Left West Busselton around 9.30 and headed slightly south-east to the Vasse Highway. The country side is just so green and lush. We passed a few dairy farms but they are few and far between here in Western Australia now. Many of the ex-dairy farms seem to have some beef cattle on them, but a lot of the paddocks were bare of animals. We presume that all these green grass will become hay in time – hope so. It is very hilly country so some of the houses were placed in beautiful positions to give the best views. We realise we are probably seeing this land at its best, but it is the sort of country we could easily live in. We only saw a couple of paddocks which were sown down to crop.
It wasn’t too long before we began to drive through the karri forest areas.
What magnificent trees. Occasionally the scenery was not unlike travelling over the Black Spur (over the Great Dividing Range north of Healesville), but the trees were certainly much taller. And so straight!! Absolutely fantastic to drive so close to them. This is serious bush fire country and we can only imagine how frightening that would be amongst these gigantic trees. Every now and then we left the forest areas and drove through cleared farm lands with open paddocks, and then just as quick we were back amongst the forest once more. This occurred throughout our whole trip today.
We called in at Pemberton and looked through the display on the early settlement of this saw-milling area. Some of the photos showing the way these large trees were cut down with just man-power and very basic tools were amazing.
Just outside the town is the Gloucester Tree – this is a giant karri tree on which a fire-spotting viewing platform was built in 1947. The platform is 61 metres from the ground and is accessible by climbing 153 spikes which have been embedded in the tree and spiral around the tree. Anyone who wishes to can climb up these spikes. The platform up the top gives a 360 degree view of the old growth karri forest all around. Needless to say that I decided to give this opportunity a miss, but not Ian. He was more than eager to give it a go.
Only 6 people at a time are supposed to climb it at any given time, but there was only one other person willing to climbwhile we were there – a young English tourist. She had no trouble getting up, although her friend with her only did about 15 spikes and froze and had to come back down. It is still used for fire-spotting. We both think that in time OH&S will stop people from climbing as it could be dangerous. There was a form of protection, but it was sheep wire- this hardly keeps sheep under control, let alone a human body which might lose grip and fall against it! However, despite the possible danger, Ian thought it was fantastic.
We had lunch at this spot. It was lovely. This is the country of the ‘Splendid Blue Wren’, and although we did see a couple of them they were too fast for me to get a photo. They are absolutely beautiful. There were bellbirds calling throughout the forest and also the odd kookaburra laughing. It was really lovely just sitting in the van listening to all these sounds in the forest.
We then drove out to the South Western Highway, heading southwards towards Albany, although we won’t reach there for a couple of days. Again we occasionally left the forest areas, but instead of pastures there were national parks with gums, wattles etc. There were patches of lovely white heath in flower and also all the melalucas were flowering with a small white flower. So it was quite an attractive drive today.
We want to do the Walk among the Giant Trees tomorrow which is between Walpole and Denmark, so pulled into a small caravan park on the outskirts of Walpole.
It is called Rest Point Caravan Park and is right on the Walpole and Nornalup Inlets. All the sites are well grassed and just a short walk away from the waters of this inlet, which is surrounded by bush, so pretty and nice and quiet. There is a small platform out into the inlet for fishing or just sitting and watching the local wildlife. Pelicans are everywhere and this is an area for stingrays and their brochure says there is one which swims by most days so hope we can see it. It is absolutely peaceful and very picturesque. We walked to the pier and got talking – one chap had relatives in Kyabram (called it ‘Ky’ so we knew he had to have some knowledge of the area), and the other couple were wheat/sheep farmers from Nullawil (near Swan Hill) so Ian enjoyed having a good chat with them.
Love to all, Ian & Janese