Weeks 17 & 18
After leaving Kalbarri we decided to call in and visit Prince Leonard’s at his principality of Hutt River.
We spent a couple of very interesting hours there having a look around. On arrival (there were a few people seem to arrive at about the same time) Prince Leonard came out to greet everyone and explain a little bit about his secession and independence from Australia 1970. He then hopped behind the counter in the Post Office and checked and stamped Passports and issued Visas. He is quite amazing for his age (he told us that he is 90).
We passed Hutt Lagoon (or Pink Lake) – it did look quite pink when we passed but unfortunately there was nowhere to stop to take a picture. We also stopped in at the ruins of the Convict Labour Hire Centre at Port Gregory. They have restored (rebuilt) one of the buildings and have signs on the other ruins explaining what was originally there. We also called up to Lynton House which is on Lynton Station (next door to the ruins) to have a look. It was the first home built in the area and has been left to go to ruin over the years but is now slowly being restored (rebuilt).
I think their prevailing winds over here come from the south east by the looks of these trees. We saw a few like this.
We stopped in at Northampton and as it was getting late we thought we might stay the night there but after finding out that the caravan park (which looked very, very basic) was $35 a night and that it was due to the complaints from the caravan park owner that the rest area (24 hour free camp) was closed down we continued onto Geraldton. We had a very quick walk around Northampton as there are quite a few historical building there. We found a lovely caravan park at Drummond Cove which was only $30 a night. There were a few things in Geraldton which we wanted to see so we immediately set off to see if we could see all that afternoon although the people in the caravan park were happy for us to have a late check-out.
We firstly went out to:-
The Moore Point Lighthouse – quite pretty painted red and white. The beach was quite nice too although it was windy and cold.
St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral designed by Monsignor Hawes – I liked this cathedral as it was very basic and simplistic and not overly ornate like some cathedrals. I am not sure about the orange and white stripes - that was a bit different.
The HMAS Sydney Memorial. This would be one of the best war memorials I have ever visited. It was just on sun down when we arrived and I am not sure if that added to the atmosphere but it was very poignant. It is very well designed with the 645 seagulls representing each of the sailors lost when the HMAS Sydney was sunk depicted in both the main memorial and also the Pool of Remembrance. I also liked how they had the GPS co-ordinates displayed in the Pool of Remembrance, the bronze statue of the woman looking out to sea (in the exact direction to where the HMAS Sydney lay at the bottom of the ocean) and the stele representing the ship’s bow.
We called into Greenough and had a walk around their historical village. It was well worth the walk around and some of the buildings are still used for various activities.
Phil checking out the Magistrate's desk
The Catholic Church
From there we took a detour inland (east) looking for the quite rare wreath flower as well as viewing many other wild flowers.
Along the way we came across a wind farm – we counted at least 80 wind turbines.
Mumbida Wind Farm. It looked really pretty with the purple flowers, green grass and white turbines. The purple flowers looked a lot like 'Patterson's Curse' so the farmer probably didn't think it looked very pretty.
They had a stop where you were right under one of the wind turbines and they had a blade on the ground. You don’t realise how big they are until you are that close. I am not sure why so many people complain about the noise as they were turning quite well the day we were there and unless you were right underneath them there was very little noise.
Some of the little towns we passed through are on what is called the ‘Painted Highway’ and most have murals painted on the walls of buildings, bus shelters etc or they have sculptures depicting early life in these little places. It was really interesting and took up quite a bit of time having a look at everything.
Also at Mingenew
Church of St Joseph - Perenjori (Designed by Monsignor Hawes)
We eventually found the wreath flower and were very pleased that we did eventually find it. It is a very different plant (and flower).
I don't think I have ever seen so many BLUE flowers
We then made our way back to the coast and onto Cervantes to see the Pinnacles.
More Stromatolites at Lake Thetis
We were a bit disappointed in the Pinnacles as both of us had thought (or imagined) that they were just off the beach and were in bare sand dunes. We were surprised at the amount of vegetation around the pinnacles and that they were a kilometres or so inland. However, we had a good drive around them and took lots of photos.
We have still been seeing heaps of wild flowers:
These ones looked nice and fluffy but when you touched them they were like wire - a true bottle brush!!
A Cowslip Orchid
It was then down to Perth and surrounds. We have spent the last week with a couple of new friends we met on our cruise in the Kimberley, staying with them on their farm and their house in Mindarie (a suburb in Perth). Michael very kindly took us driving all along the foreshore and the Swan River as well as up to Kings Park.
Eternal Flame and War Memorial
We had a day over at Rottnest Island. We caught the bus around the island and then did the Oliver Hill and Tram Tour.
We made our way into the city another day (actually I think it was south Perth) where we caught the ferry across the river to the Bell Tower. We did the Bell Tower tour which was really interesting especially as one of the bell ringers was still there and showed us how the bells were rung and let us have a go. They are rebuilding the whole area around the Bell Tower and it is all a construction site and a complete mess.
The Bell Tower
Ringing the Bells of St Martin of the Fields
We also had a day down at Fremantle where we ran out of time to see everything. We did the hop-on hop-off Tram (it is a bus that looks like a tram) Tour which takes you around to the most historic sites and you can hop off and takes photos or do the tours but we didn’t have time to do any of the tours. We had intended to do the Maritime Museum Tour but they seem to have so much there I think you would need at least 3 to 4 hours to see it properly. Depending on how our time goes we may call back into Fremantle to see the Maritime Museum.
Town Hall & Clock Tower - Fremantle
The rats are big in Fremantle
The Old Fremantle Jail
Any AC/DC fans? Statue of Bon Scott.
High Street, Fremantle. Many if these fine old building are now part of the University of Notre Dame and were bequeathed to the university.
We are not sure if we are going to head east to the Central and South Wheat belt districts or continue down along the coast next – bearing in mind that the school holidays start here next Friday. Decisions, decisions………………