Writing this at Mamjimup, which is about 300 km SW of Perth. We got here from Busselton via Dunsborough, Margaret River, Cape Leeuwin (the point where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet), Pemberton and Northcliffe (guess I should work out how to mark our route on a map and upload it to the blog - there again, you can just Google these places!).
Highlights have been:
- Meelup beach, a little corker - on the road between Dunsborough and Cape Naturaliste. So tranquil that we just lazed on the beach for a couple of hours reading our books. Nice to be able to make such choices, huh
- Margaret River - smart, trendy town, good feel to it. Jen was intent on checking our galleries. Well, at the first one, we saw some magnificent wood furniture and ended up buying some stools for new house ... gulp, that tore a big chunk out of the budget right there, so no more galleries that day (by mutual consent), AND for rest of the trip (that bit is still to be negotiated). But, the wood design and finish was something else.
- Cape Leeuwin - spectacular coast line scenery and historic old buildings. Weather was super while we were there - apparently this is rare!
- the karri forests of Pemberton area (1200-1400 mm rainfall). These are big eucalypts (not to be confused with the NZ kauri), they grow very straight with few branches and produce magnificent hardwood. Hence very sought-after in the early days of development of WA. Now there are large tracts of virgin forest protected in national parks which is great. The Gloucester tree (thanks Geoff and Sue for the tip) was used as a forest fire look-out for many years. The platform is 61 m above ground level. I climbed it (which is a bit surprising since I am not good with heights normally!), Jen didn't (sook!).
- at the little town of Northcliffe (the southern-most point of our WA sojourn) there is an excellent Forest Sculpture Walk (called 'Understory'). This is a series of commissioned and free-form sculptures in all sorts of materials and themes by mostly WA artists, telling different stories about the forest. Really well set-up, with an audio track to accompany the walk which has the artists explaining the idea behind their sculptures, and how they made them. Good stuff, highly recommended if you find your way to these parts.
Tomorrow we head north to visit friends at Northam east of Perth (and celebrate Jen's birthday!). Then further north from there - apparently it is quite a long way to the top, still ....