A Travellerspoint blog

First sights of the West Coast

Albany to Prevelley

It was gorgeous driving through all the tall trees in Shannon National park at first light but there was one tree in particular that we were looking for that we needed to head to Glouchester National park to find...

ECC706EF2219AC68179CE3B72AEF42FC.jpg

... And that was the Glouchester Tree one of the giant karri trees which was used as a fire look out point.

ECD3E7A82219AC681710F7947656D236.jpg

In the 1930s and 40s a string of look out trees were selected to have viewing platforms built at the top which would be manned to keep an eye out for any whisps of smoke that might appear through the canopy. It was imperative for any fires were detected early to avoid disaster.

The look out platform is 61m high and large pegs spiral around this giant to make the ladder to the top.

large_ECE6F3C72219AC68177CA2F4CAB137A2.jpg

When the first forrester, a man called Jack Watson, climbed the tree he only had climbing boots and belt to climb with. It took him over 6 hours to get up and down it in order to survey its suitability as a fire look out point. There are some incredible photos of his climb and also that of a man called Dick Sprogue who would climb up with his axe to chop off the top of the tree with little or no safety equipment incase anything went wrong!

EDD2C3E42219AC6817B307DF7911DCE6.jpgEE023B582219AC6817CBC40A96AEFA8D.jpg

Of course you can guess that as soon as Dan found out you could climb up it that he had to give it a go.

ECF504892219AC681742661924805A86.jpg

With parts of the climb being vertical and nothing to catch you if you happened to slip between the pegs I decided to give this one a miss and nervously waved goodbye and hoped he would make it back down again. Soon he was out of sight as he got higher up the tree so I used the whistle idea from the Hunger Games to be able to tell if he was still alright up there. If anyone else had arrived at that point they would have found a slightly distressed woman madly whistling at a tree... but eventually Dan whistled back so all was ok :)

ED0F90352219AC68173AD438CCC10E03.jpg

And this is the incredible view that Dan got over the Karri Forrest.

large_ED2283A52219AC6817E6D021EB1CB656.jpg

With Dan safely back on the ground we headed into the small town of Pemberton and got refreshments at the Mill House Cafe who have delicious homemade sausage rolls and all the gossip!

EE31CEE82219AC6817B0B145081546B8.jpgEE50E0352219AC681710BD1B2822B9DB.jpg

Pemberton built up in early 1900s with the development of the railway. It turns out that the hard wood of the karri trees make great railway sleepers. Sawmills opened up and housing was needed for the workers resulting in Pemberton, full of traditional wooden houses with porches out the front.

EE41DBBA2219AC681706231FA1314DED.jpgEE5C8A4E2219AC68178CE76C70BB78D1.jpg

We continued the scenic drive through the forrest to Prevelly along the Cave Road, famous for its many caves, but we decided not to stop at any as we had visited several caves in Asia and wanted to push on to the West Coast. We knew we had some time to kill so took a detour down to Port Augusta but after a guy reversed into our van we decided to move on. Luckily no damage was done. Prevelley is quaint seaside town just outside of the town of Margaret River where the river meets the ocean. As we approached we could see the white Greek chapel that looks out over Prevelly. We would later find out that this was built in honour of the Greeks had looked after australian soldiers during the second world war.

EF2F671B2219AC6817A001F27826563C.jpg

It was still too early to check into the caravan park so we went to Gnarabup Beach to chill out and get our first experience of WA beaches. Not too shabby!

EEDD3F032219AC68174C0581215FC224.jpg

Although still several hours from our final destination of Perth we had made it from one side of Australia to another!! Home was that way!

large_EEFB1ECC2219AC6817BFD6CCB1CFFE63.jpg

We enjoyed sunbathing and then had lunch at the White Elephant where the persistent seagulls battled the strong winds in wait for any unattended food or food covered children!

After checking into campsite to freshen up we headed in to Margaret River. A big town with plenty of shops to look around cafes and bars. A far cry from the smaller settlements we had passed through on most of our journey. We popped into the Settlers Tavern to find some wifi. Went through the more dodgy entrance where people seem to just sit around in the dark and place bets. It was a bit nicer in the main room and outside areas and seemed to be the hub of the town.

Before heading back to cook dinner at the van went to check out where the river meets the ocean and check out some of the rock pools.

EFACD8242219AC6817647288E2B53905.jpg

EFBA613D2219AC68175964D1010F8DE9.jpgEFC039B42219AC6817592CE7E78B2892.jpg

Despite being tempted to head back to the Settlers Tavern for the open mic night we decided it would be best to an early one as we had a full day of wine tasting fun ahead of us.

Sxx

Posted by doyledan 18:41 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Albany to Shannon National Park

Waking up in the early hours we had the pleasure of watching the sun rise of the bay and jetty, the Dawson's Creek theme tune sprung to mind. I had to wake Sarah up after we slept a little longer as 4 huge pelicans were now on the jetty staring out in the distance like old men sitting on a bench discussing the days weather.

296B3E7C2219AC681796B06E6FAF9D38.jpg2970E3C92219AC68173AD9A35B9AFBAC.jpglarge_2979F0D72219AC6817C6D8FF1D77FFF7.jpg

We had been doing some Yoga on the trip and decided this was a good place to do a routine but as we were doing stretches we encountered these nasty big flies that continued to pester and try to bite you, so that put an end to that! We thought it would be good idea to try out one of the walks in the area near our camping so we made the short drive to edge of Flinders Peninsula to tackle the hike to the Bald Head. As we parked up it seemed the flies had followed us and several were hovering outside waiting to pounce.

Moving quickly out of the van we made our way to the trail but hadn't counted on the track taking 6 to 8 hours to finish! Instead we meandered up part of track for an hour and found our way to some fantastic view points. It was a gorgeous day and the wild flowers were out, but also the many flies (there is a bit of theme going on here I know).

2985DF662219AC68179D84D4D169730B.jpg2989F8F62219AC6817C74C06BBDD816E.jpg29910BF62219AC681704A32016AF29EB.jpg29AAC3792219AC681785B1C84529CDB2.jpglarge_29DD1C9C2219AC68179E09F37ADD8A07.jpg29A6A6D22219AC6817DC1245FDBC8195.jpg299BB87E2219AC6817F5CB1F6A52CB3E.jpg

On turning back having got our fair share of sea breeze we encountered this clever grasshopper who looked identical to the wood.

2A7495CF2219AC6817DBA1AA07D1D1A6.jpg

Leaving the trail we headed back to campsite to grab a shower but not before seeing the fields opposite with tens of Kangeroos out for their morning graze.

large_398AD7562219AC68170A66907793F206.jpg

The next stop from Albany would be Denmark which is about a 40 minute drive. As we approached this small town we stopped off at the visitor centre trying to figure out our next move. Not ready to move on as the town was really quite nice we found our way to a quaint cafe called Mrs Jones and had a coffee and cake to help inspire us. We read that there were some elephant shaped rocks along the way out of Denmark and so of course we had to visit them, what with Sarah's passion for all things Elephants.

2A8B3D512219AC6817AA628ED51A313C.jpg2A8FDF4A2219AC6817B0D6F55D4DF2AE.jpglarge_2A93B9A42219AC6817AA1924C212217A.jpg

Before reaching the Elephant Rocks we stubbled upon a sign to a maze and so intrigued we turned off the highway to investigate. The maze was created by a family who own the land and they ask for any donations as you enter. It wasn't the most amazing maze but as a rest bite and also a bit of randomness it brought a smile to us.

2AA336832219AC6817BEDBBA5C21A947.jpg2AA71F412219AC681734827F9CEB605F.jpg2AAD4BE62219AC681740F78D1FA39EB4.jpg2AC2B1E02219AC681708DE76939BDE17.jpglarge_2ACAB4C62219AC681784B32AC729919A.jpg

Leaving the maze we began to see signs for wineries and also a Chocolate Lounge! Named Swiss Annie's denmarkchocolate.com.au, well of course we had to stop. With a Swiss theme evident as you approached the gardens of the house we thought could this be a home to lots of Toblerone? As we entered we were met by a English chap who was the husband of the Swiss lady whose grandfather had been a chocolatier for Thornton's (or was it Lindor). They were continuing on the family tradition over in Australia, however he explained how hard it is to do chocolate here due to the climate. Generally chocolate is more suited to the European climate, and so their choice of situating themselves in Denmark was predetermined as the area has a similar climate, however they still need to make sure they don't take long moving it out from one fridge to another during the process.

2AE16FCA2219AC681719821FD7E61E90.jpg39ACCCB72219AC6817C253F8EF8B1F69.jpg2AEC81D42219AC68170C417E2EA7AF64.jpg39E839342219AC681709D4F4632F888F.jpg39F06B222219AC68177017E349856DCA.jpg

We had a sample of a few of their specialties white and dark chocolate which was given to us in handfuls! We then purchased some of their truffles including sea salt and burnt caramel truffles, roast almond and honey truffle, hazelnut and Cointreau and even a chocolate Koala! (Sarah got that one!). It was dead quiet being out of season but he told us that come Xmas time their would be queues going out the door so in a way we lucked out. It was only because we didn't have a way of keeping things cool in the van that we left without buying more although Sarah was tempted to get the chocolate marshmallow sauce!

Making our way to Elephant rocks with a satisfied sweet tooth we turned off the highway and parked up. It turns out, much like the dog rock in Albany the shape of the elephants isn't totally obvious but we had fun looking around and again being by the coast and taking in the sea breeze and especially the warm weather was more than enough to entertain us.

3A846DF02219AC6817210E2338C20276.jpg3A8D7C832219AC681771A19AC745E6A2.jpg3A9EE7A62219AC68175DDA8D8B6A4E22.jpg3AA5E9A32219AC681769CC8A42B87F06.jpg3AB0E22E2219AC6817A59A0B1BBA7A25.jpg3AC066352219AC681792750A17575742.jpglarge_3ADAA54F2219AC6817D18CCC049D05A3.jpg

It was getting into late morning before we reached Walpole where we had been advised there was a tree top walk, so we found our way to it. The tree top walk is 40metre high and was quite windy and so the walkway would sway and bounce with the vibrations of people walking on it. Not one for those with a fear of heights. Sarah and I thought it was like being an Ewok in Star Wars or part of Robin Hood and his band of merry men. It was a short walk around the trees but a pleasant one. You learn to appreciate being out of the car on a roadtrip like this one and so even taking in the breeze amongst the tree top was a welcome break. As we headed to the lower ground we saw some Blue Wrens and a friendly chap told us that only the males are blue and the females are brown. They stay in family units of about 12 but only one male will be blue at a time, then this dominant male dies the next one changes his colour to become blue!

3B09E21E2219AC681724EEB5C64CF10D.jpg3B14D08C2219AC6817C77B4A30C81018.jpg3B2F26302219AC6817A40F0AF4002BAC.jpg3B45A73C2219AC6817786CED2726BC6A.jpg3B566CB22219AC6817BD0A085FDEA806.jpg3B6321CF2219AC6817F68C8912FC948B.jpg3B6DE3D72219AC6817900FAB62B9A0C0.jpglarge_3CE341762219AC6817E0D5D684861276.jpg

Needing some lunch we stopped off in Walpole town down at the jetty, (another Dawson creek moment) and we were the only people there. The jetty went out into one of the Inlets that if you had a boat would go all the way out to sea. It was great just to sit and relax for a bit in the sun.

3B7868082219AC68179AE8D03D6C6B00.jpg3B806A332219AC6817C2442CBF88CF58.jpglarge_3B88A7CF2219AC681700DAC7CC55FEDB.jpg

By the time we were done in Walpole it was close to 4:30pm and with a desire not to be out at dusk we moved onto Shannon National Park to stop at the camping grounds off the highway. The camping ground were surrounded by huge karri trees and had some resident Kangeroos and Kookaburros. Walking around the grounds we took some photos and listened to the kookaburros make their odd sound which sounds like a monkey!

3B93A5042219AC6817AFBADF9E5C6651.jpg3BAD5C2B2219AC68176A07D95FB784AB.jpg3BB62AA02219AC68170D9FE22D1AB740.jpg3BBF13652219AC681716C3E1B19A1E94.jpg

A simple dinner of soup cooked on a BBQ was prepared despite wrestling the mosquitos and flies and we were ready for bed.

Next would be a trip Margaret River and the Wine Dudes tour!

Stay tuned for more tales

Dan

Posted by doyledan 06:37 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

On to Albany

Cape Le Grand to Albany via Stirling Ranges - 594 kms

We d got into a routine of getting up at about 5am which is not a bad thing as this meant we could beat the queues at the showers before the larger tour groups got up. We weren't the only early risers though as at least 5 kangaroos were hopping around all the campervans and tents. No doubt they were looking for a morning snack, but for a moment we wondered whether Kanga had rallied the troops to take vengeance for eating Uncle John! So Dan thought it would be best to try to blend in!

D19CFBD32219AC6817061FC0FD89FC8E.jpg

Before we left we took one last look at Lucky Bay and managed to spot a kangaroo on the beach!

large_D1ABDE272219AC681715A5A2C6FEF3A7.jpg

We enjoyed the drive out of the national park taking in all the views. You definitely could spend a few days here going on all the walks and checking out the different bays, it was a shame we had to move on.

large_D1EC2A582219AC6817DFB086D613C173.jpgD1E3DAD32219AC68175CAEA3E14F0259.jpgD1F983062219AC68178C1B188224B74F.jpgD200AAFD2219AC681788F56A0D321BCB.jpgD20645B32219AC6817FBDAD14D7B27DF.jpg

Our next stop would be the Stirling Ranges but before that we wanted to stop off at Lake Hellier, a pink lake that I had read was just outside of Esperance.

We were expecting something that looked like this...

D420AF662219AC6817D44029559BDB55.jpg

But instead we found this...

D4349FE82219AC6817A1514DAF6B1F9F.jpg

Turns out I had got my info wrong and that Pink Lake outside of Esperance was NOT the same as Lake Hellier (which is actually on an island off the south coast) Whoops! After asking some locals in the town of Pink Lake, we found out that Pink Lake had not been pink for over 20 years! So I really think they need to rename this place and all the shops too which are all called Pink Lake too!

We laughed off the lake fail and headed on to the Stirling Ranges. We still couldn't get over how small some of the 'towns' were that we passed through, this is Ongerup, which according to google has just over 100 people living here.

D48CFB162219AC6817D89E69021C358C.jpgD49256952219AC6817EBC055450B19A8.jpg

As we were driving a long I noticed an odd shape coming out of the heat haze further up the road. At first I thought it might have been a man standing at the side of the road, and as we got closer we thought it might be a massive crow but the legs were too big. It was actually an enormous eagle standing on top of a dead kangaroo! As we got closer it spread its wings and took off and I swear it could have taken the kangaroo with it if it wanted to it was that big!

Soon the Stirling Ranges came into view, after seeing flat land for the last couple of days it was a novelty to have such a large break on the horizon. The Aboriginal name for them is Koi Kyenuunu-ruff which means 'mist moving around the mountains'. These ranges run for 65km and are home to the highest peak in southern Australia, Bluff Knoll (1095m) which Dan was keen to hike to the top of.

large_D5A33CA92219AC681792802D19C28CA7.jpg

We had planned to do this hike and stay overnight at one of the campsites. However we hadn't factored in that we would be arriving at the hottest part of the day. Not the ideal time to start a 4 hour hike so with no cooling mist in sight we sought the shelter of some trees to cook up some lunch and decide our next move.

D5E3CA362219AC6817BD9013C6E6FD10.jpg

This is when the flies found us, and we decided that it would probably be best to do a scenic drive through the ranges and move on rather than contend with the flies and the heat. It was really beautiful and we got to see a Rosenbergs Goana!

D61F970E2219AC68178DF18C228E12AF.jpgD625EE352219AC68176AA3B4F56D8001.jpg

We got to Albany around 3pm a quaint and picturesque seaside town (although I think this is actually referred to as a port city). It was the first settlement in Western Australia, so by Australian standards you find some old buildings here. It reminded us a bit of home.

F7E028AA2219AC6817346C5D0C223F9D.jpgF7E63BCC2219AC6817FBECF22DB282F3.jpg

In fact walking down York Street with its town hall and clock tower it reminded me a bit of Guildford, and it had a huge tree with Xmas decorations on which was strange for us as it felt so far from Christmas.

F84DCF4E2219AC68179A29C1E5EEF4D2.jpg

Down by the port there is a replica of The Brig Amity, which was a New South Wales Government Supply Ship. Originally built in Canada this vessel is significant because carried 58 people from Sydney to become the first settlers in Western Australia in 1826.

F899E8702219AC681762BB9CAAB9BE69.jpg

Having changed our plans we needed to find somewhere to camp in the van overnight. We headed to the tourist information centre and soon had a map with several circled options. We decided to head for Panorama caravan park which was a gorgeous set up on the opposite side of the harbour from the main town where we were met by the welcoming Neil and several of the residents friendly dogs. We were directed to the spot that we could park up at which was right on the water front with a small jetty jutting out. Just lovely.

Before heading back into town for some dinner we decided to make the most of the remaining sunlight and headed along the coast to check out some of this areas famed rugged coastline by visiting The Gap and The Natural Bridge. Apparently parts of this ancient coastline can still be matched up to the coasts of Antarctica!

F907C7A72219AC68171C94B850301FB6.jpg

Given that the bridge could potentially collapse at any moment into the crashing waves below I was amazed by the amount of people clambering along and jumping around on it.

F8F17D0E2219AC6817299BB6032E08C9.jpg

The Gap was impressive and has been carved into the coastline by the Southern Ocean creating sheer cliff faces with booming waves exploding on its base. When the weather is really rough they can hit it with so much force that the water comes up over the top and the spray reaches all the way to the car park!

F9267CA12219AC681708DAE03DA03C91.jpg

This is the view over the nearby Cable Beach

F93B9FF82219AC6817542194A59AA61F.jpg

Getting hungry we headed back to town for some food. After mainly eating budget noodles for the last couple of days we were keen to treat ourselves to a curry and having spotted one advertised on the map headed in that direction. It was dead, the only life in the place was the blinking 'open' light outside which wasn't as inviting as I guess it was intended so we decided to head back towards the harbour. It wasn't a wasted trip as we were entertained by stumbling on the famous Dog Rock. Australians say what they see so this literally is a rock that is meant to look like a dogs head... a collar had even been added to enhance the effect and someone had built their vets practice over the road. Can't get better free advertising than this right?

F977009A2219AC6817BBE14F8E30AB1C.jpg

We opted for the Rustlers Steak House for dinner and had an awesome meal. It seemed we were lucky to get a table as this was a very popular place and I can see why as the 'horns n prawns' aka 'surf n turf' were Yum!

Sxx

Posted by doyledan 00:01 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Norseman to Esperance and Cape Le Grand National Park

Waking up early was part of our routine by this point and so as the sun was rising we got ourselves washed and cooked up some noodles and rearranged the van for the trip down to Esperance. The arid scenery around the campsite was quite nice to look at and with the blue skies above we knew we would be in for a good day.

FC8DEF792219AC68175C20C0BF1008AB.jpgFCA75B992219AC681704351EB0811E54.jpg

Before leaving Norseman we thought we should have a look around the town however because it was quite early nothing was open so we couldn't get our certificate for crossing the Nullarbor from the tourist centre which was a bit of a bummer so instead we decided to take the drive up to Beacon Hill and hope things would open when we got back.

3431EA762219AC6817C421D37032411F.jpg

As we left the main street of the town we saw the statue of a horse which tells the story of how the town of Norseman came to be named. Back in 1894 a gentleman called Laurie Sinclair was riding with his brother and 4 other men across Australia and happened to stop in this region. By pure chance the horse he was riding named 'Norseman' was pawing the ground and revealed a very rich specimen of GOLD!. The knowledge of this area being a source for gold spread and so the town developed off the back of many settlers riding hard to seek out a golden opportunity (excuse the pun).

Mr Sinclair originally came from the Shetland Islands off Scotland and was proud to call himself a 'Norsemen' and so named his horse after the clan Norseman and subsequently named the new goldfield.

FCE9449D2219AC681717A58631F3ED9A.jpg342602772219AC681758E6DF9E77E538.jpg

Making our way up to Beacon Hill we saw a walking trail at the top and so decided to enjoy a morning stroll around the elevated area. It boasted a spectacular view 360 degrees around as the vast landscape we had come so accustomed too was laid out in front of us.

3445EDB32219AC681737E4686C717A25.jpg345DD7F72219AC681756D609D149F0D6.jpg

Along the trail there were some scenery/wildlife and nature information boards and we found out our 'broccoli tree' was actually named Dundas Blackbutt which was is part of Eucalyptus family.

34796D1E2219AC6817DD425D5970CD92.jpg

We also we given a explanation of the visible mining pit called 'Hit and Miss'. Mining for Gold was big business but even the Pro's can get it wrong and so this pit was dug and produced 277,000 cubic metres of waste rock.

34B76C192219AC6817B3075844B1406B.jpg34BBB5FE2219AC68174DA9E8CE2865EC.jpg34DC81FD2219AC68173F6B73F83E19ED.jpg34E5D9F92219AC6817C5CF1A6CE41190.jpg
34FE3AC12219AC68176153635277366D.jpg350889F32219AC68179E88B2CD0E754C.jpg

As we went further round the short trail we did manage to see the working mine that has been producing gold which as helped Norsemen become a place worth settling near.

3510988F2219AC6817BD3FD488958222.jpg

However, the historical facts about early settlers made you realize out here in the bush must have been hard going despite the prospect of gold, with water and building materials in scarce supply. The ingenuity of some of settlers lead to them to use bully beef tin cans to make homes for themselves. It didn't look much but at the time it would be considered a luxury. You could also see that they knew how to make the most of things and enjoyed participating in sport and going for picnics in spring with the blooming wildflowers, so it wasn't all bad.

353929842219AC6817FBBD9F22CD67D2.jpg354695022219AC681731E780212B3A75.jpg

This is the real Norseman!

35318BFE2219AC6817233626D34ECB8F.jpg

The town of Norsemen didn't appear to be a hotspot for tourism it has to be said, its really a necessary stop on the long drive but we did enjoy being able to see the beautiful scenery and learn a little bit about the history of the mining boom which shaped this whole country.

Leaving Beacon Hill we passed a friendly man who was the first person we had seen all morning and really the only person we had seen in Norseman! I asked him the time which he happyily gave me along with a near toothless grin. That and his beard gave the impression that he had just stepped out of the photos of the first miners we has been looking at and added to the feeling that this place is a bit backward if you know what mean? Its not fair to stereotype but what didn't help was that someone had spray painted 'Beware of the Gard dog', on the side of their house and the missing letter wasn't due to the lack of space on the wall!

Nothing was open when we got back to town and we didn't want to wait another hour until they were so we were happy to move on to the coast, not before saying goodbye to these guys.

356633612219AC6817F0DB2FD5491D71.jpg

Driving to Esperance would only take 2 hours which was a dip in the ocean compared to what we had done the day before. On route we stumbled across a number of salt lakes, a very long train and the scenery began to change to farm lands with tall trees.

3586FE672219AC6817C6C1ACD92CD217.jpg35925E6C2219AC6817D5F9CF7FAC2A6A.jpg9F9444AE2219AC6817DFBD930BEDADCA.jpg
35A01F392219AC68176B9C6D50629EAC.jpg35A562632219AC6817352C332F307A23.jpg35ABBBED2219AC681754BAE6132A87F9.jpg

Once in Esperance ours plans were to get supplies and get as quickly to Cape Le Grand national park so we could enjoy some beach time. It was the largest town we had been to since we had left Melbourne! After grabbing some 'Kanga Bangas' (Kangeroo sausages) for hotdogs, some booze and a failed attempt to access the internet at McDonalds, we drove east out of town to the park. Enroute we encountered our first 'living' kangeroo out on the plains.

35B4B6B02219AC6817DD0F0195DF9129.jpg35BD9DAB2219AC6817B41AA15ED32B6D.jpg

Getting to Cape Le Grand was simple and as we pulled up to the entrance we were met with magnificent scenery, so much so I remarked to the ranger lady who was taking the fees that she had 'the best seat in the house' from her window looking out over the bays and Frenchmans Peak. With only 12 dollars to pay to get in we were more than happy to help the cause to keep this area maintained.

35D4842E2219AC681756CAEDFB700E82.jpg3603CE892219AC6817216B6E917DBBD7.jpg

Now this is hard to describe and I hope the pictures do it justice but as we made our way though the park admiring the hills and wildflowers that spread across the whole park we turned off to Lucky Bay and could not believe our eyes when this appeared over the horizon.

Just flawless!

large_376A36B22219AC68174F064C207B586C.jpg

We parked up in the camping area for vans and dashed down to the beach. With Sarah sporting her Madame Brussels parasol and me with my guitar we strolled the beach taking in the views, not quite believing how vibrant the colours were around us.

A0584BAD2219AC6817E15AE294FB3B69.jpgA06376512219AC6817C0D2A12EF4CA76.jpg

The sand was so white and made a crunch like sound that you would get with snow. The only downside was that the wind was quite intense and so it wasn't ideal for sunbathing but I did have a dip in the ocean, I mean when would I get another chance!

After beach time, it was lunch time and we cooked our Kanga Bangas in the frying pan and with beers in hand sat on the park bench looking at the views .

A093C7982219AC6817D0280B1A4990DE.jpg

Later we had visitors, one was the park ranger who took the fees for camping, he was an older gentlemen from the UK who much like many people we had met had come over to Australia many years ago and decided to stay. I mean with this location as your office who could blame him. The other visitors were the resident Kangeroo with a little Joey kicking around. Of course Sarah went snap doolally!

A0A69D3E2219AC68177404690697DD6D.jpg

Before the sun went down we got our got our extra beach time and decided to stroll all the way to the other end of the bay and back, which was great.

A0B292FE2219AC6817D2F3695532106E.jpgA0C16E642219AC681797700D8E4CC95F.jpg

Sarah almost shot up in the air like Mary Poppins from the wind.

A0C7C0FB2219AC681719693C63180758.jpg

Wherever you looked there was an opportunity for a awesome photo!

A0D5AE252219AC6817F8ACB10206F430.jpgA0DF70DD2219AC68177D60E9EB5B6398.jpglarge_A0EACCEC2219AC681790D1FAAD18E49E.jpg

Getting back to camp we set up for the night with Kanga bangas on the menu again dinner. I was half way through cooking them, using my make shift wind break to stop the flames going out, when we spotted that the kangaroo and her joey were back and had come up behind us! Lets hope we weren't cooking their Uncle John.

A12424E42219AC6817F4307D028E1EEA.jpg

We definitely felt a bit guilty eating our dinner, with these little faces looking at us!

A13B478C2219AC681708B7C10FBDF56F.jpgA144D9492219AC6817E89168CC1F8048.jpg

As we moved away from the van to sit in the last bit of evening sunshine, Kanga moved over to it and started to lick the dead bugs off the front! There were a lot of them!

A1577F912219AC6817218A9E800DFE26.jpgA16369212219AC68175295CD4B9CD947.jpg

As the night sky took over Sarah noticed a light falling in the sky which at first looked like a star, but it was falling quite dramatically, so it couldn't of been a satellite , but it didn't look like a shooting star either...UFO? She had hit her head on the door of the boot earlier and after admitting stopping to talk to some kangaroos in the dark which on closer inspection turned out to be wooden posts I think maybe it had been a long day and she needed a good cup of tea.

A17CC41F2219AC6817B6FB67476EDB16.jpg

Stay tuned for more tales.

Dan

Posted by doyledan 06:49 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Crossing the Nullarbor Plain

Ceduna to Norseman - 1211kms in one day!

Yep that's 1211kms in one day folks!

This long drive would include crossing the arid expanse of the Nullarbor Plain, the worlds largest and flattest piece of limestone. Covering 200,000 square kilometres (which is nearly the same size as the state of Victoria). This area was nicknamed the Treeless Plain and it doesn't take a genius to work out why. I guess the 'treeless plain' didn't have the right ring to it it was decided to use the Latin nullus arbor which means 'no trees' instead.

C6FD6BB32219AC6817C3296CDF75E36D.jpg

It also has another nickname of the 'Nullar-boring' as there is not much to see along the way but we were willing to take on the gauntlet that had been thrown down to anyone who wants to drive from one side of Australia to another, and had a great time in the process. Not so Nullar-boring to us :) but then again coming from somewhere like to UK distances like this are a novelty and we were only planning on doing this once.

To complete this monumental leg of our journey it would take at least 12 hours, but fortunately for us we had time on our side...literally...as we would be crossing through 2 timezone changes gaining time as we went (or going back in time) so it was probably closers to 15 hours in total! Now this shouldn't feel like such a weird thing as most of us casually hop on a plane into another timezone without really thinking about it, but to drive through 2 in one day was a bit strange!

But first we had to get there as from Ceduna it was still a further 300km to the start of the Nullarbor. After spending a night looking at the stars through our 'moon window ' and trying to count the bats that had come out to feed swooping overhead, we were up early to make sure we were stocked up on fuel, water etc... Cleaning the windows would be a must at each stop so we could see, wiping away the dust and scraping off the thousands of splattered bugs!

C75A71792219AC6817A29AF747DE5D58.jpg

Then we hit the road...

C7B282D52219AC6817260A2AAA08DB3A.jpg

the very loooooong road...

large_5D56788F2219AC6817E71C27383BE7F6.jpg

It was crazy to think that we didn't need to make a turn for over 1000kms!!

C78A1FC82219AC6817663994FDB4E78E.jpg

We passed through the small town of Penong, where everyone clearly had had a good time on the weekend.

5D8FD0B42219AC68176B08A4BF53F66F.jpg5D96584E2219AC681734A8A33F92A020.jpg

This would be one of the 'larger' settlements we would see in a while as most other stops along the way would literally be a roadhouse with possibly a convenience store too.

large_5DB55E882219AC681793E9CCA0C92ACB.jpg

First thing in the morning is the busiest time and we shared the road with plenty of road trains and other camper vans and cars doing the journey. For somewhere as remote as this it had a surprising communal feel as all drivers raise a hand up to acknowledge each other as they drive past, particularly the other camper vans. Kind of a mini high five of 'yeah you're doing this too!'

5E08C7BA2219AC68170F8002283DD95A.jpg

Along the road we would be crossing the Dog Fence, which is the longest fence in the world at over 5600kms and spanning 3 states (according to a doco we watched last night it is 3 times as long as the Great Wall of China!). The purpose of this fence is to stop dingos from crossing into the southeast pastoral lands to protect the livestock there. The dingo 'problem' is a controversial one and there are mixed views on how to cohabit in these areas. Some farmers see them as pests that should all be killed whereas others see the benefit of having a top predator in Australia to help deal with all the feral cats, foxes and rabbits which are destroying the native wildlife.

Some more great road signs!

5E18AD302219AC6817CD10CA725B8207.jpg5E2632262219AC6817005549A4FC76D0.jpg

And finally the sign we had been waiting for, we had made it to the eastern side of the Nullabor!

large_5E3457932219AC6817A7C17407C24890.jpg

Now we just had to cross it!

5EF3ED0B2219AC68170D2922CF5AC386.jpg

However first we wanted to take in the GReat Australian Bight so took the 12km detour off the highway to the coast. This area is famous for its whale look out points where Southern Right Whales can be spotted.Unfortunately for us we were out of season (May to September) but the views from the boardwalks of the Bunda Cliffs were simply stunning! This is where the limestone of the Nullabor meets the water!

large_5F1F49722219AC6817C03F7E7B9A4B12.jpg

To the east you could see where the sandunes come down to the ocean!

61C739972219AC6817D03664FF461DC7.jpg

I was so distracted by the gorgeous views that I managed to put my hand in a huge pile of bird poo! Yuk! Needless to say this meant we had to head back to find somewhere to clean up and then recover from the incident with a connoisseur ice cream!

5F64C8482219AC6817DC89D43AC05ADB.jpg

And I spotted a little lizard, happy days.

5F72387D2219AC6817E83566CA9B4075.jpg

This is a skull of a juvenile humpback whale which washed up on a beach in 2009. If this is a head of a juvenile can you imagine how big an adult would be!

90_5FAA2EDB2219AC681792ECC7D7C4FC84.jpg

We couldn't hang around for long as we had so much ground to cover so it was back in the van onto the Eyre Highway which hugs the southern coast and would provide us which some more great views along the way but most of the time we would be seeing scrub land like this.

61DD42B02219AC681755CFA8FE8A09D7.jpg

We would also keep an eye out for the signs for the Nullabor Links Golf course, where there is a hole at each 'town' along the way with names like Dingo Den. to help pass the time and give a break from the monotony of driving.

Its such a random place.

61F735F02219AC68177A9A3343261357.jpg

As the day went on the time between spotting other vehicles increased so for long stretches it would just be us and the road for company. It was also getting hotter so when vehicles did appear it was through a mystical heat haze on the horizon.

62381ACB2219AC681788195CF0F14365.jpg6248B7BA2219AC6817A47277920F026E.jpg
6256E9332219AC68170E814B23451066.jpg

We got to the WA border at lunchtime and pulled over to cook up some noodles to keep our energy up as well as say high to the big kangaroo Rooey!

6293643A2219AC6817A8F7D7F039AB68.jpg
90_629AC15A2219AC681708CCDA251A2183.jpg

We were over half way to Perth...

62712DB32219AC6817DE4D7EE9C15CCB.jpg627729D22219AC6817C2251E6D0C96D1.jpg

But still a very long way from home!

62825D5C2219AC681745E519576AE649.jpg

Petrol prices were getting more and more expensive as we got more remote. We had taken the tactic of keeping our tank topped up regularly which worked a treat as you wouldn't want o be forking out for a full tank here!

642EB7872219AC6817EBEEEF11B4C3DB.jpg

All vehicles get stopped at this border crossing and quarantine check to make sure you are not taking any fruit and veggies that might spread the flies, also honey was something we were specifically asked about. After a good chat with the border inspector who was from the UK but came here several decades ago and has no intention of going back, we crossed into Western Australia!

We had forgotten to check the time when we crossed the border so pulled into Eucla to check. In our minds it was 2.30pm so it took a while to get our heads round the fact that it was now 12.15pm! Dan didn't believe me when I got back in the van and told him!

90_64545DE82219AC6817E1DFF41800B8D3.jpg

This was great though as we now had the whole afternoon ahead of us...and a lot more road...

large_64721B222219AC6817B523404A6500D6.jpg

And we were now on the look out for emus as well as kangaroos and camels!

64C11B4D2219AC6817452D7CB6B8D265.jpg

There was an almost instant difference in the amount of road kill once we crossed the border into WA and we quickly lost count of all the dead kangaroos lying on the side of the road. I decided not to take any photos of these, the size and shape gave a disturbing resemblance to people on the side of the road. We didn't see any live kangaroos on this part of the journey (or emus, camels or wombats) but as the afternoon went on we did see several bobtails playing chicken trying to cross the road, a couple of snakes (although sometimes what you think is a snake is just a bit of ripped up tyre or a twisted branch on the side of the road), other lizards, and of course the opportunist crows.

We would also need to keep an eye out for planes land on the highway as this is used as an emergency landing strip! We definitely in the middle of nowhere, miles away from help if anything went wrong and images of the flying doctors came to mind as we passed these signs and saw the markings appear on the road to guide the planes.

64DF45582219AC68173742C8E59C607B.jpg657C103D2219AC6817E9B57A54E51F7D.jpg

The scenary was changing and we were now surrounded by what we would fondly nickname 'Broccoli trees'!

65A578E82219AC6817813C187CB15047.jpg65CA53162219AC68171F165A1264A6EA.jpg

Approx 190km west from the WA boarder we had the jaw dropping experience of the looking out over the Roe Plains from the Madura Pass. I really need to find some other descriptive words other than vast but the landscape just stretched on and on. This area was home to the Mandura station which was used to breed horses for the British Army in India!

65D4A4982219AC6817C7E47BF3998507.jpg65DA975A2219AC6817608570D0431D15.jpg

The photos don't do it justice but It was great to look out over some of the road we had travelled along, but we couldn't stop for long as we still had about 500kms to go!!

We stopped off for some more fuel which was now more than 2 dollars per litre! Wowzers!

65F5924D2219AC68175485504510B0FE.jpg

We gained some more time crossing the timezone before Caiguna and I took the wheel for the 90 Mile Straight, Australia's longest straight section of road, and we were flying!

660A2A0B2219AC68172DF64693B454B5.jpg6610281C2219AC681775C35B84C948DD.jpg
large_6619560C2219AC6817D2B089A0D6B56A.jpg

Having gone through our CDs several times it was getting a bit hard to keep ourselves entertained until we spotted the clouds cheering us on to keep going...

6641712E2219AC681735168BC3BBC3D3.jpg665615F92219AC68171AC477F789E7B4.jpg

They weren't lying, this road was really straight!

large_6660E5302219AC68174CE0B7FABFF6DE.jpg

I can only image that cyclists who take on this journey are insane and we passed one guy attempting it. We had both read 'The Man who Cycled the World' that follows Mark Beaumonts extraordinary achievement which includes him cycling across the Nullabor. This was the most difficult part of his trip. Even in the van we could feel the strong cross winds, the montrous force of road trains storming by and the relentless sun beaming in through the windows so to tackle this on a bike would be quite vulnerable. The sun was going down so we had no idea where this guy would stay the night and could only guess he would be camping on the side of the road.

We had an incredible colour show enhanced by the clouds as the sun went down, from moody blues and indigos to warm pinks and oranges. We finally got to Norseman at 7pm, an hour later than planned and to our dismay the office at the caravan park was closed. Fortunately they heard me knocking and let us in for the night. Tired and hungry we set up for the night and in our tiredness decided to cook out of the back of the van instead of going to the camp kitchen. This resulted in us being bombarded by mosquitoes and flies who were attracted by our head torches and had suicidal traits as they dive bombed into the frying pan as we cooked some eggs.

Needless to say we ended up sharing the van with some little biters that night, despite Dans best efforts to get rid of them all. I'm sure the other campers thought they were next to a mad man :)

Sxx

Posted by doyledan 05:33 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

(Entries 36 - 40 of 196) « Page .. 3 4 5 6 7 [8] 9 10 11 12 13 .. »