Catsnstuff Down Under – 3: West Coast

Well, it has been a tremendously nice week for me! After my illness in Melbourne I was scared to go on a seven day tour of the west coast of Australia, but it has been a blast! I arrived in Perth the 7th of June and decided to take it easy on the 8th, because my tour was starting the next day. I hung out in the Botanical Gardens (what else is new) and went to the West Australia museum. After the jump, some of my Perth pics.


Bottle Tree (?)

I had a great time in the hostel in the evening, chatting away with loads of nice and interesting people. But I went to bed early, because I had to get up 6:00 (getting used to it by now). My first three day tour went down the south coast. One of the first things we saw was a camel, walking in a field of cows like he truly belonged there. No pictures unfortunately, but it was a really strange sight. Our first real stop was the Busselton Jetty, the longest wooden pier in the southern hemisphere. Not the most exiting thing, and it was storming and raining like mad! I was kind of hoping the sun would shine after two weeks of cold and miserable weather, but when I almost got blown off the beach near the jetty I knew I shouldn’t count on it.

After the jetty, we visited the really cool Ngili caves with loads of stalagmites, stalagtites and shawls. There even was a wee little slide in the cave that you could crawl in and slide through, which was awesome! We went down to 37 meters underground, it was really humid and hard to move around without breathing like the most unfit child at gym class, but that didn’t take away the beauty of the caves.


Shawl

Then it was on to a brewery, where I actually had an alcoholic beverage, lovely ginger beer in which I could not discover the nasty alcohol taste I hate. Long story short: if they had that beer in Holland, I would be having a good time, because the one beer gave me a really good buzz and the giggles. Me and Bella, a really cool Scottish lass (Hi Bella!!!) had a great time after that.


Windy?! Naaah.

Especially because we visited a chocolate factory after that, where you could eat some for free. Mwoehahaha! We pressed on to watch the Margeret River coast to find even more windy and wet weather and then had a nice BBQ.

Day two, we got up at 5:45 to check out a waterfall. It usually wasn’t very impressive, but since all the rainfall of the last weeks, it looked pretty decent!


Too little time for uploading all pics, so this is me in the rain at the waterfall.

Then we went to see a 75 meter Karri tree (Bicentennial tree), that you could climb. The thing was that there were only some spikes sticking out of the sides without a safety net under them, there were only nets on the sides.

Since it started raining again, I decided to let this adventure pass. I would have done it, but we were bound to do a Tree Top Walk, which was 40 meters above the ground, between the tops of Tingle trees, that hollow out once they start to age.


Pondering the Tingle trees


The Tree top walkway

Dat uhhh...

After that we visited another cool beach with beautiful rocks and crevices


Elephant Rocks. Look for the elephant in the room!

Then we went to hostel number two in Albany. Lovely hostel but the showers SUCKED ASS! It was really the worst shower I have ever ever had, save for maybe the one I had in a place me and my mom dubbed the Green Stuff Hotel in Belize City. And yes, that does mean what you think: mould… Anyway, the shower in the hostel basically had two options: scolding hot a.k.a. losing your scalp or freezing cold. Also, the lights were on a timer, which is a good thing, where it not that they went off after five minutes. Standing in the shower, naked, freezing on one side and skin flaking off the other side from burning (slight exaggeration) and having to walk through the place in the pitch dark is not something I would like to repeat. Ever. Again.

Day three was the last day of the first tour. We were supposed to do either a hill or mountain walk, but our bus broke down. Which actually was a blessing in disguise, because I spent the day with Bella and Nicky (wassup girlzzz) just chilling in Albany and hitting the mall like 14 year olds, trying on hats and snacking. Excellent! A new driver with a working bus drove us back to Perth, where I said goodbye to Bella and went to bed early to be fit for my next four day tour to the north and back.

First stop was the Pinnacle desert, with thousands of limestone rocks sticking out from the sand that originally were on the ocean floor. The silence in the desert was so intense, I’ve never been in a quiter place.

Next day we were off to Kalbarri National Park, where you could see red rocks everywhere that for most people are so typical for Australia. It was gorgeous and the walk was nice and long. My Irish twin Christina (same taste in books, music and loads of other things) tried some abseiling with some other tour mates while the rest of us watched them and sang the Indiana Jones Theme song. Why not!


Preserved tracks of an eurypterid, an ancient huge scorpion-looking animal

We also visited a spot called Nature’s Window, a hole in a rock created by erosion. Really cool place, and nice and silent once more.

And then it was time for the reason I came to Western Australia: stromatolites. I’ve written about them before, so I won’t bother you again with my musings, but since we would not have oxygen without them, they deserve some attention!

Then we watched the sunset at Shell Beach, a 60km long beach covered not with sand but with shells. Really breathtaking!

We spent the night in a nice resort in Monkey Mia, the place that is famous for it’s wild dolphins that visit the shore every day. It helps that they are being fed, but they come of their own free will and it was really special to see them up close!

Other Monkey Mia attractions: pelicans!

We then said our goodbyes to Christina, who would go up north more, while the rest of the group went back down, on to the family farm Riverside Retreat. It’s a really cool place, and owner Bob showed us around and let us feed kangaroos and an ostrich. I loved the fact that it was an eco-friendly place, and that it had a beautiful sunset and sunrise. We slept here:

And then: the last day of the tours, but not the least! We visited the Hutt River Province, an independent state in Australia with it’s own currency, stamps, visas (I got stamps in my passport!) and it’s own prince, Prince Leonard. A lovely man, in his eighties that decided to make the best of a loophole in a law that would have cost him monetary losses (in real, real short terms).


An audience with Prince Leonard


The princess chair

Last stop was the Greenough Wildlife Sanctuary, where I handled snakes and fed loads of cool animals.


O really human, I am so much better than you


Where is the food!


Baby Joey having a look


I got to hold Mojo, a baby kangaroo whose mother was shot. She it now being hand-reared.

Well, that’s it for now. I had a great time, thanks to the lovely tourguides Chris, Mark and Danielle. And I met so many nice people I can’t begin to sum them all up, but you know who you are!!! I’m running now to catch my flight to Alice Springs, where I’ll be on my next tour tomorrow, from Alice Springs via Uluru to Adelaide.

Love, Lotte

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2 Responses to “Catsnstuff Down Under – 3: West Coast”

  1. shussmallworld Says:

    Oh, wow! Those are some of the best pics yet, and SO evocative. I can really let my imagination take me there. I couldn’t do the snake thing, but the rest was just incredible! I don’t know which awed me the most. How wonderful that you have figured out how to do so many great things.

    Shu

  2. catsnstuff Says:

    Thank you! The next tour will be a good one as well I hope. I leave in one hour. Fingers crossed!

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