04.11.2011 - 08.11.2011
Monday 31st First day back in Australia, first day in perth and it is glorious!! The sun was shining and i had the most amazing lie in! It was time to sort out my bag for travels. You wouldn’t believe the logistics behind getting rid of 3 years of accumulated belonging from Sydney. Stuff for home, south Africa and for travels! I took 25kg worth of stuff over to SA to offload onto the rents and Lil very kindly took another suitcase of stuff over to Perth for me to pick up (legend!). With everything sorted, a few more items ditch, it was time to head into town to see what Perth had to offer and get started on recruiting for my Wicked campervan. This time issues with getting internet, first the stick didn’t work, 2nd wasn’t activated, the 3rd was slow so then i was advised to get a pocket wifi, requiring passport, address, bank statements! Knackering day, but eventually got sorted adn went back to Cottesloe to enjoy a beer and the sun going down with Katie and her housemates! Next day i finally get a chance to hand out some flyers for the van, i trek around the whole of Northbridge stopping off in every hostel and travel agent, then over to Freemantle, then to cottesloe, before running back into town to meet Mike for a drink then Katie to go head home. Finally its the 3rd and time for my adventure to begin. I have a German guy (20years old) and a Italian guy (22 years old)...what am i doing ha! Im gunna be the mum!!
I start walking with my backpack towards the station to make my way to the Wicked Campervan base when i get a call from a 30year old aussie who’s interested in potentially joining and very kindly offers me a lift...which turns out to be great as its bloody miles away! When we get there....OMG!! i know Wicked campervans are graffitied, but i thought inside it would be reasonably kept and def more spacious, but it seriously was mouse and moth eaten and tiny for 3 ppl and having to sleep next to two strange men ha! Shad, the aussie, was like no thanks and i had to agree! I’d booked it through an agent and it was pretty bloody expensive for what it was. Whilst asking the wicked people for a refund as i didn’t feel safe driving in this clapped out van. They said they couldn’t so then i spent the next 6hrs between the agent, a company that we found who had a 6 berth motor home with DVD, toilet, shower, kitchen, 3 double beds, fridge, 3 double beds..basically an awesome machine for $100 more!!! Ended up getting half my deposit back and leaving the next day in the motor home!! It was a stressful morning so shad and i went to the pub, had a drink, played some pool (the binding moment haha) then he very kindly offered for me to stay at his place (his parents). Rocked up at this mansion haha and his mum was lovely, gave us some wine, nibbles, a huge dinner, i met Shad’s girlfriend (lovely), and then had my own en suite room! So many dramas and its only day 4 of my 8 months travels!!
Next day went to pick up the beast! NB: rock up at 8am or 11am (between 9am and 10am its rush hour). Running a bit late we picked up Seb (the German 20 year old) on our way down south. We headed to Mandurah for fish and chips and to get to know each other and we all got on like a house on fire! Awesome! Down to Busselton to see the longest jetty in the southern hemisphere, so much so that they have a train that goes down it then at the end they have an underwater observatory which goes down into the water at the end fo the jetty! We were a bit late for that and it is free to go on the jetty after 6pm, so we went to the shops got some bait and beers and headed down the jetty to watch the sun go down and do some fishing! I brought my laptop and speakers, coz the first and only time i’d been fishing before it was a little slow....Not here! After 5mins, just got the laptop up and running and then we had a catch! Heaps of Herons!! There was a Korean chap who gave us a bit of advise on wait bait to use and then we caught even more! He came over later and was chatting to us and asked if we like sushmi!! Urrrg yes! So he got his fish, filleted, whipped out some dried seaweed and his wifes homemade hot sauce and gave us some sushi in return for a glass of goon ha! So fresh! Saw him scrap off the blood, cut out the bone, de skin the fillet, then pop it in out mouths ha! quite cool! Had a great first day and night!
7.30am the next day we get a knock on the door...its the traffic warden, apparently you cant just park up anywhere, gotta park in campervan sites. Luckily we only got a warning, but otherwise it would be $100 per person!! We quickly regrouped and made our way down to Cape Naturaliste for a walk around the lighthouse and for some whale watching. There were loads! Breeching heaps too! Onto Bootleg brewery, then tested out the wineries, chocolate factory (AMMMMAAAZING...Three bowls of dark, milk and white chocolate drops which you can just help yourself to...Seb and i went up about 5 times, then seb filled his hand – quite a big hand! And filled a glass in the van of these drops!) Felt a bit queezy after that! But onto the dairy factory for some cheese tasting before managing to find a free nights accommodation (arrive late, leave early!)
Turns out Sebs a good sleeper. Shad and i wake early and get on the road for Augusta. Sebs in the back of the van bouncing around and still sleeping. When we arrive in augusta there is an event on, so there are reams of people and runners everywhere. We wait in the road watching the runners go by eating our breakfast, before we can make it up the the lighthouse. Its stunning down this way! The coast is pretty rough, wind blowing, but orange rocks, with lush green veg, blue blue see, white sands and blue sky! Next we head to Pemberton (i missed the bicentennial tree and the waterfall – which are supposed to be good) but we went to the Gloucester Tree which is a 62m high Karri tree you can climb up. Its $11 per car to enter then you can climb the tree for free! There is minimal health and safety, felt like i was back in south Africa again, but its awesome! Bit hairy if you come across someone going up or back down as you ascend via these reo bars spiralling up the tree. Apparently there are from the 1930s and were an aboriginal way of spotting fire in a tall treed forest. Next to the valley of the giant in Walpole, a bit over priced tbh, but still cool to ascend a 40m high boardwalk through the Tingle trees (not as big as the Karri trees but still pretty big). You can then walk through the Ancient forest, which is interesting too, but i think the Gloucester tree and bicentennial tree (at 68m tall) is better value for money. We stayed the night in Walpole down by the lagoon, which was quite pricey but meant we could power up, and refresh all the systems.
From Walpole, onward to Albany. We’d been so lucky with the weather with the rain only falling at night and whilst we travelled, but then the sun would come out when it was time for us to see stuff! It was a pretty miserable day, managed to get a break in the weather to see the Elephant Rock and Green Pools (the water was so clear! And loads of rocks to climb and clamber over!) When we go to Albany we stocked up at the supermarket then headed south to go see some more rock formations. At the time i mentioned going you could barely see 10m in front of your from the rain, but when we arrived at the Natural Bridge and the Gap it was beauty sunshine! It was stunning being on the edge of these rock formations with the formidable sea crashing against the rocks and spray going everywhere, and drops of 20m + all around you. Next to the blow holes, not the most impressive but awesome south...bit like a whale when they surface and blow out their blowhole. We left around 3.30pm and headed north, aiming to get to Wave Rock, the last stop of our southern loop! We passed through the Stirling Ranges, which in the afternoon sun were pretty impressive. By the time the sun went down, we only managed to make it to Lake Grace & stayed in a very countrified site (eerie old woman running the place, people evidently live there and there is not a lot else around...lock all the doors ha!).
Next morning, still alive, we make an early start to Wave Rock. This is a 20m wall of rock which looks, unsurprisingly like a wave! It had bands of fossilised algae and has been formed by water erosion and the rock rotting (which ive never heard of), but good fun and surprising steep as we tried to surf it. There was a hippo yawn formation too, which also looked like a hippo yawning. It was time to head back to Perth to pick up a couple of Dutches keen to join our crew!
Met them at Freemantle and went for some drinks and met up with Popeye (from my uni hockey). Again, very lucky! Everyone’s getting on! Its exciting! Gunna be an epic trip north if it carries on like this!!