From Fitzgerald River National Park we headed to Albany, our first major town since Adelaide. The weather was a bit cool and showery, but we made the most of the sites and really enjoyed visiting the National Anzac Centre. The location of this memorial is significant as Albany was the departure point for troop ships heading to WW1 – and for so many, their last glimpse of Australia.
Albany also had an interesting Whaling Museum, although by the tone of the guide, you would almost believe the whalers had contributed to the proliferation of the whale population after the decision was taken to cease whaling! A little strange, but non-the-less, a good display of shipping memorabilia and whale skeletons.
With the weather improving, we made our way to Denmark – stopping at the stunning Green’s Pool and Elephant Cove. We also squeezed in lunch and some wine tasting at The Lake House, before rolling ourselves along Ocean Beach in Denmark. Ocean Beach is a beautiful wide white beach, several kilometers long and capped by steep orange and yellow cliffs at its eastern end. Behind the beach, the kids quickly spied a massive sand dune. The kids were in heaven – as was Anthony who loved being able to carry Thomas on his shoulders the last 50 metres in really soft, steep sand. “I just wish we had 6 or 7 kids”… I’m sure that’s what he was calling to me as I snoozed on the white sand at the base.
The next day we headed to Coalmine Beach in Walpole. We visited the famous Valley of the Giants, which includes a suspended walkway 60m up into the canopy of the giant Tingle Trees. An amazing forest.
From Walpole, we headed further west to visit Kate and Shaun (Karen’s cousin) in Crowea – between Northcliff and Pemberton. Kate and Shaun own and run 10 Chains Winery and have two kids – Blake (9) and Leah (5). Sienna and Thomas were in heaven – friends to play with, lots of toys and dress-ups (and guns for Thomas!) and a farm and dam to explore. To ensure that we could really experience the winery, we felt it necessary to thoroughly test all of 10 Chains’ different grape varieties. We had a fantastic dinner with lots of laughs and really enjoyed catching up with the Woods’.
After a couple of hours driving today, our journey south has come to an end. We are now in the small town of Augusta – just a few kilometers from Cape Leeuwin - where the mighty Southern and Indian Oceans meet.
From here, we will head up to Margaret River where we’ll set aside a few days for the complex task of compiling sufficient data to accurately compare the wines of 10 Chains. Yep, this travel thing isn’t all beer and skittles. Sometimes it’s a Shiraz and a cheeseboard.
The Woods' - Crowea