Apologies to all our readers in the Northern Hemisphere, who are having a grey start to winter, but this week we’ve been relishing the start of summer here.
We’ve seen lots of beaches on this trip but the ones we’ve been on this last week in Southern Western Australia, surely must be contenders for the most beautiful. The sand has been pure white, like sugar crystals and the sea, azure blue. Being the Southern Ocean, it hasn’t been the warmest of waters but just splashing in the wave froth in the sunshine has been enough.
We picked up my sister Clare in Albany, she is has been in Perth visiting her boyfriend and had flown down to travel with us for a few days. The wind was still blowing as we pulled up to the caravan park on Middleton Beach, we haven’t stayed anywhere like that since we arrived in Oz but it suited us to be in town. We decided it was a useful place to get things done but we much preferred the remote bush camps we’ve been in so far. However the undercover spa (jacuzzi) was a great place to stay out of the wind and catch up.
Steve left us to chat while he checked out the new Anzac museum. Albany was the mustering point for many of the soldiers before they went off to Europe during the First World War, where so many of them lost their lives. Steve said the museum was excellent, very interactive as you were given the name and details of a real soldier to follow their progress throughout the conflict.
As we were leaving Albany, a heavily tattooed man swung into the petrol station in front of the truck and asked if he could take a photo. “Sure,” I replied. We are used to people taking photos of the truck (after all, he is so handsome). He then explained it was the compass detail on the side he really wanted, so he could get a tattoo of it on each shoulder. Hmmm…a new one of us. We love Trucky but not quite that much! I hope the tattoo artist notices the typo on the compass (Can you spot it below?) before he permanently inks it on his body.
Fitzgerald National Park is a unique biosphere, with many specialised plants but what entranced us was the perfectly white sandy beach with turquoise water. During the winter months whales calve in the bay and can be easily be seen from land. The attractive but basic campsite was tucked behind the dunes in the bush. We hiked along the coast in the bush before returning to camp by the beach. It was stunning but in the bush we had to do something to protect ourselves from the thousands of flies, we ended up looking like a bunch of bandits. I had laughed at my mum when she offered me her fly net from her previous trip to Australia, saying I’d never wear something so ridiculous. How wrong was I? I’m definitely buying some in the next town. It isn’t that these flies were biting, just truly irritating because there are so many of them and they get up your nose and in your eyes. The walk along the amazing beach back was far better. We just meandered along, the girls getting more fantastic stories from Clare at the back, while Steve and I strode ahead enjoying walking at an adult pace for a change.
We had planned to continue making our way east towards Esperance but had been warned that there were bush fires in the area. They had been so serious that 4 people had lost their lives and several parks and roads were closed. So instead we headed north to the little town of Hyden, which has a rock formation known as Wave Rock. When we arrived in the early afternoon, it was hot so we decided to check out the 4 other quirky little attractions at the rock. It turned out to be a huge, huge hit for the girls. While Clare took Alisha to spend ages poring over the lace and past-times museums – she was in historical heaven. Lucy and I spent most of our time in the wildlife park checking out all the species we are hoping to see properly out in the bush. Everyone was happy. The temperature was perfect at dusk to pretend to surf on the “wave” and to climb up above it.
The following day we said a sad goodbye to Clare as Noel, her boyfriend, picked her up. They were heading slowly back to Perth, checking out some of the amazing parks on the way back. While we headed East towards the Nullarbor. We took the direct route along the unsealed highway to the town at Norseman, the start of the Nullarbor. We saw only a handful of cars and trucks all day. Our lunch spot was at a beautiful rock formation called the Breakaway. We pulled up early for the day at another rock formation, this time McDermid’s Rock, where there was a lovely free camp spot at the foot of the rock.