After a big travel week last week, where we spent 8 days crossing the Nullarbor, we were happy to be somewhat static in Albany on the south west coast this week. We had a hectic week work wise though. Several presentations and client meetings which were, happy to say, all very successful. Our first morning in Albany we went for a bit of an explore. The had been a bit of a storm overnight but it was receding.
We’re staying in a hotel in Middleton Beach, not far from Albany. When we checked into our hotel last night the old guy on check in, well I say old, he’s probably my age, said he goes swimming in Middleton Beach every day. The waters must have magical properties because he looked fantastic.
So the next morning we went see what was there. As you can see the sky was a bit grey as a storm hand just passed through overnight. It made for some very dramatic scenes.
We spied a boardwalk that took you around the headland to Albany. There were some very pretty views out over Frenchman’s Bay.
We were only in the hotel for two nights. The next couple of weeks we were house sitting and looking after a miniature poodle called Layla who’s owners were away on holiday.
The house we were in was a massive wooden mansion on the banks of Lake Seppings. Quite a beautiful location. We enjoyed taking Layla for walks around the lake.
Watch for Wildlife
This part of the world is teeming with wildlife. We saw a wide variety of birds and other animals, Here are some we could get pictures of.
The flora along the walkway was a haven for wildlife. Tiny birds flitted all around, some getting quite close, obviously quite accustomed to people being about. Then we spotted this tiny creature. We’d no clue what it was called.
That was until we walked past this road sign on the way home. Not a bad likeness I’d say.
We’ve not seen any long necked turtles yet. There was plenty of other wild things mooching about though.
At one point on the path we heard a Honey Eater make a distinctive “Cak Cak Cak” sound. It was a warning cry, SNAKE it was shouting. Jenni spotted a huge black snake on the path about a metre in front of us warming itself in the sun. When it heard (or felt) us walking it slid silently and ominously into the bushes. There isn’t a picture of the snake as it’s difficult to get sharp focus when you’re running in the opposite direction waving your arms in the air and screaming like a 9 year old girl.
There were lots of Pelicans flying about.
Ibisis, Ibi, more than one Ibis. This picture shows a sight we witnessed every night at dusk when we took the little dog for a walk. Squadrons of Ibis heading to their roosts for the night. Flying in “V” shaped waves across the sky. The picture does not do the sight justice.
Hundreds of them stopped here, at the end of the lake, every night and took off a dawn every morning. It was a lovely sight.
Muttonbird Island and Beach
Muttonbird Beach is a short drive from Albany. It was where Briony, a friend who now lives in Adelaide where we just left, told us she grew up. We had to visit. It is very beautiful, and was empty when we were there.
We went rock hopping along to see if we could get across to the island.
When the tide is low it is supposed to be possible to get across, but it was high and stormy today so no chance.
Just at the entrance to the beach, on our way out, I spied this sign.
When I lived in Perth I remember walking a part of the Bibblemun Track and I was thinking I must be mistaken as it is a 1,000km away from here. A bit of Googling later and I find out its a walking track that runs from Perth to Albany and is over 1,000kms long. Amazing. I can now say I have walked the start and the finish of it. Just not any of the bits in between yet.
At the side of the road between Muttonbird Beach and Albany lies Wilson Brewery.
When travelling I like to try local craft brews, especially if they are just available in the region we are in. Wilson’s make a good selection of beers for sale all around Albany. I tried quite a few and usually you get one you like, one that is OK and a few you don’t like. For Wilson brews I liked every one I tasted. They make many different styles of beer and they are all great.
I even got my Willie Smith’s growler, all the way from Tassie, filled up with some Bitter Ale to take away.
Outside a guy pulled up in a wonderful old/new Royal Enfield. This bike represents the level of mechanical complexity my experience stops at. I used to be able to strip and rebuild bikes like these, before they got too electronic and complicated. I have a real fondness for the old simple machines like this.
Denmark and Ocean Beach
Denmark is a beautiful, picture postcard, village of about 2,200 people. In holiday season it can get up to over 15,000 people. The local who hand pumped the petrol into the Mazda told me the local market last year had 10,00 at it. I saw the small park the market was held in, it must have been fierce. Glad we were here off season, however it is so beautiful we made the decision to come back and stay for a week before we leave WA.
We had a gourmet lunch in Mrs Jones Cafe, Jenny had Marron in a rich creamy broth.
I had mushroom pie. Both were hand made and both were delicious. After this we had ice cream, or Gelato as it’s called here. Not sure if there’s a real difference. The turkish delight ice cream was spectacular.
After the ice cream I waddled to the car and we drove the short distance from Denmark to Ocean Beach. There was a massive stretch of sand that we had to walk across to get to the surf.
This was where the Australian surfing movie Breath was made. It’s a tale of two kids who learned to surf and grow up and stuff. It’s very good. Fact meets fiction and here are a couple of kids we saw heading in to surf at Ocean Beach.
We drove back to Albany past the Boston Brewery without stopping as we had to feed and walk Layla. I will not be driving past the next time we visit that’s for sure.
Darwin in Australia
Darwin visited this part of Australia in 1836, there were several plaques along the boardwalk in Middleton Beach telling some tales about his visit.
Even though he claimed to be the “Naturalist” he never walked around naked in public even once.
Captain Robert Fitzroy is very interesting also. Captain Fitzroy commanded the Beagle and for this he is quite famous however he was also was a scientist. He took detailed notes of the weather and made predictions. He called these predictions “forecasts” a word he invented. When back in the UK he founded the UK Meteorological Office. Now you know. He was also engaged before he left on his 5 year voyage and got married to Mary Henrietta O’Brien upon his return. His crew were amazed as he hadn’t mentioned her at all in the 5 years they sailed together. When he was 60 he committed suicide after the Meteorological Office got into money troubles and he lost all his fortune. Sad end to a brilliant man.
National Anzac Centre
On 1 November 1914, Albany was the final departure point for the first ANZAC troops on their way to the battlefields of the First World War. A National Anzac Centra has been constructed on a mountain overlooking the bay to commemorate this.
It was closed the morning I visited but I did a bit of a tour of the grounds. They had a display of old military equipment I found very interesting.
Time to Leave
Soon it was time to leave. Poor Mazda needed a bath before we left.
We really enjoyed our short stop in Albany. We saw some lovely sunrises over the lake.
And some sunsets
We saw a rock that looks like a dog’s head.
And some nice ferns and some other weird plants
Drank some decent beer and wines.
And listened to some live music.
Had some lovely walks with little Layla.
Next stop Perth where we are stopping for a couple of weeks.
Till next time