Trip Start May 17, 2013
16Trip End Ongoing
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Today we left Kalbarri in the rain and headed off for Cervantes. The drive along the coast was wet and very windy. We followed the coastline for about 100km's, seeing rocky country sometimes covered with a mauve haze of wildflowers, interspersed with yellow, purple and bright red wildflowers.
We came to Port Gregory where the Pink Lakes are. The lakes are mined for the salt and its pink hue is created by bacteria (Dunaliella salina), which becomes trapped in the salt granules. The lake was only slightly pink and not clearly visible due to the weather.
Then we passed into countryside that looked like a rolling patchwork quilt of various shades of green and dotted occasionally with fields of yellow canola and white of continental parsley and oats. Sheep and cattle grazing contently in the pastures.
Then into Cervantes where we visited the Nambung National Park and walked amongst "The Pinnacles". The sun was breaking through the clouds as we arrived at the park and as we started our walk into the desert the heavens opened up and a torrent of rain fell and we were lashed by strong winds. It lasted about 3 minutes and wet us thoroughly.
Nambung National Park is where the desert meets the ocean, it was like being in an alien landscape to see these eerie sandstone like tombs in their thousands. The Pinnacles were formed over time from lime discharging from the sand and from the rain having a cement effect on the lower levels of the dune, producing a soft limestone. You are able to drive through them for km's or walk. Standing on a ridge in the desert amongst the pinnacles you can look back and see the ocean.
Next it was to continue onwards to Fremantle our stay for 5 nights.
We travelled via the freeway skirting around Perth. Here the road, rail and bus system is at its finest with the rail line in the middle of the freeway and every few km's a station that was so modern its hard to believe we are in Australia, the buses line up to take the passengers off the train
Fremantle is a beautiful city with more heritage buildings than any other city. The sandstone buildings are beautifully restored to their original condition and still function as shops, offices etc.
Saturday we hit the Fremantle Markets which were excellent, had a great doughnut in the food hall. As it was raining, windy and freezing cold we headed back to the vans for warmth.
Sunday we toured the Fremantle Prison which was constructed in the 1850's and decommissioned in 1991. During World War I and World War II, the Australian Army took over part of the prison and used it as a military prison from September 1939 until June 1946. Skilled prisoners from England were sent out to help build the settlement. The prison housed many prisoners in its time and the last person to be hanged at Fremantle Prison was Eric Cooke a serial killer in 1964.
Monday it was off to the Fremantle wharf area to see the tall ships that had sailed into the harbour on Sunday. The three Dutch tall ships which are on their way around the world will pass the three notorious Dutch-named-capes: Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn. Then onto the Maritime Museum where the yacht, Australia II which won the America's Cup in 1983, sits proudly for all to admire.
Tuesday we took the train from Fremantle to Perth. walking the cobbled street of London Court, admiring the old courthouse buildings and gardens and the famous Bell tower, where the bells ring on every hour and sometimes continually when the demonstrations are on
Wednesday we headed out in the ferry to Rottnest Island, first off doing a loop around the island on a hop on hop off bus. Then a tour of museums, historical buildings, dodging the famous Quokka's and taking in the beautiful scenery, when the sun peeped out from behind the grey clouds. The Island was primarily a prison and many aboriginal prisoners were kept here in the most horrific conditions.
The Aboriginal prison was closed in 1904 although prisoners were used to build roads and other works on the Island until 1931.
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