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Published: June 23rd 2017
Geo: -33.6459, 115.032
As they say in Australia, there are "heaps" of places that have been given names that are just so odd that they almost invite you to visit simply so you can say you were there. A small sampling might include Boing Boing, Burrumbuttock, Come By Chance, Eggs and Bacon Bay, Goonoo Goonoo, Humpybong, Koolyanobbing, Pimpinbudgie, Woolloomooloo, Yorkeys Knob, and the one Aussie destination we wanted to get to but never did, the Bungle Bungles. After a couple of long driving days we found ourselves just a short distance from a place called Donnybrook and, having witnessed more than one Canadian donnybrook, it was worth the drive to this town just so we could say we were right in the middle of the Australian donnybrook.
Our first stop was the tourist info office in Donnybrook where we asked a slightly perplexed lady as to how the town came to be named after an all-out brawl. Her answer, as if everyone should have been able to do the math, was that the original settlers of the community "were Irish of course". Apparently a fisticuff ceasefire has been in place for quite some time and the town is now known as the
home of the much less intimidating Granny Smith Apple with bakeries and fruit stands outnumbering bars. Apple strudel sits high on DHs list of food items to be worshipped so we made tracks for the nearest bakery where we ordered up some apple treats and more of those high priced Oz coffees (note to Annie P- we still haven't found those $4 coffees you mentioned- maybe we need to order thimble sized??). DH found it a little hard to eat with her 'dukes' up in case some of the town history came to life.
Our next campervan site found us on the shores of Yallingup, reputed to be the second best surfing site in all of Australia. We did have fun placing small bets on which huge wave would bounce which hard-working surfer off of which coral reef (we met a Brazilian surfer who refused to go out because, in his words, the best waves coincided with shark feeding times and WA has had a recent spat of attacks), but the highlight was watching the off-shore show that a group of Humpback Whales was putting on. The light situation was poor and they were some distance out so my photos
weren't wonderful (even with my one day of surfing in NZ, DH refused to allow me to take a board out to get a closer look), but whales sit high on DH's list of marine critters to be worshipped, so we spent a number of hours watching the show.
At the other end of the scale, on DH's list of geography that must NEVER be worshipped, caves and cave systems are high on the list (especially small ones), but given that I had the car keys and the passports, she followed me into the Mammoth and Lake caves. Much to DH's delight, and in the finest tradition of a country that has banned four year olds from pumping gas, the Aussie caves have to be the safest, most accessible systems we have ever seen...as well as being some of the most spectacular. I'm sure that Amanda M will once again see phallic symbols, but both caves were gardens of stalagmites and stalactites, with pillars and fossil remains thrown in. Very special places indeed.
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