July 14, 2013
Margaret River, Western Australia
After a night in Perth, we got into our rental car, mounted Sheila on the front window ( wait a minute, that sounds bad, we attached Sheila to the front window) and headed south to see what South-west Australia had to offer.
After driving about an hour and a half, we came to the small, ocean-side town of Busselton, which is famous for its jetty. What makes this jetty so noteworthy is that is extends out into the ocean for more than a mile! The jetty no longer serves the marine and fishing industries and it was renovated in 2011 and today is a tourist attraction. We paid $2.50 each to walk on the jetty and it was worth it. Rain had moved in just as we arrived in Busselton, but part way out the jetty, the rain stopped and the sun almost came out. One highlight on this jetty walk was that the old wooden pier was still in the water in places next to the new pier. On one of these original pier pieces we saw 2 baby seagulls! Mom and Dad were standing pretty close too. We are a bit worried because on our walk back, there were no seagulls on this pier. Where did the babies go? We are hoping that they were old enough to fly away. We enjoyed our jetty walk and took a quick loop through the Sunday Market that was set up in a near-by park. We got a good deal on 4 apples and 2 oranges.
We continued along a road that followed the curve of the coast, driving through a small national park that protects a small stand of Tuart trees, a type of eucalyptus tree. This is one of the last places these trees can be found. They were tall trees with mottled bark of light and dark brown.
Our next stop was at Cape Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. There is a lighthouse here, but the big attraction is the trails that lead across wind-swept dunes to limestone cliffs and rocky beaches. We spent a lot of time here, taking photos and just watching wave after wave crash into the various rock formations. It is mezmorizing! By being on the beach we got a sense of the power of these large waves. Click here to see a video of the surf!
The hike also took us to a platform high above the ocean for whale-watching. We were here too early in the whale migration to see them. They come through this area September to November.
After the hike, we decided to do what most people do,when they come to the Margaret River area and that is visit some of the many wineries. Over 100 wineries call this area home and Jim was able to find a winery that also brewed its own beer! We made a stop there and I had a glass of wine and Jim had a pint of beer. Perfect!
As the daylight hours were waining, we decided to drive to one more beach to check out the crashing waves! We weren’t disappointed with the view at Ellenbrook Beach and the waves were rolling in and breaking on the shoreline rocks. On the drive into this beach, all of a sudden Jim spotted big kangaroos in a field on the side of the road. I quickly pulled off the road so we could see them better. We discovered 3 fields with hundreds of Roos having their evening meal in these fields! They did not like us being there, and we were not very close, but they took off, hopping away, which was very cool to see!
Click here to see lots of hopping!
We arrived at the Margaret River Hotel in the dark, so we made the most of our day. The woman at the hotel, who checked us in, gave us a free upgrade because she thought Jim looked like a “tall lad” who might like a larger bed!
Tomorrow we will start our day by going to the most south-western tip of Australia in the town of Augusta. We will then drive east to a rainforest tree top walk.
We had a bit of rain today, but nothing to get in our way. The sun was in and out and the high temperature was about 20 degrees C, about 68 F. And when we were by the ocean the wind was blowing big time!