Saturday, May 31, 2014

A day in Albany

What a nice day we had in Albany.  The town is about the same size as our home town, Norfolk, NE, about 25,000.  It seems to be a regional market town.  The scenery is much different being on the coast and in a hilly/rocky region.  We went downtown to the CBD (central business district) for breakfast and wandered the streets for a little bit.

This is one of the downtown hotels.


A corner (at a round-about) with shops.  Every block of the cbd has a round-about which moves traffic through the town much smoother that traffic lights (my opinion anyway).


I didn’t know these still existed, and yes there was a pay phone inside.


City Hall building


I have talked about public art we find in a lot of Australian towns and cities.  Here is an example.  We found these every few feet within the central business district.



Next we drove out the peninsula south of town (Torndirrup National Park) to look at some of the natural attractions.  Our first stop was to view The Gap and Natural Bridge.  This is an area of granite rock cliffs.  Due to wave action and erosion, the rocks have been reshaped.

First is Natural Bridge.  It was fun to watch the waves break under the bridge.


Next was The Gap, an area where the granite cliffs have collapsed..


You can go out to the viewing platform you see in the right of the above picture.


and watch the waves break and flow into the gap. 


From there we went out to The Blowholes.  Unfortunately, the wave action was not enough for water to be pushed up through the gap in the rocks.  Here is Roy, point to the gap.


You could feel the air rushing up through the gap and had the waves been really strong, Roy would have been very wet from standing there.  As you can see, there was lots of wave action, just not right for the blowholes.


It was still interesting to walk down to the blow holes and back.  The views of the coast were stunning and the flowering plants along the trail were interesting.  I can’t name all of the plants but here are some examples.



This and the next picture are a Banksia plant with the pods of various ages.  The top picture are mature pods, where as the next picture is a pod just getting started.




These two are the Hollyleafed Banksia plant



Our next stop was at Stony Hill.  Here you can walk among the protruding rocks.  During WWII this hill had a radar site.  This is a view across Princess Royal Harbour toward Albany.


While we were there a flock of black parrots flew over our heads.  In the picture their heads are to the left.


Back in Albany we visited the Patrick Taylor Cottage.  This cottage is believed to be the oldest colonial dwelling in Western Australia.  It was built in 1832 and the original two rooms were wattle and daub construction. 



From there we drove to Mt Clarence and the ANZAC memorial.  This is a memorial to the Australian War dead, originally dedicated to the solders killed at Gallipoli.



The original statue was in Port Said, but was damaged during the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis.  It was subsequently moved to Albany and reconstructed.  It was from the Albany in 1914 that the ships carrying the solders from Australia and New Zealand left for the middle east and Gallipoli.  It is a very awe inspiring memorial.

Our last stop of the day was at Dog Rock.


There is a story associated with the rock about a dog that saved a little girls life.  The dog lost its life and was buried at the site of the rock.  A storm came along and the rock in the shape of the dog’s head appeared. 

On the menu this evening was lamb rump,


Barbeque pork ribs or Barbeque ribs and steak


and for dessert was, butterscotch macaroon with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.


or Lemon Meringue pie with Cherry Mash Ice cream and whipped cream.


Tomorrow we head north about 400 kilometers to Hyden and Wave Rock.

Friday, May 30, 2014

To Pemberton and Albany

This entry will cover two days of activities.  The place we stayed last night had no internet access……… cell phone service……….it was really isolated.  It did have all of the other things we have become accustomed to, just no communications.  More about that later.

We left the Margaret River area a little earlier than normal and found a lovely place for breakfast about 15 minutes away.  It was the CafĂ© Boranup, located in a forested area, well away from any towns.


It was adjacent to a store that featured articles created by local artists.  Here are a table as an example of they types of items displayed.  It is created from a single piece of wood.  The shop is full of furniture, paintings, metal sculptures, etc.


From there we headed south down many roads less traveled.  Most were through woods full of large and beautiful trees.


We headed to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse located on the most Southwest tip of Australia.  Enroute we stopped for a snack and had a Willie Wagtail for entertainment.  These birds are called wagtails because their tails are in constant side-to-side motion.


The ocean at Cape Leeuwin is particularly treacherous mostly because of the rocks in the area but also because of the currents caused by the meeting if the Indian and Southern Oceans.  The lighthouse is still in active service, but it is automated like most other lighthouses today.  It was built in 1895/6 and was manned until the 1950s.  Even though it is active, you can tour the grounds and the lighthouse itself. 

This is looking across the lighthouse keepers homes and outbuildings toward the lighthouse.


Inside the lighthouse showing part of the 176 steps to the top.  It was a fun climb. 


This is the lens, a First order Fresnel lens.  The light can be seen for 47 kilometers.


The white water in this picture where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet.  Of course the white water is caused by waves on some rocks, but gives you and idea of the meeting line.


This is just to prove I was really there.  With my sister Sylvia and brother-in-law Roy.


From the Cape we drove East toward Pemberton.  Of course a stop was mandatory to put our feet in the Southern Ocean. 


We stopped for an afternoon snack and this time we were entertained by Magpies.  This is the closest we have been able to get to these normally shy birds.


We stayed at the Kerri Valley Resort.  A lovely place in the woods and alongside a large lake.  When we checked in there were a series of clocks showing the time in various places around the world.  On the end of the bank of clock was one with a blank face that said, Time Kerri Valley Resort….time stops.  I think that may be true because the only method of communications with the outside world was a regular phone.  As I indicated at the beginning, there was no internet or cell phone coverage.  We did have a television in our room, but it only got three channels. 

There were Emus on the grounds


Our room was one of the lakeside rooms.  We had a balcony overlooking the lake.  There was a resident duck (lived under the balcony’s for our unit). 



This picture was taken at dusk.


This morning Katie and I stepped onto the balcony to check the temperature and sky conditions.  We were greeted by Ringnecked Parrots and a Kookaburra. 



We stopped by the Gloucester Tree in Pemberton.  It is a large Karri tree, 72 meters (236 feet) tall (it is the center tree in this photo).   


It can be climbed to see the view from the lookout tower at the top.



We continued our drive east toward Albany.  Most of the roads went through forested areas as you can see below.


We stopped to eat lunch at Walpole.  I mention this only to show you a burger I ate.


The layers are cheese, egg, bacon, hamburger patty, shredded carrots, tomato and cucumber, lettuce, and barbeque sauce.  It was tasty!

We continued our drive to Valley of the Giants and the Tree Top Walk near Denmark. This is an area of tingle trees, which are very tall (200 feet plus).  A walkway has been built to take you over 130 feet above the ground which put you well up into the trees.  Even so, the trees themselves tower above you as you walk among them.

This gives you and idea of how tall the trees are from ground level.


The suspension platforms and bridges takes you well up above the forest floor.


The tops of the trees still tower over you as you walk along the platforms.





From the Valley of the Giants we continued our drive East toward Albany in our “Copper Chariot”


with a stop along the sea shore at William Bay,


and the little town of Denmark and the Denmark river.


We will be in Albany tomorrow and then head North toward Wave Rock.