Esperance to Perth

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September 29th 2015
Published: October 1st 2015
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Thursday 24th September

We leave Esperance and after an hour or so pull into a rest area for a coffee. We get talking to another couple going in the opposite direction and they suggest we visit Hopetoun on the coast.

It sounds good to us and we've plenty of time so we re route down to the coast.

It only takes about another hour and we arrive. Hopetoun's a small resort with a nice little beach and a few shops. We register at a camp site and then go off into nearby Fitzgerald River NP. They've done a lot of work in the park making it more accessible.

We take the main road in a soon stop at Barrens Lookout for great views over the coast line. It's rugged with sandy beaches. There are wild flowers everywhere.

Our next stop is Four Mile Beach, another great beach and then onto East Mileys Beach and Cave Point. They're all wonderful sandy beaches and completely empty.

Our final stop is at the end of the road at Hamersley Inlet where the Hamersley River flows into the Southern Ocean.

It's a spectacular park with great ocean and land scenery. The only problem has been the flies. We can't stop them getting into our eyes, mouths and ears and up our noses! Wish we'd bought those net hats now!

On the way back to site we stop off in town for an ice lolly and sit in the beach side park and eat them. It's been a lovely sunny warm day, and no wind!

Friday 25th September

We drive for about three hours and then turn off for Wave Rock. We can't book into the camp site as the area is holding the largest music festival in WA in the camp. It's a bit like a mini Glastonbury

with a crowd of 800 expected. Apparently there will be major groups from Perth and overseas playing. It lasts all weekend and there are already some tents pitched and people arriving all the time. We enquire about day tickets but they don't sell them.

So we go off for a walk along Wave Rock, a wonderful granite formation just like a wave. We then climb the side and walk across the top. We get some great views out for miles across the crop fields. As we walk back I nearly step on a 5 foot brown snake as it slithers across in front of us!

After lunch we go for another walk along the Hippos yawn walk. It's around the base of the granite hills and there are boards explaining the impact the rock has on water feeding the plants.There's lots of wild flowers.

Back at the campsite we call into the shop and visit the Miniature Soldier Military Display. Here we learn about a chap who for 80 years made tin soldiers and collected small plastic soldiers of various armies and put them on display. There's over 10,000 of them and it led to his divorce. I don't know whether to be impressed by his collecting or feel sad for him.

We leave the rock area and stop in nearby Hyden, a small township. In order to attract tourism they have installed a number of scrap sculptures. Many of them are really good.

Finally just along the road we pull into our campsite for the night in Karlgarin, another very small township. The campsite is part of the owner's farm.

Saturday 26th September

First thing we drive back to Wave Rock and visit Mulka's Cave. A cave used by Aboriginals for rock painting and there are 412 coloured hand prints within it. We can only see a few due to either poor light or that they have eroded away.

We next take a walk up The Humps. A number of granite rocks near to the cave. From the top we get great views over the wheat fields which stretch for as far as we can see.

It's time to set off for the township of Kulin along the Tin Horse highway. The township wanted to attract tourists so the community got together to create a number of scrap horse sculptures and placed them along the road. It's a long drive and we see nothing for well over an hour and then just outside the town the horses start to appear.

Many of them are well made and very cleverly named. We reach the township and it's got some nice new public facilities but there's nothing else to the place. We see a number of horse sculptures on the road out.

Our drive now is soundly through the wheat belt and that's all we can see for miles in every direction.

We reach the township of Corrigin and the place is empty. Not a soul to be seen on the streets.

At the petrol station we see a chap with his brand new tractor standing by the pumps. He doesn't want any fuel he just wants to show it off to anyone passing by!

On the way out of town we stop at the only tourist attraction. A dog cemetery. It's really scraping the barrel here! There's lots of headstones with name plates and even one where the owner was buried with his dog.

We drive on for another hour and don't see another car in either direction. Finally we reach Quairading, our stop for the night. We pull round to the campsite only to find it's closed and being redeveloped ! There's not another site for miles.

Reluctantly we drive on for another 45 mins and find a site in York. Another long day's driving.

I go off for a shower and after rinsing off all of the soap I realise I've forgotten my towel! I ask the chap in the adjacent cubicle if he could go to my van and get one from Christine. He agrees but only after having his shower and washing his son. By the time he gets back I'm air dry.

Sunday 27th September

After yesterday's long drive, I get a day off. We go into York town and first of all visit tourist information and get a few details of where we can walk.

Our first call is to the hall round the corner where there's a craft fair. It's okay but selling jam and second shoes and other things we're not interested in.So we pop over the road to the Sock Factory and see some locally made socks. They're not any different than we can get at home. We do see a large man trying on a pair of Ugg slippers and makes him look like Bilbo Baggins! He still goes ahead and buys them and for once I manage to say nothing!

We walk along the high street and next visit the Courthouse and Jail. A well preserved set of buildings including the first police station and troopers cottage.

On we go along the road to the Sandlewood Yards to see a large Colonial timber yard and a potter in action. Except when we get there, there's no one about and it's closed. A common feature in Australia.

Back down the other side of the street we stop for a coffee before we go back to the van.

We take a short drive out to the Residency Museum. It was a Convict Hiring Depot and is now a museum with exhibits of all local life and people. It's excellent. We spend an hour wandering through it.

Then it's a short drive out of town to the Mount Brown Lookout. We get some great views out over the countryside but before we can get many photos we're invaded by a large group of Chinese tourist who are everywhere posing for photos and ruining ours! We give up and drive on.

Back in town we park up close to the river Avon and go on the river trail walk. After 20 mins the trail is well away from the river and just a gravel track in the woods. We give up and return to the van and then sit in the park and read for the rest of the afternoon. It's nice and sunny and warm.

After returning to our campsite I go off for a shower and remember to take a towel!

Monday 28th

We leave site for a two hour drive to Fremantle. When we arrive the place is packed as they have a Bank Holiday to celebrate the Queen's birthday. The only thing is that her birthday is in June. The rest of Australia celebrate in June but WA have decided that it will do so in September or October! Another oddity about WA.

We spend the rest of the day wandering through the streets and Christine gets to go shopping at last.

She buys an Aboriginal painting.

There's a rear engine car rally in the market square and we see some unusual cars parked. I get to talking with a chap about my Isetta 300 that I used to have and he says it would now be worth a fortune.

By late afternoon we've finished looking round and drive off to our campsite down the coast at Woodman Point. After parking up we walk down to the beach and watch as many people fish off the jetty, without any luck.

We're parked here now for our last two nights. Our time has nearly all gone!

Tuesday 29th September

Our last full day and we take a short drive down the coast to Rockingham. At first it doesn't look too promising as we pass industrial buildings and the navel base but eventually we arrive at the seaside.

After a quick check at Tourist Information we find our way out to Mersey Point and book the five minute ferry over to Penguin Island, part of Shoalwater Islands Marine Park.

We catch the 11 am ferry and on arrival we walk around the island on the board walk. It takes about half an hour. We see thousands of seagulls nesting and the males are very aggressive towards people as they protect their nests.

From the two viewing stations we get great views out over the Marine Park. The water is crystal clear.

At 12.30 we go into the Discovery Centre to watch a Ranger feed seven rescued Fairy Penguins, the smallest type in the world. We last saw then on Philip Island when we were last here. This time we can get up close to the tank the penquins are in. We watch for half an hour as they zoom about catching fish thrown to them.

It's then back on the ferry and we drive off to find a spot for our picnic lunch overlooking the sea.

We stop off on the way back at Cape Peron and climb up to the lookout. From here we can see Mangles Bay where there is sail racing going on and in the other direction Dog Beach. It's a nice coastline if you can ignore the container docks, grain silos and navel base !

Our final stop is in Rockingham itself. A nice seaside resort with a good beach. Some brave souls are actually swimming ! We walk along the front and back again before driving back to site.

In the evening we drive into Fremantle and have a celebratory meal at an Italian restaurant before driving back in the dark. The first and only time I've driven in the dark without fear of hitting a kangaroo. It's still not a late night as we're back by 8.30.

Wednesday 30th September

Up quite early as we have to pack and take the camper van back before flying off. I sit outside as my “help” isn't required for packing. Then we take a short drive into Woodman Point Reserve and walk out along the pier for a last look at the ocean and sandy beaches.

Then it's an hours drive to the camper van base where we drop it off and get a taxi to the airport.

Only two flights to go totaling 20 hours left. Goodbye Australia !


1st October 2015

Rude comments
Can't believe I went all the way through your blogs without making one rude comment. Must be losing my touch. Gutted about the Isetta. I had one as well. Once went to Royal Holloway college up Egham Hill with 6 on board. Perhaps that's why the clutch wore out. Dad repaired it with a homemade fibreglass pin as he couldn't wait to get a proper spare. Lasted about 10 minutes, then needed adjusting. I gave up and sold it. Very interested in the navel base. What was the rest of her like? As you will be home in a day or so I'll look forward to the face to face abuse Roger

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