Twilight Beach Rock Formations

Twilight Beach Rock Formations

Bromus Dam – Salmon Gums

Salmon Gums Church

Salmon Gums Church

– Grass Patch – Scaddan – Esperance – Munglinup

I woke to the tinkling sound of rain this morning, looked outside to see a water bird in the lagoon and the rain softly falling. After breakfast, I head off to explore all the way to Esperance.  My first find was Lake Gilmore – running beside the highway for quite a distance.  I have reached the edge of the Great Western Woodlands, and am heading into the Wheat belt. Salmon Gums is a small settlement on the highway with a sign that tells me I’m in Mallee Country. It has an unusual Church structure, and a gorgeous stand of Salmon Gums immediately to the South of town.

The next settlement is Grass Patch which has a stunning entrance sign. The Mallee Memorial Park in Grass Tree opposite the tavern is a very nice tribute to both pioneers and those who have served.  There is emphasis on one of the district’s soldiers, a local farm boy, Leslie “Tom” Starcevich who is a Victoria Cross recipient for his bravery in 1945. Grass Patch was established as a Cobb and Co stop in the mining rush.

Further south on the highway is the abandoned township of Scaddan – there is a pioneer park here that is pays homage to the history of the town and district.  There are plaques naming the farming families in different eras, the murals are spectacular and adorn each available wall, the path of mosaic tiles tells the story of the place. I spent quite a bit of time here enjoying the effort put into such a tribute. Children have painted totem poles at the side of the highway. This was a very enjoyable byway indeed.

I head into Esperance – the drizzle is still persisting so I head to the foreshore – there is a massive ship in the harbour (this is the only port in south-east of WA) and the view of the bay is amazing – even the grey day doesn’t dim the pleasure. I go for a walk to take in the view and then return to the bus as I’m going to drive the Great Ocean Drive – a 40 kilometre drive which takes me through some very scenic country with coastal views, dunes vegetation, a wind farm and the Pink Lake.

I made many stops along the 40 kilometre drive.  The first at Rotary Lookout was my favourite as I could incorporate a walk into the sightseeing – a 750 metre walk which took me around the base of the hill to the most spectacular views of the bay and the Southern Ocean.  The rock formations on the coast were stunning and there are many islands dotting the bay. The walk has steps and walkways to protect the environment and is very nicely constructed.  Some of the walk is over the flat granite rocks – very enjoyable – smelling the coastal plants in the drizzling rain – I wish I could bottle the smell. The amazing variety of plants here makes me wish I knew more botany, I can only photograph and try to match in my books.

Blue Haven Beach and Salmon Beach were close to the wind farm, but Twilight Beach was my lunch spot because of the amazing rock formations out from the Surf Life Saving Club – very spectacular – and on the way into the car park, right on the edge of the dunes was a windmill!! What a great lunchtime view. I didn’t go down to Observatory Point as there was a sign warning caravans that it was too steep so I headed off around the coast towards the Pink Lake.

The Pink Lake is part of the wetlands which surround Esperance, the pink colours are caused by green algae and bacteria, which when combined with high salinity, high temperatures and high light accumulate the beta carotene red pigment which make the pink colouration. Today, with the rain and cooler temperature it is a pale pink. The combined wetlands around Esperance, regularly supports 20,000 waterbirds and is recognised internationally as being significant. It certainly is beautiful, although I failed to see many birds in the gloom.

I’m heading to Munglinup for my camp tonight so head west through farming country – the highway is lined with shrubs – some flowering, some not and I have to stop to photograph a particularly beautiful one – a pink flowering shrub with a grey elongated leaf – absolutely gorgeous. Munglinup Roadhouse and the campsite were a welcome sight after quite a long, tiring but eventful day.

Grass Patch Entrance Sign "Heart of the Mallee"

Grass Patch Entrance Sign
“Heart of the Mallee”

Grass Patch Memorial

Grass Patch Memorial

Grass Patch Pioneer Memorial

Grass Patch Pioneer Memorial

Scaddan Mosaic Path

Scaddan Mosaic Path

Scaddan Mural

Scaddan Mural

Great Ocean Drive Map

Great Ocean Drive Map

Great Ocean Drive View

Great Ocean Drive View

Esperance Rotary Lookout

Esperance Rotary Lookout

Pink Shrub

Pink Shrub

Rotary Walkway

Rotary Walkway

Rotary Walk Esperance

Rotary Walk Esperance

Blue Haven Beach

Blue Haven Beach

Pink Lake Information

Pink Lake Information

Pink Lake

Pink Lake

Esperance Jetty

Esperance Jetty

Esperance Bay Ship

Esperance Bay Ship

Esperance Bay Boats

Esperance Bay Boats

Esperance Esplanade

Esperance Esplanade

Twilight Beach Windmill and Dunes

Twilight Beach Windmill and Dunes

Wind Farm

Wind Farm

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