Perth and the Pinnacles

We’re in Western Australia. If Western Australia was a country on it’s own it would be the 10th largest country in the world. I doubt we’ll get to see it all while we are here. Last time we left you we were in Albany and driving to Perth. We were in Perth to progress a couple of new client opportunities. Both opportunities went very well but it meant we had little time to explore. This blog is about what we did, other than work…

Perth

Perth was the first place I lived in when I came to Australia a few years ago. None of the buildings in this picture existed when I was here.

Perth, Elizabeth Quay

It’s a modern city that keeps growing and adding new features. Perth is renowned for being the most remote capital city in the world. It does take a long time to get here from almost anywhere else. Jenni and I were staying in a hotel very close to the enormous and wildly interesting King’s Park. The first opportunity we got we went for a sunrise walk around the park and expansive botanical gardens. The park has many lookout points you can view the city from. As we got there very early they were all sunrise shots.

Perth Cityscape at sunrise.

The weather forecast was for thunderstorms all week and clearing occasionally. This morning that made for some very dramatic skies.

Stormy morning in Perth
Perth from the Rotunda Lookout

The botanical gardens in King’s Park are huge with plants from all over Western Australia. I’m especially fond of the Banksia varieties.

Banksia
Many shades of Banksia

And the Boab Trees.

That’s not a Boab
THAT’S a Boab!

In 2008 a new freeway crossed a river in near Warmun in East Kimberly. A huge 750 year old tree was in the way of where the freeway was designed to go. The tree has special significance to the Gija peoples of the area. The tree was 14 metres tall and 2.5 metres wide and weighed 36 tonnes. The authorities uprooted the tree and transported it 3,200 kilometres and planted it in King’s Park where it thrives today. It may live for another 750 years it is estimated.

The story of the Gija Jumulu tree and how it came to be in King’s Park

The path around the park took us over the Lotterywest Federation Walkway treetop walk.

Treetop Walk
Treetop Walk
Treetop Walk

Past the Mother and Child sculpture. This is one of my favourite pieces in the park.

Bronze Mother and Child by Margaret Priest in the Pioneer Women’s Fountain.

And onto the bridge where Jenni and I had an encounter with a lovely Kookaburra.

Kookaburra on the lamp behind Jenni
Who’s a pretty boy then?

On the way back to the hotel we passed the war memorial.

ANZAC memorial

We did, what I suspect everyone does when they see a wall of names of the fallen, we looked for persons with our surnames.

Memorial Wall

There were quite a few Wallace’s.

Wallace
Wallace

There were, however no Mulligan’s. Given we know Jenni’s ancestors arrived in 1836 so were definately in Australia at this time, therefore we concluded the Mulligans were a bunch of wily and extraordinary warriors, impossible to kill.

Someone had put a picture of one of the fallen on the wall against his name. It was very, very poignant.

RIP J.P. Cullen.

When I saw this big sign I had to make sure a picture of it it was included in the blog.

West Australian Botanic Gardens sign

The path we chose to take back to the hotel from the park took us through Elizabeth Quay and Perth CBD and past the colourful shops.

Pastries

And this bar that I had many, many, many beers in when I was here. Many.

The Lucky Shag

Lots of interesting little bars and restaurants have popped up in the alleyways around the CBD. This was one we found along Murray Street on the way back.

Alleyway pop up bars

Northbridge

One evening we went for dinner in a really good little restaurant in Northbridge called No Mafia. Jenni researched it and it came up with 5 star reviews. It served what could be described as Italian Tapas and was delicious. The young waitress was working her way round Australia. We gave her a good tip to hopefully help her on her way.

No Mafia

Yangan Square

When I was here quite a few years ago the general advice was to stay out of Northbridge as it was “too rough”. When I eventually went there I found it was a buzzing and interesting place. When I was here Perth was split down the middle by the Railway line, CBD on one side and Northbridge on the other. They built over the lines and joined north and south with a new precinct called Yangan Square. Yangan Square has changed the dynamic of the city. It’s very impressive.

Yangan Square at night

Cervantes

Soon it was time to leave Perth. Jenni and I have plans for the next two weeks but before that we took the weekend off to go to Cervantes, about two hours north of Perth, and do some sightseeing around there.

Cervantes was an American Whaling Ship that ran aground off the coast here. The town was named after the ship. Cervantes was the Spanish author of Don Quixote. After the bible, Don Quixote is the most translated book in the world. The Don Quixote link has not gone unnoticed by the townsfolk. From the Spanish names of some of the streets to the amazing and huge Don Quixote weather vane.

Giant Weather Vane, Cervantes
Cervantes the American Whaling Ship, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza

This part of Australia is called the Coral Coast. Just off the shore a few hundred metres is a long, long reef. There’s a unique combination of warm and cold currents here that create the food that Rock Lobsters thrive on. As a consequence Cervantes catches most of the lobsters sold around Australia. As seafood lovers we were looking to get some great lobsters meals here. We weren’t disappointed. Across the road from our motel was a bowling club also called the Cervantes Country Club. It had a big sign advertising fresh lobster. It was late, we were tired so we thought, we’ll give it a go. It was very good and a great price.

Lobster at the Bowls Club
Didn’t leave much

It was so good, and such a good price we went back the second night and had it again.

We really liked the vibe in this club. It also had two of the best signs seen in a bar on our travels to date.

The only training plan you need
Every club needs one of these awards

The Pinnacles

Somewhere between 50,000 and 500,000 years ago, experts can’t decide, the Pinnacles were formed. Calcium and lime rich sand nurtured hardy and robust plants to grow and bury their roots deep. The sand clumped together around the deep roots and formed rocks over the millennia. The surface sand was blown away a few thousand years ago revealing these remarkable things. There are thousands of them over a huge area. It’s a wonderful place to see and experience. If you like rocks and shit it’s a must see location if you visit Western Australia.

The Pinnacles, or some of them

On the way to Cervantes on Friday we drove around the Pinnacles. A thunderstorm had just passed and another was on its way. The drive around had been closed but was just opened when we arrived. The skies and the light was spectacular.

Walking on the moon

This was supposed to be our reconnaissance visit to check out the scenery. The real visit, we had planned, was at dawn the next day so we could see them in their best light. However this place looked amazing, like another planet, and the light was liquid. Jenni remarked it was like her sister Amanda, it is impossible to take a bad picture of the Pinnacles. Not sure how Amanda would feel being compared to a bunch of old rocks.

Another weather front was moving in as we left, a rainbow appeared on the horizon as we drove out of the park. I snapped this out of the window of the car, Gawd this place is remarkable.

Rainbow over the Pinnacles

Pinnacles at Dawn

After our amazing lobster and a restrained amount of beers/wines we set our alarm for 6:00am. Sunrise is at 7:15 but some of the good light can be found up to 30 minutes before dawn. The drive to the Pinnacles was just 20 minutes from the hotel. The morning was cold, about 4C. We wrapped up well and drove the short distance to the park. The park pay console was shut at 7:00am but there is an honour system in place for adventurers like us. We put our $13 entry fee in the envelope provided and drove into the park. We got there when the sun was just rising.

Pinnacles Desert at Dawn
Pinnacles at Dawn

Our plan this morning was to walk, not drive, around the park. We had agreed our respective plans. Jenni, understanding that hanging around a person taking pictures isn’t a good way to cover any ground at all, was going to wander and explore and I was going to clicky click all over the place and cover much less ground.

Jenni exploring the Pinnacles.

We discovered we had picked up a hitch hiker on the way to the park. He/She looked happy enough so we let her stay till we got back.

Snail on the roof of the Mazda

The light was, if anything, even better than yesterday. When the sun peeked over the horizon it lit the yellow rocks with a golden glow. They looked…is there another word, like spectacular but slightly better and a bit more earnest? Whatever that word is, that’s how they looked.

Sunrise over the Pinnacles

A bit later and wandering a bit farther I spied two Galahs on one of the rocks. They were crunching away at the rock, obviously getting some sort of nutrient off them. Their red and grey plumage made a fantastic colour contrast against the golden rocks and the dark, stormy sky. This is one of my favourite shots of the trip.

Flaming Galahs

I spied Jenni in the distance and trotted off to catch up. This shows the vastness of the desert pretty well. You can see the scale better because of Jenni in the picture.

Jenni traversing the vast range of the Pinnacles Desert
A rock and a hard place
Out of this world

We walked back to the car, head full of memories and unique sights. Our snail hitch hiker had gone so we decided to go to Jurien Bay for breakfast / brunch. Jurien bay is 20kms north of Cervantes and the biggest town in the region. It is supposed to have some good coastal walks. Sounded like a good plan, and it was.

Jurien Bay

We parked at the beach, had nice food and bad coffee at a good cafe and set out on our walk. We found the Turquoise Way and set off to explore.

Immediately we saw some colourful beach changing rooms and a path to an old Jetty

Changing booths Jurien Bay

At the Jetty I tried to communicate with some natives but they weren’t interested.

Cormorants are aloof bastards

At the end of the trail Jenni did her victory pose.

Queen of the world

Skydivers

On the way back we did two things, we saw some skydivers…

Oh Gawd Oh Gawd Oh Gawd I’m going to die
Weeeeeeeeeee!

Stromatolites

We also discovered what Stromatolites are…this is what they look like.

Stromatolites

Stromatolites are some of the oldest living organisms on earth and one of the first to form. They are layered mounds, columns, and sheet-like sedimentary rocks that were originally formed by the growth of layer upon layer of cyanobacteria, a single-celled photosynthesizing microbe, and they stink. The smell was unexpected.

Stromatolite Family

We got back to Cervantes, had another lobster in the bowling club and retired early. We had a 5 hour drive to do to get to Bussleton. The next morning we were up early and went for a walk along the beach in Cervantes.

Cervantes

Is this spaghetti?

What is this sea weed?
Jenni Reading the signs

As I am writing this blog we are in Busselton. We’re here for 2 weeks. The next blog could possibly be about this part of the world.

Till next time

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