Trip Start Jan 13, 2010
26Trip End Mar 10, 2010
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Where I stayed
It was the journey rather than the destination which was the main reason for our excursion to Pemberton. The Margaret River wine region lies to the west of Pemberton and there are coastal beauty spots on the way down. We also planned to go to Cape Leeuwin (named for one of the many Dutch explorers who mapped this coast), the most southern and westerly point in Australia.
Our first stop was Busselton, 230 km from Perth. We had made good time from Perth because of the excellent roads. There is a motorway which runs south from Perth for nearly 100 miles (160 km) which is more divided highway than exists in the whole of NZ
Busselton is a seaside resort for Perth. Beautiful white sand beaches and a sheltered bay made this a pretty place to stop for coffee. It was still hot!
We then moved on to Margaret River. Limitations of time made visiting a vineyard impossible, but frankly by now we had visited so many that our interest in seeing one more was low. All vineyards share common characteristics. Often beautifully located, tasting wine soon makes it dangerous to drive. Lunch in Margaret River was, however, a treat. We ate at the Teahouse at Bridgefield (also signed as Natalie's) and were served by a young Quebecoise. It was still hot!
We drove south through forest along the Bussell Highway to Cape Leeuwin, a windswept and somewhat cooler spot than elsewhere in WA but still warm. The extreme end of the cape was fenced off and a fee was required to get there. We contented ourselves with views from outside.
Arriving in Pemberton we discovered that an annual bike race was being held, requiring us to detour around the town to get to our motel. This bike race was a major event. Pemberton is very hilly and the course through and around the town was challenging, to say the least. I was unable to buy the race jersey, unfortunately.
Our motel, described in the Lonely Planet as the best in Pemberton, was spacious if dated.
In addition to lumber, there are highly regarded vineyards around Pemberton. Checking in we mentioned the heat only to be told that it was highly unusual, that it usually rains for 9 months of the year and drips off the trees for the other three.
Pemberton is surrounded by national park forests consisting primarily of giant karri trees which grow to a height of around 200 feet (68m) and can be over 1,000 years old. Near Pemberton is the famous Gloucester tree which has steel spikes driven into it to form a spiral staircase. You may climb it and get great views to the sea. We didn't for two reasons - there was no rail or rope to hold on to, and, there were giant biting flies swarming around our car. We did not get out of the car
We drove off up the South Western highway headed back to Perth. We stopped for lunch in Bunbury, an old port transitioning to seaside resort. We were headed for the Rose Hotel, built in 1865 in characteristic Australian style. The Rose looks in good shape but unfortunately it appeared to have closed down. We ate well at one of the many sidewalk cafes on the main street instead.
We arrived back in Perth (still hot) in good time and flew off to Sydney the next morning.