Exmouth, WA

We arrived in Exmouth in the early afternoon of Friday,  We were spending two nights so that gave us plenty of time to take a look around. What we didn’t realise is that, although it is summer time, we had arrived in the off-season. This meant that many of the tour companies were taking a break. It also meant that the whales were elsewhere along with the whale sharks who presumably were off on their holidays.

This left us to entertain ourselves, which we duly did.

On arrival at the Ningaloo Lodge we were greeted by this character …..

Emu – Exmouth, WA

He was back again the following morning too !!!

During our first afternoon we went exploring and discovered Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt …..

VLF Antenna – Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt

The station provides very low frequency (VLF) radio transmission to United States Navy and Royal Australian Navy ships and submarines in the western Pacific Ocean and eastern Indian Ocean. The thirteen towers are huge, the tallest is called Tower Zero and is 387 m (1,270 ft) tall. These towers are visible for miles.

…… further along the road we arrived at a car park with access to the beach to view the wreck of the SS Mildura …..

SS Mildura – Exmouth, WA

The SS Mildura was carrying Kimberley cattle south when it foundered on the reef during a cyclone in 1907. No human lives were lost but many cattle did not survive. During WWII, allied planes used it for bombing practice.

We spent an hour or more on the beach overlooking the wreck. Paddling and just sitting in the sunshine. We were the only ones on the beach for quite some time. We did have some wild company …

The wreck  can be viewed from the beach at the end of Mildura Wreck Road. As I said we had the beach to ourselves until, just before we were about to leave, three guys turned up to fish.

We watched for a while, to check out their methods. However their method entailed wading a long way out until they were waist deep, fishing with a lure until they got it caught on the rocks and lost it. Then they would wade back to shore, re-tackle, and wade back out. One of them lost his tackle several times. I think they spent more time tramping back and forth than they did fishing.

Having decided that there was nothing to be learnt we headed back to Exmouth to search out somewhere for an evening meal. We eventually settled on 5 Kennedy St.

The food here is superb and if you are ever in Exmouth I highly recommend a visit. To give you a hint of what is on offer I had Chilli Pepper Squid, Berry Vinaigrette, Chilli Lime Sauce as an entrée, followed by Lamb Shoulder, Israeli Cous Cous Salad, Baba Ganoush, Dukkah. The lamb was quite a substantial dish and I didn’t think I would make it to desert. However, I struggled manfully on to round of the meal with Churros, Chocolate Chilli Sauce, Vanilla Ice Cream.

Feeling pleasantly plump we took ourselves back to the Ningaloo Lodge for a well-earned kip to prepare for the next day.

Saturday morning saw us up and out searching for a breakfast venue. And for the early morning jump-start we settled on See Salt. Suitably fueled we set of in search of the visitor centre.

They confirmed that we were indeed visiting out of season but informed us that one tour company was still operating and that they still had spaces available. We duly booked ourselves onto a glass bottom boat trip out over the reef. Our departure time was to be 07:30 Sunday morning.

That left us with the whole of Saturday to go and explore. After studying maps and brochures we decided that we would follow Yardie Creek Road which winds its way down the western side of the North West Cape. Our target was to follow this road all the way to Yardie Creek and then to wend our way back to Exmouth, stopping off en-route to go swimming and even get in a little fishing. As always our plans are flexible and any trip is likely punctuated by numerous stops to admire the views and take pictures.

Consequently we hadn’t been on the road very long when we detoured of to visit Vlaming Head Lighthouse.

The wreck of the SS Mildura was directly responsible for the building of this lighthouse. Vlaming Head was also the site for a radar station. There is quite a comprehensive set of information boards pertaining to the history of the area and providing information about the views and wildlife that may be spotted. It is well worth the visit.

Continuing along Yardie Creek Road we did eventually reach Yardie Creek. This is pretty much the end of the paved road. To continue on requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle and the courage to cross the creek.

As you can see from the photos this area is absolutely swarming with tourists. No room to move on the beach. Honestly though, I’m sure it would be busier here if it wasn’t out of season. Would love to have taken the boat trip up Yardie Creek Gorge. Perhaps next time.

So, we managed to drag ourselves away from the creek and start our meander back to Exmouth. Although there are many tracks off Yardie Creek Road, to various beaches, we had decide to visit Turquoise Bay. We were not disappointed ……

We spent a good couple of hours here. The water was warm and very clear with loads of fish. They, the fish, were big enough to have given great sport to a fisherman. Unfortunately, fishing is not allowed here as this is a protected zone. Great for snorkelers who can observe the fish and the corals on the reef. Once again the beach was absolutely swarming with people…… not.

Alas time, as always, moved on and we had to set off back to Exmouth. As the sun sets the kangaroos and other wildlife become active and it becomes decidedly risky to drive after dark. We saw several kangaroos as we motored along and Gerry managed to get a couple of pictures ….

Back in Exmouth we again ate at 5 Kennedy St and with it being Saturday night the restaurant was very busy. The food was really good, five-star. My compliments to Dexter and his chef.


Carnarvon To Exmouth


One of the features of Carnarvon is the One Mile Jetty and at the landward end is the Jetty Railway Museum. We couldn’t spare the time to visit the museum but I took a few photos of some of the vehicles dotted around the outside.

Back to the trip, after a buffet breakfast at the Carnarvon Motel, we headed out onto the North West Coastal Highway to continue our trek up to the north. Once again we topped up with fuel and set off.

We hadn’t been on the road for very long when I felt the need to stop and snap off a few photos. Carnarvon sits on the Gascoyne River and the road out-of-town crosses the dried up river bed.


While I was taking my snaps the local parrot population was very vocal, heckling me from every vantage point.

Once more en-route and after an hours motoring I felt the need to empty my bladder. So cue my visit to a bush loo. This one was at Yandoo Creek …….

Bush Loo – Yandoo Creek, WA

As an aside I have noted, regarding Australia’s public loo’s in remote places, is that they tend to be clean, not smelly or vandalised. Quite often they have toilet paper and sometimes even soap and water. The reason I mention this is that coming from the UK I find it surprising.  Typically, back home, any loo in as remote a place as the Yandoo Creek example, would have been vandalised and covered in graffiti. They don’t even have to be remote to have been trashed.

Well done Australia and shame on you UK.

Our journey continued and, after another 80 kilometers, our next stop was Minilya Bridge Roadhouse.

Minilya Bridge Roadhouse
Minilya Bridge Roadhouse

After a snack, comprising some dubious sandwiches and a Magnum each, we continued on our way. A short distance  up the road we left the North West Coastal Highway and struck out onto the Minilya-Exmouth Road and after approximately 50 kilometers further we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn.

What a pair of posers !!

Moving on we started to see new features in the countryside …..

Termite Nests

We started off seeing the odd one or two nests alongside the road. The further we travelled, the more we saw. There were literally thousands of these nests, scattered as far as the eye could see. And they aren’t small …

Termite Nest

Termite mounds – Each mound is an entire kingdom, complete with a king, queen, soldiers, workers and thriving cities. Millions of termites may live in a single mound and each termite has a role of its own in maintaining their complex social environment e.g. worker termites (smallest) build the mound using dirt and saliva. They have no eyes or ears but work by smell. They make tunnels to help keep the mound cool. These mounds can last up to 100 years. The King and Queen have their own room and the soldier termites keep quard outside their door. The King and Queen can live up to 30 years.

The above description was taken from an information board via this blog

Eventually we arrived in Exmouth and located our accommodation for the next two nights, the Ningaloo Lodge.


Geraldton to Carnarvon

Awoke in Geraldton to wet pavements and fairly heavy rain. Seemed just like home in the UK, except that the temperature was up in the twenties. First things first, we had a full cooked breakfast. The Ocean Centre Hotel has so much going for it, but the breakfast let it down. Soggy toast, tasteless scrambled eggs and poor service.

Car loaded up we set out for Carnarvon. After a while the rain stopped but it wasn’t to be the last time that we saw it. After about forty minutes of driving, we are heading up the Northwest Coastal Highway and soon approaching Northampton. Having been following a road train for some time, we were presented with a much-needed overtaking lane. So I hit the pedal and we were soon speeding past the leviathan of the road. Admittedly by the time I passed the truck I was probably doing approximately 120 -130 km, which is exactly when I spotted the dark vehicle parked at the side of the road. The one with the strange device facing out of the back window. No flash, no blue meanies on motor bikes like back home, in fact no indication that I had been nabbed. I’ll just have to wait and see if this turns into a ticket.

A general comment for driving in Australia but it is amazing how often the highways folks put in place an overtaking lane and just as you reach it they will reduce the speed limit from say 110 km down to 80 km !!! Especially when the overtaking lane is on a long incline. Does that make sense ?

We passed through Northampton which looked to be a pretty rural town. I made a mental note that we should stop and have a wander on our way back to Perth.

I can see for miles and miles and …….. somewhere near Alma, WA

A few kilometers north of Northampton I stopped to take a photo of the never-ending countryside. According to the GPS on the camera we were near someplace called Alma.

On we traveled until we reached the Billabong Roadhouse some 180 km north of Northampton.

Billabong Roadhouse – Meadow, WA

We topped up with fuel, made good use of the toilet facilities and stretched our legs at the roadhouse before continuing northwards.

Travelling along the North West Coastal Highway you begin to realise the name is something of a misnomer. Mile after mile of generally straight roads bounded on both side by sandy soil based bush might give one the feeling that you are driving over a very large beach but close to the coast ? Nope, I don’t think so.

If you look at a map of WA you will see that the road does run sort of parallel with the coast but in reality you are usually many kilometers away.

A few kilometers up the road from Billabong we topped a rise and I stopped to attempt to show how long and straight these roads are. These two photos show the north and south views of the North West Coastal Highway from a point near Carbla.

And so we moved on….. and eventually we made it to the 26th Parralel.

Your’s truly at the 26th Parallel

Now we were truly into the north of the state. The roads looked pretty much the same but the accompanying countryside had changed and soon we came upon signs for a lookout. We didn’t see any signs giving a name and there were no information boards explaining what you could see. Subsequent googling identified it as White Bluff or the Gladstone Lookout.

On top of this, very windy, flat-topped, hill we discovered a couple of “cairns” comprising all manner of memorial artefacts. Some were formal, cast iron, plaques. Most were just rocks that had been written or painted on. One of the “cairns” comprised various gnomes, dolls and other figures. White Bluff gives an almost 360 degree view over the Wooramel countryside. Showing the highway disappearing northwards and southwards, views across the plain and out to the sea at Shark Bay (I think).

descending, from White Bluff, we once again commenced our journey north. Pausing at the Wooramel Roadhouse to top up again with fuel. Shortly after leaving the roadhouse we crossed the Wooramel River ….

Wooramel River

This picture doesn’t really show just how dry this land is. This river is actually just a sandy river bed. You get used to seeing signs on the road for such and such a river or so and so creek. Never seeing a drop of water or even mud in the little, narrow, gully passing under the road. However, the Wooramel River is quite a reasonable size. The pictures below show how wide and how dry.

After only another 115 kilometers we arrived in Carnarvon and checked into the Carnarvon Motel.

FootBridge – Carnarvon

This foot bridge was once part of the railway line from town to the One Mile Jetty. It now provides a pleasant walkway along the same route.

Fascine Boardwalk – Carnarvon

The Fascine is a picturesque bay in Carnarvon. The boardwalk is apparently popular with the locals for walking and picnicking. It wasn’t very busy while we were there.

One Mile Jetty – Carnarvon, WA

We had thought to freshen up and go into Carnarvon for dinner. It, the town, appeared to be closed so we returned to the motel and had dinner in their restaurant. Which, as it turned out, wasn’t bad at all.


Heading North

So, having spent a brief week travelling South, from Perth to Albany, we turned our sights North. Our aim was to visit Exmouth, but to break the journey into manageable chunks.

The morning of Wednesday, 20th January, found us driving to Geraldton. The port of Geraldton is just over 400 kilometers North of Perth.

View from Brand Highway – Beermullah, WA
View from Brand Highway – Mimegarra, WA
Leaning Tree – Greenough, WA

The Leaning Trees of Greenough are a species of Eucalyptus, the River Gum. This leaning behaviour, a natural phenomenon, is caused by the airborne salt content of the strong winds that blow in off the Indian Ocean.

Ocean View – Our room at the Ocean Centre Hotel, Geraldton, WA

Geraldton was to be our first overnight stop. The Ocean Centre Hotel set a standard that subsequent hotels/motels failed to meet.

Ocean Centre Hotel, Geraldton, WA

After relaxing on the balcony with a cold beer we took a walk around the area and met some of the local residents ….

A Local Geraldton Resident - Possibly feral harbour cat
A Local Geraldton Resident – Possibly feral harbour cat

….. got an art infusion ….

Local Art - Geraldton, WA
Local Art – Geraldton, WA

…… and watched the lifeblood of Geraldton flowing out …..

Guo Yuan 32 Leaving Geraldton - Bulk Carrier sailing under the Chinese Flag
Guo Yuan 32 Leaving Geraldton – Bulk Carrier sailing under the Chinese Flag

…. and in …..

Santa Roslia - Bulk Carrier entering Geraldton
Santa Rosalia – Bulk Carrier entering Geraldton

We had a very pleasant meal at Topo’s On The Terrace, a short walk away from the hotel. Then retired to recharge the batteries for the next step of our northerly journey, on to Carnarvon.


Travelling south from Kalbarri, heading to Perth, we had been following a storm cell for some time. Eventually it allowed us to catch up and experience the strong winds and rain. The temperatures plummeted from the low to mid 30’s we had been experiencing, dropping down to the low 20’s as we entered Leeman.

Storm Clouds

Between Leeman and Jurien Bay we discovered that Indian Ocean Drive was closed up ahead and we were diverted onto the Brand Highway. We had been watching a smoke stack in the distance and as we travelled onwards it grew in magnitude.

Bushfire Smokestack - viewed from Emu Downs Wind Farm WA
Bushfire Smokestack – viewed from Emu Downs Wind Farm WA

The smokestack seemed to interact with the existing cloud formations and dominated the skyline even as we traveled on southwards.

Bushfire Smokestack -viewed from Brand Highway
Bushfire Smokestack -viewed from Brand Highway

Apparently the fire was started by a lightning strike and at the time of writing was burning out of control. The DFES issued a Bushfire Emergency Warning




I guess when you choose to live in this kind of environment you accept that there are risks. You also accept that others may have to put themselves at risk on your behalf when the worst happens.

One can only hope that, on this occasion, nobody is injured or loses their life.


Pemberton / Second Best Western

Our second day of travelling, south of Perth, found us bidding farewell to Margaret River and aiming for Pemberton. Travelling along Warner Glenn Road we crossed the Blackwood River where we stopped so that I could take a couple of photos. By coincidence a couple of kayakers were passing through…..

Kayaks – Blackwood River, WA

The figure in the bow of the yellow kayak is that of a dog, proudly acting as lookout. As I walked up the slope from the bridge, back to the car, I noticed a small yellow sign…… lower left corner of the photo below.

Bridge – Blackwood River, WA. Little yellow sign in bottom left corner indicates flood water levels.

The sign has a line, indicating the flood levels in January 1982. Which means that the bridge would have been totally submerged. Given the height of the bridge, over the current water level, that’s a significant amount of water.

Back on the move again we continued towards Pemberton. The “satnag” had routed us through quite a remote region and once again, well for Gerry and I, we found ourselves watching the fuel gauge.  However, it wasn’t really an issue and we were soon in the centre of Pemberton.

Pemberton is a small town named after original settler Pemberton Walcott. The main industry of the town was timber and there were a number of sawmills processing timber to supply half a million railway sleepers for the Trans-Australian Railway. There are a number of associated artifacts dotted around the town.

Log Carriage c1914 - Pemberton, WA
Log Carriage c1914 – Pemberton, WA
Steam Locomotive c1914 - Pemberton, WA
Steam Locomotive c1914 – Pemberton, WA

Before touring the town we hunted down a cafe where we could have a bite to eat. There are a number of cafe’s and we soon settled ourselves on the veranda at the Crossings Bakery. This establishment self promotes themselves as the “Home Of The Great Aussie Pie” and advertises “Home Made Chunky Meat Pies” “All $5.00”.

Well I don’t know if they are “great” or if this the home of the pies but they hit the spot and when washed down by coffee’s and iced teas our little group were fighting fit to go and hit Pemberton’s tourist hotspots.

Suitably Refreshed - The Crossings Bakery, Pemberton, WA
Suitably Refreshed – The Crossings Bakery, Pemberton, WA

As per usual we headed for the visitor centre where we fought off the urge to purchase copious amounts of Koala Fart5J7A2559_edited5J7A2559_edited.jpg, but discovered that we had about ten minutes to get aboard the Pemberton Tramway which was about to set off on its last trip of the day. This journey is well worth the time spent and, if nothing else, means you get a cooling breeze as you trundle through the forests. In their own words ….

This unforgettable 1¾ hour service shuffles out of Pemberton, past the Saw Mill and descends deep into the Karri forest.  The tram meanders through the forest, crossing six bridges, stopping at the Cascades and ending at the Warren River Bridge where the Lefroy Brook Joins the Warren River.  Your tram then returns to Pemberton.

This is not the most comfortable ride you will ever take but it is fun and informative, the drivers dialogue will have you laughing, well smiling perhaps. We were lucky enough to see a Kookaburra take off from a tree branch and keep pace with the tram for quite some distance before zooming off into the trees.

I See No Ships - Waiting For The Off - Pemberton Tramway, Pemberton, WA
I See No Ships – Waiting For The Off – Pemberton Tramway, Pemberton, WA

The tram ride takes you from one side of Pemberton, across the main road, past the remaining sawmill before plunging into the forest. The following photo’s were all taken from the tram.

Timber Yard / Sawmill - Pemberton, WA
Timber Yard / Sawmill – Pemberton, WA
East Brook Bridge, Pemberton Tramway - Pemberton, WA
East Brook Bridge, Pemberton Tramway – Pemberton, WA
Lefroy Brook - Pemberton Tramway, Pemberton, WA
Lefroy Brook – Pemberton Tramway, Pemberton, WA

The tram ride paused at the Cascades where we were invited to disembark and explore the river below.

Tram - Cascades, Pemberton, WA
Tram – Cascades, Pemberton, WA

Apparently, at the Cascades, the Lefroy Brook transforms from a gentle flow in mid summer to a raging torrent in winter. I guess being December it was summer time and the flow was decidedly tranquil. Definitely a pretty spot, only spoilt by the hoards of tourists just dumped from their tram ride.

Hordes at the Cascades, Pemberton - Pemberton, WA
Hordes at the Cascades, Pemberton – Pemberton, WA

Oh yeah, I was one of those bloody tourists too.

I held back to take some shots when the tram horn blew, calling all the passengers back.

Cascades - Pemberton, WA
Cascades – Pemberton, WA
Cascades - Pemberton, WA
Cascades – Pemberton, WA
Cascades - Pemberton, WA
Cascades – Pemberton, WA

After a twenty-minute interlude at the Cascades the tram carried us further to Warren Bridge, the end of our outward journey. After a few minutes admiring the view …..

View From Warren Bridge - Pemberton Tramway, Pemberton, WA
View From Warren Bridge – Pemberton Tramway, Pemberton, WA

….. the tram headed back to Pemberton. The return journey was a lot faster, and with little or no commentary.

Once back at the Pemberton station I thought this grand only veteran railway engine was deserving of a mention.

W.A.G.R "V1213" - "V" Class
W.A.G.R “V1213” – “V” Class

This engine was built in England at  Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn’s Darlington works at a cost of some £55,019 . It was in service from 20th December, 1955 through to its retirement on 17th June, 1971.

This class of engine was designed to haul coal from the Collie mines to Perth and Fremantle and were also used for heavy freight on the Perth – Bunbury and York – Albany lines.

From the station we headed back into town to search out the hotel. All of us were feeling the need to freshen up. Our hotel was very easy to find, situated as it is, right on the main road as you drive into Pemberton.

First let me say that the photos on the  Best Western Pemberton Hotel website bear little similarity with our rooms. Dull, tired, dated, these are all descriptors that I would use for our accommodation. Certainly not bright and airy as the photos seem to imply. At least the room was clean.

Having freshened up we headed out to take a look at the Gloucester Tree. None of us had any plans to climb the tree which, at 58m, is way out of our league.

Gloucester Tree - Pemberton, WA
Gloucester Tree – Pemberton, WA

We stood and watched a number of people set off up the tree. Quite a few made it fairly quickly. A couple stopped part way and returned to the ground after only 10m or so. What really had us bemused were the number of apparently sane adults who were allowing their 8-10 year old children to climb, when they could barely span the step between the pegs. And, I know this is Australia, but climbing in thongs (English “flip-flops”). Come on folks.

After the Gloucester Tree we went exploring and came across Big Brook Dam. This is a man-made lake, built in 1986, to provide water for the Pemberton region.

Big Brook Dam - Pemberton, WA
Big Brook Dam – Pemberton, WA

This late in the evening the area was very quiet but looked to be a great place for  walking and picnics.

As time was moving on we thought we would find somewhere to eat and returned to Pemberton centre. Much to our dismay we found that all of the earlier eateries were now closed. The only choices seemed to be our hotel, a fish and chip bar, and a curry house. It seems that Pemberton goes to sleep between 16:30 and 18:00.

Second Best Western Pemberton Hotel
Second Best Western Pemberton Hotel

So, it seemed to us that the Pemberton Hotel is the “only show in town”, unless you want a curry or a fish supper carry out. Because of this the restaurant / bar was very busy and the food service was poor. There were four in our party and two of our starters didn’t turn up. Oddly it was the first two dishes we ordered. I had to go and enquire, seems they had lost / forgotten part of our order. Then we had to wait for nearly an hour before the mains were delivered. It felt like we were being punished for having the temerity to ask where our food was.

To be quite honest, the  quality of the food left a lot to be desired and wasn’t worth the wait. It was very poor, probably the worst we have had in WA. Over cooked, bland and the seafood batter was heavy, way too thick. I had Salt & Pepper Squid which seemed to have been cooked with out the Salt & Pepper !!!

When ordering our meals I had considered having the salad bar instead of a normal starter. The one and only healthy thought I had during this week away. When I looked at what was on offer I quickly changed my mind. There were just four dishes with some sort of coleslaw,  some tomato slices, some beetroot and some kind of pasta salad that had seen better days. It was like a time warp back to the seventies.

During our meal, my wife pointed out  to a waitress that someone was smoking, despite signs clearly stating that was not allowed. The waitress ignored my wife who was left to confront the offender who thankfully was compliant and moved away to the smoking area. In general the rest of the waiting staff were friendly but I think they were overwhelmed by the work load.

Somewhat depressed by our meal experience we headed off to our rooms. The room Gerry and I had been allocated had two single beds. It transpired that the wheels on my bed were not locked and the bed, like a supermarket trolley, had a mind of its own,moving around the room at will. Also, as I subsequently found out, the mattress hadn’t been set on the bed properly so the edge wasn’t supported. After having laid down for a while, when I first went to stand up, the mattress tilted down and I was spilled onto the floor. I sorted the mattress out but, overnight, it seemed to have moved again.

And a general note, the car park is limited for space not enough spaces for the number of rooms. Although we managed to park on site for check-in later in the evening when we returned we had to park out on the street.

So for the hotel I’d rate it as the Second Best Western. Pemberton gets a thumbs up although the early curfew is a pain. Many of the cafe’s could make a bomb if they opened a bit later in the evening.

Many of the properties in Pemberton are heritage listed. Some are in dire need of some TLC but all add to the charm of this country town.












Margaret River

Traveled down to Margaret River on Monday 4th January, the first of five days down in southern W.A. The itinerary was such that we planned  to spend one night each at Margaret River, Pemberton and Denmark with two nights at Albany. We also had a bit of time for ad hoc side excursions.

Eighteen years ago, Gerry and I did a similar trip, although we had less time and we did the journey in the reverse order, omitting Margaret River which we bypassed on our way home to Perth.

This time we were four, each of us with varying knowledge and experience of our various destinations. En route to Margaret River we stopped of for refreshments at the “Settlers Roadhouse”.

Settlers Roadhouse – Myalup, WA

Steve and Denise had previously experienced their “pig butties” and had been selling them to us for quite a few days, so our expectations were high. We were not disappointed. Nice soft rolls, multiple rashers of bacon and fried eggs.

On the down side, the main toilet block in the car park was out of action, so was the gents attached to the roadhouse, so men were having to use the disabled facilities. This also meant that there was a queue, something that a lady waiting to use the women’s facilities commented on …… “not often you see a queue for the mens toilet”.

Back on the road and we were soon in Margaret River.

5J7A2456 (2)
Sign – Margaret River, WA

What a pleasant bustling town Margaret River is. Lots of small boutique style shops and plenty of cafe’s and eateries. We stopped in a cafe and wrapped ourselves around a cup of tea and some apple pie, well I did. Can’t remember what anyone else had. After quenching our thirst we headed over to the visitor centre to find out what was going on locally.

5J7A2454 (2).JPG
Main Street – Margaret River, WA

As we had a bit of time to spare, before we could check in to our hotel, we took off for a tour around the area. Denise and Steve had been here before , so they had some idea of where to go.

5J7A2463 (2).JPG
View From Wallcliffe Road – Margaret River, WA

So we found ourselves heading out along Wallcliffe Road towards Surfers Point…..

5J7A2468 (2).JPG
Rejuvenation by Simon James

Rejuvenation was placed to commemorate a bush-fire that occurred in incident that occurred in November of 2011. Burning through 3,400 hectares (8,400 acres) of land and leaving a total of 39 homes destroyed and another 14 damaged. No lives were lost.

I’m not sure what this next artwork is commemorating. Note, she is on the top of a hill, on a skateboard and wearing a blindfold.

Statue – Margaret River, WA

The wind was blowing very hard. As we crested the rise we were presented with this initial view ….

Wallcliffe Road looking towards Surfers Point – Margaret River, WA

Just some of the many surfers taking advantage of the strong wind …..

Surfers – Surfers Point, Margaret River, WA
View North, Surfers Point – Margaret River, WA
View North, Surfers Point – Margaret River, WA

This guy was doing very well, controlling his kite as he emerged from the sea. There have been a couple of nasty accidents, here in the Perth area, where the wind has gusted and carried the surfer away. Slamming one unfortunate soul into a tree.

Kite Surfer - Surfers Point, Margaret River, WA
Kite Surfer – Surfers Point, Margaret River, WA

Just a few others around Surfers Point …

5J7A2491_edited 5J7A2495_edited 5J7A2497_edited 5J7A2502

After braving the winds gusting up these cliffs, I’d had to tie my hat on, we decided to move on to a cafe for more tea. We found ourselves at the White Elephant Cafe at Gnarabup.

White Elephant Cafe - Gnarabup W.A.
White Elephant Cafe – Gnarabup W.A.

Whats not shown in this photo is the tasty bowls of wedges that we shared. This cafe has a superb terrace / deck from which to watch the surfers, sea birds and sunbathers.

Margaret River - Flowing Out To Sea
Margaret River – Flowing Out To Sea

And so it was time to head to our hotel so that we could unload the car and freshen ourselves up for our evening meal.

We were staying at the Quality Inn and this is an establishment that I can highly recommend. The rooms were large and airy. Ours came with a little terrace with a bistro set overlooking a small stream which linked the two ponds. Steve and Denise had pretty much the same but their terrace looked out over the larger of the two ponds.

Main Pond, Quality Inn - Margaret River, WA
Main Pond, Quality Inn – Margaret River, WA

In the evening the frogs began their chorus. We were informed that we could hear several different species of frog. There were the tradition frogs that call out the usual “ribbet, ribbet”. Then, yes really, there were the “motor bike” frogs. They sound like an old honda accelerating away into the distance. And last, but not least, there were the “banjo” frogs. Sounding out a single “bonk” like the plucking of a banjo string.

We chose to eat in the hotel, in part because we were quite tired, but also because Steve and Denise had eaten there before and were very pleased with their meal. Once again their recommendation was well founded. The staff were friendly, the food was superbly cooked and the portions were more than ample.

Here endeth our Margaret River experience. We wished we had allowed more time for this lovely town. Needless to say we will be returning as soon as we can.

One of the many flowers in the grounds of the hotel
One of the many flowers in the grounds of the hotel


Catch These Bastards


We are appealing for witnesses after an 84-year-old man was assaulted and then robbed in his own home by three men in Hazelton Way, Cowplain at around 6pm yesterday, January 13.

It has been reported that one man entered his house by breaking in the back door while he was in his lounge watching television and sleeping.

The man has then tried to confuse the elderly gentleman by telling him to look at the damage and asking for £50.

Two other men then arrive and assault the elderly man, knocking him to the floor, before stealing his wallet.

Man 1 is described as:

Aged mid 20s 
Short dark wavy hair 
5 ft 6 in 
Medium build 
Clean shaven 
Wearing a dark-coloured clothing and footwear

Man 2 is described as:

Aged mid 20s
Muscular stocky build 
Clean Shaven 
Dark curly hair 
Local accent 
Wearing a black army style jacket and dark trousers and heavy boots

Man 3 is described as:

Aged mid 20s
5 ft 8 in 
Slight build 
Dark hair
Wearing a dark bobble hat

Detective Constable Barry Martin from the Eastern Investigations Team said: “We are appealing to anyone who saw these males in the vicinity of Hazelton Way on Wednesday or anyone who recognises these descriptions.

“This is a despicable crime committed by three men who targeted an elderly man in his home. If anyone has any information about this incident please call 101 and quote 44160019000.”

RMS Number: 44160019000

Too Close For Comfort

For the second time in only a couple of weeks we have had a significant fire fairly close to us. This time the fire was just 2.3km away and the smoke from the fire  was being blown just slightly west of us. Multiple fire fighting aircraft  were buzzing directly overhead.

Here are some photos that I took this afternoon.

Fire Smoke – Viewed from Thornlie
Fire Smoke – Rising from beyond school buildings. Source is apparently the other side of Garden St.
Fire Fighters Dropping Water – Detail from previous photo.

According to the DFES, more than fifty career Fire and Rescue Service and Bush Fire Service firefighters from six brigades were on the scene. They were supported by three helicopters and two bi-plane water bombers

Bell 214B Big Lifter – Operated by  McDermott Aviation
Bell 214B Big Lifter > 214B-1
Bell 214B Big Lifter  – Operated by McDermott Aviation

This area is known as Forest Lakes. Most of the housing estates incorporate ponds and lakes.

Filling Up - Bell 214B Big Lifter - Operated by McDermott Aviation
Filling Up – Bell 214B Big Lifter – Operated by McDermott Aviation

The water bombers, at least the helicopters, make good use of nearby lakes to replenish their tanks.

We All Got Wet - Bell 214B Big Lifter - Operated by McDermott Aviation
We All Got Wet – Bell 214B Big Lifter – Operated by McDermott Aviation

We had a ringside seat for one such refill.

Dunn Aviation Air Tractor AT-802A (Water Bomber)
Dunn Aviation Air Tractor AT-802A (Water Bomber)

Thankfully this fire did not take any lives.


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