We began the third leg of our Western Australia adventure back in Perth. As a recap of our trip to date, we initially flew into Perth, rented a 4-wheel drive truck and travelled north up the west coast of Australia as far up as Shark’s Bay before turning around and exploring new places on our way back to Perth for the first leg. Then we flew to Broome, met up with Pam’s Aunt and cousins and headed into the outback on a commercial tour for the second leg.
For the third leg we rented a car because the roads are mostly paved and headed south along the western coast to see some more of this beautiful country. Just over 100 miles south from Perth is the Margaret River area, which is known worldwide for its surfing and wine. Pam and I booked into a nice Airbnb in the beach town of Gnarabup as a base to explore this region.
There are two lighthouses separated by roughly 50 miles that warn ships of the Margaret River peninsula that juts out into the Indian Ocean. To the north is the Cape Naturalist Lighthouse which we visited and hiked around to stretch our legs on our way to Gnarabup.
The Indian Ocean beaches are beautiful along the coast. World class surfing events are held in Gnarabup every year and given the size of the waves we saw I can see why surfers like this area.
We had a nice walk on the beach at sunset with the sun trying to break through the clouds to throw some last rays of sunlight on the ocean.
We had a chuckle at the warning signs posted there. I’m not sure there were enough reasons given to not go in the water. At least there are no saltwater crocs this far south – lol.
Our place had a nice little garden with a couple bird bath fountains and a feeder; Pam’s kind of place. We grabbed a couple of bottles of the local wine and enjoyed the avian visitors that arrived while we rested on the porch.
This is an Australian Ringneck. He couldn’t fit into the bird feeder but tried digging a meal out the side. It’s kind of like he looked at us asking if we could give him a hand.
This little guy, a Red-eared Firetail, did fit inside the feeder and sat there content while munching away. The phrase “eating like a bird” is somewhat of a misnomer since most birds eat nearly their weight in food every day.
This colorful guy, a Common Bronzewing, was happy picking up whatever fell out of the feeder.
A New Holland Honeyeater enjoyed a nice bath in the fountain next to the feeder.
The next day we headed down the coast. Talking with some folks in the outback about our plans they recommended that we drive down Caves Road, which we did. The small road winds down the coast, offering up some spectacular views when the vegetation opened on the ocean side of the road.
The geology of the area is limestone with a lot of caves to explore down the coast. We stopped at Jewel Cave for a tour. The path through the cave was about a mile long, a few hundred feet below the ground and contained some amazing cave structures.
The staircase down was impressive how it snaked through the rock formations. Each piece of the stairway is cut to fit above ground and carried down to install to keep debris to a minimum.
We stopped at the Burton vineyard, which was also the home of the Cheeky Monkey Brewing Co. The name gave us high hopes, but the flight of beers we tried were unfortunately marginal. We did purchase some tasty Shiraz liqueur (brandy) that ended up being the only bottle of alcohol that survived the duration of the trip unopened and made it back home. All the other lesser wines we purchased while in the region were happy hour sacrifices – lol.
The southern tip of the region’s limestone outcropping was the home of the majestic Leeuwin Lighthouse.
This marks the split between the Indian and Southern Oceans. It’s been awhile since I had a geography class and thought, “there’s a Southern Ocean”?
As part of a local competition, artists were asked to create something with a cow. This was the resulting “pirate cow” that was at the lighthouse keeping an eye on the oceans. I waited to hear it say “Arrrgh”, but it never udder-ed a sound. I guess it wasn’t moo-tivated to talk. I think it was upset at the tourists, but I’m not sure what its beef was. Okay, I’ll stop there.
The coastline around the place was rugged while the winter waves rolled in.
On the way back to our place we stopped at an old growth eucalyptus forest, where the trees were well over 100 feet tall. It was so peaceful. It had started to rain, and we picked up a young kid with a backpack on the deserted road just prior to this stop. He was a Polish kid in Australia on a work visa and just traveling around. He was heading north to catch a flight back to Poland to study engineering. He probably thought we were a little strange to stop and take pictures of the trees.
We headed back to the beach at the end of the day to enjoy the beauty of the place.
The next day we rounded the southwestern tip of Australia and headed east along the coastline.