Soon after departing Duke of Orleans Bay we turned onto the road for Cape Le Grand National Park, where we came across Esperance’s own version of Stonehenge, a full scale version of the ancient English archeological site as it may have looked millenia ago. Not long after we arrived at the park entrance and I was happy to finally use the national parks pass which I arranged prior to departing Adelaide.
I was keen to climb Frenchman's Peak, named by you guessed it the French in 1789. The climb started off easy enough but the humidity was high and I soon began to struggle a little. Eventually I made it to the top and was rewarded with superb views of the national park and nearby islands; the climb down was torturously slow at times but safety required caution.
Next we visited Hellfire Bay which had beautiful aquamarine waters and the most incredibly fine white sandy beach I have ever seen, the locale was like something out of a surfies fantasy. From here it was about sixty kilometers to the seriously lovely town of Esperance.
On parking the vehicle in the closest caravan park to the city centre we
Entering the park
Cape Le Grand National Park
popped into McDonalds’ where I won $200, before visiting the fantastic local museum which had a huge range of items including trains, ships, vintage cars and farm equipment , pieces of skylab and thousands of other historical items of interest all displayed beautifully. We then visited a local pub and supermarket before returning to our home on wheels to wash our clothes and relax after another long busy day. Fortune smiled upon us as the heavens opened up, thunder cracked, lighting flashed across the sky and rain cascaded down to chase the irritating bogans next door into their hut.
I awoke early Saturday morning, last nights storm had passed and it was time to get the new day underway. After showering and packing up the van we returned to McDonalds’ so I could use their free wifi to post my blogs before beginning the four hundred kilometre drive to Hyden’s Wave Rock one of natures wonders.
The drive was dull as we travelled through wheat country and there was little to see but environmental damage and huge road trains. Around 12.30pm we arrived at our destination which was impressive to say the least, we took the obligatory photographs
of us surfing the wave before frightening a few rock dragons, which sprinted away on their back legs. A quick visit to Hippo Yawn Cave followed by a nice lunch and we were soon on our way to the town of Narrogin population 4670.
Not much of a town and the caravan park is worse, but our real reason for coming here was to visit the really amazing Barna Mia (Animal House) at the Dryandra Woodland, twenty six kilometres north of Narrogin. This enclosed feral proof sanctuary was established to preserve small marsupials including the bilby, woylie, quenda, marla and boodie. For at least an hour we were mesmerised by the antics of these small mammals as they argued and fed on various treats under the red spotlight.
Sunday morning dawned fresh and fine, we were on the road by 7.30am, heading for the forest national park of Porongurup, unfortunately Ruth injured herself on the way there, so we weren’t sure how far we would get. The national park is Karri forest and Jarah woodland and was a pleasure to hike through, even though the first two kilometers were all up hill; we reached the first of the
The park from the summit
Cape Le Grand National Park
lookouts before Ruth decided she couldn’t go any further, so we returned to the car park for lunch. We made a quick stop at a winery in Mount Barker before continuing on to Albany.
On arrival in the coastal city we went to see the Natural Bridge, the Gap and the Blowholes which were all spectacular. We then visit Whale World which is an expensive and sick tribute to whaling which we did not enter, before driving into the town centre to visit the information office. Albany is a lovely small city with a rich endowment of heritage buildings one of which, the Earl of Spencer Hotel we visited for a quiet pint of ale before driving the van to a park on the beach. It was then time to visit a maritme themed local restaurant near the beach where I was charged $29 for two mid strength pints and a schooner which really hurt, as did the terrible burger.
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