Friday, March 21, 2008

Our first stop on the journey south was the small inland town of Collie. It was a pretty town with some good walks along the Collie River. We even got a game of bowls on the day we arrived. We took a lovely drive through the surrounding Jarrah forests and visited the Wellington Dam.

Once the school holidays had finished we could move down to the coast at Busselton. We booked into the Four Seasons Van Park which was halfway between Busselton and Dunsborough. It wasn't long before we had booked our first dive under the famous Busselton Jetty. What a fabulous dive, fantastic marine life, absolutely stunning.

We moved down to Margaret River on 6th February and stayed at the Big Valley Campground. It's a private farm about 10km from town. We took a walk around the town then drove out to Prevelly Beach at the mouth of the Margaret River. We watched some surfers catching the waves before going in for a dip ourselves. It was so hot even Twistie jumped in the water.It was lovely driving south through all the vineyards, they are everywhere in this region. We moved on to Augusta for a few days. We took a scenic drive out to Cape Leeuwin to see where the Indian Ocean officially meets the Southern Ocean.We decided to head back to Busselton to get another dive on the jetty. The dive operator only seemed to get enough divers on the weekends so we booked in for Saturday 9th February. We had another great dive although it was slightly overcast.
On the Sunday we took a drive around some of the Margaret River Wineries. We got to taste some lovely wines, luckily Ferg was the driver so I got to taste all of them, hic...! We bought a few bottles to keep for special occasions.

We travelled inland from Busselton stopping at Bridgetown for one night. It was a pretty town and we had a lovely walk along the river. Probably would have stayed longer if the caravan park hadn't been right on the highway. Too many trucks rattling past all day and night.

We were looking forward to visiting the tall Karri forests and moved on to the small town of Quinninup. We stayed here for a few days using it as a base to discover the wonderful Karri forests around Pemberton and Manjimup. The Karri trunks are a creamy peachy colour and grow straight up to 90m. We took the Karri Forest Explorer which is a 85km self guided drive through the forests. We visited Big Brook Dam and had a lovely walk around the dam.

The only way I can tell the story of our time in Perth is through pictures. Our first sight seeing day was spent in Kings Park which is situated right in the centre of Perth city overlooking the beautiful Swan River.

All too soon Christmas day was upon us. As usual 40 degree heat, lots of pressies and an enormous amount of food.
Boxing day was even hotter so we drove down to Rockingham Beach. The beach was packed with families trying to escape the 44 degree heat. We drove around to Point Peron and spent a wonderful hour snorkeling in the crystal clear water.Dave and Jeanette took us on a tour of Fremantle. We had a lovely walk around "Freo" visiting the markets and looking at all the old buildings. The town was buzzing with people. We stopped for fish and chips overlooking the marina.

Before we knew it we were seeing in the new year. Dave and Jeanette had a few friends over for dinner and we all saw in the New Year together. We had been filling our time playing bowls a couple of days a week at various clubs nearby. Early January we decided to escape the heat of Perth for a few days at the beach. We hitched up the van and headed south through Mandurah to the small beachside village of Binningup. We had a lovely couple of days swimming and just relaxing in the shady caravan park. Twistie loved the walks along the beach.
Back in Perth we were finally getting some work done on the van. All the panels were being replaced after the hail damage we had in Tassie last February. We moved into Dave and Jeanette's house for a week while the van was away. The repairs were good, thank goodness for insurance!

Late January we finally got to dive Rottnest Island. Long story, we had tried several times before with the WA Uni club but their boat broke down. The day was good and the boat was good. We had a nice trip across and we were in the water by 10am. Unfortunately the viz was down although we did enjoy the two dives and a BBQ lunch. The wind picked up on the way home and it was a fairly rough trip.

Our stay in Perth for the summer finally came to an end on 30th January. We are now on our way to discover the south west region of Western Australia.


8th – 15th December

We are finally heading into Western Australia. We left Ceduna early and had a good run (300km) to the Nullabor Roadhouse. We were going to top up our fuel but decided against it when we saw the price, $1.87 per litre for diesel. For the next 100km the road runs right along the cliff tops of the Great Australian Bight. We pulled off at several spots and got fabulous views over the ocean. Late in the afternoon we crossed the border at Euchla then drove another 75km to a good free camp spot. We had another long day of driving across flat open plains arriving into Norseman mid afternoon. The van park was dry and dusty but it was great to have power and hot showers again.

We moved on to Esperance, it was nice to be back on the coast. We stayed four days and got the car serviced and the windscreen replaced. The coastline around Esperance is stunning, beautiful white beaches and turquoise water. We also met Sammy the seal who lives under the Esperance jetty.

Leaving Esperance we headed through the wheatbelt country up to Perth. The countryside was golden wheatfields as far as the eye could see. We pulled in at Hyden to visit the famous Wave Rock then moved on to the small town Corrigin for an overnight stop. We finally made it into Perth on the 15th December arriving at Ferg’s brothers place mid morning.

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