KARRI VALLEY TO ESPERANCE

1st August, 2011
2nd August, 2011
3rd August, 2011
4th August, 2011

Monday 1st August, 2011

Drop Cap e had a lovely dinner last night. Mac had pork medallions, Geoff had baked snapper and I had chicken pistachio, with a bottle of "Fishbone Sweetlips Verdelho". Mac ignored WW by having sticky date pudding and Geoff had a raspberry cheesecake. All good.

Drop Cap e left Karri Valley at about 8:45 and headed to Pemberton where we filled up with petrol. After this we went on about 3 kms to the Gloucester Tree. We opted not to pay $11 for park admittance, as we weren't staying, so we drove out of the carpark via the Gloucester Tree. At least we saw it.

Tingle tree photograph

Mac and Geoff at the Giant Tingle Tree





Drop Cap hen we headed on for Walpole, where we had lunch before going on to the Treetop Walk. On the way we decided to detour and see the "Giant Tingle Tree" in the forest park. It was nearly a kilometre return to get to the tree from the car but it was truly spectacular. Like many large tingle trees it had been burnt out at the centre with a huge open cavern underneath. Amazingly the tree is still growing and green because all the growth nutrients are close to the surface of the tree, not the heart.


Tingle tree photograph

Mac in the Tingle Tree Forest


Treetop Walk photograph

On the Tree Top Walk, Valley of the Giants





Drop Cap aving marvelled suitably we moved on to the terrific Treetop Walk, in the "Valley of the Giants". This was great, the view was terrific and it wasn't raining. (Like yesterday it has been raining on and off all day). I think this treetop walkway is the original and the best, it is so spectacular. I was so tired with my aching knees after this that I sat and waited for Mac and Geoff to do the valley walk among the enormous trunks of the trees. They said it was marvellous.


Treetop Walk photograph

Lounge and Kitchen, My Place Albany





Drop Cap e continued to the town of Denmark, where we had tea and biscuits at a nice little cafe overlooking the river. Then on into Albany, a surprisingly large town, where we located our accommodation, My Place Colonial Accommodation. This is a lovely little apartment with two ensuite bedrooms, a kitchen and lounge with outdoor eating area. The apartment is good but car parking is a problem and there are steps up to the apartment. Still we are only here for two nights.

Drop Cap e had a delicious, completely non-WW meal at a Chinese restaurant fairly close and came back to rest. See what tomorrow brings.


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Tuesday 2nd August, 2011

Drop Cap t was a lovely clear and sunny morning today so we sallied forth to see Albany. Our first stop was the Visitor Centre where a nice lady gave us a map and marked the major tourist attractions (and Albany has lots).

Statue photograph

Light Horse Memorial, Mt.Clarence, Albany





Drop Cap e first climbed Mt. Clarence behind the town where there is a great statue dedicated to the Light Horse, Camel Corps and other WW1 battalions, many of whom left for the war from Albany. This statue is a reproduction of one which used to stand in Port Said but was destroyed in the Suez Canal Crisis of the 1950s.

Sea View photograph

View from Mt.Clarence, Albany





Drop Cap here is a terrific panoramic view over Albany and a rather taxing (on my arthritic knees) walk up to the top. On our way back we stopped for Geoff to have a morning tea munch at the Avenue of Honour, a large grove of eucalyptus robusta planted by the RSL in the 50s with each tree bearing a plaque in honour of someone who died in the wars.

Brig photograph

The Brig "Amity" at Albany





Drop Cap e then headed for The Gap but on the way we passed the Historical Precinct and paused to look at the faithful reproduction of the Brig "Amity", which brought the first settlers, convicts and military to the area, two years before the founding of the Swan River Colony, which became Perth. The brig is very small, it is amazing how many people they could carry.

Gap photograph

"The Gap" Albany





Drop Cap fter this we drove along the coast road to the Gap and the Natural Bridge. These are granite cliffs formed and sculpted by the winds and waves of millennia. The Gap is a spectacular almost blowhole where every seventh (or so) wave fushes madly up the cliffs. It is quite a dangerous place and I am glad they have put in handrails.

Natural Bridge photograph

The Natural Bridge, Albany





Drop Cap he Natural Bridge is just that, a bridge of sculpted granite which the water pours through. Spectacular, and another very dangerous place, there are signs up all over the area.

Drop Cap fter this, we came back to town and had lunch in a cafe. We had one of our usual salad sandwiches and tea, nice and low points. We found the IGA and did some shopping then decided to head out of town for the Mt.Romance Sandalwood Factory. This was very interesting. We had a free tour which showed us the factory through windows and a DVD about the company that owns it, then a good browse amongst the items in the gift shop. They do a lot with sandalwood apparently, even infusing it into wine! I didn't care much for the smell, actually, and it permeated the whole place, unsurprisingly.

Drop Cap hile we were there the forecast storm front hit with torrential rain and wind so we decided to wait it out in the cafe where Geoff had afternoon tea and we had coffee.

Drop Cap ack to town through moderate rain and back to our nice little apartment. We will go out to dinner later and pack for an early start tomorrow. Esperance is over 400 kms. A long drive.


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Wednesday 3rd August, 2011

Drop Cap nother wild and gusty night. But we managed to get out to a very nice and unpretentious restaurant called "Dylans on the Terrace" where we had a lovely dinner. I had grilled steak kebabs with chili sauce, jacket potato and salad. Yum.

Drop Cap e left Albany after loading the car in the pouring rain at 7:45 and drove into the sun for 400kms. It became a lovely day although with a chilly wind blowing. Of course, as soon as we reached Esperance the clouds came up and it soon began to rain again. It is getting fairly depressing although I am inclined to think that if it confines the rain to the night time that it will be OK. I just wish it would wash the car! I'm sure it will never be the same again.

Drop Cap e stopped for morning tea and a break at Jerramangup, where we had coffee and Geoff had a sandwich, then continued on through Ravensthorpe to Munglinup where we got rather unappetising chicken salad sandwiches at the roadhouse. We found the road good, straight and very lightly trafficked (apart from the massive road trains). We made really good time, Mac estimates that we averaged 100 kph, which is amazing! Mind you, the car kept emitting plaintive bleeps if Mac exceeded 125 kph but Mac said he was having great difficulty reining it back. After all the local trips to Penrith and Blaxland shops the Mondeo must also be relishing the open road.

Drop Cap ur apartment at Esperance All Seasons Esplanade Apartments is small and fairly basic but perfectly well equipped. It even has a washing machine and dryer in the bathroom and free Wi-Fi for Geoff. All good.


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Thursday 4th August, 2011

Drop Cap nother wet, wild and stormy night - even thunder and lightning, nearly drowned out the "Gruen Transfer" on TV - we had to turn it up really high. Anyway we awoke to more rain, but by the time we had breakfasted, showered and I had put on another load of washing the usual miracle had occurred and the sun was shining out of a clear sky.

Coastline photograph

Esperance Coast on the Great Ocean Drive





Drop Cap o we went off to drive the Great Ocean Drive. This took us around the coast on a spectacular drive through lovely beaches. The sand was snowy white and the water was in shades of clear aqua and dark blue. It was very windy and cold but the views were wonderful.

Coastline photograph

Esperance Coast on the Great Ocean Drive





Drop Cap e saw the place where the French explorers first named the area - Observatory Island. Geographe Bay is full of little rocky islets, none inhabited but certainly adding to the picturesque effect.

Coastline photograph

Esperance Coast on the Great Ocean Drive





Drop Cap e went on to the Wind Farm at Nine Mile Lagoon but there was no access or anything but an info board and it started raining again so we headed on to the Pink Lake, which wasn't really. It needs more sun to photosensitise the salty lake water and algae so it turns pink. It wasn't pink in 98 either.

Museum grounds photograph

Grounds of the Esperance Museum

Drop Cap o we headed back to town and had lunch in a cafe - pea and ham soup and tea for Mac and me and scrambled eggs, bacon and beans on toast for Geoff. We did some shopping at IGA then went to the Esperance Museum. This was very interesting. The Museum Historic Village comprised a number of old buildings brought from other areas mostly from the church to the courthouse, farm houses and schools etc, all now housing craft and alternate therapy industries. Surrounding the Historic Village was a lovely garden complete with a lake and a rustic bridge. We wandered through as it headed for the beach and stopped at the wind fan placed on the perimeter as an exhibit.

Museum photograph

Esperance Museum

Drop Cap e didn't linger but returned to the main museum building inside the old railway sheds where they have some very good displays, most interesting to me being the Skylab debris. In 1979 Skylab, the first manned space station, long abandoned to its own devices, began to break up, eventually falling in many bits and pieces over Esperance and area. I think it is amusing that Esperance Council fined NASA for littering ($400 fine!) but it was ignored until a Nevada Radio Station found the story on the Internet and rallied its listeners to pay the fine in 2003.
There is a lot of other stuff in the museum of mostly local interest, unsurprisingly, but the Skylab stuff, some of it very big, was of interest nationally (and internationally). I find it hard to realise that it happened as far back as 1979! I remember it happening.

Drop Cap e have booked dinner at the Taylor Street Jetty Cafe and Restaurant, walking distance from here and tomorrow we head for the start of the hard stretch at Norseman.

Later:

Drop Cap e had a lovely dinner at the Taylor Street Jetty Cafe. Geoff had oysters kilpatrick and fish and chips. Mac and I had a curry plate: two different curries, a dhal and a cucumber pickle with rice,pappadums and bread. Tasty and not too much either. We had a bottle of rose and coffee. (I had affogato - espresso poured over vanilla ice-cream, very naughty!)
The whole meal was lovely.

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