Travel

Australia 2014: Heading south in Western Australia

Australia, WA open road

Welcome back for another installment of the Great Australia Travelogue of 2014! For the next leg of our journey, we packed up our friends’ SUV and headed onto the open road, south through WA and toward the coast and countryside.

Australia, kangaroo crossing sign

I was thoroughly entertained by these signs, and even moreso by the plethora of kangaroos that we saw hanging out in fields… until they started to jump into the road in front of us. They’re a lot like the deer here, everywhere and kind of a nuisance, but still entertaining to spot.

Australia, scarecrow

We stopped off in several small towns along the way, notably one famous for its apples and another for its odd scarecrows, but mostly we stopped to try the local candies and coffees and the like. Then we got to the edge of the karri tree forests…

Australia, giant tingle tree climb

…where, of course, Jared had to climb the Diamond Tree, at least partway. The weather turned chilly and a little wet, but we stopped and camped for the night near Walpole Inlet at the Coalmine Beach Holiday Park, where they had a Monday morning pancake breakfast. We also had some surprise neighbors…

Australia, kangaroos camping

…who tried (without success) to share breakfast, too. From there, we drove to the Valley of the Giants where we first visited the Giant Tingle tree, which is the oldest living eucalyptus in the world…

Australia, giant tingle tree

…and then on to the Treetop Walk, where we strolled along an open-air walkway at the level of the trees, just over 40 meters (over 130 feet) in the air.

Australia, tree top walk path
Here we are, with me only slightly freaked out about the gentle swaying of the (highly reinforced, I’m just not a fan of heights) walkway.

Australia, tree top walk group

From there we (thankfully) kept our feet on the ground, and drove on toward the Margaret River area, where we visited a lovely winery with some Doctor Who decor, called Galafrey Wines.

Australia, Margaret River Galafray winery

Our next stop was our friend’s family’s farm in Nannup, where we stayed and enjoyed a slice of country life with everything from stargazing (and bat dodging), to visiting the sheep in the grazing pastures.

Australia, Nannup farm

We spent some time tramping around the property, too, but after a couple of days we had to head on toward some other areas…

Australia, Nannup farm walking

…including the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse….

Australia, two oceans touch lighthouse
…which is also at the point where the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean touch one another. When the sun shines through the clouds you can see the slight shift in color from the two huge bodies of water.

Australia, two oceans touch

This is also where, after careful observation, I went down to the water to touch the Southern Ocean…

Australia, two oceans touch, hugged by the ocean

…and it hugged me. Yeah, I’m a little bedraggled, but this made one of the three oceans I touched while in Australia. Our last stop before heading back toward Perth was the Jewel Cave, a massive four-chamber walk-through cave with an incredible density of crystal formations.

Australia, Jewel Cave
We left the Jewel Cave in the afternoon after a light lunch at the cafe inside the visitors’ center, and headed toward home. Our last stop of the road trip was in Busselton, where we had fish and chips by the water (and I put my feet into the Indian Ocean– #2 on the trip)…

Australia, coast sunset

…and we had an unexpected guest drop in, nearly landing on top of us as much to his surprise as ours!

Australia, ring tailed possum
This little possum looked pretty stunned, but eventually got up the tree to the rest of his family where we let them be.

Australia, Perth, Longdon Alley

By then our trip was nearly over, and J had to head back home for work. We hung out in downtown Perth one last day, saw Captain America, then put him on a plane. I stayed one more full day and got to explore some more local sights, but was soon on my way to Queensland, and ocean #3 of the trip. But that story is for next time.

Australia, Perth beach

Places we ate I’d recommend:
Bootleg Brewery: local craft beers in the Margaret River area, outside seating along the water.
Cod Rocks on Queen: fish and chips place in Busselton, with a la carte options as well as family size meals.
Aisuru Sushi: in Perth, nice little sushi place with a wide selection and hand rolls to boot.
Bella’s Cupcake World: because fancy fun cupcakes are always a must.

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