Sunday, 21 October 2012

Esperance - 17/10/12 to 20/10/12

We have just spent three nights in the beautiful town of Esperance, which is on the south coast of WA, and are currently on our way to Kalgoorlie.  We are driving though country farms and salt plains and about to come to a town called Salmon Gums. I think it’s so named because of the colour of the gum trees but Doug reckons it’s because they make a fish flavoured chewing gum.

We had a huge drive of 500 km's passing though the Stirling Ranges to get to Esperance.  The good old ABC radio kept us entertained on the way with some great talk back.  
Our mornings were pretty full in Esperance doing the Great Ocean Drive one day and then the drive out to Cape Le Grand National Park on the other.  The afternoons where spent scootering and skateboarding (just the boys) at the local skate park and checking out Sammy the Seal; a seal that visits Tanker Jetty daily to get his feed from the local fishermen. He’s a bit of a local celebrity, hanging out beside the coffee van that sets up on the foreshore every morning. He spends his time lying about and every now and then popping his head up and getting more comfortable, providing the tourist their photos opportunities. A real character, even human like.

The Great Ocean drive is a 40 km return drive along the coast then inland past the Pink Lake (which isn’t pink anymore). It was an amazing coast line with giant granite boulders and the water was a most beautiful light blue colour. We constantly stopped along the way to check out the different beaches, the boys having a ball climbing through and over the boulders. We even managed to spot a couple of humpback whales at one of the lookouts.

The first thing we noticed about Cape Le Grand National Park was that it was full of juicy bugs, so much so that we had the wipers on constantly. They left a beautiful big mess as they hit the windscreen. The day was a stunner for the drive through the park. Our first stop was to climb Frenchmans Peak, a 262 metre high mountain.  It was hard going as there was a steep rock face to climb. The boys thought there should have been a chain just like on Uluru.  Anyway we all made it to the top and we were rewarded with spectacular views of the lovely beaches and the surrounds of the National Park. From there the beaches were looking very inviting, so much so that I decided that I would go for a swim at each one we stopped at. But I only ended up swimming at one of them, Lucky Bay, which was the first beach we checked out. The sand was so white, squeaky and hard. The boys played footy while I went for a swim. Very cold but you soon got so numb that it didn’t matter. The others beaches were not as sheltered and were quite windy. Still beautiful though, just not for swimming that day
Doug has just informed me that we have now done 27,000 k’s since leaving home. Doesn’t mean anything to me; but I must sound impressed.

We have just made a petrol stop in Norseman and a quick wander around the town.  OMG the flies are driving us mad.  Surprisingly they have been worse on the south coast of WA then anywhere else on or trip. Jude, I will now have a use for the fly veil that you gave me. Thank you so much.

Stirling Ranges 

Sammy the Seal taking it easy on the foreshore

Still doing what he does best

Now moved to the beach - about 10 metres away.  Also has a mate coming to join him.

Great Ocean Drive
Dempster Head

West Beach

Huge boulders at Salmon Beach

Salmon Beach

Twilight Beach voted best beach in Australia in 2006. Still spectacular

I decided to feel how cool the water was - very cold

Pink Lake (not pink anymore)

Esperance Port. One day here we saw a pod of five dolphins, rather close in

Cape Le Grand National Park
Frenchman's Peak

The climb

And the view

That's our car down there in the carpark. Obviously it's the one on  the left

Cool cave on Frenchman's Peak

Frenchman's Peak 262 metres high

Rossiter Bay

Lucky Bay

Where I went for a swim

while the boys played footy

Whistling Rock

Thistle Cove

Hellfire Bay where there were more rocks to explore

Out stop at Norseman, on the way to Kalgoorlie
Norseman the horse - after who Norseman the town was named.  The story goes that his scratching at the ground with his hoof uncovered the first gold there.
And it's pretty easy to find a park in the middle of the CBD on a Saturday morning

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