We left Hamelin Pools and the dry desert-like environment with houses that were few and far between and marched our way down to Cervantes to have an overnight stay before we headed down to Margaret River.
The day on the road was just “one of those travel days” where we couldn’t accomplish much other than doing a bunch of school work, banking some learning time as we knew there were going to be some days ahead where school, in the formal sense, was not going to happen.
The kids were happy since there was a big pool, and there were very few people at the campground this time so they had the place to themselves. There were some seagulls that were trying to land in the pool, and the kids were playing alligator where they tried to sneak up on the seagulls to scare them away.
Deb and I both got the chance to go our and have a run, and I came across the oddest place for someone to park their bike. And I am not sure that they are coming back for it.
While I was taking pictures standing in the water, my flip flops decided to take a bit of a trip. I went back to shore where I left them and a wave must have caught them and they started to float out to sea!
I grabbed them and then headed back to the camper and we hopped back on the road to head south.
Just south, well like an hour and a half south, of Perth, lies Margaret River, one of the best wine regions in Australia, and our next stop on the trip;. Known for its buttery chardonnay and its big bold shiraz wines.
We pulled into Margaret River from our trip south of Perth that was largely uneventful but we could see the distinct change in climate and vegetation as we went further south. The fields were more lush, there were more pastures with more animals than we saw up north…even though up north was a big cattle area. Not sure what the cattle lived on up there, unless they ate dirt and rocks.
We pulled into the campsite, after a quick stop at a local ice cream shop, in the later part of the afternoon as the drive from Cervantes was 8-9 hours. We were all done by that point and needed to blow off some steam and have some alone time. We opted for a quiet night to get ready for the next days adventures. The kids found the big bouncing pillow and I found the kitchen. That is where I blow off steam and relax…
Shortly after our arrival, we got a message from a good friend of mine who was in Oliver with Wilson, Lulu and I that their daughter was visiting some family here in Perth, and there were some unexpected issues that arose when she arrived there. In short, she wasn’t having a good time and needed to leave the crappy situation somehow, and we were the closest thing to family, other than the family she was visiting, to her.
After a lot of back and forth messages, we made arrangements for Robyn to catch a train and then a bus down to Busselton where we could go pick her up the next day, so she could stick around for a couple of days until she went back to Sydney.
While she was getting all of her arrangements finalized on her end, we decided to go out to the southern point of WA to visit the coastline and where the Southern and the Indian Oceans meet up.
The drive down was like going through New Brunswick, with rolling green farmland fields, lots of sheep, and ocean breezes blowing in off of the Indian Ocean. The area, as you get more south on the western side, is more lush and green. Situated at the most south-westerly point of Australia, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia. Cape Leeuwin is also the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean.
The Lewin area was discovered in 1600 by a Dutch exploration ship that landed in the area and established a farming community at that point as the area very rich and fertile.
Here resides Australia’s second largest lighthouse which was built in 1895 after many boats met their demise on the rocky shores of the area. It took 350 people 9 months to hand cut all of the stones and then construct the lighthouse.
The construction is quite interesting. Because the lighthouse is round and tapers as you get higher up you have to have stones cut specifically for every level. The stones are 2m thick at the base and can, and have, withstood winds of over 150kph.
The stones were quarried from the adjacent land that is full of limestone, and they were brought over by cart and horse. They were cut exactly to the measurements that were required and in the order that they were needed as the arc gets greater as you go from the bottom to the top, as do the width, length and height of each of the stones. Once they were in place, the stones were lifted by a hand crank caliper crane.
In the middle of the lighthouse is a long tube that has a pulley system that attaches to the rotating light. At the other end there is, or at least was, a 150kg weight that was raised up by hand every 2h which would then slowly drop during the next 2 hours. As it dropped it would rotate the light through a cogwheel system.
The light used to be a kerosene lamp that used 32kg of kerosene a day, which would have to be hauled up to the top by hand.
On the opposite side of the world is Washington DC, and they said that the Washington Post occasionally calls to find out what the weather is on the other side of the world.
It was pretty cool and I never would have thought that a lighthouse tour would be that interesting.
We headed back to Margaret River after enjoying a rather expensive lunch in a small town cafe…everything costs more here in WA, especially if you are in a small town, and then we headed back to the campground for the night.
We took the scenic route back home past a nice beach that we could have seen some sting rays floating around the shore, but alas we didn’t see any, but we had a nice walk none the less. I walked a bit further down the beach as they seemed to trail off into some sandstone cliffs and I am glad I did as there were some awesome rock formations and a rock tunnel just past the corner that you couldn’t see around from the beach.
Back in the explorormobile and we took the scenic route through a nice windy road that took us through a red gum forest. It was beautiful and made us stop and take a deep breath as you could smell the eucalyptus in the air.
We headed back home for some kickback time and homework…of course, and got ready for the day ahead.
We ran into a couple that has sailed around the world, literally, a couple of times on their boat, the Ulani. What a life! Deb said “No way she would ever do that”, given that she gets sea sick riding in the back of the car. But they gave us lots of ideas of what to do in Tahiti, and they have done a lot of adventure travelling and diving.
Our travels today took us north from Margaret River towards Busselton as we had to pick up Robyn at 1pm. So, our stops were mainly culinary as we hadn’t tapped into the wine region yet…
So, first stop was at a winery, which also had a fromagerie…bonus! Two for one. The wine was great, as was the cheese, and we made a couple of purchases and headed on…
We forged on and found Simmos Creamery, which is rated at one of the top 15 ice creameries in the world. And they didn’t disappoint.
They had amazing flavours, with all kinds of interesting flavours. Lulu and Deb had burnt sugar ice cream. Ok, that was so good. It is like that caramalized and slightly burnt stuff right beside cookies or the bubbling stuff on applecrisp. Soooo good. Wilson had a massive banana split, and I was in a holiday mood, so I had cranberry and white chocolate in vanilla ice cream topped with banofee pie ice cream. Died and gone to heaven.
Ok. That was pre-lunch. I am getting so fat by now. I don’t think I have been this heavy since I finished med school where exercise happens very infrequently.
We made it to Busselton where we parked down at the waterfront where we were supposed to meet Robyn. As we pulled in, we noticed a whole lot of spandex and triathlon bikes. Whaaaat? The further we pushed on, we noticed Ironman Western Australia signs everywhere, and of course we were supposed to meet Robyn at where the finish line was.
So, I walked around, but couldn’t find her anywhere….so I text her and found out that she was waiting at the bus stop she was dropped off at. Not the plan, but whatever. It was great to find her, and the kids were in heaven as they had someone closer to their age to hang out with, and not us.
We made a trip to the local Salvation Army store to grab some warmer clothes it is is surprisingly colder here than we had expected. So, we went on a shopping spree, knowing that Tasmania was going to be even colder…. The bonus was that everything in the store was half price!!! Bonus!
We headed back to the campground to settle in for the night. When we pulled out that morning and headed out on our adventures for the day, the campground was quiet and we had no one really around us. However, when we pulled back in, there were a number of trailers and tents set up around our site, and it looked like the Hell’s Angels had moved in. They were in town for a funeral they said. That was the happiest funeral that I have ever been witness to.
We went out for dinner that night as they were having a food truck and food stall festival in the downtown core (make note Huntsville…this was super fun and a good way to get locals out in the park. There was a bluegrass band playing, and each of the stalls only served one or two dishes so we toured around and figured out what we wanted to eat…
Lots of options from mexican to pancakes…so much to choose from, but Lulu had a pizza wood fired pizza, I had Spanish paella, Deb had some Thai food, and Robyn had barbecue!
When we walked back to the campground, the funeral was in full swing. There was a lot of drinking, yelling, kids running amok, and f bombs being dropped all over the place. This carried on for quite a while until we had enough of it and Deb went out and laid down the law. Rule number 1: Don’t mess with Deb. Rule number 2: refer to rule number 1.
It was nice an quiet after that. Deb and I got up the next morning knowing that we had a built in babysitter (that we weren’t going to take advantage of or abuse the privilege of having!) and went to do a ParkRun. This is an international “event” if you want to call this, in that communities all over the world have organized 5km runs that are free to participate in every Saturday morning at 8am. I think one of our TriMuskoka club members back home are working on bringing one to Huntsville.
It was a super location as you ran through a nature reserve along the Margaret River, which had a rich forest full of old growth trees. There was about 50 of us doing the run while the kids slept in.
The ParkRun was a lot of fun and we ran into some people who were doing the Ironman the next day, and this was their warm up.
We walked home to the camper and got the kids up and ready to push off to Denmark, our next and most southerly destination in the land of Aus. Buuuut, we had to make our way past the ice cream place again for one. Last. Treat.
This time I ventured out and had Christmas Pudding ice cream. It was awesome. Cinnamon ginger ice cream with the green cherries and mixed peel in it….awesome and got me in the Christmas mood!