Monday, April 27, 2009

Denmark to Perth!

Here's the latest instalment - hopefully this will mean no more impatient text messages from Leroy!!

We awoke early just north of Mount Barker and drove up the lookout where we had a great view of both the Stirling and Porongurup Ranges. We called in at St Werburgh's Chapel which was built in 1874 - a beautiful spot nestled amongst the gum trees.

From here we drove to Denmark (the town, not the country!!!). We stopped at the visitor centre where we saw the tallest barometer in the world. Then it was off for a beach drive as we had heard the beaches in the area were pretty amazing. We were not disappointed - we drove to Ocean Beach, up around to Lights Beach and then to Waterall Beach and Madfish Beach where we just had to stop for a swim as the water was crystal clear and we had the beach all to ourselves.

Madfish Beach

We called briefly past the Green Pools but it was getting late so we decided to head back there later. We drove back up the South Coast highway to about 14km East of Walpole to a rest stop near the Tree Top Walk which we planned to do the next morning.

This is what I generally look like in the morning (hence the very important function of a hat!):

We drove to the Tree Top Walk in the Valley of the Giants. full of amazing huge Tingle trees. The treetop walk itself wasn't as high or as long as the Otway Fly one we did near Lorne (although still pretty spectaular) ....

...but the Ancient Empire walk down the bottom amongst all the trees was pretty awe-inspiring. I think you actually get a better perspective of their size from down on the ground.

My my, thats a big tree!

We did the Scotsdale Drive loop following this, a drive encompassing a toffee place, meadery (honey wine) plus a few other wineries. We were very sad to miss the cheese place though, which had closed by the time we made it there!

There were a few spots of rain when we arrived at our rest stop so Dave rigged up the tarp.

The next day we woke up early to do some fishing. We drove to Lights Beach but the weather was a bit choppy and the water was quite weedy. We tried Ocean Beach but it didn't look too promising either.

We drove to town and had breakfast then drove out to Madfish Bay again which was much rougher than the other day. Dave did a bit of fishing but didn't catch anything.

In the arvo the sun came out and we headed to Elephant rocks and the Green Pools to have a swim and laze about. Two very beautiful spots that we highly recommend!!!

Elephant Rocks (note the couple sitting on the big rock to the back left)

We stayed at the same rest area that night - a great spot to stay considering it was Easter time and there was not one single spare bed in town!

The next day was Easter Saturday and we got up early and spent the day at the Denmark Markets which were great and full of lots of knick-knacks and lovely fresh produce. There were also lots of bands playing through the day and we saw Saz Lockyer and Arons Crusade play again, plus the Blumanna Band who we decided to head to Walpole to watch the following night.

We saw a great steam tractor too...

We went back to our fav rest spot for the night.

The next morning we headed to Walpole and just East of there we turned off to do a beautiful scenic drive though a Tingle Forest. We stopped off to see the Giant Tingle which was incredible - check it out!!!

We then drove a big loop and stopped to walk up Mount Frankland where we got a good view of the area (albeit very smokey due to the backburning that was happening).

We drove around a few more bays / beaches and then headed into town where we found some free WARM showers where we freshened up for the gig at the pub that afternoon.

Well, we had a great time, we were planning to just stay in the van in the car park, but after the gig finished we met some lovely people who invited up back to their place (thanks Fleur and Baz!!) where we proceeded to drink til all hours of the morning with a bunch of others and then sleep in our van in their backyard.

Fleur (looking a little better for wear than myself!)

Us with Baz

Well, not surprisingly we weren't feeling the best the next day and drove off to the local jetty where we passed out on the grass for many hours. We had some fish and chips for dinner (go the greasy food!) and then drove to a rest stop in Shannon where we stopped for the night.

The next day we drove to Northcliffe and down to Windy Harbour but we were still feeling a little tired so we headed to Pemberton where we checked in at the Caravan Park and spent the day washing and cleaning out the car.

After a great sleep we drove to the Gloucester Tree which Dave climbed up. It was about 60mtrs and you climb up just on steel pegs that have been nailed into the side of the tree. Pretty freaky!!! These trees were originally used as fire lookouts.

View from Top of Gloucester Tree (you can just make out me sitting down the bottom!)

The pegs you climb up:

We then took the Karri Explorer track and stopped at a micro-brewery where we sampled the beer. We called past the Tangle-toe cidery and tried some cider. From here we toured around the Karri forests and out to the Pemberton Wine Centre.

We then headed to the Bicentential Tree which is another tree to climb up but even bigger than the last one at over 75 metres. Again Dave climbed up while I stayed firmly at the bottom. This is the middle part of the tree (it extended above and below this):

Finally we stopped at the Donnelly River Winery where we bought a case of pretty tasty Pinot Noir for only $49. We then drove to our rest stop where we had our first camp fire - Yay!

The enxt day we drove straight to the Augusta Visitor Centre and then went to the tallest lighthouse on Mainland australia at Cape Leeuwin (but we didn't pay to go up it as we've seen enough lighthouses in the last couple of years, thank you very much!) We saw an old water mill pump from late 19th century which was pretty cool:

We bought a cave pass from the info centre to see three of the caves in the Margaret River area. The first one was Jewel Cave which was about 80 metres deep and very impressive.

Here you can see the tree roots that have come down through th cave roof to reach the water below:

Inside the cave:

There were some incredible formations - stalagmites/tites and shawls.

We stopped off at Hamelin Bay which was very beautiful...

..and we saw some stingrays come right into shore to get the fish guts / heads the fisherman were throwing back (yummy!)

We then drove up Cave Road and stopped at Conto's Campground South-West of Margaret River. A lovely secluded camp spot and another camp fire!

The next morning we drove to Lake Cave and did the 9:30am tour. A beautiful cave with magnificent reflections in the water.

Here you can see the "suspended table" where the original floor level was, then as the water receded it left the formation suspended in the air.

The water is receding and may be gone in as little as 4 years so we were lucky to see it before that happens!

We drove to Mammoth Cave which was a self guided tour, but unfortunatley didn't get any great photos here, apart from this one showing a stalactite forming. It takes 7 months for one drop of water to move from the roof down to the end of the stalactite - a very long process!

We drove out to Prevally Park Beach which is a famous surf break in Margaret River, where we watched some surfers for a while.

We headed to the town of Margaret river where we walked around town a bit and went to the supermarket. The town itself wasn't anything too special we felt.

Following this we went to 34 Degrees South

which is a smallish olive company. They had beautiful olive oil and we bought an E.V.O oil.

We went to a couple of Brewing Companies - the Colonial Brewing Company and the Cowaramup Brewing Co for some tastings before stopping for the night.

The next day we continued our food and wine tour, stopping at:

  • Margaret River Nuts and Cereals where we bought some nice muesli

  • MR Choc Co - nice shop but fairly expensive and not a lot to sample

  • MR Providore - lots of relishes, jams, olives etc to try but all fairly expensive

  • Cheese Factorys - we went to two of these and filled up on lots of yummy cheeses

  • Olio Bello - olive oils - the Parmesan infused was pretty awesome

  • Nottinghill Estate Winery - beautiful setting and lovely, friendly man

  • Bootleg Brewery - hung out for a while in the beautiful sunshine and listened to a band

  • Duckstein Brewery - just had a quick look at the very nice grounds but didn't stay for a drink as seemed a little pretentious

We then called past Yalingup Beach where there were a lot of surfers, Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse (didn't stop at this one either!) and Brusseltown where we went for a walk along the jetty:

So after a busy day we slept very well!

We awoke to a pretty impressive sunrise through the trees:

and on leaving took a wrong turn and ended up at a cheese factory (oh gosh darn it). Bought a muscatel chedder cheese to have with lunch.

We drove back to Capel and then inland to Donneybrook - home of Granny Smith Apples - where we went to the Old Goldfields Cidery and tasted some great ciders - my favourite being the scrumpy (surprise, surprise!) We bought a couple of scrumpy as well as the apple and ginger and mulled (apple and cinnamon - Sha, you would have liked this one!).

We saw some cows crossing...

...and stopped at the Donneybrook Oval to watch some local footy and eat our yummy salad with primo olive oil and muscatel cheese!

We drove to Collie where we stopped at the Visitor Centre and then drove to Stockton Lake Camping Area - an old open cut mine which is now a lake used for waterskiing. We had dinner, lit a fire and watched a great sunset:

The next morning we went into town and I made an appointment for a well-needed haircut - Yay! We drove out to Wellington National Park and saw the dam:

We drove around the park and stopped at honeymoon pool for a swim. It was pretty freezing but was very enjoyable swimming in fresh river water for a change!

We made it back into Collie in time for my hair appointment - and only $28 for a shampoo and haircut - hurray for small country towns!

We then headed to Bunbury and had a brief look around. We went up the lookout:

We drove North the coastal way and decided to head to Dwellingup instead of going straight to Perth. We stopped at the P.O.W camp and had some cider, wine and port by the campfire, managing to stay up to midnight - about 4 hours later than our usual bedtime!

We woke up the next morning and headed into Dwellingup for breakfast. We went into the info centre where there was a good display on the 1961 bushfire that wiped out the entire town. There was also info on the P.O.W Camp. This housed mainly German and Italian prisoners of WW2.

A carving that took my fancy outside the info centre:

We drove out to Lane Poole Conservtion Park and stopped at Island Pool for a swim. We checked out some of the great campsites around the Park and drove out to a spot on the river where we tried our hand at some fishing using spinners. Unfortunately we caught nothing but had some fun trying.

We had a second swim and I couldn't get over how warm it was at the end of April - swimming and fishing in only my togs - not like it is in Wellington!

We headed to Tony's Bend Campsite which was right on the river and Dave went down to the river to have one last go at fishing while I rustled up some dinner. A few minutes later Dave ran back with a fish so we had spag bol for starters, followed by grilled perch.

We also bought a gas lantern which rocks and we were able to sit up a bit later and read properly. Let there be light!

A truly fantastic relaxing day!

The next day (Dad's Birthday!) we went for an 18km bush walk through a Jarrah Forest, taking a fishing rod along with us.

The highlight being the "King Jarrah" which was way bigger than those around it.

We then drove back into Dwellingup to give Dad a call.

When we came to Dwellingup we had no ida what was here, but we would definately recommend it to everyone, especially those in Perth as it is not far. There's heaps to do - fishing, canoing, plenty of walks and great places to swim. We'll definately be back!!!

Well, that was about a week ago and since then, nothing else has been written in our book!!! We basically headed to fremantle, just South of Perth and spent the night in a campground where we typed up our CV. The next day we walked around town handing out our CV to various bars where we were told by most "sorry, no work going". Then low and behold, a brewery / restaurant asked us to come back in that night for a 2 hour trial. That all went well and we were told to call in on Tues to check out the roster.

On Saturday we looked up a few accomodation options online. The first place we checked out left us absolutely gobsmacked. The ad looked great, good rent, fully furnished, home gym etc and my mind conjured up images of an apartment block type place. When we pulled up in this dodgy as suburb we were greeted by a lady and number of young children with the words "Its a caravan out the back"..... Well Dave and I looked at each other and were led out the back where there were about 4 caravan shoved into this tiny space. She showed us the caravan and the fridge ("doesn't work") and the air conditioner ("does work but your're not allowed to use it as the caravans are too close together so its dangerous"). The home gym was a scungy old stationary bicycle and the "outdoor" kitchen's "oven" was a crappy old barbeque.... Needless to say, after she had given her spiel and was about to show us the "toilet and shower in one" Dave told her it "wasn't quite what we were looking for" whereupon she told us to please recommend her to our friends.....

What an experience!

A couple of hours later we got another call to come and check out a house very near Fremantle and we were met by a lovely young couple - Shona and Roberto - and a great house. So we moved in Sunday! So in about 2 days we manged to find job and a house - pretty good huh?!!

So we'll be in Freo for a few months, earning enough money to keep us going for the rest of our trip. Freo is a great seaside town and we're glad to be here as opposed to Perth City.

Another exciting thing that happened was that the space pig finally got a bath!

We also went to Perth Zoo and Dave finally got to see the wombat he's been hanging out for all trip:

A very cute orangutan baby..

AND we went to the Sydney Swans Vs Fremantle Dockers game at the Subiaco Oval and watched Sydney get smashed... I quite liked Fremantle and the sea of purple everywhere.

And to end things off, here is a video of a bush fire (controlled back burning) we drove past. Prob not that exciting for Aussies who see this sort of thing all the time, but quite impressive for the rest of us!!

Take care all. We will keep you updated on our jobs - first shift for me tonight and Dave tomorrow night.


  1. Wow guys! What fab adventures! Best of luck with the jobs! All is well with us, Ethan is 10 and a half months now, and almost crawling (hes taking his time!). I start back to work in a months time, not really looking forward to leaving Ethan but im certain he is going to love creche, he loves kids and is very social.YOu look like you are having an awesome time! Miss ya and love ya heaps, Love Misty, Mark and Ethan xx

  2. Your photos are so inpiring.