Travel Blog: Week 20

Australia Week 20: 25.03.2013 – 31.03.2013 Monday:- Dragged myself out of bed about 8:30, so by then the house was empty. In true couch potato style wanted to watch TV whilst having breakfast – I could have too if I hadn’t of lent on the remote and somehow switched off the satellite. No connection. No TV. Hey ho. Did laundry and stuff – you know those things that take time but you have nothing to show for your efforts. Off to

Australia

Week 20: 25.03.2013 – 31.03.2013

Monday:-

Dragged myself out of bed about 8:30, so by then the house was empty. In true couch potato style wanted to watch TV whilst having breakfast – I could have too if I hadn’t of lent on the remote and somehow switched off the satellite. No connection. No TV. Hey ho.

Did laundry and stuff – you know those things that take time but you have nothing to show for your efforts.

Off to do grocery shopping. These days I’m not very efficient – not only don’t I know my way around the stores but I also start daydreaming and it takes me hours to fill a basket. Oh, the life of the unemployed. Home to cook dinner. Spaghetti, ham on toast for Ewan and curry, but with extra bonus samosas AND mango chutney for everyone else. (Ange and Nige what are you going to do without your au pair). Nigel fixed the TV – phew!

Tomorrow I was going to Bunbury with Rachael (one of Nigel’s work friends) and I needed to pack, and better than I did when I went to Exmouth. I concentrated this time. Unlike home it’s warmer in the North than it is in the South. It rained all night in Perth so chances were it would be chilly down south. I packed as best I could.

Tuesday:-

Getting up a 6am is a shocker even when you go to bed early. I finished my last minute packing and Ange took me to the station – bless her little cottons! I was to meet Rachael at Warwick station at 7:30 – I made it with time to spare. It was still pissing it down with rain and it was cold, hence the need for long sleeves and long trousers. Unheard of so far on my trip. Rachael arrived, along with back seat pooch. It was stop, start out of the city but then the roads opened up and it was smooth sailing. Easy conversation all the way into Bunbury meant the time flew by.

Rachael gave me a quick tour around Bunbury then dropped me at the information centre. A helpful lady made some accommodation suggestions and I was soon on my way to the ‘Wander Inn’. Usually there are no checking before 4pm but I was lucky and got checked in straight away.

  

It meant I could dump my bag and be free-er to roam around. It was overcast here, and a little chilly, but there were signs that the sun was starting to make an appearance. It WAS getting warmer! As I was close to the observation tower I climbed that first and got a good 360 view of the town.

  

    

I could also just make out the Dolphin Discovery Centre which was my next stop. My backpacker accommodation got me 50% off entry – bargain. The walk along the coast was interesting and I soon arrived at the Centre.

  

  

I checked out the interaction area and got chatting to one of the volunteers from Ireland, here studying marine biology. No dolphins though – apparently the early morning is the best time to see them. Note to self for tomorrow! The discovery centre was small but fabulous. A few tanks with fish, octopus and a turtle but sadly some pictures and stories of the damage human trash causes the wildlife.

  

  

When will we learn – seriously! My day pass allows me back 2 more times for free so I need to make the most of that. You can swim with the dolphins here – they are wild so there are no guarantees they’ll appear but what an opportunity. And the movie they had playing on a loop was of some of the experiences people have had here. Awesome!

I walked back to the town via the scenic route on the mangrove boardwalk. I’m momentarily back in the mangroves – memories of Belize are everywhere.

    

  

  

    

I stopped at a place called Henry’s for lunch – marvellous butternut squash soup. I wiled away the afternoon making use of the wifi. I then wandered around the town and bought some groceries for the morning. Free breakfast was provided at the backpackers but not until 8 and Rachael had offered to take me on a road trip tomorrow and we were leaving at 7:30.

  

  

I went back to the hostel and dumped my stuff before heading back into town for cheap Tuesday cinema – oh, memories of senior screen!! “A good day to die hard” – a thoroughly mind expanding movie. It was a cheap night and only cost 11 bucks – usually $18, about £12. And I thought it was pricey at home!

I had 15 mins before the film started and another 15 of previews. Just enough time to nip across the road for a quick take away at Noodler. You get a lot for your money. More than I could eat in the time I had so wrapped up the leftovers and stuff them into my bag. I got a seat and saw a couple of previews before the film. It was super cheesy, even for die hard standards, but I thoroughly enjoyed the gratuitous violence and dry Bruce Willis humour. Back to the hostel for a shower and bed. My roomy, an American – a rare beast in this country, had found a man for the night and had snuck in his room. I had the place to myself although there was plenty of partying going on outside my window.

Wednesday:-

Not the best nights sleep but it was a place to lay my head.

Got up early to meet Rachael for our road trip. I walked down to Henry’s which gave me the chance to log into their wifi and check on emails.

Rachael picked me up and we made a quick detour to the dolphin centre beach – if we were going to see them it would be in the morning. Sadly no luck today. Back in the car and we were off.

First stop was a little unexpected. We passed an enormous tree with pairs and pairs of shoes of all sizes and styles nailed to it. No explanation!!!!

    

  

Our true destination was Gloucester Tree. A huge Karri tree with 125 metal stakes set into it like steps. I’m not sure how but I followed Rachael the 60 something meters to the top – I took a lot of deep breathes I can tell you and that loose peg got the heart pumping. What a view though!

  

  

  

  

    

Next stop was the Valley of the Giants tree top walk. Giant Tingle trees.

  

We got there at just the right time. 2pm was the final free guided tour. There were 6 of us with Paul the guide. He told us about the Red and Yellow Tingles – did you know that although they grow to 80+ meters the roots only grow 1 meter down and 2 meters out. Amazing! The tour was about half an hour long with just the right amount of science and humour.

    

  

    

  

    

Now for the walkway in the tree top canopy. Another amazing fact this thing was mostly installed by hand. No mean feat as it was 40 meters at it highest point. It was quite the experience as it swayed a fair amount when there were a few people on it.

  

  

    

It was definitely by day for challenging my vertigo. A quick jaunt along the Bibbulmun Track, which is marked by a snake in a yellow triangle, for good measure (Rachel and her Dad had once walked this c1000km trail in 8 weeks – pretty impressive) and then back in the car for the 3+ hour journey to Margaret River – it’s a town, as well as a river and a district.

  

    

We stocked up on sarnies and anzac biscuits at a lovely little family run bakery. As the light faded we saw Emus, Kangaroos, Owls and a Kookaburra. By the time we reached Busselton it was late and Margaret River was still 90 mins away and then Rachael’s home in Bunbury was another 40. I decided to stay the night in Busselton instead of Margaret river.

We found the backpackers and after a few moments of negotiating with the stoned owner I checked in.

This was the most bizarre place I have ever stayed. The dorm was a 4 share and mixed which was unexpected and there was no key – people just came and went even if they weren’t staying in the room. It was mostly Germans and all with a very weird sense of humour – everything I said and did seemed to make them laugh. The bathroom was weird too – no lock and one big room with one toilet and two showers (not sure how that works). I was invited to watch a movie in the common area but cold eventually drove me to bed. I had been in shorts all day and it had been chilly most of the day.

Tomorrow was another day.

Thursday:-

I did actually sleep but I still think there were some weird goings on in the room that night. When I woke up one of the girls and the guy were in the same single bed. I tiptoed out of the room around 7, washed (I survived the bathroom experience), changed and headed out to consider the day. Lots of options had been suggested and I wanted to check them out at the info centre. I stopped at Woollies to buy breakfast and camped out alongside a little inlet to eat it – my audience was of course seagulls. The info centre was helpful but the trip to Margaret River was tricky on timings and there were no tours of cave road. I decided to stay local for the day.

  

I went back to the hostel to pay for an extra night. No sign of Sam the owner. It was so laid back here I just left my bag on my bed and continued my day. I’d pay later. I went to the beach. It was warming up and I sat on a wall absorbing the sunshine and reading. I’d looked at the 2km pier for an hour or so – time to walk it. $2.5 got me on it and it took me a while as I chatted to the fishermen and women dotted along the way and dodged the incredibly high speed train (hope you picked up on the sarcasm there). It was pretty chilly so I cheated and got the train back (Lauren – not the same without someone to pull faces at!).

  

    

  

  

    

Hunger drove me back to Woolies and I got myself a little beach picnic. Again the seagulls, lots of them, joined me.


It was whilst contemplating the meaning of life over lunch that I decided not to stay another night at this backpackers. Rachael very kindly agreed to come and get me and take me back to Bunbury – I loved it there. She dropped me back at the Wander Inn just after 6 and I was soon checked into the same room and same bed. I felt much more at home. Even my roomy was the same, although another lady joined us that evening.

  

  

I washed and changed. Tonight I was going to find a bar. I found one, the Rose Hotel, and had a pint of cider (James Squire) – get me! It came with free wifi which was just as well as the place was empty. I drank up and was just about to leave when a guy joined me at the bar and after some convincing (me not him) bought me a drink. We then checked out another local bar and played pool all evening. Well he played, I just seemed to knock the balls around the table.

I wanted to get up early tomorrow so called it a night around 11. Back to my homely dorm room. The new lady was already tucked up in bed.

Friday:-

I was up and out by 7:30. I really hoped I’d get to see the dolphins this morning. I picked a spot on the beach an read while I waited. 8 o’clock, 8:05, 8:10…..I could be here all day. I would give it 5 more minutes. I was absorbed in my book when the bell rand. A dolphin, a dolphin!! We were allowed to get thigh deep into the water as long as we all stood in a line. The dolphin – a 6 year old female – came right into the shallows within a foot of us, turned on her side and looked us all in the eye. She was so playful. What an experience. Happy I headed back along the scenic route (to be honest it’s all scenic).

  

  

    

  

Free breakfast turned out to be toast and Vegemite – fine by me. I also had the last of my yog and cereal. I packed and checked out managing to leave my backpack locked away in a locker. Today my, well Ewan’s, phone ran out of credit I spent the best part of the morning and early afternoon trying to find a way to top it up. As I didn’t own the phone, or an australian credit card I couldn’t do it automatically. In the end I contacted Ange and she saved the day. The rest of the day I spent walking the beach side of Bunbury.

A lovely sunny day. Lunch was the picnic left over from yesterday, thanks to the fridge facilities in the hostel. I paddled in the ocean, collected shells and read. I really do love it here.

  

    

I booked the 6:30 bus to Perth and so picked up my bag from the locker around 6. Sadly, today I realised I no longer had my lovely ‘Sarteneja’ bracelet that Kate had given me in Belize. I asked at the hostel in case someone had found it – nope, maybe I’d find it tucked somewhere. Fingers crossed.

The bus station was deserted. I hope I was in the right place a the right time! Phew the bus arrived and I got on. Bonus a movie and free wifi. That helped wile away the 2 hours until Perth.

Matthew picked me up from Perth which was lucky as the trains weren’t running as usual over Easter. So after walking from the bus station to the train station, where I was told the trains were out of action, walking back to the bus station to catch a bus which would arrive in 30 mins I decided to walk to the next station. I, in true Louise Wainwright fashion, got lost. Thank goodness for Matt who found me and took me home.

Saturday:-

I had a very lazy morning and was expecting the same of the afternoon but Ange and Nigel were taking Gareth to football and were passing through the city. I decided to grab a lift and they dropped me off on the way through.

Perth never seems to be really busy even on a Saturday afternoon. I had a wander around the shops, grabbed a very late take away lunch and headed for the park. That’s where I stayed for an hour or so, sitting in the sunshine reading my book.

The journey home was eventful as the trains were still disrupted by the Easter break. The train station staff directed me to a different bus station and I waited in line for the Leederville train. Fortunately it turned up after about 5 minutes and I was soon whisked away to Leederville. A short walk over the highway bridge to the station. In no time I was in Joondalup where I got off to buy groceries. Or so I thought. Early Easter closing. Back on the train to Currambine and home.

I had the place to myself tonight as the family had all gone into Perth to watch a footie match – anyone on Ange’s Facebook will see the photo.

It was Saturday night and I was home alone. So I had dinner in front of the box and an early night. Another road trip tomorrow.

Sunday:-

Matthew picked me up early and we were soon off down the Kwinana Highway towards Margaret River. Would I get there this time?

The weather was fantastic and the roads, despite being Easter Sunday, were quiet. Radio and shades on – what more could you ask for! We’d broken the back of journey when we reached Bunbury and stopped briefly to pick up a tourist map. Onto Busselton where we bought lunch at a Woolworths that was actually open and walked along the beach (the opposite direction to where I’d spent an afternoon a few days before) to find a spot to pig out for lunch. Full to bursting we dozed on the beach and had a quick paddle in the ocean before continuing on along Caves Road. There are a number of caves in this area but we only saw the signs for one.

We carried on along the road to Yallingup, apparently there were all sorts of arts and crafts here. Well we blinked and missed Yallingup. It was sooooo small. The beach was fantastic though so we stopped to walk it and do a little rock pooling.

  

We turned back along the coast road and did find an art exhibition. We browsed for about 20 minutes and I bought a small piece of original art for about the price of a cinema ticket.

Travelling back along the road we pulled into the place of the Ngilgi cave. Sadly, it was only open for another 40 minutes and quiet expensive so we didn’t go in just had a little walk around. We did make it to the peninsular though. A prime place for whale spotting. Just not today. What a view though – quite breathtaking.

  

  

Last stop was Dunsborough. It seemed like a really fun place but because it was Easter most of it was closed up. Luckily for us we found ice cream before getting back in the car and heading home. It was gone 6 and we had at least a 3 hour journey ahead.

The sunset was amazing but it was dark before we knew it and so we were on high kangaroo alert. They move around a night but don’t seem to worry about the roads – evidence of that is the amount of roadkill you can see along the tree lined routes. Anyway, we should have been more alert to the police too. Matthew got pulled over and booked. Why I hear you ask? Because he didn’t dip his headlights quickly enough to oncoming traffic. You think I’m kidding. No, he got a $100 fine and 1 point. Crazy!!!

We eventually got home and just crashed. It had been a long but very enjoyable day, but we still never made it to Margaret River!!!!

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