Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wagin, WA.

You might have realised by now that we love staying in small country towns. They are not all equal in appeal but most of them seem to have an intimate charm about them. Wagin is one of those that seems 'homely and comfortable' to be in. We only spent two nights here but that is enough to form an attachment.

Wagin is home to a major event in "Woolorama". We only missed this by two weeks but as it is held in The Showgrounds we would have been prevented from camping there.

Part of the Main Street of Wagin.

Wagin is home to The Big Ram, and he is a big boy!

Wagin Showgrounds. Short term RV camping for Self Contained vehicles at $12 pn for Power and Water. It is an easy walk into the Main Street of town.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Kojonup, WA.

Kojonup, population about 2500, is one of those naturally friendly towns. Everybody we spoke to was in a great frame of mind. The 72 Hour RV camp area, including Dump Point and Potable Water, is adjacent to the town area and at $5 pn is excellent value. Also, there is well maintained Toilets directly across the Highway. 

The first two nights here we experienced rain, the first rain in the area for 6 months! Even the Galahs were ecstatic. Sqwarking in their usual manner but hanging upside down from power lines, flapping their wings. Having an "under arm wash" perhaps.

Kojonup is proud of their Little Train, The Spirit of Kojonup. This train was repatriated from The Perth Zoo, restored to its former glory and put into service on the local rail tracks every First and Third Sunday Mornings. A further 10km of track is almost at the point of being Government Certified. This will give the Town greater opportunity to exploit their "little Rattler".

These new arrivals pulled into the RV park beside us. It was a surprise to them as well as ourselves that we knew each other from Geelong, Gary and Dee are now from The Sunny Coast of Queensland. We were having Happy Hour with Gary and Dee and in pulls another caravan! We soon learned that Kevin and Jackie were also from The Sunny Coast, so it was a meeting of The Queenslanders.

The final morning while we were all packing up our gear for the exodus we noticed a women walking a German Sheppard and a Miniature Pony. This was a most unusual sight. The Pony was not a great deal larger than the Sheppard.

Wool Bales on an old wagon, at the entrance to Kojonup. As this suggests, Kojonup is a Cropping and Sheep Grazing area.

Part of the 72 Hour RV camping area beside the disused Railway Lines.

The Spirit of Kojonup Railway at the Station waiting for us to board.

The Driver and Fireman ready to take us away.

Turning the Locomotive ready for our return journey.

These Blog Posts in the making!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Porongorup, WA.

Porongorup, pronounced Prong - grup, is a very small community and home to a thriving Wine Producing Region and also The Porongorup Ranges. These Ranges are home to Castle Rock and The Skywalk.

Castle Rock and The Skywalk is a moderately difficult 2.2 km walk with a continuous uphill gradient from the Carpark to the Summit. Our knees and quads were burning on the descent and you needed to make certain of your footfall on the very uneven track.

We think this is one of the "Must Do" tourist experiences in WA.

"Tree in a Rock". This very large tree really is growing in rock, there is no soil whatsoever. I presume the tree roots are embedded in small crevices through the rock structure.

Part of The Porongorup Ranges as viewed from the Tourist Track.

Judy part way up the 2.2 km walk to The Skywalk at Castle Rock.

Having a 'breather' on the steep track to Castle Rock.

Nearing the peak of Castle Rock we gained a fabulous view of The Stirling Ranges.

Almost at our destination and passed Balancing Rock.

I made it this far!

The final section is a Rock Scramble. Various foot and hand holds have been installed to make easier progress. Judy cheated this section and crawled under these boulders.

Judy scaling the Face of Castle Rock.

Judy on The Skywalk.

The Skywalk is an amazing piece of construction.

Panoramic Views are gained from The Skywalk including down, through the mesh floor.

It was truly worth the minor exertion to reach this point and take in the views.

If you don't want to go through the Rock Scramble the consolation prize is the view from this alternate lookout far below.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Albany, WA.

While camping at Cosy Corner we were very near to Albany and made several trips into the City for shopping and Sight Seeing. We also had to replenish our drinking water supplies in Albany on a couple of occasions as there was no supply at Cosy Corner. This meant filling Jerry Cans and subsequently transferring the precious liquid to the caravan later. We had the best of both 'worlds', ready access to city services and a very quiet beachside camping experience.

The Albany Whale Processing Plant. Of course this has not been in operation for many years but has been preserved as a historical reminder of our past.

Directly across the bay from the Whaling Station is the City of Albany.

The Amity is another great attraction at Albany. This is a replica of the vessel that bought the first English Settlers (Convicts) to Western Australia.

This small room, less than 3m x 3m, was the Galley that managed to feed all of the Officers, Crew and Convicts.

Setting a Course heading to Broome!

The Anchor winch and the entrance hatch to the Officers Quarters.

This is how the Crew and Convicts bunked. Judy is sitting on the opening to the Freight Hold.

The Officers Accommodation was far more elaborate than that provided for the Crew.

Down in the Freight Hold everything required to set up a Colony was packed into this area. The food supply was stored in the Barrels and accessed as required.

Since November 2014 Albany has been home to The Albany ANZAC Experience. For that is what a visit to this Museum is, a memorable, interactive experience. We spent 4 hours in here and wondered where the time disappeared to.

The ANZAC Centre has a commanding position above Albany Harbour.

The walk up to the "Look Out" point takes you past Plaques on the left side that describe all the vessels involved in the initial fleet and the purpose of each craft and what they carried.

At the Look Out over Albany Harbour. This expanse of water was where the entire fleet was anchored.

There are several defensive Big Gun emplacements on the high ground as well.

Buildings of the original Military Base are still in existence and used to this day.

HMAS Perth Association Rooms and Museum.

The Red Fire Truck Tourist vehicle has nothing to do with The ANZAC Centre, but is an exact replica of the Fire Appliance that I drove as a Volunteer Firefighter in the 1970's.

As we drove into Albany from Cosy Corner on the morning of our intended visit to The ANZAC Centre we saw the impressive size of The Diamond Princess moored in Albany Port. We both said, "Oh, No, there will be 3000 people off that ship crawling all over Albany!" Well, it wasn't quite that bad but there were about 3 Coach Loads at The ANZAC Centre.

The Diamond Princess sailing out of Albany Port at 4PM.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Cosy Corner, WA

The Labour Day long weekend in WA was looming and we had to find a place to camp. As usual with any long weekend, families hit the bitumen in search of camping experiences. We phoned ahead and were able to book in for 4 days at Peaceful Bay Bush Park. At $56 per night for 2 people it was very expensive. We didn't want to guess what families were paying but the camp area was virtually booked out.

We received a surprise phone message from Andy and Don, long time friends of ours from Geelong who happened to be passing through the area on their way to Busselton. We were able to secure the adjoining site to ourselves for Andy and Don. A great three days was enjoyed by all, including our short term neighbours, Macca and Thommo.

Our next camp was at Cosy Corner, a great free beach side camp between Denmark and Albany. Here we made camp for the allowable 7 nights. From our base at Cosy Corner we were able to drive out and visit the neighbouring places of interest, such as Denmark, William Bay, Green Pool and The Tree Top Walk.

We hadn't set up camp at Cosy Corner before we met Ray, Karen, Chris and Leigh, some of the people we shared a New Years Eve Dinner with at The Kondinin Hotel, what a small country we live in!

The beach at Cosy Corner, looking East towards Albany. The surf pounding on the beach lulled us to sleep each night.

Looking West towards William Bay. One afternoon a large Pod of Dolphins made a very close visit to the swimmers in the water, passing as close as two metres.

This is the beginning of The Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk near Denmark.

This is the level we are progressing to, 40 metres above the ground.

Now we are traversing this span at the maximum height of 40 metres.

We are descending now and Jude has plucked up enough courage to peek over the side.

As well as the Tree Top Walk there is a ground level loop amongst the biggest trees.

This particular tree has been Titled "The Grandmother Tree" One is supposed to use imagination and see a face at the base of the tree.

All these leviathans have gaps in the base of the trunk, not all of them as large as this one though.

Surprisingly, considering the mammoth height of these trees, they are very shallow rooted.

William Bay, is very beautiful and popular with locals and visitors alike. Green Pool is a very safe swimming lagoon ringed by rocks in the foreground.

There is a very gradual entry to the water from the Clean, White Sandy Beach.

Sturt Desert Pea in a roadside garden in Denmark.

This is about the extent of the Main Street in Denmark.

Riverside Park in Denmark and The Denmark River.

The Main Road Bridge over The Denmark River leading into Denmark.