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...


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


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.


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!


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.


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 :)


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


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!


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.


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.


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!


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!


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.



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.


Posted by doyledan 18:41 Archived in Australia

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