Weeks 19 & 20
After saying good-bye to our friends in Perth we hit the road again heading back north-east to New Norcia –a Benedictine Monk Monastery. It was a very interesting spot. We did the town (it is not actually a town although there is a main highway through the middle of the settlement) tour and then had a look through the Museum and Art Gallery. They have some very remarkable paintings dating back to the 15th and 16th century. I couldn’t quite get over the size and style of the buildings.
The abbey is behind this wall.
The Girls Boarding School
One of the paintings in the Art Gallery
Both the girl’s boarding school and the boy’s boarding school had their own chapel as well as the convent and then there was the main church.
The buildings are all still in quite good condition and are used as much as possible which is good to see.
We had quite a nice dinner at the hotel.
As the school holidays were about to start we by passed Perth and went straight down to Bunbury hoping to see the south-west corner before the school holidays got into full swing. We had a couple of days in Bunbury and did a few drives around that area but there is not a lot to see, however, I needed to catch up on some washing (which seems never ending).
The King Jarrah
The Tuart Forest - I was expecting a much bigger forest
We came across this fence which had a great number of stuffed toys hanging onit.e
The stone fruit trees are all starting to flower. We have not seen as many wildflowers down here in the south west corner - certainly not the variety we have seen further north.
We then made for Busselton and after finding a reasonable priced caravan park booked in for three days. Unfortunately it was a long week-end as well as the start of school holidays so most of the caravan park fees doubled and some even higher.
After arriving in Busselton we checked out the jetty and did the tram ride and the Underwater Observatory. The Underwater Observatory was really good.
and Busselton Jetty train
Taken from the Underwater Observatory
We then spent two very big days seeing everything in the Busselton/Margaret River area. There are many, many wineries, cheese factories, chocolate places, olive groves etc so takes some time to get around just a few of them. As well there is Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin lighthouses, lookouts and caves.
Friday we firstly called into the Chocolate factory....
Chocolate bath salts???
and the Providores store and winery. They had so much chocolate products – chocolate soap and even chocolate bath salts (I am not sure how that works).
Then the Providores store had so many different jams, chutneys, sauces, both desert and savoury, olive oils and vinegars. As well as lots of different curry powders, muesli and seasonings. They did not have a big variety of wine and I didn’t care for their reds too much but they did have a couple of nice white wines. Their Sambarinas (chocolate liqueurs) were all quite nice. Yum.
Then we called into Cowaramup (otherwise known as ‘Cow Town’) where there are lots of dairy cows and calves all along the main street and in their park.
As well as the black and white cows they also have the ‘Roast on a Pole’ golden cow in the park. Quite a sight.
We had a quick look around Margaret River but it was already starting to get busy with visitors for the long week-end.
Art in Margaret River (township)
By then we were starting to run out of time so we went straight to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. We did the self-guided walk around the lighthouse precinct which was quite interesting.
They even have a 'pirate' cow at Leeuwin Lighthouse
The Water Wheel which has calcified and now appears to be made out of stone
On the way back to Busselton we took a tourist drive through the Boranup Karri Forest and saw some very large (and tall) Karri trees.
We also called into a couple of little coastal settlements.
We arrived back at the caravan park at about 7p.m. and luckily we had eaten so much during the day we didn’t feel like much dinner.
Next day was another big day starting off with a trip to the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. It is a much smaller lighthouse and precinct and after a walk around the grounds we did the walk to the Whale lookout.
We saw a number of whales but most were quite a way off shore.
From the same lookout we also a large rock with a lot of fur seals lazing around. It was a bit far off to get a photo of them.
Look closely - there are lots of seals of the rock above.
From Sugarloaf Lookout
We called into Eagle Bay Olives on the way back to Dunsborough and got some more goodies. We stopped for lunch in Dunsborough and finished lunch off with an ice-cream from Simmo’s Ice Creamery which is about 5 or 6 kilometres out of Dunsborough. It is a lovely spot especially for kids and their ice-cream was pretty good too.
We then made our way to Lake Cave where we did the tour of the cave which entailed walking down many, many, many steps and of course what goes down must come up! I am glad Phil didn’t know about the stairs before we went on the tour but it was well worth it. On the first part of the tour you actually walk down into a huge cavern created some 500+ years ago when the roof of the original cave collapsed (looks like a huge crater) before you walk down more stairs and enter the actual cave. The stalagmites and stalactites were spectacular. I thought I had seen brilliant caves but although this one was only small it was well worth seeing.
After leaving the caves we had just enough time to get to the Blackwood Meadery (five minutes before closing time). I thought we would be rushed but in the end I wasn’t sure if we were ever going to get away. The bloke liked to chat and was interesting to talk to about his different meads. The meads were very nice and of course we couldn’t come away empty handed. Again it was dark by the time we got back to the caravan. The countryside in this area is very pretty – reminds me very much of the Maleny area or Gold Coast Hinterland.
Phew! What a couple of days.
Our next stop was at the Big Brook Arboretum Camp area just outside Pemberton. It was a really nice camp area set in some very large Karri trees. It was pretty packed being school holidays and the long week-end, so we were lucky to get a spot.
Big Arboretum Camp Grounds
On the way from Busselton we called into see the Beedleup Falls.
Then it was onto The Valley of the Giants and the Tree Top Walk and the walk around the Ancient Trees. It was really interesting seeing all the old tingle trees.
We also went for a drive out to the Circular Pool. It was a lovely drive until we reached the river and I am not sure if the GPS was mistaken and thought the picnic grounds Phil had entered were on the opposite side of the river to where they are or if it thought we could just drive across the river which although there was a road going across it was quite deep and flowing very swiftly. Oh well - just another little adventure. Once we backtracked a few kilometres and found the main road again and then followed the paper map and my directions we did come to the right picnic grounds and carpark for Circular Pool.
Mmmh...... I think that looks a bit too deep to cross
Yellow Kangaroo paw
We then spent a couple of days in Denmark where Phil spent his birthday. We went to a winery for lunch for his birthday which was really nice – good food and lovely view. We went and visited some rather interesting beaches as well as a couple of drives up into the mountains. Gardens at Annie's Chocolate Lounge. It was really nice (so was the chocolate) and they had the story of chocolate on wooden boards around the garden.
Entering Elephant Cove
Madfish Beach. Notice the waves are coming in both directions -no wonder the fish are mad!
Wilson Inlet - Denmark is on the opposite side o the inlet
We have been in Albany for the last couple of days. We spent nearly a full day up at the Heritage Precinct where they have the National ANZAC Centre which has some really good displays on the First World War. The Australian and New Zealand troops going to the first World War left from the port here and they have been having big centenary services here and doing a lot of upgrades of the war memorials. We had a look through the Whale Centre which was formerly the last whaling station to close in Australia. It was interesting. We also went and had a look at the coast where there are blowholes (not really working when we were there). There was another road into some rock formations known as the Natural Bridge and the Gap which are at the same place as the lighthouse but the road in and that area was closed to the public as they are building new lookouts. There were a few other look outs which we went to. It is quite a spectacular coast line as in places the granite rock goes right down to sea level.
Stony Hill Lookout
From Stony Hill Lookout
Whale World. Cheynes IV the last whaling ship that operated here.
Heritage Precinct - Part of the Fort originally build in the 1800's.
Part of the Museum dedicated to the Light Horse - at the Heritage and Old Fort Precinct
Mt Clarence - Monument to the Desert Mounted Corps
Beach near the blowholes
The famous Albany Dog Rock
The caravan park where we are staying at the moment is managed by Queenslanders and this afternoon they invited all the Queensland guests over to watch the Grand Final on their deck. It was really good to get together and watch a great game of football. Glad to see the Cowboys won. They seem to have put all the Queenslanders in a little area on our own. As well as us there are a couple from Kilcoy and two couples from Kingaroy.
Tomorrow we head off on new adventures up to the Stirling Ranges. The weather has been really good (so everyone keeps telling us - warm and mostly sunny) but it sounds like that might all change tomorrow. There has been some pretty strong winds and the wind has come up again now - maximum top temperature forecast for tomorrow is 16 degrees. The coldest we have had all year.