Thursday, 8 October 2015

Esperance WA

Making the most of some extremely cheap fares with AirAsia, we took the opportunity to finally get across and visit Ian and Caroline at their property in Esperance - albeit a short 6 day jaunt. It was bittersweet knowing that we were back in Oz and not seeing my family, but there is only another 6 weeks to wait until we return for some months together. Meeting up at the airport with Greg and Leigh who had flown across from Brisbane, we headed out of Perth and towards the small township of Corrigin and our accomodation for the evening. As always with Greg and Leigh, it makes no difference whether it is 1 week or 1 year since we have last seen each other, the banter and laughs start immediately and doesn't stop until we part ways again. After a lovely meal at the local pub, we called it an early night as we had not slept much on our overnight flight from KL, and they had been up before sunrise for their long flight from Brisbane.

Back on the road after an early breakfast and heading for Esperance. Of course, Ian and Caroline had no idea that we were rocking up along with Greg and Leigh, it had been a well guarded secret plan. Passing through the fertile wheat belt of WA, we headed along the Brookton highway to the town of Hyden and the nearby famous Wave Rock. It is massive granite cliff, 15 meters high and over 100 meters long and looks like a giant surf wave. We spent an hour wandering around, up and over the area with great views from the summit of the surrounding terrain. Wild flowers were just starting to appear after some good recent rain falls, wattles of all varieties, small orchids, Geraldton Wax and many others I didn't know.

                                    Standing at the base of Wave Rock, near Hyden W.A.

                               Some very impressive rock formations found at the summit


                                               With Leigh at the summit of Wave Rock


                                          Magnificent colour in the wild flowers of W.A.


                             A land mark half way along our journey. Maybe his breaks failed .....


                                   A roadside view looking across golden paddocks of canola
It was great highway all the way to Esperance and we were soon passing sheep knee deep in green paddocks that we thought probably by our mud map and calculations belonged to Ian and Caroline. Sure enough, we then spotted the Scottish flag and welcome at the entrance gates and we had arrived at Murra Murra. Sending Greg and Leigh in first to say hello, we hid ourselves low in the back seat listening to the 'loud' greetings from Ian. After a couple of minutes, they all headed to the car to unload the luggage and Ian was asked to get something out of the back seat. As the door opened, we sat up and yelled 'hello'.

Poor Ian, I thought he was going to have a heart attack. He jumped back as if he had been bitten, then realising it was us, that huge grin spread from ear to ear and the expletives started. Eventually he was quite speechless as we explained how this had all been planned for months, meeting up with Greg and Leigh in Perth and the trip down to Esperance. Each time we had spoken with him from the UK and he was telling us his plans for entertaining them, little did he know that he would be entertaining us as well. We had much the same reaction about half an hour later when Caroline returned from work, though not quite as 'colourful'. It was going to be a lovely few days catching up on old times with family and great friends.

                        The look of surprise on Ian's face. I can't repeat the exact words used!!


                                                    The sunsets over Murra Murra
Next morning we headed off for a tour of Murra Murra, driving though paddock after paddock of lush green fodder and the fattest of cattle. The rains had come just at the right time and it was going to be a bumper season for 'coos, ewes and canola'. After the tour, we headed into Esperance to have a little look around and a bite of lunch. A pretty little seaside town with marina, sailing club and foreshore promenade overlooking a lovely bay.

Day 3 was out and about in the car visiting some of the areas fabulous beaches. After 2 days of drizzly weather, the skies were starting to clear so time to play tourist. There may have been some blue appearing but it was still damn cold with a wind that felt like it were coming rom the South Pole. Heading east along the coast and into Cape Le Grand National Park, our first stop was Lucky Bay. Voted Australia's whitest beach, the sand is squeaky, the waters a beautiful turquoise colour and the local kangaroos call it home. 4 kilometres of unspoiled beauty with a view across a scattered archipelago in the instance. 

                      Lucky Bay in the Cape Le Grand National Park with resident kangaroos


                      Greg, Pete and Ian at a lookout. Just reminding him he is the shortest !!!


                                            Trying to stay warm in the 'fresh weather' 


                                                      The unspoiled beauty of Lucky Bay

Dinner that evening was a loud affair with us all gathered around the table for a roast venison meal with all the trimmings. Good food, great company and the end of the working week as we were all heading down to Albany the next morning for a 4 day long weekend to celebrate Caroline's birthday and East Coast farmer finally meeting West Coast farmer!!!!

In 2 vehicles we headed off early the next morning for our 4 hour drive to Albany. On arrival we headed down to the waters edge for a feed of prawns, calamari and chips before locating our accomodation in town and settling in. We took a drive to the top of Mount Clarence to see the Anzac War Memorial and spectacular views over the harbour and King George Sound. Albany is known as the birthplace of the Anzac story as it is from here that the 1st convoy of Anzac troops sailed to the First World War - their last sight of Australian soil. A beautiful setting for such a poignant memory.


                     With Caroline and Ian enjoying fish'n chips down by the pier in Albany. W.A.

Dinner that evening was to celebrate Caroline's birthday, with cocktails for starters, Margaret River wine, good Aussie steaks and wishes for many more happy birthdays. Leaving Greg and Leigh with Ian and Caroline for a few more days, our time in the West was all too soon over. We had an early start the following morning with a flight from Albany to Perth to link up with our return flight to KL. So many great memories to take back with us and so good to finally manage a trip across to Esperance and the lovely property of Murra Murra.

                                        The pure yellow of wattle abundant in the WA bush.

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