20th January - 28th JanuaryDistance Travelled - 9800km
The drive through to Margaret River was very pretty, through more of the giant Karri forest we had seen the day before. Unfortunately we drove past the centenary tree we wanted to climb and it was far too long before we found anywhere we could have turned around, the roads were narrow, and it was rainy anyway.
We camped at the Big Valley campground just outside of Margaret River. It was a large space, on someone's farm. It was good value with a big camp kitchen and hot showers, something we were looking forward to after Parry Beaches ineffective solar showers. Our site had a small level area with an uphill slope one way, and a downhill the other, running down across the driveway and into what must have been "Big Valley". While positioning the camper to get the best view we went a bit too close to the downhill side and the trailer was on an unstoppable but painfully slow course downhill. Wes was being dragged behind, leaving tracks in the dirt with his heels, Jo was about to be squished. Luckily some other campers who had been watching us setup with some amusement, as is the custom at a campground, came to our aid. They pushed us back were we needed to be, and lent us some chocks till we could get ours, that were locked uselessly in the tool box.
We laugh about it now.
We spent our time touring the region, south to Augusta through more beautiful Karri forest and to the lighthouse were the Southern and Indian oceans meet. We spent some time at a maze, there are lots in this part of the country, it had a variety of things to do, some clever stepping stone puzzles and a maze that you could only go left or turn straight ahead. The biggest maze was huge and they had been growing it since 1996.
We also visited Breweries, Wineries and Chocolate and cheese factories, sampling some of the tasty produce of Margret River.
After a couple of days at big valley we moved up to a camp in between Busselton and Dunsborough. We had scouted it out the day before and were very happy with what we found. Most parks were fully booked through the Australia Day long weekend but we found a park that had unpowered bush camping sites. They were unallocated so we chose ourself a sweet spot in between some trees and not to close to other people. Here we set up for the next 5 nights, and began Wes’s birthday weekend.
We spent the days before the 26th doing more exploring and visiting places. We went to the Cape Naturaliste and its lighthouse, and saw some of the stunning beaches in the area. We stopped at one for a quick cooling swim and snorkel before lunch. One night we went to a drive in cinema, lining up for an hour to get in. We unwittingly snuck in some beer, but forgot forks for our packed dinner. Luckily the kiosk stocked the world’s most expensive plastic fork, which we got for free! We saw 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ and ‘2012’ two disaster movies. Both were hilarious but only one intended to be. Great night.
On Australia Day we went out for a cooked breakfast then decked out our tent and car in our bits of Australiana and cranked the J’s on our new portable radio! Strangely most people had left the park by now so we had most of the place to ourselves.
We went for a swim at the beach across the road in the afternoon, Wes went for a snorkel. Nothing much to see, but cooled of he turned for shore. It was then he saw a large shape of to one side. He turned and saw what was definatly a shark! It was about 6ft long, cruising slowly parallel to shore. Wes bolted for shore, positive it would latch on to his leg any moment. It didn’t and he made it back to tell Jo what he had seen. Down the beach we could see people looking at something out in the water, and further down more people getting out. After some time the excitement died down, but no one returned to the water. We went back to camp.
We spent the afternoon lazing at camp listening to the top 20 in the hottest 100 and drinking Fat Yak pale ale and Knappestien Lager, more of Wes’s birthday present. Lamb for dinner and a great bottle of 10X Pinot Noir topped of a great Australia Day and Birthday! Lessons: Jo cant hold 1 tonne of trailer by herself. duh.Broken: Cig lighter socket in car meltedBug: red back spider and thousands of ants infested the trailer