Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag 6th till 8th day
17 november 2016
6th till 8th day
Esperance, for me the name conjured up something like a very remote, quaint town still stuck in the past.
I must admit I am a terrible romantic and always imagine places and experiences far more exotic or intense then they really are, not that I am often terribly disappointed.
In Europe you can travel 3,500Km and travel through 6 countries with distinct languages, architecture, countryside, food etc. and although those differences are somewhat diminishing because of modern times, the different cultural experiences give real gravitas to that distance and journey.
Here, in Australia, 3,500 Km travel is just a long way to go and see your neighbour. A small town on the coast, along its 20,000Km coast line is pretty much everywhere the same.
Esperance is one of those towns, a neat town of about 15,000 people (I guess) with a deep sea harbour. Tugboats have to navigate the ships into the harbour and there is only 1 quay, so only space for 1 big ship and on the days we were there a ship called the Rugia, a bulk carrier registered in Liberia was moored there. It’s cargo will most certainly be grain as it is harvest time here. As mentioned before the fields of wheat are enormous, as far as the eye can see and as a Dutchman I find it hard to imagine that a farmer can farm on such a scale. Grain storage places are also huge, the size of football fields and the grain neatly stacked in pyramid shaped mountains covered by tarpaulins and then dozens of them in a row. The trucks are also huge, three big trays, with about 36 wheels, road trains they are called and they are constantly crawling in front of you.
Esperance has done a great job of beautifying the foreshore, sweeping lawns from east to west with a big skateboard park, galvanised iron gym equipment, beautiful sculpture of a whale tail, public toilets east and west, electric barbeques here and there and they have painted the sea turquoise blue with bright white crests and the sky sky blue with white fluffy clouds, brilliant.
The coast line is again fantastic with coves and crescent shaped beaches with white sand, cliffs, rocks and huge boulders and although the sun was out and blinding it was too cold for a swim.
On Monday 14 November we had to travel from Esperance to Albany a distance of 487 Km, not to onnurous, but we wanted to stop and see the Fitzgerald River National Park, a world renowned biosphere reserve listed with UNESCO and if possible have a swim in the sea as it was going to be rather warm (27 degrees). The road into the park from Hopetoun was closed so we decided to take the Hamersley Rd, an unsealed road of about 55 Km to the beach. At first the road was good and we could travel at 60 Km an hour, we looked forward to experience this wonder. However slowly the corrugations started to appear (those damned four wheel drive tissue boxes on wheels) and soon it got a lot, lot worse. I felt all my adipose tissue (rolls), usually located in the abdominal region, defy gravity and hit me in the chin with a frequency of fifty hertz. At the time I thought this could be a great way to lose some weight, but I think it was at this stage that we decided to abandon our plans. It was not so much concern about my adipose tissue, but more about the integrity of our car, which is a nice European car designed for silky roads and that is also when I decided that we need a four wheel drive tissue box on wheels, a car designed for Australian road conditions as in future I do not want to miss out on visiting such wonderful places.
Luckily we were able to see a lot of the wonderful wild flowers and shrubs unique to the park. There were no trees, so one had an uninterrupted view of the vast plane. I took some photographs with my little camera, but nothing can capture the magic of the place, the density and variety of the plant life and the vastness of the area.
We arrived in Albany at 17.30 at our first Airbnb.
Tuesday 15 November
The weather was hot, 37 degrees with a hot northerly wind, so no day for intense activity.
We first had to have a cup of coffee as it was just after 10.00am and Albany is big enough to serve a decent cappuccino, so we were keen. Heart and head tuned to optimum performance by the caffeine we trotted off to the Tourist Information office for a little advice on what to do in Albany.
Having entered the facility and looked around as if we were first time visitors (it was the first time) a friendly lady pounced on us with a little advice on what to see. Within five minutes she had completely coloured a map with pink texta and emptied the texta, blurted out 150 sights, which would take a month to go and see and had us outside in no time, none the wiser (just some advice for those aspiring to provide good information in their job, it takes more than the artistic talent of a toddler and the ravings of a lunatic). So we started walking in the first direction we could find (along the street), but after 50 meters we had reached a core body temperature of 50 degrees, so we decided walking was a bad idea and went back to the car and drove to the sights with air-conditioning on full blast.
The Anzac Memorial on Mount Claret was very impressive, built with marble and granite, with many steps, lots of stainless steel railing and many brief extracts from soldier’s letters, all leading to a large black statue of a soldier on a falling horse. The view from the lookout was also fantastic giving a good idea of the topography of Albany and King George Sound, the last sight of Australia for the departing WW1 soldiers.
We had lunch at Middleton beach and after that cooled off with a swim at the beach. I love swimming in the sea. When the weather is a little warm and there is a beach, I have to get in, it is an urge that seems primordial and provides the same pure pleasure as a child’s play. This swim was again nice, boiling hot in the sun and cold in the water and then the cold becomes slowly comfortable as it cools you. The sea, the sea, the sea, here in Australia so clean, so inviting with its hues of blue from turquoise to dark blue and the blinding white crests on the breaking waves. We hope to swim a few times this trip.
Getting back to our accommodation I was so tired I went for a snooze on the bed, beautiful!
Wednesday 16 November.
The weather was overcast and rain threatened, so we thought it was a good day to go bush walking. We decided to go to the Porongurup National Park and climb Castle Rock and do the Skywalk. This NP is rather small and only 48 Km north of Albany, so within a comfortable driving distance.
The walk was all the way uphill (1 hour) to the Castle rock, 670 meters above sea level and we made it, although with the required heavy breathing. The bush provided again a wonderful selection of wild flowers and I was constantly stopping to take photos (and catching my breath).
The Sky walk is a metal structure attached to the top/side of a huge granite rock, high above the surrounding plane and you have to get to it by climbing other rocks using metal hand grips and foot holds, go through a chasm and finally clamber up a long ladder to the narrow platform. We made it to the bottom of the ladder, the wind was strong, my legs were shaking and my brave heart was rapidly shrinking, so we chickened out on climbing the structure. The view was no good anyway and with the bad weather you could not see a thing…………..
Had a lovely lunch at a winery called Ironwood, then went to do another walk in the park.
It had started to rain and steadily increased in intensity, so we decided to do a short walk.
A Russian lady joined us at the start (may I walk with you, so I won’t get lost?) and she talked nonstop. She had lived in the USA, Spain and now she lived in Cairns, on a boat. She had long blond hair, wore red lipstick, had a lovely Russian accent and seemed pure spontaneity, living very easy, but most likely hard for others. The rain split us up, she to her campervan and us to our car. That was a lovely human intermezzo.
Foto's bij verslag (7)
18 november 2016 00:19 | Door: Estelle
Sounds great Mum & Dad :) Wish I was at some of those beaches you've been to, they look beautiful. Glad you're enjoying yourselves. XOXOX
18 november 2016 12:14 | Door: Paul
Hallo Peter &Jan,
Fantastisch om te lezen, wat jullie allemaal zien en meemaken.
Ik moet wel af en toe de dictionary erbij halen want dit engels gaat ver boven mijn niveau.
Jaloersmakend zijn de beschrijvingen van de mooie kustlijnen .
Wij kunnen ons gelukkig een beetje er iets van voorstellen en kijken soms ook weer naar de foto"s die we zelf gemaakt hebben in Wilsons promontery en the graet ocean road.
Ik lees alles hardop samen met Truus dan begrijpen we het beter en leren zo ook weer wat bij dus ongevraagd geef je ook nog een cursus Engels.
Heel veel fijne dagen nog, geniet en wij volgen jullie met plezier.
En maak je maar niet druk over die rolls .