Monday, February 23, 2015

More of The Blackwood River Valley. WA.

Following our stopover at Wrights Bridge we headed for Manjimup, calling into Balingup, Greenbushes and Bridgetown on the way. The highway through The Blackwood River Valley is a stunningly beautiful undulating bush drive. Forestry is a major industry of the area. Numerous Log Trucks are encountered on this highway.

Balingup is what you might term a quirky town. There are many alternative lifestyle type businesses in the town. It is also the town where Jude encountered a King Skink of about 20 cm trapped in a toilet bowl. I wasn't going to be the one trying to rescue the reptile, as they have long clawed feet.

We were advised that we "had to stop" at Greenbushes, so we did! We spent so much time there that we stayed 2 nights in the extensive free camp provided by the community. Here there is town water and modern, clean toilets.

Bridgetown is a town of two faces. Some of the businesses are very untidy and grotty looking but others are very clean and professionally managed. It is difficult to understand how the progressive businesses don't put pressure on the others to lift their act. There is a great Caravan Parking Bay behind the old Railway Station adjacent to the Main Street.

The Balingup Tavern.

A Pixie Home in the gardens of this property.

The Old Cheese Factory is now an Arts and Craft Museum.

The Tourist Information Centre at Balingup, framed by by two brilliantly flowering Crepe Myrtle.

As a matter of fact there was an entire street of Crepe Myrtle.
While taking photographs of the Crepe Myrtle trees I was standing under one of these trees and noticed strange pods suspended from long tendrils.

Then I noticed this Stylised entry to a Park. These are the Pods that were hanging from the trees. None of the locals that I approached knew the name of the trees?

The Old Greenbushes Court House.

From the Court House culprits where sent across the road to the Gaol.

Two Lock-Ups, a small Exercise Yard with a open air Privy.

There is a working Tin and Tantalum Mine. The Open Cut has ceased operations but the mine continues as an underground operation with the entrance at the base of the Pit.

Fresh excavations are visible in the background for a new Pit Operation.

The Exchange Hotel, Greenbushes.

A Community Garden in Greenbushes.

The Main Street of Greenbushes. Just beyond the purple sign behind the trees we called into the Greenbushes Discovery Centre. It was very interesting, we spent some time there.

Termites are a bit of a problem with this shop front.

The Shamrock Hotel. Both Pubs open from 3 PM.

The very popular Greenbushes Water Hole. These youngsters were from Donnybrook.

The Greenbushes Water Hole from another aspect.

Bridgetown Secondhand Shop.

Bridgetown Town Hall.

The Main Street of Bridgetown.

Nannup and Wrights Bridge NP, WA.

Nannup is an Old Forestry Town situated near the centre of The Blackwood River Valley area and, of course, beside the Blackwood River. Nannup is home to an Annual Music Festival. Sadly we were a week early. The Caravan Park and the 'Overflow Camp' are already fully booked anyway!

The Shire Council is very slow acting, it seems. River Walks are all barricaded due to fallen river banks that have not been repaired. Looks like the damage occurred many months ago, probably the last river flood.

We met David and Vivienne, travellers from Perth while at Nannup CP. They moved out to a Conservation Park camp at Workers Pool and the following day we drove out to see them and continue our tales of previous travels. Leaving them we went onto investigate Barrabup Pool and then back to our camp at Nannup.

After 3 nights at Nannup we moved on.  We stopped at Wrights Bridge National Park for a morning tea break and then stayed the night. It was a great camp area with very large sites for large caravans. There are two camp areas and a day visit area that is beside The Blackwood River, this has a great swimming hole. Kim along with her Poodle, Finnigan were great Camp Hosts and Ranger Assistant Lloyd supplied a lot of Local Knowledge.

The Nannup Town Hall.

The Main Street of Nannup.

Every Town has to have a Pub. Meals here are reputed to be very good.

An Arc of Food and Beverage Stalls located at The Music Festival Site.

The Sound Shell is directly opposite The Food Stalls. All the Patrons bring their own chairs or Picnic Blankets.

The Old Rail Bridge over The Blackwood River at Nannup.

Various Flood Levels are recorded on this tree. Take note of the Yellow Marker near the top of the photo, this was the 1910 Flood. Must have been a beauty.

The Barrabup Pool Swimming Hole in The Blackwood River. As I took this photograph from a timber bridge we heard the scratching of a large King Skink (30 cm) directly behind us. Seemed as if it was searching for insects in the timbers of the bridge. Unfortunately the beautiful glossy black reptile moved too quickly for me to capture with the camera.

Arborists were busy in the trees beside the Caravan Park and Music Festival Site removing potentially dangerous limbs. Note the Flouro Dayglo Shirt out on a limb in this close up shot.

The normal shot displays how high he really is. No Fear, these guys.

Wrights Bridge over The Blackwood River. An older version is still evident alongside the new.

Augusta, WA.

We arrived at Augusta and almost didn't have a place to make camp! "Fully Booked", the Receptionist at Turners Caravan Park said. Jude asked "are there any unpowered sites?" "Oh yes, we have a couple of those" So we were in! Mind you, at $34 for NO POWER AND NO WATER, we think that is a trifle steep. Although, I think we had the best site in the camp. Fully grassed and in Full Sun.  In Augusta, full sun is not a negative issue as it is very cool there under the influence of The Southern Ocean Breezes. After 3 nights the Caravan Park had thinned out considerably and we added to that effect, moving on to Nannup.

The original Town Jetty on the Blackwood River Estuary. East Augusta is located in the background on the far side of The Estuary but it takes something like a 40 km drive to get there!

The Blackwood River entrance to The Southern Ocean from the Town Main Street.

One of the swimming beaches on The Blackwood River. People were actually in the water swimming too, even though we were rugged up from the chill. Turners Caravan Park is visible at the water's edge in the background.

This is as close as we got to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. There is a charge of near $10 to walk up and stand beside it, and a lot more if you want to climb the staircase inside.

The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and The Southern Ocean. On the far side of the headland is The Indian Ocean.

Adjacent to The Lighthouse is a Water Wheel that once pumped spring water to the Lighthouse Community. The sluice is now green with slime as the spring is drying up.

The Water Wheel, she don't turn no more. Very much calcified these days.

Augusta now has a brand new Marina at a cost of $36,500,00. It was officially opened November 2014.

Jude standing alongside The Storm Wall of the Marina. Some mighty big rocks there!

A sloop entering the Marina.

The safe haven of The Marina.

Looking back from The Sea Wall over the 4 lane Boat Ramp and Trailer Park you can see the rock face from where all the material for the Marina was obtained. Transport was not a major issue here!

There are No Water Restrictions here in Augusta. I was able to wash the BT50 and the van. This was the first scrub down the awning has received in nearly 6 months. It was really quite grubby.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Margaret River Region, WA.

There are many people on the move around this area of WA, this makes finding camp sites difficult in some areas. We have been told that 'Grey Nomads' escape Perth's heat over summer and visit the southern regions before heading North along the coast in late May and June. Busselton for example is a popular destination. Twice we have attempted to book in there and they have been booked out both times. After a brief look around Busselton we headed South to the Margaret River Region. Instead of camping in Margaret River itself, we chose to book into Big Valley Bush Camp at Rosa Glen, which is 9km East of Margaret River. The Bush Camp is located on a working sheep farm but the camp area is set up as a normal Bush Caravan Park with the usual amenities, power, water, showers, toilets and laundry and large Camp Kitchens. The Hosts, Kevin and Shelley are very friendly and welcoming. We would recommend this stay to travellers in this area.

From our base camp at Big Valley we were able to explore a wide area around Margaret River. One day we did a loop drive, leaving Big Valley and heading East until we reached The Blackwood River. There are several camp areas located on this river and we wanted to check them out for a potential future camp site. As we expected, all the better sites were taken by people who looked like they were in 'for the long haul'. Not permanents but long time campers. We continued South and West over to the Coast at Hamelin Bay. This is a quiet and secluded little beach haven for swimmers and fishermen. This bay is also home to visiting Eagle Stingrays. We were lucky enough to see several of these creatures when the visiting Europeans got out of the water and allowed the stingrays to come into the shallows. We continued Northwards along The Caves Road to Redgate Beach and then Prevelly Beach. The drive along Caves Road is a delight in itself. As it's name implies Caves Road passes most of the Limestone Caves that are prevalent in this area of WA. Prevelly Beach is also where the Margaret River reaches the Indian Ocean. Because of the dry season the Margaret River Mouth is silted up at this time.

The Busselton Visitor Information alongside The Busselton Jetty.

Busselton Beach, swimming enclosure and Beach Volleyball Courts ready for a Tournament that's happening soon. One of the reasons we cannot book into stay here.

Busselton Foreshore Park.

Looking to shore from the halfway point on the Busselton Jetty.

Still a distance to walk yet, we are only at the half way point.

Whoops, Jude nearly lost her hat in the sea breeze on the end of the Jetty.

Looking 1.8 km back to shore from the end of the Busselton Jetty.

Looking across the paddocks from our camp site at Big Valley Bush Camp. Note the smoke in the air from the nearby Bush Fires.

One of the two camp areas at Big Valley, each with it's own Camp Kitchen and amenities block.

Looking through the second camp area at Big Valley. We are camped in centre frame in the background behind Bob's Coaster Bus Motorhome.

Chapman Pond on The Blackwood River. This camp area mostly caters for tent and camper trailer campers. There is only a couple of small caravan sites.

One of the Local Residents at Chapman Pond. This Goulds Monitor, locally known as a Racehorse Goanna because they run so fast, wasn't too concerned at our invasion of it's privacy.

Hamelin Bay, good swimming beach with a boat ramp for the fishermen too.

One of the visiting Eagle Stingrays that frequent this beach for some reason best known to them selves. 

Redgate Beach, also popular with swimmers and board riders.

There are some dangerous rocks at Redgate Beach too. The Steamer Georgette lies on the sea bed only 90 metres from shore at this point.

Nautilus Shell shaped beach enclosure at Prevelly Beach. Ideal for our lunch break. The sound of the surf is magnified in the shape of the enclosure.

Underwater rocks at Prevelley Beach.

The Main Beach area at Prevelly Beach. This area is also the Mouth of The Margaret River, although it is silted up at this time because of lack of water in the river.