Sunday, 7 August 2016

Half-lap Day 96: Cliff Head North -> Perth

I had been a bit worried about staying so close to the coast (especially at a place called Cliff Head) after some of the windy nights we’ve had recently, I thought we might get blown away. There was hardly a breeze all night though, so we were safe and comfortable and I was so glad we’d taken the risk. LiAM had a bit of trouble with his asthma in the night, ventolin fixed him up though and then he slept well.

I was up early and went outside to a very dewy (there was water on everything) and very cold morning. I sat overlooking the water and did some blogging and drank my tea, until my burning toes reminded me that I probably should have put shoes and socks on, instead of sitting in my thongs. The sun rising over the hills behind us and slowly lighting up the beach and ocean was pretty cool. The oil rig shone gold in the morning sunlight, and occasionally I saw splashes on the horizon from whales breaching.

The others gradually woke up and joined me out in the cold. It was a lovely place to sit and take our time over breakfast. Once the sun was up it became much warmer and even more pleasant. We started packing up and it seemed to  take ages – we put extra blankets and our sleeping bags in the car and the trailer, rather than on top of the bed where they usually go, because we’ll be staying with Tony’s cousin in Perth and not opening the tent out. Doing things in a different order slowed us down a bit, and we also wanted to wait until the dew dried out before we packed up the tent, which took a surprisingly long time to happen. By the time we were ready to go it was after 11am.
Oil rig

We drove further south through more farmland, seeing lots of old stone farmhouses and sheds and more beautiful scenery. We called in to Jurien Bay to look at the Harbour and see if we could see any seals or sea lions. We walked down to one of the beaches and stood on the shore for a little while, the waves were crashing in and it was interesting how different the sea looked here, compared to 100km or so up the coast, it was much rougher here. 

Our next stop was Nambung National Park, to see the Pinnacles. At the gate the lady said that we could unhitch the trailer and drive and/or walk around the Pinnacles, or we could leave the trailer on and park and just do the walking track. We decided not to unhitch, and just do the walk (it was only 1.2km). The van next to where we parked looked like our friends from Murchison Station. We had a quick snack then walked up to the toilets and the Information Display, and found our friends there. We chatted to them for a while and then headed off on the walk.

I’d seen lots of pictures of the Pinnacles, and there was lots of information and pictures of them in the display we’d just looked at, but seeing them for real took my breath away. We walked around a bend and there was a large sandy hill with tall, thin rocks spread all over it – we all stopped walking and just stared for a moment, it was an incredible sight. Some of the Pinnacles were like stalagmites, some were wider and shorter, some were just little mounds. The walking trail wound it’s way through between the formations, and there was so much to see in every direction. We came to a lookout in the middle of the walk, and stood there for a while looking at the Pinnacles in all directions. One really cool thing was that from the lookout, and any hills in the area, we could see the ocean in the distance to the west.  It was a great view – desert, with these amazing formations, then bush, then the blue of the ocean.

As the walk continued, the Pinnacles kept varying, slightly different colours, or a lot that were a similar shape to each other but different from those in other areas. The sun was getting lower in the sky and the shados of the rocks were lengthening which was pretty cool too.  I was so glad we’d had the time to stop and see them, so different to anything else we’ve seen on the trip.

Back at the car we had some sandwiches and then kept driving. The landscape kept changing, at one point we drove past areas which were filled with the trees that look like Grug (from the books). I’d never seen so many of these trees in one location. As we got close to Perth we were driving through bush again, and it felt like the type of bush we get at home, we could have been in Victoria.

We arrived at Tony’s cousin’s house, in the northern suburbs of Perth (near the beach) around 5.30. They have a 10 year old son and all 4 kids seemed to hit it off straight away. They’d arranged for us to use the main bathroom and a couple of bedrooms, so we really had our own space, it was very generous of them. The kids went out the back to meet the dog – called Buckley just like our dog! We had a delicious spaghetti and meatballs dinner – weird to be sitting at a table in a house to eat a meal. Great conversation and a very relaxed environment. After dinner we watched the Collingwood game on TV while the kids played in the playroom.

The kids were sleeping in their cousin’s room (he was in with his parents) and I went in and read a couple of chapters of Inheritance to them, then went to bed in the study. Very very weird to be sleeping in a real bed, in a house! Tony sat up and chatted with his cousin for a while, its been a while since they saw each other and it was great to catch up.

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