Published: February 20th 2011February 19th 2011
Arrived on the 15th
First settled in 1826, Western Australias first white settlement. We are staying on Middleton Beach which sits on the Southern Ocean – next stop south would be Antartica. The beach is a about 200 yards from our apartment, it is 3miles of pure white sand and looks out into King George Sound
Weather has been mixed over the past few days. Today Sunday 20th Feb (our last day) it is 24 C and cloudy with a brisk onshore breeze (cooling). We had rain yesterday morning and last night when we walked out for fish & chips (the fish was Albany whiskery shark) very nice and drunk with a local Reisling.
Our first day, (16th) after getting in supplies (Woolworths) we headed out for a tour east of Albany. Emu Point lies at the far end of Middleton Beach and juts out between the Sound and Oyster Harbour. Out of Albany, further east lies Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, a precious eco-system with an unusual number of bird species (I did’t know any of them). The beach, had crystal clear waters and BBQ areas for picnics. True to its word, it was Two
peoples beach (when the other couple left)!!
One of the things we have noticed is how few people there are about. On the way to and from the nature reserve we saw 5 cars and that was over 90 miles.
Back onto Middleton Beach, afternoon tea before going onto the ‘Boardwalk’ walk, a 5k cycle/walk into Albany and Princess Royal Harbour. We walked halfway before heading back to the Beach for a beer.
Day two (17th), and we headed west out of Albany to Nornalup National Park, it was overcast but warm. We drove into the park and were heading for the Valley of the Giants a drive of about 4 miles through the forest to the ‘Tree Top Walk’.
The Red Tingle tree can reach a height of 70 metres and can have a girth at its roots of 20 metres. The tree top walk is a series of 60 metre long steel trusses on pylons, they weave through the forest at different levels and reach a height of 40 metres above ground, and as Lin said “IT MOVES”. It did and it swayed.
Once back on the ground there was a walk through
another section where you could walk among these ‘Ancient Giants’. I hope the pics speak for themselves.
Lunch was in a pretty deli in a town called Denmark a major wine producing area.
Day three (18th), raining quite heavily when we first got up, so decided to head out to Whale World. Whale World sits in the Tondirrup National Park south of Albany and Princess Royal Harbour along a narrow peninsula. It was the site of the last Australian whaling station that closed in 1978.
It sits on Cheynes Beach. All the machinery is still there, not in working order but it does convey some of the gruesome sites that went on during the whaling era.
Again the number of people around was small, it did increase as it got towards lunch time.
The day warmed up as we headed back along the coast and called in on two natural areas in the park.
The Gap and Natural Bridge, the Gap is a sheer chasm which can be viewed from a platform (scary) looking into a mass of foam and surf 30m below. The Bridge is a large piece of granite eroded by seas to
form an arch. Hope pics do these justice!!
It was now getting hot and we were hungry, so time to head back for beer & food.
Later in the afternoon we took a scenic drive around the town and the war memorials.
Albany was the departure point for ANZAC troops in 1914, 30,000 troops embarked from here to Gallipoli with 40 transport ships in November of 1914.
Day 4 (19th), we have driven past numerous vineyards in the area, particularly out west of Albany. We had met a guy in the neighbouring apartment a couple of days before, he lived in Busselton (where we head for next). Chatting with him he had been to some vineyards around the area and mentioned one or two we would like.
We headed Northwest towards the Stirling ranges, passed Wignalls winery (too commercial) and headed for the Porongurup range and Mount Barker. We were looking for Dukes Vineyard wich nestles into the Porongurup range. Amazingly one side of the road is fertile slopes and the other is a bit like a desert. Into the winery, where we were greeted by Ian ‘Duke’ Hanson, no other people around. Gave us a history of
the vineyard whilst tasting our way 3 white and 4 red wines along with the palate cleansing crackers & cheese!! The wines were exceptional, especially the Shiraz, pity he doesn’t export. We did buy some but unfortunately for you guys we will have t drink it before heading home to Blighty. We spent nearly two hours in the ‘Dukes’ company, very enjoyable and informative – the only thing was we were his only two visitors that day (so far) but he did say that he was some 50,000 AUD down this year from the tourist trade.
There are more photos below