It was a little tricky getting up at 5.45am, especially after drinking some wine the previous night but soon we were all down at the Pink Lake to see what would happen.(The couple from the night before tagged along as well) Unfortunately not a lot happened and the dawn was not very spectacular and the lake was not particularly pink. We read an information brochure nearby and apparently the lake is only pink in intense sunlight. So we were there at the wrong time. Bugger. Anyway we drove back into Esperance and the bay was really spectacular in the dawn with the islands and the jetty so we stopped the cars and looked at that for a while before packing up and moving on.
We had decided to drive straight through to Albany, a town about 500km away to try and get some serious distance down. There were national parks along the way but we got the feeling that it would be nothing new on what we had seen before and time was beginning to become a factor as well. The weather was not great either. After the amazing day we had looking round the Esperance, an area of low pressure had moved in along with wind and rain.
We stopped very briefly at a random rest area (like rest areas in the UK but with less under cover and an outdoor barbeque) and Thomas battled to put a sandwich together outside in the windy weather, while I just ate some snacks in the car. Finally we were in Albany and the weather had turned really bad with driving rain and freezing temperatures. We checked into a hostel for the night with brightly painted murals on the walls, some of which were amazing and some of which were not so good and I had a fairly uneventful evening.
The next morning the weather was still pretty poor but at least it wasnt raining (yet) so we left Albany and headed into the nearby national park so see some more coastline. There was a formation there called the gap which is where the ocean has carved a deep channel into the hard granite, which proved to be really spectacular in the stormy weather. Waves would crash in and spray would reach 20 or 30 meters up into the air, it was a good day to see it on. After looking at another formation nearby called the "natural bridge" we also went down to some nearby blowholes which were less impressive, as they generated more sound and a little spray then a visual spectacle.
About 50km west of Albany we arrived at a town called Denmark, a small place with a number of wineries around it. After driving around the area for a while we headed down to see something called the "Elephant Rock", which turned out to be a rock that looks remarkably like an elephant!
Then it was onto a honey winery where we bought some spiced honey wine. The winery itself was slightly odd as there was a semi-circle of wooden poles with painted masks hanging off them on a patch of grass near to the entrance. There was also a family of scarecrows with a sign beside them "welcoming the spirits of the earth." It made the place feel creepy rather then spiritual and made you wonder what went on here after all of the tourists had gone for the evening...
Finally we went to a toffee factory and I bought some chilli toffee. By this point the weather had become really bad again with drizzling rain and low clouds and freezing temperatures. We had originally planned to go on and see more stuff but with the bad weather we decided to head back to Denmark and stay in the hostel there.
The hostel turned out to be a pleasent affair with a few friendly people staying there as well as a large, but slightly smelly, dog. I got chatting to this one guy who was working at a nearby winery and who seemed quite desperate to talk to someone after been isolated for a while. Then there were some people cycling and walking in the area, taking shelter from the weather. The nightlife of Denmark was non-existant...