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Happy Campers

Part Two

rain
View Around We Go on LauHot10's travel map.

Albany is a little larger than most of the other towns but is still relatively small. We stocked up on supplies at Woolworths, bought petrol and used the internet in the local library before heading on to the war memorial which marks the location of where the first Australians and New Zealanders set sail to join the fighting of World War One. It sits proudly on the top of a hill above the town and provides some really good views. Next we made the decision to head inland a little way to the Stirling Ranges, which are a cluster of mountains surrounded by crop fields.
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Many of them are the bright yellow of Rapeseed and against the orange earth and bright blue sky it was a eye popping contrast. It didn't seem like it had rained so much here and the sun beat down on us. The road there was long, straight and sealed as not all roads in Australia are.
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Once we reached a National Park camping area we pulled in but for one reason and another it just didn't feel right and we decided to keep going. After exploring a little more it became clear that at none of the places in this area could we have a fire and we really wanted one so we left the Stirling Ranges and went back towards the coast.
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That evening we came across possible the best spot we had the whole time we were there. It was in the free camping book and should have coast us $5 but no one ever turned up to collect the money. It was set by a little bay in amongst a few trees and there was plenty of wood.
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We arrived quite early which was good because it got dark about 6:30pm so we had to try and get most things done before then. The next hour or so we gathered up as much wood as possible and Adam thought he'd seen a Huntsman Spider scuttling away, which thankfully was our first and only encounter with anything of that variety.

The fire that night was impressive even if I do say so myself. We had run out of tin foil so we set up a makeshift barbacue using the stove top and some precisely placed rocks.
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With the wood being that little bit drier and an abundance of it the fire burned long and hot. It was really the first time we'd be able to sit round and get some proper warmth from it. It was the way camping should be.
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The next couple of days we spent at the beach. We found two pretty good spots using the book and despite stating a fee would be collected it never was.
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Which was probably due to it being out of season. We had fires both nights and at the first place the stars were absolutely amazing. At the second the wind blew furiously and the rain came intermittently. Still we were not to be deterred and we climbed to the top of the sand dunes to gather up piles of dry drift wood.
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We had bought steak for this meal and we cooked it on top of a piece of discarded metal; it was lovely.
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There were very few people and apart from brief conversations in shops and petrol stations we hadn't really spoken or seen anyone over the last couple of weeks. It was very pleasant after the hectic busyness of Asia.
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By now we were halfway between Ravensthorpe and Esperance and we came to the conclusion it was time to head back towards Perth. Instead of backtracking we took the inland road via Wave Rock which sits in the middle of the bush, and not by the sea as you may think. It is the most photographed landmark in the whole of Western Australia and as the name suggests is shaped like an enormous wave.
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It didn't take too long to get there, it is surprising how the kms tick by on the long, straight roads. Very different to when we were on the motorbikes!

The town of Hyden is the closest place to Wave Rock although this doesn't seem to have done anything to catapult it into a tourist mecca. It is a sleepy little place, another blink and you'll miss it. There were a few coach loads of people at the Rock as we expected but we stayed long enough to get our moneys worth. I can't remember the geological reasons why it's shaped how it is, something to do with harder and softer rocks eroded differently I think but whatever the reason it is pretty impressive.
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We walked all over the large rock which sits behind it and there were some quite good views of other, similar rocks in the distance. If rocks get you excited it's great but after about half an hour we called it a day.

As we continued on towards Perth our free camping book became useless as it didn't cover this route. Finally before Adam fell asleep at the wheel we pulled into a lay-by next to a yellow field and closed the curtains for the night.
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When we woke we continued on to Perth and spent the day driving around Fremantle, the small town/suburb to the south of the city. The sun was shining and everyone seemed to be enjoying the better weather. There were people running, power walking, and cycling all around us and we bitterly thought everyone in England could be this active if the weather was as nice. We then watched some people surfing for a little while as I'd never seen it on this scale before and I had one of those thoughts of, that looks quite easy I bet I could do that, before I realised that that was silly and Adam told me it was really hard and you have to be very strong.

We spent the night in another lay by just North of Perth which was quite high up and gave a good view out over the ocean. The next morning though we headed over to a camp site because I needed to have a shower and we needed to have a better base for exploring Perth. Which is what we did after we were settled in. They have good train links in from the suburbs so we parked and rode. Perth as suspected is very, very small and we'd basically walked round the centre in about ten minutes. That said it was very clean, modern and friendly. We grabbed some lunch, mooched around the shops and watched a few minutes of the preliminary rounds of Australia's search for their Miss Universe candidate which were being held in a central square. After a few hours though we decided to head back as we couldn't really spend any more money and we had got a good feel for the place.

The following day we stayed at the camp site and completely cleaned up the van and used their on site laundrette. In the evening we treated ourselves to fish and chips which were not quite up to English standards. Knowle Fish Bar still reigns supreme in my eyes!

In the morning we drove the van back to the garage but Geoff wasn't there so we handed it over to another guy. He asked us about what we'd been up to while we waited for our taxi to the domestic airport to catch our flight to Brisbane. By now I was getting quite excited because before the day was out I was going to see my friend Kellie who I hadn't seen in a year and half! Just to set the scene for the next blog I met Kellie in September 2003 when I turned up wide eyed and nervous for my first day of university. She was over for a semester of study abroad and despite only being a year and two months older than me, became my surrogate mother for a few months!

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 04:04 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world

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