Published: March 19th 2010March 12th 2010
Oh gosh, yesterday was hot, but today was even hotter - almost touching 40 degrees, and the sun is blisteringly hot with really high humidity. It was still 30 degrees at 3.00 this morning, so you can imagine how worn out and spikey we feel today.
John was up really early out looking for birds, loads of Australian Ringnecks, Willie Wagtails, Black Swans, Little Pied Cormorant, Little Eagle ....
We’d no sooner set off, but we saw a sign for a winery with a quilt show! How lucky is that - two of my favourite things in one place. We had a good time discussing wines of the world with the proprietor, whilst I admired the workmanship in the quilts. The winery was called Vineyard 28 - named after the green parrots which we’ve been admiring everywhere ... although they are regarded as vermin as they love the grapes. Of the 50 odd vineyards in the “Geographe” region, only two export to the UK and they’re not one of them! A shame really as they produce two excellent whites, a Sauvignon Blanc, with superb Lime, Kiwi, and Citrus notes, and a Chenin Blanc bursting with tropical fruits. They’re experimenting
with various traditional Italian red grape varieties too, although we both feel there’s some way to go here! Anyway, we had a very interesting conversation about the various problems facing the independent wine producer in Australia.
Back on the coast road aiming for Lake Clifton, where there is a viewing deck in the National Park to enable you to look at Thrombolites. What? I hear you ask. Aha! They are the oldest known living organism - one of the by products of their lifecycle is oxygen and over millions of years they created an atmosphere which enabled higher life forms to develop. I shall be quoting again when I say ... They are the most common form of micro bialite in Lake Clifton and are formed by a variety of micro-organisms. As the micro-organisms synthesise calcium carbonate is drawn out of the lime enriched lake water to form a rock like mineral. Thrombolites were common 600 million years ago. Fossil counterparts are found today in the Northern Territories where shorelines once existed. Microbes involved in thrombolite formation may have been responsible for oxygen which enabled life to colonise the planet. So now you know!
It was really fascinating
looking at them - I swear I saw one move, but John said I was imagining it (he was probably right!). There were lots of birds yet again posing for photos. I was really struck by the colours on the shoreline - everything looks really washed out in what I think of as New England colours - I’m just hoping the photos does it justice.
Just as we left the Thrombolites doing their thing, we pulled into another winery - and would you believe it, they produced port! We sampled some wine and of course the port whilst chatting about dogs - they had Blue Heeled dogs, which are cattle dogs that are born white with black markings and over the next 6 months or so develop more colours in their fur. Very good natured they were too. Needless to say, we left with a bottle of vintage port tucked firmly under John’s arm!
Onward to Mandurah, a really lovely place to visit with lots of ‘canals’ and thus water-front properties with boats. We ended up parked alongside yet another gorgeous beach, and I confess the temptation was too much, especially in the heat, and we took to
the sea to cool down. Nearly 40 degrees, on one of the best beaches we’ve ever seen, and we’re the only people in the water! Oh boy, it was wonderful, especially when a group of pelicans flew by!!
Our last part of the journey to Freemantle (or Freo as the locals call it), should have been really quick, but seemed to take ages, what with filling up with petrol and navigating ever busier roads. It may be because it’s Friday and the Aussies are taking off for the weekend, or the fact the’ve put so many traffic lights on this stretch of road it’s just stop-start, or it could just be that we’re getting nearer cities (and therefore there are simply more people!).
We eventually pulled into a ‘proper’ site, parked the van and took off for the pool where we floated about in the cool water chatting to others doing the same. There are numerous colourful birds here too including bright pink cockatoos called “Galah.”
We’re now relaxing with a bottle of 28 Sav Blanc and trying to blot the sound of all the kids playing behind us ... we’re just not used to the noise
after a week in the peace and quiet of the outback! We’ve just realised how blasé we were getting with our wonderful rest area sites and evening visits from the kangaroos.
There are more photos below