A weekend down south

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January 13th 2007
Published: February 2nd 2007EDIT THIS ENTRY

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The Two Oceans MeetThe Two Oceans MeetThe Two Oceans Meet

The sign showing where the two oceans meet...would've looked cooler if the two oceans were different colours!
So between visiting wineries, breweries, swimming off beautiful beaches and digging up kangaroo skeletons in sand dunes, our long weekend down south in the Margaret River region was fantastic.

We decided to go south while everyone still had holidays. We also managed to pick the same weekend as the massive concert in Busselton, Southbound, which made getting accommodation in the area rather tricky, but we had a great time.

We left on Saturday, driving south on our way to Margaret River. We stopped off in Pinjarra for a late morning break and coffee, wandering around the little town and finding lots of outdoor art. We then continued on, until we saw a sign for an art exhibition in Vasse. We found some absolutely beautiful art by local artists, all on display in what looked to be one of the most creative elementary schools I've ever seen. We then continued on further south, until we met up with a few people at Bootleg Brewery, where we enjoyed some gourmet snacking and watched as Andrew tried several of the locally brewed beers. It was then onto the Cape Lavender winery, which had a lavender garden with more types of the fragrant plant than I had
Welcome at Vasse schoolWelcome at Vasse schoolWelcome at Vasse school

It's hard to see, but the sign actually says Welcome
ever seen before. They also made wine, beer and all sorts of jams and sweets infused with lavender. Afterwards, a round of SupaGolf was in order, which lasted quite a while as most of us are terrible golf players. We then parted ways for the evening and Sarah and I headed towards the town of Margaret River, where we would be spending the night. We stayed with one of Sarah's former rowing coaches, Verna, in her secluded house next to the river in a beautiful little valley.

The next morning we met up with Lisa & Andrew to explore the Boranup Forest Maze, a little maze grown by a family in the Boranup Forest. We had fun doing the maze several times before moving onto Jewel Cave. The cave was absolutely beautiful, however, our experience wasruined by the fact that they had let 37 people on the tour. That is way too many people for any tour group, let alone a tour of a cave! We were constantly stuck at the back of the group and scolded by the tour guide for lagging behind (try leading 37 people through narrow passageways single file...and expect everyone to come out the
Inside Jewel CaveInside Jewel CaveInside Jewel Cave

Fasinating structures inside the cave, despite too many people on the tour!
other side at the same time?!) It was really quite a shame to have paid so much and to have had such a bad experience. I would still recommend the cave, but only if the tour groups are smaller. The tour after us had only 15 people...lucky them!

We then made our way further south to Augusta, and had a delicious lunch at the Gourmet Deckchair (awesome name for a place, don't you think?). Then we drove through the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, with spectacular views. We visited the lighthouse, where the Southern and Indian Oceans supposedly met. Other than the presence of a sign, it looked like any other spectacular ocean view. The waves were too rough to go in, otherwise I would have tried to stick one foot in each ocean! I have to wonder, though, if the two oceans actually meet there, or if it's just an arbitrary point as that's the closest land to where they actually converge. Then it was more driving and more views, and we tried to follow a path to the "springs", which seemed to lead nowhere other than a sign telling us that Tom Turner had a cottage there in 1838-40. Why he picked
Sunset at Skippy RocksSunset at Skippy RocksSunset at Skippy Rocks

We were hoping for a more dramatic sunset!
that spot for a cottage, and why it was only there two years were puzzling, and I have yet to figure out who this particular Tom Turner was. We also passed a spot with an overabundance of bright green swampy plants, which lead us to believe that the "springs" used to be there and was now overgrown with vegetation. An interesting bushwalk in flip flops (or thongs as they're called here), but the sign advertising the springs needs to be changed!
Then it was back into Augusta, where we ate a bit by the jetty on the mouth of the Blackwood River. There were quite a few fishermen and pelicans hanging out there. Our final destination of the evening was a lookout on the a hill, where we had a 360° view of the area. Lisa and Andrew then were off, and Sarah and I checked into our room at the YHA. I quite liked this hostel...it was super clean and the dorm room wasn't full of bunk beds but regular beds, giving it a cozier feel. After watching the crabs and the sun set on the rocks at Skippy Rock, we had tea with some family friends at a
Hamlin BayHamlin BayHamlin Bay

One of the prettiest beaches I've seen thus far!
local campground before returning to the hostel for the night.

The next morning, it was off to Hamlin Bay, which was absolutely stunning. Quite possibly one of my favourite beaches thus far. We then drove the scenic Boranup Forrest Drive, through the karri forests, and had another random bushwalk that didn't lead to a lookout (but rather somehow looped around the hill and ended back up at the carpark!) We then continued onto Dunsborough, where we had lunch at Mandy's Art Café. Mandy Evans is a local artist who paints fun sceneries and views of the local beaches and scenes...and she runs this café as a way to show her art (she also shows art at the Bootleg Brewery!). I asked her if she had any art cards; she dragged out a bag of her old art cards and I picked out a few after having a wonderful lunch. Afterwards, we wandered around Dunsborough, in and out of various art and photography galleries, such as Epic Swells and Christian Fletcher's art gallery. Finally we met up with the rest of our crew, and went to the YHA in Dunsborough, which turned out to be right on the beach. We tried swimming at the beautiful
The skeletonThe skeletonThe skeleton

The kangaroo skeleton that we dug up.
beach, but there were stingers, and we got out of the water when Sarah got stung. After cooking dinner, we brought grapes, cheese, chocolate and wine to stargaze on the beach. What a beautiful, clear night. I hadn't seen stars like that since the camp-out at Vankleek Hill, Ont. Actually, I had never quite seen stars like that since I'm not in the northern hemisphere...anyways, it was spectacular. We were eventually joined by some guys, Tom from the Blue Mountains and Christian from Germany...I couldn't figure out if Christian's English was really that bad or if he was doing it on purpose for laughs, as he was quite the comic.

Tuesday we started off with some yoga on the beach, but then the rain caught up with us. So we drove from spot to spot, checking out Castle Rock, Meelup, and driving past Eagle Bay on our way to the Rivendale winery for a fancy lunch. After lunch the weather held off long enough for us to climb the sand dunes at Injidup, where Alex began the excavation of a skeleton. As we dug it up, the vertebrae bones got larger and larger, and then we found the pelvis.
Bushfire effects by the seaBushfire effects by the seaBushfire effects by the sea

We passed through an area ravaged by bushfires...but it made for cool photos!
After a bit of girly screams from us (mostly out of surprise at finding such large bones), we also found a femur, the tibia & fibia, and all the bones of a foot. The size and shapes of these bones led us to believe they were kangaroo bones...I can't think of any other Aussie animal that would have a tibia & fibula that large!! That was all we found, however...the rest of the kangaroo was never found..and we dug quite a large hole in an attempt to find the rest. Why we only found one leg, foot, the pelvis and part of the spine, and nothing else, remains a mystery.
We finished off the day by visiting Canal Rocks before heading back to the hostel for a dinner of fish and chips on the beach, followed by drinks and candy (or lollies) at the Shed (a shed near the hostel used for late night drinking!).

Wednesday we headed back north to Perth. But first we had to stop at the Dunsborough bakery for breakfast. We also stopped off at Bunkers Bay, Sugarloaf Rock, the Happs Winery (where I purchased some pottery), got ice cream at Simmo's, and finally, visited
The Busselton JettyThe Busselton JettyThe Busselton Jetty

The jetty claims to be one of the longest in the southern hemisphere, at 2km long!
Busselton to see one of the longest jettys in the southern hemisphere (2km long...and we decided not to walk it as we couldn't be bothered walking another 4km). We were exhausted when we finally got back to Perth, but it was completely worth it!

What an awesome weekend!


4th February 2007

Fibula! FibULA! Oh well, at least you didn't say "femurs" or call a vertebra a "vertebrae". Nice find, though! Another pedantic reminder: when you're digging up bones, you should leave them in situ until you have them all (i.e. dig around them). That way, it's easier to account for the skeleton and figure out what happened to the rest of it. Very cool pics! Looking forward to more. Keep having fun and talk to you soon! Cheers, Martin
24th May 2007

I myself used to work in Mandy Evans art cafe and also stayed in the YHA in Dunsborough. What a great place to stay and hang out
7th November 2008

i did the cave tours recently (lake, jewel and mammoth) and luckily we only had about 10 people max on our tours. it was god becuase i asked lots of questions! i'm glad you loved our south west, its amazing down there :)

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