Ah Luxury

Trip Start Nov 18, 2009
Trip End Jul 08, 2010

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Sunday, May 23, 2010


We slept better last night as the rain and wind were not that bad. Despite some rain early on we were able to BBQ some bacon for a bacon and brown sauce roll….heaven!

We set off at 9.15am with the intention of travelling as far as Albany, some 375 kilometres, but also wanted to visit some things on the way. Our first call was the town of Augusta. We went through the town to Cape Leeuwin, on the very south west corner of Western Australia, to see the Lighthouse and the Waterwheel. The Waterwheel was made to control the flow of fresh water down to the coast where it was used to make the mortar that was needed for the foundations and building of the Lighthouse. By this time we were tempted by a small cream tea, sitting in an outside glass area with the wind blowing a gale.

We then set off North East to the Old Vase Road, Pemberton area, where we found the Bicentennial Tree. This is a monster tree nearly 80 metres high. It has been used as a fire watch tree house and was originally linked to many others in this area to send signals about approaching fires. The tree has metal spikes (pegged as they call it in 1988) about half a metre long driven into the trunk, and winding around the trunk like a spiral staircase. Above these spikes, about 1 metre, are another row of spikes and some thin wires are linked between them. In this way it is like climbing in a wire see through tunnel except there is nothing to stop your feet going between the metal spikes if you were to lose your footing. This tree is in an isolated part of Warren National Park AND they let you climb it, right to the top where there is a two story tree house. The warning sign does recommend that you do not climb in the rain or high wind.

Today there is wind and rain galore. Tony climbed up about 20 rungs but you have to walk using hands and feet on the rungs, while looking downwards and twisting around the tree……at the height Tony climbed you could feel the wind on the tree and so he quit before even getting to the first platform only 30 metres up. The sign also says that on blustery days the tree houses at the top move about 1.5 metres each way, which is a sway of 10 feet back and forth while you are climbing to the top. Not usually chicken but not for me on a day like today. If it had been sunny then easy!!! Can you imagine The National Trust allowing something like this on their land……?

We also found a misshapen Karri tree, named after Marianne North, the English artist whose 1880 painting of the tree hangs in a gallery at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Karri trees can grow to 90 metres high making it the tallest tree in Western Australia and one of the tallest in the world. The Karri forest is full of these straight trunk trees, with smooth bark that is shed each year. The outer bark then changes colour as it matures, so the trunks are often multi-coloured in shades of pink, orange, grey and white. They are fabulous to see

We drove through lots of forest in sun and rain, with ever changing scenery. Helen sorted out a wonderful route on small through roads, which we certainly agreed not to drive on, or perhaps we didn't as they seem to be reasonably firm but covered in red and orange dirt and pieces of trees that had been blown off in the wind. What a great days driving.

We arrived in Albany, the first settlement in Western Australia. We booked into a campsite (for two nights) with some amenities, as the weather forecast is not good.

Walked out to find somewhere to eat. Called at an expensive fish restaurant but walked away to The Inn, a very small family run B & B. The lady said her husband would probably cook us some all day breakfast if he was in a good mood! After chatting for 10 minutes she offered us two roast dinners (well it is Sunday) for 10$A each….a deal was struck. A lovely meal. On our way out we chatted to a chap that we met earlier. He had gone to his car to get out a bottle of wine. Tony asked if it was homemade as it only had a very small label on it……..2 minutes later we were on our way back to our camper with a nice bottle in our possession…..pays to be a bit cheeky.
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