Road Trip - Part 2, Western Australia to South Australia
Driving more than 4000 km from Perth to Adelaide, sleeping on top our car!
If you haven’t already read about our cool setup with car and rooftop tents started, and our first days on our road trip from Perth to Adelaide, you want to click here and catch up… I promise you, it’s worth the click.
Now, our next destination after Busselton, was a place we had high expectations for. For people like us, who thoroughly enjoys good food, good wine, good coffee and chocolate, local produce, preferably organic and in beautiful surroundings, we were expecting a lot from Margaret River south of Perth. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
Making it there just before everything closed, we decided to take it easy at the campground and play some boardgames available at the campsite. Next morning, we are ready to taste it all. Unfortunately, all the vineyards we are closed due to Australia Day weekend, but we went for a great coffee and chocolate tasting experience, tried lots of different local olive oils, marmalades, ciders, honeys, you name it even hand lotions and essential oils (which I'm a huge fan of). We also saw the beautiful little all blue birds, the fairy-wrens, while eating delicious cakes at the Berry Farm in Rosa Glen. All in all, anything there that was open and offering/selling tastings we did it – and liked it… a lot.
With full and happy bellies, we drove on to another highlight on our trip at Hamelin Bay. Wild stingrays swimming in on shallow waters by the beach looking for food, as the
fishermen used to throw out their fish scrubs after rinsing fish from the old and now non-existing jetty.
We hadn’t been at the beach for long before spotting the first stingrays. Standing completely still in the water, as we had learned we were supposed to, and also a little bit out of fright, we watched them come closer and closer until they brushed their fins up our legs. Standing still and just looking at them, we were (supposedly) safe, but they are wild stingrays with long venomous spines down their tail to defend themselves from shark attacks and other predators. This was quite the experience. Philip even got to feed them when some fishermen came by with their fish scrubs. After good instructions and learning about the stingrays from the local and experienced fishermen, Philip got to hand feed a huge stingray that was hungry and didn't care whether it was being hand fed or not. He was one proud and happy boy for the rest of the day. After a couple of hours of having seen and been touched by both small and big stingrays, we went for a picnic up in the sand dunes overlooking the waters, and as the cherry on top, we spotted a big shark only a hundred meters off the shore lurking around for... well, probably a stingray dinner.
The next day, we took off for Walpole, after another visit to the beach with the stingrays, as we had spent the night on a campsite 100 meters up from the beach. A local informed us, that we were not to miss the WOW Wilderness Eco-cruise in Walpole, so off we went. On our way there, we passed by the Karridale Maze, where we ended up spending most of the
afternoon chasing each other around the fun maze, which we had all to ourselves most of the time. Arriving in Walpole, we just made it in time to book us in on the WOW tour starting the next morning, before the local Tourist Information closed for the day.
Tour by a Living Encyclopedia
It was just as fun, interesting and enlightening as we had been promised. Never before have we met a person with such knowledge about everything from wildlife, nature, world history, mythology, geology, philosophy, much more and equally important, the ability to tell a good story. It was three intense hours on the boat and hiking through wilderness out to the beach while we were being told the most dramatic and incredible stories, tying everything we saw together with all our different nationalities and hometowns of the 20 people on the tour. I don’t think we have ever learned so much in just three hours, as we did with this guy! It was incredible and you simply have to go on the tour to understand it completely, but what a character and incredible living encyclopedia.
Visiting Denmark… as in the town of Denmark – not the country
After processing all the new information, we drove on towards Albany. We of course made sure to see everything on our way there, which included passing through the town of Denmark, and a little further on, the Tree Top Walk at The Valley of the Giants. The stop in Denmark was mostly to see if we could find anything that related to our home country, but truth be told, there wasn't much. Simply a town with the same name as a small Scandinavian country, but it was fun to see it saying “Denmark” all over town… to a Dane, that is.
The Giants of Denmark
The tree top walk in the Valley of the Giants was way more of an experience than our stop in Denmark. Walking around the canopies of the 400+ years old tingle trees (a type of eucalyptus tree that is found nowhere but there). The view over the trees was spectacular, and we felt quite small exploring the forest 40 m up in the air. After the 600 m long canopy walk, there was another trail to discover and learn about the wildlife living in the forests and the huge tingle trees, most of them hollow and wide enough to have 5-10 people standing inside them.
The Skin is Waterproof
We spent the night at a campsite in Albany, and it was raining, the first rain while in Australia. Now, usually that’s not a problem for us, “the skin is waterproof” as Martin always says, but after all night's rain, one of the mattresses was wet and smelly. Not much to be done, as it was still raining in the morning, and we had to fold up the tents wet.
Philip for one, did not mind the rain, and at 6.30 (!!!) in the morning he was ready to go to the playground to meet and play with his new friend, from the day before, and so he did! Surprisingly, his friend was already there, and they played for three hours straight in the rain. At this point I should probably mention, that it was another Danish boy he was playing with. This leads me to something we experience again and again traveling around the world. If we are out in what most people would consider “bad weather”, we always meet other Danish or Swedish people… regardless of where in the world we are - just an interesting little observation.
With the continuing rain we spend most of the day in a museum in Albany. The very
fascinating National ANZAC Centre. It was so interesting for all four of us, and we could easily have spent more time than we had, as they ended up almost closing with us inside. We have learned so much about the First World War while in Australia, and we didn’t even know that many soldiers from both Australia and New Zealand took part in that war, so far away from them.
Click here to read the final Part 3 about our experience on one of the world’s greatest adventure drives on the longest, straightest and flattest road as well as how we celebrated making it back out to civilisation after 3 days in the outback.