Friday was basically a driving day since we had to continue our intended route and get back to the area to the west (Albany, Denmark, Walpo and further). After having our regular breakfast (some breadrolls with either ham or fruit jam and a bowl of cereals with milk) we left Cape le Grand National Park around 9:30 and reached our target of the day Stirling Range National Park (which consist of comparatively “high” mountains (the highest peak is 1’090m) we have never seen in this more or less flatland so far) by 17:00 with two or three photo and a lunch stop in between. For the night we choose Mt Trio bushcamp, which is situated within the premises of a local farmer family. The roads to reach the campsite were unsealed gravel roads for about 20km and other than one retired couple there was no one else on the campground. It felt cozy to rest the night surrounded by farmland, hundreds of sheep and occasionally some kangaroos (please not in the sunset photo). Dinner was grilled potatoes and honey-lemon chicken thighs which were tender. Thumbs up!
Since we drove hours on Friday we felt the urgent need to move. So after a luxury breakfast (YinRu prepared some omelets for us) and inspired by the local farm lady’s recommendation we decided to go for a hike on one of the mountains in the National Park. Our campsite host described the hike as an “easy 45mins walk to the top”. In fact is was a 3hrs return hike with a very steep ascent and 800 meters in height. We were almost grilled by the Australian sun! The lack of the usually relieving cold breeze drove the temperatures well above 30 degrees what we didn’t expect. Under these conditions, only one of us made it to the top to at least save the pride of a Swiss’s heart (how can one not make it to a 900m peak?!). The views from the mountain over endless farmlands tough were stunning and worth it.
In the afternoon, we made it to Albany after a one hour drive. Albany is the third most populous city in Western Australia with around 25’000 inhabitants. After refilling our food-stock at the supermarket we (had to) camp at a five star holiday park site (at least with the concession of our rental company we paid slightly less than 40AUD per night). We couldn’t find a cheaper camp site in the big big city. After one week of camping we were almost left with no clean underwear so we did our laundry. And, what a coincidence, exactly the night we did laundry and left our clothes hanging outside to dry: it rained for the very first time on our trip! How lucky we were.
On Sunday we discovered the surroundings of Albany. We visited the local market which seemed to attract everyone and the whole of town was there. It was a small lovely market with some stalls selling fresh vegetables, meat, fish or bread. The ocean breeze and music from a band who was there to perform turned the market into an interesting and cozy spot to experience a bit of local life. Thereafter we hopped on and off some nearby sights like the lookout points at Windpark. It offered stunning views over the coastline and yes, strong winds. The windpark could generate enough power for up to 80% of Albany’s power usage. Next stop was Salmon Holes, where there were a lot of holes for salmon to hide (ok it is not true – but they apparently mate there). We are not sure of the origin of the name but sure it is name that will not be forgotten. After a few stops it was time for lunch again, yeayy!! We had a BBQ lunch at Frenchman Bay pic nic area with beautiful ocean view. After lunch we drove to cosy corner, a name that was much mentioned by other travelers for its beauty, and its a FREE campsite. Instead of “cosy corner”, we would prefer to name it “Hippie Place” actually. We were almost the weird ones there as we did not have long, uncombed hair. There was almost no one with short hair. We were wondering why there were so many children there since it is not school holiday in Australia at the moment (Maybe a hippie child needs to learn how to fish and sing rather than write and read? We don’t know). There was no shower nor water or electricity. It was rainy and windy the whole night. We find it, so to say, reasonable to be free, cos we probably would not be happy to pay a lot for this place…
On Monday we did a short drive to Denmark and around it (not the Denmark in Europe, duh), did the “scenic drive” in the city which was pretty nice but not so special. It would probably be nicer if we had stopped and tried all the cheese and wines, but well, we thought we could do that in Margaret River so we will wait for it. Greens pool was our next stop, an unusual rock formation between sandy beaches. We had higher expectation of this place after seeing its photo on tourism booklet’s cover. Again we did not have much luck with weather this day as it was cloudy. Roman concluded that the photo on the booklet cover was a fake as he could not find a spot to make exactly the same photo. LOL. So much so for the crappy weather we decided we will have an easy day today and we drove to Parry beach camp after a short lunch. This campsite offers more facilities (showers, toilets) and only costs aud10 per night as it is managed by the shire of Denmark. Yinru was very happy about the site until she saw the sign which read “deadly poisonous sneaks in site”. !!!! So in order to keep snakes away from us and our campervan, we had a campfire. It was the first time we were allowed to have a campfire so we lit one. We had our rice, steaks and veggies cooked on wooden fire tonight and we must say, that was superb dinner with lovely steaks and peaceful atmosphere sitting in the forest near to the beach hearing the waves and being warmed by our own fire underneath of thousands of stars shining on us. Tomorrow we will try to watch out for snakes and head to our next spot: the tree top walk among giant tingle trees.