Saturday, 30 April 2011
Following the extended stay in Shannon which did for Easter very well providing a place to relax, explore the woods by bike and do a number of minor jobs I packed up and moved on.
Nearby Nannup was an appealing place and had a couple of bike routes partly on old railway lines that worked up an appetite for a slice of mud cake in the village before a night in the Park's camping area at Workman's Pool.
Further west I camped by the Blackwood River as the heavens opened on a surprisingly chilly night and chatted to a young family braving it out under their tarpaulin.
Cape Leeuwin lighthouse was visited on a gusty showery day with added interest provided by the arrival of a range of VW's from a club who put on a good display at the base of the tower.
Conto campground provided a stay in the Margaret River area with its many boutique wine, cheese and gourmet food outlets - from the limestone cliffs I enjoyed a good sunset.
Cape Naturaliste was less rugged but provided a few good walks and extensive views after which I turned north to stay at Wellington Dam NP where both there and Mt Lennard provided good single track mountain biking through mixed woodland - with no one else around it was privilege to explore the area.
Marrinup POW camp had a camping area near by and made for an interesting hour's exploration - little remains of the facilities provided for 1250 POW's during WW2, many of whom chose to stay on in a new life.
Today I have hit the freeways south of Perth, zipped through the CBD and dropped Sarah's bike off for repair - once two loads of laundry are done it's off to friends in Merriwa before a trip in to Perth on Monday to look at our visa options.
Sarah is due to arrive on Thursday so the next post will hopefully confirm that all has gone to plan.
Sunday, 24 April 2011
Leaving Albany I visited the imposing sight of the Verve Windfarm where the turbine blades swished almost silently past at 260 kph before visiting West Cape Howe NP with the small and memorable Shelley's Beach camping area located on a curving beach with salmon to be caught and excellent views back east along the coast. It was a great place but with Easter approaching I wanted to find a quietish spot so carried on through appealing Denmark to visit the Valley of the Giant Trees with its impressive tree canopy walkway that threaded a route through the majestic karri specimens.
Nearby Fernbrook Falls CA was almost deserted and made for a good night followed by Shannon a Park's camping area occupying the shortlived timber milling town's former location. With a couple of good bike rides and walks starting from the site and good weather forecast I decided to stop for several days as the area would fill up rapidly over the long weeekend.
The Diamond Tree south of Manjimup provided an opportunity to climb over 50m up a set of spiralling rungs to an elevated platform - great fun but potentially fatal.
Back at Shannon various family groups have arrived but my shady spot has been cool and relatively peaceful. After a day in D'Entrecasteaux NP on the coast I return to Shannon for one or two more nights before heading via Margaret River for Perth.
Sunday, 17 April 2011
The beaches, bays and inlets of Cape Le Grand near Esperance were sublime and the Frenchman's Cap provided an excellent late evening walk with the hollow summit something of a surprise with its wonderful views. Esperance itself provided a useful service stop before I stopped the night at Stokes Inlet with a good view of the lagoon created by the blocked river mouth.
Further round at Fitzgerald River NP the bush camping at Point Ann was as peaceful as you could wish for and well worth the rough track out there.
Similarly the Waychinicup NP camping was beautifully located alongside an inlet with a graceful catamaran moored in the shelter and the opportunity to cycle down to Cheyne Beach.
A change of scenery was provided as I headed inland to the hilly ridges of the Porongurup NP for a good walk over Nancy's Peak and the Devil's Slide - a huge variety of birdlife in the foliage and many small reptiles at ground level.
The Stirling Ranges rise out of the flat landscape to around a thousand metres and on two very hot days provided some strenuous walks with panoramic views over the endless wheat and gum tree farming landscape.
Here in Albany I am on a large commercial site to catch up on the internet, a hot shower and fresh water before a drift westwards through Denmark and Pemberton towards Margaret River before the Easter crowds build up.
The list of jobs to do in Perth is getting longer so the couple of weeks until Sarah returns will fly by.
I've decided to give the slide show a rest for a post or two.
Friday, 8 April 2011
After the peace and quiet of Lincoln NP more of the same was found round at Coffin Bay and Point Avoid which I explored largely by bike. The west coast of the Eyre Peninsula was very quiet with good bush camping available, some remarkable cliff top views at Locks Well and a large sea lion colony at Point Labatt worth the long trek out there. Dolphins at nearby Venus bay were surfing the swell and a night in Acraman Creek NP provided an impressive night sky.
Ceduna marked the last town before the long crossing of the Nullarbor and a couple of hours beyond that Fowler's Bay provided a remote place to bush camp with a new moon joining the stellar array.
The Nullarbor crossing is around 700 miles of mostly flat road across the world's largest limestone outcrop but in detail is surprisingly varied. Whale watching in the right season is available from a lofty viewpoint over the blue seas of the Great Australian Bight and irregular roadhouses provide food, fuel and accommodation for weary travellers.
I turned off north to a remote and abandoned homestead 'Koonalda' where the deserted house, ancient fuel pump and assortment of rusting vehicles spoke volumes about the harshness of the crossing before the route was realigned and resurfaced in the 1970's. Two other couples turned up and we all enjoyed an evening in the former workers quarters in a place steeped in memory.
Back on the road and after the border quarantine inspection a long day ensued with fellow travellers being mostly caravans and large roadtrains that thunder across the empty landscape.
Lunch at a roadhouse and a refuel - expensive at $2 a litre - saw me fit to carry on for a few more hours through an unimaginably remote scenery that was both absorbing and daunting.
Half way along the 'Ninety Mile Straight' - which does what it says on the tin- I stopped in a lay by as driving at or after dusk significantly increases the chance of an encounter with the wildlife.
Norseman has provided the first Internet or mobile signal for 3 days but has little else to offer before I now head down to the coast to enjoy the parks and scenery between Esperance, Albany and round to Perth. Easter approaches so I will head inland that week possibly to Kalgoorlie although that is quite a long loop back but we are unlikely to return that way in the future so it would be worth it.
Photos here locations here and for this post the bonus slides are from Sarah's trek and ride in Peru.
Friday, 1 April 2011
After the vast expanses of the SA Outback particularly in the north of the Flinders the towns of Port Augusta and Whyalla were a great contrast - something Sarah is experiencing to a greater degree as she returns to the delights of Carmarthen and Haverfordwest.
Fortunately for me I was soon heading to the quieter coastal strip of the Eyre Peninsula where a secluded car park enabled me to service the van before spending a quiet night overlooking the sea at Iron Knob.
Beyond Port Lincoln the Lincoln National Park provided a choice of bush camping sites with good walks and bike tracks leading off around the rocky peninsula. At Fisherman's Point I secured a prime position overlooking the bay with an excellent 3G signal bouncing over from the distant town.
Two porpoises, two wedge tailed eagles, a solitary seal and a solo pelican crossed the water in front of me whilst in the distance fishing vessels of various sizes headed out to the rich waters of the Southern Ocean.
I enjoyed a ride along tracks to the lighthouse and returned along the rockier south coast before an afternoon's conservation fishing whiled away a rest day with minor repairs, computer back ups and a general sweep out undertaken.
After 18 months I have decided to refresh the blog's appearance but the usual features appear somewhere.
The slideshow returns to the east coast of NZ's North Island.