Munglinup – Sun 19th Apr
With great reluctance it was time to leave Lucky Bay, it’s the kind of place where you could spend a few weeks. However the 110 was booked into Albany for its service on the 23rd so we were committed – scary to think we have done nearly 8,000km since Feb 12th.
With a brief stop to get the now well set mud off the trailer, so more high pressure hose time, it was good bye to Esperance and onward. The road west is fairly ordinary, rolling along through farmland and the odd bit of woodland.
Notionally our destination was Hopetoun, a small town on the edge of the Fitzgerald River NP. However a surf through Wiki Camps turned up Munglinup, off a dirt road running parallel to the highway near Lake Shaster.
It was an eclectic type of place, great grassy site with a camp kitchen centred around a fire pit welded from 2 large wheel rims and a huge brake drum. After dinner the manager, Mick, got out his guitar; Robyn, his wife, led the singing and the girls had the run of a huge box of instruments to play with – a great evening.
Point Ann – Mon 20th to Tue 21st Apr
Stopping into Hopetoun confirmed we had made the right choice. Nice town but the caravan park had seen better days, and also the most expensive gas fill so far – $22 for 3kg!
Point Ann is in Fitzgerald River NP. The only problem was we had to cross the park, travel along the highway for about a 100km then cross back through the park to get to the campsite, and it is not a small park. Heading across the first section was incredible, nothing but trees with some hills in the background, by the second crossing the wonder was fading.
In the main the dirt roads in the park were reasonable, but the last 15km almost turned us back. In places, over the worst of the corrugations, we were under 20kph and fearing for the windows; no doubt some of the roads to come will make this look like a stroll on the prom, but as the end to a long day it wasn’t ideal.
Point Ann itself, however, was wonderful. Set behind the dunes we had a well sheltered spot with a picnic table. There were others there but the sites were spread out so you couldn’t see your neighbours through the scrubby trees.
With sun shining the next day it seemed a shame school had started again, but needs must so the morning was all about education. There was, however, time for a quick fish before lunch, which yielded 2 fat herring. Ocean to plate in 15 minutes, lovely.
It turned out our nearest neighbours were from the UK, over from Dartmoor for a vacation including a ride out with the Denmark hunt; I must admit I never knew this, but apparently it is the only foxhunt in WA. It seems Australia doesn’t have the “cutesy” issues the UK has in dealing with Mr. Fox.
Albany – Wed 22nd to Thu 23rd Apr
Sadly the grader hadn’t been by whilst we were camped, the road was as rough as before. ; however being at the start of the day it didn’t seem quite so bad.
Heading into Albany two things stood out (1) it became much greener, with farms rolling across hills plus the odd winery here and there and (2) there was a huge increase in the number of road trains going to and fro the local industry.
Albany itself was not well treated by the weather while we were there; freezing cold, blustery southerlies were becoming somewhat tedious, however on a warm summer’s day I am sure it would be wonderful, occupying a great location across various bays and headlands in King George Sound.
The good news for the 110 was it passed its service with flying colours, so all ready for the next few thousand km.
Crystal Springs – Fri 24th Apr
Just typical that the weather picked up as we left Albany. However there was no option of staying, as all sites were full. Albany was a major embarkation point for WW1, and with the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli on the 25th it was the focus of coming events.
Before departing the girls toured the ANZAC Centre, which tied in very nicely with the module they were working through for school. It is an amazing complex, and well worth a visit.
Along the way we were lucky to see a submarine steaming in ahead of Saturday’s commemorations.
Driving west the scenery takes a turn to the scenic from Denmark; the trees get taller, the grass greener and the national parks more frequent. It’s a truly beautiful part of the world. Along the way is Greens Pool; on a still sunny day the clearness of the water makes this a popular attraction, even on a bad day you could see how it would look in the sun.
With no forecast let up in the southerly wind we had decided to head away from the coast, so down with Mandalay Beach and on to Crystal Springs. This is a peaceful little place nestled under the peppermint trees, giving a sheltered and gently scented camp.
Even better, there were split logs provided with each fire ring – the girls were only too pleased to break out the marshmallows.
Drafty’s Camp – Sat 25th Apr
Backtracking slightly via Walpole there is the Valley of the Giants tree top walk. Set amongst the wonderfully named tingle trees (nope, I’m not making that up), a walkway has been strung which leads through the canopy at 40m above ground. The trees themselves can reach 70 metres, and some of them are over 400 years old.
With a shallow root system they often end up split at the base through fire, rot or some other cause.
The trees are located at the south end of Mount Frankland NP, through which there are some great dirt roads leading through the trees, far more scenic than following the tarmac alongside the park, albeit slightly slower.
Our final destination was in Warren, another NP to the south of Pemberton. Nice enough but very shaded and rather busy given the long weekend. It seems people have been feeding the Kookaburras, no sooner had we stopped than two sat on the roof and looked at us in a “so, what have you got for me” kind of way. In this case they were out of luck, only flying just out of reach in a sulk after a poke with a stick.
With a decent camp kitchen it was an opportunity to get some more schoolwork done before dinner.