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SouthWest trip report - part 1

A J
Subiaco, Australia
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for Perth, Margaret River
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SouthWest trip report - part 1

It seems a bit strange writing a trip report for my own backyard, but perhaps there’s something here that may help someone following in my tracks. I’ve included travel times between towns, all the time driving at a fairly leisurely pace and not including any stops along the way. So for what it’s worth, here it is:

Day 1 Perth – Albany ( Armadale – Williams: trip time 1hr 25mins. Chose Armadale as the starting point as it’s the last set of traffic lights in the Perth metro area before hitting the ‘country roads’) First stop was Williams. Not a lot to see here but the Williams Woolshed was a pleasant stop for a coffee break and a browse thru the tourist oriented shops. (Williams – Kojonup: trip time 55mins) Lunch stop at Kojonup and not much else to hold my attention I’m afraid. (Kojonup - Stirling Ranges [Bluff Knoll]: trip time 1hr 35mins) We detoured off Albany Highway and headed to the Stirling Ranges via Cranbrook. Although these ranges are modest in height, they appear more dramatic rising from the flat surrounding farmlands. A carpark at the foot of Bluff Knoll gives the visitor panoramic views to the west, and to the east the towering cliff face of the ‘mountain’. I climbed to the summit a few years back but not today…it was nearing 4pm and the return climb is a 4hr trek. This is a very serene place to visit made more so because we were the only ones there. (Stirling Ranges-Albany [town centre]: trip time 50mins) Arrived at Albany and checked into our accommodation - ‘3 chimneys B&B’. I hadn’t heard anything about this B&B and there is very little about it on the net, but it turned out to be a lovely little cottage near the waterfront and a 5 min stroll to town. We have stayed at different types of accommodation in Albany before but this was our first time at a B&B. Our cheerful host Craig and his pet dog Sally made us feel very welcome. We had a walk along the main street and checked out a few shops before having dinner at ‘Dylans’, our favourite restaurant in Albany.

Day 2 Albany. Woke up to find Craig had prepared a huge cooked breakfast. Gave Sally a goodbye pat and then we headed off to Torndirrup National Park to watch the Southern Ocean waves hitting the cliff face at The Gap and The Natural Bridge. Then back thru town and onto Middleton Beach and Emu Point. Had lunch at ‘The Squid Shack’ – the best fish and chips Ive had for years. We noticed the serves are huge and opted for one between us which was more than enough. The restaurant has a very pleasant outlook overlooking the fishing boat harbour, with lots of pelicans milling about. We spent the afternoon visiting various attractions around town and finished the day back at Dylans again for dinner.

Day 3 Albany. Another huge breakfast from Craig, another goodbye pat for Sally and then off to Shelley Beach at West Cape Howe. This is my all time favourite beach. The drive there takes you along a narrow unsealed road through dense Karri Forest which opens up to sheer cliff drops along the coast. Quite a scary drive but magnificent scenery. Walked along the squeaky white sand and unfortunately couldn’t spot any seals that we’ve seen in previous years…oh well, there’s always next year! Headed off to Denmark next and had lunch at ‘The Old Butter Factory’ now converted into a café and art gallery, a stroll thru town and along the river then a drive along Mt Shadforth Rd and Scotsdale Rd. Beautiful scenery along these roads and a ‘must do’ in Denmark. Stopped at ‘Lake House’ a boutique winery and restaurant overlooking a lake. Would have been a lovely spot for lunch if we hadn’t already eaten…oh well, theres always next year! Continued on and bought some fruit from one of the many roadside stalls that are found throughout the southwest. These are unmanned and operate on an honesty system as the farmhouse is usually set well back from the road. Good to see they are still around and hopefully will be in years to come. Back to Albany for dinner, again at Dylans…did I mention its our favourite restaurant? :-) After dinner we had a stroll down to the town jetty, chatting to the locals fishing, and watching a magnificent sunset over the harbour

Day 4 Albany – Pemberton ( Albany – Denmark: trip time 50mins) Another huge breakfast from the ever cheerful Craig, a final goodbye pat for Sally and then we headed back to Denmark. Just a quick coffee stop this time and a visit to the tourist centre where the worlds biggest barometer is housed, why here? I don’t know, but here it is if you want to see it. (Denmark – William Bay National Park: trip time 15mins) Here you’ll find Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks, another ‘must see’. Turquoise ocean against the unusual boulder strewn coastline. Fantastic photo opportunities here. (William Bay National Park – Valley of the Giants: trip time 30mins) We haven’t been to the treetop walk since the first year it was opened and didn’t think much of it then but we decided to give it another go. And again, Im afraid the treetop walk didn’t impress me, plus the fact I don’t like heights. But, if you like walking along a swaying open mesh walkway 13 stories up, go for it! The Ancient Empire Walk did impress me however….massive Tinglewood trees accessed via a boardwalk thru the forest…fantastic. (Valley of the Giants – Walpole: trip time 15mins) Lunch in Walpole. (Walpole – Pemberton: trip time 1hr 20mins) Headed into Karri rainforest country. Long and winding road only broken by a short stop at another roadside fruit stall. Arrived at our accommodation in Pemberton ‘Glenhaven B&B’. We booked in here from reading the reviews on TripAdvisor and were not disappointed. A beautiful house set in natural bush 5 mins from town. Our hosts Jim & Jackie greeted us with some homemade scones and shortbread and made us feel right at home. At Jims suggestion, we had dinner at ‘The Silver Birch’ restaurant…and a magnificent dinner it was. If you only go for the desserts you wont regret it!! Then back at the B&B where Jim greeted us with a port, some chat and a comfy sofa in front of the fire…so relaxing after a busy day.

About at half way point….part 2 to follow..

Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
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1. Re: SouthWest trip report - part 1

Excellent trip report ajk58, I've yet to venture down to Albany so I found your report very interesting to read.

I'm looking forward to Part 2. I'm sure others will also appreciate your detailed report too.

Suggestion : You could always make it into a Traveler's List which is a great way to keep your information at your finger tips whilst being on TA forum.

The trouble with Trip Reports they disappear into Cyberspace very quickly and all that wonderful info is lost. The other option is also to write reviews with pics attached...

Have fun !

EM.

Perth, Australia
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2,005 posts
29 reviews
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2. Re: SouthWest trip report - part 1

Thats a pretty gooid report. I have submitted a similar thing as a "recent review". Why don't you submit your own and that way together there will be 2 pretty good links that can be used for future posters.

Cheers

HP

Colorado
Destination Expert
for Western Australia
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3,405 posts
283 reviews
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3. Re: SouthWest trip report - part 1

Enjoying your report ajk58 - I absolutely love this part of WA and have made a few notes on B&Bs and restaurants for our next trip down south.

Perth, Australia
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6,663 posts
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4. Re: SouthWest trip report - part 1

Great effort ajk58. It will be interesting to do a "compare and contrast" when Fawltytowerswatch posts his epic of WA.

Perth, Australia
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420 posts
54 reviews
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5. Re: SouthWest trip report - part 1

ajk, you're back!!!

Welcome back and thanks a ton for the fantastic trip report.

The driving times were especially useful and I'm now itching to get over to that side of the world and explore!

Will be looking up to see if Dylans has a website. Might have to try have dinner there one of our nights in Albany.

How long were you away for in total?

Glad that Glenhaven didn't disappoint.

Will you be doing reviews for your accommodation?

Regretting the fact that we won't be able to go off the beaten track on the unsealed roads. Our car hire company won't allow it.

Thanks again for a great report!

Kaz

A J
Subiaco, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth, Margaret River
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2,809 posts
3 reviews
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6. Re: SouthWest trip report - part 1

Dylans is by no means an upmarket restaurant, its more family oriented with very reasonable prices. We found that after 6.30pm a queue starts forming (they dont take bookings) On Friday night, the queue was actually out the door and onto the street!

We were away for a total 7 nights. we normally go for 10 but couldnt this year altho we are planning another shorter escape just to MR later this year. We did a recon this trip for possible accommodation and might go somewhere REALLY luxurious. Theres a new 'adult' retreat that has its own helipad...that might come in handy if I choose to fly my helicopter down LOL

A J
Subiaco, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth, Margaret River
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2,809 posts
3 reviews
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7. Re: SouthWest trip report - part 1

I mentioned to my host Jim at Glenhaven on the day we left that I might do a review on TripAdvisor (hes aware of the site) so I guess I should follow up on that promise.

Melbourne, Australia
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for Perth, Antarctic Adventures
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8. Re: SouthWest trip report - part 1

Lovely report AJK.

I am now saving my favourite peoples reports to my own trip folders so I can access them for future queries.

Perth, Australia
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420 posts
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9. Re: SouthWest trip report - part 1

Hi ajk,

Is it called Dylans on the Terrace? If so, the website certainly makes it look upmarket. The food looks divine! Must be popular if there were queues. If memory serves me correctly we will be there on a Friday night. Hope we get to try it out.

You certainly packed a lot in to your 7 days but yet it didn't sound rushed at all and sounds like you took it all at a leisurely pace.

Thanks again for reporting back.

A J
Subiaco, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth, Margaret River
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2,809 posts
3 reviews
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10. Re: SouthWest trip report - part 1

Kaz - thats the one. The menu is on the website and you can see the prices are fairly cheap. Try out the LARGE icecream nut sundae for dessert...I only just managed to finish it...its pretty big.