WA – Margaret River

Thursday morning started with a drive down Caves Road to Hamlin Bay where we saw some large stingrays in the shallow water there.

 From here we headed through some beautiful Karri forest to Lake Cave. 
An hour long tour took us down into Lake Cave, all 300 steps down 62m. We saw a suspected table, one of only two in the world and heard from our guide about the creation of caves like this. The suspended table is a formation weighing several tonnes suspended entirely from the ceiling. It would have once been resting on a bed of sand which has since been washed away by the gentle trickle of the lake. You can see from the picture below it seems to float above the water.

Caves Road is so named because there are many, many caves lining this area of coastline. Many are ancient sand dunes and the rain water dissolves and carries deposits down through the sand where it hardens into limestone creating the cave roof. Then underground rivers wash away the sand over millennia to create a cave. Microscopic shrimp live in the water of Lake Cave. 
After Lake Cave we enjoyed a lovely lunch at the Voyager vineyard and then headed back to Margaret River for a look around the town.
On Friday we took a full day tour with Margaret River with Neil McLeod. This tour took in many of the main attractions in one day. Our day started with a coffee at Yahava, a coffee tasting no less, a first for both of us. We tasted three coffees, each black first and then with milk. We were told that the making of the coffee was important to the taste. Water should not be boiling, it can be stirred in the cafetiere to release the flavours and everyone should get some of the frothy oils from the top in their cup to enhance the flavour. We went on to 4 wineries, a brewery for lunch and some free tastings of locally produced cheese and chocolate. We had made quite a few purchases by the end of the day and Neil’s, son who was giving us the guided tour, even took us back to their home farm to see the horses and wild kangaroo’s.
This was a fitting end to a wonderful 10 days in Western Australia, we came back with wonderful wines, chocolates and cheese to help the holiday live on for a little while and a little bit of local art to brighten up our white apartment.

WA – Walpole to Augusta

On Wednesday we were continuing our journey west and drove through a burnt out forest and up to Pemberton. I found these burnt out forests rather beautiful with the black charred trunks and brown leaves. You could see some rejuvenation trying to  come through and the result is such an unusual colour combination. 

In Pemberton we stopped off to climb the fire tree lookout called Gloucester tree. Even for a rock climber this was scary, round metal rungs are bored into the tree to create a ladder which was near vertical in places. It felt a bit precarious, so I moved slowly and held on tight with both hands in case my feet slipped. When I finally reached the top, at 52m, I was too busy thinking about getting down again to really enjoy it. I made it down safely and we headed into the sleepy town of Pemberton for lunch. 
Below is the view from the top of Gloucester tree.

After lunch we drove down to Cape Leeuwin the most south-westerly point of WA and home to the Augusta Lighthouse. We too an audio tour round the headland and bottom of the lighthouse. This is also the point where the Indian Ocean meets the southern ocean and the currents converge.
 From Augusta we headed north to Margaret River and checked into our motel for the next three nights.