We based ourselves for a week in Serpentine, approximately 40kms south of Perth to visit my brother. We were wonderfully dined & entertained in Anna's beautiful home up the slopes backing onto the Serpentine National Park, overlooking the valley towards the coast. Having open spaces in the dining room, kitchen, lounge & bathroom etc was a real treat compared to our 17 foot home for the past 6 months :)
Getting up the drive way with our 3 tonne van nearly didn't happen though until we engaged low 4WD.
The views to the coast were magnificent, especially around sunset.
We spent many hrs visiting Kings Park & botanical Garden in the city. Kings Park is a haven for locals & tourists for a visit on glorious fine days. The area also overlooks the city & the large bay that is the Swan River. It was a lovely sunny Sunday & as many as 8 small planes were being put through their paces doing high speed & low altitude acrobatic loops etc over the river. Similar to what we saw on the telly during "The Red Bull air Race" event.
We're not sure if they were practicing for the up coming CHOGM or this a common occurance each weekend. Which ever it was, it was difficult to pull ourselves away from watching them & getting on with touring the 400 hectare park.
We visited Fremantle on a different day. Fremantle also overlooks the Swan river as it heads towards the ocean.
Of course we had to have a fish n chip lunch on the board walks from 1 of the many restaurants around the fishing harbour
Fremantle is steeped in old history. This was the area 1st settled. There were many streets with beautifully restored old buildings such as the few below. The stone masonary on the buildings is beautiful
I went bird watching around 1 of the wetlands & found this little family
We took a short boat ride visit to Penguin Island off the coast near Rockingham - almost like Redcliffe is to Brisbane, but smaller & with no connecting bridges. It has WA's largest colony of Little Penguins.
There were also many other breeding birds on the Island.
Caspian Terns & their chicks were not far from the board walk.
The Island was covered in thousands of nesting silver gulls & chicks in various sizes that were annoyed by our presence!!
Pretty sure this 1 wasn't just sunning itself.
We treated our hosts for the week to a beautiful lunch at the local winery - Milwood Estate Wines.
After a relaxing week we left Perth / Serpentine & headed Wellington National Park, just west of Collie.
Bussleton is just over 200 kms south west of Perth & is the hub for The Margaret River wine Region.
Most of the > 140 wineries in the South West are around Busselton. The much smaller & more expensive town of Margaret River some how got the nod for marketing the regions world renowned wines.
Way on the west coast is Cape Naturaliste & it's lighthouse built in 1903.
The Cape Naturalist to Cape Leeuwin National Parks that hugs the almost entire western coast line contains rare & endangered species of plants. Many ships came to grief in the area as coast line has numerous rugged rocky outcrops, with many rocky formations in the ocean as well not far off the coast.
That's Cape Naturalsit tip 1 km away.
Our over 3 km walk around the tip was indeed very pretty with wonderful wildflowers, rugged limestone projections in the landscape, & rugged outcrops along the coast. We also got to see many whales passing by as they headed south after their winter northern migration & calving.
Sugarloaf Rock was just to the south of the cape
I mentioned earlier that the west coast of the south west is quite rugged. The waters are frequented by surfers to catch some amazingly big waves.
Further down the coast is Canal Rocks. The walk way to the canal around the corner was impressive.
Sections of the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park (tip of north to tip of south along the west coast) has several caves. Only 4 are developed for tourism.
Ngilgi Cave is not far from Yallingup & covers several hectares in area.
There are thousands of statactites, plus many displays of stalagmite, helicitite and shawl formations.
Just a short drive from Busselton is Wonnerup House. Surrounded by Tuart Forest, wetlands & working farms, Wonnerup is now managed by the National trust. It comprised of a farm house & out buildings plus a school.
Tuart trees are a majestic eucalypt tree growing only along the western coast of WA near Busselton. These trees grow up to 40 mtrs high & there is only less than 2,000 hectares left , making it one of the rarest forests in the world.
I took in a visit to the large estuary near Busselton. The bird hide hid many swan families like this 1.
We had been driving around the Margaret River region for a few days now & visited a couple of the wineries. We drove down many roads, passing dozens of wineries, many with opulent front gates.
We chose to be chauffeured around for a day visiting 5 wineries, a cheese factory, a brewery, liqueur factory & a chocolate factory.
Lunch was at 1 of the wineries, with food provided by the tour company, dining on some 'bush tucker'. Smoked roo meat, turkey & roast beef. Each meat had a different sauce - using bush foods - of course. Bush tomatoes, mango, lime, ginger & different spices. Different & tasty.
1 item of 'bush tucker' was only tasted by 5 of the 10 people on the tour ..... it's no wonder there wasn't too many volunteers for it...............
Across the highway from this winery is a little church that was built some time in the early 1900's & still has congregations attending every Sunday.
The Grove Liquer Factory was where we had a brief but great encounter with all things sweet & beautiful :)
Unfortunately for us we were running out of time to fit every thing in, so we only got to taste 2 different liquers & 1 coctktail of 3 liqueurs - I don't know the name, but it was mighty nice :)
After we left the Busselton & Margaret River towns & its wineries, we went further south via the coastal road. We drove through a beautiful Karri Forest in the Leeuwin National Pk.
Cape Leeuwin lighthouse was built many years after the 1 further north for the same purposes. This lighthouse overlooks 2 oceans -
This is the most southern tip of WA where The Indian Ocean of the west meets the Southern Ocean.
The pretty town of Augusta was just east of Cape Leeuwin with pretty Flinders Bay on the outskirts of town.
The South West of WA south of Perth was really pretty following a good wet season over winter that is greener than your front yard. Thousands of hectares of valleys with grape vines or pastures with fat grazing animals added to the romance of it's beauty. Many conservation areas & National Parks are set aside to give the balance for natures beautiful flora & fauna. We also loved the rugged western coast. There were also many beaches with pure white sand that added more beauty against the deep blue water.
It's no wonder many people flock there during the hotter summer months for the Mediterranean style climate & leave in their droves during the freezing cold winters.