Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Perth to Bunbury, WA.

Our Jayco is serviced and ready to travel and we are rested and ready to travel as well. The first stopover was to be Pinjarra, inland from Mandurah. The town graciously provides a great and free RV camp area for self contained vehicles in the centre of town. Here we would renew contact with  our Camp Hosts from Stokes Inlet, Drum and Jean and their close friends Neil and Marilyn. We had a lively chat and a great meal at The Premier Hotel in Pinjarra. We were also able to sneak in a one night stay at Marrinup Camp Ground in bush land out of Dwellingup. We were a little nervous of camping at Marrinup due to the constant threat of Bush Fires, many ignited by lightning strikes. Access to this camp area is via a very narrow, single lane bush track. Leaves of the trees were brushing both sides of the caravan during our drive in. Couldn't imagine a whole bunch of campers vacating here in an orderly manner if an emergency situation arose! All concerns aside it was very serene camped out in the bush and we had some great companions to share it with that night.

Unfortunately our plans on what roads to follow have been dashed. Bush Fires have threatened many towns and roads have been blocked. We had no option but to hug the coastline for a while. We chose to go onto Australind and use this as a Base Camp. From here we could explore Bunbury and some of the hinterland without being confined in tight City Camping conditions. On the day we drove the hinterland loop through Collie and Donnybrook we were also going to check out another Bush Camp at Stockton Dam. On arriving at Collie we learned that this area had been closed due to the potential Bush Fire threat. Hopefully we maybe able to get in there at a later date.

Collie is a town of two halves. Drive through on the Main Road and all you see is the old shops along that Main Road. However, go across the Rail Line and you see the new Collie with all the mainstream shops you would expect to see in a major centre.

Donnybrook is a vibrant small community that we considered moving to for a short stay but decided otherwise. We still may go back there as the town is "interesting" to the first visitor, well these ones anyway.

This is how we see Gum Trees in the South West of WA. Tall, straight, and smooth barked, what a wonderful sight.

The Murray River in Pinjarra.

There is a great "kids" playground in Pinjarra. Sadly, I haven't the energy to explore it!

I made Jude go first so that I could sway the walk bridge over the Murray River in Pinjarra.

The magnificent Rose Hotel in Bunbury. The CBD is all "Old Charm". Go out into the suburbs for the large Shopping Centres.

At the beginning of the "Cappucchino Strip" in Bunbury's Victoria Street.

Victoria Street Decorations in Bunbury.

The Entrance to Bunbury from the North.

Old Grain Silos now converted to residences.

The homes in this harbour side street are all priced in between 2 and 3 million dollars.

Looking across the 'Old Harbour' one can easily see the smoke plume from the Major Bush Fires threatening the town of Waroona. The South Western Highway is blocked at this point. 

In central Bunbury is "Mariston Hill Lookout". Great views of Bunbury from here, including the The Bunbury Lighthouse with The Indian Ocean as a backdrop.

Mariston Hill Lookout towards the Bunbury Entertainment Centre.

Another view of the Waroona Bush Fires. This time from the Lookout tower. The new Commercial Harbour Precinct is now on the far side of the harbour.

The old harbour pier in Bunbury.

At the Collie Information Centre. This mechanical shovel was once 'state of the art'. Today's machinery could lift and load this unit with one lift.

Collie's history is logging and mining, these steam engines moved the goods.

Another of the Steam Loco's on view at The Collie Information Centre.

Grass Trees abound in the South West of WA. This one at The Collie Information Centre Gardens.

As are these specimens.

This giant Oak Tree was planted in Donnybrook in 1890. Can you believe that! That makes it 125 years old, amazing.