Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The road back to Perth

Wednesday---Quite a long trip, The sat nav would not fire up ---OH NO! Pressed the reset button and it was okay again,--- Phew--- the temperature hovering round 42 degrees at midday although strorms forecast. We stopped at Koronup on the Albany Highway and looked around the aboriginal interpretive centre and a rose garden maze, this highway has loads of roadtrains using it. We arrived in Perth mid afternoon, this is a different kind of accommodation again, a few minutes walk from the City and overlooking the freeway, but have about 10 free wifi connections. We sat by the Swan River and had coffee then had a trip round the city on the free bus- there is lots of building and renovation work going on and its really weird to see original old buildings sitting amongst the ultra modern blocks.

Porongurup and some walking

From the Porongurup Range

TUESDAY - An Early start again and heading for the hills, we were going to call into Albany and look round but changed our minds as there was so much traffic on the road. and were at the Porongurup Inn by midday, so we put our stuff in our apartment and set off for a walk in the Porongurup range, our aim to walk up to the balancing rock which we managed, but is was a struggle as the weather is getting hotter by the day, so we had an afternoon siesta and a low level evening stroll before dinner, loads of Kangaroos and skinks around here.

Augusta and to the Giant trees

tree climbing
Monday - A single road runs through Augusta to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, this cape is where the Indian ocean and the Southern Ocean meet, the scenery is very dramatic, and the sea very wild with very strong currents, this does not stop the surfers who take advantage of the big waves, we stayed at the Youth hostel in Augusta, which lived up to its reputation of being the best in Australia,
The following morning we set off towards Denmark, stopping at The Gloucester tree which is one of several trees used as a fire lookout, stakes are hammered into the tree to form a ladder to the top, where a lookout shelter is built, the public are welcome to climb it - at there own risk, i got about 50 steps up and decided against going further.there was still along way to go! The big bloodsucking flies here were also a real nuisance, also we saw a 3 foot tiger snake winding its way across the road - highly poisonous!
We drove on to the Valley of the Giants where we enjoyed a guided walk and then an aerial walk 40 metres above the ground through the massive Jarrah trees. We were well and truly ready for our evening takeaway of Barramundi and chips, a beer and an early night.


Had an evening walk round Bunbury, we sat and had coffee and watched the world go by, and an almost continuos stream of utes parading around the precinct, revving engines, with loud music issuing from them, best was a Mack truck unit joining in the fun,
SUNDAY - Bunbury Motel was excellent, with a nice big swimming pool where we swam first thing in the morning.
I had heard about the dolphins at Bunbury so we headed down to the beach, early the following morning and sure enough they were there. There was quite a few people around so the volunteers who are at the beach, instructed us how to behave, we lined up with the water up to our bums and waited - a female dolphin came swimming in and inspected us from about 2 foot away and swam round us for about twenty minutes the volunteer guy giving us information. It was an amazing experience.
We then set of towards Augusta stopping at Busselton on the way. Busselton has very long pier which was damaged in a fire recently so is under repair.

Tiger Airways late

Saturday -All was going well yesterday untill we arrived at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport for our trip to W. Australia, looking at the departure screen several flights were delayed or cancelled, then our flight came up delayed for a massive 5 hours, apparently the plane had been affected by a bird strike in Queensland and a replacement had to be sent,we were provided with meal vouchers, and spent a sociable evening talking to Josh from Tasmania, and Lucas from Melbourne and anyone else who fancied swapping a story or two, before we knew it the flight was boarding and we were in the air, arrived at Perth after catnapping through the flight, picked up the hire car – free triple upgrade!!!! and set the sat nav for the accommodation. Hardly any traffic which was good, and before long into our chalet for the night - Melbourne time would have been about four o clock in the morning. Perth time 01:00 any way slept well, had a walk on the beach and then set off to explore Fremantle, before heading off towards Bunbury where we were staying the night.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thank goodness for the sat nav

We hav just been for a four day trip to the Geelong area, with our granddaughter, this is the surfcoast with loads of kite surfing, wind surfing and other water sports, the prevailing wind on this coast almost guarentees good sport to the surfies.. as for us we enjoyed exploring the area, we had a great guided walk around Geelong botanical gardens where the guide pointed out and gave us the history of a lot of the trees, some over 150 years old, there were a row of fan palms, the same as we have in Spain and apparently there is a big debate as to whether to trim the dead leaves of the trunks, hence they have these 20 foot palms with the dead fronds all the way up them. They look terrible.
To get to the Geelong Area we had to go through Melbourne, theres no way without the satnav.... The freeways close to Melbourne are 4 and 5 lanes wide and most of the day are continous heavy traffic with some massive trucks which power along at the maximum speed for the road.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Around and about

Lilydale lakeLILYDALE LAKE
We have been getting around locally the last few days, have been to a couple of the local shopping centres, the shops are amazing and most things apart from food are cheaper than Spain or the UK, you see very few shops unoccupied and they all seem to be thriving, the savings interest rate here is around 5.75%. so although the global crisis has affected here it appears to be minimal, We have had a stroll round Warrendyte and visited the op shops(charity shops)they have loads of books so we are not short of reading material,not that there is much time....
We went to Lillydale lake and park on Thursday where they have put sandy beaches around the lake and we had a very pleasant swim and a picnic, Its not like Guardamar though.
Last night Mary and myself went to an evening of entertainment in Warrandyte, we were treated to some poetry, Bellydancing, Russian songs accompanied by guitar,Irish drumming, poetry, The Pianola and storytelling, and met some nice people, quite an evening.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Koala and an Echidna

We have been here over a week now and we have not seen any Kangaroos, but i take Rascal - Emma and Warwicks dog, for a walk most days and looking up in the trees along the Andersons creek road there was a Koala sleeping in the fork of a tree trunk, no more than 20 yards away, i have been along there twice since and its has moved branches but is still in the same tree, Emma has not seen one in Andersons creek for around three years, - then yesterday we went for drive into the lower area of the Dandenong Ranges and while driving along the forest track an Echidna (spiny anteater) was strolling across the road, these too are rare animals to see as they are nocturnal and very timid. Females produce one or two eggs, which are deposited in a rudimentary marsupial pouch. The newly hatched young remain in the pouch, feeding on a milky fluid, until their spines begin to grow.
The weather is very warm here at the moment - in the high 30s, yesterday afternoon it clouded up a bit and there was thunder around,there are also lots of mosquitos once the heat of the day has gone, you need to wear insect repellent if you are outdoors.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Healesville picnic races

Sunday was a sunny hot day so off to the Healesville picnic races. with plenty of activities for everyone it was a real family affair, with animal corner, donkey rides, bouncy castle for the kids, with hot dogs, ice cream and a bar, there were loads of people mainly families and a really nice atmosphere, we had a nice picnic with a bottle of wine and tried to pick some winners, There were 6 races mainly of around 6 or seven runners on a beautifull grass course, with a bookies area where you could go and pick who to bet with and who were giving the best odds, the races were every half an hour and we managed to pick a couple of winners,
On the way back home Emma, Mary and myself stopped for a walk around a Wurrunjeri aboriginal reserve where there was a marked way with notices describing what various plants and trees were used for, here we learned that the young shoots from the tree fern can be used to rub on insect bites to ease the itching,and as there are plenty of mosquitoes around it might be usefull although we have also found that rubbing a freshly cut onion on a bite takes away the itching almost immediately.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Arrival in Australia

The flight from Gatwick had very few people on board,so was very relaxed, excellent attention from the cabin attendants, arrived at Doha and because we had a five hour wait for our ongoing flight we were given meal vouchers, Mary had chips and samosas i had a curry and rice then we sat it out at this massive airport, the flight was delayed for 40 minutes waiting for the Manchester flight to come in for connecting flights then we set off on this ultra modern Boeing 777-200 with every seat taken, and arrived in Melbourne well on time, It took 30 minutes from landing to be get our luggage and clear customs, so arrived at Emmas around midnight. As we walked up the path to the house there was the possum that lives in our daughters garden sitting watching us no more than 8 foot away. The grandchildren woke up and we had an hour with them before bed.
Slept well,In the cabin that Emma and Warwick have furnished for us to use, Awkke to riotous dawn chorus the bird life is incredible here, after breakfast, a walk to “the Bakery” in Warrendyte for Coffee and muffins , We have had heavy rain showers on and off for most of the day and through last night and its still raining, but it is very warm, almost tropical,in the middle of the night some thing quite large jumped out of the trees onto the cabin roof and walked along it sounded like an elephant to me, but Mary reckons it was a possum!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Start of the Australia trip

Bec and Quin drove us to the airport this morning, Bec threw water after us which is the Spanish tradition of saying goodbye and to bring good luck and safety on a journey, We left a bright and sunny Alicante on an Easyjet flight that departed 20 minutes before time and arrive 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled arrival time,35 minutes from landing we were in our overnight accommodation at Horley near Gatwick, We are staying at the Castle Lodge Guesthouse which is very nice, They picked us up from the airport and return us in the morning, despite our early start a substantial continental breakfast will be available before we are dropped off at the terminal ready for the next leg of our journey. We have Lunched at a Wetherspoons, had a walk round the town of Horley and now relaxing ready for our flight. We have already checked in online so so hope everything goes smoothly.