After an early arrival at the Shannon Campground in the Shannon National Park, we headed out on what was the first of a number of scenic drives in the area. Making our way down to Windy Harbour, we wound our way through tall forests, past controlled burns and then once again into coastal scrubland to find a little fishing oasis in a very remote part of SW WA. D’Entreacasteaux National Park surrounding Windy Harbour is a very different environment to those parks near Denmark and Esperance, with the rock formations being more sandstone rather than granite outcrops. We saw ‘The Window’, a hole in the cliff giving a stunning look down the cliffs to the ocean below, and did some lovely little walks in the area. Back at the campground we found we were the only ones there, so we fired up the wood heated hot water and had a lovely hot shower; a change to the cool showers we had been having for the past week or so at Parrys.
The next stop on our exploration of this area was the town of Manjimup. While Vanessa caught up on our washing at the local laundromat, I took the kids to the timber heritage park, which had a great playground with flying foxes, climbing frames and a massive 17 meter tubular slide. It was awesome! The kids and I killed time there with great pleasure until it was time to pick up Vanessa. Vanessa wanted to have a go on the slide so we went back and played again. After lunch we headed towards Pemberton to check out the forest drives and look at the massive fire lookout trees. These trees are huge and have iron bars for stairs up to a lookout desinged for fire spotting. Not much between you and the ground. We were all too chicken to climb them.
On our last day in this parts of WA, we headed back to near Manjimup to check out some more forest attractions, Fonty’s Pool and a winery. Fonty’s Pool was a lovely man made pool in a river with gardens and green grass to lounge around on. We had a paddle, but given that we were the only ones in the water we got a little nervous. After visitng a local orchard and Campbell being given the biggest pear we had ever seen, we re-visited a winery from our honeymoon and headed home. Generally a great day and made better for running into Peter, Sue and their lovely dog Maya in Manjimup who we had met at Parrys.
After a leisurely pack up at Shannon we headed off to our next destination; Jarradene, a new National Park campground between Margaret River and Augusta. What a great campsite, nicely spaced, good facilities, fire pits and wood provided. We set up then we headed off to Augusta to check out the tourist information centre so we could plan our next couple of days. After a bit of a drive around we made it back to camp just in time to batten down the hatches before we were hit with rain and a a bit of a storm.
Our first stop on our first full day in this area was Jewel Cave, being Australia’s largest regularly accessible cave, and also Australia’s most decorated cave. It was a great tour, this is the second time we have done this cave and would happily go back again. Straight from the cave we headed to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and got on the first available tour, SCORE! The lighthouse and surrounds is a must do if you are in this area, very informative and really interestng. The lightouse is the tallest on mainland Australis and was bulit in 1895!!!! From here it was onto some bush tracks to have a bit of an explore to see if we could find our campsite from when we were in this area 11 years ago. We made it to the site in a roundabout way and it was great to see that nothing had really changed – except a lot more rubbish and a lot more bees and it has a name now – Point Rd Campsite.
The next day we checked out Margaret River township and got the good oil from the Margaret River tourist information as we would be spending a week in the area with Vanessa’s parents, brother and niece in a weeks time. After a lovely lunch at Settler’s Tavern we headed off for Hamelin Bay and ticked of the last few things in the Augusta area. No swimming for us due to the beaches still being closed due to mass whale standing a week or so earlier. Also we didn’t get to see the famous Eagle Rays roming the beach because it was too wild and overcast.
It had been raining on and off for the whole time we were in this amazing area and on packing up it didn’t change. It rained for the whole time we were packing but as soon as we had finished packing up it stopped. Bloody typical. We drove the scenic route up the Caves Rd towards Yellingup where we unexpectedly ran into Mac’s Tracks. A funny double take and a u-turn or two and we caught up for a quick chat before we headed to Bussleton and they headed to Perth.