We took a four day drive into the south western area of Australia. Our trip included
We broke up the first day's drive to Walpole with a side tour of the Great Forest Trees Drive in the Shannon National Park. Every few kilometers, there were places to stop and listen to tapes that were broadcast over the radio.
Four varieties of eucalyptus trees predominate here, including the karri which grows nowhere else in the world. The karrie are the really straight trees with shiny, smooth bark.
On our way to Albany (pronounced Al - bany, not All - bany) the next morning, we visited two other forest locations. The first was in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park, the site of the Giant Red Tingle Tree. Red tingles are another variety of Eucalypt.
One of the products you find in many tourist areas are dishes and other objects made from tree burls such as those pictured above. The wood in these tree injuries is filled with many interesting patterns and knot holes.
Somehow, visiting this area reminded us of the redwood forests of California.
Here's Walt again in his Zeb
shirt inside a couple of trees. The one on the right is the Giant Red Tingle Tree. You can see there's not much there now, but it's really huge!
Our last forest adventure of the day was the Tree Top Walk. This
is a 600 meter walkway perched up to 40 meters above the ground which provides
a different perspective of the forest. Look, even Nan did it! :-)
As we continued on towards Albany we saw signs for Birdland and stopped. Some of the birds had considerable freedom, like the two above, but most were caged. There was quite a variety.
Here's another look at the two above.
Some were friendly - too friendly, even! :-)
But, we didn't have to go to an aviary to see unusual (for the U.S.) birds. This flock of red and gray gullahs were prevalent in many areas that we visited.
Albany is the commercial center of the southern region and the oldest European settlement in Western Australia, dating to 1863, three years before Perth. The panorama above is of Frenchman's Bay. We took a little drive there from Albany late in the afternoon.
Our objective was to visit the Gap, which was unfortunately relatively quiet that day...
...and the Natural Bridge. We also hiked to some blowholes, but alas, we only could hear them. The sea was just too calm.
An added bonus was the Whaleworld Museum in Albany built in a whaling factory and which includes an aviation museum as well. On the left is one of the last whalers that ran from this port. On the right, Walt in his Zebness is standing in front of a whale skeleton.
Our trip now turned north as we headed to Hyden and Wave Rock. But first, we had to cross the Stirling Range, pictured in a distance. We stopped at a spot marked as a photo op to take these photos.
A truly Australian tree that we saw nowhere else is the blackboy, pictured in quantities above.
Wave Rock is part of the Hyden Rock. (It seems that all rocks in Australia are named and appear on maps!) It does indeed look like a wave. Here's Walt again in one of his Zeb shirts.
We climbed to the top of the rock and explored a bit. That's Walt in the hollowed boulder.
We visited Mulka's Cave in the same area. Actually part of its history is pretty nasty. You can read about it from the link above.
There are hundreds of Aboriginal hand "paintings" in the cave.
The area around the cave was so interesting that we did a little additional exploring.
Back to Part I of the Final Episode
Back to Part Ia of the Final Episode - Rottnest Island
Schaller's and Walt Bankes' Sabbatical Page