Another year, another trip down under. This time I touched down in Perth, in Western Australia- the most isolated place in Australia. What I mean by that is if you were to travel due west, across the Indian Ocean, there is nothing in between there and the shores of South Africa, some 8,674km away.
In Perth I was staying with Angie, a friend’s auntie, and we decided to do a little road trip. The first day we headed four hours south to a little Australian bush town called Gnowangerup- an Aboriginal name meaning “the place where the mallee hen (Gnow) nests.”
We stayed with Angie’s friend, Amy, who was a white witch no less. I didn’t see any evidence of this but thought I had been put under her spell when I woke up the following morning and didn’t mind that I hadn’t drunk any alcohol on a Saturday night.
We left Amy’s the following morning and made our way further south to a place called Walpole. This area is famous for its giant tingle and karri trees, and one of the best things to do here is a tree top walk called the “Valley of the Giants.” The elevated walkway is 40 meters high, making for spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
66 km from Walpole is Denmark, a coastal town in the Great Southern region of Western Australia. We went there to see Elephant Rocks- so named because the huge rocks look like a herd of elephants. It’s quite a sight to see against the backdrop of the Great Southern Ocean.
A ten minute walk from Elephant Rocks is Green Pools. It’s absolutely beautiful. The blue and turquoise water is crystal clear and licks the pure white sandy beach. It really was stunning. There was nothing to do but sit on the rocks and gaze at the scenery.
Our road trip took us to Albany next. Albany is the oldest permanently settled town in Western Australia. It also has an important role in the Anzac legend because it was the last port of call for troopships departing Australia in the First World War.
We visited the Desert Mounted Corps memorial on top of Mount Clarence. The memorial was built to commemorate the soldiers of the Australian Light Horse Brigade, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade and the Imperial Camel Corps from 1916-1918.
Another interesting stop in this area is Frenchman Bay where we went to look at granite formations called The Gap, Natural Bridge, and Blowholes. The rocks here were once connected to Antarctica when Australia was Gondwana. They are around 1800 million years old.
The Gap is, literally, a gap in the rocks where the ocean hammers into and makes a thunderous roar. The Natural Bridge is a huge granite arch and was once known as ‘Devil’s Gate.’ And the Blowholes are a series of crevices in the granite, gradually eroded by the Southern Ocean. When the waves force water through the cracks loud hissing noises can be heard.
We walked quite a long and windy path down to the granite formations, and we didn’t exactly know where they were but we heard them long before we saw them. With each wave the holes blow air and water out of the top. It made my heart pound though, and it’s quite mesmerising to watch.
On the way back we stopped in Bridgetown for food; Suttons Lookout for 360 degrees views, and Balinup to visit the cheese factory, and arts and crafts centre. We saw a dolphin at Koombana Bay-only a quick glimpse mind you, but I was rooted to the spot for 30 minutes in case it appeared again. Mandurah for fresh fish and chips, and finally back to Perth. I had a fantastic couple of days exploring a part of Western Australia. I am so grateful to Angie for driving- our round trip was a mere 1,400km!! That’s nothing when you are travelling around Australia.