27th July, 2011
28th July, 2011
29th July, 2011
30th July, 2011
31st July, 2011

Wednesday, 27th July, 2011

Drop Cap p early to pack the car for an early start heading north to the Pinnacles. We had no trouble reaching and accessing the Indian Ocean Drive, a new road which doesn't feature on any of the maps so far. Mac was worried about it but I showed him a less complicated way and it was fine.

Gravity photograph

Observatory at the Gravity Discovery Centre

Drop Cap utside Yanchep we found and visited the Gravity Discovery Centre, a fascinating place with an observatory, lots of interesting experiments to take part in, like magnetism and weight differences on different planets. There was a display of Foucault's and several other pendulums and a leaning tower, the same height as the one at Pisa where, (if you could climb so high) you could drop water bombs to see if they took the same time to fall, a la Galileo, although I don't think he used water balloons.

Gravity and Geoff photograph

Geoff Discovers Gravity at the Centre

The cosmology gallery was amazing, charting the universe from the Big Bang to the End of Days. They postulate that we still have a fair bit of time left. Unfortunately we could only spare two hours so we missed out on a lot. We only found out about it after we got here, so had not planned it into our itinerary.

Coastal scenery photograph

Coastal Scenery en route to Cervantes

Drop Cap hen we left we headed on towards Lancelin, a small fishing town with amazing sand dunes, passing en route some lovely deserted coastal scenery. We found lunch in a small cafe in Lancelin before heading further north towards Cervantes.

Coastal scenery photograph

Coastal Scenery en route to Cervantes

Pinnacles photograph

The Pinnacles, Nambung National Park

Drop Cap e reached the Pinnacles Desert in the Nambung National Park at about 3 p.m and immediately went off on the Pinnacles Drive. This is a fascinating place, full of pillars and points and squatty and slender pinnacles of sand and limestone growing (it seems) in their thousands out of the golden desert sand.

Pinnacles photograph

The Pinnacles, Nambung National Park

Drop Cap e wandered in and out of the pinnacles, taking photos and looking all around. It reminded me of Rookwood Cemetery, crowds of tall thin stones like weathered tombstones. It is a completely unique landscape, I have never seen anything like it.

Pinnacles photograph

The Pinnacles, Nambung National Park

Mac at Pinnacles photograph

Mac and Friend at the Pinnacles

Drop Cap he weather deteriorated as we headed up to Cervantes, with lightning, thunder and heavy rain. The Pinnacles Motel is quite reasonable, Geoff has the separate room this time while we have the queen bed in the main room. There is a fridge and microwave, a stove top and sink. We have booked into their restaurant tonight though.

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Thursday 28th July, 2011

Drop Cap t was a wild night last night, blowing a gale, very noisy around the buildings; I didn't get much sleep. We got away about 8:30 and headed back south. On the way there were many showers, some very heavy, which cleared up and then came back, all day. We stopped for morning tea at Yanchep, where Geoff went into a bad hypo. His blood sugar had been very high this morning so he didn't eat much breakfast (which was early too). Luckily we got him into a takeaway bar which was empty but for us and poured non diet soft drink and jelly beans into him until he stopped jerking.

Marina photograph

Mandurah Marina

Drop Cap e went on, past Fremantle, heading ever southward. We stopped for lunch at Mandurah, at a cafe which had its door shut because of the wind. We discovered later that there had been a mini-cyclone down here overnight, which ripped through a small town, bringing down trees and unroofing houses. Not just in Cervantes then, (and not just at home, either!) Anyway, I had noticed tree branches down and littering the ground as a result of the storm.

Busselton photograph

Busselton from the Jetty

Drop Cap e arrived in Busselton at about 4:15 and had no difficulty finding our accommodation. The Busselton Jetty Chalets were not quite what I had expected, a bit more basic, but perfectly well-equipped. We have separate bedrooms divided by the living area, kitchen, dining and lounge with a new digital TV.

Drop Cap ac and I went shopping at a very well stocked Woolworths and I bought the makings of a beef stir fry with rice. Ten points all up - not too bad. The storm front has followed us and there was a fair bit of thunder and rain as we settled in. I hope it clears a bit tomorrow, but the forecast is not very optimistic.

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Friday 29th July, 2011

Drop Cap pretty wild, windy night again and day broke on a sky alternating between sunshine and rainclouds. After breakfast we headed off to the famous Busselton Jetty. At two kilometres long it is the longest timber pile jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. The wind and the waves were incredible and, although we were able to walk out on the jetty (Geoff made it the full length but Mac and I gave up halfway) it was not possible to take the jetty train because it doesn't run in winds over 26 kph and the famous underwater observatory was also closed because the gale-whipped waves made for silty water and no visibility. So that was disappointing but you can't legislate for weather.

Busselton photograph

Busselton Jetty

Drop Cap e had lunch in the Equinox Cafe close to the jetty. It seemed very nice but soon afterwards I developed pains and diarrhoea for the rest of the afternoon. Nevertheless we went for a scenic drive through Dunsborough to Yallingup where the sea was very picturesque, dashing over rocks and reefs. We went to the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse but weren't able to get very close. There was an interesting museum in one of the keepers' cottages.

Bunkers Bay photograph

Pretty Bunkers Bay

Drop Cap y more scenic beach areas of Bunkers Bay and Yallingup Beach we returned to Dunsborough and had afternoon coffee at a Dome - seems to be a WA chain. Very nice menu, if the food is as good as it looks on the menu it should be very good.

Drop Cap ack to Busselton to do a load of washing and think about dinner and packing.

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Saturday 30th July, 2011

Drop Cap e ended up today in the fantastic Karri Valley Resort which we remembered so well from our tour in 1998. We have a lovely two bedroom chalet with a wood burning stove and a view of the lake. Beautiful.

Drop Cap ut first, we left Busselton about 8:30, filled up with petrol and headed down the Caves Road via Yallingup towards Margaret River. Since starting our WW kick we are off wine, cheese, chocolate, and nuts so we decided not to call in at any of Margaret River's gourmet delights. It seemed a bit of a waste but we found lots of interesting things on the way.

Maze photograph

Yallingup Maze

Drop Cap he first was Yallingup Maze. This is incredible, a timber built maze with four corner towers and a central one, all joined by bridges and full of tricky dead ends and passages. We only found our way to two of the towers and it was very difficult. I felt I would never get out! We had coffee there and all the tables in the room had collections of little puzzles to try your brain out. A very good, interesting stop. I wish we had known about it before.

Mammoth cave photograph

Mammoth Cave

Drop Cap oving right along we continued down the Caves Road to Mammoth Cave. We had been told there was wheelchair access but that only applied to the very first bit. There were quite a number of steps but I made it up to a central plateau which gave a good view of the majority of the cave. It was very interesting, there were the usual stalactites and stalagmites but there were many remnants of prehistoric animals fossilised into the rocks.

Lake cave photograph

Collapsed Lake Cave

Drop Cap he guy there said our tickets would take us into the CaveWorks exhibit at Lake Cave and let us get a view of the collapsed cavern there. So we went there next and had a salad roll lunch at their tearoom as well. All good. The collapsed cave was open to the sky and quite spectacular among the tall timber surrounding it.

Water Wheel photograph

Petrified Water Wheel at Cape Leeuwin

Drop Cap ext, down to Augusta and Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. It was blowing a gale up there on its headland so we didn't hang around but went to see the petrified water wheel close by. This is a fantastic sight, the wheel used to pump water but after becoming disused became enclosed by blown sand and seasalt spray and this has set like stone. Quite amazing.

Karri Valley photograph

The Verandah of our cabin, Karri Valley Resort

Drop Cap hen on the 100 ks or so to Karri Valley. It was a lovely drive through tall timber. Karri is the tallest of the eucalypts and very picturesque.

Drop Cap e have a lovely apartment/cabin on the hillside with a view over the lake. It has two comfortable bedrooms, a terrific kitchen, very well-equipped, and a lounge room with French doors on to the verandah and a wood burning stove. Lots of wood stacked outside, even an axe.

Drop Cap e have booked dinner tonight and tomorrow at the restaurant and have also booked a boat cruise tomorrow. I wish we had been able to stay a bit longer.

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Sunday 31st July, 2011

Cruise boat photograph

The Donnelly River Cruise Boat

Drop Cap t was a very wet and windy night but true to its local form the day fluctuated between heavy showers and sunshine. Although we didn't feel hopeful about the river cruise we got ready and met the boatman at the prescribed point. He was quite happy to go and it turned out we were the only bookings so we had a private cruise which was really great.

Shaun photograph

Shaun the Driver on Board

Drop Cap e (Shaun the driver) was very informative without giving a lecture, and the cruise was lovely, down the pristine, untouched Donnelly River, through National Park to the sea coast. Near the coast there was a number of holiday shacks which had been built pre-national park, but apart from that it was really primeval.

River cliffs photograph

The Donnelly River Cliffs

Drop Cap ue to the wind and storm surges, when we reached the sandbar between the river and the sea, the waves were breaking high on the bar and it was quite choppy. Nevertheless we anchored and had coffee and home baked muffins before heading back up the river. We saw a darter, a large diving bird with a long prehensile neck and stiletto beak, and a couple of cormorants but Shaun said there were not enough nutrients in the river to support many birds. Very small fish too.

Waterfall photograph

Beedelup Falls

Drop Cap hen we returned we had soup and toast and Geoff had beans on toast, then we headed off up the highway to Pemberton, the nearest town, where we found an IGA (they are so ubiquitous)and got in some more basics.

Drop Cap n the way back we drove in to Beedelup Falls, a much easier route than the track we took in 98. After all the rain the falls were really in spate and it was quite spectacular.

Resort view photograph

Distant View of Karri Valley Resort from the Falls

Drop Cap ome for afternoon tea and relaxing by the fire before we head to the restaurant for dinner. As it is our 43rd Wedding Anniversary we intend to have wine, regardless of points. Last night's dinner was excellent. I had roast lamb rump and vegetables, Mac had a vegie omelette and Geoff had baked salmon. He had a side of chips so I had his green vegies. All up, only the lamb had points (lots of them!) so hopefully tonight can be reasonable and delicious as well.

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