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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This is the real Norseman!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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 .

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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!

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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Stay tuned for more tales.

Dan

Posted by doyledan 06:49 Archived in Australia

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