Leaving our Conto’s campsite Wed morning (15/10/2014), we first headed to the coast for a little look (just a short drive). Large boulders dominate the shoreline, though as usual, there are sandy areas/bays between the rocky sections.
We were told good things about Hamelin Bay from Nick and Kate, who we met at Sandy Cape Recreation Reserve, so headed a bit further south to spend a day and night there. It is a lovely spot, but Wednesday was incredibly windy (even if the bay itself, and the caravan park, are fairly well sheltered). Thursday morning was much calmer, and though Daniel and I had a quick dip both days, Nicole saved hers for the nicer one! The water was rather cool, so Jonathan decided he hadn’t yet recovered enough from his cold to go swimming yet.
There is a headland, with a bit of a board walk overlooking the bay, and also a nice view to the south. Lots of history at this place – it used to be a shipping port and the remains of an old jetty are still visible! Shiploads of top quality Karri timber went out through here, to destinations such as Britain and India. Quite a few were shipwrecked in the bay itself! There is apparently good scuba diving and snorkeling in the bay, but we didn’t give it a go ourselves.
After enjoying the nice blue water, and soaking up the warm sun on the beach, we headed further south yet again – almost to the bottom of WA! Unfortunately the sun did not follow us, as it gradually became more overcast and showery throughout the day.
Augusta is the most southerly town in western WA ( it reaches a bit further south as you head east), and Cape Leeuwin is the bottom tip where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet! The lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin is by guided tour only, and at $20 per adult and $13 per child it wasn’t hard to decide to pass on that one!!! That’s one of the main drawback about this whole ‘south of Perth’ tourist area – tours and the like are priced ridicoulously. At least the Augusta lookout is free (for now anyway….), but by the time we got there the clouds obscured most of the view.
For the more adventurous, Cape Leeuwin is the end (or start) of the Cape to Cape trail. The other end is of course Cape Naturaliste, which we visited a few days earlier. We passed this trail many times on our trips to and from the coastline, and on some of the walks. Some 135km’s in length, this would be a nice multi-day walk – in good weather conditions!
Augusta itself is not a bad little town – a retiree town I suspect. I chatted to a bloke who was loading hollow concrete pyramids (a bit over 1m in size) onto a boat, and turns out he’s transporting them out to an abalone farm about 2.5 nautical miles off shore. He’s got 5,000 of them to move all up, about 2-3 years worth at a rate of 20 per good day, and has done about 900 so far! Based on that time frame he must have lots of ‘bad’ days… What’s worse – sitting at a desk all day, or moving concrete blocks in rough ocean conditions and bad weather??? In any case there must be some good money in abalones to justify it – he mentioned around $120/kg!
Having seen the edge of WA from tip to toe (well almost…), it was time to start our eastward journey!! That’s in the direction of home!! Well, what used to be home – the motorhome is our home now! First we had to head north to Karridale, before heading east along the Brockman Hwy. We pulled over at Alexandra Bridge campground for the night (Thurs night), quite a nice spot, with moist green conditions and a river nearby. It was the first time we’d had a fire and damper for some time!
The lush green damp conditions/setting reminded me of the below photos from one of our camping trips in the Victorian High Country! Now that’s going back a bit in time!
edit 20/10: it seems no one picked up on my poor geography – or are too polite to point it out…. Edited the text to reflect that Augusta is not the most southerly town in WA! Errors like that are what happens when you look at just zoomed in maps – not including Albany and the rest of southern WA!!!