On The Clock

Fri. 10th May 2019

Hidden River ArtAs ever, I have a long list of places to see today and again, that’s before Dave adds his list. I am sure that something will have to give way if we are to make it to Albany before dark. We start with the overspill from yesterday’s list and head back to Hidden River Winery as we do want to try some Pemberton wine and this one has an old retired tram attached to the restaurant. It is also known for its chardonnay. Again the views from the tasting room are amazing, with lake, fruit trees and vines heading up the hillside as far as we can see.

How big???With all the forests there is the ever present risk of fire, and so there are a number of watch towers at the top of the larger older trees, which are spread amongst the forest to give as much visual coverage as possible. Yesterday we climbed the Gloucester Tree, and today we check out the Diamond Tree. It was tempting to climb to the top for the view but having experienced the climb yesterday we move on. Nowadays, fire watch is done by plane.

It's a long way downWe were aiming to be at the Valley of the Giants (Tree top walk) for lunch, but after a few stops along the way to admire the view we land up eating our picnic by the Visitors Centre in the town of Walpole. (So, yet more leaflets on what to see. Oops!) The Tree Top Walk also provided views of the tree tops but is reached by walking along a gradually inclining suspended metal walkway which runs for some 600m just below the tree canopy. It is much easier than the tree climb. (You do have to pay for the privilege, but it would not have been cheap to construct the walkway). The walkway reaches a height of 40m above the forest floor and still the giant red tingle trees, which can grow to 70m, tower above us. This type of eucalyptus tree is unique to a small area around Walpole and Nornalup.

Yep, elephantsOur drive is taking us parallel to the coast and we have not yet seen much of the sea. With a 5/5 rating on Google maps (no Bing today) we just have to head for Elephant Rocks. It is an easy walk from the car park to the cove and as you approach it is clear why it is called Elephant Rocks with giant rounded boulders rising out of the sea. Getting onto the beach is more of a challenge as the steps lead to a gap between two rocks with water in between.

Wet feet timeApparently it is unusual for the water to be that high but it was possible to wade through. Dave in shorts went first but as I was in trousers I took a detour round by land to find an alternative entry. When I saw the water line on Dave’s shorts I was glad I did! Only one other couple had made the trip and so the bay was quiet. The sign in the car park had said drones allowed, so time to give Dave’s new toy an outing.

Drone pictureAround the corner was Greens Pool, a very pretty beach with swimmers out and altogether much busier, relatively speaking. The rock pools at the edge of the beach were very photogenic, cue another drone photo opportunity. We are far more interested in the photo potential than swimming in the sea, indeed our swimmies are still buried in our backpacks. We have been very lucky with the weather, as they are heading into winter here, but the sun is shining and the wind has stayed away.

Boy with new toyWe are now in the Great Southern wine region, which we had heard about when we were in Margaret River and I now have a leaflet on the wineries around Denmark (Town in WA not the country!). We had shortlisted three to visit but as it was now 4pm and they shut at 5pm we had to pick just one. We selected Ducketts Mill Wines and Denmark Farmhouse Cheese and headed there. The cheeses had already been stacked away in plastic containers in the fridge but the lady kindly pulled them all out for us to taste. We also had a quick wine tasting including their ports. There was a high proportion of chilli and garlic in a number of the cheeses which overpowered the riesling we started with – but the port was a big hit and now we have another bottle in our travelling collection.

No problem with heightsWe still have an hour to drive to reach Albany so head on as the sun begins to go down. Dusk is when the kangaroos come out to play on the roads so I needed to drive slower which just prolongs the drive. It is dark by the time we reach our B&B and as we pull into the drive, Dave receives a phone call to see where we are! Still, we get a very warm welcome at Beach House at Bayside and we’re going to have a great couple of days in Albany. It is an especially lovely treat to have cake waiting in our room along with a little bottle of milk so we can be quite British and have a much needed cup of tea. There is nowhere to eat within walking distance, but a short drive to Middleton Beach brings us to the Hybla Tavern and a local beer with our food is very inviting after our long day. We will have to learn to manage our timings better in future as although we had a lovely day and saw many amazing places (again!) we were tired and would have preferred to have arrived before dusk/dark.

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