Just as we climbed into bed last night it began to rain and although it did not rain for too long, it was quite heavy at times.
We left Serpentine around 9.00am and headed along the South Western Highway. In our typical fashion we chose not to drive along HWY 1. We were told that this other Highway (20) was the more scenic and it certainly was a lovely drive as we headed towards Bunbury. Must mention that here in W.A. they do not have creeks- all small streams are called ‘brooks’.
A lot of the land just out of Serpentine is horse stud country. There were some magnificent properties – beautifully laid out with black fencing (not the usual white). They were so well laid out with fantastic pastures and were so picturesque with trees everywhere. Some of them were huge – their boundary fence along the highway went for 2 or 3 kms. Today we saw our first dairy farm for a long while. Once again the paddocks were very lush. There were plenty of young heifer calves out in the paddocks. Didn’t make us wish we were still dairying though! We passed through a town called Harvey. A lot of the milk for sale here in Western Australia has the brand ‘Harvey Milk’ and it seems it is manufactured somewhere here. We also passed the first real orchards since leaving the Goulburn Valley. (I know the Carnarvon area was a citrus production area but we never saw the orchards as such). All the trees were coming out in blossom and it was very pretty.We saw an alternative tourist drive to Bunbury via Collie so we turned off on that road- it was called the Coalfields Highway. It was a lovely drive through unbelievably lush farm land.
Once we reached Collie we realised the only way to Bunbury was either back the same way we drove in (almost anathema to Ian!!) or a longer route via Donnybrook which then turned northwards back to Bunbury – so we chose that route.
It was also a lovely drive. We passed all kinds of agriculture – dairy/beef/sheep/goats/vineyards/cropping/fruit as well as timber sawmills. This is the area where Alcoa has aluminim smelters. Mineral Sands are also mined here. Very diversified area.
We arrived in Bunbury around lunchtime. We visited the local Info centre to see what we could do in a few hours and then went to the supermarket and bought fresh fruit for lunch. The weather was overcast and there was a strong breeze blowing.
Bunbury is situated right on the coast so we did a long tourist walk over to a bridge which led to the popular local beach.
From here we went to a small inlet and looked at a mangrove swamp which is the southernmost mangrove in Australia. It is a protected area naturally, but there was a 200 metre boardwalk built through the swamp which were we able to walk. Very interesting. This side of Bunbury is quite calm – the ocean side has all the surf. While we were heading over the bridge we saw 2 dolphins feeding nearby. I was able to just get a photo as the tail came out of the water.
We walked back to our Van and then headed south to Busselton. We planned to stay at a Van Park just out of town on Geographe Bay and arrived there around 3.30pm. This would be the most plush Park we have ever stayed at. It is rated 5 stars. Cost is $39 per night.We have booked for 2 nights to start with as we were told it is much easier to see the Margaret River area without having to pull a caravan behind. From the brochures we have it sure looks like there will be a lot to keep us occupied. Have heard it is possible to see whales now so we may look into doing one of those trips. We’ll see tomorrow.
Love to all, Janese and Ian