We awoke to rain, heavy rain which lasted all morning and into the afternoon. The rain didn’t keep us from doing any of our planned activities and I have an exciting story related to the rain, but that will have to wait until later in the blog.
Our first destination this morning was Augusta, WA to see the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia, on the most south-western point of AU. We took the tour and learned of the history of this lighthouse as well as the role it played in AU history. We climbed 176 steps to the top where we stepped outside onto the walkway around the beacon and were met with strong winds and driving rain! Our perseverance was rewarded by some sightings of Southern Right Whales! This tip of AU is also where the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean come together and it was surprisingly easy to see where they met because the waves were coming in at two different angles and where they met there was wave chaos! Very Interesting!
After the lighthouse tour we had a long drive (about 250k) to the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, east of the town of Walpole. It continued to rain and rain and rain. There were some large puddles on the road but the traffic was light and I was able to get around them with no problem. Then we came to a road sign stating the the road was subject to flooding and sure enough we came around a turn and there was a river rushing across the road! There was about a foot of water flowing over the road surface and we could barely see the double white center line under the water! We pulled over to consider our options and there weren’t many! I had just passed 2 SUV’s with trailers and we decided to wait until they caught up with us to see how they handled the water. They slowed down and made it safely to the other side. We decided to give it a go and proceeded cautiously! It was crazy and I was very relieved when we got through. We continued on and a few miles later, there was more flooding. The water was not as deep as the first river, but this one had whitewater in it! I’m not making this stuff up-it was wild! I half expected to see a cow or sheep float by as the rivers were coming right off of farm fields! So, once again we watched the two SUV’s go through and then made our way safely across! Phew-I was exhausted and I had to pry off my fingers from the steering wheel!
We ate lunch in the town of Pemberton and Jim had a huge burger with The Lot. The Lot means everything and at this cafe that included cheese, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, bacon, BBQ sauce, and a fried egg! He loved it!
During our drive today we saw a field with wild emus in it! Not just one or two, but more than we could count as we whizzed by at 90kph. Sorry, no photo.
As we approached the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, the sun started to break through the clouds and the rain moved on. The Valley of the Giants refers to a forest of humongous Karri and Tingle trees and the AU version of the Dept. of Conservation built a tree top walk into the canopy of these majestic trees. The walkway climbs to 40 meters above the forest floor and it sways!! The scenery was beautiful but the swaying of the metal walkway messed with our minds. We both thought it was scarier than the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb, but that didn’t stop us from taking a second lap in the tree tops~it was that amazing! There was also a forest floor walk through these big, beautiful trees which we did and enjoyed. The Tingle trees and the Karri trees are only found in this area and biologists are still researching how large they might grow.
Tonight we are staying in a youth hostel in Walpole. They have great Internet as evidenced by the fact that we could accept Corey’s FaceTime call!
Tomorrow we return to Perth, but not before searching out some more crashing waves!