Now Time For
On the Natural Bride in Albany.
|Playing peek-a-boo behind a tingle tree.
|Wine tasting in the Margaret River region.
February 14, 2008
In order to see as much of what Western Australia has to offer, I decided to do a 3-day tour to the southwest part of the
country. It’s going to be a very abbreviated trip. But it’s better than nothing, right?
So it started early this morning. En route to Augusta (which is our home for the night) we stopped at Bunbury (known for its
dolphins though we saw no such thing – at least it was nice to be on the coast) and Busselton. Busselton is known to have the
longest jetty in the southern hemisphere at 2 kilometers – now if that’s not reason for bragging rights, I don’t know what is
(notice the tinge of sarcasm). But anyway, as I was on this jetty a girl was about to pass me and all I could think was ‘Damn, she
looks familiar.’ Turns out there was a good reason for that – it was Jen from my trip last week! She was thinking the same thing
when she saw me. She was with her sister, whom it was great to meet after hearing about her last week. So we ended up
hanging out for a bit – or at least for the walk back from the middle of the jetty to land. Sounds like we will try to meet up for
dinner on Sunday night before I leave.
Our next stop was to the Ngilgi Caves. I am by no means a cave type of girl. But there were beautiful crystal-looking stalactites
forming from the top (or maybe they were stalagmites? I claim to be no cave expert). But because I am from San Francisco, all
I could keep thinking was ‘What if there is an earthquake? We are all goners in here.’ With that thought, it was time for me to
get out of there. I am sure claustrophobia played a part in this, too, since the one small passageway we came down was the only
source of oxygen that the cave receives. Anyway, I receive a big kudos in my book for even going through the entire thing.
I probably also was in a rush because our next stop was Margaret River. This meant wine. In my ideal world, I would have
liked to have spent more time here – like a few days. But it probably would have been a bit lonely being in this food and wine
mecca all by my lonesome and not having friends to share in the fun with me. I guess some other time.
We went to a winery called Flying Fish. Very small which was nice. Then it was onto Margaret River Chocolate Company. Could
there be a better place to go on Valentine’s Day??? We sampled chocolate to our heart’s content while there – quite appropriate
(heart’s content – haha). From there we had some time to explore the town of Margaret River – many cute cafés and
boutiques. And a bottle store where I bought some sparkling shiraz in honor of being in Australia and Valentine’s Day. I thought
that would be a fun way to cap of the night.
From the town we headed out to one of the surfer’s beaches. The clouds had come in and the coast had a San Francisco-like feel
to it. After all of the heat, I was more than okay with this.
Now the cooking is getting underway for our barbeque. Tomorrow is another early morning with a 6am breakfast!
February 15, 2008
I should probably stop consuming bottles of sparkling wine by myself. On the up side, I have made several new friends now on
my tour. On the down side, I was up at 3am bowing to the porcelain god.
At least I am feeling well now.
Last night isn’t a blur – I guess that’s one good thing. Though I do remember busting out some of the New Kids on the Block
dance moves from Hangin’ Tough and The Right Stuff (sans music, of course). Oh. And then there was me being ever-so-
ladylike holding that bottle of sparkling wine in my hand the whole time. What can I say – sometimes I just ooze class.
Well, it’s breakfast time. Then it’s off we go en route to Albany. Will write more later!
We have now arrived in Albany after a long day out and about.
It’s kind of funny to think of the scenery down here compared to that of up north. It’s night and day – just a total contrast. Up
there we were mostly in the outback and desert-like atmospheres when we weren’t on the coast. Here we were going through
forests filled with tingle trees. And the coastline is completely different from up north. Down here it’s like being along the
Northern California coast. Even down to the weather.
Sadly, it was raining a bit today which meant there were gray cloudy skies which meant the coast wasn’t a dazzling shade of
blue. Instead, we were given an eerie shade of gray. Oh well – at least it was something.
But before we made it to the coast, we spent some time in Pemberton to see a big Gloucester tree that can be climbed up. I love
my intact limbs so I opted out of going up to the top (especially considering the metal stepping rods were wet due to the rain).
It was quite tall – going up wouldn’t have been the problem, it would have been coming down. We also went to the Tree Top
Walk which is a nice and easy way to see the tops of the timber trees. When we did a trail we were able to see the hollows of the
timber trees close-up. I was with my new English friends from last night which made it quite easy to ham it up in all of the
pictures (because this is never as easy when I am by myself or don’t really know people well enough). By the time we left, I
‘climbed’ trees, straddled trees, hung from trees and played peek-a-boo in trees.
Then it was time for our coastal stops. One was at a place called Elephant Cove and Green’s Pool (or was it Green Pools?). This
would have benefited from blue skies as you could tell that the water would have been an awesome turquoise color. But
weather down here is temperamental and we would just have to deal with that. The boulders were really cool (as I am a sucker
for big boulders on beaches). The next place we went was in Albany and it was called the ‘Natural Bridge – Gap’ (I might have
botched that name a bit, too). Ahhh…I loved it there. Just to listen to the waves crashing against the rocks was all I needed. But
the rocks forming a natural bridge were quite impressive – and the eerie gray sky definitely added to the scenery.
Now we are at our hostel for the night. Looks like we will head to a pub after this. But tomorrow is another early morning – I
must make it a point not to drink as much as last night!
February 16, 2008
We are now on the bus. The weather is a bit less than stellar so instead of doing the hike we were supposed to do, we took a
detour to hit up another winery. It was called ‘Gilbert’s’ so I thought it was only fair that I buy my friend with the same last
name a bottle of port from there. We are just leaving the small town of Mt. Barker – let me put a special shout-out to the
bakery there. Apple cream sponge cake = absolute deliciousness.