7. Day 5: Augusta

Naturaliste

I couldn't really get an early start because the hostel office didn't open for a checkout until 8am. Still, until then I went for a bit of a walk around Bunbury and back up to the lookout.

One of the tourist attractions of Bunbury is that there are dolphins that come up to the beach. It seems a better place to meet with dolphins than the more publicised Monkey Mia, as it is less restrictive. I didn't wait around for a sighting though, as I had places to go that day.

Busselton Pier
Toward the south, I had a look around Busselton, and this is a picture of the start of the 2km long Busselton Pier. The pier was interesting to see, but it didn't get me excited enough to pay the fee to walk out along it. The buildings out on the water do have an interesting look to them though.

It was in Busselton that I finalised the remainder of my travel itiniary, cancelling the trip that I had previously booked to Rottnest Island, and choosing instead to push on to Albany the following day.

Point Naturaliste
Continuing on to the West around Geographe Bay, I passed through Dunsborough and onto Point Naturaliste. There is a lighthouse here, and a number of walking trails through the coastal scrub. I didn't walk up to the lighthouse, but I did take a walk around the coast.

It took longer and gave more exercise than I expected, but there were some interesting things to see. When I came to one lookout there, I found a number of people whale-spotting. After a bit of watching, I managed to see a couple of tails in the air. Without magnification aids, they were pretty small though, and not within the realms of my fixed focal length camera.

Margaret River
As I was going past, I had to stop off at Margaret River, which is a well known surfing spot. The surfing might be great at times, but it wasn't all that great for scenery in my opinion.

There were quite a few people hanging around the beach when I was there, but there didn't seem to be a lot in the way of waves, or even surfers in the water for that matter.


Augusta

Forest
Travelling along the Caves Road south to Augusta, I came across this grove of Karri trees. As I drove into the valley it was quite spectacular, and I found a place to stop for a better view. I also took the opportunity to have some lunch. I was still living off my one loaf of bread that I had bought back in Geraldton. It was lasting quite well.

Along this section of coast, there were number of caves that could be visited. On some you could even take a self-guided expedition. My schedule didn't have time for it however.


Water Wheel
Arriving in Augusta, I took the road out to Flinders Bay and Cape Leeuwin. This did feel a bit like the end of the country, being right down in a south-west corner. There are places further south and places further west though - but just not both at once.

The first picture shows an old water-wheel. This used water from an aqueduct to supply water to the lighthouse keeper. Because it was below the level of the lighthouse, the wheel also acted as a pump. So most of the water was used for hydro power, and only a small amount actually made it to the destination.


Cape Leeuwin

Another view, looking south down Cape Leeuwin. Apparently this is where two oceans meet: the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean. As far as I could see though, it just looked like one big cold body of water..

Augusta itself didn't strike me with a great interest, so I continued on Eastbound to find the big timber district.

Brockman Hwy

Back along the highway, this was another area that struck me for it's lack of beauty. It had a very scrubby and dry look to it. Quite a far cry from the tall Karri trees which I had already glimpsed, and was yet to encounter. But still, that very ugliness was spectacular in itself.


Admiring the Flowers
Ah, finally an opportunity to show my sensitive an caring side.. These were some flowers I found at a stop along the road. There were often small clumps of flowers at the roadside in these parts. In the main part they wren't worthy of photos though.


Pemberton

As I approached the Pemberton area, the trees became bigger an straighter. I first came to a turnoff down to The Beedelup falls in the Beedelup National Park. There is a short walk through here, with a couple of bridges across the river. The suspension bridge was rather wobbly, so that was interesting. On the way out I saw the sign saying that you had to pay the national park entry fee of 9 to enter the area. That was ok seeing as I had the four week pass anyhow.


Warren River
Continuing on, I took the turnoff down Old Vasse Road. This was a gravel road with signs saying it was the way to the Bicentennial Tree, and other senic sights. Along the way, I turned off down slow senic track which took me along the Warren River. The river wasn't visible from the track all that often though.

At the time I didn't have a decent map of the area, so I didn't really know where I was going. As the loop road wandered on, I was a bit worried that I could get lost. Fortunately there weren't many side roads, and the way back was clear. I later got a map from the tourist office in Pemberton, which made things clearer.

Cascades
When I reached the end of the track by the river, I took the direction of Pemberton from the sign. In doing so I just missed the Bicentennial Tree, which was a short distance in the other direction. It is one of the trees you can climb to the top of, but I later came to another one, the Gloucester Tree.

Back on the blacktop of the Pemberton-Northcliffe Road, my next turnofff was to a place called the cascades. The name sounded interesting, and it was only a few kilometres of sidetrack. This is where the Lefroy Brook runs over some rocks. On the other side of the brook, there is a stop on the tramway which runs down from Pemberton.


Pemberton
This is another picture of the cascades. I tried to get in a bit closer to the water this time, and the result seems quite effective.

Back on the main road, I finally came to Pemberton just before 5pm. From this approach it looked to be a nice town in the forest. It reminded me a little of a place called "Pine" in the hills of Arizona. Not that the vegetation was the same, but just my impression.

Gloucester Tree
After my short visit to the tourist office, I found the location of the Gloucester Tree, which is one of the trees that were made climbable for use in fire-spotting many years ago. It is around 60 metres tall, and open for the public to climb. There is a chain of steel rods driven into the trunk of the tree, so it becomes much like climbing a long ladder.

At the top, there is an observation platform where a few people can stand. It took me about four minutes to climb to the top, and was surprised how quickly it came up. From the ground it looks a long way up, but really it's no worse, in terms of effort, than climbing the stairs of a 15 story building. You don't want to let go though, because it's a long way down.

After climbing the tree, I took a bit of a walk through the forest trails in the area, for a kilometre or so. By then the sun was getting pretty low, and I had yet to organise accommodation for that night.

I was thinking of staying in Pemberton, but I made the decision to go on to Walpole to get a bit further ahead for the next day. It would mean missing seeing some areas due to darkness, but it would shorten the rather long following day.


Vineyard
At the time of the sunset, I stopped near this vineyard. The colours were quite interesting with the clouds, and the green of the fields.

There was light for a lot of the trip to Walpole, but by the end it was rather dark. There was a full moon, but it was behind clouds at times. I tried taking one photo with a long exposure at a lookout near Walpole, but I didn't get anything out of it.

Overnight at Walpole it got rather cold, and that was despite being fairly close to the coast.


Next Page... Day 6: Walpole