Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
Trip End Oct 31, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday January 31                            

JOURNEY: Perth to Busselton -250kms

WEATHER: Overcast, 25 degrees at 10.30

ACCOMMODATION: Kookaburra CP $24 pn with power!!!!

It was lovely to touch bases again with cousin Sally in Perth; we had returned when the warning of a cyclone crossing the coast at Bunbury was announced on Friday, and to buy some new Keen sandals for Sheila.

It was a really hot, humid weekend with heavy winds and some storm damage in some areas of Perth.

Monday morning dawned cool and drizzly, Sally returned to work after 5 weeks vacation and we set off south again. It seemed that we had driven the Bunbury Highway so many times and Sheila decided to set the Speedo at 100kph to get us to Bunbury in 2 hours.

It was pleasantly cool down here and after lunch we took the Bussell Highway through Capel and onto the Tuart Drive through the Tuart Forest National Park. This national park protects a forest of tall tuart trees – some over 30 metres high. The road through was very scenic and we found the rest stop that we had thought we might spend the night among these magnificent giants but it was deserted at 4pm and as our rule was not to camp when there were no others we decided to explore the area further and then head for Busselton about 20 kms on.

We made a quick stop at our first Margaret River winery – Capel Vale and took a couple of sips of two sample wines which were very nice but out of our price range these days. "Get Wines Direct" has been our preferred supplier for some time and we packed away another 4 cartons of red into the van while in Perth.

As with most of this area, timber cutting was a big industry and it kept going until mid 1974 and in 1987 the remaining forest was declared national park and it is so beautiful and impressive that you are happy for that.

Wonnerup House built in 1859 has been beautifully restored and we took the beach road to the newly developed Port Geographe Marina; wow some amazing holiday mansions around this area!!!

Kookaburra Caravan Park was a good choice, on Marine Drive and with clean and modern facilities- loved the camp kitchen and barbecues and not to forget that fees were incredibly cheap- $24pn with power on a senior's discount. We explored the town which had some lovely old buildings and a friendly atmosphere.

When we requested another night’s stay we had to move because our prime shady site was booked for a month by a regular who comes every year along with quite a few other oldies who were crowding the park to meet up again. We heard the story of a new park manager who had upset so many people that the local council had to recall the previous managers to patch things up until another replacement could be found. These regulars have been returning every year for 20 years plus and won’t be messed with- caravan park politics!!

After our second night we packed to go, and had a picnic breakfast at the beach by the famous Busselton Jetty, close to 2kms long and recently renovated; it was due to open again on the weekend with a big concert starring Kate Cebrano etc. Apparently the coral and sponges that have formed around the jetty are spectacular and there will be a newly opened observatory at the end of the jetty. We will make an effort to return here later.

There is a 15km walk/bike trail along the shore and we walked half of it each morning and it was a busy scenic exercise path by the yellow sand and blue sea.

Busselton has around 30,000 people and is named after an early settler family called Bussell but names around here are all about the French arriving here in the early 1800’s –Vasse -a French sailor lost at sea, Geographe- the bay and Naturaliste -the gorgeous northern cape. In 1802 Baudin landed in Geographe Bay.

After breakfast on Tuesday, returning to the van, a person was running toward us calling out- it was Margaret Mann, last seen as co-hosts at Cape Le Grande NP. We piled into her sister’s car and visited their unit not far away; they were packing for their return to Karijini National Park where husband Greg will take up a 2 year Ranger’s position on Monday next. They are so lovely and live here in Busselton when they are not somewhere else which is most of the time!

It was here on their TV that we watched the progress of cyclone Yasi and the terrifying warnings about the damage a category 5 causes.

As it was already early afternoon now,  we decided to return to Kookaburra CP to stay another night and keep up with the news. We were once again glued to the TV on the 24 hour ABC news just as we had been for the Brisbane floods. Queensland is certainly copping it!
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