the stars. There was some cloud but lots of stars, although we couldn’t find the southern cross – perhaps it was below the horizon.

Saturday, 31 Oct 2015: Port Augusta to Tumut (and Sydney the next day) (~2,100 km all up)

 2015-10-31 Saturday - Port Augusta to Tumut

We set off just before 8 am, across the Flinders Ranges through some very pretty villages. Wilmington, Orroroo and Peterborough to the A32 (the Barrier Highway), where we made the final decision to turn left and head north to Broken Hill rather than south to Burra and Renmark.

We arrived in Broken Hill around noon and had lunch at The Poet and the Peasant Coffee Lounge. We sat outside and ate a big breakfast while watching the passing parade.

From Broken Hill, we went south-east to Lake Menindee. There were lots of white “RIP Lake Menindee” crosses on the embankment, and very little water.

Turning south on mostly dirt roads, we stopped several times to see the Darling River at Karoola Reach, between Menindee and Pooncarie. The water level was very low and the river was very green, but we did see a very large goanna.

We stopped at Pooncarie’s little general store/service station for petrol and advice on road conditions to Lake Mungo. The guy clearly thought we were crazy city folks. Nevertheless, we took the Pooncarie Loop Road, and then turned south to cross Lake Garnang and Lake Leaghur before reaching Lake Mungo itself. It was dirt all the way – we covered at least 300 km on dirt roads today.

We drove to the Lake Mungo visitor centre, arriving around 6.45 for a quick look around. It was already getting dark when we stopped at a nearby lookout to view “the walls of China” in the distance; these are dunes that contain fossils being unearthed by the wind.

Following a combination of Bruce’s map and Google maps, we eventually found our way out to a sealed road to Balranald. On the way there were dozens of kangaroos on the road, plus goats, rabbits, lizards, snakes, and even a few emu. Once on sealed roads, we stopped to view the vivid light show from the storms all around. Then it was the long drive from Balranald to Tumut in the dark. We caught up with the storms at one stage, and it absolutely bucketed down.

We finally arrived in Tumut around 3 am.

2015-11-01 Sunday - Tumut to Sydney

Naturally, we slept in a bit on the Sunday. I left around noon to head home. There was still rain around, but there was fine weather after Gundagai. I decided to go home via Kangaroo Valley and visit Bill’s Mum in Bomaderry.

There were storms as I came back to Sydney, but the light show wasn’t nearly as good as that around Hay. I arrived home around 8 pm.

Across the Nullarbor and back – October 2015 – Part 1

Bruce and I drove to Fremantle to visit Peter and Kerrie and the family. The trip Sydney-Tumut-Fremantle-Tumut-Sydney was 10,500 km in all. I enjoyed it immensely, but I will probably fly next time – unless we have two months (or two years) instead of just two weeks to do it!

Nullarbor Net was a great source of maps and basic information before we left.

Click on the link for each day to see the photos.

Part 1 – Getting there:

Getting there

Saturday, 17 Oct 2015: Sydney to Tumut (~415 km)

Nothing much to report. After much fiddling around with backing up my computer, I left home around 2.30pm. In an incredible coincidence, Matt (who lives in Perth but did not know I was going there) phoned just as I got on the motorway south. After stopping at the Dog on the Tuckerbox (some heavy rain), I arrived in Tumut around 7.30. The rain had stopped, but there were kangaroos on Gocup Road.

Sunday, 18 Oct 2015: Tumut to Port Germein (~1,150 km)

2015-10-18 Sunday - Tumut to Port Germein

A great early morning view from Bruce’s house over a very misty Tumut. We left around 6.15am, with intermittent fog all the way to Wagga. It cleared to a fine, sunny day with a top around 29 deg.

Hit a galah near Narranderra. Stopped for morning tea of bread, cheese and vegemite in a rest area just past Hay. We also ate oranges, as we were headed towards quarantine inspections. The country around Hay was very flat and treeless, with emus as we neared Balranald.

Along the Murray was often rather grim looking, with dead trees and dark undergrowth. But the many-trunked gums had very lush, healthy top growth.

Bruce had booked us in to Bosuns at Port Germein and we arrived around 6.15. We were met by Margaret and shown around the spacious, two-bedroom cottage.

After settling in, we drove the short distance to the one pub to check out meal times. We then walked around the foreshore and halfway along the 1.5km pier before returning to the pub for dinner. Food was good pub food – pork schnitzel for Bruce, fish and chips for me. The chips and salad bar were excellent.

Monday, 19 Oct 2015: Port Germein to Port Lincoln (~450 km)

2015-10-19 Monday - Port Germein to Port Lincoln

A lazy start today – including watching Hayne play NFL for the SF49ers. We set off around 9.30 and headed up to Port Augusta. The terrain seemed very strange; I don’t know what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it. To the east, the Flinders Ranges were rather graceful looking, and to the west was Spencer Gulf. In between it was absolutely flat, salt-bushy sort of land. As we approached Port Augusta it was very arid looking … and flat.

Although it wasn’t in the original plan, after Port Augusta we headed south, down the east coast of the Eyre Peninsula to Whyalla. Despite the red dust, Whyalla was very attractive. We had lunch at Hummock Hill lookout, with great views of OneSteel on one side, and the very pretty beach on the other. We ate more cheese and vegemite sandwiches, made with bread left for us at the Port Germein cottage. Whyalla high school is a very imposing building built by BHP in the 1940s. It looks across parkland to the foreshore and the gulf beyond.

It rained lightly all the way from south of Whyalla to just before Port Lincoln. We continued south to Cowell along more very flat, scrubby land with low, multi-trunked gums and salt bushy type vegetation.

Cowell is a pretty village with some nice stone houses. We stopped to buy jade bracelets for Isabella and Kathryn at the Cowell Jade Motel – Cowell has the largest deposits of nephrite jade in the world.

Further south, we drove off the main road to see Arno Bay, Port Neill, and Tumby Bay. All are fish villages with piers jutting out into the gulf. As we got further south, wheat became very prominent in the landscape, though a lot of the farms seemed to be for sale.

We arrived in Port Lincoln around 4 pm. On the Lincoln Highway from the north, there is a long, scenic drive in which hugs the coastline of Boston Bay. After a walk to the visitor information centre, we ended up with a ‘suite’ at the Pier Hotel. It had a verandah overlooking the bay, a kitchen, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a laundry. Excellent value! We could see the long jetty in the distance with lots of big silos on the landward side; presumably Viterra bulk loads wheat onto ships there.

We had dinner at the hotel – oysters, mussells and prawns. After dinner, we walked over to the park across the road. We too a leisurely walk along the town jetty to watch the fishermen, and then went to look at the sculpture of Makybe Diva (Port Lincoln is the home town of her owner).

Tuesday, 20 Oct 2015: Port Lincoln to Ceduna (~500 km or so)

2015-10-20 Tuesday - Port Lincoln to Ceduna

At around 8.45 we left the hotel and drove around Port Lincoln, heading south west to the marina, before taking the Flinders Highway to the north of the city so we could go to Winter Hill Lookout. It has great views over Port Lincoln, but it was blowing an absolute gale – it almost ripped the car door off,  much to the amusement of another guy at the lookout.

We then continued north west, up the western side of the Eyre Peninsula. We took a side road to Coffin Bay; tractors were towing what where probably oyster frames. There was some sunshine as we drove north through hilly terrain with lots of wheat fields to Locks Well Beach. There was a viewing platform with stairs down to the beach – the staircase is 120m long, so we just viewed from the top. It was still blowing a gale.

At Elliston we took the very scenic cliff top drive. Bruce walked down to Little Bay (lots of cuttlefish bones on the beach). The cliff tops were very rocky … and windy! We had lunch of cornish pasties and pies at Elliston bakery before continuing north through flatter country; it was wheat all the way to Ceduna. Still windy! And around 20 degrees.

North of Elliston we drove to Talia caves and beach, where there is a memorial to a nun who drowned there in 1928, “The Tub”crater, and, down a set of stairs, “The Woolshed” cave carved by the waves. Well worth the side trip.

From there we continued north, driving into Venus Bay briefly and then further on to Murphys Haystacks – inselberg rock formations. Then it was west on dirt roads (and roadworks) to the head of Baird Bay. The water was remarkably green. Next we headed south on more dirt roads to find the sea lion colony at Point Labatt Conservation Park. We nearly hit three kangaroos, including a joey. There was an excellent viewing platform to view the sea lions, but it was still blowing an absolute gale. But at least there were sea lions, including a pup being fed by its mum, and some seals further out.

Returning on the dirt roads, we headed north again via Seale Bay to Streaky Bay. This is a very pleasant little town, but we only stayed long enough to look around the jetty and have tea/coffee at the bakery. It was late in the day, so we also bought cheap bread for the trip across the Nullarbor the next day. It was cloudy with some light drizzle … and still very windy.

We arrived in Ceduna around 6pm and discovered there is only one pub – the very new Ceduna Foreshore Hotel. So we had to drive around, searching for accommodation. It was looking like the choices were motels or caravan parks, when Bruce suggested we drive along the beach towards Thevenard. We had to wait at a railway crossing for a very long train carrying what looked like gypsum. We ended up outside ‘Seaview Cottage‘, which had a board with a phone number. We called the number, gave CC details, and were given the combination to the key safe at the house. The cottage was very good with three bedrooms, lounge, kitchen, bathroom, laundry etc. We didn’t go out that night, but heated frozen meals in the microwave.

Wednesday, 21 Oct 2015: Ceduna to Cocklebiddy (~850 km or so with sidetrips)

2015-10-21 Wednesday - Ceduna to Cocklebiddy

 The wind had dropped considerably and it was an excellent, sunny day. We left Ceduna around 8 and, after Penong, detoured south to Fowlers Bay. We were checking it out as a possible stop on the return trip. A two bedroom cabin with kitchen and loungeroom for $120 looked excellent. There’s sand dunes, a caravan park, a pier, more sand dunes, and not much else. Looks good for a stop over!

Back on the main road, we passed a very relaxed guy heading east on a recumbent bicycle. He was very low to the ground and was very hard to pick out on the road. When we stopped at Nundroo Roadhouse for petrol, someone in a ute stopped and asked if we’d take an alternator to Nullarbor Roadhouse, where a guy who had broken down the day before was waiting for it.

Past Yalata and the eastern edge of the true Nullarbor Plain, we detoured to Head of Bight. The whales were long gone, but there were excellent views west along the Bunda cliffs. Bruce refused to pay to see the views – this is Yalata land, and there was some discussion about whether the money actually went to the indigenous people. I paid $5 pensioner rate (he didn’t even ask if I was a pensioner!), and I thought it was well worth it. Back to the main road and on to Nullarbor Roadhouse to drop off the alternator to some very pleased people. We had hamburgers for lunch there before setting off again.

We stopped at a couple of the Bunda Cliff lookouts on the way to Border Village and Eucla. Excellent views. At Eucla, we detoured down a dirt road to find the ruins of the old telegraph station, now partially buried in sand dunes. We then returned and continued on past Mundrabilla Roadhouse to Madura Roadhouse and the lookout at Madura Pass. Here, the Bunda Cliffs turn inland and the road crosses over them and down to the lower level.

Then on to the Cocklebiddy Roadhouse where we got an average twin share motel room for $125. Clean and presentable. For dinner there was an enormous plate of lamb chops, chips and salad, but I didn’t find it very appetising. I ordered a G&T at the bar; they poured half a nip and then discovered they had no more gin. They still charged me $10.50!

We saw no large animals at all – no kangaroos, no emus, no camels, and no roadkill. There were eagles and other birds, and stumpy-tailed lizards at the far ends of this section, and some snakes, but no mammals visible at all. There were half a dozen cyclists, either singly or in pairs, at various places. Some looked to be doing it tough.

 Thursday, 22 Oct 2015: Cocklebiddy to Kalgoorlie (~650 km)

2015-10-22 Thursday - Cocklebiddy to Kalgoorlie

After an early start in Cocklebiddy, we drove past Caiguna to the 90 mile straight and then the Balladonia Roadhouse. Skylab fell near Balladonia in 1979; they have a small museum with cultural artifacts and space debris. Then it was on to Norseman for morning tea. An attractive town, but the presence of CTV cameras indicates they may have some issues. Wheat farming was now becoming visible again.

From Norseman we turned north towards Kalgoorlie. We had met a motorcyclist (on a Harley) at Cocklebiddy. We had occasional sightings of him on the road as far as Widgiemooltha, where he stopped at the roadhouse. We continued on to Kambalda, with mining activity now obvious. We drove around east and west Kambalda, and found a lookout to view Lake Lefroy – an extensive salt lake.

Then it was on to Kalgoorlie-Boulder. Boulder was pristine and looked rather artificially pretty. Later, we stopped to talk to a gentleman in Kalgoorlie who explained that Boulder had suffered earthquake damage in 2010 and had received government grants for repairs.

Kalgoorlie-Boulder is one continuous city. At around 1pm we parked in Hannan Street Kalgoorlie and went for a walk around the centre of town, looking for accommodation – preferably in an old hotel with a verandah. It wasn’t as easy as you’d think. The Kalgoorlie Hotel opposite the town hall didn’t have accommodation; the York didn’t have a verandah. On the corner of Hannan and Maritana Streets are the Exchange, Palace and Australia hotels, all with balconies. We asked at the Exchange, but it’s a skimpy bar and they don’t do accommodation … at least not for us! The Australia is accommodation-only, but is not staffed; we had to walk back to the Palace Hotel diagonally opposite to enquire. The Palace is huge, extending for a full block along Maritana Street, but its verandah is used for their restaurant. We were offered two single rooms very cheaply at the Palace, but they were small and in an adjoining building east along Maritana Street, with no balcony or verandah. We went to look at the available rooms in the Australia Hotel, and opted for a room on the first floor with access to the extensive verandah. The room had been refurbished, but the bathroom floor was subsiding and doors didn’t close. The hotel appeared to be used as accommodation for students, with communal kitchen and lounge/dining rooms and a basement eating area. It was 40 degrees, but we didn’t find out until later that the air conditioner appeared to work, but didn’t actually cool. It was still in the 30’s at 10pm and Bruce ended up sleeping on the verandah. On the way back to confirm the accommodation with the people at the Palace, we ran into the gentleman who chatted about some of the local gossip and history.

We looked for souvenirs, but the aboriginal gallery was closed and we didn’t see any other inspiring places. It was too hot for more walking, so we decided to drive to the Super Pit. We arrived there after 4 and discovered they were blasting at 5.30, so we stayed to watch. The blasting was actually about 10 minutes early, and people who were arriving to watch it just missed out.

From the Super Pit we went to the Mount Charlotte Reservoir and Lookout to watch the sunset. In the late 19th century, C.Y. O’Connor built a water pipeline 560 km from Perth to the reservoir. Today the pipeline is still used; the reservoir is a backup now, but still in use. Water being piped hundreds of kilometres all over Australia was one of the features of this entire trip, both in WA and SA.

Back at the hotel it was still hot and we decided to settle for Subways eaten on the verandah, watching (and hearing) Kalgoorlie’s night life get underway.

Friday 23 Oct to Sunday 25 October 2015: Kalgoorlie to Fremantle, and in Fremantle (~620 km)

2015-10-23 Friday - Kalgoorlie to Fremantle

Unlike Bruce, I slept like a log and woke very early and went to sit on the verandah with a coffee. There were street sweepers, footpath sweepers, and footpath pressure sprayers going for hours from 5 am onwards! They were noisier than the night life.

From Kalgoorlie we went through Coolgardie (the start of the goldrush – Kalgoorlie was once called East Coolgardie!), Southern Cross, Merredin and Meckering – and our first creek crossing in days! I regret not stopping in Meckering to see the fault line etc from the 1968 earthquake.

We detoured off the highway to go into Northam on the Avon River. We stopped for a lovely coffee at a cafe on the main street before driving around Northam and the river, and then back on the highway to Fremantle. We arrived a Kerrie and Peter’s around 4pm. Kerrie had a delicious stew on the go, ready for a variable arrival time. She is a fabulous hostess!

On the Saturday, Bruce and I walked into Fremantle markets. We had a very successful shopping expedition, with Bruce buying a half didgeridoo, a goatskin leather bag and iPad case (made in northern India) and other odds and ends for Nicholas and Ariane. I bought a painting by aboriginal artist Swag Taylor for myself, and a rattan bag for Peta.

We then met Peter and Kerrie for coffee and cake at Gino’s. They took our purchases in the car while Bruce and I walked down to the Esplanade and Round House, then back up High Street to the town hall. Fremantle was preparing for the blessing of the fleet the next day. We caught a CAT bus part way up High Street and walked the rest of the way home.

Around 4, I went over to Garry’s for a very pleasant couple of hours – white wine and talk, with James Hagan also calling in on Garry. Went home around 6 for chicken pilaf for dinner. A most excellent day!

On Sunday we met Justin/Emma and Joanne/Brad and the children for brunch at Zephyr’s on the river in East Fremantle. It was partly cloudy and a little blustery, but we got a table easily and had a very pleasant meal. Everyone came back to Kerrie and Peter’s for a while. Around 1.30 or so we drove up to Cottesloe on an unsuccessful search for an old OTC submarine cable. Then we went down to Port Coogee to Jo and Brad’s.

I had meant to catch up with Matt today, but time just got away.

For dinner it was steak and salad, followed by Kerrie’s mandarin and pistacchio flourless cake. All delicious, of course. We took leftover cake with us the next day … still lovely and moist.

Trip to Perth with Mum – December 2014

Saturday, 20 December – Justin and Emma’s Wedding

Tuesday, 23 December – Caversham Wildlife Park

Wednesday, 24 December – Christmas Eve

Thursday, 25 December – Christmas Day

Post Christmas – Wasgijs, Lunches and Jo’s Birthday

Wednesday, 31 December – New Year’s Eve

Bruce and Dianne’s Road Trip to Adelaide

Bruce had a weekend conference in Adelaide, and asked if I would like to accompany him on the trip. I’m very glad I decided to take the time off work!

I drove to Tumut on Thursday, 21 August, and on the Friday we drove straight through from Tumut to Adelaide via Mildura. There’s not a lot to report on that part of the trip.

Saturday, 23 August 2014 – Adelaide
Sunday, 24 August 2014 – Barossa
Monday, 25 August 2014 – Adelaide to Swan Hill via Glenelg and Langhorne Creek
Tuesday, 26 August 2014 – Swan Hill to Tumut via the Snowies
Wednesday, 27 August 2014 – Tumut to Sydney via the Brindabellas

00 - The Trip

Eddie’s Trip to Timor-Leste, June-July 2014

The Gold Coast for Mum’s 90th birthday

Mum and I drove from Sydney to the Gold Coast for a reunion with her sisters. Jean and Ronnie live on the Gold Coast; Pam came down from Cairns and Pattie came from Childers. So all five surviving sisters were together.

We drove up the coast, stayed in Miami for four nights, and drove home inland – around 2,500 km in total by the time you take sightseeing into account.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014 – Sydney to Port Macquarie
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 – Port Macquarie to Ballina
Thursday, 12 June 2014 – Ballina to Gold Coast
Friday, 13 June 2014 – On the Gold Coast
Saturday, 14 June 2014 – The Reunion
Sunday, 15 June 2014 – On the Gold Coast
Monday, 16 June 2014 – Gold Coast to Warwick
Tuesday, 17 June 2014 – Warwick to Tenterfield
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 – Tenterfield to Tamworth
Thursday, 19 June 2014 – Tamworth to Sydney

The Trip

Giving Up

It’s early days, but four days without cigarettes is 3.5 days longer than I’ve gone without in the last 40 years.

Thanks to The Steamery (formerly Steam-eCigs) and the AussieVapers forum for support.

Far North Queensland

At the beginning of June, Mum and I (and, for varying portions of the trip, my Uncle Eddie and Aunt Pam) had a holiday in Cairns, Atherton Tableland, Cooktown, Port Douglas and the Daintree. It was warm and we had blue skies every day – returning to grey and rainy Sydney was a bit of a let down.

Pics are at

New Zealand

We had a great family holiday in and around Taupo. Photo (and links to some videos) are on the NZ photo album page.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing - Up the ridge up to the Red Crater

Tongariro Alpine Crossing - Up (and up and up) the ridge to the Red Crater

Kindle 3 Keyboard Shortcuts et al

Ver 1.16 – 15 October 2011:
[Go to the file downloads] [Go to the shortcuts] [Amazon Kindle Support]

All these shortcuts and notes have been tested on my Kindle 3 3G + wi-fi. If you find these tips useful, feel free to copy & paste this post into your own blog/web site/forum – but please include a link back to here, as this is a work in progress. Recent changes have superscript version markers (eg v1.16).

  • If you are looking at this page on your Kindle’s web browser, you can use Whispernet to download these tips as a book direct to your Kindle. To do this, just click on either link below. The files themselves now contain links to update directly while reading them.
  • In the K3 browser, Menu->Article Mode makes it much easier to read this post.
  • If you are currently on your computer but want to download directly from your Kindle, you can get to this page from your Kindle:
    • Press <Home> to make sure you are on the home screen
    • Press the <Del> key to open up the search box
    • Type in the following short URL (use Sym to select the “/” and the “3”; there is no need to type ‘http://’ in front):
    • Use the 5-way to move to the right until ‘Go To’ is highlighted
    • Press the 5-way to go to the URL; if wireless is not on, it will ask if you want to turn it on now
  • If you are on your computer, you can also click on a link below, save the book to your computer, and then transfer to your Kindle’s documents folder via USB:

Download in .mobi format – with Table of Contents and chapter marks (recommended)
Download in .azw format – converted via Amazon – no TOC or chapter marks

Kindle 3 Keyboard Shortcuts (Ver 1.16)

[Searching] [Text-to-Speech] [Voice Guide] [Background Music] [Games] [Home Screen] [General] [Reading] [Adding Books to Collections] [Sorting Collections] [Photo Albums] [Archives and Deleting Books Forever] [Web Browsing] [Kindle Calculations] [FAQs & Hacks] [Book File Formats] [The K3 Keyboard] [Just the Keyboard Shortcuts]


  • To copy text from a book to the search box (eg to search for a character’s name):
    • Use the 5-way to cursor down to the beginning of the text you want to copy
    • Click the 5-way to mark the beginning
    • Use the 5-way to move right, selecting the word(s) you want to search for
    • Instead of clicking again as you would to save a highlight, press SPACEBAR
    • The selected words are now in the search box. Move the cursor down or right, delete any extraneous characters, then move down and right to highlight ‘Find’. Click to search.
  • Clear text from search/edit box: ALT+DEL
  • Default search action: when the action on the right of the search box is the one you want, you do not have to use the 5-way to move to highlight it first; you can just press ENTER (or click)
    • Similarly, if the cursor is in the URL field of the web browser, the action shown to the right is the default and you can just press ENTER
  • When searching ‘My Items’ from the Home screen, you can change the order in which search results are displayed: v1.16
    • Use the 5-way to cursor to the top of the screen, where the number of items found is displayed
    • Use the 5-way to move right and display the available sort orders
    • Use the 5-way to move to the order you want and click to select it
  • The SYM key is only active when a search/edit box is active
    • To start a search from the Home screen with a symbol, press DEL or ENTER to open up a search box, then press SYM
    • In other screens, DEL or ENTER will not work; to open a search/edit box so you can use SYM, type a space and then delete it
  • For when you don’t even know what day of the week it is:
    • Search for DATE or TIME from the home screen
    • The current date and time is the first item in results; select it to see the day and time zone information
      • To just see the time without searching, press MENU
    • When you have a book open:
      • Enter DATE or TIME as a search item
      • Use the 5-way to cursor right to ‘my items’ and select
      • Again, the current date and time is the first item in results, and can be selected for more information
      • The BACK key will return you to your place in the book
  • @help – list all functions available for searching from the Home screen:
    • @dict <keyword>
    • @help
    • @print [no idea what this does]
    • @store <keyword>
    • @url <url> (goes to browser if no URL)
    • @web <google search term >
    • @wiki <keyword>
    • @wikipedia <keyword>

Text-to-Speech (TTS)

  • Start/Stop: SHIFT+SYM
    • To start at a specific spot, use the 5-way to position the cursor first
    • When TTS is on, BACK turns it off
  • Pause/Restart: SPACEBAR
    • When TTS is turned on, most of the keyboard is locked; if you press SPACEBAR or use Aa to pause TTS, you cannot manually navigate through the book because TTS is still active, and it may appear that the Kindle has frozen. Press SPACEBAR to resume TTS, or press SHIFT+SYM, BACK or HOME to turn off TTS entirely. The Aa key also still works.
  • TTS only works when you have a book open
  • TTS won’t work if the publisher has disabled TTS for the book; TTS status can be found under the book pricing in the Kindle bookstore
  • When TTS is on, use the Aa key to:
    • Change between male and female voice
    • Change the reading speed
    • Stop or pause TTS
  • Pages are turned automatically when TTS is turned on. By turning the volume right down and adjusting the reading speed, this feature can be used as an automatic page turner.
  • TTS continues playing even if you put your Kindle to sleep by sliding and releasing the power button. Sleeping your Kindle while TTS is playing allows you to continue listening but locks all of the keys and buttons so you don’t inadvertently press one.

Voice Guide

  • Turn on/off:
    • SHIFT+SPACEBAR (A shortcut at last! It’s only available if you have the Version 3.3 updatev1.16
    • HOME->MENU->Settings->Page 2->click ‘turn on’/’turn off’
      • If you only have one page of settings, the Kindle is not yet registered or has not yet ‘talked’ to the Amazon servers; you need to turn on wireless (if you don’t have wi-fi (or 3G) yourself, you may need to find a wi-fi hotspot)
  • The voice guide, which lets you navigate your Kindle with spoken menus, selectable items, and descriptions, is separate from TTS, which reads the text of a book/document (unless the publisher has disabled that ability)

Background Music

  • Play/Stop: ALT+SPACEBAR
  • Next track: ALT+F
  • Music files must be MP3s in the Kindle’s ‘music’ folder


  • Minesweeper: ALT+SHIFT+M from Home screen
    • MENU for game options
  • GoMoku: G from Minesweeper

Home Screen

  • Rescan for files: ALT+Z
  • Jump to page: <number> then click or ENTER
    • To type numbers, use ALT+Q to P for 1 to 0
  • Jump to Author or Title: <first letter> then click or press ENTER when in Author or Title sort order respectively. For example, to go to titles beginning with ‘M’:
    • First make sure it says ‘By Title’ on the right near the top of the Home screen; if it doesn’t:
      • Use the 5-way to move up to that line
      • Move right with the 5-way to display the sort options
      • Use the 5-way to underline ‘Title’ and click the 5-way
    • Back on the Home screen, press the letter ‘m’
    • The search box will appear with the letter ‘m’ showing, along with the wording ‘click to got to M titles’
    • Click the 5-way
  • To view the list of books in your archives: v1.15
    • MENU->View Archived Items
    • ‘Archived Items’ also appears as a clickable title on the Home screens, but may be difficult to find if you have a lot of items.


  • Capital letters when typing: Hit SHIFT first, then the letter; no need to hold them down together
  • Numbers: ALT+Q to P = 1 to 0 or press SYM when search/edit box is active
    • Like SHIFT for capital letters, ALT is sticky, so you can type ALT followed by a letter on the top row (ALT, Q, ALT, W, ALT, E types 123)
  • Redraw screen: ALT+G (removes ghosting)
  • Screenshot: ALT+SHIFT+G or ALT+SHIFT+H (saves a .GIF in the Kindle document directory)
    • The screen flashes for both ALT+G and ALT+SHIFT+G. As it is easy to do an ALT+G by mistake, ALT+SHIFT+H may be a safer way to do a screenshot.
  • Display the time: MENU displays the time at the top of the screen
  • Display amount of space left on the Kindle: MENU from the Home, Settings, or Experimental screen
  • To see if you still have books indexing, from the home screen type a nonsense search like ‘xzwwx’ [or even just a period, which is quicker] and press ENTER. If the search result says ‘No items’, indexing has finished; if one or more items are listed, indexing is still in progress. If a book gets ‘stuck’ on indexing, delete it, let other items finish indexing, then re-download the book to see if it will index.
  • Shop in the Kindle store: ALT+HOME
  • The search window can be used as a simple calculator. Simple expressions like "5+6", "2*8/3" and "sin(8)" work. See Kindle Calculations below for details.
  • Display Serial No and Barcode: ALT+SHIFT+. (period)
  • To restart your Kindle 3 (solves a myriad of problems):
    • If it is charging, disconnect from the power/computer
    • Soft restart (when the buttons are working): HOME->MENU->Settings->MENU->Restart
    • Hard restart (when everything seems frozen): Slide and hold the power switch for 30 seconds, then wait a minute or two
    • When you restart, you will see the boy reading under the tree and a progress bar
      • If you wait a couple of minutes and still only see a blank screen, you have not held the power switch for long enough and have turned the Kindle off
  • To turn the Kindle off completely (blank screen), slide and hold the power switch for around 7 seconds.
    • It is recommended to only turn the Kindle off if it is not going to be used for a long time (weeks).
    • If you are in the habit of turning the Kindle off rather than letting it go to sleep, always go to the Home screen first so it has a chance to save your current book location.
  • From Settings screen:
    • Change 3G provider: type 311 (ALT+EQQ)
    • Kindle Serial No et al: type 411 (ALT+RQQ)
    • 3G Modem information: type 611 (ALT+YQQ)
    • Wi-fi Modem information: type 711 (ALT+UQQ)


  • Add/remove a bookmark for the current page: ALT+B
  • Bookmark a specific location: use the 5-way to position the cursor at the location, then double-click the 5-way’s centre button. This is useful when viewing bookmarks because the first few lines are displayed.
  • Zoom in on an illustration: use the 5-way to position the cursor over the picture; the cursor will change to a magnifying glass with a + sign; click to zoom; the K3 will display the illustration in landscape if that is a better fit than portrait
  • Chapter marks: some, but not all, books have dots along the reading progress bar when you first open them
    • You can use the 5-way to move left and right between chapters
    • Your bookmarks, notes and highlights also add dots to the progress bar; you cannot use the 5-way to move between these marks
  • Since the Ver 3.1 firmware update, you need to press MENU to see location and page number (if available)
  • Also press MENU to also see the status bar with book name, time and wireless/battery indicators
  • To get back to the beginning of a book: v1.15
    • With the book open, press MENU and select ‘Go to…’ To ensure you are right at the beginning, select ‘cover’.
    • At the bottom of your Manage Your Kindle page on the Amazon web site is an option to "Manage synchronization between devices". If you have this turned on, the Kindle will continue to ask if you want to synch to the furthest page read. To reset this to the beginning of the book, you must call Kindle Support.
  • Visual indication of book length/proportion read: v1.16
    • Book titles on the home screen (or inside a collection) have a line of dots under them
      • The length of the line is an indication of the length of the book.
      • Darker dots are an indication of how much of the book you have read; if you remain on the last page when you finish a book, the entire line will be darker, indicating that the book has been read.
  • Nudge the selection frame when a PDF document is zoomed, or when panning a zoomed document: SHIFT+5-way direction
  • Delete multiple bookmarks, highlights, notes:
    • Select ‘View My Notes & Marks’ from the Menu
    • Use the 5-way to move to the note/mark to be deleted
    • Press DEL
    • Repeat for each note/mark to be deleted
  • When reading an Amazon format book, use the Aa key to:
    • Change font size and typeface
    • Change line spacing and words per line
    • Turn on Text to Speech if enabled for your current book
    • Change screen orientation
  • When reading a PDF, use the Aa key to:
    • Change zoom level
    • Change contrast
    • Change screen orientation
  • Vista and Windows 7 users: if you want to continue reading whilst charging from your computer’s USB port, using the ‘Safely remove hardware’ on the computer’s task bar is not sufficient. You need to eject the Kindle by selecting Computer from the Start menu; find the Kindle drive, right-click on it and select the ‘Eject’ option.

Adding Books to Collections

  • To create a Collection:
    • From the HOME screen, press MENU and select ‘Create New Collection’.
  • Your Kindle must be registered and must connect to Amazon’s servers at least once in order for Collections to become available. If your device is registered but you have not yet connected to Amazon’s servers, then:
    • When you press MENU from the Home screen, the option to ‘Create New Collection’ will be greyed out
    • When you go to the Settings screen, you will have only 1 page of settings
    • If you do not have wi-fi or 3G at home, you can go to somewhere that provides free wi-fi (eg Starbucks, McDonalds), connect to their wi-fi, and do a ‘Sync & Check for Items’
  • To add multiple books to a collection (or to remove multiple books):
    • On the Home screen use the 5-way to move to the collection
    • Move the 5-way to the right to display the collection’s detail page and click on ‘Add/remove items’
    • Use the 5-way to move up and down the list of all your books, clicking on each book you want in the collection
    • If you have just purchased books and are now adding them, it’s easier to find them if you move to the top line, move the 5-way right, and change the sort order to ‘Most Recent First’ v1.16
    • A check-mark appears next to books in the current collection; click again to remove a book from the collection
    • Use Next Page and Previous Page if you have multiple pages of books
    • When you are in the list of books, pressing MENU gives the option of adding all items on the current page of the list
    • There is no need to click ‘Done’ when you are finished. Your selections are saved immediately, so you can just go BACK or press HOME.
  • To add a book to (or remove a book from) one or more collections:
    • On the Home screen use the 5-way to move to the book title
    • Move the 5-way to the right to display the book’s detail page and click on ‘Add to collection …’
    • Use the 5-way to move up and down the list of collections, clicking on each collection you want the book to be in
    • A check-mark appears next to each collection in which the book will be listed; click again to remove it from that collection
    • Use Next Page and Previous Page if you have multiple pages of collections
    • There is no need to click ‘Done’ when you are finished. Your selections are saved immediately, so you can just go BACK or press HOME.
  • Books added to collections will still be listed on the Home screen unless you change your sort order to ‘By Collections’.
  • When setting up collections, it is a good idea to have wireless on and and to periodically do a ‘Sync & Check for Items’ from the Home or Settings menu. This saves your collections on Amazon’s servers for later importing to another Kindle.
  • If you have created collections but they have now disappeared from the Kindle: v1.15
    • First turn on wireless and try a reset (HOME->MENU->Settings->MENU->Restart).
    • If that doesn’t work, go back to the Settings screen, deregister the Kindle and then re-register it.
  • It is not currently possible to create sub-collections. However, each book can be in as many collections as you like (for example, a book could be in a genre collection, an author collection, and a to-be-read collection). v1.15

Sorting Collections

  • When in Collections sort order, the collections will display in sequence of most recently accessed, followed by subscriptions, books not in any collection and Archived Items.
  • When in Title sort order, the collections display along with all your individual books, in Title sequence.
  • You can control the Title sort order by using collection names that start with a symbol that sorts before the alpha characters in book titles. My collections are:
    • (Reading: current)
    • (Reading: fiction)
    • (Reading: non-fiction)
    • [Genre 1]
    • [Genre 2]
    • [Genre 3] etc
    • {Author 1}
    • {Author 2} etc
  • On the Home screen, use the 5-way to move to the top line, move right, and change sort order to ‘Title’.
  • When in Title sort order, my collections display first in the order shown, followed by all the individual books.
  • I created collections with names in the form ‘x mmm’, where ‘x’ represents one of the symbols available via the Sym key. I then sorted by Title and they sorted in this sequence:
    • " ? } ; , . ‘ / ] \ “ ” ¡ ¿ ! @ # % & * ) – _ : ` ^ ~ ( [ { $ € £ + < = > | 0 1 2 b B c C a A (because the sort algorithm ignores leading words like ‘a’ and ‘the’)
  • For all these collections, I then renamed them, removing the space after the symbol so all names were in the form ‘xmmm’. I resorted by Title and came up with an entirely different sort order:
    • _ , ; : ! ¡ ? ¿ / . ` ^ ~ ‘ " “ ” ( ) [ ] { } @ $ € £ * \ & # % + < = > | 0 1 2 a A b B c C
  • This testing was done with Ver 3.0.3 firmware. After upgrading to Ver 3.1, there have been report that some prefixes (such as . (period) and @) do not sort correctly. Personally, I:
    • Stick to various braces and the underscore
    • Do not put a space after the symbol (the title sort algorithm attempts to remove non-significant ‘words’ from the beginning)
  • Other naming options include using different or multiple starting symbols, starting collection names with AAA or numbers etc. It has been reported that starting collection names with a period causes problems and that if you start with an asterisk, you should put a space after the asterisk.
  • To change the name of a collection, move the cursor to the collection, move right using the 5-way, and select ‘Rename Collection’.
  • To see just your collections (plus subscriptions and books not yet in a collection), on the Home screen, use the 5-way to move to the top line, move right, and change sort order to ‘Collections’.
  • You can also change the order in which books are displayed inside your collections. Open a collection, use the 5-way to move to the top line, move right, and choose the desired sort order.
  • If you use calibre to manage your books, it has an excellent plug-in for managing and creating collections on you Kindle. v1.16

Photo Albums

  • Make sure your pictures are not too big – 600 x 800 is recommended. Converting them to greyscale will also reduce the file size.
  • Connect your Kindle via USB
  • Method 1
    • Create a folder called ‘pictures’ in the root directory of the Kindle; it should be on the same level as the ‘documents’ folder and you must use the name ‘pictures’
    • Open the ‘pictures’ folder and, inside it, create a new folder with the name you want your album to have (eg ‘Family’)
      • You can create multiple albums by creating multiple folders inside the ‘pictures’ folder
    • Copy your JPG, GIF and/or PNG pictures to the album folder
    • The biggest drawback of this method is that the only way to delete the album is to connect via USB and manually delete the subdirectory. Deleting the album using the Kindle appears to work, but the subdirectory and pictures are still there; the next time the home screen listing is refreshed, the album will reappear. v1.15
  • Method 2
    • Package your pictures into a zip file, naming the file with the name you want to give your album (eg ‘’)
    • Copy the zip file into your Kindle’s ‘documents’ directory
    • This method has the advantage that, when you use the Kindle to the delete the album, the zip file is actually deleted.
  • Safely eject the Kindle when the copying has finished
  • Go to the Kindle Home screen and press ALT+Z to refresh the listing
  • Your album will appear as a new ‘book’ which has one page for each picture
  • When in an album, the MENU and Aa buttons have picture-specific options
    • If you are viewing pictures larger than the screen, the menu option to anchor at the Top Right is useful for manga, which usually follows the Japanese right-to-left convention
    • If you ‘Enable Pan to Next Page’, the 5-way up and down will also go to the next picture
    • The Kindle remembers you Menu options, but ignores them next time you open an album; you have to turn the option off and then on again for it to be active
  • I have found the following shortcuts tend to be rather intermittent. They may function better after a restart of the Kindle. I get the feeling that using ALT+Q to nudge disables using Q to zoom.
    • q : zoom in
    • w : zoom out
    • e : reset zoom
    • r : rotate
    • f : toggle full screen mode
    • c : toggle Actual Size setting
    • Panning when the picture is larger than the screen:
      • 5-way directional buttons
      • Numbers nudge right – the picture moves left (eg ALT+Q to nudge, ALT+W to nudge a little more)
      • When in full screen mode, you have to repeat the number (ALT+QQ), as the first press brings up a scale
      • Repeating numbers eventually takes you to the next picture

Archives and Deleting Books Forever

  • Background:
    • When you look at ‘Archives’ on your Kindle, you will see a list of books purchased from Amazon that are not on your Kindle.
    • Amazon books on your Kindle + Books listed in archives = all books purchased from Amazon.
    • If you remove an Amazon book from your Kindle, the number of books on your Kindle decreases by one, and the number of books listed in your archives increases by one.
    • All books purchased from Amazon are stored on the Amazon servers and can be downloaded to any Kindle (or Kindle app) registered to that account.
    • ‘Archives’ contains links to Amazon-purchased books, enabling you to download a book by selecting it from the archive list (as long as you have a Whispernet connection).
    • For personal documents (including books purchased from sources other than Amazon): v1.16
      • If you transferred them to you Kindle via USB, they are not stored on the Amazon servers and you must keep your own backup copy.
      • Documents emailed to your Kindle via the Personal Documents Service are now stored on the Amazon servers (5 Gb is provided free by Amazon for personal document storage).
        • You can turn off archiving of personal documents in the Personal Documents Settings section of Manage Your Kindle.
        • Personal documents can only be seen in and downloaded from your K3’s archives if you have the Version 3.3 update.
        • Archived personal documents are not viewable/downloadable in the archives of Kindle devices released prior to the K3. However,
          • Archived personal documents can be sent to these older devices from the Manage Your Kindle page.
          • I have "Whispernet Delivery Over 3G (Fees Apply)" disabled in the Personal Documents Settings section. Nevertheless, when I sent an archived personal document to my K2 (on 14 October 2011 US time), it was delivered to the K2 via 3G. I am very surprised that documents are being sent to 3G only devices when delivery over 3G is not enabled. This behaviour may change.
        • Whispersync of bookmarks, annotations, and your last page read is available for archived personal documents that are in Kindle format (this does not apply to unconverted pdfs, nor to documents transferred via USB).
    • To see the books that are in your archives: HOME->MENU->View Archived Items v1.15
      • This is a list only; the books are not taking up space on your Kindle.
      • ‘Archived Items’ also appears as a clickable item on the Home screen, but may be difficult to find if you have a lot of items.
  • Removing books from the Kindle
    • To remove a book from your Kindle, use the 5-way to move to the book title and then move the 5-way to the right to display the book’s detail page.
      • You can also move the 5-way to the left, but it’s very easy to accidentally delete a collection when you do that.
    • Select the option "Remove from Device".
      • If the option is "Delete This Document" rather than "Remove from Device", the book was not purchased from Amazon; if you delete it, there will not be a backup copy on Amazon’s servers.
      • Occasionally, a book gets "stuck" and cannot be removed; instead, it remains greyed out on the Kindle even after you remove it. If this happens, connect the Kindle to you computer via USB and manually delete the book’s .azw (or .azw1 or .tpz) file and its matching .mbp (or .tan) file.
  • Deleting books forever
    • To permanently delete a book from the Amazon archive, you need to go to yourpage on the Amazon web site
    • Locate the book in ‘Your Kindle Library’ v1.16
    • From the ‘Actions’ button on the right, choose "Delete from library"
    • Warning: this is a permanent delete. If you want to read the book again, you will have to re-purchase it from Amazon.
    • If a book has been removed from your Kindle and does not appear in ‘Your Kindle Library’, but still appears in your archive list on the Kindle, you have probably moved the book to trash in Your Media Library. To check:
      • Go to Your Account on the Amazon web site
      • In ‘Digital Content’, click on the link to ‘Your Collection’
      • Once in Your Collection, click on the drop-down "view" box and select ‘Trash’ v1.16
      • Take the book out of Trash
      • Go back to Manage Your Kindle; the book should now appear in Your Kindle Library and can be deleted.

Web Browsing

  • If you know the address, you can get to a web page directly from the Home screen:
    • Press HOME to make sure you are on the home screen
    • Type in the address – the search box will open when you start typing
      • use Sym to select a “/” and numbers
      • there is no need to type ‘http://’ in front – eg just type
    • Use the 5-way to move to the right until ‘Go To’ is highlighted
    • Press the 5-way; if wireless is not on, it will ask if you want to turn it on now
  • You can get to Google or Wikipedia from any search box by typing in your search term and then using the 5-way to move to the right until ‘Google’ or ‘Wikipedia’ is highlighted, and then pressing the 5-way.
  • I don’t know of any shortcut for opening the web browser. One option is to create a ‘book’ which contains link(s) to one or more favourite sites. The book can then be opened and you can click on a link without having to go to the Experimental screen to open the browser:
    • Create and save an html file containing link(s) to your favourite sites (Word can be used to save a file as html)
    • To make the html file readable on the Kindle you can do one of the following:
      • Use Amazon’s document conversion service: send an email to or with the html file as an attachment
      • Use a program such as calibre to convert the html file to mobi
      • Rename the file to have a .txt extension (eg rename Bookmarks.html to Bookmarks.txt), connect your Kindle to your computer via USB, and copy the .txt file to the Kindle’s ‘documents’ directory
  • When in the web browser, MENU and Aa have browser-specific options.
    • MENU->Article Mode is great for pages that have columns to the left and right, though it’s not so great for home pages
    • MENU->Zoom In is also useful for improving readability; use the 5-way to pan
    • Readability can also be improved by using Aa to change to landscape mode
  • When you are zoomed in (the entire web page does not fit on the screen and there is a progress bar along the bottom) you can:
    • Use ALT+H and ALT+J to nudge left and right
    • Use the Next Page and Previous Page buttons to move up or down within the web page
    • Use the 5-way arrows to move left, right, up and down within the web page
    • SHIFT+the 5-way arrows to pan without waiting for the cursor
  • When the cursor is in the browser’s address field, ALT+DEL will delete the field
  • When in Google Reader, you can use full screen mode and some other keyboard commands [Wired’s Gadget Lab article}
    • In the Kindle browser, log into your Google Reader account
    • Navigate to your feed list and select a feed
    • Once in the articles, use the Google reader keyboard command ‘f’ to turn on full screen mode
    • Use the Aa button to increase the text size if desired
    • Use the Kindle’s next and previous page buttons to scroll through the articles, or use keyboard commands such a ‘n’ and ‘p (or ‘j’ and ‘k’)’ to go to the next/previous item, and ‘shift+u’ to toggle the navigation menu and the list of feeds [Google Reader’s keyboard shortcuts]
    • Works best for feeds which show complete articles, as the Kindle browser will not open articles in a separate window
  • In Facebook, most keyboard shortcuts seem to be Alt+number combinations, which are not possible on the K3 keyboard. However:
    • ALT+M displays the ‘new message’ box when in Facebook

Kindle Calculations

  • The search window can be used as a simple calculator. Steven Ehrbar has kindly provided most of these details:
    • Standard operators are + (addition), – (subtraction), * (multiplication), / (division), % (modulus), and ^ (exponentiation).
    • Parentheses () work for grouping, {} and [] do not.
    • You can assign values to variables with =; for example, test=9.
    • The results of the last operation are stored in the variable _ (underscore).
      • Assign _ to a variable before using it in further calculations. I have found that using _ directly results in the calculation being done twice. For example, if you enter 5*2, then _ is 10. Entering _*2 results in 40, not 20. However, if you enter y=_, you get a result of y = _ = 10. y*2 then correctly results in 20.
    • The values of pi and e are stored in pi and e, respectively.
    • Functions, which work on a value or expression in the parentheses, are:
      • Trig functions: acos(), asin(), atan(), cos(), cosh(), sin(), sinh(), tan(), tanh()
        • Arguments for trig functions must be in radians
        • radians = degrees * (pi/180)
        • You can assign pi/180 to a variable (eg k=pi/180)
        • To find the tan of 10°, you can then type tan(10*k)
      • Other functions: abs() [absolute value], exp() [e to the power of], ln() [natural logarithm], log() [base 10 logarithm], sqrt() [square root].

Kindle 3 FAQs and Hacks

  • FAQs: I have covered some FAQs in earlier sections. The list below is the beginnings of a highly selective miscellany.
    • Does the Kindle have a backlight? No. The Kindle has an e-ink screen which, unlike an LCD screen, is not backlit. E-ink emulates a ‘real’ book and you will need a lamp or booklight to read in the dark. However, e-ink screens can be read in direct sunlight, are considered by ‘many’ to be more restful for the eyes, and give very long battery life.
    • Can I read library books on a Kindle? If you live in the US, the short answer is ‘yes, if your library uses Overdrive’. In other parts of the world, the short answer is ‘no’. See Public Library Books for Kindle for details. v1.16
    • I have already bought the hardback/paperback edition of a book. Can I get the Kindle version at a discount or for free? No.
    • My Kindle is frozen/I can’t get rid of something on my screen/my Kindle is behaving strangely. What do I do? The first step when your Kindle misbehaves is always to try a restart:
      • If the keys are still working: HOME->MENU->Settings->MENU->Restart
      • If the keyboard is locked up: slide and hold the power switch for 30 seconds. Then wait for the Kindle to restart.
      • If your K3 often reboots and locks up and it’s in a non-lighted cover which uses the hinge system, try removing the Kindle from the cover. Non-lighted covers which use the hinges may cause problems.
      • If all else fails, use the ‘Contact Us’ button at Kindle Support to get help.
    • Why isn’t [insert book title here] available for the Kindle/in my region? In general, you can assume that Amazon would sell the book if it could. There are several possible reasons a book may not be available; for example:
      • The author won’t allow the book to be published as an e-book (JK Rowling, Harper Lee, Ray Bradbury)
      • The e-books rights have not yet been negotiated with the author (or the author’s estate)
      • The publisher that holds rights for your region has not yet digitised the book and made it available
      • The publisher does not have a publication agreement with Amazon
    • How do I get back to the beginning of a book? With the book open, press MENU and select ‘Go to…’ To ensure you are right at the beginning, select ‘cover’.
      • At the bottom of your Manage Your Kindle page on the Amazon web site is an option to "Manage synchronization between devices". If you have this turned on, the Kindle will continue to ask if you want to synch to the furthest page read. To reset this to the beginning of the book, you must call Kindle Supportv1.15
    • I have added books to my collections, but the books still appear on the home page. How do I get rid of them? From the Home screen, use the 5-way to move to the top of the screen. Move the 5-way to the right to display the sort options. Move to ‘Collections’ and click. This changes the sort order to ‘By Collections’. See Sorting Collections.
    • I created my collections, but now they have disappeared. How do I get them back? First turn on wireless and try a reset (HOME->MENU->Settings->MENU->Restart). If that doesn’t work, go back to the Settings screen, deregister the Kindle and then re-register it.
    • I have a brand new ebook and already it has highlights. How do I get rid of them? These are ‘Popular Highlights’. They show passages highlighted by other Kindle users. To turn them off, go to the settings screen (HOME->MENU->Settings) and click on ‘turn off’ next to the Popular Highlights option. v1.15
      • Note that the Settings screen does not show the current setting for an option; instead, it describes an action to be performed.
    • How do I update to the latest firmware version? You can leave wireless turned on and wait for an update to be pushed to your Kindle. However that may take weeks. To update manually, go to Kindle Software Updates and follow the instructions.
    • I have firmware version 3.1 but can’t see any page numbers. What do I do? Page numbers are only displayed when you press MENU while reading the book, and they are only available for books purchased from Amazon (and pdfs which have page numbers as part of the layout).
      For non-Amazon books and Amazon books without page numbers, there is an APNX Generator plug-in for calibre which will generate an apnx file, which is the file required for the Kindle to display page numbers; these generated page numbers are an estimate and do not bear any relationship to a printed edition. v1.15
      For Amazon purchases with page numbers available:

      • Front matter (Title page, copyright information etc) generally does not have page numbers. Use MENU-> Go to… to check if the option to go to a Page is available.
      • Check that the book you are reading has page numbers available by going to the Amazon product page (on the Kindle, you can use the 5-way to highlight the book, move right, and select ‘Book description’). Look in ‘Product Details’ to see if it contains the line:
        • Page Numbers Source ISBN: xxxxxxxxxx
        • That line contains the ISBN of the print edition with page numbers that match the page numbers in the Kindle edition. v1.15
      • If page numbers are available, turn on wireless and wait (im)patiently. Page number information is stored in a separate file that has to be downloaded, so wireless must be turned on to get that file.
      • You could try HOME->MENU->Sync & Check for Items, though I’m not convinced it makes a lot of difference. Downloading information for existing books seems to be somewhat erratic, at least in these first few days after the release of the ‘early preview’ of Ver 3.1.
      • Make sure your Kindle is registered to the same account you used to purchase the book, in case that is relevant.
    • I don’t have a wireless connection. Is there any way I can get page numbers to display on my Kindle? At the moment, using ‘Transfer via Computer’ to load books does not also download the apnx file required for page numbers. However, the apnx file is not device-specific. If you have a Kindle app which supports page numbers, you can copy the book’s.apnx file from the app to your Kindle via USB. v1.15
      • The apnx file must have exactly the same name as the book file on your Kindle (except for the apnx extension), and must be in the same directory as the book file..
    • What are those numbers at the bottom of the screen when I am reading? Prior to the Ver 3.1 firmware update, the Kindle did not use conventional page numbers and used locations instead. It is said that a location represents 128 bytes or one image.
      • From Ver 3.1 on:
        • Only the percentage read displays when reading.
        • To see your current location and page number (if available), press MENU. While the menu is active, above the progess bar you will see:
          • Page x of y • Location a of b
        • If a book has page numbers available, those page numbers are tied to the ISBN of a particular print edition of the book. The ‘Product Details’ section for the book at the Amazon store will contain a line like:
          • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0349122393
        • The page number information, if available, will be downloaded wirelessly and stored on the Kindle in a .apnx file (including books you bought prior to page numbers being made available).
      • Prior to Ver 3.1:
        • The number on the left shows how far you are though the book as a percentage.
        • The locations currently on screen are displayed in the middle. This will vary according to font size and margin settings. A smaller font displays more locations.
        • The number on the right is the total number of locations in the book. As a *very* rough guide, dividing that number by 20 may give a crude indication of the number of pages.
      • For all versions, the progress bar gives a visual indication of how far you are through the book:
        • The small inverted triangle shows your starting location for the current reading session.
        • If there are small black dots on the progress bar, these indicate chapter or section markers. You can use the 5-way’s left and right arrows to move back and forth between chapters/sections.
        • If you add highlight, notes or bookmarks, these are also indicated by small dots on the progress bar. You cannot use the 5-way to move between these markers.
    • Can I change/remove the screensaver pictures? No, not unless you hack your Kindle. See the hacks section below.
    • Is there a way to turn pages automatically? If text-to-speech is turned on, the pages turn as they are read. So you can try turning on TTS (if it’s enabled for your book) and turning the volume all the way down. Use the Aa key to adjust the reading speed and the space bar to pause/restart.
    • Other sources on the web:
  • Hacks and work-arounds : this list is presented only for the more adventurous and mostly contains links to instructions. Use them at your own risk. I have not personally tried these and cannot offer advice or assistance.
    • Sleep (screensaver) mode:
      • The Kindle normally goes into sleep mode after 10 minutes of inactivity, or when you slide the power switch briefly.
      • In sleep mode a ‘screensaver’ is displayed and all keys are disabled. This can be inconvenient if you are trying to follow a recipe on your Kindle.
      • Disable sleep mode:
        • This is not a ‘hack’; it simply uses built-in, but not publicly documented, commands.
        • For each of these commands, from the HOME screen press DEL to bring up the search box. Then press SYM so you can type the first character.
        • Type ;debugOn and press ENTER. Nothing appears to happen.
        • Type ~disableScreensaver and press ENTER.
        • This not only disables the automatic sleep mode, but also disables manually putting the Kindle to sleep using the power slider.
      • Re-enable sleep mode
        • To re-enable sleepmode, type ~resumeScreensaver.
      • To see other commands available in debug mode, type ~help.
      • To turn off debug mode, type ;debugOff.
    • Enable the hidden text justification menu:
      • Enables you to toggle between full and left justification from the Aa menu (as long as the book isn’t formatted to force justification).
      • Restore the text justification menu toggle without a hack
      • I tried this after updating to Ver 3.1 firmware and it is working, though I have quite a few books that seem to be formatted to force full justification.
      • If you use calibre to manage your books, the plug-in for managing and creating collections also allows you to modify your Kindle settings, including horizontal margin, justification, and fonts. v1.16
    • Change the ‘screensaver’ pictures:
      • This does involve jailbreaking your Kindle and installing a hack. I believe this will not invalidate your warranty, but may violate your Terms of Service agreement with Amazon.
      • Kindle Screen Saver Hack for all 2.x and 3.x Kindles and Fonts & ScreenSavers Hacks for Kindles
      • The screen saver hack does not currently work on the "Kindle with Special Offers", which uses the screen savers for advertising. On the mobilereads forum, NiLuJe says, "Besides, circumventing this on these specific devices isn’t something I’m particularly inclined to do, for obvious reasons…" v1.15
    • Install new fonts:
    • Duokan is an alternative OS developed for the Kindle:
    • There are other hacks but if you can’t find them yourself you definitely shouldn’t be using them 😉

Book File Formats

  • AZW: This is the format of most books purchased from Amazon; it is a modified version of the .mobi format and can be read only by the Kindle and Kindle apps.
    • Most, but not all, books purchased from Amazon have Digital Rights Management (DRM) which prevents copying from one device to another. DRM’d books must be downloaded separately for each device.
    • Samples are usually DRM-free.
    • Associated files include:
      • Bookmarks, notes etc are saved in an .mbp file.
      • Popular highlights, if you have them turned on, are saved in a .phl file
      • Page number information is (if available) is downloaded wirelessly and stored in a .apnx file (Ver 3.1 update)
      • The ‘Customers who bought this book also bought’ and ‘More by this author’ information that can now be displayed after the last page of a book is also downloaded wirelessly and stored in a .ea file (Ver 3.1 update)
  • TPZ/AZW1: "The dreaded Topaz format" is an Amazon format which can contain embedded fonts and other rendering controls.
    • Files in this format have an .azw1 extension when they are delivered via Whispernet or a .tpz extension when they are delivered via file download.
    • It is likely all books in this format have DRM.
    • If the product details for a book show the number of pages but no file size, it is likely it is in Topaz format.
    • Associated files include:
      • Bookmarks, notes etc are saved in a .tan file.
      • Popular highlights, if you have them turned on, are saved in a .phl file
    • Fortunately, relatively few books purchased from Amazon come in this format, which often behaves badly. For example, your last-read position may not be remembered when the Kindle goes to sleep.
      • It often helps to press HOME when you are finished reading, rather than leaving the book open.
  • Unprotected MOBI/PRC: The Mobipocket format is based on XHTML.
    • Either the .mobi or .prc file extension can be used; the .prc extension arose because PalmOS does not recognise files with a .mobi extension.
    • The Kindle does NOT support protected .mobi files. Even though Mobipocket is now owned by Amazon, protected mobi files have DRM which the Kindle does not handle.
    • Free books formatted for the Kindle from the catalogues of sites such as Feedbooks, MobileRead, and Gutenberg will come in unprotected mobi or prc format.
  • TXT: Plain text files are small and can be read on almost any device, but lack formatting.
  • Non-ADE PDF: PDFs are often used where layout is important and may contain embedded fonts, tables, diagrams etc.
    • PDFs which require ADE (Adobe Digital Editions) are protected and cannot be read on the Kindle.
    • You can read password-protected PDFs on your Kindle.
    • PDFs are often formatted for A4 or letter size pages and do not reflow (change their line length and page size to suit the screen size).
    • If layout is not critical in a PDF, it is often better to convert it to an AZW via Amazon’s conversion service (remembering to put Convert in the subject line of the email) or using a program such as Calibre.
  • AZW2: ‘Active content’ such as games have an AZW2 extension.:
    • These files have DRM and cannot just be copied from one Kindle to another (Active content is not yet available to users outside the US, so I can’t test this)
  • Conversion from other formats: Other book formats require conversion to .mobi format before they can be read on the Kindle.
    • Amazon’s conversion service: Unprotected DOC, DOCX (experimental), TXT, RTF, JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP, ZIP (converts the enclosed files), PDF (with Convert in the subject line)
    • Calibre: Unprotected CHM, EPUB, FB2, HTML, LIT, LRF, ODT, PDB, PDF, RB, RTF, TCR, TXT
    • Any file which requires the use of ADE (Adobe Digital Editions) is protected and cannot be converted.
  • HTML without conversion: If you have a simple HTML/XHTML file, you can read it on the K3 without conversion:
    • Change the file extension to .txt (eg rename Book.html to Book.txt) and then copy it via USB to the Kindle’s documents directory.
    • The Kindle
      will display the file complete with HTML formatting. HTTP links to web sites will work, but not links to other files on the Kindle itself.
    • Nested tables are not supported, even when converted to mobi format; these may need to be converted to PDF to retain formatting.
    • Very large tables, even if they are simple, unnested tables, may not render correctly.

The K3 Keyboard

Kindle 3 keyboard

Kindle 3 keyboard

Just the Keyboard Shortcuts

    Start/stop Shift+Sym
  Stop Back
  Pause/restart Spacebar
Voice Guide v1.16  
    Start/stop Shift+Spacebar
Background Music
  Play/stop Alt+Spacebar
  Next track Alt+F
  Numbers 1 to 0 Alt+Q to Alt+P
  Minesweeper/Gomoku Alt+Shift+M from home screen
  Rescan files Alt+Z from home screen
  Redraw the screen Alt+G
  Screenshot Alt+Shift+G or Alt+Shift+H
  Kindle store Alt+Home
  Display serial no/barcode Alt+Shift+.
  Toggle bookmark Alt+B
  Bookmark location double-click at desired location
  Next/previous chapter 5-way right/left
Settings Screen
  Change 3G provider 311 (Alt+EQQ)
  Kindle information 411 (Alt+RQQ)
  3G Modem information 611 (Alt+YQQ)
  Wi-fi Modem information 711 (Alt+UQQ)
Web Browser
  Nudge Alt+H, Alt+J
  Clear address Alt+Del
Picture Album Viewer
  Zoom in/out/reset Q/W/E
  Rotate R
  Full screen F
  Nudge Numbers (Alt+Q to P)

Latest Version of these tips

In .mobi format – with Table of Contents and chapter marks

In .azw format – converted via Amazon – no TOC or chapter marks

Web site

Thanks to the numerous people who have shared their knowledge via forums, blogs, web sites and comments.