City to Surf, kind of…

Time for a brief road report. We have to mention just how good the roads are in WA. They really get it right. Ever since we crossed the border at Kununurra, the roads have been in great condition, with plenty of room to cope with the vast numbers of caravans and Winnebagos etc let alone the roadtrains. As for the public transport in Perth – I approached the ticket vending machine with trepidation, still scarred from wrestling with them in Melbourne, and was stunned when I had my ticket, senior’s discount and all, in about 5 seconds. And it cost a whole $2 to travel from north of the city to Fremantle! The trains are wonderful – clean and spacious with huge picture windows, often running down the centre of the highways in their own lanes. Buses are just as efficient and cheap, and come by with the same regularity. Very impressive!

Busselton was an easy 2 hour run south. It’s famous for its old wooden jetty, 1,874 metres long, with a little train trundling down the middle which used to carry cargo out to the ships. At the far end, it has life-sized paintings of whales on the timber deck. Gives you a totally different perspective of a whale’s size when you’re looking at one beneath your feet!

Remember Arum lilies? Most people had some in their gardens when I was a kid. I ran afoul of them when I tried to eat one as a 3 year old, and was rushed to the doctor’s. It was considered bad luck to bring them inside a house, and they’re associated with funerals (doh! says my 3 yr old self). The funeral they’re associated with now seems to be a large part of WA’s beautiful forests. This photo was in the Tuart forest reserve at Ludlow, on the way south. I was stunned to see how rampant they are, right down to Cape Naturaliste and beyond. Whole paddocks are infested with them, but the real problem is how they’ve infiltrated so much natural bush, making it impossible to kill them by spraying. They grow so thickly, they must be displacing a lot of native species.

Cape Naturaliste is the northern end of that little bulge at the bottom of WA. It’s a prime whale spotting place, and just beautiful…

And there are wildflowers!

Bunker Bay just around the corner to the east reminded us of the Bay of Fires in Tasmania, with the orange lichen growing on the rocks.

We based ourselves in a great little campground in Margaret River, just a walk from the cafes and pubs, and set out every day in a different direction. There’s so much to see within a very small area down here – so different from travelling up north. We went to a couple of wineries –  the favourite was Brown Hill. Great wine and a very good salesman – much too good. Thanks for the tip, Susan Farley! Lunch at the nearby Berry Farm was excellent and full of birds. (but I can’t work out how to get the photos from my phone to the laptop)

It was pretty awful weather for the famous Margaret River surf, but a group of apprentice Mick Fannings were out there braving the cold at the river mouth. No sharks needing to be punched, fortunately.

Welcome to Margaret River… and you still want to go in the water?

It was pretty wet almost the whole time we were there. You come up with enterprising solutions in order to keep the wine unwatered.

A couple of umbrellas put to better use! Kept the wine dry, anyway, even if we were slightly damp.

The southern end of this little bulge at the bottom of WA is Cape Leeuwin, and the pretty hamlet of Augusta. In 1822, the Dutch ship Leeuwin rounded this cape for the first time, and five years later, another Dutch ship named the area “T Landt van de Leeuwin”. In 1801, Matthew Flinders, circumnavigating in the Investigator, named it Cape Leeuwin. It’s the meeting point of two great oceans – the Indian, and the Southern Ocean – and the most south-westerly point of WA. It’s one of the tallest, if not the tallest lighthouse in the country. Judging by the rocks visible from the shore, it’s much needed by sailors.

Two oceans meet here

This rare green rock parrot is one of about only 800 left, and breeding at the Cape. And now it’s down to 399 pairs, because one parrot flew into the window pane of the cafe just before we arrived.

That’s it for now – the cafe owner is looking worried about how much wifi I seem to be using, I think! Stay well everyone XX










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