Walpole to Cosy Corner via The Great Tingle Tree

Trip Start Oct 16, 2013
Trip End Dec 11, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, November 25, 2013

I woke up to the sound of rain on the tent. None seemed to have got in though. It was about 5.30, and the sun was up, but because of the shade in the campsite it was still quite cold. I put my long top on and went to the camp kitchen to make myself a warm drink or two. I planned on doing a little guitar practice too, but when I got there I could see a couple of kangaroos so watched them for a bit. There was a mother and and a tiny joey scampering about. It looked like they were doing some early morning grooming. It was fascinating to watch, and as they were quite tame from living around the campsite, they ventured up close to where I was, probably hoping to be fed! I probably spent a good ninety minutes watching them whist I drank a few coffees and had my breakfast, whilst letting a few of my things charge up. Fortunately the rain stop, and the tent and my bike started to dry out. By 8 I decided to pack my things out, and was ready to leave at 8.45

My first destination was "The Giant Tingle Tree", which was only about 3 miles away. The road was a rolled sandy track, and was rather steep - it passed through something called "Hilltop Lookout" (bit of a giveaway...), and involved 275m of ascent. After my chilly start I was certainly not cold anymore!

The Giant Tingle Tree, was in a Tingle Tree forest, which are prehistoric trees, dating back to before the era when Australia was joined to Antarctica, as a continent known as Gondwana (45 million years ago). Apparently a lot of granite rocks can be found in the local area that match ones found in the Antarctic too (I guess tingle trees don't like snow...). The Giant Tingle Tree was massive. It's middle had been burnt out by a natural wildfire, but the shell of remaining wood is so strong it can still support the rest of the tree, which is still alive. The space under it is so big that in the fifties the thing to do for a good photo was to drive your car in there! Hopefully my bike was less damage-causing! I was secretly pleased to see that the tree was this big - I'd read about it in the lonely planet guide, but had been called an idiot by an Australian I mentioned it to, as they thought I was confusing it with the giant sequoias in the USA! Nobody else was about, so after a few snaps I was off again. I had to take a steep, gravelly track to get down to the main road again, which was rather hair raising. It's really easy for the heavy back end of the bike to slip around if the back wheel loses purchase. There were also a lot of potholes, though last night's rain had filled them up so they were easy to see.

Soon enough, I was back on the proper road, heading East again. I saw signs to an attraction called the Tree Top walk and decided to have a look! even though it was another diversion. Again, leaving the main road meant a lot of climbing, though at least it was on a proper road this time. Soon enough I was there, but to my dismay discovered that it cost $15 to get in. I doubted it would top my experiences of Diamond Tree Lookout on the previous day, to of the Great Tingle Tree, of which they had a picture! So I was on my way again. I decided to continue my detour, going through the "Valley of the Giants", which had lots of trees, rocks, wildflowers and an olive farm. Something called "Tingledale Hall" had caught my eye on the map, I was imagining some sort of stately home or something, but it turned out to be a scout hut!

Soon enough, I was back on the main road and heading to Denmark. There was a multitude of vineyards, and restaurants advertising marron, a local type of crayfish. I stopped in at something called the "Toffee Factory" hoping it would be a museum, but it was just a shop selling locally made sweets and jams. I had an ice cream made with frsh fruit in front of me, which was very tasty. I then fell into a bit of a tourist trap, and bought a mere fifteen pieces of toffee for $11! I'm not sure why the free samples tasted so nice (perhaps the warmer ambient temperature, of the fact they'd been made with local ingredients like mango), but they were enough to convince me to part with my cash!

As continues, I passed a "meadery", an alpaca farm, a Swiss chocolate shop, more vineyards, bush food centre, a wood art gallery and a brewery. The weather was really nice - like a perfect summer's day in the UK, with bright sunshine, but not too scorching hot or humid as it has been on some of the more challenging bits of my journey. I'd really recommend this area for cycle touring!

When I got to Denmark (the town, not the country, of course...), I found a tourist information place that pointed me in the direction of the only place in town with internet. I headed over, got a great piece of chocolate cake (unfortunately they didn't have any marron to try), and started doing some research. My plan was to go to Albany, and camp somewhere near to the North of the town, so that I could get a good start the next day towards venturing into the Stirling R
Ranges to the North East of the town.

However, my research showed that the campsite I'd planned on using cost thirty dollars, and the Stirling Ranges were quite steep. I didn't want a repeat of my Mt Tamborine adventure, because I had to get to the town of Pemberton two days later. A bit more internet searching, and I found what I was looking for: free camping at a place with the inviting name of "Cosy Corner". It was on the coast about 10 or 15 miles west of Albany. It was a pretty easy decision to make: ride less far to a free campsite in a great location, or ride further to an expensive one on the outskirts of a town! After a few more emails, I was ready to go, and headed to a shop next door for some food. As I would only have another fifteen for twenty miles to ride to the campsite, I picked up a few heavier tins of food for my evening meal.

The rest of the ride continued in the same way as the earlier part of the day - lovely weather and interesting things to see. I even picked an orange from a tree at the side of the road! Towards the campsite, the traffic virtually disappeared, and it was well sign posted making things nice and easy.

The layout of the site was a rough track in a wooded area on the coast, around 60 m in diameter with a toilet block in the middle. To one side, there was a network of sandy tracks, and I opted to look around there for a site, as the area around the track was already full of caravans. I was really lucky - up a very sandy and steep track, I found a spot right at the crest of the hill. It afforded an amazing view over the beach and sea, and was out of the way of everyone else. The sea breeze even kept the flies off. Awesome!

I got the tent up and collected up my things to make my evening meal. I'd read that there was a BBQ at the site, and my plan was to use it to boil up some water in the billy can to make some pasta with cheese, tuna and green beans (I'd been carrying the tinned tuna for ages and wanted to get rid of it!). I asked some people in a caravan, who told me the BBQ was at the next beach - but they offered me the use of their stove instead, which they insisted was far better. I guess it would be nice to have company whilst waiting for the pasta to cook anyway! As I cooked my meal, we chatted about the cricket (England had just lost! hopefully they won't do that before the fourth day of the second test too...), and were also visited by a bandicoot, which I found very exciting, much to the amusement of my hosts! My meal turned out OK, I'd probably overlooked the pasta by chatting too much, and it was supposed to have milk but I didn't have any. There was a lot of it though, and the addition of the green beans I'd got at the shop in the afternoon helped a lot, so I'd give it a 7/10 over all!

I headed back to my tent in the near dark, just as the sun went behind the hill. I decided on the next bit of my route - Stirling ranges were out for tomorrow, but Mount Barker was in, as well as camping at a place called Lake Poorrarecup. I did a bit of guitar - only briefly interrupted by a 4x4 trying to drive up the hill I was on. It was a bit worrying as I thought they somehow might not see my tent in the dark and run me over inside it! It didn't get that far of course, i jumped out the tent only to see the jeep at at bottom of the hill, noisily revving away and going nowhere fast (my tent was off the main track too, so I'd have been fine anyway!).

Total distance covered: 70.2 miles
Time on bike: 5 hours 10 minutes
Height climbed: 1142 metres
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