Saturday, January 22, 2011

Trip Down South 2011

Day 1

Interesting drive from Perth to Busselton. There was an upturned vehicle on the Kwinana Freeway that slowed the holiday traffic from 100 km/h to 30 km/h. Police and firies in attendance.

Detoured to Pinjarra for lunch to the famous Pinjarra Bakery & Patisserie where they charge infamous prices.

Stopped at a roadhouse for a driver change. Miky had her first experience at driving on country roads. Almost had a go at off road driving also. Country roads are not as smooth as city roads. When the dual lane became two way at 100 km/h that was a real experience for her.

Checked into hotel and walked to local IGA, at great risk of sunburn and skin cancer (it was a three minute walk maximum), and purchased hideously overpriced goods including bananas, Coco Pops and yoghurt. I was reminded that I always purchase these items when on holidays. Had a swim in the indoor pool followed by 20 mins of tennis. Drove into town and bought beef saaga at Goa Curry and a pizza from Dominos which was conveniently situated next door. Nice dinner.

Day 2

Early morning walk along cycle/footpath near the beach. Plenty of sticky flies about. The Boy stayed in the room and watched cartoons. Had breakfast outside the room. Followed this with mini golf. I destroyed them on the mini golf course but lost the championship to The Boy, Miky was 2nd, that we held on the putting green.

Headed into town for lunch. Ate at Star Sushi and Noodles - very nice food. Quite warm in town. Found Woolworths and did more shopping.

Miky and The Boy rested whilst I went to the Pioneer Cemetery. On the way I found a Japanese garden from Busselton's sister city, Sugito. The Pioneer Cemetery, which was proclaimed in 1856, is in a bit of disrepair. There were a number of wooden crosses and one wooden headstone whereby no writing was evident.

Back into town for some swimming goggles as the shops close at 4pm on Sunday. Sportspower had one cheap set and I grabbed them. Can't believe that I forgot to bring my own from home. Headed down to the Busselton Jetty, which is closed for repairs until next month following a deliberately lit fire last year, for a few photos. It's the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere.

Back to the hotel by 4:30. Dropped in at the drive-in cinema to check the prices and movies showing. Had a shower and joined the others in the pool for nearly two hours. The new goggles worked much better than my old ones. Shower after the pool and then we played squash. We were planning to finish off our tennis time but somehow our booking had been erased and all of the courts had been booked. They offered us the use of the squash court instead. So squash it was. Cooked our meal and ate outside. Nice to be able to do that.

Day 3

Miky was up at 5:30 to go for a walk. The Boy and I slept in until eight. Dunsborough was the destination this morning. It's only about an 18 minute drive and reasonably pleasant. Called in at the tourist info centre but as we've seen enough lighthouses and caves there wasn't much else that took our fancy.

Drove, searching for Castle Rock, but went too far and turned up at Bunker Bay. Continued until we reached the start of the Cape Naturaliste walking trails at Shelley Cove and parked the car. The view of the limestone cliffs and boulders on the beach was fantastic. There were crabs in the shallows and I found a stumpy tail lizard also.

Walked to Point Marchant where a lookout has been constructed. Lovely view. Spotted a black snake on the way back and took a photo. By the time I had taken the photo after trying to line it up in the viewfinder it had disappeared so I hot footed it out of there.

Took the car to Bunker Bay and was very lucky to score a parking spot. Very busy place on a warm summer day. Had drinks at Bunkers, a licensed cafe, and they brought me a banana smoothie instead of the choc milkshake that I had ordered. I didn't complain about the order, as my drink was better, and then my original order came out. Got to have two drinks for the price of one. Happy hour! Spotted a young couple doing their own version of a cocktail, sex on the beach, in full view.

Had a walk along the beach and I can honestly say that the girl would blow away any of the contestants in America's Next Top Model that we saw last night. She was stunning.

Returned to Dunsborough for lunch. Chicken Treat for The Boy, Peko Peko sushi for the wife and Squid Lips (WA Top 5 fish and chips shop) chili squid and chips for me. Back to the hotel for a sleep. Quite warm again today.

Took The Boy to The Nautical Lady Entertainment World to ride the waterslide for an hour. Miky went shopping. Bought some food for tea. Had a shower before going to the indoor pool for one and a half hours. Tea and clothes washing. Whilst waiting for the clothes dryer we looked at the stars. I saw a meteor. Gosh, stars were bright down by the beach.

Day 4

Morning walk to the west of the resort to check out some of the new two storey houses. Some people certainly have some money. Had breakfast and packed everything up to travel to Augusta. A duck came inside our room when we left the door open.

On the road and headed to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory which includes free tasting. The Boy played some cricket out the back with other kids. When he got a turn to bat he clouted the bowling which surprised me. Had some food at the cafe and bought some chili chocolate.

Took a back road, which was only one lane (Harmon Road South), and enjoyed the roadside vegetation. Something that you don't get in the city. Pulled into Margaret River for lunch and a wander around. After the chocolate factory we weren't hungry and had one meal, a Hawaiian from Chooks, between us.

Bought a fluffy frog and a Linkin Park CD/DVD. Asked about a workman's shop for safety glasses as I'd just broken my sunnies and received some helpful directions. The lady at the place pointed out her $45.50 sunnies but said I could try just down the road where I picked up a pair for under $10. Work safety glasses they were so I bought some for The Boy also.

On the road again this time to Hamelin Bay. Drove through the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Park and found the bay ok. But we were tired, the car was full of our gear and coupled with the fact that we would have to put sunscreen on we couldn't be bothered staying. Decided to have a swim once we'd arrived at Augusta. All the campsite were full and there were tents everywhere. Very popular spot.

Continued on to Augusta and the YHA where we had booked a family room. Played pool whilst we waited for reception to open. Walked to IGA for groceries and stopped at the tourist info centre first. The lady said that Flinders Bay would be good for swimming and snorkeling although as the wind had picked up it would be a bit sloppy. There was also a lookout where the sunset could be viewed. She even looked up the sunset time for us.

After shopping we bought a boogie board for The Boy and went to Flinders Bay for a swim. He loved his boogie board and had fun making sandcastles. The water was a bit choppy and it's quite a rocky area so it wasn't great for swimming at that time of the day. Able to do some body boarding too with some nice waves.

Just had time for a shower before heading to the lookout. Arrived 20 minutes early and it was a bit cold. Nice sunset though. Came back to the YHA and on the way saw a rabbit, a kookaburra and two kangaroos along the road. Drove quite slowly I can tell you. Didn't want a kangaroo popping through the windscreen to say hello.

Had tea and played pool and Guess Who? It was interesting to be surrounded by people from different nationalities and hear all of the languages too.

Day 5

What a busy day this turned out to be. Checked out of the YHA at 9am and went to the Leeuwin Lighthouse. Not that we had any need to visit it anyway. The Water Wheel and the surrounding rocks were much more interesting. Spent 20 minutes or so down by the water.

Drove back through Augusta to Karridale and turned off to Pemberton. Miky wanted to drive as she was bored sitting next to me in the passenger seat. At Pemberton we visited the bakery and had pies and a quiche for lunch. It would appear that all country towns bake pies for lunch. Ducked out to the 61m tall Gloucester Tree which I climbed but The Boy was too young to attempt. Man, it gets scarier the older you get to climb that tree. I bruised my shin by using it to put pressure on the metal spikes to ensure that I wouldn't slip. Wonderful view and there were two bushfires on the horizon. I can see why it was used as a lookout for fires.

I drove from Pemberton to Walpole. Bit of challenging driving with the windy and tree-shadowed roads. Bought water and ice cream from the local servo and tickets to the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk from the Walpole visitor centre. Not enough time to visit the Dinosaur Museum and Reptile Park which had been on the agenda. Took the slightly corrugated road to the Giant Tingle tree which is 25m in circumference. Little bit further down the road to the Valley of the Giants. They're not actually the tallest trees in Western Australia but they're impressive anyway. We did the walk once and Miky asked if we boys wanted to go again. She doesn't like heights so we went again. Other material on display wasn't that interesting but the stroll on the the Ancient Empires Walk was ok.

I drove to the nearest parking bay and Miky took over to drive the rest of the way to Albany. Whilst trying to get our bearings we came upon our hotel. Checked in (nearly 6:30 by this time), unpacked and then went out for tea. Miky had sushi, from a Chinese shop that didn't provide chopsticks, and I bought fish and chips.

Day 6

Buffet breakfast to start the day. Did a modicum of shipping and bought squid bait. Drove to Frenchman Bay, past most of the natural sights to see, for a spot of fishing and snorkeling. The Boy had been waiting all of his school holidays to go fishing and had bugged me to do so in Busselton. Gee, the water sure was cold. Clambered over the rocks very gently so The Boy took his sweet time. Few nibbles but no fish caught. Hindsight says that the fish were too small for the hook and bait we used. The Boy spent more time getting to and from the fishing spot than he did actually fishing! I started climbing the rocks to get to where some fishermen were but dropped my thong, stubbed my toe and soon realised that it was too dangerous on top of rocks so decided to climb down and just go swimming.

Grabbed the snorkel and had a decent swim. So much sea grass, a few shells and some small fish. The fishermen were in a really windy spot and the wave were pounding. Had a sea grass fight with The Boy which was great fun. The shower outside of the toilet block was warm and strong - fantastic. Went back to town for lunch.

Headed back to Frenchman By area to view the blowholes which weren't working the best because the wind was coming from the wrong direction. The Natural Bridge and the Gap were the next sights on our list. Beautiful with some decent waves in action. Last sightseeing was the Albany Wind Farm with 65m high turbines with 34m blades. Looked like acrobatic dancers doing cartwheels and War of the Worlds aliens. Big whooshing noise. So many flies about the place. Lookout view was great.

Back to town. Next to our hotel was a vet clinic so we asked if they knew anyone with poodle or Maltese cross dogs. She, Amy, had a friend, Val, who had two pups. I rang a few vets and pet centres but didn't come up with any other leads.

Val was ok with us coming to her place. The pups that she had, Maltese x Shih Tzu, were only six weeks old. We were happy to take one but it had to have shots tomorrow as that's when we were leaving. No more thoughts of staying another day. Drove into Dog Rock, fantastic rock on display, and through to Middleton Beach before buying dinner in the CBD.

Day 7

Buffet breakfast again. Not the most exciting I've enjoyed but filling all the same. Pineapple wasn't too good. May have been a flood-affected Queensland pineapple. Packed up the car (forgot my pillow) and settled the bill. They accidentally tried to charge for breakfast on three mornings when we only stayed two nights but I happened to notice.

Drove to Godfreys to buy a vacuum cleaner filter as I knew we'd arrive home too late for shopping and it was really necessary to clean up when we returned as I'd set off three roach bombs before we departed. Drove through Middleton Beach and up Mt Clarence for the summit view and War Memorial. Amazingly windy up there. Kept on the tourist drive to the replica brig Amity. An amazingly tiny vessel where the middle deck only came up to my chest. Into town for building sightseeing and a drink at a cafe. Rang Val about the dog to say that we could collect at any time. She must have still been at the vet's. She rang back during our cuppa. Out to Val's place to collect the pup. The Boy still hadn't made up his mind and he and the missus had quite a discussion. He wanted the male dog and the decision was left up to him therefore the male it was. Hunter is the name that this ferocious 6-week old pup has had bestowed upon him.

Four hundred kilometres back to Perth. I drove 50 kms to Mt Barker before we stopped for lunch. Had a gold medal-winning garlic prawn and rice seafood pie. Yes, seafood pie. I had it because it was so unusual and it was bloody outstanding. For $5.50 it should be too. Miky wanted to drive and she reached Kojonup (100 kms) before we swapped. Only 255 kms to Perth.

We rested at Williams for a drink. Bit of a convoy of traffic which did make the drive more enjoyable. Took us five and a quarter hours to travel in total so that wasn't bad time with all of the rest stops. We did 1220 kms in our one week down south.

Trip Down South 2011 Photo Album on Facebook.


Anonymous said...

Sounds overpriced big time but, it sounds like great fun. Gil

Iris Flavia said...

I could get jealous! Sounds like you had a great time! :-)
Oh, how I miss Chicken Treat. Seriously, we have nothing like that here. Or Pies.
Hmmm, so loved the Hawaian Pack!

Tried to visit the Chocolate Factory in Cologne, Germany. Three times, no success. Hope you had fun in yours, at least it was open, huh?

Did the Tree Top Walk, too. Back then. Now I´d be too afraid...

Hammy said...

We made sure that the chocolate factory was open before going there. I didn't realise that so little chocolate was enough to fill you up. Probably because it was so rich.