Trip Start Aug 15, 2008
Trip End Aug 14, 2009

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, June 22, 2009

22nd June – Albany
We blasted down the Highway to Albany on the southernmost tip of Western Australia, stopping only for a curry pie at Kojonup. I say blasted down, the max speed limit in most of Australia is 100kph (60 mph), occasionally they let you do 120kph (72mph). However, in Northern Territory they let you go as fast as you like as there is no one else on the road to hit.

We went to stay for a couple of days with Hazel, an old friend of Barbara's who was Penny & Diane’s Guide Captain when they were little girls (what a memory!)

Western Australia’s colonial history began in Albany with the arrival of the Brig Amity full of soldiers & convicts from Sydney in 1826. A replica of the ship was built in 1976 to mark the 150th anniversary of this event; the ship is now a museum.

Albany was also the site of Australia’s last whaling station, the last whale being caught in 1978. The site is now called "Whale World" (yuk) & has an original Whale chaser boat & the factory where they sliced up the whales before cooking them to render them down for oil.
Australia is now one of the major opponents to the slaughtering of whales.
I saw an apt bumper sticker; it said “Save a Whale – shoot a Japanese”.

On the way back we saw the Wind Farm with its 12 huge wind turbines which can generate enough electricity to power Albany. The wind was blowing hard enough that day to power Sydney.

At Denmark we stopped for a pie at the award winning bakery; they had about 50 different types but still no “cuddly koala bear” pies.
Denmark Visitor Centre’s claim to fame is “The Bert Bolle Barometer” (excuse the alliteration) a 12m high water in glass barometer that Bert brought all the way from The Netherlands, it’s in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest barometer.

From Denmark we worked our way along the spectacular coastline seeing many of the natural wonders that Cathy had listed for us.
We saw the Gap, the Natural Bridge, Greens Pool, Elephant Rock & Conspicuous Cliffs. My pen ran out ticking all the boxes !

Just before Walpole is the Tree Top Walk in the Valley of the Giants. This is an elevated walkway, 40m up in the canopy of the giant Tingle trees.
As you walk along, the structure sways, you feel a bit like Tarzan swinging through the trees. When back on terra firma you follow a boardwalk which meanders round these giant 400 year old trees, most of which have been hollowed out by fire & look very precarious.

Margaret River
We headed towards Margaret River through the magnificent Southern Forest stopping off at an old logging town called Nannup which boasts a population of nearly 400. Deciding where to stay was easy, there was only one Hotel. We got chatting in the bar to one character who looked like Crocodile Dundee; he had dyed blond hair, an earring & was covered in tattoos – I’m glad I didn’t upset him - he was the chef.

The drive into Margaret River was along the pretty Caves Road which passes several accessible caves & dozens of boutique wineries.
  We visited the Mammoth Caves which lived up to their name.

The first vines weren’t planted here until 1967 & now there are over 80 vineyards in the area.
We stopped at the Leeuwin & Voyager Estates hoping for a light lunch, but they only served expensive set meals with bottles of their finest wines, whereas we wanted a ham sandwich with a glass of plonk.
We liked Margaret River with its trendy cafes & gourmet restaurants, which wasn’t as expensive as we had feared.

From Margaret River we worked our way up the jagged coastline to Yallingup where we were nearly blown away in a howling gale - it was quite exciting.
We carried on up to Bunbury where we stayed in an old hotel. The receptionist looked just like Edna Everidge & when she spoke just like her, I nearly had hysterics.

We were going to stay another night further up the coast, but when you have seen one gale, you’ve seen them all – so we scuttled back to Perth.
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holly08121 on

P smith
Sounds like fun as usual. Dame Edna bit made me giggle. Very hot here!

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