Elephants 'Rock' in Denmark

Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
Trip End Apr 22, 2011

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Where I stayed
Big 4 Ocean Beach Holiday Park
Big 4 Albany Garden’s Holiday Park

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Tuesday 8th March 2011

We are comfortable on our nice clean spacious campsite in Denmark and are having a lazy morning before heading off to do some exploring.   We visited the information centre before arriving here yesterday and picked up a few brochures to get us started.  A couple of things we had come to see in Denmark, one was the largest barometer in the world and another was an area on the coast called Elephant Rock.  The barometer was a disappointment, Linda and Bob had already told us, having already passed this way, that the barometer was to be dismantled, but I did hope it hadn't happen yet.  The Barometer was housed at Denmark’s Information centre and was still being advertised in their literature, but when we got there, it was just a big empty space and some boltholes where it had once stood.  It had been dismantled because was that it was no longer safe.

We finally pushed ourselves out of bed and in the shower, before heading off for the day.  We left the satnav in the safe and I directed us by map.  I found a short cut to the main road, which started off as a nice drive through country lanes, then the tarmac ran out and turned it turned into an unmade road.....Gary was cursing me.  The question was how long was this unmade part of the road, was it worth turning back and going the long way or braving it and carrying on while shaking the van to bits.  Then a truck pull up behind giving us no room to u-turn, so our decision was made for us. The van rattled and juddered as we trundled along, the truck driver was very patient as we were only doing about 20km/ph down the narrow road.  Finally light at the end of the tunnel we could see tarmac and the main road ahead.  Gary was not a happy bunny and neither was the van, I’ll keep the short cuts to myself in future.

We pulled into the Swiss Chocolate shop on the way out of town, mainly to see if they had any freebie’s but once inside we soon realised it was more of a coffee house that sold expensive chocolates, so we moved on to Elephant Rock.  When we arrived at Elephant Rock we parked the car and went to check it out,   it was quite a walk to the cove but it was worth it for the views.  I thought the Indian Ocean had some fantastic water but the Southern Ocean is magnificent, the colours were stunning.  We stood at the top of some rocks looking down into the sea, breathtaking.  It gets its name because the rock formation looks like a herd of elephants either looking out to sea or back at land...it was fascinating, but that wasn’t the best bit.  We walked down a wooden staircase and through a narrow passageway between two large rocks and emerged on to a white sandy cove that had the most amazing clear, calm waters.  It was so beautiful and the rocks surrounding it all looked like elephants including a little baby one right in the middle.  I do feel I am cheating with the photo’s I take, as Australia is the easiest place to take fabulous pictures.  We sat and watched the water and took a million photos before leaving this little taste of paradise.  We walked up the stairs and back to the van for a late lunch. 

We left Elephant Rock and drove back towards the campsite, the long way, stopping in town to have a wander round and do some grocery shopping.

Wednesday 9th March 2011

We have Kangaroo’s on the campground and they come out after dark and first light in the morning to help with the mowing of the lawns.  There are about ten of them but they are usually around when we first wake up about 6am but gone by the time we actually get up in the mornings.  This morning I took my camera to the toilet with me at 6am and then went in search of them.  Having probably spent their whole life eating the campsite’s grass they showed no fear of me and carried on eating while I snapped away.  Eventually I went back to the van when my battery ran out and I didn’t have my bag with me to change it.

Back in the van again, today we are going back to cheese factory that we visited on the way into Denmark, for a stock up of their delicious triple cream Camembert and some spicy sausage.  We took the long road into town and then the lovely scenic route past all the vineyards and dairy farms.  We arrived at the cheese factory and made our purchases.  We had a taste of some of the other cheeses while we were they and the owners persuaded us to sample some of the port they produced.  They really do force food and drink on you in these places.  The port was delicious but we didn’t buy any, just keeping with our original items.  Time for more tasting, the next port of call was a toffee and cider factory.   We drove in through the gates and into the carpark, as we parked the van there was a man in the next bay with a large ice-cream being watched attentively by two ducks.  There was also a strong smell of vinegar in the air and as we walked into the shop there was a viewing window showing one of their many pickles being made. There were lots of delicious looking samples here, they made their own toffee, pickles, jam, ice-cream, cider and olive oil.  Scattered all round the shop where sample trays of toffee, which we helped ourselves to and on the counter were three round trays with ten bowls on all filled with different jams and pickles for tasting. However, we were here for the cider tasting, the owner was very helpful and gave us a list of all their ciders and a small taster of each.  We left the shop with six bottles of cider and a jar of pickle.  This whole area, Margaret River up to Denmark is really worth a visit if you are ever in Western Australia, there is so much to do, see and taste, and we have had a fantastic time.

Thursday 10th March 2011

It is time to leave the comfort of the Big4 Denmark and hit the road again. We are only going 53km further south to the town of Albany.  Albany is a big port town so we can do a big grocery shop and stock up on some more DVD’s and other essentials. 

Distance                               53km
Accommodation                  $27
Weather                                Overcast 24 Degrees

The campsite was very busy when we arrived and for a moment I thought they were going to have a problem fitting us in but they found us a site and we parked up and unpacked the van.  Gary has done a lot of driving over last few days and fancied a bit of a break from it, so we got the tourist information out and planned what to do while we are here.  The girls on the reception had given us a map of the area and marked out a good route to drive round, so we had a plan of where to go and what to see.

Finally Free WIFI, this is the first free wifi we have had since leaving Cairns in November, you could have unlimited access but for three hours at a time.  I worry about my photo’s, I have over 20,000 photo’s and although I have an external hard drive, and some of the best ones are on the blog I do like to have a web based back up of all of them, just in case.  I use my MSN Live account for storage as it is free and unlimited, but it eats the money when I upload them with my external dongle, so I have been waiting for some free stuff so I can get up to date. . 

We had a bit of a blue with one of our fellow campers this evening, we had eaten dinner and just finished washing up, when a voice in the dark started shouting at us, asking if we were going to making that noise all night and was there really a need to slam our doors so loud all the time?  It was such a shock, I was only thinking the other day how nice and friendly people were on campsites, always saying good morning or nodding and smiling, to have someone verbally attack us was very unusual.  Gary asked her what she would like us to do enter the van through the roof, I also explained that was why they call our vans 'Whizz, Bangs’ because of the noise they make and there was no way round it.  She stomped off into the dark shouting out ‘Yes that is why we all Hate You!’

We spent the rest of the evening being very quiet......yer right!!!!

Friday 11th March 2011

We had already booked in for two nights in the Albany Garden’s Holiday Park, but didn’t want to feel uncomfortable on our present site because of some old busy body.  Therefore, after 10am I went over to the reception to ask to change sites, explaining the problem we’d had with one of our neighbours.  As it had been dark neither of us knew what the woman looked like or which caravan she had come from so I asked to be moved to the other side of the campsite, which was fine.  I also booked in for another day as it was raining and overcast today not an ideal day to go sightseeing, but perfect to go shopping.

The sales are on in the shops and we got ourselves some good bargains, more stuff for the van, more stuff we really didn’t need, we did get some DVD’s too!  Having done our shop we then went in search of Dog Rock, the story goes that some early settlers came home to find a group of curious aborigines talking to their young daughter and her dog, the first white child they had seen.  The mother got very agitated by this and started shouting at them to leave, the family dog picked up on the hostile atmosphere and started barking and growling at the men, who then fled.  As they ran out one of them turned and threw a spear, killing the dog, the family buried the dog in the garden and retired for the night.  Overnight, a big storm washing the dogs grave away and in its place, a large rock had risen through the soil, an everlasting monument to the dog’s devotion.

Back at the campsite we hammered the free wifi, trying to get as many photos on as we can before we leave.

Saturday 12th March 2011
The weather is still grey and cloudy but we are going out and have a drive round the scenic route the receptionist marked out for us on the map.  We drove over to Middleton Beach and watched the kids jumping off the floating platform out at sea, they must be mad the sea is freezing here.  We drove the coastal road, pasts some lovely views and then back into town and out towards Frenchman’s Bay.  From the town centre, you can see eleven wind turbines standing proud on the hillside, on the way to Frenchman’s Bay you can get up close and personal with this wind farm, so this was our first stop.  The skies were grey which isn’t the best way to catch these magnificent structures, but the lookouts gave us excellent views of not only the wind farm but also the stunning coast line.

We had some lunch in the carpark and moved on to The Blowholes, although we weren’t expecting too much as the receptionist had already said it wasn’t a big one.  We hadn’t expected the long, steep walk down to the blowhole...the problem with walking down a hill is that you eventually have to come up....still the scenery was spectacular when we got to the bottom and although the blowhole wasn’t very big it was certainly very loud, it made me jump every time it spurted out.  At the base of the cliff, the sea was having a washing machine effect with the rocks, causing masses of pure white foam to coat and swirl round them, sucking and sloshing as it is pulled back out to the ocean. It was mesmerising to watch.

We had a steep climb back up the hill to the carpark and then on to Frenchman’s Bay.  We had to drive down a sheer drop to get to this gorgeous little bay, the down bit wasn’t a problem it was whether the van was going to make it back up again, still there were a number of 4WD’s around who should be able to drag us up should we need it.  There were a few families picnicking round the bay and you could understand why, it was so pretty, lovely white sand and crystal clear water, I know I have used this description many times but it really is the only way, so many of the Australian Beaches are unbelievably picturesque.  We walked up the beach a short way watching a family with a speedboat pulling the kids on rubber rings behind it, which looked like lots of fun.

The van wined and moaned but got back up the hill without too much of a problem, we left Frenchman Bay and headed home via the shopping mall.  I needed to buy a couple of things I had forgotten in the previous shop and I also wanted to buy some thongs (flipflops) as mine looked like they were going to break any minute.   We pulled up in the carpark and I got as far as the end of the van when ping one of my thongs gave out, it was as if they knew.  I changed shoes and bought myself an expensive pair in the sales costing me a whole $2, they won’t last long but they will do until I find a pair I like. I have to say my dead pair had done really well, I bought them a year ago in Laos for 5 and I wore them every day.

Sunday 13th March 2011

Gary found out, on one of his many trips to reception for more WIFI access, that there is a market every Sunday at the Boatsheds, so this was to be our first stop of the day.  When we arrived, we found it was a produce market selling fresh fish, vegetables and oysters. We had a good look round but didn’t buy anything.  The Boatshed backed on to the newly built marina and people were sitting outside enjoying the sun and drinking coffee. 

It was still cloudy but in most part the sky was blue so we jumped back in to the van and drove back to the Wind Farm to see if we could get some better pictures.  We spent a little while walking round the farm again and doing some silly shots on the stairs to the one of the turbines, before walking up to the lookouts to take a few photos.   At the bottom of the Wind farm near the cliff edge is a walking trail called the Bibbulmun track, it starts just outside Perth in Kalamunda and finishes in Albany.  It is a distance of 965km (599miles), through brush land and national parks and to hike the whole trail would take an average of six to eight weeks.  There are forty-eight campsites on route and you can stop and start at any point on the track.  There are even organised tours that drop you off at one point and then meet you further up the track to take you back to your car.  We have followed the track a few times on our journey to Albany, we even stayed one of the campsites in Northcliffe.  The track crosses over the main highway a few times around Walpole and we recognised the name.

 We finished our day with a walk round the town, it was nice and quiet as it was Sunday, we took some photos of the original buildings and the high street and then headed back to the campsite to do some chores.

Monday 14th March 2011

We had planned to leave today but I am so close to getting all my photos backed up that we have stayed for one more day.  We don’t have a lot to do today, we have a long drive tomorrow so Gary didn’t fancy going out and about and the only chore we had was to change some books in the local second hand book shop.  Therefore, we chilled all morning, had some lunch and then headed out to the bookshop.   We had a lovely chat with the owner of the book exchange and came away with three new books for our library. Gary is becoming very boring, I can’t get him out of his books lately....it was Christmas last time we played backgammon....what have I created?????

The weather is getting cooler, when the sun is out it is warm but only about 24degrees, the nights are cooler dropping to a 16 degrees.  The fan has been put away and the heater is out, although we haven’t yet felt the need to turn it on, it’s just there in case we do.  Jean’s and fleeces are out ...shorts and vests are packed.....and it’s going to get colder the further South we go.

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