Our very first road trip. Wow. We didn’t really know what to expect, but we were super excited to get out on the road in our new mobile home and see all the places we’d read about. But we were also sad to be leaving Perth, as it’s all we’d known in Australia so far and it is such a beautiful city.
Before we drove out of Perth, we stopped off up the hill on the way to Kalamunda, as there is a view point that looks over the city that I had driven past everyday on the way back from work, just to say a final goodbye to our first Australia home.
Then we hit the road, Perth to Adelaide in less than 2 weeks.
Once we were on the road, our first destination was Busselton to see the 2km long jetty. We had originally wanted to stop off in Bunbury to see if we could spot any dolphins, but as we were a day behind already we decided to skip it. We had left late as well, so after a 2 1/2 hour drive, we arrived into Busselton just as the sun was about to set. So we found a campsite to stay for the evening, ordered some Chinese for dinner and then spent our first excitable evening in the camper. It was here that I also discovered that Australian Chinese fried rice involves a lot of meat, so I ended up with a rice free meal.
The next morning we got up reasonably early, as you have to check out of campsites by 10am, and we went down to the Jetty. Our first port of call though, before trekking down the 2km jetty and back, was a quick breakfast in a nice cafe on the seafront. Then after filling up on some amazing pancakes, we started our walk along the Jetty. The jetty was pretty cool, it had a blue shed on it which stood out against the water, a train that goes up and down and an under water observatory. The under water observatory was interesting, as it was a building towards the end of the jetty that you went in, walked down some stairs and then it was like being in an aquarium. It had big glass windows that looked out underneath the jetty at the wooden posts,
that were all covered in colourful coral. After spending a bit of time looking at the coral, and learning about the jetty and the marine life around it, we then got back up to dry land and slowly made our way back to van.
Goodbye Perth 😦
Once we had seen all there was to see of Busselton, we left to make our way towards Margaret River. We had a bit of a laugh on the way, as we drove through a town called Cowaramup that had lots of plastic cows dotted around wearing Santa hats.
It didn’t take long to get to our next destination, being only 45 minutes, we got to Margaret River in the early afternoon. We didn’t spend much time there though, as with our tight schedule it didn’t quite make the cut. Looking back though, I do wish we had planned for more time there as it was a nice town and it has some great beaches. Oh and lots of wine. That’s what it’s largely known for, the wineries and the surfing beaches. I think they host some of the big surfing competitions throughout the year there, which is easy to see why as the waves are insane. There was even a sign by Surfers point beach categorizing the waves into expert and legendary. After having a wander around town and a quick lunch break, we left for our final destination of the day, Pemberton.
Pemberton wasn’t too far from Margaret river, but it felt like it was. As we’d gone from the beach, into the middle of the forest. And Once we got there it was beginning to get dark, so we found a campsite for the evening and did some planning for the following days.
The next day we got up to find some new friends camped out by the van, some little ducks that we shared breakfast with in exchange for some photos. After they moved on, we then set off for the day to The Gloucester and Diamond trees. Pemberton is known for its massive Karri trees, especially the Gloucester and Diamond trees as they have old fire look out points that are over 50 metres above the ground. The trees basically have metal pegs that spiral up to the top, until they reach a platform that looks out over the other trees in the forest. Obviously I couldn’t resist climbing to the top, which would be to the horror of my parents as there was no harness or anything to stop you falling 50 metres down. Adam did also attempt the climb, but after getting a little way up he decided he wasn’t a fan of heights and lack of safety precautions. But I carried on and eventually made it to the top, it was quite a climb though as eventually the pegs turned into a small vertical ladder, which looked a bit sketchy and was probably the worst part of the climb. After that though I was at the top of the tree, and could see over all the trees in the forest, as well as looking down and seeing how high I was and how small Adam looked. Once I had got photo and video evidence and a bit of a rest, I then began my decent down to a relieved Adam. I was buzzing when I got down, which I guess would be from the adrenaline. I would definitely do it again and would recommend it to anyone thinking about it, unless they’re scared of heights.
After we had a short walk around the forest and I calmed down a bit, we then left to go to the Valley of the Giants in Denmark. Which isn’t as exciting as the name suggest, there aren’t any oversized people running around a valley. Instead there are more giant trees and a sky walk that walks through the tree tops, it was pretty fun there though. It also has the worst coffee there that we’ve ever tasted. We spent a couple of hours walking through the tree tops and the valley, and messing around taking photos with fat trees. But then it was time to go in search of a campsite for the evening.
We ended up driving about half an hour to Williams Bay national park, and found a campsite by Ocean beach. The following morning we went to explore the beach, it was a really nice beach with contrasting blue waters on white sand, but not so great against a grey sky. This was one of the down points of our trip, we seemed to be following the rain wherever we went, and as we had planned to see lots of beautiful beaches it meant we spent less time on them. We didn’t let the rain ruin our trip though, and we still went to see all the places we wanted, we just have lots of photos of us on beaches in the rain.
After a quick stop off at Ocean beach, we then drove back into the national park to see Elephant rocks and Greens pool. I couldn’t actually believe how much some of the rocks did look like elephants in the shallow water.We spent a little time wandering around the Elephant rocks in the cove and taking lots of photos, but then we headed over to greens pool as it looked like the rain was coming. Like many of the beaches we have seen, Greens pool was a little piece of paradise. It had calm water and pristine sand, and would’ve been a great place to go for a swim if it hadn’t been freezing and just about to rain.
Our next stop for the day was Tornirrup national park, to see the natural bridge and gap formations as well as the so called blow holes. It was interesting to see the bridge as it was completely supported by itself, and looked as though it could collapse at any time. And it was
formed only by the power of the ocean, wearing away at the Rock over many years. The gap wasn’t as impressive, as to us it just looked like a couple of cliff faces opposite each other. But the whole area was quite interesting as it had once been a part of the Antarctic.
After we had seen enough of those rocks, we then went to see more rocks, otherwise known as the blow holes. I think we had chose completely the wrong time to come and see them though, as they were not blowing so nothing was happening and it was absolutely peeing it down so we got drenched. We have since learnt, that when we’re visiting places that rely on the tide to be in a certain place, to plan ahead.
Since getting completely soaked at the blow holes, we then decided to go into the nearest town-Albany. Albany was a quaint gorgeous little town that was decorated with Christmas decoration beautifully, but we couldn’t fully appreciate it until we had found a cafe and had a hot chocolate and defrosted a bit.
Towns like that one make me love road trips just a little bit more, as they just appear in all their cute glory when you least expect it, and it make you fell like your in a old Western film.
Once we had walked up and down the Main Street in Albany we then left for Bremer Bay, where we had planned to stay for the evening. We definitely had underestimated the time it would take to get to Bremer bay, as it was getting close to the closing time of the campsite we were going to, and we were still quite far away. But we got there in time and checked in for the evening.
The following morning we went to the beach, in the rain again, and we took Sheila down on the sand with us to get some good photos. I wouldn’t recommend taking a non 4wd onto sand though, as it’s so easy for them to get stuck. We were fine though and Sheila breezed through the sand.
It was a shame with the weather here, as it would’ve been good to spend more time at the beach. Especially as it was such an effort to get the bay, on the only road that goes in and out of Bremer bay.
So we then started our way back on the one road out, until we got back to the main road and drove to our next stop, the
Pink lake. I was excited to see a lake that was pink, as I didn’t even know such a thing existed until I flew over Perth when we arrived in Australia. But just like the “pink lake” we saw on Rottnest, this pink lake wasn’t pink ever and just looked like a regular lake.
After the disappointment of the not pink lake, we then drove towards Esperance and along the Great Ocean drive past more beaches. We stopped of at a few of the beaches, but we stayed at Twilight beach for a bit longer as it was absolutely stunning (it was actually voted the best beach in Australia in 2006). We had a walk along the beach and then we sat on the sand looking out at the blue ocean for a while, until it was time to go and find a campsite.
The following day we decided to hike up Frenchman’s peak in cape Le grand national park, to get a view over the park. It was a good hike, I think it took us just over an hour to do as the majority of the hike was uphill and very steep. But it was well worth it as the view was amazing, it felt like we were on top of the world, and we had a laugh doing it.
After another half an hour of getting down from our hike, we then made our way to Lucky bay. Lucky bay in Esperance is,
and I think will always be my favourite beach in Australia. It was also the first time on our road trip that we were actually able to go in the water at the beach, as the sun had finally come out. It was so good to be able to put on a bikini and sunbathe on the beach for the afternoon, and to go for a swim in the clear water.We had so much fun playing like kids in the water and not caring what people thought, generally as there was only about 4 other people on the beach. I think that was probably one of my favourite days in Australia, as it was just perfect. I cannot put into words how beautiful that place is, and I definitely want to go back one day. I’d love to stay at the campsite that is right on the beach, as we couldn’t when we were there as it was closed for a refurbishment. I am so glad we decided to do our road trip, if only for this beach, as we finally got the beach experience with the whitest sand and bluest water, as well as kangaroos hopping along the sand.
Sadly we did eventually have to leave the beach, and make our way toward the most boring part of our trip. We were at the beginning of the dreaded Nullarbor. This was the part of our road trip that we were most nervous about, as we didn’t know what to expect as we had heard many different stories. And all we could visualize was that part in the second Inbetweeners movie where they get stranded in the desert. As that is basically what the Nullarbor is, not much else apart from sand and the odd roadhouse, even the word Nullarbor means no trees.
But after the longest 3 days of driving over it, It wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t do it again though. It was just a really long road with not much to see other than sand, road signs and the odd dead animal at the side of the road. It also has a stretch of road that is literally 90 miles straight and very boring. There was a place along it called Cocklebiddy, which Adam was impressed at as that is his nickname- Biddy. That was one of the only highlights of that road though, as well as seeing the famous yellow sign that typically represents Australia. But that was about it, it makes you very glad to have an aux lead and iPod (the radio definitely doesn’t work out there), and it also makes you appreciate small games like guess the next car. ( I spy is off the cards as there’s not much to look at.)
I would still recommend the road trip over it though, as it’s an experience, and is not as scary as everyone makes out.
It has a tarmacked road the whole way, there are enough petrol stations to not run out of petrol and there are always people driving it. The only bad thing is that the petrol prices get more expensive the further out you get, they were closer to $2 a litre, so we filled our Jerry can up before we left civilization as a precaution and it saved us some pennies.
On the final stretch of the Nullarbor, just past the South Australian border, we stopped of at the Head of the Bight to see the Bunda cliffs. They were pretty mad as the cliffs went on for about 200km so they looked like they went on forever, and it’s quite funny as the bottom of Australia just ends with a drop of a cliff.
After our 3 days of being in the outback, we finally made it to civilization again and to our next stop of Streaky bay. We had a bit of a nightmare on this part of the journey, as we had crossed the WA/SA border and jumped forward in time without even realising it. So when we were on our way to the campsite it started getting dark, and after checking the time on our phone we then realised the time and that we didn’t have long until the campsite shut for the evening. Obviously we wanted to get to the campsite before it shut, and we didn’t want to be on the road in pitch black (that’s when all the animals come out in Australia), so we had to get a major shifty on.
The following morning we got up to find some Pelicans on the water, that the campsite was right next to. So we got some photos of them (they look more like black dots), and then we got on the road for the final part of our journey to Adelaide.
We left Streaky bay early as it was a long drive to Adelaide, but we didn’t have any other sights we wanted to see along the way, so we decided to make the journey in one day. And there really wasn’t much to see on the route we took, it was a pretty drive when we drove through the mountain ranges though. And we arrived into Adelaide in the late afternoon and found Adams uncles house.
Our first road trip really was amazing, and I am so glad that we did end up driving over to Adelaide. I cant even imagine not seeing the places we got to see, as they are just unforgettable and some of my favourite spots in Australia.
So if anyone is reading this and thinking should I drive across the Nullarbor, stop thinking and start planning. There really is no better way to see Australia than on the road.
See my next post for our Adelaide adventures.