From Perth to Albany and back again!
02.12.2013 - 06.12.2013 24 °C
We had wheels again for the first time since we were with in Langkawi, however this time it was a significant upgrade. Our swanky Toyota Corolla was much larger than we had expected and an absolute bargain thanks to a deal the rental firm (Bayswater) had on at only AU$42 (£32) a day! We christened her Talulah before hitting the road.
Our plan was to get the big distances out of the way on the first day by heading all the way down to Albany on the south western tip of mainland Australia. The journey was about 6 hours in total with a couple of toilet stops enroute but was really straight forward - we only really needed to use Milly’s (Nick’s cousin) borrowed Sat Nav to get out of central Perth - although in fairness once you are on the highway it is just one road going south!!
We arrived at 1849 Backpackers in the centre of Albany about 16:30 and were instantly hit by the freezing cold temperatures (well to us). It was only 19 degrees and was SO windy! I guess when you are this close to Antarctica we shouldn’t have been surprised! The hostel was nice enough, although felt like an old school due it’s layout. There were also A LOT of long term residents staying with working visas so it felt a little clicky and like you were invading their space. Luckily though we had booked a private, thinking we would want privacy after our long drive and when we walked past an open dorm room door and saw the carnage within were glad we did!
We decided to go off in search of a much needed coffee to discover that Albany was not only tiny, but closed - literally everything had shut at 16:00 and it was like a ghost town. Strangely many of the restaurants and cafe seemed to re-open at 19:00 for dinner (although when we looked later none of them were!). We stumbled across a pizzeria and managed to have a coffee and cake. Feeling a little warmer we decided to explore some more, however we soon realised we had seen all Albany had to give, so jumped in the car in search of a good sunset.
After a short 25km/15m drive we were on the Flinders Peninsular, arriving just in time to see The Gap and Natural Bridge rock formations with an amazing sunset backdrop. We didn’t stay too long as it was so windy, flippin’ freezing and we needed to be careful driving at dusk due to roos.
Our next morning started off well with yummy free pancakes for breakfast. We had decided to go for a coastal walk along Middleton Beach, but when we arrived we were disappointed to find out it was just a beach walk. Being early in the morning the beach was deserted so we decided to walk it anyway.
After our walk we realised that this was going to be more of a driving trip, beach and coast hopping. We therefore spent the rest of the day visiting small towns and their beaches, seeing stunning scenery along the way. We will now bore you with loads of beach photos.
We checked out the next morning after more yummy pancakes and hit the road to Augusta 360km/223m up the coast. Stopping along the way at yet more beautiful beaches and the Pemberton Tree Top Walk. A 40m/131’ high walk way in the canopy of the forest trees, the views were great but the walk way was very bouncy and swayed from side to side.
We arrived in Augusta about 15:00 in beautiful sunshine, so went for a lovely walk along the river until it joined the Southern Ocean. (Sorry more beach pictures)
Later that night, we took the opportunity of a clear sky to go star gazing. Deciding to drive a little out of town while still in our PJ’s we got to see why night driving is dangerous, narrowly missing a large kangaroo and lots of bunnies, luckily we were driving less then 10kmph/6mph. The drive was worth it, getting the chance to see a full sky of bright stars meeting the sea, more then either of us had seen before.
After a really good night sleep in our 7 bed dorm which we had to ourselves, drove down the coast to Cape Leeuwin to see the lighthouse, the most south westerly point of mainland Australia where the southern and Indian collide. Booking on a tour so we could go into the still working light house, we picked up our Audio Guide and explored the living quarters around the lighthouse, while waiting for our tour to start. The audio tour was really good and filled in some of the history before we started our tour. Just as the audio tour was finishing our guide called us over to start our lighthouse tour. This was fantastic, getting to understand the workings of the lighthouse and it’s amazing engineering before going to the top to see the views and getting nearly blown off by the gale force winds.
Back down the spiral staircase and it was now time to explore the Margaret River Region. This is where all WA’s food, wine, beer and cider comes from, an area full of vineyards and farms. The best part of this area is that all the factories and cellar doors are open to the public often having free tasters on offer. Of course we made a stop at the two chocolate workshops and couldn’t miss the Cullen Vineyard, where Nick got to taste lots of wine, while I just got to have a sniff.
Due to being more north and in-land the temperature had started to increase so we treated ourselves to a pub lunch in Cheeky Monkey’s beer garden. Bellies full, we drove further north to Dunsborough discovering yet another a beautiful beach, Yallingup of Beach, and regretted not having our beachwear.
That evening after dinner we yet again did a small drive out to a local beach to get in a sunset view.
Our last day and after a hunt around town for somewhere open to get milk, we checked out of the YHA Augusta. Taking advantage of the sun we grabbed our beach stuff and drove back to Yallingup of Beach for a few hours of sunshine and swimming.
On our way back to Perth we stopped off at Rockingham which we regretted as it felt a little more like a seaside town in Britain and again being there late afternoon everything was closed or closing.
That evening was spent back at the now Christmassy Jefferson residence for chilled out night. After a huge breakfast and emotional goodbyes it was off to North Perth to stay with the Holans.