This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2004 Travels May 21

FRIDAY 21 MAY     WALPOLE

On our only other visit to these parts, in 1993, we gave up on the wet and stormy south west, and hightailed it from Albany direct to Perth. On our long trip, we had intended to spend the summer and early autumn of 2001 exploring the area south and east of Perth. That was before we had to, unexpectedly, go home.

This time, we were determined to see more of this area. However, the elements were definitely not on our side, yet again. We were just too late for these parts – again.

Steady rain had set in overnight and this continued into the afternoon, when it cleared, a little.

Daughter texted in the morning, asking to borrow more money. We were not really happy about it, but found it impossible to refuse, under the circumstances.

We drove into the town, arranged the money transfer. At the tyre place, had a new tube fitted in the latest flat tyre.

Then we walked around the town, seeing what it had to offer. As it was a small township, this did not take long. The town is situated on Walpole Inlet, but our caravan park, just out of town, faces onto Nornalup Inlet. The two are joined by a narrow stretch of water. In turn, Nornalup Inlet empties via a narrow opening, into Grace Darling Bay, with its attractive sweep of sandy beach.

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Nornalup Inlet

It was an attractive little town, with its watery setting. In better weather, we would have been wishing for a boat or a canoe, to explore the inlets. This would be a great place to stay, with a canoe.

Back to the van, and lunch. After that, we ventured out for a walk on the Bibbulmun Track. This long distance walking track extends from Perth to Albany, some 1000 kms, sometimes through the great forests of the south west, sometimes along the coast. Here, the track followed the coast and went between the caravan park and the sea. We were able to walk out of the park and onto the Track, which we followed for some way to the east. However, we got rained on, and retraced our route. It was a very pleasant segment of exercise, despite the damp.

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In the caravan park were two ladies, widowed sisters in law, travelling with a Phoenix van. We had seen them in the caravan park in Esperance too. Both had lived on Queensland pastoral properties, one in the Lakefield area, years ago. We’d talked with them at the fish BBQ last night. Tonight, they had power problems in their van, and came across to ask if John might be able to help – in the dark and the rain! They fiddled about for quite some time, trying to find the source of the problem, until eventually realizing that it was a faulty electric jug that was shorting out their power. Sir John to the rescue!


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2004 Travels May 20

THURSDAY 20 MAY   ALBANY TO WALPOLE   119kms

Nice day, with pleasant driving conditions.

We took the highway along the coast, westwards. Actually, although it was the South Coast Highway, the route was somewhat inland from the coast, so we saw a mix of farm land and bush land, rather than coastal vistas.

At Denmark, we visited Goldfields Timber and Burls – an inspirational place with an excellent variety and supply of special timbers and tree burls from WA species. John obtained details of how he could make purchases from home, and have them transported.

Our next stop was at a place producing honey and mead, where we bought some wine and honey. I guess mead was mankind’s first wine?

The final activity for the day  was at the Valley of the Giants, where we wanted to do the Tree Top Walk – on an elevated walkway through the canopy of a tingle forest, some 40 metres up.

As we pulled into the car park there, yet another tyre went flat. Well, that was number three out of the four that had been on Truck at Fowlers Bay. John refused to admit cause and effect, but I was convinced. We changed the wheel before doing anything else.

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Yet another flat tyre

The 600 metre long Tree Top Walk was not the most comfortable experience, given my aversion to heights. It seemed very high up, and swayed. But I was very pleased to have had the experience – it was an unusual perspective and good value.

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Hanging on tightly!

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Bird’s eye view

Then we did the Ancients Walk there – this time at ground level, on a pathway that took us through a little forest of old Red Tingle trees – unique to this corner of the world. This was actually more impressive than the Tree Top Walk.

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Long way up there!

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Base of Giant Tingle tree

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At the inevitable associated shop, I bought a National Parks book and a jarrah waiter’s friend that John took a liking to.

Continued on towards Walpole, turning off just before the town, to go to the Coalmine Beach Caravan Park. We wanted to stay there because it was right by the Nornalup Inlet, and had a really bushy setting.

The park was a Top Tourist. After discount, cost $18.90 a night. It was really pleasant.

There was a free fish dinner night happening, which we took advantage of. Quite a few people attended. The fish was really nice, too.

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