Week 21 - 19 December 2006 to 25 December 2006

By Steve & Alison Kruger


Day 141 Tuesday 19 December 2006

Washing is such a drag, but if one avoids this task - eventually people will avoid you, so today was laundromat morning. The positive was that we were able to finish the web page and get it loaded up to the internet, before we headed back into the bush again. From Augusta we headed to Bridgetown. There was a large thunder storm which we managed to skirt around most of the day, but when we reached Bridgetown the heavens opened. The rain poured steadily for about 20 minutes and the runoff covered the road. It was the most rain we had seen for a long while. After the deluge, we headed out of town for a State Forest and had one of those chance encounters we enjoy so much. Driving through the forest we met Richard, who is a local landowner who subsequently invited us to stay on his property for the night. As the sun set over the ridges, the sky changed from grey, to yellow, to pink and back to grey again - an incredible sight we managed to photograph below.

We love to hear people's stories, and Richard has some beauties, such as when his son borrowed his heavily modified Range Rover (an awesome beast of a car) and drove it to Perth where the local constabulary defect-noticed it after a "series of events". Before we knew it time had flown by and it was close to midnight. A terrific evening, with a terrific guy. Richard's dog Lu (short for Lupin as in wolf) also kept us company, a very affectionate and loving animal.

For the technically minded, the Range Rover stats included, 38 inch tyres with bead lockers, 4 inch body lift, 12 inch suspension lift, an engine rebore, rally seating and twin snorkels. An awesome piece of engineering and obviously very capable off road.

 


Day 142 Wednesday 20 December 2006

It is always difficult saying goodbye to people you make friends with along the way, some people more than others; Richard (and Lu) was one of those people. We hope to hear the progress on the renovations to his house over the coming months and wish him the best. As it was also a wet morning we had to wait a little longer for the tent to dry and as we packed up, the rain started again - lucky we didn't wait another minute to do that job. Checking our emails again the reoccurring question was asked of us, "How do we find the time to do the web page, photographs and travel?", well we can reveal we have more than one Alison! Just joking, it would be the death of Steve having to put up with more than one!

The Diamond Tree has been talked about by Alison since she climbed it a few years ago and she was eager, come rain or shine to do it again. So what is the Diamond Tree? It is a tree with pegs hammered into it, which reaches 52m in height.  The pegs form a ladder and in places is almost vertical. There is a fire watch tower at the top. Those who know Alison will know that she was climbing it almost as soon as our vehicle stopped. Now the sign you read half way up tells you the first half of the climb is the easy part and that the hard section is to follow as its is close to vertical. It isn't wrong! Not for people with heart conditions or a fear of heights!!!!

With a late lunch behind us, we decided to do a quick stop at a winery, primarily because we loved the clean look of the vineyard and the stonework in the entrance way. Fate intervened again in our travels and we met  fellow shutter bug Karen. With some people when you meet them for the first time, you just know, that you could easily become good friends. And this was the case with Karen. After sampling some of their great wines and viewing each others photos we were lucky enough to be given the invite of staying on their vineyard, known as Lost Lake  for the night by the lake. Later in the evening, Karen, Steve (that is Karen's Steve), and ourselves sipped red wine as the sun sank lower behind the hills. An excellent time. Below are some of Karen's very impressive photos, which I am sure you will enjoy.

 


Day 143 Thursday 21 December 2006

Question: If you were having to wait for your tent to dry on a rainy day somewhere, where would be a great place to do it? Answer: A winery with a restaurant which serves the most excellent coffee AND gourmet pizzas. Life just can't get any better than that! We also had a brief chance to photograph the winery as the sun rose. Please don't ask why we were awake at that time - we are still trying to work that one one ourselves. But as they say, Red sun at night is Shepard's delight, red sun in the morning is Shepard's warning, the colours were wonderful, the rain that followed caught us out.

We were finally able to pack the tent up between breaks in the rain (long enough for the canvas to dry) and hit the road by 2pm. A record as our latest start for a day! A short drive from Lost Lake Vineyard is the town of Pemberton where the Glouster tree climb is. When Alison heard of this one being taller than Diamond Tree climb @ 61m she was excited. When Alison heard it was only a short drive to the tallest Tree Climb @ 68m t(the Bicentennial Tree), the Glouster tree was quickly forgotten! (A further encouragement to move on was the long line of people waiting to climb the tree). Before we left town though, we had to snap a few shots of the tram which runs twice a day on its 1 3/4 hour journey to the local forest and back. We drove the track along side the tram line and then staked ourselves out like the waiting paparazzi. Once the tram passed it was back into our vehicle and off to get in front of it again.

We reached the Bicentennial Tree about 5pm and Alison was off again. She managed to meet Steven King about half way up, and yes he claimed he was an author. Later, when we were all back on the ground, Steven King's father claimed he was royalty (A. King - like in Alan), hang on someone's pulling the wool over our eyes I think! The climb was a challenge, but Alison reports the view was incredible. With Alison back on the ground it was time to find camp for the night and preferably not under one of these giant trees.

 


Day 144 Friday 22 December 2006

Our first stop today was the small fishing village of Windy Harbour, just around the corner from Point D'entrecasteaux. The village is as neat as a pin and as colourful as a flower show. Just down the beach from here was Cathedral Rock which is also just inside D'entrecasteaux National Park. The other side of the Point from here is accessed by a road on the western outskirts of Windy Harbour, which also leads to the point lighthouse, one of those modern automated jobs. The views from the lookout are very pretty and rugged.

We started to head East, through the Park on Chesapeake Rd. It is interesting to note here, that all the road signs on Chesapeake Road indicate it is closed at a bridge, about 3.2kms from the beginning of the road. Travel it and you soon discover a bypass track around the bridge in question, which is fine for high clearance vehicles. The bridge is still there, but blocked off, allowing pedestrian traffic only. We asked the locals about it and they also seemed a little confused as to why the signs said the road was closed. Another one of life's little mysteries.

If you have the right equipment, travelling the back roads can be fun, although at times frustrating, with road disappearing and new ones being created. Today we had a good run between Northcliffe and Broke Inlet with all roads present and accounted for; Saved us quiet a few kilometres! Broke Inlet is another tiny fishing village, this time on the eastern side of a large inlet protected some what from the ocean's relentless onslaught. Except this point it is built on is called Windy Point, so we guess it can get pretty windy here!

It is becoming increasingly apparent that you could spend weeks exploring each and every little inlet, beach and point in this region and we have to fight the urge to do so. So we chose to visit Mandalay Beach where we believe you can just see the wreck of an early 1900's ship when the tide is low and the sands are kind. Steve had his model run down to give the wreck some perspective, a task she certainly could not have achieved before this trip without suffering massive coronary failure! There also a cast of the ships figurehead, which a local farmer holds, over looking the site.  

From Mandalay Beach we moved on to Walpole and Denmark townships, the Giant Tingle Tree, Conspicuous Point and the Valley of the Giants. Oh an interesting story to throw in here, we had one of those Maui hire vehicles fly up behind us today, tailgated us for a few kilometres and then flew off at an incredible speed. In reality we never knew they could go that fast! 5kms further down the road, we passed the same vehicle being issued with a speeding fine, ouch! No further comment!

The tree fungus spot was inspired by Karen back at Lost Lake Winery, she has some jaw dropping examples which we could not hope to emulate!

As we write up today's instalment of our walkabout we realised that we have now started east in our travels and each day is taking us closer to home. After experiencing this incredible journey it will be difficult to stop but wonderful to see old friends and loved ones once again.


Day 145 Saturday 23 December 2006

We had heard that there was another meadery in the area so we set off to find it this morning. It's name was Bartholomew's Meadery and to Alison's delight they also sold ice cream. Linda described the individual bee's tasks in the glass apery they had on display and Steve located the queens bee. The meadery was impeccably set out and the aroma of warm mead with a hint of ginger filled the air. All flavours of ice cream were available and Alison headed for the honey chocolate chip. Steve sampled the meads available and highly recommended the liqueur. A bottle was purchased for on-going quality control testing.

A short trip down the road towards Albany was Green's Pool and Elephant Rocks. The beauty of the area shone through once more with crystal white sands and turquoise waters. The pictures were framed off with breaking the Southern Ocean in the back ground. This was a popular family area, with safe swimming and protected beaches. The waters were enticing, and many locals were taking the opportunity for a swim. However it was a bit cold for us, so we stuck to our photography. This really is a beautiful area, well worth a visit.

With Christmas closing in fast, it was time to head to Albany to do some shopping and stock up on some goodies. Low and behold we went to cross the road and we met Phil, Carole and the kids. It was really great bumping into them again (Broome was where we had last seen them) and so we decided to head to a common campsite to catch up on what had happened in the last 10 weeks to each of us. It turns out we both bush camped in Monkey Mia in the same place, 24 hour apart.


Day 146 Sunday 24 December 2006       

We left Phil, Carole and the kids behind and headed back to Albany for the morning. The first stop was a sailing ship called the Amity which has been lovingly restored to immaculate condition. We met Andrew here who is the secretary for the historical society and was great to talk about the display. He was also interested in our photos with the possibility of them being used for the advertising brochures for the attraction. He had not seen any pictures of the below deck of the HMS Amity worth publishing - what a challenge! So we both set about photographing this beautiful ship.

We also did a quick tour of the Old Gaol before we headed to Natural Arch. We had to pass the Bureau of Met tower and the Wind Mills as well on the way there. We didn't spend much time looking as time was getting a little scarce and we wanted to get to Bremer Bay to meet up for Phil, Carole and the kids to have Christmas with them.

 


Day 147 Monday 25 December 2006

Christmas Day! Wow! During of our journey around Australia, we have met and talked to many many people. Some of those people have had a lasting impression on us both. Christmas for us this year was spent with Carolyn, Phil, Eamon, Tamsin and Patrick. We both can not remember when we have enjoyed the fun associated with children at Christmas  and the joy of seeing smiles on their faces. We all bush camped west of Bremer Bay, at Dillon Bay. The sand dunes surrounded us, and the winds kept the temperatures down. Merry Christmas all!

 


Stay tuned as the adventure continues...

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