Part Three - Albany to Perth

14th August, 1998
15th August, 1998
16th August, 1998

Friday, 14th August, 1998

Drop Cap he weather was a little doubtful this morning, cloud and showers of rain, unfortunately, as we headed off to see the sights of Albany. It is quite a quaint town, in the historic precinct at least. We headed up to the War Memorial which dominates the hilltop overlooking the town. It is very impressive, a replica of a statue of Anzac Light Horse troopers, which originally stood in Port Said. There was a panoramic view over the bay and we looked for whales, but there weren't any.

Amity Brig photograph

The "Amity" Brig, Albany WA

Drop Cap e passed the historic centre again , seeing the replica of the brig "Amity" , which brought the first white settlers to the area, on the way to Whaleworld, a tourist attraction (?) made out of a whaling station which ceased operations in the '50's. I didn't like it much, because of the gory photos of whale flensing, but also the whole whaling business gives me the shudders.

Gap photograph

The Gap, near Albany WA

Drop Cap eaving Whaleworld we headed for The Gap and the Natural Bridge, water carved granite out on the windswept cliffs. It can be very dangerous out here, but we took care. It was a truly spectacular sight. The Gap is almost but not quite a Blowhole, where the occasional king wave shoots up and can trap the unwary. Apparently, lives have been lost here.

Natural Bridge photograph

Natural Bridge near Albany, WA

Drop Cap he weather cleared as we headed inland again to the town of Denmark for lunch. We had ours in a little cafe overlooking the river. Very nice. Then we headed off for what was to be the highlight of the whole southern half of the trip.

Treetop Walk photograph

On the Treetop Walkway, Valley of the Giants, WA

Drop Cap he Valley of the Giants, near Walpole is a forest of giant "tingle" trees, absolutely huge and fascinating. They have a 600m Treetop Walk, really high and on a suspension bridge type construction, which swayed as we walked. I was quite surprised that I was not more worried. It was simply incredible! We felt like eagles or koalas or some such. When we reached the ground again quite a gentle ramp, no steps) we walked the track on the forest floor to see the feet of these marvellous trees. It was rainforest and perfectly lovely.

Treetop Walk photograph

Treetop Walk, Valley of the Giants, WA

Tingle Tree photograph

In the Roots of a Tingle Tree, Valley of the Giants WA

Drop Cap ff again for another hour or so by a winding road through the forest to Pemberton and the Gloucester Tree. This giant karri tree is 61 metres tall and has a fire spotting platform on the top and metal rods driven in a spiral around the trunk to climb. It looked terrifying! In spite of Wayne's telling us about an 80 year old woman on one of his tours climbing it, no-one felt up to it. Mac achieved some notoriety by making it about three quarters of the way up but felt that his hands wouldn't take the rest and get down again. Still we all clapped him when he got down again.

Karri Valley photograph

Karri Valley Resort, WA

Drop Cap fter this interlude we drove to what is unquestionably the best accommodation we have had, bar none, so far. The Karri Valley Resort is the most wonderful place, motel, holiday cottages, lots of facilities and all built over a lake of some 54 acres. Our unit has a balcony, which is over the water, the restaurant is even further out and the trees on the far shore are floodlit. We don't have to leave until 10, tomorrow, so we will have time to ring Geoff and walk or row around the lake. It is really gorgeous, I wish we had more time here. Dinner tonight was the first a la carte meal we have had so far, all the others have been buffet. Good, but it is nicer to be waited on. A really good day.

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Saturday, 15th August, 1998

Karri Valley photograph

On the walk around the lake, Karri Valley Resort WA

Drop Cap very energetic day, today. Since we didn't leave until 10 am we decided to walk around the lake. If I had known it was about 4kms with steep inclines up to the falls and down the other side, I might have thought twice. The falls were lovely however, in spite of the difficulty I was glad I did it. My knees were complaining badly and by the time we reached our lunch spot I was feeling crippled.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse photograph

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, WA

Drop Cap hen we went on to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse where we were expected to climb to the top. Mac did, in spite of his legs still feeling the strain of yesterday's climb. I chickened out. Cape Leeuwin is the furthest SW point on mainland Australia and is the corner where the Indian Ocean meets the Great Southern Ocean. We looked for whales (again) but were unlucky.

Cape Leeuwin photograph

Meeting of two Oceans, Cape Leeuwin, WA

Drop Cap hen, we headed towards Margaret River, stopping at the Jewel Cave, a limestone extravaganza which I also chickened out of, after the first stage. The first stage was quite spectacular, however, lots of stalactites and shawls. Mac did the hour long tour but is feeling it tonight.

Drop Cap e had a wine tasting at Leeuwin Estate Winery , not tempted to buy, however, then headed for our overnight stop at the Captain Freycinet Inn, Margaret River. The room is good, the meal was better and Mac's day was made by finding a little black and white cat crouched in our doorway when we came back from dinner. It even came in for a quick scratch at the carpet. Mac thinks this motel rates a 10 for service and amenities, in spite of being a Flag. We did a load of washing, and so to bed.

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Sunday, 16th August, 1998

Drop Cap e have now seen about one third of Western Australia. We will see another third next week and leave the top end for people who like heat. Today was a two feetsface, one train day. We set off from Margaret River (in the very back seat, rather restricted view) and drove to the mouth of the river where it meets the sea. This is a very famous surfing area and quite attractive.

Drop Cap rom here we drove to the Bunyip Craft Centre and Tea Room to view the craft work and have morning tea. Some of the wood work was very nice and I bought a jarrah wood box and a tiny "snottygobber" wood box. I forget the botanical name of the tree. We had devonshire tea and the scones were real scones, like the ones I make. Here is where we found two cats, one ginger tabby and one little black one. They also had peacocks, quail, goats, emus and kangaroos in the top paddock. Apparently, Harry Butler (the in the wild man) lives next door.

Busselton Jetty photograph

Two-kilometre Jetty, Busselton, WA

Drop Cap hen through Busselton where we stopped to look at the two kilometer long jetty, the longest in the Southern Hemisphere. From here we went through Bunbury to Mandurah for a protracted lunch stop. This is a nice resort style town on a river, or inlet. We bought a sandwich and ate it on a bench by the water and watched the usual crowds of seagulls being upstaged by two pelicans also scrounging for crumbs. Went for a walk and bought an enormous buttered chelsea bun, big enough for two for afternoon tea, which was only 80 cents and fresh!

Drop Cap n the way to Perth this afternoon we saw the first train we have seen in WA. Lots of tracks, but no trains. This was a bright yellow Westrain engine hauling 50 coal trucks. We had to stop at a level crossing to let it pass.

Drop Cap e have finished one tour and are losing twelve of our number tonight. Four more are joining us on Tuesday for the other tour north. We thought we were doing one tour but it seems it is two tours, joined together at Perth. No problems with that. Back into the Novotel in Perth. The room was uncomfortably warm, but on asking the desk we were told it is official policy in the winter months. We have an optional a la carte meal in Horsefeathers Restaurant tonight. This is the last night for this tour.

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