So here we are back in Perth. Today we dropped the van back off following over 4000 miles of driving, some unforseen detours and illegal off-road manouvers, the front headlight falling out completely on a perfectly straight section of road, breaking down due to battery failure and much more! We are planning the next few days to be relaxing after all that travelling around (as relaxing as watching england play cricket these days can be!).
Last journal entry was from the big trees of denmark and around. From there we moved on to Albany and its stunning national park coastline. Once again i dont think the photos can do justice to places like 'the gap' or 'salmoln holes', which were breathtaking. Albany itself was nice enough, spoilt a bit in the old town area by the industrial looking port buildings on the waterfront.
Next stop was to the Pongerup national park for some hill walking (and rock climbing at times!). We spent the afternoon making it to the top of the 3 highest peaks in the range - tough work seeing as we have both done basically no exercise in the last 2 months! Devil's slide (see photos) was particularly steep, while there was a vertical ladder in place to get access on to the top of castle rock! Although the lady at the campsite had suggested that the day might not have been good for going up on to the tops (there were a couple of clouds in the sky; she should try climbing a mountain in Britain!) the views from the tops were fantastic. We could see back to the coast at Albany and inland to our next stop - The Stirling Range (which looked worryingly higher than the mountains we were standing on!!). Like i say, the next day we moved on to the Stirling range, where we climbed 'Bluff Knoll' in the morning. Another hard climb on a very hot day, but fantastic views from the top once again.
The same afternoon we made our way north to 'wave rock' at Hyden. As you can see from the photos campbell is pretending to surf (he wiped out shortly after the photo was taken due to having no shoes on, on a steep rocky slope) due to the rock being shaped like a wave. We did, however, see some stupid girl there who had missed the point of the shape of the rock; choosing instead to wave at the rock for all her photos!! After our usual sunset wildlife-search walk (where campbell took his standard 100 photos!) we returned to the campsite and heard our 60+ year old neighbours telling crazy rude jokes and stories. This is becoming a worrying trend for the australian 'older' generation that i have seen out here - dont even think about starting it up back home m+d!
Next day we drove further north and inland to the gold-mining town of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. It was typical that 3 days before we needed to get the van back in a clean condition we should drive through a 150km long locust swarm. Seriously, we must have wiped out about ten thousand of the things, it was unbelievable! Even with the windows shut we still had to hoover out about 25 dead locusts that had made their way inside somehow (they probably got in the same way that a load of the water did whan we were washing the car! No wonder it got so cold in the van some nights, the thing had holes all over it!). Anyhow, we arrived at locust-free Kalgoorlie and saw the massive super-pit. It is one of the biggest man-made holes in the world; and it was impressive to see enormous dumper trucks drive down in to the giant valley to the point that they were so small that you couldnt tell what they were (which i expect is a similar version of what watching the cricket at the MCG will be like from our seats!). After the super-pit we made a trip in to town, where we stopped in at the Preston North End tavern (see photo). We also had a couple of schooners at 2 of the towns massive hotel/pubs, complete with their famous 'skimpie' barmaids (dont need to explain that do i?!). Apparantly this weeks skimpies at the exchange hotel were karen and victoria - rather you than me!!
The following day we made the long drive back to the coast, where we had 2 nights in the city of cockburn, Fremantle. Instead of a wildlife search at sunset we instead went on a hunt for some fruit - a rare species that we havent seen for quite some time now! On our full day in fremantle we spent the morning cleaning and hoovering the van, and then made our way in to fremantle city (!) centre. Here we went in to a couple of good museums and saw some of the oldest buildings in western australia - very cultural!
Back to Perth this morning and wicked relieved us of the van for no fines or extra costs - good news! Its been a fantastic month, soon to be made better im sure with our day at the test match on friday where i am confident that england will cover themselves in glory once again! Bye for now!