Friday, May 22, 2009

My Lucky Stars

So yes once again I am totally the lucky one! Had a wonderful 10 days down in the SW corner of Oz - great weather, great beaches, huge trees, spectacular scenery and wine tastings as well!

Left here on Sunday May 10. After leaving Peter's place I cycled along the Swan river (which seems more like an estuary) to the bus station in East Perth. Along the way there was a pod of dolphin really close to the path.
I watched the dolphins for a while and tried to get a good photo of a dolphin leaping with the city in the background but that wasn't so successful! Anyway got some pictures of a fin and the city!

I took a bus to Busselton about 4 hours south of Perth. Saw my first kangaroo on the way from the bus though actually since then I have seen lots though some were dead beside the road. Apparently they are a big problem at night just like the deer in Canada.
The bus/train system is impressive with helpful drivers and clean comfortable coaches, no hassles about taking my bike and no need to take wheels off etc -
Got there and went to the Backpacker I had booked into which was actually not very nice!
Anyway I survived and left the next day for Dunsborough which was just down the road and I checked in there and had a room to myself and only 2 other people staying there so that was lovely!
Went off to explore Cape Naturaliste which is the lighthouse at the north end of the Cape - There is a walking track from Cape to Cape which would be good to do as well -
Next day cycled down to Margaret River - stopped in Yallingup and watched the surfers in this tourquise water on this beautiful beach - the "Caves Road" which is one I took down to Augusta was rather narrow had to ride on the white line and only earth shoulders - anyway fortunately not much traffic and just undulating - a lovely ride into Margaret River - Along the way while I was going through the National forest I heard bagpipes being played - so stopped and went back to explore - found a chap playing away so had a nice chat with him and he piped me back to my bike!
Got to stay at a new Backpacker in Margaret River that was very decent - the town was pretty - a bit more upmarket than most around there in fact quite touristy with the wine industry as the major draw. So I booked on a 1/2 day wine tour and went to visit 4 boutique wineries and taste all sorts as well as visiting chocolate and nuts places - it was a good day out and we went though some lovely farmland and forests.

Left the next day and moved to another backpacker at Prevally Bay out on the coast about 15km from Margaret River and stayed at another really super nice place - stopped on the way at a big winery "Voyageur" which has lovely gardens - lots of roses - so chatted to one of the the horticulturalists and had coffee on the terrace and then a little wine tasting. All very civilized -

They were burning the ungrowth under the trees all over the place so the air was quite full of smoke. Went down to Augusta, about 40km south - stopped at the Jewel Caves which were spectacular - 850,000 years old - apparently quite recent in cave years - discovered just 50 years ago and with long "straws" hanging down from the ceiling that were just 1 mm thick - certainly no seismic activity around there.
Stayed in Augusta which is close to the bottom of the cape and cycled to Cape Leeuwin where the Indian and Southern oceans meet - it was lovely out there and the town of Augusta was nice with a lovely Backpacker too - The mouth of the Blackwood River is there and it was lovely with lots of huge pelicans and a stingray that must have had a wing span of at least 1 m.
Left on the bus on Sunday evening to travel 115 km to Pemberton - and then explored around there - Pemberton is a logging town and there is a famous fire lookout tree "Gloucester Tree" 61 m high with metal steps around its trunk so climbed that and got the great view - Walked in the Karri forests and generally had a great day finding all sorts of birds I hadn't seen before and taking lots of photos.
Cycled next day to Manjimup and the weather was changing so got a bit wet and experienced some head winds but nothing in comparison to the weather since I arrived in Perth! I just timed it right as Wednesday it was horizontal rain and super stormy.
Manjimup again is a logging town so went to visit the tree museum - reminders of Joni Mitchell - stayed at a very average B/Per and explored around there then took the bus and train the 300km back to Perth. 300km and $50 for bus and train ride - What a deal -

So have had a chance to do laundry and today visited the art gallery and have been on line here - Its been everso hard to concentrate though as I had a chap at the next computer who was talking to his potential lover"Tim" in USA! A very moronic conversation and very distracting. Crazy days.

So have booked to go on the train to Kalgoorlie on Monday and come back on Wednesday - this is 600km east of Perth and has a huge open pit gold mine - Its an old mining town in the outback and I thought would be a whole different look at Oz. Hopefully I will see Emu!

Weather is much cooler and intermittently really heavy downpours - Autumn is here!
Up until 2 days ago the weather here has been fabulous and I am looking forward to having spring and summer again in a weeks time!

Lucky suns and stars I guess!

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