Saturday, July 26, 2008
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!
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.
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.
Friday, July 25, 2008
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.