2015 From Dampier and Red Dog South and East in WA following lots of Wildflowers

Tuesday, Sep 01, 2015 at 12:13

1947Trevor&Sue

Heading towards Dampier from Port Hedland. Tuesday July 14th A late move after lunch back to Whim Creek Hotel for the night. Before leaving Port Hedland in the morning we headed upto Koombana Lookout then to the Green and Flatback turtle nesting Beach with an information area, there was also a very nice children’s play area and picnic spot. Then back to the Port where we watched an iron ore ship coming in, they really are massive units! Then we deposited our receipts at the information centre in an effort to keep the Free RV area open. which is obviously doing a great service, averaging 76 vehicles a night. We certainly spent our share. The Port tour, food, fuel, grog, tyre repair!! Walked around to look at the salt stockpile, then after a quick early lunch set off.

What an excellent Barra meal we had at Whim Creek Hotel. Wednesday July 15th in the morning we were on the road early to Dampier. Staying at the very small Transit CP Maximum stay 72hours, they only had room for us for one night, but we are trying to get one extra night, as hopefully we will be able to get our new tyres that we organized while in Port Hedland late tomorrow. Lorraine the manager can’t do enough to help you, a lovely lady. First we went to the Dampier train Lookout, great place, but no train moving as we were there. Went to see “Red Dog”, a sculpture of the famous kelpie cross who lived his life hitching rides and travelling throughout WA North West, before he died in November 1979. The filming of Blue Dog has just finishes. We then went upto the very informative North West Gas Project at an Information centre and includes a very informative film and a great Interactive display overlooking the Karratha Gas Plant. We then went to the Lookout in town where they have the use of free binoculars, looking out over the piles of salt waiting to be shipped and the harbour. In the evening we headed to Deep Gorge Circuit, where there is a very good collection of Aboriginal drawings on the rocks, some of creatures, some of people and one strange one that one wonders what it is. We also saw quite a large Python on the rocks. In the evening we had excellent entertainment from a couple of campers, real old time numbers, set up near the camp kitchen, which was very close to our caravan. Thanks to Lorraine we were accommodated for another night. Great fun watching the ore ships being loaded, arriving and departing. Interesting to get to the end of another iron ore journey. This is where Rio Tinto Ore leaves Australia from Tom Price.After getting the tyres fitted in Karratha, which we had ordered while we were in Port Hedland, excellent service again from National Tyres, went out along the beach to the boat ramp overlooking Point Samson. Friday we left Dampier, but before that watched an ore carrier come in this am and be turned by the tugs before anchoring to the wharf for loading. Then on the road to Robe River RA, large area, toilets and 2 dump points, a little water in the river. Over 40 vehicles in tonight.Had the next night at a free area too Barradale RA, another excellent spot.
Sunday July 19th a long day on the road around through Exmouth to Cape Range NP to our camping ground Kurrajong. Very spacious, spread out camping areas. Ours was a non generator area, thankfully we had enough sun to charge the batteries. Each area has a host. The toilets are a very modern upmarket longdrops, with very adequate supplies. Very windy when we arrived, died down in the evening. We linked up again with Rosemarie and Stuart here. Staying 4 nights in Cape Range. Kurrajong has a very nice area for the evening sunset or just viewing the reef and passing whales, very well set up with 2 tables and benches on a boardwalk. We walked down to the beach, easier to walk at low tide. It is a very sheltered area inside the Ningaloo Reef. We walked into Mandu Mandu Gorge, Stuart and Rosemarie walked over the top, as they had not done that the last time they were here, Rosemarie really struggled. Trevor stayed with me for the walk back out of the gorge. Saw lots of Rock Wallabies. The next day we drove out to Yardie Creek. You can take a short boat trip up the Gorge, this has to be booked in advance, but we were quite happy to walk out on a good path, all the others except me did the more difficult walk back over the top while I took my time walking out and went down to where the boat ramp is and where you can at the right tide drive over Yardie Creek. On their way back they saw some nesting Ospreys. Tides were right in the afternoon so we went over to go snorkelling at the aptly named Turquoise Bay, it was amazing snorkelling over the fabulous reef, with an amazing array of fish!! But pretty cold! Was on our way again to Turquoise Bay when we were hit by a kangaroo, Trevor saw the group coming and had almost stopped, but it cannoned into our front Passenger side and did a fair bit of damage!! Had a look at all the other camping areas. In the afternoon the tides were right for snorkelling at the Oyster Stacks, there were hundreds of people there, access to the water did not look easy, so decided against it. Saw lots of small kangaroos. Thursday after packing up we stopped on the way out at the visitors centre where there was lots of information about the area, the reefs and the whale shark. After reading all the information our next stop was Vlamingh Lighthousewe left the caravan at the base of the hill to the lighthouse and walked to the top. Again lots of information about the wreck of SS Mildura, and the Vlamingh lighthouse history as well as the history of the area and the American involvment in the area, the Harold E Holt Communications Station at Tantabiddy. Exmouth is a very well laid out new town, rapidly built to accommodate the Americans at Tantabiddy. Once again a town with excellent sporting and recreation facilities. After we walked back down to the caravan we then went to look at what is left of the wreck of the SS Mildura.
Stayed Thursday night at Termite Nests RA , they are spinifex Termite Mounds in this area.Friday July 24th - Tuesday July 28th Staying at Bayview CP Coral Bay for 4 nights. Weather a bit dismal on arrival, cool too, rained quite a bit. A lovely area and another of these places where “grey nomads” go and sit for 3 winter months, but at least it is a delightful beach place to stop, and there is lots of fishing beyond the reef. Trevor went out for an hour on a glass bottom boat $39, he had a wonderful time viewing the Coral and fish from above, they fed the fish from the boat while Sue went and did the ”See Doo” Snorkel, which was absolutely brilliant!! I had an enormous view of "Ayers Rock" an enormous coral, one of the largest living "brain" corals, as we were allowed to snorkel round it several times, but NO photos. On special at $40, worth every cent, but boy was I cold when I finished. Did it with Rosemarie, Stuart had fallen on the oyster shells and badly cut himself. We had an excellent concert one night in the CP Terry Bennett.
Sue had unfortunate eye accident! Was very tired after the “See Doo” had had a very long shower to warm up and must have left the eyedrop container that I had relabelled on the bed and it had Tea Tree Oil in it, one drop and did I suffer. Have totally removed the label and just got the bottle.
Wednesday July 29th On the road to Quobba blowholes, they were brilliant, we decided to stop the night and see the blowholes at different states of the tide. They were very different, quite a few small ones and one very big one. There were lots of whales passing by, still going North and lots of fishes in the protected area near the beach. Stayed the night on the Quobba cliffs, was a great little spot. Before leaving the next day we had another good look at a different state of the tides at Quobba Point and theblowholes. Then into Carnarvon ,the food bowl of the West. Bought some very fresh vegetables at the CP from local growers. Wintersun CP was very nice and the staff exceptionally helpful. Went to look at One mile Jetty and the Coffee Pot train, climbed up the Lookout Tower. Then we went to Pelican Point, the small Boat Harbour, bought some fish from the fish coop, bought some beautiful fish and chips for lunch. In the afternoon drove around the Gascoyne Food trail, called into Bumbaks with his wonderful selection of homemade Jams, pastes and preserves and bought 2. Then we went to the now unused OTC tracking station and dish. Then down the long HMAS Sydney memorial Avenue, where there is a plaque for every sailor lost when the Sydney went down in 1941. Evening at Wintersun CP with a great hot roast beef roll, salads, icecream, brilliant entertainment and a dance from the girls from Vanuatu who work and do an excellent job in the CP. They are sooo friendly and obviously appreciate the job that they come over to do.

Saturday August 1st First stop of the morning was The Hamelin Pools is home to the most diverse and abundant examples of living Stromatolites in the world. Stromatolites are living organisms called cyanobacteria, which produce oxygen, grow at a Maximum of 0.3mm per year, growing over thousands of years. They have an excellent boardwalk out to view The Stromatolites, as Trevor said “If you had not known you would have just thought that they were rocks to walk on”. Next to the Old Telegraph station at Hamelin Pools, where there is a remarkable quarry “Shell Block Quarry” , compacted blocks of shells used to build station buildings, civic buildings and the landmark Pearler Restaurant and church in Denham.Run down Camping area, Shell beach, well set up with parking and toilet facilities. There are a number 24hour overnight stops on the cliff area, but you have to have permit for them, so stayed on the road at Nanga Bay RA. We did enter one and Trevor went for a walk to discover a caravan and car bogged on the track!! Next day Off into Denham, got paper and bread and had a look, they are still redoing the recreational jetty and foreshore. Past the Quarried shell Restaurant and church, then on the road to Monkey Mia and Bang!! Shredded a tyre on the caravan. Nice guy, nurse working in WA from QLD stopped to help us. It was one of our older tyres so it did not owe us anything, but still a nuisance. Then stopped to pay our entry fee for the time we are here, fees for camping are enough of a rip off without paying to enter the reserve, but when you have too, you do!! The park has the market and they know it and know how to charge. Discount for Seniors so $50 a night normally $55 and on the waterfront $69. What do you get for your money, - bugger all except for access to resort facilities, bars and restaurants. There is a tennis court and pool.
Freezing cold, but put jacket on to go and watch dolphin feeding. It is all very well explained and controlled by the Parks and Wildlife officers. They also have someone who deliberately feeds the pelicans while dolphin feeding is going on to keep the cheeky birds away from the dolphin feeding area!! Not interested in being one of the chosen few to feed the dolphins I went up on the jetty for an excellent view and also saw a green sea turtle. 2 of the female dolphins were in for feeding Puck and Surprise. Puck still has her calf Samu hanging around, he is about 4 and being weaned and they think Puck is pregnant again, so Samu will have to fend for himself. Surprise is a crossed common bottle nose and Indo-Pacific bottlenose. The dolphins only get a snack at dolphin feeding, so they do go and fend for themselves and ar not reliant on the feeding at the beach. Went over for Happy hour in the evening at the main bar and sat and watched the sunset over a beautiful calm bay.
Tuesday had dinner in the Monkey Bar, take away type service, food served in containers, but you are welcome to sit in the bar or outside and eat, was very nice. Wednesday was the best day so far, started off very cold and windy. Went down most mornings, even for a short while to watch the Rangers feeding the dolphins. Had coffee over at The Boughshed Restaurant overlooking the water, a beautiful spot, also headed there for Happy hour a couple of times watching the sunset. Friday left Monkey Mia. Had very heavy rain overnight and we were sitting in a lake, but no dramas leaving, except wet feet!! Stopped at Little Lagoon – very pretty, did not go down as road was very wet. When the weather is good it is a popular place for picnics, swimming, fishing, canoeing, looks like good facilities. Road into The Francois Peron National Park was closed, as was the roads to the other camping spots along that coast, where a guy was bogged with his van when we went in, so no wonder the road was closed after the rain we had last night. Then into Denham, just a quick stop, there was a lake at the back of the council building that they were pumping out. Then down to the Lookout over Shell Beach, then to the vermin Fence, which keeps the predators out of the Peninsula and there has been a revival in the Bilby population. Next back into Hamelin Pools, to see the Stromatolites at a different tide state, unfortunately though the water was chopped up by the wind. Straight to Nerren Nerren RA where we will stay tonight, good amenities, just managed to get set up before the heavy rain came again.

Off to Kalbarri, stopped at Murchison River RA, which has 3 dump points, toilets and an Automated external defibrillator, something new, that we had never seen before, why one was put there, who knows!

Sunday August 9th a big day, going to the furthest point South that we intend to go around Kalbarri. Drove down through Kalbarri NP Coastal section, the wildflowers are just superb, so many of them and such a variety, large areas of just a coloured carpet. First we headed to Hutt Lagoon – “The Pink Lake”, the pink hue which gives the lake it’s common name is due to the presence of the carotenoid producing algae, Dunaliella Salina, a source of Beta-carotene, a food colouring agent and a source of Vitamin A. The lagoon contains the world’s largest microalgae production plant and a commercial supply of Artemia parthenogenetica brine shrimp. Certain times of the day the pink hue varies, we saw it quite well. Then we went into the small settlement of Port Gregory, encircled by 5km of reef, so a very protected area. Next was Lynton Convict Hiring Depot and Station 1853 – 1856. There was a residence built for the Supervisor in 1853, the remainder of the depot, including barracks, hospital, cookhouse, privies, officers, warden’s quarters and a lockup was built. Now they have done some restoration and labelled where all the buildings were, more restoration is slowly taking place.
Turned to head back North to the Principality of Hutt River and HRH Prince Leonard, comparable to the size of Hong Kong an independent sovereign state that seceded from Australia on April 21st 1970. You either buy a Visa that gets the Principality stamp or have your Passport signed for a small Fee. We met Prince Leonard in the Government office, which is also their own Post Office, you can buy their stamps and the envelope is stamped there and posted there. It has a charming Inter-Denominational Chapel with some lovely paintings. They have their own currency. HRH Prince Lennard, 90 years old and full of Tales and stories, is quite a character. A new Shrine has been built to His wife of 66 years Shirley, Princess Shirley’s Sacred Educational Shrine and very good friend Sir Martin Louey. Trevor caught up with Prince Leonard’s tales in the centre where he has all his memorabilia. He lost his wife Shirley 2 years ago. There will also be a great deal of information on religion and pure physics for everyone’s sphere of interest.
You will find the identical “Nature’s Spirit Codes” of both “Jesus” and “Muhammad”, as well as the Spirit Codes for “Jerusalem” and the “Kaaba’ which was taken from Jerusalem. Hence you will also see that “Nature’s Spirit Code” for the “Kaaba” is reversed to that of “Jerusalem”. The equations for the universe at rest and the universe then “Creating” are also to be found within this Shrine. A great number of small statues of animals and birds all with their “Nature’s Spirit Codes” will also be there for all to see. Realists may find this very informative. On the way back to Kalbarri we stopped a number of times photographing the wildflowers and different Banksias. There are masses of wildflowers everywhere, so a good few photo stops. Back into Kalbarri. Monday August 10th Kerry, our daughter's B’Day. Medical centre with eye for me, fed up with it, they made an appointment for me to see the Dr at 2 kept waiting even though the first appointment for the afternoon and the Dr was back! Anyway he had a good look at eye, which was what I wanted just very severe Conjunctivitis - bloody pain I can tell you!! In the morning as soon as I got back from the Medical centre we headed to do the most distant Kalbarri NP Northern Coastal Cliffs walks, and took lunch with us. Extremely good amenities in all the areas, excellent viewing platforms, walked the short walks, went first to Island Rock and The Natural Bridge. Trevor then walked to The Grandstand and Shell house –I took the car round there while Trevor walked, We had lunch there. Then we went to the last attraction of this section of the Coastal Cliffs, Eagle Gorge. We cannot get over the variety and amount of wildflowers everywhere!!
Tuesday, Trevor went for a walk and then as soon as we had had breakfast we went over for the daily Pelican Feeding at 8.45. Was a bit of fun, they know that they are fed at a certain time each day and they all fly in. Everyone gets a chance to feed the pelicans. Unfortunately a loose dog came up at the end of feeding and scared them away. It is all done by volunteers, and they just asked for a donation towards the cost and any extra goes towards special events in the community. Then we went to do the Gorge walks in Kalbarri NP, Fee for entry covered by WA pass, first to West Loop Lookout, an easy walk with spectacular views over the Murchison River. Then around to Nature’s window, first part of the walk was easy, I did not go down all the way, Trevor did, as it was pretty tricky. I sat on a rock and had the ancient scorpion prints in the rock pointed out to me 430million years old!
Then we went to Z Bend Lookout, very nice walk to it, breathtaking views of the meandering Murchison River, an excellent viewing platform. Once again we have been so blessed with seeing so many different wildflowers. On the way back detoured up to Meanarra lookout, a great view of Kalbarri and again lots of wildflowers. Then to the North side of town to the Zuytdorp Memorial, which commemorates the 300th anniversary of the Zuytdorp which was shipwrecked off this coast in 1712. Wednesday we were off to do the rest of Kalbarrin NP Coastal Cliff walks, up as far as Pot. Last area was Red Bluff and found the geocache at Little Bluff after parking on a massive slab of rock near where there were loads fishing. Though a couple were going to be in real strife, he went to retrieve his fishing rod, slipped and fell heavily on the rocks, she went to help him and also had a nasty slip and fall. Eventually they managed to get on “Terra Firma”!!
Thursday packed up, bought some bread rolls and headed out to do the last two spots in Kalbarri NP on the way out and with very good access for the caravan, First Hawkes Head Lookout, aptly named after the shape of the rock structure seen from the Lookout. Great Gorge views. Incredible waves in the rocks again. Once again, some more different Wildflowers.Then around to the Ross Graham Lookout and river access, again great views of the Gorge and River. Once again all the facilities at both areas are excellent , toilets, picnic, viewing platforms stayed at the Murchison River RA Large area, lot of people in for the night.


Friday August 14th Called in briefly at Northampton, then to Geraldton, massive wheat silos, lovely waterfront, partly being redeveloped, but still lovely children’s play area on the waterfront, very nice small beach. Went to the fish coop and stocked up. Stayed at Indarra Siding RA on the road to Mullewa, The Wildflower Way. Great fields of Canola all along the way.Into Mullewa early in the morning and walked the wildflower walk, heaps of Everlasting flowers and some others we had not seen too. Then onto Wilroy Nature Reserve for the night.
Through Morawa to Perenjori, where after being told the location of the Wreath Flowers in the Information Centre, we decided to take a detour to see the unique Leschenaultia Macrantha -Wreath flowers, defined by their very distinctive shape, many pink to red and yellow to white flowers in a circle at the edge of the plant with green foliage in the middle. They get bigger each year and some form Doubles and Trebles.Headed out on a good road towards the Mount Gibson Mine, a road heavily used by the mining trucks , and there they were just short of the mine, both sides of the road for about 200 metres, WA only place in the world where they are found. It was more than worth-while. Good free overnight at White Wells RA. Monday August 17th On the road, stopping first in Wubin with the story of the wheat. Then to Dalwallinu, in the information centre we were told where we would spot a Spider Orchid, so walked down to see the Spider Orchid plant, a very tiny orchid.
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Then it was on to New Norcia and the magnificent story of the monks and the Benedictine Community. Founded in 1847 and set up by Dom Rosendo Salvado and Dom Joseph Serra. Serra departed for Rome in 1848 and was appointed to Darwin leaving Salvado to carry on the building and developing of New Norcia. Later while Salvado was in Rome Serra returned as Bishop of Perth Salvado again returned and continued to develop NewNorcia . New Norcia was much bigger than I had anticipated. We walked around all the buildings, The Monastry, St Gertrudes College, originally a girls boarding school, there is also a Boys boarding school as well as the two orphanages St Mary’s and St Joseph’s. There were also houses built for the aborigines. There are lots of residential colleges and a working farm. The flour mill has operated since 1850 and the bakery constructed in 1879 is still making bread, I paid a lot for one of their Multigrain fruit loaves, made in the monastery bakery. The bread turned out to be excellent, so froze about half the loaf for a special toast treat later. It was wholegrain and absolutely full of fruit! Then we went into The New Norcia Hotel, built in 1927, took photos on their great staircase, then had lunch and sampled their own New Norcia Ale. We also bought some New Norcia Port. After lunch we walked around the other side of the complex. Then we were on the road, a small free area for the night.

Tuesday August 18th Over to Durien Bay then Cervantes and a bit further South to The Pinnacles. Another of these fantastic natural phenomenas that we have in Australia. Rising mysteriously from the sand dunes are thousands of limestone pillars up to 4 metres tall. Some of them are jagged, others resemble tombstones. We did the 1.2km loop walk around them out to The Desert View Lookout and back. After just a little further south to a free stop at Wedge Lookout. Boardwalk to a lookout out over the ocean. There were also more and different wildflowers again.

Wednesday stopped at Wilbinga Grove, another free stop before heading into Perth tomorrow. Boy did it rain overnight, the campers must have been very!! Uncomfortable!! Trevor jump started one of their cars, their battery was flat as they had had to sit in it all evening, then we watched a car get itself out from the other side of flooded road, they were able to take to the bush, just!! Short decidedly wet trip into CP in Perth - Karrinyup Waters, where we are based for a week, but have taken a 3 night package to Rottnest Island so will be leaving the van here. Saturday August 22nd we took the train into the City, weather much better. Walked down past the Supreme Court where the armed Forces band was getting ready to march out, so we stopped to watch. Don’t know if there was a special occasion, but they were very spectacular. Down to Barrack Street Wharf, lovely looking over the Swan River, sorted out where we had to go for Rottnest Ferry tomorrow, managed to get our luggage labels and boarding passes. Then we walked up into Kings Park, quite a walk! What views from the park, fabulous wildflower displays. Walked back to Esplanade Station, train back to Stirling and the car, quick visit to Technician at Telstra got my phone quickly fixed, oh to be more tech savvy!!
Drinks again with Rosemarie and Stuart, said our farewells, may catch up with them again next year. Sunday we were up early and on our way to the City.Took a cab and it arrived early!! So we were very early to the wharf. Fabulous trip down the Swan River to Fremantle, with a very good informative commentary. A quick change of ferries for the equally quick ride over to Rottnest Island, known for its Quokkas, a very small native marsupial and there are a lot of them on the island where there are no predators. They are very cute and their joeys were starting to emerge. Had to wait to get into our cottage, so we had a coffee, then a pie for lunch. Wandered around to the visitor centre as we had not received a txt to say our cottage was ready which it was. So we went and settled in.The cottages are very adequate and have a very necessary and very good gas fired heater. Also found the stove very good. Gas top and fan forced oven, a great combination. The cottages are made from locally quarried stone and are all painted the same sandy colour, as decreed on the island. Then we went and got the groceries and grog. Got our all-day pass for the Explorer Bus tomorrow. Basically 2 ways to get around the island, bike or the explorer bus or of course on foot. There are 800 moorings around Rottnest and there is a 10 year waiting list to acquire a mooring. Monday August 24th off on the first Explorer Bus of the day, given an excellent commentary on the various features of Rottnest by the driver, had decided that for our first section we would go right out to Cape Vlamingh, West End, where a large colony of New Zealand Fur Seals reside at Cathedral Rocks where there is an excellent viewing platform equipped with free use of binoculars, there are also nesting Ospreys. It was fine and sunny, but a very cold wind blowing. We watched the colony of NZ Fur Seals for ages, some were swimming and playing just below us and other were over on the small island, some sunbaking on the rocks others playing in the little inlet. We walked out to the platform at Eagle Bay too before catching the bus back to Thomson Bay for lunch. After lunch back on the bus to Wadjemup Lighthouse went to the top great tour with Bryan a volunteer on Rottnest, who gave us an excellent insight into the history and working of Wadjemup Lighthouse, first lit up in 1896 and Rottnest Island. After the tour we continued on the last bus all around the island and back to Thompson Bay. There are lots of Volunteer hosts on Rottnest, some come for 3 day stretches, some just for the day. They have various duties on the island, the museum, lighthouses, quokka walk etc.Next day Trevor went on a long walk this am as he wanted to go to the Oliver Hill gun placements, featuring the restored WW11 9.2inch gun which we had hoped to do yesterday, but with doing the tour up the Lighthouse yesterday we did not have time. There was a bitterly cold wind blowing again today. Visited Salt Store, where the salt mined on Rottnest was stored before being shipped. Now it is preserved as a gallery. Next we went to the Museum, housed in the Old Mill and Hay Store. Was a fascinating insight into the islands history and Aboriginal prison, which we gathered further information when we later visited Fremantle Gaol. In the afternoon did the guided walking quokka tour in the pm, taken by volunteer Lesley, who told us all about the quokkas, their habitat, breeding pattern, then we walked to where they usually go during the day to shelter in the warmer weather. Because it has been cold they were out and about more during the day. We saw lots and lots of quokkas and their joeys. Then played the bells in the Holy Trinity Church, quite legitimate! Wednesday we packed up, Trevor went for a short walk. Stayed in the unit ‘til just after 9 then headed to the very nice Dome Café for a coffee while we waited for the Ferry back to Fremantle, then the shuttle bus to other terminal, train to Stirling, changed in City, then bus to CP from Stirling Station. And a very short walk. Must say that the public transport in Perth seems very good as is the freeway system.

Car would not start so foiled our plans, WA NRMA called, very nice guy came out. Seems it was a battery terminal problem. We then went and were treated to a great Chinese meal at Chu Sing in Stirling.Thursday August 27th Left Karrinyup CP, headed towards the coast as we wanted to go and have a look at the infamous Cottesloe Beach(book by Judy Nunn talked about it extensively) parked the caravan by the beautiful looking golf course, walked down the waterfront and had a look at the very impressive Sundial, then down to get my toes wet. It is a very beautiful City Beach. Then down to Coogee and a caravan park just South of Fremantle. Friday we had intended catching the bus this am, but the rain has set in, so took the car to Fremantle Convict Gaol. Did 2 tours $25 each Concession for the 2 tours, both very different within the vast complex that makes up Fremantle Prison, The Convict establishment, first with Steve, a passionate historian the “Doing Time Tour”, exploring the inside of the prison from its convict origins in the 1850s until its closure as a maximum security gaol in 1991. We were taken back in time through the Main Cell block, where we saw life as it was for both the convicts and the prisoners. We saw some of the Artwork done, especially by the Aborigines prior to its closing. The Prison was a place of hangings, floggings, dramatic convict escapes and prisoner riots. Inmates included imperial convicts, colonial prisoners, enemy aliens, prisoners of war and maximum-security detainees.The first convict transport sailed into Fremantle Harbour in 1850. The Convict Establishment, as the prison was first known, was built by convict labour between 1852 and 1859 using limestone quarried on the site. The first prisoners moved into the main cell block in 1855.
The Establishment was renamed Fremantle Prison in 1867. Transportation ceased the following year when the Hougoumont carried the last convicts to Fremantle. Nearly 10000 convicts passed through the ‘establishment’ between 1850 and 1868.
At first only imperial convicts were confined at Fremantle Prison. By 1886 less than 60 convicts remained inside a prison built to hold 1000 men. Perth Gaol closed and Fremantle Prison became the colony’s primary place of confinement for men, women and juveniles. With the population boom of the 1890s gold rush, Fremantle Prison became busy once again. More space had to be found for a burgeoning prison population. After the Rottnest Island Aboriginal Prison closed in 1903, prisoners from Fremantle Prison were sent to the island to carry out public works. New Division was built and opened in 1907. During the Second World War, the Australian Defence Department sequestered part of the prison as a military detention centre. A large number of Italian Australians, identified as ‘enemy aliens’ were incarcerated at Fremantle during the war. After its closure the WA state government embarked on a long-term conservation plan to ensure the Prison’s preservation for future generations. Fremantle Prison is one of the largest surviving convict prisons in the world today. After that tour which lasted for a very informative hour and a quarter, we joined Andrew, a former prison guard and an equally passionate guide for another hour and a quarter on the “Great Escapes Tour”. Despite its perimeter walls, cast iron gates, gun towers and razor wire , hundreds of prisoners attempted to escape, some successful, others not. Bushrangers, escape artists such as Moondyne Joe and his so called “Escape proof cell”. We explored the Women’s Prison and their appalling exercise yards, and also saw “Death Row”. We had lunch there and also visited the various informative galleries and visiting section, as well as the impressive Art Gallery. It had stopped raining by then and we were able to walk around Fremantle, and see how much the dock area was changed for the America’s Cup.Then went and found the newly refurbished at least inside pub that I had visited back in 1974, when this was all I saw of Fremantle. We had been meant to have nearly a day in Perth, but this was as far as we got as we were the last ship of 3 to clear Immigration and Customs, which everyone had to do as our first Port of call in Australia and then all we had time to do was go over the bridge over the railway into the pub “The Australia Hotel” have a pie and a pint and then back to the ship to sail to Adelaide. Was delicious at the time I can remember as a change to Greek ship food![Image cannot be loaded]
Saturday August 29th was our last day in Coogee, so drove back into Perth to go and complete the beautiful Kings Park, as we only saw a small area last time. It turned out to be a very good move that we took the car as we had lots of showers and there is quite a distance between all the different areas that we wanted to see. After parking the car the first thing that we saw a group setting off for the day on hired electric bikes, what a great way to go!!.The first area that we walked too was “Lotterywest Federation Walkway”, a walk through the treetops, the elevated walkway and a wonderful viewing bridge with spectacular views over Perth. Back to the car for a quick passing shower. Stopped again looking at all the wonderful native flowers, the one unique native flower that they cannot grow in KIngs Park is the magnificent Wreath flower that we saw in an area North of Perth. We talked about that to the very informative volunteer lady in the information centre. Next parked at the Botanic Gardens Park and walked the Bushland Nature Trail and up the DNA Tower, 2 sets of stairs each with 101steps,15 metres high offering stunning views of Perth and an avenue of trees below.There are also 3 viewing platforms on the way up. Then we went to Synergy Parkland, excellent play areas for kids to explore, and great big replicas of dinosaurs and extinct creatures. We had an excellent cake and coffee at the very popular Zamia Café. Again as we found a Geocache “Quack, Quack, Roar” it started to rain. Stopped just as quickly as it started!! Stopped at the newly reopened Variety Place Children’s play area. New adventure play and picnic facilities have been officially opened at the Saw Avenue Picnic Area in Kings Park.The launch of Variety Place marks the final stage of planned improvements to this popular precinct, which has been made possible by Variety WA – the Children’s Charity.The area was officially opened by Donna Faragher JP MLC, who said the new additions for play and picnicking really do make this one of the most attractive and inviting areas for families in Perth. 'We owe enormous thanks to those at Variety WA who have shared the vision with Kings Park to improve this area and particularly to make it accessible to children of all abilities', she said.The expanded design includes a fort, climbing net, bridges, tunnels and climbing logs, as well as new barbecues, picnic tables and wood carved artworks by local artist Nic Compton. The area is well-equipped for all visitors, but it has been developed with the particular emphasis on universal access for people of all abilities and disabilities. All through Kings Park there are lots of places available to rent out for a function, lots and lots of Free Bar B Q’s, picnic facilities, excellent parking and toilets. A long day, but well worth the effort, drove around to Ivy Watson area, but was too wet, but looked another great picnic and Bar B Q area.
Left CP at Coogee and headed inland to have a look at the Serpentine Falls in Serpentine NP. It is a very popular day visit picnic, walking, swimming park. It is on the Darling Scarp. Our WA pass got us into the Park, there were 2 Rangers on duty. Very well maintained facilities. Did the short walk down to the very nice Falls, where there is a very nice swimming hole with very good access, then back across the water pipeline, also a walkway and into the back of the extensive well set up picnic and free Bar B Q areas. Next we headed into Mandurah, parked the caravan on the far side of the river, walked into town and along the lovely waterfront. What a beautiful play area for the children, lovely marina. We picked up some calamari, fish and chips for lunch. After lunch headed to Lake Clifton in Yalgorup NP and the feature of the Clifton Lake area the Thrombolites, “living rocks”, they are the most common form of microbialites and this is one of only 2 sites known where microbialites occur in water less salty than sea water. They are very different to the Stromatolites at Hamelin Pool. Once again there was a very good walkway out to view the Thrombolites. Stayed the night just off the road at Old Whittakers Mill RA. Monday August 31st just a short move to Belvidere campground in a conservation reserve, as will have a day of R & R today, stay 2 nights giving us a real chance of a relaxing day even if the weather is a bit inclement. Only small camping area but has a host Ray who does love a chat! $5.50 per person per night. Good fairly new long drop toilet, plenty or rubbish bins around, lots of fairly small kangaroos. It is not far away from Leschenault Estuary, which has the history of the area well documented. It is a NP and as such a park entry should be paid, covered by our WA Pass. Tuesday September 1st Trevor saw lots of birdlife near the Lake. Day taking it easy near Leschenault Estuary, Belvidere Camp has an interesting history. It was owned by a succession of people with varied farming interests, from Indiana who ran the cattle and also a vegetable garden was developed. In the 60’s it also became known as a place that fostered an alternative lifestyle. A small commune developed and while the simple rules that were applied worked there were no problems No Dogs, No Drugs and No Dole. It had attracted many talented artists, potters, basket weaver, potter, leadlight artist and painters. The community became quite large and a teacher was even employed. There was a very nice picnic and Bar B Q area with very new long drop toilets.There were steps up to a Lookout but the trees have grown too tall, the smoke was used to signal across the estuary for supplies.
Wednesday September 2nd Time to move off. Went into Bunbury for a quick look around,Trevor had stayed here, so had a quick look where he had stayed and where he went for a walk. We then carried on down the back road to Busselton to Pine Plantation RA for the night, another free area.
There was a notice that the incidence of Mossies++ was low, if this is low, hate to see it when it is bad. We have started to see fields of lilies. Believe them to be Arum Lilies, which are considered a pest in WA, but the fields of them look very impressive.
Today September 3rd, our last month in Western Australia signalled the start of yet another very busy period, thought we have seen so much, but then down into the SW corner of Western Australia and there is just so much to do!! First move of the day was the short drive into Busselton, parked on the very impressive waterfront, lovely new toilet block, very nice walkways and gardens. Great parking and even bays to charge up your electric car. Went and had a look at the jetty and jetty train.They have an underwater Observatory at the end of the jetty that the train runs out too.
Next we went up to Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, great walking track around the lighthouse, through very pleasant bush, again lots of wildflowers, a very good track down to an excellent viewing platform, great to view the whales, none here today, just a little early in the Spring for the returning migratory whales.Then we drove around to the 2 Lookouts at Sugarloaf Rock, a gigantic granite rock, that rises impressively and is very close to the main land.The viewing platforms have been magnificently done, allowing very easy access to a great vantage point. Then it was down to Margaret River past lots and lots of vineyards. Staying in Margaret River for a week. Next day In the morning, Trevor on his walk spotted a very interesting sculpture of a cow in Margaret River. Full day today, first we headed to Ellensbrook Historic home, once home to Alfred and Ellen Bussell, early European settlers in the region. It has been renovated by the National Trust . We had a good look around , walked down to the weir and then out on the very well formed path to the Meekadarabee Falls and cave, a significant Aboriginal site known as the bathing place of the Moon and the story of a young girl Mitanne, who used to explore the area. The small falls were running well and supply the excellent water supply to the homestead. Next on to the Venison Farm, where we bought some venison steak and rissoles. Next to a vineyard Brookwood Estate and bought some wine, needless to say. Next was into Cowaramup, it had started to rain, so into a café for a late lunch. There are sculptures of cows everywhere. After a big day it was then back to Margaret River.

Saturday September 5th First place we headed too today was the Berry Farm, past all these massive vineyards, so many vines everywhere!! Berry Farm was very impressive, huge range of preserves and some very nice Port. Also bought a bag of avocadoes for $5 and these when they eventually ripened were magnificent. After the Berry Farm we headed into Witchcliffe to “Cookies Galore” What an array of cookies and slices, sampled their wonderful Bush Plum slice, which we ended up purchasing a couple of pieces as well as their apple crumble, so full of apple. Pies bought for lunch, everything homemade!! Then back into Margaret River to the Fudge factory, again wonderful produce, made on the premises. A day full of self indulgencies!!Trevor failed in his endeavour to find a Geocache Taj Mahal, in Margaret River somewhere near the Town Hall and Cultural centre, which is a very impressive building.

Sunday September 6th was another really big day, on the road early to Augusta for a quick look around, talked to an English guy who was fishing and he recommended the orchid walk to Flat Rock, which we did later. Then it was off to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, we were very lucky that the intended maintenance fo0r the lighthouse was running late, so we actually got to be able to go up the lighthouse on a tour, taken by Ray our guide for the day. When you get to the top of the lighthouse up 176 steps we went, you can see where the 2 oceans meet from a very elevated position . When we had completed the tour up the Lighthouse, we had individual self guided audio commentary of all the points of interest in the Lighthouse precinct. It is very well done and very informative. After having scones and coffee in the Lighthouse café we went to the Historic water wheel, built in 1895 to supply water for the builders of the Lighthouse and later to the Lighthouse keeper’s cottages. Trevor then succeeded in finding another geocache “The Australian Main Lands most SW Point”. Then back towardsAugusta, stopping at the new harbour only completes in November 2014, providing a very sheltered mooring and excellent facilities. Next a walk out to Flat rock spotting a few orchids and different wildflowers on our way, not many orchids out yet. Another Geocache “Welcome to Augusta” Then over to the Jewel Cave, where we updated our pass from the Lighthouse to be able to come back and do the cave in the next few days, hopefully tomorrow. Then to Hamelin Bay for Lunch, walked to a couple of Lookouts, Mushroom Rock, the old wharf and Hamelin Island. Then stopped at old Karradale another Geocache “Old Karradale Mill Park”, and the history of the local timber industry. Then stopped at a lookout of the Karri trees and off went Trevor again, a Geocache day “Pooh’s one hundred acres”. Karri trees are certainly the trees of the area. Another Big Day!!

Monday September 7th Off early to Jewel Cave, as the lady yesterday had recommended the early tour as there are usually less people on it, so we were there for the 9.30 tour Before that Dad found the Geocache “Jewel Cave” Liam was our excellent guide through the deep and very different Jewel Cave, the largest cave in WA. Saw many of the delicate straw Stalactites as well as the vast Frozen waterfall and Organ Pipes among the vast array of Stalagmites and Stalactites Then to a furniture Gallery of the most wonderful furniture, Jack, Trevor’s Father would have been in seventh heaven. We were told about the place when we stopped at the viewing area in the Karri Forest, mind you, you would need to rob a Bank to pay for one of their wonderful pieces! Next stop was another Geocache and where we thought we would be able to get a coffee Lake Cave, we had the water but forgot the coffee!! Café closed! Then to Redgate Vineyard, where again we failed to find another Geocache “Barrels of Fun”. Went into the vineyard and again indulged in buying a mixed case of their wines. Back to the caravan after picking up a medium bucket of Salt and Pepper squid from “Squidlips” for lunch. Tried to catch up a little in the pm.

Tuesday September 8th Heading out about 10 after lovely cooked Brekkie. Dad tried unsuccessfully again to find Geocache Taj Mahal , then much more successful on our way out to Prevelly and Gnarabup, we stopped and did a very easy Geocache ”Haunted” Failed with another couple “Point of Softness” and “Surfers Point”. What a wonderful stretch of coast, weather was perfect today, but what a great surfing place, have heard about surfing at Margaret River, but it has to be seen to be believed, and what viewing facilities, walkways and platforms, great toilets and changing area, heaps of good parking – just brilliant facilities . Then we went back to Witchcliffe to go to Cookies Galore again and get some of their wonderful Native Plum Slice and some of their wonderful Apple Crumble so full of apple as well as . Dad completed the second geocache for the day “Witchcliffe Hall”. Then to the shops.

Wednesday September 9th Sue's B'Day and another very busy day. Back to the Venison Farm, get some more of their delicious steak and rissoles. Also got some pate and venison salami. Then to Laurence of Margaret River, just a photo shoot of their incredible statue in the middle of a lake. Next was Pea Break, then Canal Rocks, another of these incredible rock formations. Then to look at another couple of Surf breaks at Smiths Beach. Then tried to get a coffee, after a couple of failures, Cape Lavender had no power, Yallingup Galleries, Bistro not open even though it said so at the gate, then finally success at the very nice Goanna Café and Gallery. Then another failure, but travelled through beautiful countryside and intensive agriculture, the Brewery we wanted to go too has not been able to reopen yet as is awaiting a liquor licence. So then it was on to the Margaret River Dairy Company, where you were able to sample a great array of their cheeses. Bought a couple, a Brie and beautiful Cheddar. Then onto Margaret River Chocolate Co. You can see them making their vast array of chocolates, we just bought a couple of liqueur chocolates, then to Margaret River Nuts and Cereals. Bought some of their Muesli, tasted very good. There are so many food and wine outlets in the region, hard not to indulge. That was it for the day apart from some shopping. Out for dinner for my birthday to what turned out to be a very good Thai Restaurant "Chang Thai", made it very easy as we just walked over from the CP.

September 10th on the move again, pouring with rain as we packed up – severe front South of Mandurah, warnings of severe winds and rain. Stopped in Nannup, had a coffee and a very nice piece of Cheesecake, café made all their own cakes. Off to a small free area between Nannup and Bridgetown Karri Gully. Fine next morning, headed in to Bridgetown, a very nice little town, a couple who entertained us at Fraser Station live here and they had fallen in love with it, so felt a need to have a look, and it appears a very nice place and area. The farming all around here is very intense, quite strange to see, much more like farming in NZ or UK. From Bridgetown we carried on South through more farming and winery country to Pemberton. Went past a lot of very large full dams, lots of vineyards and intensive farms. Pouring with rain and after an early lunch we headed up to theGloucester Tree, it is a National Park and as such $10 entry, even for Seniors,covered by our WA Parks Pass otherwise a waste of money on a day like we had. You can climb the tree, but far too wet to even contemplate today, it is 61metres high, steps are solid steel spikes forming rungs up the tree. The lookout being 53metres up, People in the Forest regularly used to climb the trees to look for the first signs of forest fires.

Then we went to go on the Pemberton Tram, a 1907 replica Freemantle tram, that wanders on the old rail line through the Karri, Marri and Jarrah Forest. Our guide for the trip was Scott full of information on the forests and the area. It also takes in The Cascades, where the Lefroy Brook tumbles over a series of rocky shelves. Unfortunately another downpour as we walked down to The Cascades. The Tram Passes a number of houses built of Karri for the timber workers, the sawmill, then passes over a No of trestle Bridges that are over the Lefroy Brook, out to the Warren River Bridge, where the Lefroy Brook meets the Warren River. Back in Pemberton there are a number of topiary creations around the station, Thomas the Tank and others.

Then as the area we intended camping for the night in was very small we headed back to an area we had seen at the junction of the road heading to Walpole, tomorrow’s destination.
Just a short move to Walpole, down through the Karri Forests, it continues to be wet and decidedly cool. There had obviously been a fairly bad bushfire through the region, lots of trees down and lots sporting new growth. After setting up and having lunch we headed to Mandalay Beach in D’Eentrecasteaux NP, very spectacular coastline and site of the 1911 shipwreck of the Norwegian barque “Mandalay”. Nice boardwalk and Viewing platform with interpretive signage.

Sunday September 13th On the road early to The Valley of the Giants and the Tree Top Walk, a walk through the tree tops in the Tingle Forest. It was a wet day, but we were there just after they opened. Beauty of the ticket, concession $9 is that you can do the walk as many times as you want. An experience not to be missed walking 40metres above the forest floor, a steel walkway almost 600metres long. The walkway sways a bit, but very easy to walk. They have a number of platforms along the walkway and stipulate how many people can be on each span and each platform. It was absolutely spectacular. Then we did The Ancient Empire Interpretive walk on the forest floor, a number of Tingle Trees that you can stand inside. When you hear that there forests need 1200mls of water a year, you sort of understand that it rains around here a bit. After a bit of time in the Wilderness Discovery Centre, including sitting in an old FB Holden in a Tingle Tree, then a cup of coffee, the sky had cleared and we did the Tree Top for a second time in partial sunlight. Next it was onto The Giant Tingle Tree, a massive fire hollowed Tingle. Then we went around the short Knoll drive around from the CP to a number of small fishing and beach spots.

Monday September 14th First Swarbrick Art work, 500 metre loop walk in the rain, but that did not matter, armed with waterproofs and umbrellas. A very strange art collection, starting with the very impressive “Wilderness Wall of Perception”, the rest, Golden Torus, Ghost Feather etc. very vague and you wonder why it was even put there? Next to the very impressive Fernhook falls and pool. We stopped first on the road and got out to view the Falls, then went over the bridge and into the day/camping area with very impressive walkways to the Falls and Pools, a lot of it wheelchair accessible, and a relatively new set of amenities. Back in the car and over the Mount Frankland, an impressive Granite Peak. Walked up The Frank Tower Lookout, a grade 4/5 walk, a steep well formed path to the steps to the summit that the Ranger in fire season climbs up 4 times a day up many steps, about 300, up then down too, all well formed, most with rails to the 360degree Lookout. Back down and then after a late morning tea we headed out to the other Wilderness View Lookout on a very wheelchair friendly walk to an excellent platform. Once again another attraction where they have provided excellent facilities.

After this it was back to Walpole, picked up a coffee and sandwich and then headed out to Circular Pool, once again very impressive amenities and facilities. A large tranquil pool in summer, we are there after extensive rains to see “Froth and Bubble”, as the water tumbles over the rocks it churns up the Saponin in the water and makes a very natural “cappuccino”. We have been amazed at the intensity of the farming in this area, hardly surprising with the high annual rainfall, but we are not used to seeing it in Australia.

Tuesday September 15th On the road to Albany, again through very intensive agricultural land, not used to seeing it, so green, lots of cattle, sheep, alpacas and goats, as well as the extensive vineyards. Did the washing and a few other caravan jobs and then along the Marine Parade into Albany where we did some shopping.
Wednesday September 16th Off to The National Anzac Centre down Marine Parade again stopping for the views and to see some of the whales that have taken up residence in the sheltered waters of Albany. The Anzac Centre opened in 2014 for the 100year anniversary of the ships sailing for Gallipoli from Albany. All the ships from Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington assembled here forming the 1st fleet that left for Gallipoli. The exhibition has been wonderfully setup with lots of Interactive activities. We were given a card each of one of the soldiers who left on the 1st fleet from Albany and you could follow their progress on the way round the exhibition, a number of stations where you placed your card and were given all the sign up information, a history of their service, ending with their final outcome, whether they survived and how the rest of their life panned out. I had Trooper Charles Livingstone of the 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment AIF, left on HMAT Bakara for Gallipoli. He was discharged from the Army with the rank of Corporal in January 1919 and went on to live until the age of 93.Trevor had Sergeant Colin Blumer 3rd Battalion AIF, he left on The Derfflinger a captured German ship. He was injured many times finally discharged August 28th 1917. He then completed his training as a vet, and went on to marry and died aged 77. In the centre you also had an interactive audio device, lot of places to activate all sorts of different soldiers and listen to their war tales on the audio device. There was a huge window overlooking the massive Albany Harbour set up with Interactive iPads where you could see the positions of where all the boats left from. We were there over 3 hours and could have stayed longer. We then went around all the extensive exhibits in the grounds, and then up to the very impressive Memorial and Lookout.

Thursday September 17th An early start out to Porongurup National park and we headed up the Grade 4/5 2.4km Castle Rock trail to Balancing Rock, Trevor doing the last 100metres to the summit, with difficult handholds over a rock and then up the ascent that has now been made safer and easier with a wonderful viewing suspended Granite Skyway at the top, what a feat to get that up there and constructed!!. There is also an amazing viewing platform below the summit, straight round from the wonderful Balancing Rock at Karri Lookout, where Sue stopped and waited for Trevor to return. I could take photos of him at The Summit on the Granite Skyway and also took photos of him descending using the hand holds. Stopped on the way back on another large slab of rock with fabulous views of the surrounding countryside. After that strenuous walk, we headed to the main area of the park, but only a very short stroll for us to the Tree in the Rock. Back through Porongurup, where we stopped for an icecream at the General store, petrol pump, tearoom etc with very pretty gardens and guess what it is warm again!! Past the Rock of Gibralter through Mount Barker, and then out towards the Whaling Station looking back across to Albany.

We wanted to go out to The Gap and Natural Bridge, but the area is closed and being re-developed. Then went briefly round past Oyster Harbour and into Gull Rock NP, where there was a recently burnt out car. It overlooks down overTwo Peoples Bay Nature Reserve. Next day on the road again, first stop Stirling Range NP, unhitched the van and went up to Bluff Knoll, another area wonderfully set up by NP’s for Parking , viewing and walking if you want. We just went up to the lookout with its wonderful facilities, and also admired the great variety of wildflowers on show. There are over 1500 species of flower in the Park, many of them unique to the park. It is a beautiful day and quite warm. We then stopped for a photo opportunity at a Pink Lake on the way to Lake Grace. Parked for the night just on the other side of the causeway across Lake Grace. All day we have passed through miles of Canola and wheat fields.
Saturday September 19th What a wild windy morning, with very light squally showers. It was very windy, but Lake Grace had not all flowed to one end, as apparently in high wind in the right direction it can! Off after breakfast, our first stop being in Lake Grace Dump Point and the toilets in town, lovely free clean facilities and a shower and toilet combined facility too, all free. Then off to Tin Horse Highway, a brilliant variety of horse sculptures doing all sorts of things. We only did the Eastern half of The Tin Horse Highway, heading west towards Kulin. They were just amazing, set up by the farmers and lead out towards the Kulin Bush Racing track. I have just picked out a very small selection of the Tin Horse sculptures. Coincidentally it was the Annual bush races on the following weekend, as we saw by the activity at the racecourse, which we drove out to and Jilakin Rock and Lake. The Free RV facilities in Kulin have been wonderfully set up, they have a well gravelled designated area for self-contained RV’s in the middle of the small town and again there are free toilets and showers, and a dump point to put all your waste in. Great facilities provided to encourage “Grey Nomads”. There was also a bin to put your receipts from the town in so they can monitor how much the RV’s are spending in the area. They have also done a lovely area all around, with gardens and sculptures. We then headed towards Hyden and Wave Rock, stopping on the way for coffee. Wave Rock CP $28 a night and on top of that there is an access amount for the Rock and walks $10 for 24 hours, which everyone has to pay to access the rock. Wave Rock is absolutely spectacular a granite rock shaped by natural forces as a "Wave" 110 metres long and 15metres high!! We then headed out to Mulka’s Cave and The Humps. There are over 450 separate Aboriginal paintings in 2 caves, mostly handprints plus some other images on the walls and roof. We then did The Gnamma trail, an interpretive walk describing the landscape, animals, birds and plants that live in the area. Back at the camping area Trevor then headed out on the Hippo’s Yawn Loop, and we will head up to Wave Rock again at sunset. Sunday September 20th up relatively early to do the walk over Wave Rock. What a fabulous walk well marked with superb views from the top. There is a diversion wall that has been built along the top of the rock, which was built to divert water to their storage dam, constructed in 1928. You get a very good view of Hyden Golf Course. There is very good interpretative signage. Back had brekkie, packed up to leave. Went first to Hippo’s Yawn – did not take too much imagination! On the road towards Esperance. Had not gone far when we spotted an excellent spot to photograph the surrounding countryside and the enormous fields of grain. Then down to Lake Grace and drove out onto the causeway where there was a lookout over another enormous Lake. Pulled into another free spot just North of Ravensthorpe, Overshot Hill Nature Reserve.
Monday September 21st On the road fairly early, stopped at a Roadhouse on the way and arrived in Esperance by midday. Trevor’s driving licence was waiting for him and both our health care annual cards. We had a beautiful spot in the front of the Caravan Park(CP) with a great view out over the ocean with a great safe play area in front of us for the kids. Trevor took advantage of the car washing bay to give the car a rare treat![gi]130785,250,175,L[/g]
Tuesday September 22nd Beautiful morning, cool breeze, but lovely sunshine. Had breakfast outside, which certainly made a change. The wind got colder and colder all day, straight from the Antarctic. Wednesday September 23rd Off after breakfast for a very full day in the wonderful Cape Le Grande NP. First to the start of the walk to Frenchman Peak. Then to the Lookout, looking back at Frenchman Peak and you could see the hole right through the enormous rock.
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Next to Rossiter Bay, a large East facing Beach. Saw some more different wildflowers.

Then it was back to visit Lucky Bay, what a bay!! White sand and crystal clear water such a wonderful colour of turquoise blue and with the white sand, and I mean the sand is really white, hard to describe, it is just breathtaking.

On to the small Thistle Cove and the spectacular Whistling Rock, the more the wind blows, the more the rock whistles. Also an aboriginal tale associated with the area.
So many beautiful beaches, it is hard to capture the beauty of it all.Next it was onto Hellfire Bay and another brilliant white beach, turquoise water and pristine conditions. We had a great walk on both Lucky and Hellfire beach. Had to watch out for the March flies though, vicious!
Lastly we headed to Le Grand Beach, an excellent 4WD beach with very firm sand, over 20kms of beach driving. There are 2 campgrounds within the park and at the moment the facilities at Lucky beach are having a major overhaul.
Thursday September 24th 40km Great Ocean Drive today, but first had a look at Taylor Street Jetty Café in view of eating there on Sunday with Lois and Alex, then a quick look at Curry Palace. Went up to the Rotary Lookout first, great views both out over the sea and inland. On this stretch of coast there are just so many Lookouts, so many pristine beaches all the way along, from West Beach close to Esperance, Salmon and Twilight Beach, named best beach in Australia in 2006, a great boardwalk/cycleway for a long stretch, great parking facilities and a spectacular Lookout at Observatory Point. There are also fisherman anchor points on some of the very smooth granite fishing spots.
Went up to look at the interpretive displays at the wind farm, it was nice to see a clear simple explanation of the generation of power using wind. Great area for a wind farm, would hardly ever be short of a good breeze! Then around to “Pink Lake “, that is not pink!! Whether it was or needs different light. Rest of the day catching up!
Friday September 25th Stonehenge the mission for this am. Built in 2011, Esperance Stonehenge has been constructed just out of Esperance. While there are thought to be 66 large, permanent replicas of Stonehenge throughout the world, the Esperance project is believed to be the only life size stone one. It is a full size replica of the original “Stonehenge” in the UK, as it would have looked around 1950 BC. 137 Stones of Esperance Pink Granite quarried adjacent to the Beale’s property, in Esperance, Western Australia. The 10 Trilithon Stones in a horseshoe pattern weigh between 28-50 tonnes each, standing with the 18 tonne lintels to a height of 8 metres. Inside the Trilithon Horseshoe stands another Horseshoe of 19 Blue Stones. The Trilithon Stones are surrounded by a circle of 30 Sarsen Stones weighing 28 tonnes each and standing almost 5 metres high including the 7 tonne lintels on top. Positioned between the Sarsen Circle and the Trilithon Stones is a full circle of 40 smaller stones, referred to as the Bluestone Circle. The Altar Stone weighs 9 tonne and lies in front of the tallest Trilithon Stones. The structure is aligned with the Summer Solstice – Sunrise – Esperance WA. The Station Stones are positioned on this line to allow the sun’s rays to pass through to the Altar. The Australian Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year (22nd December). The sunset on the Winter Solstice is (June 21st – the shortest day of the year). This is the same line as the Summer Solstice Sunrise. They really are incredible pieces of pink granite, of which there is a lot around Esperance. Spent quite a time wandering around there.
Then headed back to have a look at Bandy Creek, first went to the commercial side, but could see a park on the far side so headed over to where there is a boat ramp in a very sheltered area, once again, how blue is the sea and how clear the water over the very white sand. This is the area which Sammy the seal now frequents did not spot him.
In Esperance we then spent some time on the waterfront, which has been wonderfully upgraded, with a sculpture featuring “Sammy The Seal”, who regularly frequented this waterfront and is quite a local character. Features lovely walkways, picnic, Bar B Q’s, toilet facilities, with some local murals, children’s play areas, and the jetty wonderfully restored. There is a beautiful sculpture of a whale’s tail, with inserts of coloured glass. There is a short ramp, the pink granite again very prominent out to a swimming platform, then at the end of the jetty is a very nice area just to be able to sit. Walked out to the end of the main Tanker jetty built in 1935 basically to transport the wheat and unload fuel. It is now shorter as it fell into disrepair before being restored as a recreational facility for fisherman. We watched for a time as they were fishing for squid.
Saturday September 26th Up early to go and do the Kepwari Wetland trails, around Wheatfield Lake where we started and visited a couple of Bird hides on our way round to Woody Lake and back. Then took the car to the far end of Windabout Lake
Sunday September 27th Miserable day windy and squally showers. Washed the towels and all the undies and threw them in the dryer, not messing around with trying to get them dry. Weather had cleared a little so went out to West Beach, a quick walk along the cliff path over the beautiful water. Back into town went to Information Centre via the market stalls that were set up there. Then back up to the Rotary Lookout Kalgoorlie, Norseman SES doing a training exercise, not a good view today of Lake Warden which is the Lake that has been pink for a couple of years, it is on private property so you cannot get close to it. Met up with Lois and Alex from Albury for Lunch, was as well I had booked at the Dome Café and not Taylor Street Jetty café, as would have been decidedly uncomfortable in the inclement weather. Several hours later we parted company after a good lunch and lots of chatter.
And so a great trip down through WA comes to an end, what has been a very hectic time. You think that you have left plenty of time to do an area, but then you are all go, go, go!! Time to leave tomorrow for the journey back across the Nullabor, which we will pick up in another Blog.
Nearly there
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