Backpacking Pensioners travel blog

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Granite rocks in front of the light house

The old water wheel

Rays on the beach at Hamelin Bay

More pictures of the rays

Gutting the days catch

Parrots at Margaret River

Jeff 20 January 2007

First a walk to inspect the source of our night time, and awakening sounds; we found the beach to be long and narrow with firm sand and plenty of rocks for the children to inspect. Just another lovely beach. Yesterday's experience of Cape Leeuwin was not enough so back we went, stopping on the way to take photographs from two viewing spots.

I was still impressed at the builders who had dug 7 metres into the granite to lay foundations for the lighthouse, and that I could actually witness the waves meeting from two oceans. When standing on the granite in front of the lighthouse I could sometimes see a wave sneaking across from the Southern Ocean into the first tiny bay of the Indian Ocean. Before leaving we inspected the old water wheel and sluice. It is quiet gratifying to note how many technical parts of Australian history came from the UK and of course this area is no exception.

After a walk around Augusta and making purchases at a very good delicatessen, we began our journey north, saying good bye to the Southern Ocean. Our first sight of the Southern Ocean was on 04 October 2006, at Melbourne and it will be a long journey and several more months before we see it again.

The coast north is limestone and there are many caves stretching for thousands of miles. On this area of coast 11 from over 100 were identified as suitable for tourists. Some of these can be viewed, three of which are especially recommended. At the entrance of the Jewel cave we bought a pass for all three and saved some money; it's always a puzzle to me that by spending money I actually saved.

On descending the steps and entering the cave we found ourselves to be in a massive cavern with walkways and many steps leading to the floor level. Two days ago it was the Gloucester Tree, yesterday Western Australia's tallest lighthouse; today I counted 460 steps in total before our return to the surface. Messages of sympathy will be gratefully received.

In the large opening cave we saw the third longest 'cave straw' in the world. The stalagmites, tights, straws and other technically named cave forms are known as decorations. At the bottom of the first cave there was still over 750 yards of walkways through a series of other caves. At one place it required a considerable degree of bending and I was behind a big fat man; I'm sure I could have organised that better. Throughout the series of caverns there was a great deal of decoration and I have never seen as much cave decoration on a cave visit as I did at the Jewel cave. It is with sadness I record the photographs are an extremely poor substitute to the memories and not worth printing.

The area of cave from which the name arises had probably lost some of its former lustre, however near by and close to the cave wall was the 500plus year old bones of a young possum. Apparently animals that fall into caves invariable lie close to the cave walls to die. Having made the appropriate sad noises we reluctantly left the magnificent spectacles' behind us and even more reluctantly I climbed the staircases out of the cave. On arrival at reception, a young woman from our party said to me, "Well that was a good workout". A good comment and much more printable than my thoughts.

Near to reception was a 1,100 yard bush walk and amongst the birds we viewed was a White Breasted Robin. I had not realised there was a few types of robin. Our journey then took us through many more miles of forest and a visit to Hamelin bay where we walked along the beach. Activity near by a fish cleaning table caught our interest and on arrival we viewed a large group of 'Ray's', and some were very close to the shore. When one man was emptying his bucket in the sea he had to push away a ray with his wellington boot clad foot. Laughingly he said, "That's for Steve Irwin".

When we arrived at Margaret River we parked the van on a site and set off to reconnoitre the most important town in this area. On the way to the centre Sylvia chased around some parrots and took several photographs. We then found a Simmo's Ice Cream Shop and ate our purchases of delicious ice cream before reading the notices outside the tourist office. Most of the shops were closed so after window shopping we began our wine tasting in a local bar and returned to our van.

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