If you like wines and, I have to admit I'm not a huge fan, unlike my eldest son, you may already have heard of Margaret River.
Margaret River is a town about 15kms inland from the ocean and it has given its name to an area where you can find over 80 wineries. A lot of them are closer to Yallingup and other towns but the area is touted as Margaret River.
There are also wineries further south and around Perth but here is where the purists head, especially in November when the two week festival is on. A veritable plethora of Bacchanalian delights.
Fondest memory: The thing I like about them is the wineries themselves. Their setting, their ambience, the stress-free (until you get the bill) type tasting rooms and the way they're set amongst the woods.
I have to also confess that I can actually enjoy drinking the wine from this area, somehow the taste is more to my palate than other places.
Then, always you're never far from the Ocean should you want a total change of pace.
Feel free and don't forget, bring your money with you!
Most people haven't heard of Maud Bay, including VT, but it's adjacent to Coral Bay (and they haven't heard of that either) and now that the new wharf and boat launch facility have been put in place, a lot more people will become familiar with it.
Nothing here in the way of housing but one suspects that if Coral Bay overcomes its chronic water shortage then this is where some expansion might take place.
Fondest memory: While my mate Bob went whale shark watching I threw a line in and just soaked up the glorious colours for a few hours.......it's not hard to take.
The new purpose built wharf gets a lot of use judging by the number of cars parked in the parking area with boat trailers and ultimately one feels this land will get built on when there's more infrastructure.
I'd sort of been semi interested in birds before but, on my way around Australia, somewhere or other it all started to click in and I've now even bought a bird identification guide book. Sad really.
Fondest memory: So, when I got the shot of the white bellied sea eagle I thought I might try to get some more shots en route and I like to think that I succeeded but only someone else can be the judge of that.
Here is a sampling of some I photographed in W.A.
El Questro in the past decade has become synoymous with tourism in the Kimberley. This was, and still partly is, a working property but these days tourism brings in an awful lot of money in peak tourist season.
The camp grounds and resorts are full and there's a continual flow of tourists in and out of the place.
Fondest memory: One of the main places they go to is Emma Falls. Though they may claim exuberant times for walking up there and back, it's really not that far if you're a fit walker.
Frankly I was appalled when they reckoned I wouldn't make it in and hour and refused me entry yet, the next day I walked up there in 40 minutes. I realise they have to cater for all types but I certainly found it frustrating.
When you get to the spectacular horseshoe shaped canyon known as Emma, it leaves any other scenery you have viewed en route in the shade.
It truly is one of those special places that you should endeavour to see when you're in the Kimberley.
Though the road in is dirt, the people who own the property maintain it to a higher standard than any government roads I travelled on in W.A.
Think Esperance, think harbour and beaches. This harbour hasn't really been active for much more than 100 years but, with the advent of the nickel boom, where the price went from $4,800 per tonne in 2002 to over $60,000 per tonne in 2006 (it's now back to around $45,000 in 2008), then Esperance was well placed to take advantage due to its proximity to new nickel mines to the north and west.
Iron ore is another significant contributor to the port's growth from 1.5 million tonnes in 1995 to over 8 million. The biggest single load to date was 201,000 tonnes!
Sulphur and lead are other things that are traded through here as well.
However, for most of its life, Esperance has been a grain port. At its peak there were over 500 holdings before the Great Depression but these days it's around 480 with over 1,100,000 hectares used for agriculture.
Fondest memory: All the above needs infrastructure and one of the things that will cost is water. A huge desalination plant is currently underway to solve this problem and also provide other towns with more water.
On the weekends Esperance, like Australian towns everywhere, comes out to play and water again features with sailing prominent, as well as fishing and swimming on some of their fine beaches, advertised as "The Best Beaches in Australia". Personally, I have to say that depends on how you rate beaches. For surf they're fairly useless and the fishing is only average but they are wonderful places just to visit with turquoise waters, white sands and tall granite headlands they certainly make you grab for you camera.
The Great Ocean Drive is definitely one of Australia's top 5 beachside roads.
In Albany they have a life size replica of the brig, Amity. The original was one of the ships that transported people out to Australia. In these enlightened times it seems appalling to think of what cramped quarters 60 passengers and convicts had to put up with for months at a time.
This one was built in 1975 and is now open for tourists down on the waterfront at Albany.
Pics 3 and 5 give you some idea of what life was like below decks while pic 2 would undoubtedly be something to do with the anchor chain.
Fondest memory: Of course, life wasn't meant to be easy and, just 30 years later they had to prop up the replica. Sadly, the white ants had decided it was to their taste and work is currently under way to try and solve the problem.
I would recommend staying in Perth CBD, either Pier Street or Hay Street. There's a Comfort Hotel right at the other end - No. 200, Hay St which serves a great breakfast and the city cat is just across the road. But this is the very quiet part of the usually busy Hay Street. Go further up where the action is - look for Aarons Hotel on Pier Street. Btw, there's a budget rent a car - cheapest by far - also across the road from Comfort. If you want an apartment which is 'central' - check out apartments in Mounts Bay Waters - adjacent to Swan River and Kings Park - but you need to have your own transportation. I remember some booking sites offering letting of the apartments with a car.
When you have your own transport, you can go to Fremantle any time.
Hope this helps
Fondest memory: The black swans and the sheds in Fremantle.
Coral Bay is a small settlement that lies protected from the Indian ocean by the Ningaloo reef. It is Australia's only fringing reef. In contrast to other locations the coral starts right at the water's edge. The fish and the coral are very accessible to all including small children. Fish and coral can be experienced either snorkelling or on one of the Coral viewing boats. It is about 50 km to the North of the tropic of Capricorn, some 120 km south of Exmouth in Western Australia. The weather is mild, without the humidity that is often associated with tropical climates. It comprises a resort hotel, two caravan parks and about 20 houses. It is a holiday destination for Western Australians together with some overseas backpackers. Some houses are available for short term holiday rentals. and are booked well ahead for the school holidays.
Fondest memory: Every afternoon there is fish feeding. They don't use big pieces so the sharks don't come in and you can enjoy a frolic in the tepid waters of Coral Bay.
There are two caravan parks (semi resort) and, in peak season it pays to book ahead. We were lucky with my motorhome.
Because of its proximity to Ningaloo, the whale shark watching runs daily here when they are around, usually March to end of June.
You can also go fishing (pic 2) as I did and you'll be guaranteed to catch something.
Another popular activity is watching sunsets (1,4 & 5). If you get the right cloud conditions, as obviously I was lucky enough to, they can be spectacular.
Broome comes with much hype. Pictures of camels at sunset on Cable Beach are many and it all sounds enticing. After 643 kilometres of no water until we reached there we were fairly excited just to reach civilization again.
The reality of Broome was not what I expected. For me it was a flat town put there because it was a convenient spot. On one side is Roebuck Bay, a mangrove and mud lined expanse of water that only the occasional boat owner frequents. It is pretty to look at but you wouldn't want to go there.
The town itself is set on a flat peninsula and, unless you're on a sealed road, it's dusty.
Sadly, there's also a problem with some of the indigenous population who indulge a little too much with alcohol. They will mostly be seen around the sporting ground near the CBD and up the end of Dampier Terrace.
Many of the buildings are made of corrugated tin that used to be used as ballast for ships and there's little of architectural significance here. It's really a service centre for the surrounding area and a major stop for many of the transient tourists. I have to say, as a destination, I could name over 100 places on the east coast that I would rather go to.
As you can tell, I thought it was overrated.
Fondest memory: There are some good points. Cable Beach and its accompanying social scene will be the thing that most tourists recall. The water is warm but there's no surf to speak of. The sunsets are generally pretty without being spectacular (see my New England pages for confirmation of that) but there's plenty of Cable Beach.
At the Gantheaume Point end, several kilometres from what most tourists know as Cable Beach, there are some colourful and exotic rock formations that I found very photogenic as were the ones around the corner at Reddell Beach (so called though you'll need to look very hard to see sand).
A little bit further around is Town Beach, a nice little spot with a park, picnic facilities and some sand.
If you want to buy pearls this is the base of the world's biggest pearl companies and they don't mind flaunting it which is wonderful for the ladies. I found the Willie Creek day out to be very informative (and costly, I bought one!).
There are other attractions, including some nice galleries, the cemeteries and a museum or two.
For years I had a dream to see the Bungle Bungle. I had a trip planned with my brother but unfortunately I got the sack from my job so that put and end to that.
It was about 15 years later before I finally got there and my brother had passed away in the meantime.
By the time I reached Turkey Creek it wasn't as important as it had been then; mainly because I'd been to Karijini.
A small bit of trivia here; it's not the Bungle Bungles, but the Bungle Bungle. The same thing has happened in N.S.W. with the Warrumbungle.
Fondest memory: Still, when there's an empty chopper at the side of the road and it's offering flights over the Bungle Bungle, why not?
Of course, there was only one small problem. The motor wouldn't start. Though it had fired up staight away in the morning it wouldn't go for us. We had to wait over an hour longer before it finally fired up.
Then, for $165, I was flown over more than I'd hoped for. The Osmand Fault was a surprise that I found very interesting. It's right where tectonic plates meet and the uplifts make for a fascinating landscape.
The sun down under can be fiercely hot and unrellenting causing one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. The Slip Slop Slap campaign started way back in the 80's encouraging Aussies to protect their skin by Slipping on a shirt, Slopping on some sunscreen and Slapping on a hat.
"I love this sunburnt country,
But not a sunburnt face.
So even on a cloudy day,
Slop on sunscreen just in case."
At a “Business After Hours” function for the Bunbury Chamber of Commerce and Industries, I met Barry Green who is the Managing Director for Western Tourist Radio.
Western Tourist Radio operates radio stations in East Perth , Bunbury, Busselton, Dunsborough, Cowaramup (near Margaret River) and Karridale (near Augusta) . These stations provide listeners with some really great tourist info on this region.
For any globetrotters planning to travel in this part of the world, I can highly recommend this website –
In it you will find Travellers Links, a WA Holiday Planner, Special Interest Accommodation, Events in the South West and internet cafes or Telecenters. There are also links for Products/Services, Things to do, Places to eat and Places to stay in major towns around this region.
Favorite thing: Just because you are standing on the bus station and your bus is aproaching doesn't mean it will stop, unles you wave or raise your hand in some way.Some people have missed a few buses before they realised this.It makes sense actually, because there are so many buses and so many bus stations and it would be waste of time to stop the bus on every single station even if nobody is getting in or out.
Favorite thing: Flies in Western Australia are total nightmare.They will try to get in your nose , mouth , ears, everywhere.You can't do much, insect repelant won't help, the only thing is the net over your head if you don't mind looking silly.Otherwise, chill out and pretend the are not there , just when you talk do not open your mouth too much to avoid swallowing:):)
...I'm a quokka
You'll find me living on Rottnest Island, where the Dutch sailors who were the first Europeans to set foot on Australian soil here in the west in the 17th century (the English Captain Cook came to the east MUCH later) saw me and thought I was a rat, so they named my island home "Rottenest" . That name stuck to the island, but now folk know that I'm a marsupial cousin of a kangaroo. Visitors to my island can help me and my quokka-cousins by not feeding us with human food, there's more than enough quokka-tucker on the island for us all. We eat grass and leaves and can do without water for a long time - just as well as Rottnest has no natural fresh water sources at all.
You'll find us all over the island. We like to find a quiet shady place for our daytime naps and come out to forage in the late afternoon and early morning. You'll also find us on the mainland, though we're much more scattered and harder to find there.
This place has been renovating for a long period of time and so noisy. Staff were incompetent and...more
A couple month ago I walked into the hotel with my partner to make a book the room for my parents...more
There is a restaurant and bar at the Margaret River Beach Resort. Gnarabar offers a modern cuisine...more