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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!

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

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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.

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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...

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But instead we found this...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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This is the view over the nearby Cable Beach

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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?

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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

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I am sitting in my hairdressers and have just caught up with the last few blogs of your amazing adventure. The photos are fantastic and so are both of you xxxxxxx xxxxxx xx

by Mum Amanda

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