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..