After a five/six hour Sunday drive from Perth, we arrived in Albany town, which is one of the oldest settlements. Our first stop finding the Tourist office, finding us accommodation to suit out budget. Our Motel (see photo below) was just perfect. We had a good chat with our tourist officer, she was happy talking about Albany and the surrounding area showing us a map and the best places for us to visit, all within our time frame, we came out with a huge bag of maps and places to visit, also high light stops on our drive back to Perth.
It is easy driving in Australia, especially booking accommodation, whether with the tourist office or if we liked the look of a place just to ask have do you have a vacancy, we were never turned away. We stopped off at a place when we wanted, without the stress of time and rushing on to a pre destination.
We enjoyed three days exploring the area around. Albany, which is surrounded by so much natural beauty, a wonderful bay and 50 historic buildings are all in this town.
We booked into a restaurant near our hotel, we enjoyed Rustlers steak and ribs, they were so good, we returned back the following night for supper it was so good. But best of all were our fab picnic's, cheap and easy to shop for, with wonderful BBQ's to use on many beaches, lots of places to change shower, fresh water, so many families spend much time on the beaches it's not hard to see why with such good facilities. I think a camper van is the best way to travel in Australia, when you are traveling such long distances and have the time, you can stop off were ever you wish.
After enjoying a full day exploring the area it was back to he Albany high street, for steak and ribs, this road lead right down to the coast, walk's and sunsets were stunning. We met a couple who arrived for a few days in Albany, they only visited the golf course.
We visited King George Sound which has an enclosed waterway, this is twice as large as Sydney Harbour. We visited the Princess Royal Fortress, and all the historic buildings, John really enjoyed the history tour. "Lest We Forget" a major tourist attraction now. The views from Fortress were stunning, as was the wild life we saw in this area.
Western Australia vibrant wild flowers are most spectacular during the spring August to November.
Wished I had been in the helicopter with my camera, we had some lovely walks along the top of these cliff's.
We visited Whale world, we spotted a sign on one of the beaches "Whale carcass and sharks no paddling". This coast line was indeed very special. I had imagined Australia's coast to be just so, we never saw a single person on any of the beaches we visited over the three days, it was pure bliss and very relaxing indeed, listening to the sound of the Ocean and the deep blue colours. We visited a Salmon Hole, a Blow hole, also Whale head rock with it's stunning views.
We were told the best place to see a good sunset was here at this wind farm, we were not disappointed, and every beach we visited held it's own drama.
When driving through Torndirrup park we spotted lots of Kangaroo's so the camera never stopped clicking. It is impossible to write about all the places we visited, just too many places we stopped off at or visited. We had an over night stop in Bunbury. Our motel was next to the Ocean road we were luckily up graded to a spa suite. I was in heaven in the tub after a long day of touring this area.
This Tingle tree forest was jaw dropping, some of these had trunks with a base of 60 ft - walking amongst the tops of the tree's was indeed a new experience in the drizzle, no climbing involved, just a gentle lofty ramp to gently stroll along, which took us to the top of this magnificent forest.
Some of our driving took us a along little dirt roads. At one point we needed a drink, finding a place was not always easy, we stopped off at one of the bars in a forests. John asked for a bottle beer, I asked for a coffee - I was told kettle over in the corner, help yourself mam! ok I said and made myself at home, the forest outside had a little fire, so we made our escape very quickly indeed.
Bunbury is the third largest city in Western Australia after Perth and Mandurah, the explorer John Forest, was born here. We enjoyed a wonderful Chinese meal in the evening, then wandering around the Christmas lights, I thought a very nice city. It has a very busy port here, which we visited following morning.
We were disappointed to have missed "by minutes", interacting and swimming with the Dolphins, who arrive on this beach each day to be fed. This Interaction Zone on Koombana beach, invites the wild and friendly bottlenose dolphin's to visit and play. We enjoyed chatting to the volunteers and discovering more about these gentle creatures.
We drove passed Margaret River a vast area and wine producing region, sadly we never had the time to stay over. The best Chardonnay in the world is produced here, also the best Cabernet Sauvignon, so we were told.
We need not have worried about missing the dolphins, as our next visit was to stay with Mike and Jenny's (link to my home photos in Villeneuve-les-Béziers) home in Mandurah, a delightful city on the Peel Estuary, they have wild visiting dolphins most days, they chase the fish into the canal past their home, the dolphins then enjoy a feast, as canal near their home is a dead end, no were for the fish to escape, birds feast also.
We had no time to anchor today, but if we had time what a place to stop. Wow what a dream house on the canal, stunning views - many of the houses had their Christmas lights up, we enjoyed our stay here immensely.
We were made so welcome by Jenny Mike and Jennies dad. We had a BBQ and enjoyed a great evening catching up with all our stories since we all last met in France last summer.
"To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor" - said by Oliver Wendell Homes.
I think we would have enjoyed anchoring of this shore, then drifting with the dolphins.
We enjoyed a trip out into the Ocean the next day, with Mike and Jenny on their new boat. I was thrilled to take photographs of the dolphins swimming along side us in the Estuary. We met Mike and Jenny in France, they invited us to visit them in OZ, we are so pleased to have enjoyed such a wonderful experience. Thank You for this wonderful opportunity.
Rockingham is 48 km south of Perth, a spring board for the Penguin Island, well over 1,000 penguins here. We continued our drive along the coast stopping of at more towns for a quick visit before arriving back in Perth, along the coast.