Friday, June 14, 2013

Bunbury and Albany WA

We left Cervantes on 12th and drove south until we came to Bunbury - it was quite unexceptional except, always an except, we drove straight through Perth at 80-90 KPH on a freeway - no traffic lights, no roundabouts just non-stop driving. The road system over here is quite remarkable when compared to NSW or Qld. and it's such a huge state in size but only the 4th most populous state with 2.3 million compared to NSW 7.3 mil., Vic. 7.6 mil., Qld 4.5 mil., must be all of its mining wealth, but then again maybe they have politicians over here who think of their state before they think about themselves! 

Both Ruth and I have developed colds since the vast change in weather for us - from tropics to cold winds in just a few days. We don't head for the Caravan Park swimming pool anymore and we now complain if the hot water in the showers isn't hot enough for us - in the tropics we never used the hot water tap - and instead of using the vans air conditioner on cooling, we now have it on heating, doona has replaced light blanket (which we usually slept on top of anyway), so we are well and truly into Winter mode. 

 Left Bunbury on 13th and drove down National Highway 1 to Walpole on the south coast of WA. We followed Mr.GPS to Walpole and thought that Hwy1 would be a good straight road - it turned out (for most of the way) to be a narrow, twisty, hilly sealed road through wooded countryside where the trees grew right up to the side of the road - so Mr.Cruise Control had to be put to bed and I had to do the driving instead. To top it off a sign told us that we had to watch out for logging trucks - fortunately we didn't come across any on the really narrow parts. 

Something that amused us was that as we went through a lot of the small country town most of their names ended with 'up' - such as Kirup, Mullalyup, Ballinup, Yornup, Palgarup, Manjimup and Quinninup, with may other 'ups' off of the side roads. Oh yes, and we also drove through Donnybrook named after a place in Ireland where there where frequent brawls at their annual fair, thus a 'donnybrook' is now a colloquialism for a fight. In actual fact Donnybrook means the Church of Saint Broc. When we went to the visitors centre in Walpole we asked what the meaning of the 'ups' on he end of the town's names represented and we were told it is an aboriginal word for 'the place of' - so that answered that nicely. 

After we settled into the local caravan park we unhitched and went off-road (good dirt roads) to see some of the local sights - the first being the Frankland River where it pools in a large pool before continuing onto the sea several kilometres away.
Franklin River going into the pool
Franklin River pool
 It was quite pretty - then off to Conspicuous Cliff which was supposed to have a really nice lookout, and it probably did, but we weren't up to the walk, so we just took a photo of the cliff from an vantage point.
Conspicuous Cliff near Nornalup
Whilst we were there we saw a beach fisherman catch a large sea salmon, he had a good fight to get it in. We had also wanted to see the big Tingle Trees, but it was dark by the time we got back, so we got up early on the 14th and went into the woods and had them all to ourselves, but it was really cold and our hands were like ice-blocks, but the car heater soon took care of that.
Old Twisted Tingle Tree
Older burnt Tingle Tree
Huge Intact Tingle Tree
Tingle Tree Explanation

 Then back to the caravan park, hitched up and drove to the Valley of the Giants Tree Tops Walk. It was not quite what we expected as the metal walkway was suspended or large metal poles and the walkways actually swayed as you walked on them and there were signs that no more than twenty people should be on a span of walkway at a time - there was only us and another couple ahead of us who moved away quite quickly. 

We expected that the walkway would actually be attached to the trees, but the whole structure was self supported. Ruth was a bit hesitant at going when she felt the walkway swaying, but she couraged-up and walked to the first round platform that separated the spans where there was a sign saying that one of the workmen who build the walkway tragically fell and was killed here. Already committed she then had to finish the walk as you weren't allowed to walk back as it could set up vibrations that would upset the dynamics of the structure. It was quite beautiful up there in the tree tops getting a birds eye view of the countryside and looking down was an unusual view of a tree.
Giant Tree Walk
40 Mtrs in the treetops and still they went higher
Tree Top Walk Platform
 After we left there we drove to Albany and went sight seeing for the rest of the day. Mainly we went to Frenchman's Bay where there are granite rocks that are the same as the granite rocks of the coast of Antarctica - meaning that Australia was once attached to Antarctica but then with the Continental Drift we are now separated (just as well or we would have froze) and still moving north at 5 cm each year, so I calculated that in 2,000 years time Australia will be one kilometre further away from Antarctica than it was today. 

We saw the Natural Bridge and the Gap and walked down a long hill to see a Blowhole, but it wasn't blowing as the sea wasn't rough enough, but we could hear the noise as the waves crashed into the underground cavern and it was like some great monster growling, so it would have been spectacular to see. The sun was just right to get a nice shot of Frenchman's Bay with Bald Head in the distance. And yes! finally we have found two places where there is a proper surf and you can see them in the photos of Conspicuous Cliff and Frenchman's Bay.
Natural Bridge in Frenchman's Bay
Ruth beamed up at Frenchman's Bay
Frenchman's Bay with Bald Head Promontory
 We then drove into the main CBD of Albany to take a photo of the one thing that everyone who visits Albany must see - Dog Head - can you see it? I saw it straight away but Ruth had to look at it for a while until the penny dropped and she saw it. All around it is a commercial shopping area and nearly all of the shops, including Woolies, is named "Dog Head ???" whatever type of shop it is.
Dog Head in Albany city