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We are on our way

...at last!

semi-overcast 20 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Back to Oz on SteveJD's travel map.

Apologies for the delay in posting but we have had either no or limited internet access but we now seem to be back in the real world for a while - well Broken Hill at the moment!

To start our journey, we quickly made our way from Perth down the highway to Mandurah where we stopped by the waterside to have a picnic lunch. I (Steve) drove for a while from there and had no trouble other than my thigh starting to ache – practice, practice, practice!

After checking in at our very comfortable motel in Margaret River, we drove on down into Boranup Forest which was every bit as beautiful as we remembered. The following morning we made a repeat visit to Boranup Forest where the light was even better. There were also a few orchids to be found - Pink Fairy Orchids and some different Donkey Orchids.


The forest gobbled up more time than we had intended, so we hastened up the Caves Road and then down Metricup Road to find Woody Nook, an old favourite of ours. It has been expanded but retains its character. When I sat down, I looked through a window and saw a face that was very familiar – Les Cooper, former Director of IT when we were both at Lotteries. It was lovely for us to chat with him and his wife, daughter and grandson before tucking in to a delicious lunch. We felt duty bound to buy some wine and some Nooky Delight before we left. We also called in at Cowaramup, nicknamed "Cow Town", a name which the locals have taken to heart with cow statues being found all through the town!


From Margaret River, we detoured to Cape Leeuwin where there is a handsome lighthouse, just outside the small town of Augusta and enjoyed some wonderful scenery and the sight of masses of peppermint gums in flower along the nearby scenic route. The flowers are insignificant on their own but they form a mass of tiny flowers along the tree branches so that the tree looks as if it has snow on it. At one point, we looked down into a valley which was so thick with peppermint gums that there was a white 'thread' through it - quite spectacular.


Leaving the south-west corner, we weaved our way through countryside which some times looked like the parkland around a large English estate and at others reminded us of places we had seen in New Zealand. There had evidently been plenty of rain as everywhere was green and lush. We had a short break in a pretty little town, Nannup, before continuing to Bridgetown where we stayed three nights with Judith's cousin Judy and her husband, Bill. It was good to catch up with them again and we enjoyed the sweeping views from their hilltop house on the outskirts of the town. Judith enjoyed a misty morning walk with Judy while Bill and Steve sensibly remained abed! While with Bill & Judy, we visited Greenbushes where we were able to look down from a lookout point into the workings of a tantalum/lithium mine before enjoying a walk around Greenbushes Pool where we found five different orchids as we walked along the short path around the pool. We had a braai lunch in Balingup, another pretty little town and then went out to the Golden Valley Tree Park which hosts a superb collection of trees, still being added to. Unfortunately, I was unable to walk as far as I (and the others!) would have liked but where we did walk, it was delightful.


From Bridgetown, it was a short hop to Pemberton where we revisited a couple of cafes which were just as good as we remembered - just helping the local economy! Jet Set joined us at the Lavender and Berry Farm where he valiantly fought off silvereyes trying to steal our crumbs!
We also enjoyed a drive through Warren NP, stopping here and there for walks and photographs. Just outside the park we revisited the Marianne North Tree. Marianne North was a remarkable 19th century traveller and she arranged for a gallery to be built in Kew Gardens for her paintings to be displayed. Among the many, varied and colourful paintings is one of a karri tree with an enormous burl on its trunk, painted while Marianne was visiting Western Australia. The tree looks very healthy and should be around for many years yet. If you should visit Kew Gardens, the Marianne North Gallery is well worth a visit.


We set out for Mount Barker but deviated to Quinninup where we had a fond look at a house in the forest which used to owned by Mac & Sue who very kindly allowed us to stay there on several occasions, with and without them. From Quinninup we travelled along the Muir Highway, stopping at irregular intervals to search for orchids and other wildflowers, although we were not as fortunate this time as on our last trip when we found Flying Duck Orchids which are quite difficult to spot. There were, however, many colourful wildflowers in all shapes, colours and sizes. We reached Mount Barker and checked in at our B & B before taking a trip into the Porongorups. We had not allowed enough time for a really good revisit but it is a lovely area with good walks through the bush and, should you be so inclined, up onto the top of the rocks. We were not so inclined and did not have time!


Having fed the very large fish in the pond at the B & B, we drove up to the Stirling Range National Park which did not disappoint with a huge variety of plants including some which are special to the area. We managed to get some photographs but the weather was not very helpful being mainly overcast and quite windy. As with so much of our trip, we realise that in many places we simply do not have enough time to do as much as we would like so just have to thoroughly enjoy what we can see and do.


Posted by SteveJD 23:58 Archived in Australia

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Enjoying the blog of your travels and the beautiful pictures!

by Debbie Karius

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