8. Day 6: Walpole

Walpole

This morning I made a distinct effort to be up for the sunrise. This is when I found that it was rather cold outside. In my long pants and jacket, I headed back West of the town to a lookout I had seen on the way in.

With still some time before sunrise, I continued on to explore along a gravel track called Tinglewood Road. At sunrise I was at this vantage point overlooking Deep River, as it feeds into the Nornalup Inlet.

Nornalup Inlet
Rest Point
Back at the lookout, I took this photo while the sun was still low in the sky. In the print it didn't look that great as there was a complete loss of detail of the sky. In this rescan from the negative it looks a lot more interesting.

The kitchen at the hostel wasn't to be open until 7am, so I did some more driving around before breakfast, so I could head directly east after that.

One spot I visited was this beach at Rest Point. It is quite close to Walpole, and really peaceful at that time. I think the photo looks somewhat better than in real life though. On the way in I saw a few kangaroos, but they didn't want to stop to have their photos taken.

From Hilltop Rd.
After some breakfast, I went along hilltop road to the North of the town, to see the forest up there. The picture shown is from a vantage point at the side of the road, looking out to the Southern Ocean.

Giant Tingle
One of the attractions along Hilltop Road is the Giant Tingle Tree. This is amongst the Tingle forest up in the hills. The Tingle, like the Karri, is a form of Eucalypt. The Tingle has a rougher, redder trunk, wheras the Karri tends to have light coloured, long straight trunks. The Karri forests, like in Pemberton, tended to be more elegant, whereas with the Tingles of Walpole you have to more appreciate the roughness and strange shapes.

The Giant Tingle is indeed pretty big. I didn't even try to get a picture showing the height, but here you can see the width of the base. Quite amazing really.

Travelling deeper into the forest, I came to Circular Pool, which is on the Frankland River. It was interesting to see the water passing around the rocks in the morning light, so I took a bit of a walk around there. Just like at the giant tingle tree, there didn't seem to be anyhow else around at that hour.

Frankland R.
Circular Pool itself is a quiet pool below the other rocky areas. There was quite a bit of foam on the surface, from the upsteam currents over the rocks.

Heading back out, I realised that I was caught with the one-way roads in the region, and had to go back west past Walpole again. Just a few minutes detour I guess..


Denmark

Valley of the Giants
Tree-top Walk
The tourist promotion material makes a big thing of the Valley of the Giants, and the Tree-Top Walk that it contains. So with that, like I good tourist, I fulfilled my duty. It is somewhat East of Walpole, but on the way on to Albany. The name reminds me of the Valley of the Gods, which is a very spectacular area I came across in the deserts of the USA, but this is quite different.

The tree-top walk is a steel walkway structure suspended up to the level of the tree tops. To me it was more impressive from an engineering point of view than for the view that it afforded. As an experience, I preferred the Gloucester Tree climb in Pemberton. In a way, this is really the tree-climbing substitute for the less youthful or less fit.

There was also an adjacent walk through the forest constructed, from where this second picture came. It was interesting, but it felt constructed more than natural and didn't leave me breathless.


Elephant Rocks
Up closer
By the time I was finished with the Valley of the Giants, I could see that time was slipping away from me, and there was still a lot of travelling to do that day. I was also conscious that I was getting low on film.

Heading on to the town of Denmark I took the time to turn off to the tourist route to Greens Pool. I'm glad I did, because that is where the Elephant Rocks are. I had heard of the rocks, but only knew that they were somewhere near Denmark.

Greens pool is a peaceful and pretty pool in the rocks by the ocean, but the nearby Elephant Rocks are just spectacular. They are big, they are round and the water is clear and green. I went for a bit of a walk around here, admiring the effect. It was certainly good to have nice weather at that point in the trip.

This final picture gives a feel for the scale of the rocks, against person height. In retrospect I could have tried to do some camera trickery to make it look even bigger, but no I didn't do that.

Denmark River
Finally, I came to the town of Denmark. I was interested to see this place for the sake of its name. I have some Danish heritage myself - the country that is - so now I can say I've been to Denmark, just not the Northern one.

I stopped here to do a little bit of shopping, including a scrubbing sponge thing which I would use to clean the rest of the dirt off the car from the Kalbarri experience.

I spent a bit of time wandering around the town and river bank. It was the first time recently that I had come across this type of green and almost European look. Midday was looming though, and there was still Albany to reach before the return trip to Perth.


Albany

Albany
I had spent more time sightseeing in the morning than I had budgeted, so there wasn't a lot of time left to see Albany in. The first thing I did was to find the centre of the town, and found some more film to bolster my dwindling supplies. With that in hand, I didn't have further inhibitions about taking pictures, so it was time to see some more sights.

From Mt Melville
Albany is surrounded by hills, Mt Melville to the West, and Mt Clarence to the East. It is possible to drive to the top of both of these, to get a good view over the area. I tried Mt. Melville first, as it was closer to where I was. It's a good view from the top of this mountain, over the town and the water.

Up the other side, on Mt clarence, I arrived at about the same time as a tour group bus. Still, they didn't obstruct the view back over the city from the other side.

There is another hill further to the East, with a fort museum on it, but I didn't take the time and money to look at it. Descending the hills, I started to follow the coast road around to the East. This was quite spectacular out over King George Sound. I came across some people there whale spotting.

At that time I also remembered about the Gap, and I asked someone about it's location. Time was short, but I did then travel down to the Southern Ocean to take a look at it.


Natural Bridge
The Gap
So here is the Gap. There is a narrow gap between the cliff-faces on each side where the waves come in. It was quite a spectacular sight to see the power of the water in the waves. It wasn't even a particularly rough day at the time either, and I could imagine that it could be quite something in a storm. I don't know how close I'd want to get under those conditions though.

Right next to the Gap is the Natural Bridge. This is really quite a big natural rock bridge, and again has waves passing under it. To see the scale, there are a couple of people out on it. On a calm day you would be able climb down under the bridge, but it would be a rather dangerous thing to do.

With my time all spent up, it was time to head on North back to Perth. By now it was around 2pm, and there was around another four hours of driving to do.

I filled up with fuel and started the drive. It wasn't long before I was starting to feel tired though, and I stopped to have some lunch, finishing off my loaf of bread. I also worked on the car cleaning during the rest of the breaks I took from driving.

Along this section of road, I came across quite a number of road trains. There weren't a lot of overtaking lanes either, so that offered some overtaking challenges. Finally, I drove into Perth shortly after sunset. Dinner consisted of my left-over food, including my emergency can of baked beans that I bought in Geraldton, and some more from by bag of pasta.

From South Perth

After dinner, I took a drive up to Kings Park to have a look over the city at night. After that, I drove around to South Perth. On the previous trip, I had been there in the morning, but now I had the opportunity to see the lights across the river. In the foreground there are a number of catamarans lined up along the river bank.

That concluded the final full day in Western Australia. After that it was time for some sleep ready for the trip home.

Next Page... Day 7: Perth