Into the Torndirrup National Park

Trip Start Jan 22, 2011
1
8
30
Trip End Feb 24, 2011


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Where I stayed
Discovery Inn

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, January 31, 2011

Mopnday January 31st

After a great night’s sleep on our surprisingly comfortable bed, we made our way down to breakfast and were amazed to find a fully cooked English breakfast being merrily cooked for us. And at no extra cost! Wow!! And it was awesome too. (Yep I love my cooked breakies) We had the works! When I asked why, the owner said that she had just started doing it! Well I wasn't complaining!

Pat and John the owners of this hostel are originally from the UK (more Brits..) and Pat appeared to be a very straight to the point kind of person, no messing around with her, and she always spoke at a breathtaking speed, making it very difficult for Suk to understand. Actually, I think Suk was even a little scared of her.

Again the weather was terrible. It had rained throughout the night, and was now dull and overcast. Yuk! Anyway can't complain. So we jumped into the car and planned to visit the highly recommended "whale world" partly because it was inside and we could escape from the drizzle. We drove into the National Park where it was located and at first weren’t too sure whether to go in or not. It didn't look too interesting from outside, but we decided to go in nonetheless as it was so highly recommended.

And wow - We loved it! First, we bumped into the British couple who we stayed with in Esperance. They greeted us like long lost friends and kindly took us for morning coffee and a chat. We all then took a tour of the whaling station and our guide excellently explained in detail how it was run and what the men used to do! At times it was quite graphic because they used to catch the whales and literally chop them up in order to extract oil etc. It was big business back in the day, but seriously dangerous, and horrendously smelly! How things have changed.

The best part was easily the giant skeletons they had displayed in a huge room. Wow they were huge! Suk was really shocked at the size of the whales they used to catch. We also really enjoyed a 3D DVD showing which was really informative and all about the lives of whales. Gotta get myself a 3D TV next! Arh, we also had a good look around the whaling ship, which was given to the museum when the whaling industry stopped back in 1978. We explored the nooks and crannies for a good 40 minutes. All good stuff!

We said goodbye to the English couple and set off to explore the rest of this wonderful National Park (Torndirrup). It was still overcast, but not raining now, however, it was quite chilly so we had to put on our jackets for this part. Some of the coastal scenery around these parts is spectacular. Not in the tranquil coved beaches sense, but in the rough and rugged kind of way.

We first stopped off at Frenchman beach and had a lovely walk right to the other side. Even on a cloudy day these beaches always look fabulous. Our next stop was at salmon holes, known for its huge population of salmon, a fisherman's paradise. This stretch of coast is very rough with huge swells and even bigger waves. The view from the stairway down to the beach was great. The stairway was steep but kind of descended into the bewildering blue sea below. Looked great from the top.

One of the 3 main attractions of this national park is the Blow Holes, and so we set off to have a sneaky look. It was quite a walk from the car park (10 minutes maybe) , but we made it and even saw a hint of blue sky on the way. Now, the Blow Holes are not easily noticed, so it is easy to just walk over the top of them. We saw a sign indicating that these were the blow holes, but could only see a crack in the ground. Wow big deal! We met two other Australians and together the 4 of us ventured closer, the two Australians could actually see down the holes whereas we were slightly to the left. Then suddenly this roaring sound came from beneath and scared us all to death. I mean we scampered for our lives!! Thankfully nothing came out of the blow boles this time, but we were well and truly shocked at the noise! Another couple sat well away on a rock just laughed at us. Thanks for the warning, I thought. I guess they had been sitting there for a while watching other fools like us. So we joined them and sat about 5 meters away. On a good day the blow boles can push water up to 3 meters into the air. If it had been a good day we all would have been soaked. But as we couldn't see any water around the holes we knew it wasn't going to happen today. Oh well- we decided to sit a few minutes and watch others get scared to death! It was really funny, we stayed for around 30 minutes, chatting away to others and enjoying the views.

After the fun of the Blow Holes, our next stop was the "Natural Bridge" and "The Gap" The bridge is exactly that a huge slab of granite which has been endlessly eroded to carve away the underlying rock leaving an exposed bridge. And it is huge!! The rocks and boulders around here are all massive. There are endless signs warning people not to go exploring around them because of the unexpected high waves that can hit. But like everywhere no one seems to be listening. There were two young lads bouncing all over the place and some guy hanging off the edge trying to get a photo. Crazy!

We then strolled round the corner to view the famous "Gap" this is basically two huge cliffs separated by a narrow stretch of water which is supposedly getting bigger. The sheer drops on either side made this one hell of a gap in the rock! We watched amazed at the height reached by the waves crashing in. This was suk's favorite place! You could lie down flat with your head hanging over the edge, sounds crazy but there were people doing this. We decided against it, bit too scary!

It was now about 2pm and we sped back into town for a late lunch. No packed lunch today. So we found a nice cafe on the corner of the main street in town and had a nice feed. (Dylans was unfortunately closed). Albany is a beautiful town even on a cloudy day. It is one of the oldest towns in Western Australia and you can see this by some of the old buildings still standing from the late 1800s.

We took a stroll around town, but it was windy and a bit chilly so we gave up and decided to go to one of the lookouts overlooking the town. Mt. Clarence I think, and thankfully we could drive right to the top. The views were great even on a cloudy day, we could see right over to the national park we had just been to, and also see other small islands and coves scattered out to sea. We were the only ones there so we sat back and savored the moment for a while.

It had been a long and tiring day, so I suggested heading back to the hostel and then hit Middleton beach for a swim as the sun was finally beginning to come out. Suk was keen too so we set off for the hostel. On the way back we stopped off at Woolies to get some much needed supplies for the next few days. We planned to cook up some steaks tonight.

We arrived back and went straight down to the beach. Middleton beach is huge and has shallow waves, and understandably is very popular. The water at first seemed freezing, but this time I just ran straight in. It was lovely, a little cool but it had to be done. Suk decided against it and sat on the beach laughing at me the dodging the small waves! Twenty minutes later, having had my fun I got out. Suk decided to go back to the hostel to relax and catch up with emails, and I thought I’d go for a walk and dry off first. I took a walk around the cove via a man made walk built around the headland which provided the most scenic views of the sea. I loved it! I passed joggers, and people walking their dogs, it was definitely a popular walk with the locals, and I could not stop taking pictures.

That night suk and I cooked up some delicious steaks, with a lovely Greek salad and the best bottle of rose wine we have ever had! The hostel was dead so we enjoyed the solitude and polished off the bottle! Nice!

Shame about the weather, but we had another fun packed day nonetheless. The Whale museum was surprisingly good and the National Park was awesome! Some nice weather tomorrow please.
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