Wave Rock (Hyden)

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After a great night sleep at Cozy Corner and breakfast at the windy beach, we decided to stay another day in Albany. Our first point of interest were the Blowholes. On the way there (900m downhill which we would have to climb upwards again on the way back) we met some Asians who told us that they weren’t blowing. Nevertheless, we wanted to give it a chance. It’s probably not the smartest idea to go walking around the blowholes on a windy day like today because the rock is really rather exposed. And the rumbling of the water below does sound impressive and scary. Therefore, we just watched and waited from a little distance. However, not even the tiniest drop splashed out. Quite disappointed, we started the way back up, where we met more people and a couple turned around when they heard that nothing was blowing.

Waiting for the Blowholes to blow...

Waiting for the Blowholes to blow…

We stopped at the distillery on our way back but it would have been 5$ per glass to try the whiskeys and therefore, we moved on to the shops to buy the ingredients for our salmon pasta this evening. Other than that, we didn’t do much anymore that day because the weather really didn’t play along but we didn’t feel like going to a museum. Time to head back up north!

We drove about 4 hours until we reached Hyden and it seemed with every 100km the temperature rose 10 degrees. By the time we got out of the car, we were sweating again. At the beginning of the walk towards Wave Rock, there is a machine where you have to buy a 10$ parking ticket for the car. While we were studying how this thing works, another backpacker approached us and asked us whether we wanted to have their ticket, since they were leaving anyways. How nice of them :)!

Salt Lake

Salt Lake

The walk to the rock is very short and soon we saw the massive wave towering in front of us. It was great to see this and walk around and on top of it! You cannot believe how slippery the rock was. The places where we took pictures don’t look steep at all but we had a hard time getting up there and staying there 🙂 Now, it was too hot for us again, that we didn’t feel like doing one of the longer hikes and it would have been nice to reach Perth today. Therefore, we enjoyed our lunch at the bbq area and then drove on to Perth. It all went fine until about 90km before Perth, when there suddenly was a loud thud and I thought a bird had hit our car or something. So, we slowed down and looked for something lying on the road, but didn’t see anything. So, we stopped at the side of the road and I went to have a look at the car and by the water around the hood, I already knew that the plastic lid of the cooling liquid must have exploded off again. Easy fix, I thought. The car must have overheated without us noticing that the temperature meter was going up. We waited for a while and I refilled the cooling liquid and when Miriam wanted to start the car again, nothing worked. Shock :S

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And then I realized why, because all the liquid I had just poured in, was leaking out of the car. Leaking in waterfalls. There was no way we would make it back to Perth. I already saw myself having to get rid of the car. Well at least I had seen WA…And we had just told a guy who asked us whether he should tow us into the next town that we didn’t need him, we just had to let the car cool down…Luckily, this was a busy road. The next three cars didn’t stop but the fourth car did and omg, we couldn’t have been more lucky in our unlucky situation!!! It was a couple and the guy looked a bit like my first boyfriends dad 🙂 That calmed me down a little since Mr. Williams always was a really kind man.

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They told us that they drove past us but then thought that we looked like two girls who needed help and so they came back. ‘Mr Williams’ started rummaging through the hood of my car, trying to find the reason for the leak. After 5 minutes (I’m surprised he found it at all because it was so hidden), he went ‘aha’ and then took a tent bag out of his car. Miriam gave me a weird look to ask what he wanted to do with a tent now but once he opened it, we saw that there were spare car parts in it. Who in the world carries spare hoses in the car?! It must be about 5 people in one million and one of them stopped for us :)! He took the part out that was exploded and then spent at least 45min to put the new part on, which he cut into the right size with my Swiss army knife (at least I found a use for that:)). It was really in a stupid position but somehow he managed to put it there. We filled the car up with liquid again and NOTHING leaked 🙂 And the best thing was, that the car started too!

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So, we might actually have a chance to make it to Perth. The guy just told us that we should not drive more than 80 because it could just blow off again, since it wasn’t the exact part that was needed and might not stand the pressure. So, we crept along the roads, trying not to kill any animals (it was dark by now) and trying not to piss of the few cars that came up behind us (only one of them showed us the finger…).

Of course the nice couple, our saviors, didn’t want to accept anything for their help (and that although it was extremely hard work, what this guy managed to do). So, the least I could do was give them some chocolate. They took that and drove off. We don’t even know their names…:S

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We made it to Perth and the campground we wanted (Camp Wattle Grove) but by then were just too exhausted to really do anything. It took us about 15min to open a cider bottle because we just didn’t have any strength anymore. And since it was dark, the caretakers felt sorry for us and drove up with their cars to shine some light on the place where we had to put the tent up (ugh, a bed would have been so nice).

After that, at some point, we finally managed to sit down and have some food and then crawl into our lovely tent, without the raincoat, because the temperature was still nice.

So, it wasn’t the best day we had but it surely was an adventure and just proved again, like so many times on this trip already, that there are so many such great people in the world. Complete strangers go way out of their way to help someone. I hope they know how much this help is appreciated. Then, I always think, I hope I can take this home and pay it forward.

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Before I finally passed out in the tent, I had another minute of insecurity. It sounded as if someone was running toward our tent and would accidentally run over it. The next moment, two kangaroos were jumping past our tent. We are at the edge of Perth city and it’s the first time a kangaroo hopped so close to our tent 🙂 Then, I loved camping again 🙂

And guess who properly fixed Hero the next day and put the right hose into the right place? Jess again…The work wasn’t any easier that day since it was still in the worst place behind the engine. I feel so bad that he has to keep fixing my car. Back in Switzerland, I’ll return to public transportation, where at least it won’t be my responsibility to keep a car running. Or get a boyfriend who knows how to fix things.

Porongroup NP, Castle Rock

Porongroup NP, Castle Rock

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Albany – The backpacker friendly town in south WA

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We had breakfast at the lake and then left Pemberton in direction Denmark. In Denmark, there would actually be more wineries and a cheese factory but we only stopped at the chocolate company. Only to find out that it was run by a lady from Switzerland. Her Swiss German was better than mine (I get used to English so quickly :)) but she seemed happy that we stopped there. Annie gave us different chocolates to try and even offered us a praline. Mhhhh! She had lived in Perth for 30 years and just moved down to Denmark 4 years ago. She also said that here it’s a lot more like Europe. Miriam and I actually stopped at Green Pool before we went to the chocolate place. It would be a beeeeeautiful bay. However, it was rainy and cold that day and very uninviting to go swimming. When I walked back to the car, I saw two hikers and almost said “Grüezi” because I forgot for a moment that I wasn’t in Switzerland. But then I heard the waves and thought that something couldn’t be right:)

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We stopped in a café in town for delicious mochas and enjoyed the wifi for a while. Then, we started the last leg of the day towards Albany. The drive into town is quite nice, since you have the ocean to your right, a beautiful building at the end of the road and many interesting things on the left side (one of it a big ship that I think it a museum now). We went to the visitor center to get a map and then the lady pointed out to us that there are a few free campsites close to Albany, that there are free hot showers and toilets close to the visitor center and that everything should be drinking water, if it’s not indicated differently. A very backpacker friendly town. The wifi at the library is open and free too.

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We took the road to Frenchman Bay, stopped at the wind farm and had a look at the mills and enjoyed the beautiful view over a wild ocean. Unfortunately, the temperature was still freezing and the sun nowhere to be found.

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We drove on to “The Gap” and “Natural Bridge”. The first point was a small gorge in the ocean that the waves would fill up and empty out again and again. Right close by was a rock formation that looked like a bridge. It was huge and the people walking around on it looked tiny. Again, we had great views of the ocean but it was really cold and windy. On top of that, we knew that it would be getting dark soon, so we moved the Blowholes to another day and drove back into town to find a campground. Since the weather was pretty unfriendly and we knew it would be dark once we get to the site, we wanted to stay on a campsite that night, so that we could freeze our water bottles for the esky, have showers and not have to use all our gear. We checked in to the cheapest campground (King River Park) and were happy that it was only 24$. However, we soon found out that the kitchen only consisted of a few bbqs and a sink under a pavilion. Not at all sheltered from the cold. On top of that, we’d have had to insert coins to pay for the light and the gas. That would have been more expensive than using our own things!! Okay then, we set up our tent and went cooking in the bathroom. At least there was enough space and light there and it was warm too. We’ve certainly eaten at many special, beautiful and/or convenient places but on this small bench in a shower cabin was definitely the weirdest one.

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The night then luckily wasn’t as cold as the day felt. At the moment, the nights seem to be warmer again anyways and I hope it stays like that!

The next day we drove to Porongroup NP. Again, parts of the NP seemed to be free, just like Frenchman Bay. But we have our four week pass for 44$ and are save anyways. We parked the car at Castle Rock car park and then started the 2,2km long walk. For the first 50min it was a steady uphill path that anyone could walk. Then, we reached fantastic looking rocks. One of them was balancing rock that was set on top of another one, like a sculpture. From there, in 50m more we reached a look out from which we saw far over the countryside. We probably would have seen the ocean if the weather was better. Then, we started the short climb up to the Granite Skywalk. That was fun but way more touristic than the hikes in Karinjini.

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The way back to the car park was quicker but also hard on our muscles, since we feel them from climbing the trees yesterday.

We drove on to Tree on a Rock but could have skipped that place. We both thought that this tree didn’t look very special. Therefore, we just had a little snack.

On our way back to Albany, we stopped at the Sandalwood factory. I was really looking forward to this, since I normally love the smell of sandalwood. They also had many products and we could try them all, however, they didn’t smell like I expected them to and therefore I was a little disappointed.

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Back in town, we went to Coles to shop for our next few meals, had a late lunch in the park next to the library and then it was already time to go fill our water bottles up and find one of the free campsites. We decided to go to the closes one and after a short detour we found Cozy Corner Rd that led us to Cozy Corner Campground. It’s only a small place and it was very crowded with campers but we found a spot between a grey nomad and another camper van. Behind our tent are a few trees and a sand dune and then there is the ocean. The waves are pretty loud but I’m sure that will be the perfect lullaby for tonight. The toilets seemed nice too, so for now, we consider spending another night here, since we won’t go to Esperance because the weather just seems too bad at the moment. I hope I get another chance to go there on my way to Adelaide. It should only be a small detour of 100km then 🙂 Not 900km, like it would be now.

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Stingrays and heights (Margaret River to Pemberton)

Lighthouse in Augusta

Lighthouse in Augusta

On Wednesday, we sadly had to say goodbye to Margaret River and all its treasures. We took the scenic Caves Rd towards Augusta. Our first quick stop were the Jewel Caves but we then decided that they cost too much. So, we headed straight to Hamelin Bay, where we went looking for stingrays. We walked along the pretty beach but at first did not see any. No wonder, they were all assembled around the boat ramp, where somebody was throwing fish garbage into the water. Once the crowed left, I started talking to a guy who was loading a boat to go diving and then he gave me a small fish that I could feed to the rays. That was cool!

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Then, we drove on to Augusta. Again, we took the tourist drive and had beautiful views over the lighthouse. At this cape the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean. I was convinced one side looked greener than the other 🙂

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We moved on towards Pemberton and drove into the national park 15km before the town. In the Lonely Planet it said that the Bicenntenial Tree was less populated than the Gloucester Tree, so we wanted to have a look at this one. This is a 75m high tree which the fireman used to climb on top of to watch out for fires. I couldn’t believe that you can still climb to the top without any safety lines or without a ranger watching over the tree. We actually were the only ones at the tree! Nevertheless, we were determined to reach the platform at the top (I wasn’t so sure whether I would make it). It should be quite safe because there are steel poles every 20 cm hammered inside the tree, forming a ladder that leads around the tree and on the side is something like a safety net. So, only if you lose your strength and fall in between the poles because you slip or pass out it would become problematic.

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Now, I like to climb on trees or rock climb but I always feel uneasy when I look to the ground. Here, you kind of saw the ground constantly whenever you reached one of the thin poles and it really looked high! So, for the first 20m, I felt like throwing up but nevertheless, I climbed on to at least make it to the first platform. Finally there, I hugged the tree for a while to calm my nerves and pretend that we were on something solid that wasn’t moving in the wind. Miriam was so motivated to reach the top, that I climbed on too and it actually got easier after a while. In the end, it was just steel ladders from platform to platform. From the top, there was an enormous view over the Karri Forest as far as the ocean.

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Who can find me?

Unfortunately, there was no lift or zip line, so we had to climb the same way down again. Now, I just prayed that I wouldn’t pass out because the ground still looked so far away. At least it came closer with every pole I stepped down. Finally on the ground again, we felt really proud that we managed that.

Because Miriam thought that this wasn’t the tallest tree, we ate some chocolate chip cookies and then drove to the Gloucester Tree. There was one guy at the top and another couple climbing it. Somebody was waiting on the benches on the safe ground. It probably was too high for him 🙂

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Actually, this tree is shorter than the other one but since we already knew that we could do it, we climbed to the top of this one too. I was glad that we did the other one first, because here the first platform was on about 40m and no break before that is a long way up!! But here, I didn’t have that sickening feeling anymore. I guess the thrill of the first time was already over 🙂 Nevertheless, I was relieved when I reached the platform.

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Back on the ground, we drove to Big Brook Campground, a little outside Pemberton. The lady in town told us that it would be a free campground with showers. Too good to be true. There were no showers and it would have cost 7.50$ but the host was very kind and let us stay for the concession rate or 5.50$. The campground itself was nothing special but close to it was a beautiful lake. This forest area reminds us a lot of Europe. We could be camping at a quarry pond in Austria.

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Margaret River – The land of milk and honey

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From our campsite it was only a short drive to Margaret River. We had to laugh at the distances that were all below 50km. After the north, where we made over 300km when it was a driving day, this seemed like a short detour to get something from the supermarket.

We stopped at the visitor center, where they told us that they’d have wifi after office hours and they gave us a map with all the wineries. We had planned to do a wine tour, however, during the half day tour, you’d only visit two wineries and all the other places we could visit on our own anyways (like the cheese and chocolate factory). Therefore, we thought we’d do one winery in the morning, have lunch and then do one later in the afternoon and have a break again. The lady at the visitor center marked all the wineries for us, where they’d have sweet wines.

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Our first stop was the Berry Farm. We tried some delicious olive tapenade, jams and oils and then proceeded to the wine bar, where we ran into the best guy to meet in Margaret River. Sean said we could chose six beverages to try and we tried a few ciders, port wines and sparkling wines. All the while he was telling us about the background of the wines. They were all delicious!! Sean, asked us about our vacation and in the end he said, if we’d get stuck, we could call him and camp in his front yard. He told us that he lived on a farm stay with lots of backpackers on the premises who do work and travel. He would have given us more wines to try but we really needed some lunch in our stomachs first. There would be restaurants with good food and we probably could have treated ourselves to this for once. But we also wanted to try some of the fresh olives and cheeses from the region and I hadn’t had salami in almost a month. Therefore, we bought several little things we found in the factory stores (omg, try the smoked cheddar!!) and the supermarkets and put a beautiful lunch platter together which we enjoyed in the shadow of a tree.

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Then we made our way to Margaret River Nuts and Cereals and after that the chocolate factory. The prices there are horrendous but that’s probably because you get to try so much for free. There are buckets with chocolate drops inside, to which you can help yourself. And the chocolate is really good! Afterwards, I felt a little sick 🙂 Time for something to drink. We drove to the Cheecky Monkey brewery. Unfortunately, there you’d have to buy a tasting rack but that would have been too much for us. They gave us two ales to try anyways but I didn’t like them. In the winery right next to the brewery you could try the wines for free though.

After that, we made our way to Rivermouth Beach. Wow, what a view!! Margaret River is food heaven and stunningly beautiful at the same time! If I did work and travel, I’d definitely look for a job here.

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Unfortunately, we were too cold to swim and therefore drove back into town after a while, to use the wifi. Once we started to look for a campground in the national park, it was already getting dark which made it a lot harder to find the campsite. We didn’t find it. And didn’t want to keep driving in the dark (there were rabbits everywhere). So, we felt stuck enough to call Sean and ask whether we could camp on his lawn. He said of course and we tried to find his place. We thought we were wrong again but then actually ended up at the right place 🙂 He introduced us to his house mate and his two cute boys. They were all so welcoming that they even let us sleep in their living room (which was great since the temperatures outside really are cold during the night and we could use a little vacation from that.)

His house mate, Rupert, offered us to take us fishing the next day. In the morning however, we first went on a walk on the beautiful property. It was as if we landed in Oz or Wonderland. Windmills, treehouses and animals in a lush nature. Beautiful!! After that we drove to another winery, then stopped for ice cream at Millers, tried to find another brewery but the access was so hard due to road works, that we drove to Yahava Coffee Works instead. We got to taste three black coffees. I really felt awake after that! To finish this, we got to try one of the syrups you put in milk and then it tastes like ice coffee or chai latte. So delicious! Next to the coffee place was Vasse Virgin. They have delicious oils, pestos and lotions. We felt like coming out of a spa afterwards 🙂

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The stop before lunch was Stella Bella. The lady there was also very friendly and the wines great. After that, we had some of our lunch platter again and then visited Sean at the Berry Farm. Then it was already time to meet Rupert for fishing. We climbed down to a beautiful beach and onto a rock, against which the waves splashed. They would never reach us though. Rupert showed us how to cast out the rods and we tried to catch some herring. It was fun and addictive but unfortunately we didn’t catch anything. So, sausages, potatoes and salad for dinner. We had another nice evening and since the guy were so great and were raving about an apocalyptic dinner that would be on the next evening, we decided to stay another day in Margaret River.

Rivermouth

Rivermouth

On our third morning, we drove to Redgate Beach. Another beautiful beach but it was still very choppy and the water cold. The sun was up, so that it was agreeable but again we didn’t feel like jumping into the waves. So, we left to find another winery. We drove into the Voyager Estate because we thought that the name sounded nice. Wow, what beautiful premises!! And nice wines too. We had lunch on the English lawn next to the rose garden.

That was the last winery we visited here. If you only have one day in Margaret River, I’d recommend visiting these places:

The Berry Farm

Vessel

Chocolate Factory

Dairy Factory (Cheese)

Voyager Estate

We drank a coffee in town but the restaurant threw us out at 2.30pm because they were closing (?!), so we went shopping for dinner and then started baking and cooking the Flammkuchen for the guys. Unfortunately, the oven here work with gas and therefore it took much longer until they were ready but luckily they still tasted ok.

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We took some of them with us to the apocalyptic dinner. They call it this way, because everybody has to bring something good to eat and the dinner will be a real feast. The food really was delicious and the dinner was at such a cool place. It was a small house with a porch that was facing a big, wild backyard. Sitting there, sipping on a glass of red wine, eating nice food really made life complete. And these people get to live in such a beautiful place every day…I’d definitely come back to Margaret River if I ever make it to Australia again.

Forget Monkey Mia, go to Bunbury

Busselton Jetty

Busselton Jetty

We took off towards Fremantle and spend half a day there. Luckily, it was Friday and so we could get lunch at the market and also some cheaper fruits and vegetables. After having a look at the sights, we enjoyed iced coffees at the Cappuccino Strip.

Unfortunately, we then got stuck in traffic for a while, drove into the wrong national park, didn’t like the campground there and therefore lost so much time (at least we now know that the 4wd of Hero works, since we had to drive on sand a little.)

We finally found the campground we wanted to stay. Only now it was already dark and when we entered the campground, we saw big signs that there were poisonous fox baits laid out that would kill pets and also harm humans. That and the fact that just three cars crossed us when we drove into the park and there also were “no camping” signs irritated us a little.

However, there were other people camping in the park. Mostly Australians and even families with kids. They didn’t seem alarmed at all but also hadn’t seen any of the signs.

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We then decided to just stay there for the night, trying not to touch anything. At least a really cute animal approached us while we were brushing our teeth. I still haven’t found out what it was but it wasn’t a fox 😉

The night was freezing and I really will have to put on more layers when we are sleeping now. When the sun was up, everything looked more friendly and there was a beautiful lake right behind the trees. The air was still cold and we always tried to stay in the sun (we could do that the whole day since it only became about 19 C. Brrr, if it continues like that I won’t be able to enjoy the ocean many times more). Most people told us that they hardly ever had to pay for this campsite (Belvidere, just a little north of Bunbury), so we took our time with getting ready the next day. Just as I was starting the car, I saw a ranger walk towards us in my side mirror. He wished us a good morning and asked for 7.50$ a person. At least we now knew that there was nothing wrong with camping here and the baits would just be dangerous if we ate them from the ground (I didn’t see anything).

If we had just hurried a little more we

’d have had a free night, damn!

We drove to Bunbury to have breakfast at the beach. There is a dolphin discovery center, where they do pretty much the same thing as in Monkey Mia, except that the employees there were much more friendly and the dolphins came sooo close and even played a little right in front of us!! I don’t know why this isn’t more highlighted in the Lonely Planet or any other guide. I found this experience much better than in Monkey Mia and it’s so close to Perth! Not such a waste of gas money and harming the nature by driving up there just for dolphins. I think you could also swim with them in the center but we didn’t go inside and just drove on to Busselton when the dolphins left the beach again. In Busselton, there is a 1,8km long jetty. A train would bring you to

the end and back but you could also just pay 2.50$ to walk across it. We didn’t want to spend any money to walk on a jetty and therefore just took a stroll along the nice beach, where we had a good view of the jetty.

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There also was a small art festival but since they didn’t really sell any food, we just made our tomato sandwiches again for lunch. This time, we could even add delicious hummus to it.

Our next stop was the visitor center in Dunsborough. We were looking for a beach where we could body surf or even try out our real surf board. They told us to go to Yallingup. The coast there looked nice and wild. There were some surfers in the water but the waves were much too big and unfortunately there was a reef in the water too. Honestly, I was too cold to go for a swim anyways. Therefore, we just read for a while and then drove back to the Anglican Church Campground between Busselton and Donsborough. With 12.50$ pp it’s by far the cheapest we found around here and on top of that, it’s really beautiful. Tonight, we take “a room with sea view” to a different level 🙂

Our share of Road Trains

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On our route back to Perth, the first place we could call civilized was Newman because there were many shops, the gas was cheaper and in the visitor center, we were allowed to sit down in the café and use the internet (that was so strong that I could finally upload some pictures, yay).

On the Great Northern Hwy, we really got our share of road trains. They sometimes were 5 trucks long or wider than the whole road, so that we had to drive down into the dirt and wait until they passed. We were really careful with overtaking them but still, we were probably holding our breath the whole time because the last wagon could start slithering uncontrollably. But driving behind them was bad for our windshield and if I slowed down too much, we’d soon be sandwiched in between two trucks. The coastal highway was definitely more relaxing.

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Unfortunately, we missed the road to the campsite we wanted to stay and so ended up in Meekatherra, a town mostly populated by Aborigines. The campground owners were really friendly but otherwise, this time I thought that the place looked like out of a horror movie. We slept in a caravan park that looked quite deserted and there were laundry racks that turned in circles although nobody moved them. There only was a small grass patch right next to the main road only divided by a fence, so we could enjoy the view of the road trains that would drive by. At least we met three really nice guys who worked in the mines. They offered us a beer (heaven, after a day of driving) and after a delicious dinner (we found discounted hamburger meat with onions and cheese, that turned out to be extremely good), the Irish guy started singing songs to us. Irish people are always so much fun to be around! They slept in their swags (looks like a pool chair that is covered by a tent).

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The next day we spent on the road again with only one sightseeing spot in New Norcia, a small town with pretty houses and good drinking water in front of the public toilets.

Finally, we reached Perth and spent two more nights in the Underground Backpackers. The owner was very happy to see us again and even gave us a renovated room this time, with a double bed. Still for 20$/pp!! And on the second evening, the Malaysians asked us to come celebrate one of the girls’ birthdays with them. They brought us to a Spanish chocolate café with delicious drinks and desserts! And that after we had already visited the Margaret River Chocolate Company in Perth that day (you get free samples in the store, mhhh). The chocolate actually is good here! Just double the price from Switzerland.

Mining Pit, Meekatherra

Mining Pit, Meekatherra

My car needed some more liquids and Jess spent a whole morning making it work better. Thank you!

So, now we’re ready to leave again.

Karinjini National Park – A contrast in red green and blue

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We reached Tom Price at 1pm and were thrilled about this small town where everything finally was cheaper again. In Coles we bought a huge slice of watermelon and also found a garden salad for 69 cents 🙂 First salad on our camping trip but otherwise we had some kind of vegetable or fruit every lunch and dinner. The gas only cost 1.66 which was the cheapest since Perth and made up for the 30l we got in Nanutarra. I think they ripped us of there because according to the meter, less than 30l should have fit into the tank and it felt as if the petrol was only flowing very slowly but the liters and dollars going up anyways.

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We left Tom Price with filled up water bottles and tanks. Shortly stopped at the police station to ask whether it was safe to enter the park (The tourist information was already closed and it actually rained several times that day. And since we red several times that we could get stuck in the park after strong rain and the gorges would be dangerous, we wanted to know what the weather would be like.) Luckily, they told us that it was going to be fine and there were people in the park today too.

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We drove straight to Dales Campground, where we spent the next two nights. We thought that 10$ a person/night were a bit much since it seemed that nobody was really looking after the place yet. In the whole national park there are no garbage bins and so for two days, we had to carry everything around with us. Plus, the gas stoves and bbq’s on the campground were not working.

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We met Julia from New Zealand and drove to the nearby Fortescue Waterfall parking lot with her and then hiked down to its pool. The scenery was stunning. Red rocks filled with green nature, gorges next to fields that reminded me a bit of the Swiss region Thurgau and hills. So different from all the dry areas and the coast that we’ve seen until now. And in all that a beautiful waterfall with an inviting blue pool. In all the guides it said that the water was freezing but maybe not at this time of year because it was actually warmer than the ocean. Wonderful evening swim an our shower for today 🙂

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Now, I never was a big camper, so I am quite proud that we survived with only the things in our car for three days and two nights and had enough water to cook, clean and drink. I think we would even manage another two days but then we’d run out of water.

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The night was unbearably hot. At first we had the rain coat over our tent but after melting away inside the tent for a few ours, I got out again to take it off (which I hated to do since there were about a thousand ants and spiders everywhere. When I brushed my teeth, I looked towards an area behind our tent and saw something sparkling on the ground in the light of my headlamp. I thought it might be animals eyes, so I carefully approached. There were at least 8 different sized spiders on the ground :S)

With only the mosquito net around us, sleeping finally became a bit easier.

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We got up with the sunrise again and then drove the 43km on a red and veeery bumpy dirt road to Weano Gorge. Poor Hero! I hope we didn’t do any damage to the car. Anyways, going there is definitely worth it if you aren’t afraid of climbing a little. We did the Hancock Gorge trail that would lead to Kermit’s Pool. Again, the surroundings were just stunning and we couldn’t stop wowing. It started out easy with a latter and a rocky path through the gorge. I felt like in “The Land Before Time”. Then, we reached a pool and I saw a sign that we mustn’t climb on the rocks. Good that I had looked this up at home and saw pictures because now we knew that we had to wade through the water. When we reached the other side, we were completely surrounded by red walls (they call this place Amphitheater). Then, we had to enter the Spiderwalk. Ugh, yeah, didn’t sound very attractive. I hoped it was because we had to wade along the walls with our hands and feet sticking out to both sides, because there was water flowing below us and not because there were many spiders. I saw some but I guess, rather get close to a spider than fall down into the water on the rocks. After this short bit, we already reached Kermit’s pool, where we met a couple from Tasmania, that was swimming. We also relaxed for a while. The temperature in the gorge was very agreeable. The hike back felt much shorter, since we could estimate the distance and knew where to put our hands and feet. However, the last bit (on the easiest part) was the hardest because it was out in the sun again and we realized that this day would just be as hot as all the other days.

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Bats

Bats

We then drove to Joffre Gorge and walked the short distance to the lookout. Again, the view over the gorge and the waterfall was very pretty but there wasn’t as much water flowing as at the other ones. We drove the long way back over the dirt track, crossed the van again with people we had seen at every place we’ve been so far and then we cooled off at the visitor center, while looking at the displays. We had lunch in the shade outside the center and then drove to Fortescue Falls again, to hike a little further to Fern Pool. On the walk, we saw a big iguana and got very excited about it.

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The pool was beautiful and a little bigger than the one at the waterfall. There also were two small waterfalls. Someone pointed out to us that there were heaps of bats hanging in the trees above us. And really, the trees were filled with black spots. They must have been awake, because they were constantly fanning themselves and sometimes fighting with each other and then one would fly to a different spot. In the middle of the day! They were at least 30cm long.

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We swam in the pool amongst little fish that were eating our loose skin. Someone had left foam snakes and with them we could just lay on the water without really having to do anything. I felt like at an indoor pool that had built up an amazing scenery to make the people feel like they were in real nature. Except that this was real:)

We spent most afternoon there and were visited by another curious lizard.

On the way back, we did a small detour to Circular Pool lookout and then spent another night at the campground. This time it was already hot without the raincoat. It takes much longer to cool down here, so it’s probably good that we start our way south tomorrow.

It seems like many people skip Karinjini but I would say if you go to WA, that’s the place you have to see because it’s just so amazing and different from everything else.

EVERYTHING is red...

EVERYTHING is red…