Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Going as south east as I have ever been.

Generally every February/Marchish time of year I try and take the better half for a little getaway.  We’d been to Busselton a number of times and this time decided for a change.  We settled on going to Esperance as neither of us had been there before.

Esperance is a delightfully long drive from Perth, and so we set out with a rather flexible plan for going.  Sadly prior to leaving, I had a few automobile problems that required sorting out before undertaking the drive.  A wise move as Australian country roads can be deceptively deadly.  We left home a couple of hours later than I originally intended, and by the time we made it to Corrigin were rather hungry and thus stopped.  Plus a place that has a pet graveyard and an incredibly large dog statue in the town deserves to be visited I feel.

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Another thing that I love about Australian country towns (aside from giant things) are water features.  Um, Ok.  usually nowadays they are Lack-Of-Water-Features.  Behold, what I can only assume used to be the central town pond.
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Oh yeah.  Very nice.  So with our bellys full of sandwiches and snacks we made our merry way off. 

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had this strange fascination with Wave Rock and have always wanted to check it out.   I can’t remember why, but had heard that a trip solely out to Wave Rock was not really worth the effort and I had yet to venture out that far east.  Since we had made Wave Rock on the way in our planning, a quick detour off the side and we arrived.

Wave Rock is in a national park and as a result requires a fee to be paid.  This comes down to paying for parking.  It’s unlikely anyone will walk there, but if you want to go cheap, that’ll be the way to do it.

Wave Rock, in case you haven’t  guessed is a rock that looks like a wave.  It’s a massive rock.  Carved out by glaciers (IIRC) it’ pretty cool (for a rock).

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It is deceptively steep.  This is a popular photo among tourists:
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There is a nice bit of lizard interaction going on.  Well not quite interaction, but there’s heaps around.  you can walk up the top of the rock and enjoy the impressive view it provides.  If it’s a hot day (most likely being Australia) chances are if you are quick, you’ll spot a lizard running on it’s hind legs from one are to another.  Very cool!

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Part of the view and a lizard.  What a cutie.

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So Impressive, even Ratchet and LegoLamp  Snr decided to go for a ride.

And the view from the top!

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So with the wavey bit covered and the top and the view covered, we left to finish the drive to Esperance, after all, we were just shy of half way there.
That pretty much covers the rest of the day.  We left Wave rock and still had a decent drive ahead and it wasn’t until about 8pm when we made our way into Esperance township and found out accommodation.  A quick settle down later and we retired for bed.

The next morning came as they often do and after breakky we headed off to the first (of many) beach for the holiday.  Esperance is probably most well known for Lucky Bay.  Apparently it whitest sand beach in Australia (entirely possibly the world).  You have to drive east of Esperance for a bit and into a national park for Lucky Bay.  Drive to and into Cape LeGrand for a a day as you have to pay a fee to enter, bring lunch (they had BBQ facilities) and admire the interesting surrounds.  Massive rocks and interesting flora abound.

The view a you drive to Luck Bay is quite impressive as you head up.

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It is also a beach that has been approved for 4WD vehicles.  A good and a bad thing.  Good as there isn’t a lot of parking. Bad as oil leaking from engines and tyre marks make the beach a bit dirty looking.  I got my stalker mode on with my camera and nabbed some shots of folks and cars on the beach.
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Bloody hell it was white there.  I could barely keep my eyes open it was so bright there.
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The sand was weird.  It was an incredibly fine sand that was squeaky when you play with it.  It was very compact by the water and rather hard to dig in to.  When you dig some out, it was very much like an incredibly fine mud pack.  Plus it was so white, my camera had problems with the brightness of it all.
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The water was amazing!  So clean, the sand wouldn’t move when waves washed over it so there was very little sand floating in the water.  It was great to swim in!

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Initially a little chilly in the water, it was delightful when you get used to it.  And boy howdy did I.  Stayed in that water for ages.

Eventually I pulled myself out of the water and we grabbed a coffee off the coffee trailer that was there and sat on the beach having a jolly good time.  The coffee actually tasted pretty good as well, which I will admit I was surprised at considering the location and that generally when in a remote place with a coffee place nearby, they have a tendency to charge a lot and make bad coffee.  After that though, I nabbed a cup off them, and nabbed some sand. Wink.

Ratchet and LegoLamp managed to get in on the action as well.  After all some vehicles were allowed on the beach!!!

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As we left we managed to spy a bit of native fauna!  Apparently they often go onto the beach.  Wise little fellows!
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We then headed off to…  another beach. Oh yeah!  Almost as white as lucky bay, this one was delightful too.  I managed to dry out and warm up on the way, thus requiring another dip in the ocean!
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We settled on that beach for a  fair bit.  It was rather popular as it was a very nice day, warm but not overly hot but definitely a day to encourage one into the water.

At this beach is the place we decided to have our previously prepared lunch.  Again Ratchet and LegoLamp came out to play.

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Eventually I pulled myself out of the water and we headed back to town. Slowly.  In the middle of the park is a massive rock.  Which you can climb if you so wish.  It’s quite odd, as surrounding the big massive rock was a lot of flat bush.  We went up to look at the prospect of climbing, but after swimming quite a lot and being stuck in our swimwear we decided against the labouring climb.  Luckily I managed to get my stalker on once again!!
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After that we headed back to arranger some dinner and  laziness.  After all we were on holiday!

Having gotten back to our accommodation I noticed a mighty sighty on the front of my humble little car.  As we drove the last bit to Esperance in the dark at high speed, there was an impressive bush sight on the front!

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INSECT DESTRUCTIOOOOON!

A long day in the sun means I usually want a beer.  Today I actually had one on hand.  Sometime during the day we had popped into a souvenir store and I picked up an Australian staple. The bottle opener keyring!

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PPSSSHT!
Hello Beer!

THE NEXT DAY

We awoke to find ourselves faced with a problem.  The weather had managed to cloud over and although not cold, wasn’t hot and didn’t invoke the ideal day for paddling in water.  Which is why we had come.  Undaunted we packed our stuff and headed off along the coastline for a day of ‘whatever may come your way.’  Despite the clouds and the impending look of rain, it was still a nice looking day.  Just remember, I am a guy that LOVES cold winters and precipitation. 

We headed off to “Twilight Bay” and the areas along there.  Sadly it wasn’t looking all that Blue for us at that time.  There was enough to amuse us in the meantime with a lookout opposite the beach and a windfarm up the hill.  sadly the Windfarm didn’t really add up to much.

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The road, and the type of day we faced in the morning.

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The lookout and not so Twilight bay.      Yet.

We checked out another couple of bays, one of which was ‘family suited’ but with blustery winds and choppy water we gave up on a day of swimming and headed back into town.  Specifically after it started raining on us.

If you have ever been to an Australian Country town (and I strongly suggest you go to at least one), you will always discover they have usually have a ‘museum’ which more often than not consists of old farm machinery.  With great scepticism I entered Esperance’s museum and was surprised.  Yes there was a lot of old farm machinery, but quite a bit of decent stuff on the local area, families and history.  Parts of a fallen satellite as well.  Add to that, the museum was built on an old train shed, inside was an old train carriage!!  Oddly some old WWII bits and pieces as well.  It was an eclectic collection of things.
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And Washing machines and refrigerators OH MY!
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Esperance is known for Skylab falling on it.  Well parts anyway… So to celebrate that, there were parts in the museum and this sculpture out the front!  Lovely!

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We pottered around town and managed to fill the day with some not so exciting stuff and made my first of many trips to the dome cafe in Esperance.  I wasn’t expecting much from Dome.  I have been to a few around the place and while they present well and look classy the food is average.  Being in a country town I was thinking that this Dome would be worse than others.  Turns out it was actually pretty good.  I snarfed down a club sandwich and the better half opted for a focaccia of some sort, coupled cup of coffee.  NOM! NOM! NOM!
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It was quite nice.  To walk off that lunch, we went for a stroll along the local beach.  Where coming across a broken jetty and some ships on the horizon I attempted a few arty shots.  Annoyingly for us the main attraction (a large Jetty) was closed and they had fences all along the foreshore.  It wasn’t pretty.  The beach a few streets in front of where we were staying was more than adequate.

We then made our way home to settle in for the night.  The sunset was quite pleasant despite the clouds!
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The Day After That!
The next day was much better in regards to hitting the water and so we headed back to the beaches that were so saddened to see the clouds yesterday!

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It was much more delightful there and once again, I enjoyed myself immensely in the water for a while, until we decided to move unto the NEXT beach.  The apparently family friendly 10 mile Lagoon…

My attempt at a panorama shot of Twilight bay, I know some rocks got duplicated, but…  Well, there ya go hey?
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When we arrived, We discovered a steep descent was required, but being adventurous we did.  Huzzah.  this one nice, it was sheltered from some of the larger waves, but due to the shape, water at knee height was surging in around quite a lot.  It was rather difficult to stand, but I still managed to have fun.
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Ratchet and LegoLamp enjoyed the view!

After quite a while of floating around in the waters, we headed back for some lunch.  But first, an amusing sign.

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Nice!

Back to town where we had a sandwich. At (inswertnameherer), Esperance is a slightly strange place.  Being Saturday Afternoon now, many places were closed and finding a decently priced lunch supplier became tricky.  While the place we selected for lucnh was nice enough, it was rather overpriced for the end result.  No surprises there though, after all we were in WA. 
We then continued to amuse ourselves looking arounf the town site and as the afternoon wore on, it progressed to evening and we settles on cakes and coffee for a snack.  now by this time, it was reasonably late.  About 7 pm.  the only place open was the Dome cafe.  So we headed back and had some cakes. 
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Yum!

Cup noodles for dinner and we were done for the day.  Thankyou Very Much!

The Final Day!
We awoke early and headed off to a curious attraction.  Why, it was a scale replica of Stonehenge of course!  (Why not hey?) There is a story about someone starting to make it and then plans fell through and so these people on the way to Cape leGrand picked it up and ran with it.  It is rather well done replicating the placement (adapted for the southern hemisphere) and being Stonehenge before it was all broken.  It was pretty large!

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I had a nice chat to the fellow manning the till and we spent a while there taking photos and messing about.  I was rather surprised at the amount of people showing up.  It was kind of cool and dorky at the same time.

We didn’t stay long as we had the drive home this day and so headed off back to town for some brunch to power us home.  Being Sunday, it turns out the only place open was DOME cafe!  Oh my!

We headed in and I ordered a Breakfast as I felt the need for bacon.  Dome had treated me pretty well, so I was excited.  Things started off good!
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The tea was strong, the eggs were nice.  There was lots of food on my plate.  However under that pile of scrambled eggs lurked a destroyer of funs times…

Oh Dome, why did you you forsake meeeeee?
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I’m sorry.  Are you recycling those sausages from YESTERDAY?  It was 12pm.  And you serve me sausages that have been MUMMIFIED???????

Really?  Seriously?  Someone put them on a plate and thought they looked fine?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I cut one open for the sake of curiosity.  It was dry. Inedible.  No surprises there…  I didn’t even bother with the other.  Wow. Just wow.  Before we had a wonderful relationship Dome Esperance.  Then you Turkey slap me.  Worst of all, it’s a turkey Slap WITH A CRUSTY SAUAGE!

Bad form Dome, bad form.

We left after that.  I did make my contempt for the sausages condition well known on the plate.  They were the ONLY things left on it.  I very much doubt anyone there cared.

And so with that fresh (not the sausages mind you) in mind, we left Esperance.  A little confused really.  It’s a great little town with a lot of potential, but doesn’t seem to want any visitors.  Things don’t really open much.  There isn’t much selection, but after to talking to some locals in the museum, there wasn’t a lot of local commerce happening either. 

Esperance is a country town that is confused.

The drive back was long and we didn’t break for long so nothing really of note happened.  Except for a few picture opportunities.  The long straight roads of country WA. I love them!

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The occasional wildlife crossing. Look, it’s an Emu family!


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Watch out guys!

And, rather annoyingly, the first Traffic light I’d seen in about 3 days.  Grr, must be back in civilisation!

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Holiday End!
Not a bad photo though, if I do say so myself!

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