The final part of our trip was visiting Adelaide and the wine regions of South Australia. We did the Clare and Barossa Valleys and managed to stash 30 odd bottles of wine in an already heavily packed car. The car was a bit like Mary Poppins carpet bag when we got home. We just kept pulling out bottles of wine from under seats and compartments in the car, how it all fit in I do not know!
The Clare Valley
Martindale Halle, Clare Valley
The Midnight Oil house, Burra
The Gallery of South Australia was brilliant. There were a number of interesting exhibitions on when we were there.
Glenelg in Adelaide was a much much nicer version of St Kilda in Melbourne. Sorry Melbourne, you lose on this one 🙁
Glenelg Jetty, Adelaide
Glenelg Jetty, Adelaide
In the Barossa it was more wine tastings before we headed home. We also visited Maggie Beers farm shop where we were able to try all the sauces, pate’s and preserves.
We did a detour down to Streaky Bay for a couple of nights so that we could do a tour from Baird Bay to swim with the sea lions and dolphins. Greg wasn’t keen on swimming due to the shark risk and the wound on his arm so he decided stayed on the boat, but he still got to see a lot and got some great photos and videos.
I squeezed myself into a full length wetsuit which kept me warm in the 16 degree water. I was a bit apprehensive about the water temperature and was worried I would find it too cold but it wasn’t a problem with the wetsuit on.
We set off from Baird Bay and about 15mins later reached the sea lions. They were hanging out on the beach and when we arrived more started to congregate down to the beach. Some were playing and wrestling eachother and others were being super lazy.
The sea lions started to enter the water which is when we joined them. They were swimming around me and I was centimetres away from them swimming and playing. This was such a unique and special experience and to be able to swim alongside them in their natural environment.
We spent about 45mins hanging out with the sea lions and following that we were taken out to the deeper water in the bay where the dolphins are located. There were approximately 50 dolphins the day we went which is a great number but apparently numbers have been up to 100 at times. One of the guides Mick had a shark shield attached to his leg which sends out a sensor to ward off sharks. We were told to stay near Mick and the boat and not to stray more than 20 meters. A 19 ft great white shark has been sighted in the bay before but this didn’t put me off jumping into the water. I didn’t think about the sharks at all and felt very safe. I was so blown away with the large number of dolphins swimming around me and, like the sea lions very playful in the water. Some even put on a show and were jumping out of the water.
Streaky Bay is a sleepy fishing town with a relaxed vibe. We stayed at at fabulous and brand new caravan park just outside of town and we thoroughly enjoyed the peaceful location right on the bay.
Just when we thought we’d seen the most spectacular beaches WA had to offer, we were surprised by the vibrant clear blue water and powder white sands of Lucky Bay and surrounding coves near Esperance. The sand is so fine and soft it squeaks under foot and feels like flour between your toes.
We camped here for two nights with views out over the bay. The camp site is the best of all the national parks we’ve stayed at so far with a camp kitchen, clean hot showers and flushing toilets (luxury!)
What makes this place so special is the friendly kangaroos. You can hang out with them down on the beach and they will let you pat their super soft fur. We had a mother and a joey visit us at our campsite for about an hour. We gave the mother some water and watched her joey feed. They then took a nap under the shrubs. As tempting as it was to feed the kangaroos this is not allowed as they need to retain the natural ability to find their own food otherwise they will become reliant on humans.
We went hiking between Lucky Bay and Thistle Cove, a distance of 4 km return over rocky slopes and through low shrubbery. The Cove was beautiful and Greg took the opportunity to take some photos of me posing on a rock however in doing so slipped on some wet rocks and landed heavily on his back and right elbow, skinning numerous layers of skin. Luckily he sacrificed his own personal safety in trying to save the camera and lens from smashing into the rocks and the only damage was to the protective filter on the lens which served it’s purpose. I am so glad the lens is okay, even if Ted (Greg) is a bit battered, bloody and bruised.
PS: the photos were worth it he says 😉
Our first night at Lucky Bay was stunning as we got to watch a large soft glowing moon rise over the bay. The photo’s don’t do it justice but it was a special moment to experience.
The drive to Albany was interesting because there were plenty places to stop along the way and explore. The beautiful Greens Pool & Elephant Rocks near Denmark were stunning. The water was too cold for us chickens to go swimming but it would be perfect in the heat of summer.
There are too many temptations along the way like burgers with a side of marron and honey and coffee icecream.
We visited the National Anzac Centre where we where given a card of an individual and you can follow their progress throughout the war. The National Anzac Centre was built to commemorate the first and second departing convoys of Australian troups as Albany was the last port in Australia before departing for overseas service. One third out of 40,000 troups never returned and only 1 Australian horse out of 13,000 returned to Australia.
Other sites visited in and near Albany were the spectacular cliffs and crashing waves at The Gap and Natural Bridge, the convict museum with it’s haunted cells and Dog Rock.
Following on from Margaret River we headed to Pemberton in the southern forests region. Pemberton is a small town with a lot of old mill huts and is surrounded by beautiful rolling green hills and karri forests. This area of WA reminded us a lot of the West Gippsland region of Neerim South and Noojee in Victoria. We had planned to camp in one of the forests just outside of town however the campground was almost full when we arrived with only a couple of poor sites left with exposed tree roots and mud, sadly not so good for a tent. We decided to book accommodation instead and stayed in a little wooden cottage on a farm 1km out of town with stunning views over the hills.
We visited the Gloucester tree which is 52 meters tall and has long steel climbing pins along the trunk all the way to the top. It was originally used as a fire lookout but these days tourists climb it for fun. With my history of falling down stairs Greg didn’t think it was something I would attempt to climb but I surprised him and myself in making it all the way to the top and back down again. It was a bit hair raising as there is no safety harness so you have to hold on for dear life and pray that you don’t put a foot wrong. It also helps to not look down too often 😦 Greg decided to pass on the climb and kept his feet on solid ground 🐔👣
There are many walks in the national parks nearby. We visited Beedelup Falls and I hobbled along the track with my sore legs from the tree climb the day before.
If it hadn’t been for my jelly legs I probably would have climbed the Bicentennial tree as well which is 68 meters tall. I only did a few meters of this tree before changing my mind.
As for the food and drink we enjoyed lunch at Jarrah Jacks brewery and also sampled some local smoked produce at Holy Smoke cafe in Pemberton, delicious 😋
On the drive to Albany we took a detour along the valley of the giants road and did the treetop walk. The trees here really are gigantic and definitely worth the stop.