Southern Coastline Day 177 - Rockingham to Esperance

Saturday, Jan 16, 1999 at 01:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

DAY 177 Saturday 16th January 1999
After going to all the fuss of getting to this great spot, we didn't rush to leave. We headed back out the same sandy track, turned off to Mandalay Beach proper (accessible by 2WD), and walked out along a boardwalk to a memorial plaque depicting the wreckage of the Mandalay, a Norweign ship that was shipwrecked here in a southerly storm in 1911. The wreckage is on the beach but is due to variances in sand erosion is only visible every few years (and not this year).

After all the sand driving we had to stop to put air back in the tyres before hitting the bitumen road back into Walpole. We wanted to get the Walpole-Nornalup National Park before lunchtime to avoid meeting a crowd at the Valley of the Giants Tree-Top Walk. As it was, it was around 11am when we got there and the carpark was starting to fill. The Tree-top walk is an architect designed walk about 40m high up through giant red tingle trees. The walkway is built of aluminium ramps 60m long that are completely suspended across their length. At each end of the ramps is one long foundation pole. Only 20 people per ramp and 10 people per foundation are allowed at any one time - so we wanted to avoid the crowds of kids on school holidays. Walking in the canopy of these gigantic trees is quite an experience, especially when you are suspended 40m high and you can see the ground beneath your feet through the wire mesh ramps!

By now, we were both completely treed-out and so we drove onto Albany (only 60kms south-east). We arrived around 3pm after stopping for lunch at William Bay National Park near Denmark. This place is accessible via bitumen road and so it was packed full of people. We pulled into a beautiful place called Green's Pool and the carpark had close to a hundred cars in it. In this area we also found Madfish Bay (which is the name of a winery nearby where we later bought a case of wine). We'd first tasted Madfish wine in Broome and feel it is the best wine we've tasted on this side of Australia.

Arriving in Albany we were stunned at the size of the harbours and the surrounding metropolis. There were about 8 van parks to choose from so we took our time to find the one most convenient to our needs. Needless to say, with so much choice it was 6.30pm by the time we agreed to stay at Emu Point where we have a site near the back beach entrance. We're planning on being able to rig our sailboards and carry them over to the beach.

Because we think we'll stay 3 days or more we put up the tent - it also gives us somewhere to put the sailboards out-of-sight if we go out in the car. There are 600 people staying in this caravan park and we are very concerned about security.

Unfortunately, we are not allowed to light ground fires in the van park so we can't cook the 2 roasts I have in the fridge. There was no other choice but pasta bows with pesto for dinner.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Always working not enough travelling!
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