As much as I love the sunny state of Queensland, our counterpart on the other side of the country also has a special feel to it. Australia
Thankfully, our plan of skipping poor weather in South Australia and spending more time in Western Australia turned out to be a smart choice.
With my in-laws and stepson with us for a few weeks, we modified our plans slightly – detouring around some areas south of Perth to possibly return after our additional travellers had left for home.
I don’t enjoy back tracking very much but because WA is such a long way from home, it’s much easier to duck back a few hundred kilometres to see places when you’re in the state.
Plus, with diesel cheaper than we’d budgeted – which was a big plus – adding a few more kilometres to the lap wasn’t an issue.
We also managed to get better fuel economy than we’d planned.
I’ll cover fuel usage in a separate article next month because it’s a big cost and concern for many travellers.
This quiet little town in the middle of karri trees had plenty to keep us occupied for a couple of days. With our base camp out the back of Southern Forests Chocolate Company, we were able to explore most of what the town and its surroundings had to offer.
This included the Pemberton Pool, close to the town centre – a welcome place to cool off after a long day of exploring. Another top spot to cool off was Fonty’s Pool, situated about 30 minutes north and also a caravan park.
We didn’t stay there, however you can day visit, with an entry fee of $3 per person. Locally known as the fountain of youth, the fresh spring water is contained in a man-made pool that is about an acre in size, offering plenty of room for people to enjoy.
Throw in a heap of tractor tubes and a jumping platform and it’s the perfect spot to keep the kids busy for ages while the adults relax on the green lawns.
An additional must-do when in the area is the Cascades, situated within Gloucester National Park.
Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to Big Brook Dam or the coastal sand dunes – guess they’ll have to go on the list for our next visit.
I don’t know what it is about lighthouses, but I enjoy looking at them and learning about their history. I guess the nautical side of me comes out when I’m around them.
I’m amazed thinking back to what early explorers had to deal with – and it does make you appreciate how easy we have it today, with GPS, sonar and auto pilot.
The historic Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse sits at the tip of a spectacular peninsula where the Southern and Indian oceans meet, which is the most southwesterly point of Australia.
It is worth noting that the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia and is still working to this day as an important navigational aide.
As you may have guessed, it was extremely windy when we visited, though that didn’t take away from the rugged beauty of the place.
Situated on the west coast, this small town has some amazing scenery, with white sand and clear blue water.
We didn’t stay at Hamelin Bay on this trip, opting instead to day trip to see the infamous sting rays, and we weren’t disappointed.
Soon after arriving on the beach, they appeared, along with a bus full of tourists who were also day tripping.
Guess we couldn’t have paradise to ourselves for too long.
There wasn’t much to do in this spot – particularly if you didn’t have a boat or kayak, which could be part of the attraction and why it might be a great place to stay for a few weeks.
This is one place you must visit if venturing to or near Perth.
The town reminds me of how Byron Bay was 20 years ago and hopefully it doesn’t change too much.
However, with its proximity to Perth and how enjoyable it was, I feel more people may end up calling this place home.
Our family could have easily done exactly that, so no doubt plenty of others will over coming years.
Margaret River had a little bit of everything, so it ticked all the boxes – beautiful surf beaches, vineyards, country living, caves to explore, quality Australian wine, great food and a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
Whether you were watching the sun set on the coast or grabbing a bite to eat in town, it all had a very relaxed feeling to it, and is a place we’d like to spend more time exploring.
If you’re into exploration, and we are, there are plenty of caves to visit, and all with their own unique history.
The views in some of the caves, particularly when mixed with lights, were simply spectacular.
It is hard to take a picture that truly represents what they look like, so this is something you’ll need to visit yourself.