Day 9: Albany – Pemberton

Another cloudy, cool day with drizzle made us rethink visiting Mt Melville lookout before leaving Albany. Instead we took the tourist drive along the coast, where distant views showed grey skies meeting grey water. We stopped briefly at the supermarket then headed out of town on the Torbay Road.

Denmark was very busy but we couldn’t see why. A check on the Internet later showed that they were holding a three day “Festival of Voice”.

We decided to take the Scotsdale Road scenic drive instead of the highway. There were promised coastal views but again we saw only grey! The Karri forests were very interesting, and the blend of pastureland and vineyards was very pretty. It will be fun to come again and have the time to stop and visit some of the cottage industries along the way — not so much the many wineries but the galleries and food producers.

We soon joined the highway again and eventually arrived at the Valley of the Giants. The $12.50 entry fee for each of us seemed a bit steep but by the end we decided it was worth every cent. The Tree Top Walk reaches a high point 40m (131 feet) above the forest floor. Although it had a see-through mesh walkway and swayed to imitate the trees, Herself, who normally doesn’t like heights, felt completely at ease and only suffered a couple of waves of dizziness, mostly when looking up rather than down! The swaying of the walkway could affect those who suffer from motion sickness but neither of us was bothered by it.20130604-214846.jpg20130604-214829.jpg 20130604-214656.jpg
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We saw this unusual flower several times during our holiday but we have no idea what it is!20130604-214916.jpg
For us, the Tree Top Walk alone is not worth the entry price; we both agreed that the Ancient Empire Walk on a boardwalk on the forest floor was far more interesting in terms of knowledge gained. It is easier to appreciate the gigantic-ness of the trees at ground level, especially when one is standing inside the base of a living tree!20130604-214627.jpg20130604-214559.jpg20130604-214509.jpg20130604-214435.jpg
After lunch, we went to see the largest eucalyptus (by circumference) in the world — the Hilltop Giant Tingle tree. Located east of Walpole, 2km up a one-way dirt road, it was not what the hire company would have wished us to do but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see it. First we came to a lookout with more grey views.20130604-214336.jpgThe tree itself is about 200m from the car park, along a sealed path. It was so large that were sure we could have fitted 50 adults standing in there! Wow! Amazing! Humungous! We were very impressed and would have liked to have lingered longer but the weather was closing in and we still had approximately another 120km (75 miles) to go till our destination.
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and one close up of pretty fungi Himself couldn’t resist photographing!
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We took another short break just west of Walpole at the John Rate Lookout, which was named after a pioneer forester. Himself took more photos of grey sky and grey sea before we headed off again on the national highway.
20130604-215750.jpg Without any more stops, we drove through to Pemberton via Northcliffe — a pretty drive which was a mix of farming and forests.

Pemberton seems to be a popular spot with families for the long weekend as there were clusters of families camping together all over the caravan park. They were sitting in groups around open fires in the cold night air when we arrived.The ablution facilities closest to our camp site were the poorest we have seen so far, with only one of four fluorescent lights working in both the Gents and Ladies and no door to keep the cold out of the bathroom. There may have been better facilities at the other ablutions block but neither of us bothered to check. At least the water was hot in the shower!

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