Coast to Coast

Trip Start Feb 29, 2012
Trip End Apr 02, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Thursday, March 29, 2012

From our perch atop the Southern ocean at Banksia Camp we headed away from Walpole Wilderness and inland through Shannon National Park.

We took some time out to complete a circuit drive, which took us through the heart of the Karri forest. These trees have distinctive cream / orange trunks and look beautiful in the dappled sun light.  Stopping at Big Tree Grove, which features a stand of mature trees, we were amazed by their immense height and age (up to 300 years old).  The place was alive with small birds, flitting in and out- far to quick to get a photo, but Ivars caught all the action with his trusty binoculars. Further down the road we encountered 4 kangaroos, which seemed determined to give us a run for our money as they thundered along the road just in front of the car for about a kilometre.

Inside the forest, the signs of a dry season are around but it still seems pretty cool and green. In contrast, the surrounding open farmland was endless dry yellow paddocks, looking very thirsty indeed.

Beyond Pemberton is Greater Hawke National Park and it was there that we stopped for the night. Who could resist a campground called Snottygobble Loop! A quick rekey revealed the Carey Brook behind our camp – unfortunately also pretty dry. There are a lot of Marri gum trees in this area and most are in flower.We enjoyed happy hour (some dips and soda water!) before dinner and afterwards our customary game of cards. Well, Ivars enjoyed it because his winning streak continued. I'm still waiting for my luck to change. Again it was just us in the middle of the vast forest, the sky was clear, the stars shone brightly above the tree canopy and the silence was profound.

In the morning before leaving we checked out the Donnelley River – new boat launching facilities here so there must be some good fishing. 

From here we headed for Cape Leeuwin, driving through more forests, some of which showed recovery from bushfire within the last few years. I was particularly interested in grass tree -like plants that were flowering profusely after the burn. More stops for photos of course. Turns out they are called Kingia – not surprising considering the crown like shape of the flowers.

And eventually we came to the cape, site of a magnificent lighthouse, the point where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet and where our south coast journey ended.

After enjoying a pleasant lunch at Deck Chair Café in Augusta and catching up on calls, emails and Words With Friends we headed up the west coast on The Caves tourist drive. Stopping at popular Hamlin Bay we stretched our legs with a walk along the pretty beach and across the limestone cliffs. Finally the last few kilometres through more beautiful Karri forest until we turned inland to Margaret River and eventually made it to Kate and Micah – our hosts for the next 2 nights.
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