We spent a couple of nights around Experance and stayed at Cape Le Grand National Park. The area is known for the best beaches in Australia, we weren't disappointed. The sand is white and it feels like snow underfoot and the sea is bluer than any we have seen. The coastal scenery is stunning, there are over 100 small islands giving the area the nickname of the 'Bay of Isles'.
On the Friday we climbed to the top of Frenchman's Peak, a very steep climb with spectacular views. The peak has several caves, which were formed by the sea millions of years ago. We then went to have a better look around Esperance before heading on. Esperance was smaller than we had expected, but still the biggest town we had seen for a while. We didn't like Esperance as much as we thought we would. The town itself has a few shops and cafes but nothing that stands out.
We then continued along the coast and stayed two nights just outside of Hopetoun, another small village. There was a lovely beach that we had all to ourselves. Just off the shore there was a row of rocks, which made a calm area suitable for swimming. The rocks also caused the large waves to crash upwards to amazing heights.
We continued on to Albany, staying at Norman's Beach on the way. Albany is a city spread over several sheltered coves with loats of perfect beaches. The city itself is nice to walk around with lots of old buildings and interesting shops. We bought a fishing rod so we could have free meals and also because it seems like a national past time. We had no idea what we were doing but perservered and Sion caught an Australian Salmon. Since then though we haven't had much luck.
We spent a few days around the Albany and Denmark area and visited Williams Bay and Green Pool, which were beautiful beaches. Then we headed up to the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk.
This is the original tree top walk, it climbs to a height of 40m on a very wobbly foot bridge into the canopy of the Karri forest. The trees are huge, some are over 100 years old and 70m high. Many of the old trees are hollow at the bottom and you can walk through them. It was a really beatiful forest and was fun to get a birds eye view of the trees, but we did feel a bit sea sick on the bridge.
Next we passed through Walpole and Pemberton. We got some free oranges from Pemberton and made our own marmalade, which tastes very good. Other than that there wasn't much to do.
In Margret River there are lots of wineries, but we didn't enjoy it as much as the Barossa because they were all a bit posh. Some wineries had a dress code and we felt a bit out of place. We went to a couple of breweries instead and the atmosphere was much more relaxed. We enjoyed the Bushshack Brewery, where they made unique flavour beer. We tried a wheat and a chocolate beer, they were very nice and even Rachel enjoyed them.
Next stop was Yallingup, a town renowned for it's great surf and beautiful beaches. We spent a morning here on the beach watching a surfing competition. Then we went to Cape Naturaliste to see the lighthouse. Although this was a bit disappointing because we couldn't see the lighthouse without going on a tour, which we didn't want to do.
In the evening we went to a drive-in cinema in Busselton. We bought loads of snacks before hand and made hotdogs and drank ginger beer. We watched two films, the first was called 'G-Force', a Disney film about guinea pigs who had been trained as special agents for the FBI. The second film was 'Surrogates', which had Bruce Wilis in. We really enjoyed the drive-in and think they should have them at home too.
On Sunday we had a look around Dunsbourgh, a small town with lots of speciality shops. It was a nice day, it is starting to get hot again, and we enjoyed walking around the town and sitting on another beautiful beach. In the evening we treated ourselves to fish and chips from Squid Lips, a fish and chip shop with a gourmet twist. We had marinated prawn and scallop skewers and their speciality chilli squid. It was delicious, although a little pricey.
The next day we spent in Busselton, a slightly larger town on the coast. It's major attraction is the Busselton jetty and the underwater observatory. Unfortunatley they were doing some restoration work on it so we couldn't walk to the end or see the observatory. We had a look around the town, walked along the beach and had an ice cream then we went on to Bunbury.