Published: July 21st 2005July 20th 2005
After surrendering every single piece of fruit or vegetables, (including our polystyrene esky!) to the WA border crossing, we crossed over into WA. This part of the trip was a total last minute thing, we only decided to come here after hearing all the stories from other travellers,we met, it sounded so beautiful we had to come....We weren't disappointed.
We headed on straight down to Walpole, which is famous for it's huge, tall Karri trees, we walked the aerial walkway in the "Valley of the Giants", which was pretty fun, then went to Pemberton where we BOTH climbed the Gloucester Tree, a former 60 metre fire lookout tree, it has metal rungs screwed into the trunk to act as steps, these iron bars spiral up for 60 metres, the views from the top are breathtaking and pictures really don't do it justice, hard as we tried! If you're scared of heights, keep away from this one, the climb was exhilarating to say the least, put it this way, Health and Safety in the UK would ban this climb before you got off the ground!
Next stop was Bunbury, a nondescript city but worth the trip because of the dolphin discovery centre
Karri Tree Base.
Like my new home for the night?! Serves me right for back chatting the missus!
there, unfortunately for us and the van, the night we stayed there there was a mini crime wave, we were woken at 00:30 by yobs who threw a rock at the van and made a hefty dent in the tailgate, luckily they missed the window, then sped off, it could have turned out a lot more serious. No dolphins arrived the next day and we found out that the centre itself had their boat vandalised & set free from it's moorings, another old man came in and also had his car window smashed that night.
In order to have a chance to maybe swim with Whale Sharks, we went full pelt up to Ningaloo Reef, as far up as we were going to go. We ended up staying in Coral Bay for 5 days, snorkelling and resting, I swam with a Manta Ray instead of a Whale Shark, that was a really great experience, the reef itself was equally beautiful, we didn't get ideal weather for snorkellig, the water was brass balls temperature and stayed that way for our whole WA trip, it was caused by the cold weather and huge amounts of rain that fell while we were there,
Joey on the Tree Top Walk
She had a really sore neck so we didn't really pick the best day to go looking at lots of tall trees, but she soldiered on, bless her.
the water temp is usually around 30 degrees, the unusual weather dropped it to as low as 12 on some days.
We were expecting more dry & desolate Scenery throughout WA, what we got blew us away, it was green and lush for the majority of the time, the flowers were starting to bloom and there was a kaleidoscope of colours on the grass verges and fields full of yellow & purple flowers on occasion too.
After Coral Bay we decided to take two weeks off to work, we got ourselves a job in Carnarvon on a wine/tomato farm. The owners were absolutely brilliant, really good down to earth and kind people,we worked for them for 10 days non-stop from 07:30 till 17:30, pruning and pulling grape vines, tying tomato plants, picking and pruning tomatoes. They provided us with a kitchen and shower, toilet and electricity too, LUXURY!!!!
More sightseeing followed, we visited Shark Bay, a World Heritage peninsula, highlights of that were The Stromatolites, fragile microbes almost identical to organisms that existed 1900 million years ago, and of course Monkey Mia, famous for it's dolphins that visit the resort daily. We also spent a day at the Shark Bay
Speedway, plenty of high octane fun & dirt.....GREAT!
Kalbarri was the next stop, lovely canyons and a 27 kilometre dirt road with corrugations that nearly shook the poor van to death! We survived that and visited what was one of my highlights of the trip, The Pinnacles desert at Cervantes. The Pinnacles are made up of thousands of limestone pillars, some up to 5 metres high, they jut out of the desert floor and look totally eerie and beautiful at the same time, they were just spectacular!
We then headed to Perth and landed ourselves on the doorstep of Peter & Marie Wilson, good friends of my parents from way back in Jwaneng, Botswana. We couldn't believe the hospitality shown to us, we'd never even met yet we were immediately given a room and a place to stay and made to feel like we were one of the family for the remainder of our time in Oz, we can't thank them enough for everything. Within two days of advertising the Vamper Can, it was sold, we got the price we wanted but were really sad to see our home gone, BOO HOO!!
There are more photos below