25th August – 4th September 2017
Wow! It felt fantastic to be on the road again. The sun is finally shining! Leaving Perth we drove through the beautiful Swan Valley vineyards again. I love the look of vineyards and this area also makes life good for tourists by having chocolatiers and breweries and strawberry farms, to say nothing of the cellar door tastings and vineyard restaurants. But it was ‘look but don’t touch’ for us this morning as we headed north.
The vineyards soon gave way to grazing properties, lush and green with fat cattle, sheep and frolicking lambs, then horsey areas and crops – some mangoes and fields ablaze in bright yellow flowering canola. The wildflowers were beginning with masses of arum lilies blooming beside the road. A very enjoyable drive.
We brunched at Bullcreek – excellent little park in town, then drove through Gingin for a look. Agriculture soon disappeared and lovely wallum country with lots of banksias took its place – and mines! We’re also back on Road Train roads again. Oh how quickly one forgets!
Tonight we’re camped at Drummonds Reserve, a small free camping area in the bush with no facilities. We’re the only ones here – that’s a big difference to the last 5 weeks. We went for a walk up the road after settling in and found the Emu Downs Solar Project. There are dozens and dozens of electricity-generating wind turbines at the site and they’re now establishing a huge solar panel array. Great to see.
I woke this beautiful morning to the tree outside my window filled with (quiet) pink galahs. We moved on to Badgingarra, a tiny town with amazingly good recreation facilities (tennis courts, ovals, basketball, etc), none of which were in use this morning. What does that tell you?
Anyway we brunched here, then went for a 5 kilometre walk in Badgingarra NP where the wildflowers are blooming. The variety of plants is astounding.
Driving on to the free camp in Dongara we passed kilometre after kilometre of wildflowers by the roadside, the most prolific being banksias and wattle.
Sunday Brunch was had at the Seaspray Cafe beside the beach. Tasty meals, good turmeric latte!
The Irwin River flows through Dongara and the council has created several walks along this river and down the beaches. We did a 5km circuit of the river, crossing the bridge at one end and the tidal sandbar at its mouth – lucky it was low tide. Well done council – it was a very enjoyable walk.
Today we leave Australia! We’re camped tonight at the Principality of Hutt River. The drive here was very enjoyable. The wildflowers are coming out all along the roadside, while the paddocks are a lush green with 6” high wheat, or vibrant yellow with flowering canola.
We didn’t arrive until about 5pm so will explore tomorrow. The camping area is good – large, treed, heaps of room, shower (basic) and toilets – $10/night. Only two other campers and a heap of kangaroos here.
We met the very entertaining and spritely 92-year-old Prince Leonard today who took us through the museum and talked non-stop about many of the exhibits – mostly gifts given to the Principality by overseas dignitaries. Australia still doesn’t recognise Hutt River as having seceded even though it was proclaimed in 1970. The story of the secession is one of injustice-fuelled determination leading to a legal battle with the State which Hutt River appears to have won, though ungraciously semi-acknowledged by the government.
In the ‘government office’ you can purchase a visa, stamps, etc. There are several other buildings, the most ‘intriguing’ being an open-air display of the very complicated mathematical formula Prince Leonard has designed to work out the number which signifies creation and spirituality of every creature … yeah, can’t say I understood it myself.
Their hassles with the government persist – apparently the government is now suing them for undeclared and unpaid GST. Seriously, I can’t see the point. We’d do better to just support them a little in their endeavours – there are bigger fish to fry then Prince Leonard and his Principality.
From here we’ve headed to the coast – to Lucky Bay. The last 6km in is unsealed and badly corrugated in parts. The campground ($15/n) is situated between rows of sand dunes. New, clean toilets and very attractive shelter gazebos with picnic tables are randomly placed along a few hundred metres of camping grounds. The campsites are cleared sandy sites between low coastal foliage. We attempted a walk to the beach, but there’s no Track and lots of dunes covered in vegetation to climb over, so we abandoned that idea. We’re the only campers here tonight. If it weren’t for thunderstorms, lightning, rain and hail and the constant pounding of the surf it would be a very quiet night.
To see more of the photos from this part of our travels CLICK HERE