From the southern coast of WA at Augusta we drove inland 120 km to the timber town of Pemberton, with its historic mill and little main street lined with wooden cottages. As long time Territorians, the first thing you notice is the cool rainy weather … in summer … in Australia! While Alice and Adelaide are currently baking in 40 degrees Celsius, it was struggling to reach 20 degrees here. In the national park we checked out one of the lookout trees; 60 metres tall with a simple stairway of metal rio rods spiralling up the circumference, leading to a couple of platforms near the top. Back in the day they watched for forest fires from these lofty heights and sometimes still do. We camped in a beautiful site surrounded by karri trees constantly shedding their bark, ferns and more. Staying out of the soft rain, we read books through the afternoon, kept company by a very confident and friendly kookaburra. Eventually we headed down to the green-brown Warren River. Marron are the local crustaceans, dark and smaller than a crayfish. On hearing that it was the last day of the season, Kelly rigged up a device with our plastic colander, two long sticks and some electrical tape, but the little critters proved illusive. Obviously the ones who survived this long were far too clever for us and deserved to survive.
My only other comment about Pemberton is that I remembered my brother Andrew came here on school camp more than 30 years ago. We saw the school camp site down by the railway line, and I could just picture him as a gangly pre-teen goofing around and enjoying all the forest adventures.
Needing parts to fix the sink in the van, we decided to push on to bigger smoke, but felt we had to stop near Walpole as we both wanted to do the Valley of the Giants tree top walk. This was truly delightful, even for someone afraid of heights. Within the national park, they have a 600 metre gangway which is 40 metres at its highest point, taking you up into the canopy of the karri forest for a superb view. Here we also met the tingle trees, a reddish eucalypt with a thickly buttressed trunk which often becomes hollowed out due to fire or fungal attack. They old gnarled ones look like the talking tree out of HR Puffenstuff.
Next stop was the town of Denmark, which boasts John Butler (musician) as a part time resident. We camped at a little van park, enjoying the hot showers and washing machine after a couple days of bush camping. Denmark is a cool little town with a definite hippy flavour and a great bakery; lots of posters inviting you to chanting circles, yoga, massage, healing sessions etc. There are also a few more expensive spa resorts making the most of the location which has river, beach and mountains together.
We got in touch with Randall and Jo in Alice who had kindly offered to let us camp for a couple of nights on their block between Denmark and Albany, and eventually found their piece of paradise very close to a fantastic beach called Cosy Corner. In Albany (settled in the early 1800s as a whaling town) Kelly found the part needed for the sink and did another outstanding repair job. For me the first foray into Albany was more of a spiritual pilgrimage as home town of The Waifs. For those who are not familiar, they are a folk/rock group featuring two sisters, both now married to Americans and living between the Australia and the USA. I love their music!
Stay tuned for more Albany adventures!
Will Kelly catch a salmon at Cosy Corner?
Will we find some cool live music at a pub on Friday night?
Will Donna from the Waifs finally invite me to join them as the much needed third girl?