Southwest corner of Western Australia
After a week in Perth fixing
computers, completing chores and fitting in a bit of sightseeing we decided
it was time to head off to tour the South West before returning to the
Goldfields....which we hoped would be once again dry by then.
We had arranged to have the
caravan wheel bearings repacked and some minor warranty work done on the
caravan the day we left...but didn't expect to be held up for the whole
As it turned out the wheel bearings
had to be replaced...after just 15,000km use.
Following several phone calls
to the caravan manufacturer, the chassis manufacture and bearing suppliers
in Perth...we finally secured the correct bearings and had them installed...leaving
the caravan dealer's yard that evening at 5:45pm.
...So much for a couple of hours
As nightfall approached we made
the run south, driving for a couple of hours until we found a rather secluded
free campsite in the forest, about half a kilometre off the road behind
a designated Parking Bay rest area.
Bright and early the next morning,
in drizzly rain, we set off...bound for Busselton, where we stopped briefly
to restock the caravan's pantry and to take a look at one of the town's
star attractions...its wharf...conplete with quaint buildings.
with a few photos, we left Busselton and drove west for about 40km, through
Dunsborough, to have a look at Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse.
En route we noticed some rather
hairy bovine...presumably Scottish Highland cattle?
Reaching the Lighthouse, and
after walking around the exposed coastline for five minutes or so...braving
cold blustery winds...we jumped back into the Prado and left...satisfied
we'd been there...done that!
Then, following the scenic coastal route, Caves
Road, we proceeded south ...following the Leewin-Naturaliste National
Park...pleased that the weather appeared to be lifting...well slightly
anyway...the sun valiantly prizing its way through occasional breaks in
the clouds !
Towering forests of karri and marri line the road on the drive through
Naturaliste-Leeuwin National Park
Big Tree Grove (Naturaliste-Leeuwin National Park) - near Pemberton
This Grove is home to some of the tallest Karri trees known.
Karri is recognised as the third tallest tree species in the
world...these specimens are over 85 metres high and are estimated
to weigh up to 150 tonnes apiece.
Karri has been extensively logged in the forests of the South
West and is a highly prized furniture timber.
By mid afternoon we reached Augusta, on the edge
of Flinders Bay, and the weather had improved to the point that sunshine
now reigned supreme...perfect timing to visit nearby Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.
Built on a small granite headland, about 15km west
of Augusta, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is positioned at the most south westerly
point in Australia...where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean.
(Latitide 34.22 South and Longitude 115.08 East)
Built in 1895.The lighthouse flashes every 7.5
seconds for an interval of 0.02 seconds at an intensity of 1,000,000 Candella
and has a geographical range of some 20 nautical miles
...trivia I know you've all been wetting yourselves...waiting
Mindful that the afternoon was late, we left Cape
Leeuwin, where camping was not permitted, and headed off towards Walpole,
searching for a spot to camp for the night.
A roadside rest area near the turn off to the Walpole
- Nornalup National Park 'Tree Top Walk', which we planned to visit, provided
an ideal free camp.
Tingle Trees...the only remaining stands occur in the Walpole - Nornalup
National Park and surrounding area where it rains the equivalent of 185
days each year. Known to live up to 400 years, Tingle trees (Eucalyptus
Jacksonii are one of the biggest trees in WA, measuring up to 16 metres
around their base and growing up to 60 metres high
The Treetop Walk in Walpole - Normal National Park...in the canopy of
the giant Red Tingle trees...40 metres above the ground.
Anita standing (posing) in the hollow base of a large old
Red Tingle tree
Passing through Denmark on our way to Albany, we made a surprise visit
to Joyce and Ron, the parents of Anita's friend Christine.
We spent a lovely afternoon in their company, warmed by their fire...drinking
tea and having a good old chat.
Rod couldn't resist playing around with Ron's computer and spent an
hour or so reinstalling a CD Rom on it before we left.
Stormy ocean at Cosy Corner, near Denmark, where we 'free camped' behind
the dunes for two nights riding out foul weather...a front that dumped
snow on the Stirling Ranges and surrounding farmland.
In the past an important whaling station, Albany is now a vibrant regional
service centre, boosting its local economy by a steadily growing tourism
Although it was raining steadily on the morning we drove into Albany,
within a couple of hours it had cleared sufficiently for us to tour some
of its spectacular coastline in nearby Torndirrup National Park
Dog Rock, Albany...in the centre of town.
A case of its bite being worse than its bark... if you
were unfortunate enough to miss the corner and hit it !
Old whaling ship, beached near former whaling station.
Gorgeous view of Granite formation and Southern Ocean from
lookout in Torndirrup National Park
After leavingWave rock we spent the night at the Southern
Cross gold fields, didn't find any gold but did dig up some great old
bottles, glass stoppers and a very old porcelain Golden Eye Ointment pot
lid left behind by the old miners
1st house you come to in Coolgardie with a very elaborate display of
just about everything (I wonder if all this stuff came from the old miners