So much to report...so little time!
We've spent a magnificent two weeks in the Southwest corner of WA, from Rockingham to Albany We've seen penguins and parrots, skinks and snakes, wallabies and opossums, spoonbills and ibises, and a whole lot of unforgettable scenery.
One of the spots we visited was the Gloucester Tree. It's a sixty meter tall karri tree that was once used as a fire lookout. Now picture this...you take a couple hundred one meter long pieces of 3/4 inch rebar, ok? And you bang one end of them into the tree so they stick out around and around the tree and all the way to the top, like stair steps. Then without safety harness or net, without a liability release or even an admission price, you invite the public... "'Ave a go, mate!" Well, one of the fools in the car we were driving took up the challenge...
You would think a 65 year old would have better sense!...But he made it to the top...and back down again. We do have pictures to prove it.
In the picnic area at the base of this tree there was a flock of Australian Ring-neck Parrots, also called by the local folk, Twenty-eights...I have no idea why. Anyway, they were used to having people around and would eat out of your hand...and if you ignored them, they might even snatch the food right off your plate.
Over near the little town of Denmark, we visited a wildlife park where Paula got to exercise her skills as a snake charmer...she was very charming. The snake seemed to think so to!
There were also lots of parrots around...this one thought Paula was charming...so he climbed on her back and road around for awhile...
We stopped at a small national park called William Bay, about 40 km south of Walpole. There is spectacular scenery with huge rocks extending out into the surf where the Southern Ocean batters them and spews foamy spray into the air.
We spent a few days in the nice little town of Albany (that's AL-bunny, BTW). It's a pretty good sized town by WA standards...with a population of a few more than 20,000. One thing that struck us about Albany...there was not a single traffic light...not one! The busier intersections all had a round-about while the not so busy ones might just have a "Give Way" sign at two of the points. Everything worked quite well. One of the theories in favor of round-abouts as opposed to traffic lights is that they are more environmentally friendly. No one wastes time and fuel sitting at a red light when there is no traffic on the cross street! While there are traffic lights in other cities in WA, we did notice a lack of stop signs at intersections...for instance, you might drive up a local road to where it intersects with a main highway...there might be a "Give Way" sign there or there might be no sign at all.
Finally, we stopped over in Rockingham, just down the coast from Perth and visited Penguin Island, home of the largest colony of Little Penguins on the West coast of Australia.
There were also a huge flock of bridled terns nesting on the island, several crested terns, three pied oyster catchers and a dozen or so buff-banded rails...Oh look...there's one now...
Unfortunately, this is my last missive from Australia...and there is so much more that we didn't talk about...I guess it will have to wait until a time when we don't have any great adventures to report and we can go back and relive some of the last six weeks. It's not all sad news, though...on Monday we start phase two of our antipodean adventure...on to New Zealand...
And our adventure continues...
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