Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Pinnacles

The Pinnacles were a real highlight! Such a great place to visit.
When we arrived we decided to walk amongst the pinnacles first and drive around later as it was warm in the Nambung National Park home to The Pinnacles Desert.
They come in all shapes and sizes and are made from limestone. They are still debating the exact process that resulted in them standing proud in the desert sands.

A few of the photos as we walked and drove around the pinnacles

Stromatolites of Lake Thetis

On our way back to the Pinnacles we stopped at Lake Thetis to see if we could catch a Stromatolite if we were fast enough!
They we in the same spot that they had been for the past 3,500 years! Just juniors as some are over
3,400 million years old.
It was a friendly microbial community but one was aware that they are descendants of the earliest life form on earth
A few pictures tell the story

                                                This was one of our favourite stromatolites

                             Gail liked posing with these characters. They make her look so young!

The Stromatolites said that they liked posing with Rob as they don't meet too many contemporaries!

                                       We are looking forward to a return visit when they mature

Friday, April 22, 2016

Albany. Western Australia's first settlement

Albany was settled in 1826 after the French claim to the area expired. It has a mix of historic buildings, ANZAC links and a wonderful coastline
We started at the ANZAC site visiting the Princess Royal fortress in the historic park with lots of displays from WWI. The lookouts provided views over the harbour that the 1914 convoys sailed from.

Albany was settled due to the harbour and it was for this reason that the convoys left this port for the fighting in Africa and Europe in 1914

Gail on the replica of the brig Amity that took the settlers from NSW to settle the west. Soldiers and convicts!

We drove out to Frenchman's Bay visiting beautiful and rugged headlands and beaches along with the historic Norwegian whaling station and the Australian not closed until 1978! The stand out places were The Gap and the Natural Bridge. Simply cannot be captured on film to do it justice!

Gail at the Gap. The viewing platform is seen in the background. Only opened this year.

                                     Gail over the Gap. Interesting with the see through floor!

                                                            The view from the platform

                                                    The vegetation on top of the cliffs

                                         The natural bridge. This coastline is dangerous!

We drove as far as we could along the peninsula but finally returned to Albany for the night.

High above the treetops

Before we departed from Pemberton we visited the Gloucester tree. This is a fire tower tree named after the duke who visited but didn't climb the tree, during his time as GG.

Robert climbing up the tree. To climb you use the metal spikes that have been driven into the tree. It has a platform 52 metres up!

                                Gail starts the climb. It was easier going up than coming down!

We drove through magnificent forests and after Walpole we visited the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. This walkway went up to the tree tops for great views. We also went on the Ancient Empire Walk to learn more about the ancient trees.

                                             Gail on the walkway high above the treetops

                                                             Rob on the walkway.

                                                 Looking down. Hang on!

 Gail at the base of a giant tingle. They have shallow root systems but buttress roots

Having made it back to the coast we visited Denmark with its old world charm and interesting coastline. We drove on to Albany for the night

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Caves and Lighthouses

The day started underground and culminated up the highest lighthouse on the mainland.
We drove south from Margaret River through the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and made our first stop at the Calgardup Cave. We kitted up with helmets and torches and climbed down into the cave. It had been a while since our last go at caving and we agreed that we selected sensibly and not the cave with vertical ladders, squeezes and slide. Had we selected the Mammoth Cave we would have seen a Zygomaturus or at least its jawbone but it was over 50,000 years old! We survived the event!

                                                           Gail the spelunker

                                                       Stunning formations

                                                                       A low roof

                                                              To abseil or walk?

We drove on through the park to reach the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse the tallest in WA and mainland Australia. We made it to the top and looked down to where the Southern and Indian Oceans come together. The waves came in from two angles. We also looked down on the three lighthouse keepers cottages sitting on the stark peninsula.

                                                           Behind us two oceans meet

                                                               View from the top

                              The old waterwheel that pumped water for the lighthouse keeper families.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Surfing and Wining

Our day in the Margaret River started at the beach. A major carnival had finished on the weekend and people remained surfing the famous breaks. We watched but our cossies are still in the bag!
We moved over to the wineries and tasted at Voyager Estates, Leeuwin Estate  and Xanadu winery.
All were enjoyable and a few more bottles to drink tonight or over the next few days.

                                                             Gail at Surfers Point.

                                              Special purchase from Voyager Estates

                                                                  Xanadu magic

                                                        Rob joins the Xanadu racing team

In the afternoon after a rest we visited Cowaramup with its interesting history and checked out the Margaret River township

Monday, April 18, 2016

To the Margaret River Wineries

It was not far to drive from Busselton to Margaret River but we had many stops on the way. No not wineries, they came later.
We detoured to Dunsborough also on Geographe Bay. There were some beautiful homes and it was a little more upmarket.
The most interesting sights were on Cape Naturaliste and we visited Eagle Bay,  Meelup Beach and Bunker Bay.All were very beautiful but we remained dry..well as dry as a few showers would allow!
At the point we visited the lighthouse before heading back to Dunsborough and then on towards the wineries.

                                                              Gail at Meelup Beach

                                                            Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse

We stopped at several wineries as we drove to Margaret River. There we so many to choose from we ended up at a few familiar names and a few others by chance. The Cape Naturaliste Vineyard at Yallingup, Swings and Roundabouts, Vasse Felix and Watershed were the ones that we ended up visiting. All good and had some of the wines with dinner tonight.

                                                            The Watershed winery

Tomorrow we are staying at Margaret River but plan to visit a cave as well as vineyards. We may find a cave full of champagne!

South from Perth in the rain

It took some time to escape Perth as our route was closed for a special event, but we finally made it to our first stop at Cottesloe Beach. It was windy and trying to rain so nothing like the photos of this sometimes beautiful beach. We continued South with stops between the showers.

                                                   No costume needed for the beach today!

                                            Cottesloe was pretty despite the conditions

As we drove we had periods of very heavy rain but still managed a few stops at Rockingham and Mandurah where we explored the canals and other highlights. At Bunbury we stopped at a waterfront restaurant for a pleasant lunch. We had reached Geographe Bay the area explored by the French explorer Baudin in 1803 before the British presence.

Our final destination was at Busselton and after settling in we walked out to the end of the jetty. This is 1.8 km long making it the longest jetty in the Southern hemisphere. Half way back we were joined by the rain!

                       Looking back towards the shore.There was an option of a train but we walked!

Despite the weather it was an enjoyable day with some great places visited

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Day in Freo

We spent today in Fremantle. It is an easy train ride from Perth and again it is easy to get around with the free CAT bus system. We visited the Maritime Museum with the highlight being the Australia II
and the Americas Cup story. The real maritime highlight was the partial remains of the Batavia. This is possibly Australia's most gruesome tale in the early discovery of the west coast of Australia.

                                                          Rob with Australia II

                                         The remains of the Batavia after 350 years on the seabed

We also visited the Round House, Western Australia's earliest building and Town Hall and old colonial churches and public buildings.

          We were at the Round House for the 1PM time signal with the firing of this cannon and the dropping of the time ball. It was very loud!

                                                       Gail in the Town Hall square

The most enjoyable part of the day was when we stopped at the Cappuccino stop with one of the best eat streets in Australia along with great people and car watching

Friday, April 15, 2016


Our all too short visit to Western Australia is underway and for our first day we explored the interesting mix of historic buildings, the modern cityscape and the natural beauty of Kings Park.

After a stroll through the city we visited Elizabeth Quay and climbed the Bell tower. This contains bells from St Martin in the Field church in London that we had previously visited. The bells were a Bicentennial gift to WA. Views were sensational.

                                             Gail inspects the bells.

The old colonial buildings were excellent and we visited the old courthouse and looked at lots of others.There were redevelopment work near some but we walked through Sterling park and up to Government House.
                               No invitation for tea and scones at Government House!

We caught a bus up the hill to Kings Park with its wonderful location overlooking the city. After lunch we walked through the WA botanic gardens and across the elevated walkway. We were very impressed with the gardens, the views back to the city and the scale of the park. We walked many kilometres!

                                                    Wonderful views over the city.

This 750 year old Baobab tree was recently relocated to the gardens when it needed to be removed for a new bridge.
 On the elevated walkway we passed the old Swan Brewery. This was a great addition to the park and provided excellent views

We finished the day checking out the night life but didn't go over to Subiaco Oval for the big game