Esperance to Albany

Trip Start Jan 22, 2011
Trip End Feb 24, 2011

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Where I stayed
Discovery Inn, Albany

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Jan 30th

This was our last cooked breakfast from Heather, and I scoffed everything and even managed extra sausages and bacon. Suk went for cereal as she really can't handle fry ups everyday not like me. Anyway, gaining a few pounds on holiday is acceptable, right?

The weather again was overcast and we got chatting once again to the older British couple staying in our b&b. They had just heard news of a cyclone heading towards our next destination- Albany. They were driving to Albany today also. So I frantically searched on the net and Heather called her friends is Albany to check the weather situation. Thankfully it seems to have past Albany and is heading out to sea as it dies off. Phew! So we all decided to continue as planned and start for Albany after breakie.

At this time the sun came out and the surrounding scenery began to shine and glisten in the sunlight. Lovely! The views are just to die for from this B&B! Haven't I said that a million times already? As we packed I got some more photos of the house before saying goodbye to Heather and her husband, and setting off. We really didn’t want to go. We will be back!

It's about 475 km to Albany, but I planned to take the route via the Stirling mountain ranges. People have said the views were well worth the extra km. So off we went driving through town saying farewell to the wonderful beaches. Our first stop was to be at Ravensthorpe about 180km away and as usual we were the only car on the road for miles and miles. We passed endless farms which gave way to bush and scrublands all offering such vast views. We spotted more kangaroos in a field and had to stop to get some piccies. Suk really likes the Roos!

We arrived in Ravensthorpe at around 11am having left Esperance at 9:00. It's another tiny one road town with only a few stores, a cafe, and a petrol station. I got out and explored a little taking a few piccies, enjoying the sun. Suk went into the shop to get some snacks. I love passing though these tiny little towns, the locals are all extremely friendly and always interested in talking to you. We had about just under half a tank of petrol left so thought we'd better fill up, but for some reason the petrol station was packed and there was a queue. So we thought we should head on and fill up at the next town!

The next town was Jerramugup which was about 130 km away. No problem we thought! So off we sped. The scenery changed once again as we approached the edge of the Fitzgerald National Park which is famous for its biodiversity of bird life and low lying bushes. It was lovely, we would round one corner only to be awarded with endless views of the bush lands ahead of us only dissected by the road in which we were on, and this continued for a good 40 minutes or so. However, as we continued the weather progressively got worse (here we go again..) the clouds got thicker and rain soon followed. It never really rained heavily, just a light shower then it would stop this went on for rest of the day. Really annoying!

I was so engrossed with the scenery that I totally missed the turn off to Jerramungup. Oops! Suk had fallen asleep too, which didn’t help. I didn't stress too much as the next town was only 40 km away and we still had two notches of fuel left on the tank. So I raced on. As I approached I made sure I didn't miss the turn off sign, and thankfully there it was. As we turned into the main street I noticed that there wasn't a car in sight! It was like a ghost town or should I say Ghost Street with a few shops. Then I noticed a small shop with single petrol pump right outside. I thanked the gods and pulled up, it was only then that I noticed the sign saying "Closed on Sunday's" was I annoyed or what! Suk just laughed and said oh well we'll just have to stay the night here then. No way, I thought.

I luckily noticed some kids playing just down the road. They were the only signs of life around so I asked where the nearest fuel pump was. They were super friendly and said that I should head back to Jerramungup, the town we passed 40 km back! When I asked if it would be open they said they weren't sure, but the nearest one in the other direction was over 60 km away. So we had no choice but to go back. It's was a nervy ride watching the petrol gage for the trip back. We found the turning and looked frantically for a petrol station, and there was nothing! We turned a corner and suk spotted one on the side of the road!! Yippee and it was open and it had a cafe! So I merrily filled up the tank then we sat down for a drink and laughed! We were soon back on the road and doubled back towards Ongerup the town 40 km away where we met the kids. So in total we wasted over 80km of driving for not filling up in Ravensthorpe. We won't be making that mistake again!!

We turned off the main road onto a smaller road that took us towards the Stirling range mountains, as we got closer the ranges became visible what a change in scenery from the endless farmlands, scrubs and bushes we have been seeing for the last few days. We pulled into a roadhouse in Amelup to stop and get some pictures. To our amazement we spotted about 8 kangaroos sitting in the field right by the roadhouse. I got some good pics!

30 minutes later we had reached the Stirling ranges, and they looked lovely. My plan was to go to the car park at the foot of bluff knoll the highest peak and to get some photos and have a break, but the road was closed with a warning sign saying something about it being too dangerous to climb due to the oncoming cyclone! I thought that had passed! Oh well in fact the drizzly rain we had been getting all day seemed to have passed and he sun was trying to get through, so we grabbed a coffee from the visitors centre and had a chat with the owner. Nice chap. Said the park should be open again tomorrow it was just a precaution. We gulped down our coffees and quickly did the remaining 50 km into Albany.

Albany is a lot bigger than the other towns we have visited. And is centered around two beautiful coved bays Surrounded by low lying hills, which is why nearly every house in his town has a sea view. Albany was once the biggest town in Western Australia and used to be known as a whaling town. Anyway, our first stop was to the visitors centre to pick up maps and things in order to better plan our time here. The staff in these centers are fantastic and really give you an idea of what there is to do etc... Loaded with maps and stuff we went in search of our hostel -Discovery Inn.

It had just passed 5:30pm when we arrived at the hostel. The GPs is really useful, especially around the towns. I’m sure it has saved us a lot of time. The hostel was right on top of Middleton beach, about 100m away. It used to be an old fisherman's house so has lots of warmth and character, and our room was surprisingly nice too. Well we had the spoils in our last place in Esperance, so we had to rough it a bit this time, but this place was great!

That night we had the best fish and chips ever! It was at a place recommend to us called the Squid Shack, and it was right on the beach about a ten minute drive from our hostel. We ordered shark in batter and squid balls topped with huge amount of chips. We sat inside to eat as it was a bit chilly here. About 21c I think, but at least it wasn't raining hey. Don't ask me why we chose this dish but the locals all go mad for it! To our delight it was delicious, after we had to take a walk just so we could breath comfortably again. Wow we were stuffed!

That evening we relaxed and enjoyed the comforts in our hostel, caught up on emails and then watched a bit of TV. It had been a long day, but an eventful one topped with the Squid Shack!

To be continued...
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