The last leg....

Trip Start Jan 27, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, May 10, 2010

After a week in Perth it was time to get back out into the great outdoors and our first stop was the Gloucester Tree in Pemberton. This is one of a handful of Karri Trees across the forests of the South West that operated for decades as a fire lookout. The Gloucester Tree is roughly 200 feet high and is ascended via metal pegs spiraling up the huge trunk. From the ground it doesn't seem so big and it isn’t until you get around halfway up that you realize just how high the tree is. And then when you reach the top and look out over a veritable sea of green foliage you feel like you’re at the top of the world.

The true height of the tree is only fully experienced on the way down, however. Going down is harder than going up, what with the previous strain already taking a toll on your entire body, the muscles in your arms and legs start to shake and you get tired and really have to concentrate on one foot after the other.

What a relief to reach the ground!

Our next destination was Warren National Park, where we camped surrounded by thick foliage deep in a huge forest. This was our first opportunity to build a fire and build a fire we did! It was huge! I had forgotten how amazing a campfire can be and it was one of the best nights of the whole trip.

We spent the next day hiking through the massive Karri forest, stretching out our sore legs and breathing in the fresh green air. It was such a beautiful place.

The next leg of the trip was a drive through Margaret River, a gorgeous wine-growing region of Western Australia. We drove past vineyards, autumn trees and cute little towns throughout the afternoon until we reached Busselton to spend the evening with my godparents.

While we could have spent weeks hiking and exploring the South West, the weather wasn’t quite cooperating with us, so after a quick stop in the pretty little town of Albany it was onto Esperance for the most extreme storm we have experienced in Australia yet. Hail the size of twenty cent pieces, fierce thunder and lightening and a downpour of flooding proportions: it was incredible. We were very glad to be in a cabin instead of the tent that’s for sure.

Then it was onto the Nullabor Plain, the longest single stretch of straight road in the country. The whole area between Norseman and Eyre Peninsula is essentially a big rock shelf that drops into the ocean, forming the Great Australian Bight. Crossing Old Bighty is certainly a different experience: a completely different terrain of nothingness compared to those of the west and north!

It took us three days, some 1,200 kilometers and twenty plus pod casts to travel from Esperance in WA to my parent’s place in Freeling, just north of Adelaide in South Australia. And we didn’t even argue once! (Probably because it was one continuous road the whole way and so no navigation issues!)

This was the last big leg of the big lap around Australia. It was sad and exciting at the same time: sad because our travels were coming to an end, and exciting because it meant we were starting the next chapter of our life.

Hope you’ve all enjoyed the travel pod!
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