A Travellerspoint blog

17 The Great Southern Region of W.A. Part 2

rain 16 °C

17th August
Sadly, we had to depart peaceful Pemberton and the lovely CP as we headed for Walpole, WA. The road was good and an enjoyable journey made a change as we travelled through pleasant forests with some farms.

Our arrival into Walpole was accompanied by another rain period, which made our setup rather hectic and unpleasant, especially as our site was a little difficult to back into. That was achieved and we thought that we should take advantage of a lull in the rain and headed off to the nearby Tingle Tree site. The large Tingle trees are an important part of the ecosystem in South Western forests, and make a very pleasant sight to visit. We had hoped to also travel on to Circular Lake, but found the road was closed, so headed back to camp to listen to the rain!

18the August
We were not surprised that it rained this morning, however, in view of our limited time here, we decided to travel the 17 Kms to see the Valley of the Giants – a reference to the giant Tingle and Karri trees in the National Park. Light rain was falling as we arrived but, we paid our entrance fee and headed up the Tree-Top Walkway that takes one 40 meters above ground on a ‘walk’ through the treetops. As the walkway swayed somewhat I was not too happy, but Mary went around twice. Sadly, because of the rain we decided not to attempt the ground walk and headed back to camp. A visit to the local Visitor Information Office yielded more information, however, time was running out so we made a brief circular drive around the foreshore adjacent to camp and then decided to call it a day.

As an aside, we have been overwhelmed by the very high standard of Visitor Information Offices throughout WA. They have been sizable, even in small towns, very well presented, and always helpful with information, not only local but throughout the rest of WA.

19th August
Walpole to Albany today.
A beautiful blue sky today, but the roads were quite wet from the rain. This was a pleasant trip via Denmark on a good road to Albany. Denmark was a very pleasant small town famous because of Dr Bolle’s world famous 13 meter high (?) barometer. Very interesting exhibit to see. Lots of forests along the roadside but enjoyable to have the variety after the hundreds of kilometres on boring straight roads further north!

We arrived in Albany about noon and got set up very quickly as we had a system problem with the car. We managed to get it booked in at the local garage for the Friday for the necessary investigation while we walked the short distance into town to get some of Mary’s photos printed and a coffee.

Walked home again and settled in for the evening with an pre-dinner shower as taking showers in the morning meant coping with the cold weather and the possibility of a cold shower to go with it. Too old for that stuff now I fear!

20th August
We took the car to the garage and then walked around the CBD taking a few photos of the old (1800’s) buildings that remained. Albany is an older community, in Australian terms, and was settled around 1800 by sealers, whalers and a range of misfits. Later it became a site for criminal exports from England, then it was settled by English settlers.

The Old Gaol, the brig Amity, Anzac Peace Park, the Old railway Station, Dog Rock and the Historical Museum all contributed to a most interesting morning. The Anzac Peace Park was recently inaugurated to commemorate the sailing from Albany of very large numbers of Australian and New Zealand troops to WWI.

The Museum housed a quite small but absolutely brilliant series of photos of a German photographer whose name eludes me. He had published a book that really deserves to sell very well because of his artistic endeavours.

Mary was excited to get her first 50 photos and immediately decided to get another 50 later photos to add to her album (which she still hasn’t bought). We then returned for the remaining 50 photos and then walked back to collect the car. However, the mechanic (who had generously agreed to take us as an overbooking) was only just starting work on it. Mary walked back to the Park and I waited for some time until Dr Mechanic told me that all was now well, and if I paid some money I could drive away in my car with new oil sensors that worked! Problem resolved.

21st August
We were up quite early and drove into town to obtain fresh vegetables at the Saturday Farmer’s Markets.

Mary and I then headed out on the tourist road to see the Natural Arch, Blow Holes, The Gap, Frenchman’s Bay and Middleton Bay sights. The seascape was spectacular, especially with a strong Indian Ocean wind behind it. The giant waves and showers of spray would have scared even the most determined mariner. The rock formations, etched and changed over the years by ocean and wind were well worth the visit.

When we arrived at Middleton Bay, on the other side of the city, we saw a whale doing ‘headstands’ just off the beautiful sandy beach. We jumped in the car and drove back up to the Lookout and saw at least five whales nearby, just resting for a time, then a few spectacular moves. Then the rain persuaded us to return home. A most fascinating time.

22nd August
Albany to Ravensthorpe
A wet start to the day with showers intermittently made this a rather less pleasant journey. The highway (?) was rather substandard and when I said to Mary that I was driving much slower than desired she told me that she had placed tonight’s dinner (in the slow-cooker) in a bucket on the van floor. On checking at a rest stop she found that we now had a Curried Caravan. Curry was all over the floor and it took quite some time, with the help of Jif, to get cleaned up and then catch up with Maureen and Brian along the road.

Passing hundreds of hectares of yellow-flowering canola made for a different trip to normal. At the morning tea stop we found even more wildflowers to photograph.

We lunched in the freezing wind at Jeeramungup and later arrived at Ravensthorpe as the rain arrived also. The Park was only a two-star affair, so we made the most of what was there.

23rd August
Ravensthorpe to Esperance
Brian and Maureen were headed north to Hyden and Wave Rock while Mary and I headed for Esperance, on the south coast.

It was a beautiful clear day, but very cold, as we headed through lovely rolling hills, plenty of natural bush and forestry, along with sheep, cattle and more canola. Again, the road was rather rough but didn’t slow us too much.
More wildflowers along the way that begged us to stop and photograph.

Arriving at Esperance at lunchtime we managed to get set-up before the wind and rain caught up with us again. Very windy generally but our Top Tourist CP was quite well sheltered from the worst weather. We walked into town and viewed a few of the central sights before heading home to a wamr shower and some decent TV reception.

Posted by psstevo 04:37 Archived in Australia Tagged ecotourism

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