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Published: March 29th 2014
Driving through the forest
Pemberton a small town surrounded by national parks and huge forests which are home to the giant Karri trees The town still has a large timber mill which dominates the main road into the town and is a major employer for the town.Craft shops and gallery's adorn the main street with more than enough cafe's to tempt passers by.
The Gloucester National park offers many opportunities for outdoor pursuit's including mountain biking on a purpose built track,fishing in the clear mountain streams and of course bush walking.For the less energetic there are numerous scenic drives around the district taking in not only forest trails but also winery's and other small hamlets.Also available is a leisurely ride on a replica 1907 tram which wanders it's way through the forests on a 1-1/2 hour tour.
Western Australia's most famous Karri tree The Gloucester Tree is to be found in the national park and stands 61 metres high.Visitors can climb to the look out cabin for a sensational view over the surrounding Karri forest.A not so famous tree the Dave Evans Bicentennial tree standing a dizzying 68 metres high is also within the park.Used as fire watch platforms both these tree are
open to visitors to climb at their own risk.We watched as young backpackers fearlessly climbed to the top.Driving through these magnificent forests and staring up at the very tall trees is indeed a sight to behold.
We stayed in Pemberton on a small caravan park for a few day days before moving on to Augusta a small town with a big history dating back to 1830 and is one of the oldest settlements in SA.The town sits at the mouth of the Blackwood River where the Indian and Southern oceans meet watched over by Cape Leeuwin lighthouse the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia.A relic of bygone days is the waterwheel that was once used to pump water to the lighthouse cottages,built from timber the wheel is now fully calcified giving the appearance of ancient stonework.
The region is home to over a hundred caves most of which are out of bounds to non specialist cavers but there are four within driving distance of Augusta open to the public with guided tours.We chose to tour the Jewel cave so named because one of the early visitors saw what she thought looked like a jewel box formed out of the
rock inside the cave.It is also WA's largest show cave and home to one of the worlds longest straw stalactites.A truly magnificent cave filled with vast caverns leading to a rich diversity of formations with massive stalagmites,flowstones and shawls hanging above you and while around you are can gaze at the incredible beauty of cave coral,pendulites and helicties all names new to us.The story of how a couple of cavers found these caves is incredible and I am sure can be found on the web together with the history of the fossils found within the cave.The tour took over an hour and was incredible,very informative with our guide eager to explain the history and beauty of this cave.By the way he comes from Liverpool UK.
Leaving Augusta we drove to Margaret River famous for it's the winery's surrounding this area.We chose to stay on a working farm about 8ks out of town in a quirky town called Cowaramup affectionately called Cow Town by the locals.The main street is adorned by full size fiberglass cows grazing among the shops.Margaret River town is very laid back but copes well with all the tourists and visitors providing a variety of accommodation and
Across a water way in winter impassable
eating out opportunities.St Patrick's day fell in the middle of our stay here so we felt obliged to celebrate the day at one of the local pubs with a meal and a few Guinness together with friends met along the way.Not being wine buffs we decided not to go on any of the many winery tours that can last for many hours.Instead we walked through a paddock from our camp site to a winery next door and sampled some of their beautiful wines,no driving.We did also visit another winery at night! to watch a film on a big screen in the open, under the stars eating pizza and drinking wine how decadent is that
A short drive took us to Hamelin Bay with it's magnificent beaches and home to giant Manta rays protected by law from being caught or interfered with.On the day we visited we were fortunate enough to see a local ranger feeding a ray in shallow water off the beach.On our drive's around the district we passed many of the winery's and their vineyards some of the names being familiar some we had never heard of.
Leaving Cowaramup we headed for Collie a small town
The Gloucester Tree with climbing rods
inland getting it's name from the Collie river running through it.Coal discovered here in 1883 and has been mined here ever since,timber also plays a major role in the economics of the town.Relics of the past are widely distributed around the town, a railway museum takes pride of place at the end of the main street.The area surrounding Collie is rich in farmland and natural beauty with an abundance of opportunity's to get out and about.We took a drive through the beautiful Wellington National Park on a one way circuit taking us through some magnificent scenery as we followed the Collie river,pausing at some amazing rapids and rock pools.A cafe at the beginning of the drive provided the opportunity to sample Marron pie and have a cuppa.We only stayed here a couple of nights before heading off to Pinjarra leaving our traveling friends to head for Bumbury.
Our base in Pinjarra was a working farm and horse breeding station were we did very little other than chill out and make new friends.Our mail was also directed to here and we waited in anticipation for the arrival which eventually took nine days to arrive.We did do some driving around visiting
Reaching for the top
other towns and a Saturday market at Mandurah a town on the coast boasting a very upmarket marina.We also found a historic village with it's own historic Irish pub the Jarrahdale tavern with memorabilia adorning the walls.Lane pool reserve park offers campers the opportunity to camp ii pristine forest surrounds and driving around this picturesque forest it is easy to understand why so many people return here every year.Our next destination is Bunbury to meet up with our traveling companions to join in the birthday celebrations of Cheryl.
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