Day 14: Perth – Fremantle – Perth (Part 1)

After taking the Blue Cat bus to esplanade Busport, we walked into town to find a camera store before making our way to Perth station to catch a train to Fremantle.

The trip took about half an hour and cost us $4 each (one way). On arrival in Fremantle, we decided to catch the free Blue Cat bus to get an idea of the area and points of interest. It was hard for us to find the correct bus stop but we asked for assistance and it wasn’t long before the bus arrived.

Fremantle is proud of its heritage buildings and while many have changed from their original use, some still have beautiful period features, like this shop we passed.
In the 1950s and 1960s, many of the verandahs on the buildings were removed as they were considered “unsightly” and were replaced by cantilevered awnings; thankfully people have come to realise the value of the old architecture and the verandas are being replaced on many of the buildings. Here are just some of the interesting buildings we saw as we walked towards and through the “cappuccino strip”.
The markets are opened from Friday to Sunday, and on public holiday Mondays. We were there on a Thursday so missed out on seeing what is apparently a very lively sight.
These former warders’ cottages (for the nearly prison) are currently unfit for habituation but negotiation is going on between the Department of Housing and the National Trust of Australia to renovate them and make them available to ease the housing shortage.
This is the now disused police station (they’ve moved to larger, more modern premises)
And this one facade of the Town Hall building.
We spent some time inside St John the Evangelist (Anglican) church, which is the second church of the same name built on more-or-less the same site – the previous one was too small and when the parish planned to extend the local government knocked it down to put a road through! While inside, we were fortunate enough to hear the organist warming up before an organ recital scheduled for an hour later.
This modern window is very different to the old stained glass windows.
Fremantle Prison, which was in use until 1991, is a huge complex listed on the World Heritage List. We did not have time to view it properly but we did look at the buildings on the outside.
When we return to Fremantle (after retirement), we’d like to stay in one of these three cottages which are now available for short-term lease as self-contained holiday cottages.
This is the surgeon’s house which shows the esteem with which doctors were held in the nineteenth century, it is even larger than the superindent’s house!
These last two photos are of a Presbyterian church; much less ornate that the Anglican or Catholic Churches of the same era. We noticed that it doesn’t have a central aisle, but a large block of pews in the centre, flanked by two smaller blocks of pews, one on either side.


Day 13: King’s Park, Perth

We decided to have a relaxing day on our first day in Perth and to go to King’s Park which the map showed to be quite close to us. But Herself misread the map and we ended up in the pretty little park between two busy roads which wasn’t so bad as we got to see the fauna symbol of Perth — the black swan. This one wasn’t too interested in having its photo taken, it was more concerned with nest building which was an interesting process as the swan never moved except for its head and neck!
Because Himself had forgotten his hat, we returned to our apartment. We asked the receptionist the best way to King’s Park and she indicated that it would be up nearby Cliff Street. What the map didn’t show was the bottom of Cliff St is “Jacob’s Ladder” — a set of over 200 steep stairs! Herself finds going up stairs very difficult so we decided to take the long way around.

We accessed the Botanic Gardens in King’s Park via the Kokoda Track — a tribute walk (uphill and with many stairs) to the soldiers who fought the Japanese in the jungles of Papua New Guinea on the Track of the same name. We Australians owe our freedom to these fine men — who knows what may have happened if the Japanese had prevailed, taken Port Moresby and been so close to Australia? Herself appreciates the fact that a nation which was once our enemy is now a nation with whom many of our cities have “sister city” relationships.
We had some great views of the Swan River and the city from the Botanic Gardens, this is just a couple of them.
This building used to be the Swan Brewery. It was to have been demolished but has now been converted into two small museums, two restaurants, and a small number of luxury apartments.
The apartment we were staying in was in the building with the curved roof in the centre of the photo.
The State War Memorial is in the Botanic Gardens on the edge of Mt Eliza, overlooking the river. There is such beauty in the symmetry of these memorials (and in war cemeteries) but they always leave Herself feeling vaguely sad and very grateful.
Since it was a trip to the Botannical Gardens, it would be remiss of us not to show you some plants. 😉 First, a few unknown species.
This flowering gum is one of many species native to Western Australia. We “easterners” are jealous — we just cannot get these to grow in our heavy clay soils!
The flowers are so cute! They inspired the characters of May Gibbs’ iconic Australian book, “Snugglepot and Cuddlepie”.
Next, a Kingmill’s Mallee and a close up of its flower pod.
This tree is native to the Kimberley region in the tropical north of Western Australia. It is known as a Boab or bottle tree. These trees lose their leaves at the beginning of the dry season (May-September). First a young one.
Then a much older one.
This is commonly known as a Gandjandal, look at the size of the fruit — about as big as a soccer ball. The wasps loved it!
This plant is called a Banksia. There are many varieties of this plant, this one had particularly large flower heads.
This bush is one of the many varieties of acacia found in Australia. The common name for these is “wattle”. It is our national flower because one or more varieties can be found in every state and territory.
This fountain is a tribute to the role of women in the pioneering of Australia from British settlement in the early nineteenth century, through the suffrage movement and the feminist movement of the twentieth century.
This man-made stream with a series of cascades flowed down the hill from the fountain.
This tree top walkway and it’s glass bridge are in the centre of the botanical gardens. The photo of the cascading stream above was taken from the walkway.
This tower, 101 steps to the top, is called the DNA Tower due to its shape. We went up one side and returned down the other.
This avenue of eucalypts is at the city end of the Botanic Gardens, on Fraser Avenue. Isn’t it stunning? There’s no way we could get a photo to show its real grandeur.
These last two photos show “Jacob’s Ladder” from the top and the bottom. We climbed down it on our return to the apartment; Herself was so glad we hadn’t climbed it!

Day 12: Bunbury – Perth

Our last day in the motorhome and, unfortunately, we didn’t have time to hang around in Bunbury to find things of interest. It will have to wait till our next visit to Western Australia. Herself was disappointed not to see the dolphins in the bay but it was just how it had to be.

Our drive north to Perth was not without stops. We chose to drive up Highway 1, also known as The Old Coast Road, instead of using the faster freeway. South of Rockingham we took the scenic route (tourist drive 202) and stopped for a few minutes just south of the town to take these photos of the beach and islands of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. One of the islands is named Penguin Island — perhaps worth a visit next time?
You can see how rugged these islands are in these shots.
North of Rockingham the scenery is very different. There are more beaches…
and this industrial landscape, in which Himself finds beauty, Herself doesn’t.
A quick “arty” photo of a found “still life” before heading off again.20130608-223424.jpg
We had lunch at Red Rooster in Belmont, parking in almost the same spot as we had done on our first day with the motorhome and sitting at exactly the same table in the store! We bought a few groceries in the same supermarket we had stocked up from on that first day which now seemed so long ago, then it was time to return the motorhome.

We filled up with fuel a couple of kilometres before the depot and arrived there just before 3pm. It seemed to take ages for a taxi to arrive to take us on to Phase II of our holiday — five nights in an apartment in central Perth.

On arrival at the apartments, we found that reception closed at 4pm so Himself had to go further up the street to organise our keys. They couldn’t find our booking but soon realised it was a private leasing and called the owner. She apologised; she had thought we were arriving on Thursday — it was Tuesday. More waiting…

Finally we were shown up to the apartment, given a tour and a heap of information and the owner left.

So what’s the first thing two weary travellers do when they have the place to themselves? Why, two loads of washing (laundry) of course! It was great to have a washer and dryer to ourselves and better yet, we didn’t have to find coins to operate them! Heaps better than the hand-washing of “smalls” (as my grandmother used to call them) in the caravan park in Albany five nights before!

It was lovely to show the apartment to DD and Older Grandson via the magic of FaceTime, before cooking dinner and having an early night!

Day 11: Prevelly – Cape Naturaliste – Busselton – Bunbury

On our way from Prevelly to Cape Naturaliste National Park, Himself saw these grass trees which he just had to stop and photograph. While doing so, he also found a termite mound.
The first place we visited in Cape Naturaliste National Park was Eagle Bay. Herself found the water of the Indian Ocean wasn’t as cold as she expected.
We decided to take the 2km walking trail around the lighthouse.
At Her request (especially for a friend who likes Australian flowers), Himself took some photos of the wild flowers, both of the bushes and in close up.
This one was unusual, the young flowers appear to be a different colour to the more mature ones.
While on that trail, we decided to take a detour to the whale watching point, even though we know its the wrong season for whales in this part of Western Australia. This is some of the coastal scenery.
While on the whale watching platform, Herself overheard another woman tell her companions that a seal had just moved onto a rocky outcrop in front of us. Herself could just make out what she thought might be two seals on the rock but, through the magic of a zoom lens, the camera revealed that there were actually three.
Then Herself pointed to a row of rocks off to the right which she believed might have seals sitting on it. Again the camera revealed more than was expected.
After lunch which we had while sitting in the van in the carpark, we decided it was time to move on to the town of Busselton. By the grace of God, we drove a couple of kilometres through town and ended up in the right place to find the jetty!

Busselton Jetty used to be a working wharf and was to have been demolished when it was no longer needed but the citizens of the town lobbied to keep it. The 1.8km (1.1 miles) jetty is probably now the town’s most visited tourist attraction and has inspired much foreshore redevelopment.

We could have taken this cute little train out and back.
But we were determined to walk!
These wind vanes were lovely sculptures, the school of fish is very clever.
We have no idea what this bird is but he seemed to be master of all he surveyed!
After an ice cream, knowing that we had to return the motorhome the next day, we reluctantly agreed that we should push on to the town of Bunbury 52km further north. We arrived too late to see anything except the city centre as we drove through it on the way to the caravan park. With a population of over 70,000 people, it was a big change from many of the other places we had stayed at during out travels!

Day 10: Pemberton – Cape Leeuwin – Prevelly

After packing up for the day, we headed 3km out of town to see the Gloucester Tree, a 61m karri that was once used as a fire-lookout tree (the forest trees being too high for a tower to be built). After some internal debate, Himself climbed the tree (Herself never had any intention of doing so although she did pose for this photo a couple of metres above the ground!)
Himself looked happy enough to be going up! His digital SLR with a 12-60 lens went up too (after Herself took this photo)!
Looking up during the climb.
Looking out from the top — 60m above the ground!
Don’t look down (oops, too late!)
20130605-212744.jpg Prior to climbing the tree, we spent some time looking at and taking photos of two types of parrots – Western Rosella (shown in the photo below) and Ring-Necked (Port Lincoln) parrot. Herself was quite surprised when a Rosella landed on her hand and stayed there — these birds live in the wild, they are not pets.
20130605-212427.jpgWe then drove out to Beedleup Falls, a pretty, quiet spot east of Pemberton. Well, it was quiet until families started arriving for their Sunday out! We walked the loop, down the easy access route to the falls then back up the stairs on the dirt track — it would have been more sensible to go the other way! The route included walking across a swing bridge which caused Herself no difficulty at all; once upon a time it would have induced terror. This one had a solid wooden floor and was not very high so that made it a lot easier to cross!
20130605-212809.jpgThe view of the falls was pretty but we would call them cascades; falls in NSW tend to be vertical not a series of smallish steps.
We couldn’t resist a picture of this maidenhair fern growing in the wild!
20130605-212925.jpgFrom Beedleup Falls we drove through Karri forests and pastureland. We took Stewart Rd to Canebreak then followed the Brockman Highway to Karridale and turned left to Augusta. We bought some bread at the bakery then headed out to Cape Leeuwin. It was busier than we expected, perhaps the long weekend had something to do with it. We had a late lunch before heading into the lighthouse complex.

Although it was not yet 2:30, the first tour we could book was at 3pm. We wandered out to the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean.
20130605-213215.jpgThe sea was quite calm and it was difficult to tell where the currents ran in different directions – nowhere near as obvious as the place where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean at Cape Reinga in New Zealand. Flinders Bay to the east looked quite placid in the late afternoon sunshine.
And Quarry Bay to the west (the Indian Ocean) looked like liquid silver.
We were very disappointed not to see the whale which had been sighted that morning cruising back and forward about 80m offshore. It had obviously moved on because, when we went on the lighthouse tour, we could see the whale watching boats some distance away in Flinders Bay.

The tour of the lighthouse was most interesting.
20130605-213107.jpgThe lighthouse is now computer driven but it once needed three keepers to keep it running. Those poor men had to haul two sixteen litre buckets of kerosene from the store to the lighthouse and then up the stairs to the top every shift! Here are photos of the old workings and the glass lenses which are now valued at $AUS10 million!
We climbed all the way to the top and were even allowed outside which was good as many lighthouses we have visited in the past have not allowed us to go outside. Here are photos showing the light keepers’ houses from the lighthouse and from the ground. They were in use until
the 1980s.
And here is Herself making her way back down those 176 stairs!
From Cape Leeuwin we drove back into Augusta where we put more fuel in the tank ($100+) and had an ice cream before beginning our journey north. We decided to stop at a small coastal town called Prevelly for the night. After watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean (a weird sensation for someone who lives on the east coast), we finally found the caravan park and booked in for the night.
We were obviously not too tired as we were able to organise and publish two blog posts before bed!

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
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.
and one close up of pretty fungi Himself couldn’t resist photographing!
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!

Day 8 (Part 2): Albany

If you want to read about Day 8 prior to lunch, you can find it on our previous post.

After lunch, we decided to visit Mt Clarendon while the sun was shining (it did, some of the time). There is a new lookout being built on the top of Mt Clarendon that is supposed to give a 360* view over Albany and the surrounding area but we doubt it ever will given the height of the shrubs around it. The views to the north are already blocked by their growth. There is also a memorial to the Desert Mounted Corps20130604-195024.jpg which depicts “a mounted Australian Light-Horseman defending a New Zealand Mounted Rifleman standing beside his wounded horse”. (Information from War Memorials in Australia website)20130604-195552.jpg
It is a replica of the one that used to stand at Port Said in Egypt but was desecrated during the Suez War of 1956. The granite base is the original, shipped from Egypt with permission from the Egyptian government. Through the efforts of Ross Steele, of the Albany RSL sub-branch, with Federal government funding and a road built by the Apex Club, the memorial was rebuilt on Mt Clarendon and unveiled in 1964. It overlooks the harbour where the first convoy of Australian and New Zealand ships stood at anchor before leaving for Egypt and Europe.
Near the monument is a pine grown from a seed from Gallipoli. ANZAC dawn services are held on Mt Clarendon on 25th April every year.20130604-195505.jpg
Also on Mt Clarendon, is a military museum, complete with an old fort and guns pointing out into the harbour. We didn’t have time to view the museum, which apparently takes two (or more) hours, but the guard on duty allowed us in for five minutes to view the lookout overlooking the harbour.
We then returned to town where Himself took photos of the Old Gaol. We chose not to go inside as we have been to other museums in disused gaols and wanted to move on to see the sights unique to the area.
Near the Old Gaol is a replica of the brig (a small sailing ship) Amity, which was the vessel that brought Major Edmond Lockyer, a handful of militia and thirteen convicts to Albany. This was the founding of the first white settlement in Western Australia. We also chose not to board the vessel as we had only two hours of daylight left and many things to see.
Next stop, Torndirrup National Park to see The Natural Bridge and The Gap. The Southern Ocean rushes into both places with such force that if someone fell in, they would almost certainly be killed — either dragged under and drowned or dashed to pieces on the rocks.20130604-200828.jpg
It was blowy and quite cold but nowhere near as cold as it was at the lookout overlooking Jimmy Newells Harbour. The harbour, discovered by a fisherman during a storm, may be protected but the lookout sure isn’t!20130604-201007.jpg
On our way back into town, we decided to stop at the Wind Farm. The views of the coast were fabulous but the sight of eighteen wind turbines stretched out along the coast was also spectacular. We were impressed by their design, their size and their output. Not to mention the thought that goes into the “little” details — like how to avoid problems with lightning strikes or in extreme wind conditions.20130604-201112.jpg
This is a view over the coast from the wind farm.
This is the view towards Albany township from the wind farm.
We returned to our campsite at Middleton Beach and, after a “barbecue” dinner (as in Himself cooked the meat on the barbecue to avoid filling the van with cooking smells while Herself cooked the side dishes in the microwave) worked on getting our blog up to date.