Letho's Blog


Australia’s South-West: From Cape Leeuwin to Perth

by on Apr.28, 2011, under South-West

Wednesday, 27th April – Thursday, 28th April 2011

After having admired the beautiful Indian Ocean we headed back towards Augusta, debating where we should sleep. Apart from the fact that hostels in general are not our thing we would have to pay less when we just camped at one of the spots in the National Park. Being dark already and Australia-like with few signs the way wasn’t easy to find and we ended up driving for half an hour through the park. We finally found a camping spot and even though it was not the one we had intended to find it was at least a place to put up our tent.
The next morning we woke up early and made our way back to the Cave road an important decision ahead of us: at which of the 150 caves that lie underneath the area should we have a look at? We decided to have a look at one of the three most famous caves, Mammoth, Jewel or Lake Cave and since we had seen fossils in caves already (remember our article about the Naracoorte caves? ; )) we booked places for the Lake cave tour. Since we had gotten up early we could take the first tour – a good thing as it turned out since all the popular midday tours were quickly fully booked. The entrance of the cave lies in a huge hole which must have been a cave itself at some point until the roof collapsed and if you look closely at the edges you can see that certain areas are mighty thin and might also collapse somewhen in the future. The lighting in the cave contributed very much to the beauty of the lake and despite having seen lots of stalactites and stalagmites (just remember stalacTites for Top = those are the ones that are at the ceiling) it was impressive. Especially since several stalactite structures were not attached to the ground and weighted all together as much as 4 four wheel drives (4wd). This is Australia, things can be measured in 4wd’s… ; ) But have a look at yourself at the beauty of the cave:

The only downside of the Lake Cave was first of all that it being a tour and being on a schedule it was a little rushed. Enough time to enjoy and admire the cave but if you wanted to take pictures without people in it you had to wait and were then rushed a bit by the guide. The second thing we only learned by chance and that was that the lake in the cave (Lake Cave) has been artificially kept at a certain level as it had been dried out several years ago. Understandable that the company that runs the caves doesn’t want to disappoint visitors who have come to see the lake but it still feels like they cheat on you. Nevertheless, the cave was quite beautiful.

We discovered that there was a self-guided cave in the area and with us enjoying climbing in caves tremendiously it was just what we wanted to do. The cave itself was huge though not extraordinary but it was great fun to walk around in absolute darkness and find our way through the cave.

Another look at our sightseeing to do list, check after Caves. It would have been interesting to have a look at the wine cellars since Margaret River is a renown wine region in Western Australia, but then again only one can try the wines, they are usually only open until five that means drinking alkohol during the day – to cut it short, we didn’t feel like it and continued to drive up north. At Cape Naturaliste we took several walks along the coast and some seals that sunbathed on some rocks in the ocean.

A bit further north we passed Busselton, the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere. But wait a second, didn’t we write that in our article about Port Germain? Well, this seems to be a title that goes for several jetties : )
In contrast do the other longest jetty this one had a 2,50 Aus $ entrance fee (!) and somehow the planks had been partly cemented… I leave both points without a comment!

Finally, the last sight on our way to Perth was Australia’s smallest church, so small that we drove past it the first time : )

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Australia’s South-West: From Manjimup to Cape Leuwin

by on Apr.27, 2011, under South-West

Tuesday, 26th April – Wednesday, 27th April 2011

The next day we went off sightseeing in the area:
In the past Fire Lookout Trees were obviously used to spot dangerous bushfires and had to be massive and tall trees. It is possible for the public to climb the three Karri trees that are in the area, Diamond Tree, Gloucester Tree and Bicentennial, with prices ranging from for free to National Park entry fee and up to 11 $. Since it started raining when we arrived at the Diamond Tree we continued and finally climbed the Bicentennial Tree which is supposed to have its first platform at 25m and its second platform at somewhere around 60 m.
A piece of cake you will think when you stand under the tree, easy to climb up, too. But don’t underestimate the feeling that arises once you left the ground climbing up still being able to see throught. After the first turn your mind starts releasing thoughts like „it is quite high already“, „how easy it seems to slip through the metal spikes“ „I’ve never liked heights“ until you reach platform one and think „thank God some solid planks“. It becomes even more exciting when people come down from the top while you are climbing up. The spikes are long enough to fit two but are they strong enough? Another thought that will frequently pass your mind. Do it as I did it you hold on close to the spikes at the base of the tree, close your eyes and just don’t move until the other person has passed (only kidding about closing my eyes). You will think now that 25 m are not that high, you might have climbed higher buildings and so have I but not on metal bars being able to slip through. As you have probably guessed it as much as I have wanted to go up further I just thought it wouldn’t be safe enough. The only problem was now to get down again, an odyssey believe me. Frank climbed up further and so did somebody with a broken arm and no shoes on – crazy dude. From what you could see when everybody arrived safe and sound at the ground again was that at least they all were a bit scared. But Frank’s courage gives you now the opportunity to enjoy a nice panorama over the tree tops:

Afterwards we took a much safer but also less exciting scenic drive through the Kerri Forest:

And down to the coast to the D’entrecastreaux National Park where we had a look at The Window, Salmon Beach and a quick drive to Windy Harbour.

On the way back to Manjimup we stopped at the Cascades

and quickly climbed up Mt. Chudalup – a piece of cake for us : )

We spent another night at Lindy’s house and continued our travels later the next day when we drove to Augusta and had a look at the most southern point of Western Australia, Cape Leeuwin, and saw the quite stormy Indian Ocean. Have a look yourself and enjoy the great atmosphere of light and clouds:

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Australia’s South West – from Albany to Manjimup

by on Apr.25, 2011, under South-West

Sunday, 24th April – Monday, 25th April 2011

After a nice breakfast at Middleton Beach we took the Tourist Drive around town.

We then went into the amazing Torndirrup National Park which being the Easter weekend 2011 many people used for a stroll around and thus it was far too crowded for our taste, too many people in the pictures. Nevertheless, enjoy the Gap with water splashing up sometimes up to 20 m, the amazing Natural Bridge (what dimensions!),and finally one of the most fascinating blowholes where the air pressed by the moving water below came out with enormous pressure.

Afterwards a quick visit to the brig Amity, a replica of the ship that had sailed from Sydney to Albany in 1826.

And along the scenic drive to our campspot, Cosy Corner! Not so cosy I can tell you… I started with the decision Cosy Corner East or West? In this case, the East was the place where camping was allowed and totally crowded, not a single spot free and so we made our way to the West with lots of spots and only several other campers there. Understandable since camping wasn’t allowed there. Here the sign:

Another uncosy surprise was the neverending drizzle that started at night and wouldn’t stop for hours.

While we waited (in vain) in the car for the rain to stop at 9 in the morning, a car pulled over and the ranger started towards our tent. After his second attempt to talk to us in the tent Frank mercifully called out that we were in the car. The ranger informed us that we had to leave this area since camping wasn’t allowed. A joke later he was already gone, not having given us a fine. Lucky us. Poor him that he had to work Easter Monday. ; )
In case you don’t know but putting your tent together in the rain is no fun.
Sightseeing in the rain not so much fun, either. But that didn’t stop us from having a look at the Ocean Beach close to Denmark.

Some driving later we drove through a Kerri Forest and had a look at the Great Tingle Tree, unfortunately a little too dark already for the camera.

We had sent out a very last minute couchsurfing request to avoid camping in the rain again and later in the evening we got a call from Lindy who invited us to stay with her. I have never been happier about a phone call : )
So we spend an envening with Lindy and her daughter and enjoyed a wine, sandwiches and self baked Anzac cookies, heaven! Lindy even offered us her home for several days although she would go camping the next day – what kind of trust is that, amazing!!

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