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From Ravensthorpe to Esperance

Slowly heading east

sunny 25 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Back to Oz on SteveJD's travel map.

We started to travel roads that were completely new to us as we made our way eastwards to Ravensthorpe. The paintings on the grain silos which show the 6 stages of life of Banksia baxterii were irresistible for the photographer in us - they were truly fascinating and a really good use of what would otherwise be a bit of an eyesore. After an abortive attempt to get into the Fitzgerald River National Park via dirt roads, we finally succeeded on sealed roads just north of Hopetoun. Among the star plants were the Royal Hakea which has brilliantly-hued leaves but insignificant flowers (as far as we could see!) and the Qualup Bell. Sadly we did not bring a flower book with us other than a small volume which covers only some of the flowers that we saw - hence the usual lack of names! It would have been wonderful to have been able to see the rest of the park as what we did see was so different and the park is renowned for its variety of flora and fauna - maybe another time. We had a light snack in Hopetoun, a delightful small coastal town, before continuing to Esperance.

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There was only a short time to explore the town and waterfront before Dave & Pat (my brother and his wife) joined us, having come from Balladonia. We had a few days together before they headed west to Albany and we headed east to Balladonia. Our first day together saw us taking a morning drive on the Great Ocean Drive and we could just see through the murk how lovely the coastline is here but we had to go out again in the afternoon when the rain stopped, the sun shone and the temperature rose a degree or two to really gain a clear picture of the beauty of the coast here! It truly is a beautiful coastline with sparkling, clear, waters in several shades of blue - too cold to swim in as yet though! In the evening we all took a walk along the Esplanade as far as the Whale Tail monument, a reminder of the whaling industry which forms such an important part of Esperance's past.

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Luckily the weather gods were kinder on our last day with Dave & Pat as it was a lovely sunny and warm day - ideal for a drive to Cape le Grand National Park. On the way, we visited WA's own Stonehenge - a farming couple had taken on the task of erecting a life size replica, using 2.500 tonnes of local granite - an amazing feat which they completed in 2011. The result is apparently how Stonehenge would have looked in 1950BC.

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When we reached the national park, we stopped at Le Grand Bay where we shared our picnic lunch spot with a large kangaroo. After lunch we called in at Hellfire Bay where we spotted a handsome goanna as we made our way down to the beach. Pat opted for a post-lunch rest while the rest of us wandered along the beach. We stopped to look at Frenchman's Peak on our way from Hellfire Bay to Lucky Bay and found some lovely little trigger plants. These have a coiled 'spring' in the middle of the flower and when an insect alights, it gets dotted with pollen as the trigger is activated. At Lucky Bay we had coffee on the beach before backtracking to Thistle Bay which was a very rocky bay with far less white sand beach or, at least, less easily accessible. Although all of the beaches were beautiful and the sea as clear as glass, we were still not tempted to take a dip in the Southern Ocean!. Later on we made a return visit to Lucky Bay where Judith traipsed along the beach to see one of the kangaroos actually on the beach (they apparently come down to drink from freshwater streams). The rest of us were content with a mother with a joey in her pouch and another young 'roo, all three of which were quite unconcerned at the attention they drew just by the car park. In the evening, Dave & Pat treated us to an excellent meal at a nearby Chinese restaurant as an early birthday present for Steve.

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Posted by SteveJD 05:33 Archived in Australia

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