Week 20 - 12 December 2006 to 18 December 2006

By Steve & Alison Kruger

Day 134 Tuesday 12 December 2006

After 2 days of being spoilt rotten by John & Margot we headed off to Mandurah to try and find someone to repair our rear axle. We firstly tried the companies recommended by the forums to no avail, and we then tried pot luck. Eventually we stumbled on an exhaust company who was willing to help out and we made an appointment for 8am Wednesday morning. We then gave John and Margot a call to let them know we had worked something out. We feel so fortunate to have met 2 of the nicest people you could even hope to meet. We love them both very much and so wished they were much closer to Brisbane so we could return their hospitality.

So with 24 hours to kill the first stop was the Pinjarra township and the Hotham Valley Railway. A photographers dream, steam trains everywhere and time to take it all in. Working on these monsters of an era gone by were volunteers who ensure the engines will be ready for the winter months when they pull tourists into the mountains. Some tell us they work there because they love trains, other simply as a means of escaping the wife! What ever the reason they do a great job with over half a dozen engines to look after.

As we settled down last night in the middle of the state forest, we could hear this thump, thump, thump that was getting louder. The next think we knew this kangaroo hopped straight through our campsite, at pace, like it did not even know we where there. A surprise to us and him, we think!

Day 135 Wednesday 13 December 2006

By 8am this morning we arrived at Mandurah Muffler and Towbar Centre and Tim's crew got to work grinding out the old welds on the axle and patching the crack to get us back to Brisbane. Steve & John worked on the radiator hose yesterday and it appeared to be good today so we decided not to touch it again, just to monitor it carefully. The fuel leak we also will just monitor, it only occurs when the tank is full (not very often) and the temperature is high.  Point of clarification, when we say crack in the axle, this is a crack just big enough to let very small amounts of oil weep from the axle. It would be no longer than an inch, but if left unchecked, would quickly lengthen.

So today we headed south again with our first stop being the Yarloop Train Workshops. This location proved to be a photographers dream with it's machinery and buildings. We took over 2 hours to see the attractions and we had to break for lunch half way to recharge our tummies and the Nikon's battery. Alison applied a filter to one of her workshop panoramas, with some excellent results. We ended up taking another large amount of photos which will find their way to electronic photo DVD Alison will produce for ourselves and family.


From Yarloop we moved onto Bunbury and its lighthouse. This lighthouse has been crowded out by suburbia and the locals have painted it quiet differently to any other lighthouse we have seen so far! From there we proceeded to the Apex Lookout which is also very unique. The views from up there were incredible. Well worth the climb and the high winds at the top.

Day 136 Thursday 14 December 2006

We both woke this morning feeling like an exercise day and that was fortunate as the Busselton Jetty was our first stop. The stats and facts on the jetty are as follows:

  1. Construction began in 1865 and was done in sections. The last section finished in 1962

  2. At 1841m it is the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere

  3. Cyclone Alby in 1978 destroyed the oldest section

  4. The jetty is home to an amazing artificial reef.

After many photos and a long walk we reached the ocean end of the jetty. There are railway lines running down the middle of the jetty which you need to be careful of as you make your way to see some posts there which were free standing and swaying in the current. They all swayed in a random pattern, very odd to see. Once again we loved the sheer beauty of this area, with it's crystal clear waters and pure white beaches.  A sheer joy to photograph, as many before us have done.

Our journey down the coast then took us to Dunsborough which is the gateway to Castle Rock. We were both surprised how beautiful this area was as we had heard very little about it before. The turquoise waters were back and also the calm waters of the Indian Ocean. The water was ideal for swimming and with school holidays in full swing it was being fully utilised.

The calm waters were short lived when we headed to Sugarloaf Rock on the other side of the peninsular. Here the surfers gather to catch a big wave or two.


Day 137 Friday 15 December 2006

Today we started with a walk around the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. This lighthouse is one of the shortest ones we have encountered and yes it was painted in traditional lighthouse colours. The lens in this beauty cost approx $5,000 pounds in the early 1900's, equivalent to $50m in today's terms. From here we ventured to area called the "Other Side of the Moon". This is one of these tourist attractions which was thought up by someone with an over active imagination and a wish to trap the tourist in the most isolated spot they could imagine. The walk was nice along the cliff edge and the view certainly made up for the lack of much to see at the other end.

Our next stop was certainly of a better quality. Bunker Bay was another one of the turquoise coloured bays which certainly is a visual pleasure. The twisted trees and water back drop made some pleasurable photography. You could see many people playing in the waters in the distance and enjoying the beautiful surroundings. From here we headed to Yallingup township which is nestled into the coastline over looking the Indian Ocean. Their little bay has the Yallingup Reef which helps protect it from the full onslaught of the ocean, but would not be much help when the ocean is in a full rage. We believe their is 1 block of land here with 180 degree views of the water (like most blocks here) with an asking price of $2.1m.

After a spot of lunch (actually it was the first roast chicken we have eaten since we left Brisbane) and a generous helping of cheese cake for dessert we ventured to Canal Rocks. The drive into the rocks is breath taking and certainly one of the more spectacular we have experienced. The general coastline drives here, are some of the most beautiful we have seen. The walk from the car park takes you on a footbridge which connects the Canal Rocks. The waves force themselves through small openings in the rocks which then drain out the rear of the area. This causes strong currents that the kids enjoy swimming against. This area also has a small jetty which is photographed in the tourist magazines. We decided that we would return to this location later in the day for the sunset as we haven't photographed one for a while and after such a major lunch we would not be eating a large dinner tonight. On our way to Canal Rock we saw a sign for a micro brewery so we headed there to see how the local ales taste.


At the Bush Shack Brewery we bumped into Jason Weeks & Crystal Simpsons from Open Door Media Pty Ltd (Based in Perth) http://www.opendoormedia.com.au They were here as part of the filming of a pilot they are developing for network television. They both appeared to be having so much fun in their work, so good if you can find that in your profession. After a few sample ales we met the owner Daniel Wind who is just a nice guy who can brew a fantastic ale. We really enjoyed talking to Daniel, but knew we had to be on the move to ensure we captured the setting sun that would soon be upon us, so we bid him goodbye and headed back to Canal Beach once more.


Back at Canal Beach we both went our own ways to see what each of us could capture and we produced the following. The perfect end to a perfect day!


Day 138 Saturday 16 December 2006

Today was declared a scratch and sniff day in the Margaret River region. We travelled around looking for some places to taste the local produce which happened to include a couple of breweries to Steve's delight. We filled in time before 10am by visiting Moses Rock where we got talking to Bruce a local surfer. He really drove home for us that he was out and doing what he enjoyed most and we knew this is what we have done in our trip for ourselves. At Moses Rock we found this amazing set of stairs that CALM had built to protect the dunes, it seemed to got down forever before reaching the bottom of the cliff.

Our first stop today for a beer tasting was the Bootleg Brewery. A little expensive here for just a taste, and the place lacked that personal touch, but the amber liquid did taste good. Steve started with Sou'west Wheat Beer and it did not touch the sides and desperately wanted to buy one of their T-Shirts with the phrase "The liver is evil, it must be punished".

******Last minute inclusion, Bruce emailed us a photo he took of his dog Cloudy and us being such a dog lovers, insisted we include it, because Cloudy is just way to cute!

The next spot we visited was a sheer delight, the Grove Vineyard and Yahava Koffee Works. The aroma of coffee filled the air and in the wine section Jo (sorry if we got the name wrong here) showed what an ambassador for the company she was. Jo not only gave us some very tasty wines to taste, she also told us of the other products they sold. Meanwhile Steve headed to the coffee section sampling 4 varieties of their roasted beans. These places have the most beautifully presented wares and the coffees excited the taste buds. Steve had a hard time getting Alison away from the White Chocolate Liquor, and only then on the promise that we would visit the Chocolate factory soon.

The next stop was the Lavender Winery and Restaurant. We just could not believe what they put lavender into and we found (not limited to this list) beer, wine red, white and sparkling, creams, teddy bears, oils, balms, deodorant, lotions or just your bedroom drawers. Jody was fantastic and really made our visit pleasurable.

You could not see Alison for dust when we pulled up at the Margaret River Chocolate Factory and when Steve made the entrance he could see Alison had made the front of the queue for the white chocolate. mmmmmm! Once again the decoration of the premises was immaculate and the chocolate was terrific also. The next stop was Providore a new outlet for the Chocolate Factory and it was equally impressive with its fresh sauces, mustards and condiments,wines and Olive oils. A fantastic selection of Gourmet delights

A couple of cheese factories, a nut outlet and two wineries later we then stumbled across a brewery that had only been opened 1 week. This place was great and we really think there will be a great future for the Cowaramup Brewing Company. Steve tasted a couple of their ales and we chatted with the owners Claire and Jeremy. Jeremy is also the head brewer and has certainly got the touch on the flavour. They make everyone feel warmly welcome and have made an atmosphere where you can relax and kick back. A must see if you're down their way.



Day 139 Sunday 17 December 2006

The first stop on our agenda today was a brewery that we missed yesterday, the Colonial Brewery Company. This brewery has an old vintage car parked in front of the premises, with a modern clean lined building behind that. The staff were friendly and Steve reports the beer was excellent. He tried the sample paddle which was 5 beers in small glasses with a description on each glass, a nice touch. Their micro brewery is on display as a main feature in their bar area, all shiny with its copper bits. The brass pipes with their iced coverings were also a great feature.

We could not get through the day with out a wine tasting so we called in at the Mad Fish. Lunch was spent at Settlers Hotel in Margaret River before we had an easy afternoon. If you had the time (and the intestinal fortitude), you could spend many wonderful days sampling the wares of the Margaret River region. We had chosen some of our favourites, but had merely scratched the surface.


Day 140 Monday 18 December 2006

At the risk of this sounding like a tourist video we headed to Cape Freycinet to see the site of the Georgina Wreck. The coastline along this part of the coast is quiet different as the rocks are more round and not as jagged as in previous encountered areas. By the time we reached Hamelin the beach sands had returned to the beautiful white and the water the turquoise colour we associated with the other side of the peninsular. When you get to the Hamelin you need to take a picture of the wharf that was burned accidentally by local fisherman trying to keep warm so they lite a fire on the end of it!  Everyone else, including us, has photographed it, so don't be left out. The next stop was Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.

It seems the tourist centres in this part of Australia fund themselves through the charging of admission fees to many of the local attractions including the caves ($44 to visit the 3 caves on a combine ticket) and the lighthouse, a major opportunity for a conflict of interest to the other tourist attractions in the area. That is our gripe for the week! To walk to the where the Great Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean and look at the outside of the lighthouse is $10 each please! Ouch! The cost aside - the area is very well kept and the lighthouse appears to be in good shape. We tried to visit the caves today as well, but as they would not let Alison take her tripod along, we declined. Cape Leeuwin is the most South Westerly point of the Australian mainland. The waterwheel below is also another "must-have" photo opportunity!!! It was left over from the original construction of the lighthouse, having been used to supply the water for the mixing of the mortar. It was fed by a spring, and was for many years used to pump water to the lighthouse. It proved too inefficient (8 litres of water was needed to pump just 1 litre) and so was replaced by an electric pump. The wheel no longer turns, having been calcified by the limestone content from the spring. But it still attracts plenty of attention.

A Christmas message from the Krugers! 

Next week will be Christmas and we would love to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has taken the time to read our travel diary, over 19,000 visits to date. To those people who also took the time to email us with encouragement and praise, it has meant a lot to both of us and we hope we answered all your questions. To the friends we have made along the way, thank you for sharing part of your life with us both and we feel enriched from the experience. It is people like yourselves that drive us to stay a little longer in the bush. To our friends and family at home - we miss you and love you, and yes we will be home soon!

Most of all we hope everyone has a good and safe Christmas and we continue to hear from you in the New Year. Remember to live your dreams and to stay tuned as ours adventure continues....!

Steve and Alison xx


Stay tuned as the adventure continues...

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