The drive from Margaret River to Denmark was another fun road trip. We stopped to climb Gloucester Tree, a 72-metre tall fire lookout tree, and walk suspended among Tingle trees in the Valley of the Giants. It was a beautiful day to spend outside. We arrived at Greens Pool too late for a swim, but wandered around and atop the cool rock formations and waded in the southern Indian Ocean.
The next morning it was an easy 40-minute drive to Albany. I was looking forward to lazing on their renowned beaches, but the weather didn’t cooperate. There were good indoor alternatives: whiskey tasting, the Western Australia Museum, and the National ANZAC Centre which has a nice plaque commemorating US servicemen, particularly submariners, who were deployed to Fremantle and Albany during WWII. My grandfather was on the sub tender USS Griffin (AS-13) in Fremantle in 1944.
While in Albany I participated in a gong session at the Mt Romance Sandalwood Factory. The experience had great reviews, but only a brief description so I didn’t know what to expect. It was a full session of about 12 people. We met in the gift shop and were led to a yurt and asked to remove our shoes. Inside there was a mat with two pillows and a blanket set up neatly for each person. A large gong was suspended from the centre of the tent and four others were spaced throughout. The guide distributed fragrant scarves infused with sandalwood oil. She advised us on breathing exercises, alerted us that she would be moving around playing the gongs and we could expect to feel a draft as the large one swung above us. Then she asked us to lay back, get comfortable, and close our eyes as she began to play the gongs. The hour passed in a blink. I did not fall asleep, but the gongs were soothing and I was relaxed and refreshed at the end of the session. It was a unique experience.
On New Year’s Day we drove 4+ hours back to Perth. I always thin.k it is a good idea to travel on holidays, forgetting that most businesses in this part of the world are closed Perth city was really quiet when we arrived and it took ages to find a cafe open for lunch. We ended up wandering around the centre city and spent most of our time in Perth shopping because the department stores were open with post-Christmas sales.
After 18 days of travel it was time to fly home and I was ready. I don’t fancy living out of a suitcase for that long.
Dates: 29 December 2015 – 2 January 2016
Travel with: Allen
Weather: cloudy, warm, 70s, some drizzles
- Castelli Estate Winery Lodge (!), Denmark – wonderful B&B with full breakfast menu. Unfortunately the cellar door was closed so I can’t comment on the wines. They were setting up an outdoor stage and the trucks and noise prevented us from reading or otherwise using the pretty outdoor space, but I imagine this would be a great spot to enjoy a concert or show with some wine and be able to spend the night.
- George on the Terrace, Albany
- Perth City YHA
- climbed Gloucester Tree, Pemberton – 72-metre tall fire lookout tree
- Greens Pool
- Valley of the Giants treetop walk
- whiskey tasting at Great Southern Distilling Company, Albany
- Natural Bridge
- Western Australian Museum, Albany
- National ANZAC Centre and Mount Clarence
- jog along Marine Drive scenic path
- New Year’s Eve mass at St Joseph’s (!), Albany
- gong session at Sandalwood Factory (!)
- New Year’s Eve fireworks, Albany
- Swan Bell tower
- Kings Park & Botanic Garden (!) – awesome views of the harbour and city
Food & Drink:
- Boston Brewery, Denmark
- Castelli Estate Restaurant, Denmark
- Walpole takeaway
- Earl of Spencer, Albany
- Kate’s Place, Albany
- Pancakes at Carillon, Perth
- Standing Room Only, specialty coffee, Perth
- Firewater Grille (!)
Transportation: Europcar car hire