Ships ahoy

Trip Start Feb 29, 2012
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Trip End Apr 02, 2012


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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Friday, March 23, 2012

And so onward to Albany for a 2 night 'house-keeping' stopover. We decided on a caravan park on the King River, just out of town which features grass and shade and, in a glass half full, sense, could be described as basic but quaint, with pet guinea pigs roaming free all over the park. Our site, on the edge of the river was compensation for lack of most other amenities.

No sooner had we finished dinner than we encountered our first steady rain so everything had to be quickly stowed away and we huddled inside for the evening. The rain continued for most of the night but cleared up by morning, so you could say we escaped again.

We packed as much sightseeing as possible into our time in Albany and a fortifying breakfast and coffee at a local café stood us in good stead for the full day ahead. A visit to the museum game us a history and heritage overview, with a look at Brig Amity which bought the first shipment of convicts and officers to establish the first colonial settlement in WA. Then to Whale World for a run down on Australia’s last whaling station, which finally closed in 1978 following a Federal Government inquiry and sustained public protest. The Cheyne IV, part of the whaling fleet, is on permanent display and provides an interesting insight into a tough life hunting these giants of the ocean almost to extinction.

Later in the afternoon we did a whistlestop tour of Torndirrup National Park and experienced different views of the limestone cliffs, granite headlands and sandy beaches along a coastline, which bears the full force of the powerful Southern Ocean.

Following a long downhill track we looked forward to a Blowhole spectacle but despite witnessing the fissure in the rock and hearing the thunderous boom of the waves, barely a puff was to be seen. And in reverse, the uphill climb back to the car – that really got the heart rate going!

 The Gap and Natural Bridge is interesting ocean carved features along the coastline, which was connected to Antarctica, as part of Gondwanaland, millions of years ago.

Finally, as the evening set in we headed for the wind farm, which provides 50% of Albany’s power, needs. As it was close to sunset, I hoped there would be an interesting sky for photos, but alas, not to be this time. To get a good view we had to follow an extremely steep path to an impossibly high lookout. More heart rate challenges.

And after a busy and tiring day, no camp cooking for us. Despite the fact that we looked like Mr and Mrs Dagg just in from the bush, we stopped at The White Star Hotel (a boutique brewery and restaurant) for dinner and were graciously welcomed. We enjoyed great food and Ivars gave the thumbs up to their beer. Five stars for them, I say. A nice end to our Albany visit.
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