22 Apr 2016

Postcards from WA

I have just spent two weeks in the south west of Western Australia (WA) starting out in Perth and then driving south through the Margaret River region and the Karri forests to Albany and back to Perth.
I have visited Perth and Albany a few times over the years on business but never for leisure. For overseas readers Australia is wider than the US and the flight from Sydney to Perth takes nearly 5 hours so visiting the west from the eastern coast is a trek but nothing compared with the flights to Asia,Europe or the US. So really I have no excuses I should have visited SW WA earlier as a tourist.

I borrowed some great wheels for the 2000km round trip-more of that later in another blog story. The weather did not co-operate fully. It was warm but many days the skies were overcast and some days they were leaden. I would have liked more "sparkling" light for photography but it was what it was.
Driving in WA is easy although the distances are vast and fatigue could easily be a problem particularly in the very hot summer months. The traffic is so light - on many long stretches you not see a vehicle for long periods. The roads are in very good condition-presumably due to the very light traffic-and the posted speed limits are high. A driver's delight.

Perth feels like a very big country town suffering a hangover after the heady days of the recent mining boom and it is a smidgin dull. However Fremantle -Freo to the locals- Perth's port is far from dull and has great streetscapes of late 19th century/early 20th century architecture which has been beautifully restored. We visited Freo on a Sunday and it was full of people so no photos of streetscapes sadly. Rottnest Island off the coast is interesting and well worth a visit.
The Margaret River region and in particular Yallingup where we stayed is beautiful-the surf beaches and the coastline generally are spectacular - much of the region is either National Parks or vineyards.A winning combination in my book.
Albany in the south is spectacularly located with a beautiful harbour and is full of history but to me it has an eerie isolated feel about it and an air of having seen better days when it was a major port with a booming hinterland extracting hardwoods as fast as it could be cut down. In atmosphere it reminds me of towns on the south island of New Zealand.

 Landscapes and seascapes are not my strong suit and the region has many galleries showing the work of accomplished local landscape photographers and artists who have the benefit of being on the spot when the light and the weather are right.
My modest efforts are really only postcards from a great trip-which I should have done years ago.

Beach walker,dawn Yallingup Beach.
Grommets sitting out some heavy surf at dawn Yallingup Beach

Gumtree flower Margaret River
Kangaroo warning road sign on road to surf beach at Gracetown, Margaret River
Dawn at Yallingup Beach looking towards Cape Mantelle

Sunset,Yallingup Beach
Surfing at dusk,Yallingup Beach

 At The Gap,Albany

Natural Bridge,The Gap.Albany
Wind farm,Albany.
View from Old Whaling Station ,Albany

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