Day 74 – 16 Sep 2012 – at Ravensthorpe

After another lovely quiet night we left the park around 9.30am and drove into the town of Bremer Beach to have a look. Again – lots of subdivisions opening up, so the town must be going ahead. It is quite a way from another major town so we guess these blocks are for retirement or for holiday houses, not people still working. These blocks were in a lovely area – it would be a very easy little town to move into.

Bremer Beach – sandbar and white sand

We drove to the Bremer Beach itself which is on an estuary across which is quite a large sand bar. The water had only a narrow channel past this sand bar. We walked down to this sand bar – the sand was so white it was unbelievable. We were glad it was overcast as it would have been too bright to look at. We have seen so few people on these beaches, but we have been told that in a few weeks time when the weather warms up a bit and the school holidays begin, it will get very busy indeed. The weather here is quite mild most of the year so it is quite popular even in the summer when other parts of southern W.A. and most of central and northern W.A. are very hot indeed. We can understand why people come here. It is beautiful country.

We then drove a few kms back out of the town to a local museum and vintage car/machinery showroom. It was a very well presented museum. Most of the farm memorabilia actually belonged to the one family (the Wellsteads) who were the first settlers in the area, and one of the descendants of the original settlers still lives on the property. He had a good chat with Ian. It was amazing the amount of equipment that they have kept from the early days. Of course other people have also restored cars, trucks, motor bikes, machinery etc and have displayed it in the musuem. The musuem also included all the farm buildings such as stables, blacksmith’s workshop, shearing shed etc. We were most impressed with how everything was set out and it was a good morning’s walk around to try to get to see everything on display. The lawn outside one of the properties was just covered in wildflowers. It did look pretty.

Wildflowers on lawn at Wellstead Museum

We then left Bremer Beach and headed back on the same road that we came in on yesterday, for 48 Km’s, and then cut across country to Gairdner on the the South Western Highway – heading towards Jerramungup. The country was mostly cropping and all the crops looked to be in good heart and the sides of the road had a good covering of wildflowers. Once again we did not intend to travel that far today, as it was around 12.00 noon when we finished looking at the museum. We stopped at a small spot called Jerramungup and had our lunch. It was a lovely little town just in the middle of nowhere, but very tidy and well presented. After leaving Jerramungup the country was much lighter type soil with large areas still in natural bush. Most of the crops have a good deal of growing to do yet and we are sure a good fall of rain would certainly help.

100kms further east was Ravensthorpe and we had decided that this was where we would stop for the night. It is a small town of around 400 people and another quite tidy town. For the past week or so and until the 22nd of this month, this town is holding its annual Wildflower/Orchid festival and we wondered if we would get a site at the caravan park. We did, but we were the last to find a spot at this park although there is another one in the town, and they do have ‘0verflow facilities’ if needed.

After we unhooked the van we took a drive into the town and went to the wildflower/orchid display. It was quite well set up.

Unfortunately the wildflowers and orchids do not really like just sitting in a vase with water for so long and they were not looking as fresh as they would have on the first day of the display, but they still looked very pretty indeed. Once again today we saw so many wildflowers on the roadsides so it was good to be able to see them up close and get some names for them – although we have forgotten the names already. Some of the orchids are amazingly small – no wonder you need time and a good knowledge of them to be able to spot them and identify them when walking through the bush. We have met many people on this trip who have spent hours and hours in the bush endeavouring to photograph these beautiful little orchids in the wild – we now know why they need to be persistent. We were able to talk to some of the women in the local group who arranged the display and they gave us some very interesting facts.

One of the many orchids on display

We came back to the Van in time to skype Andrew, Lisa and Will in Geelong. It was lovely to see them. It is only a few weeks now and we will be back in Victoria.

The weather was nice today – around 20C, although it was overcast on and off all day. The weather in this part of the W.A. is classed as mild and it is one of the reasons it is so popular once spring arrives and the area also stays popular right through summer because it does not seem to get the extreme heat which other parts of W.A. get. We are only 50kms fron the Southern Ocean so our trip along the coast continues for another day. We could not see the ocean of course but the scenery is quite coastal and it was a lovely drive.

Canola paddocks

What land is under agriculture is sown down – mostly to canola – although we did see some vetch and lupins. Much of our drive today was just west and then north of the very large Fitzgerald River National Park – famous for its wildflowers and wildlife. We think we will put this park on our ‘bucket list’ for our next trip to W.A. This park is part of a ‘Biosphere Reserve Hot Spot’  i.e. land where researchers, communities, local landholders and scientists all work together to find ways to benefit from the land without degrading it. This program is sponsored by the United Nations and this area here is the only area designated as such in Australia. The National park was established way back in 1947 and covers an area of 330,000 Sq Km and it was quite plain to see the amount of natural land left untouched amongst all the farmland. Something this area can certainly be very proud of.

The roads yesterday and today are not as good as what we have driven on ever since we started our holiday – probably because these are no longer roads used by ‘mining’ traffic. They do not have potholes or anything like that, it is just that they are not smooth and I find that I cannot take a photo from moving car any more as the camera shakes too much. Been spoilt we think – the roads up till now have been absolutely fantastic. So, if some of the photos are slightly blurred – this is my excuse.

Love to all, Janese and Ian

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