Saturday, July 26, 2008

July 23 - Back to Perth

It's the end of our trip. We (James) have to drive 5 hours back to Perth to return our motorhome and head to the airport for our flight. Our flight was delayed and we didn't end up getting home until 3am. Only a few more days and my parents will be here! This should give you lots to read because the next post won't be for a few weeks! CYA soon!

July 23 - Albany

Middleton Beach and Two People's Bay

July 22 - Albany

area called Salmon Holes

July 22 - Albany

Near The Gap and The Natural Bridge, a crack-line in the granite called the Blowholes noisily shoots air and spray high into the air. Unfortunately the swell wasn't big enough for the water to shoot out of the blowholes, but it was still nice to visit the area.

July 22 - Albany

The Albany coastline

July 22 - Augusta

The Natural Bridge and The Gap. The massive power of the Southern Ocean has created these spectacular rock formations near Albany in the Torndirrup National Park.

July 22 - Augusta or bust

View from the motorhome

July 22 - Denmark

William Bay

July 22 - Denmark

Here is the crystal clear Greens Pool and the large granite formations known at Elephant Rocks

July 22 - Denmark

William Bay National Park

July 22 - Walpole/Denmark

Once we finished the treetop walk we went on the Ancient forest walk. This is where the oldest and most massive trees were found.

July 22 - Walpole/Denmark

We are now in the Valley of the Giants. We walked through the canopy of the ancient Tingle forests 40m above the forest floor. Tingle trees in Western Australia live up to 400 years and can grow up to 60m tall and as wide as 16m around the base. The steel supports would sway as we walked across, but I have to say it was NOTHING compared to the Bicentennial Tree climb, but I did still grip the handrails as I walked along.

July 22 - Walpole/Denmark

We arrived in Walpole and drove through the Walpole-Nornalup National Park to see the Giant Tingle Tree.

Friday, July 25, 2008

July 21 - Never Become Fully Reliant on GPS

James and I were making good time leaving Pemberton and heading to our next stop, Walpole. As we were driving down the highway our trusty GPS told us to turn down a dirt road. We were unsure, but the map on the screen showed it leading to another highway. We turned and ended up on a road with nothing to see but vast farmland. We decided this couldn't possibly be right, so James attempted to turn our monster vehicle around and it ended up getting bogged in a ditched filled with mud and freezing cold water. The road seemed deserted and we weren't sure what to do. Amazingly a lady and her daughter just happened to drive past. She knew one of the famers nearby so she called him. A bit later 4 farmers arrive in a 4wd that was half the size of our motorhome. I was skeptical, but they used a winch and pulled us out in minutes. Phew! We decided to just spend the night back in Pemberton and just get up early to get to Walpole by 9am.

July 21 - Bicentennial Tree Climb

We are now in Pemberton, in the midst of the Karri Forest Explorer Drive, surrounded by vineyards. We stopped at the Dave Warren National Park to climb the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree. The Top most point is 70 meters from the ground, it's highest treetop lookout in the world. All that sits between the ground and the top are these metal spikes that you have to climb. I started to go up and didn't think I was going to make it because I was too scared. The area in between the metal pegs is open, there's no net to catch you if you fall. The photo of me sitting on the floor of the tree house shows me so scared and not sure how I'm going to get back down. Surprisingly it didn't scare me as much to get back to the bottom.

July 21 - Augusta

A salt encrusted water wheel that used to pump water up to the lighthouse.

July 21 - Augusta

We took a tour of the historic lighthouse on Cape Leeuwin. Below are photos of the point were the Southern and Indian Oceans meet. They had binoculars for use and we were able to see a whale!

July 21 - Augusta

I'm trying to balance to see the view. We arrived in Augusta and are now heading towards Australia's most Southwesterly point, Cape Leeuwin. You can see the lighthouse in the second row, 3rd photo.

July 21 - Southern Forests

We took a scenic drive through the tall timber forests of the Boranup Karri Forest just south of Margaret River. The area is part of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. Boranup Karri Forest is unique for its proximity to the coast. This is the furthest west that the tall pale-barked karri trees grow. Karris can reach 60 metres or more in height and cover the hilly slopes and valleys of the forest. As we were driving the area just opened up to these huge trees. It was impressive!

July 21 - Margaret River

On the way out of Margaret River we stopped to look at more famous surf spots. These guys were crazy to surf today. Look at how massive the waves are! You can see a tiny dot (crazy surfer) in the midst of the giant wave.

July 21 - Margaret River

Last night was one of the coldest evenings. In the morning there was frost on the ground...brrrrrrr.

July 20 - Happy Birthday Neal!

The morning of July 20th in Western Australia was the evening of Saturday July 19th in Cincinnati, Ohio. My parents planned a birthday party to celebrate what would have been my brother's 31st birthday (his real birthday is on the 23rd). I tried to skype everyone at the party, but since we were in a remote location, the internet connection was a bit spotty. I was glad I did get to hear some familiar voices and I felt like I was there with all Neal's close friends and my family. I miss him dearly, but it sounded like it was a really nice gathering. Thanks to BK for taking and posting pictures. Miss you all!

July 20 - Wine Tour

In the afternoon we went on a wine, cheese, chocolate and brewery tour in Margaret River. It was a really nice day. We then came back to our caravan park and fed some of the animals. James also gave the horses new hairdos.

July 20 - talking to sheep

James stopped so see if sheep answer to either "Baaaaaaa" or "Bleeeeet", you can see them staring at him before they all ran as far away from him as they could.

July 20 - Margaret River

The morning before our wine tour, we drove along the Margaret River coastline to see some of the famous surf spots.

Cowaramup Caravan Park

We spent the night at a caravan park that was also a cow and sheep farm. This little girl called the donkeys in from across the field and they walked right up to her.

July 19 - Canal Rocks

The last stop before we spend the night in Margaret River is Canal Rocks. The beautiful granite outcrop that makes up Canal Rocks is part of the rugged Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. A series of rocks jut into the ocean creating a natural canal hollowed out by the force of the sea. For the best and safest view, there's a bridge built across the smallest canal.

July 19 - Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park

July 19 - Cape Naturaliste

Stunning views from the cape.

July 19 - Caves

Beneath the limestone ridge which forms Cape Naturaliste, lies Ngilgi Cave at Yallingup providing a fascinating interplay of Aboriginal legend and nature. It is named because of its association with a rich Aboriginal legend describing the battle between a good spirit (Ngilgi) and an evil spirit (Wolgine). Ngilgi Cave offers visitors stunning views of stalactite, stalagmite, helicitite and shawl formations, plus an interpretative area detailing the Cave's rich history.

July 19 - Bussleton

We drove through the Ludlow Tuart Forest to Busselton to see the famous 2km long jetty. At the end of the jetty is an underwater observatory. Unfortunately it was closed due to the bad weather. The water was too muddy to see anything. Normally you can go 8m below the surface to see the life under the jetty. We also saw an Adventure Park that was forgotten by time.

July 19 - Bunbury

Right outside the caravan park is Koombana Beach (first set of photos). We then climbed over 100 spiral steps to the top of Marlston Hill Lookout to see the town and the coastline. The weather is now perfect!

July 18-19, Perth - Bunbury

James and I made a last minute decision to rent a motorhome to see Western Australia. I was a bit skeptical at first, but it ended up being perfect. We could stop whenever we wanted and didn't have to worry about finding a place to stay. We picked up the vehicle Friday evening and drove in the pouring rain to our first stop. This photo shows our motorhome and the caravan park in Bunbury.

July 18 - Perth

I walked around the city in the pouring rain. I managed to see London Court and St. George's Cathedral. The choir was practicing in the church, it sounded so nice.

July 17 - Perth

We're back in Perth for our gangster night. We went to a shooting range, then to the casinos for a bit of gambling. I've never been to a shooting range before. I was shaking, but kinda enjoyed it :)

July 17 - Hangover Bay

Hangover Bay with its beautiful turquoise water even though the weather was overcast.

July 17 - Pinncles Desert

The Pinnacles Desert within Nambung National Park, 250 Kilometers North of Perth. No one know why thousands of limestone pillars have risen out of the sand dunes.

July 17 - Cervantes

On the outskirts of the Cervantes townsite can be found one of the only six known locations of stromatolites in Western Australia. (This is what James is holding in his hand). Lake Thetis is the home to the oldest living organism on Earth with samples indicating similarities with fossils from up to 3,000 million years ago.

Lunch stop in the TINY town of Cervantes.