Stirling Ranges

Stirling Ranges

Borden – Stirling Ranges – Albany – Cosy Corner Beach

This morning before leaving Borden, I checked out the Landcare office across the road – the Middle Pallinup strategic catchment to combat salinity – they have achieved much according to the placard at the front of the hall which is their office. I’m impressed. I watched the grain transports coming and filling up and leaving the grain store so know that there’ll be heaps of trucks on the road to Albany.

My journey takes me through the Stirling Ranges National Park via the Chester Pass Road – There is low cloud covering the hills and the vegetation changes dramatically. The drive is pleasant, but it’s a road train route, and they tow three grain trailers – very long and fast, so I have a lot of giving way to do in the 100 odd kilometres. The grass is getting very lush looking and there are more cattle in the paddocks closer to Albany.

I headed straight for the Visitor Information Centre in town and then started exploring around the Anzac Peace Park Precinct and the town area.  The ANZAC spirit is huge in Albany as it has a special place in the remembrance of WWI – over 30,000 troops left Albany for Gallipoli. Each year there is a special dawn service atop Mount Clarence which overlooks King George Sound.

There are some very interesting buildings, but I decide to head to Cosy Corner Beach Camp so that I have the whole day tomorrow doing all the Albany Attractions.  At the camp, I meet some people from Augathella and Tambo (Marianne and Rob Jillett) and we had happy hour at their caravan with two other couples (All Queenslanders) and a fellow from Tassie.  I’m camped as close to the most southerly point of Western Australian that I can get as I don’t have 4WD to get to West Cape Howe. There’s a storm brewing so might be here a couple of days.

Cosy Corner Beach – Albany

Sightseeing around Albany is the plan for today so I set off from Cosy Corner Beach – first stop Mutton Bird Island where there’s a great lookout over the beach in Port Hughes.  The fishermen are all taking their 4WD’s along a very beautiful white sandy beach.  This is a wonderful lookout and the islands close to shore are Shelter Island and Mutton Bird Island. I meet a family from Hong Kong and we chat for a while before heading off to Torndirrup National Park and the Gap and Natural Bridge.

These are two natural features which nature has carved out of the granite – The Gap has a sheer drop to ocean of 25 metres – the colours in the cliff face are amazing and the force of the ocean is incredible. There are warning signs everywhere of the dangers as people have tragically died here.  The Natural Bridge is just beautiful and the waves smashing down below remind you of how it was formed.

The Blowholes is my next stop – 900 metres from the car park and 78 steps to contend with but nature didn’t disappoint me – the force of the air coming up from the fissure in the rock blew my hat off – thankfully only 20 metres down the rock and I could get to it.  The path is edged with shrubs and banksias – quite spectacular flora. The path is challenging to ascend so I’m glad to be back in the bus and heading to Whale World.

Whale World is on King George Sound which is truly impressive – the Southern Right and Humpback Whales use this sound as a nursery during whale watching season – hopefully I won’t be too early and will catch a glimpse before I leave the West.  Whale World conducts guided tours hourly so I join one which is very informative.  The museum is built on the Whaling Station and has been transformed into a tourist attraction.  It is confronting to walk on the flensing deck and the cutting up deck and see the pictures of the actual whalers at work – these magnificent creatures being butchered – thankfully a thing of the past in Australia.  The Cheynes IV is a whalechaser – the only accessible one in Australia and it stands in dry dock and I could check it all out.

When I was leaving Whale World I ran into a friend from Toowoomba – Rhonda and Ian were visiting WA for two weeks – what odds that we would cross paths at Whale World,Albany?  It was great to catch up.  After chatting for a bit, I head off to Albany to fill up with water and then head back to Cosy Corner Beach for happy hour with some great travellers.  I feel part of a great family here – Chris and Maria, Rob and Marianne, Ray and Helen, John and Fay and Tim – thanks for a great night at Helen and Ray’s van eating Salmon – it was very enjoyable.

Borden - Middle Pallinup Catchment

Borden – Middle Pallinup Catchment

Albany Rotunda

Albany Rotunda

Albany Taxi Meeting House

Albany Taxi Meeting House

Albany Anzac Peace Park

Albany Anzac Peace Park

Cosy Corner Beach

Cosy Corner Beach

Port Hughes Beach

Port Hughes Beach

Mutton Bird Island

Mutton Bird Island

Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge

The Gap

The Gap

Blowholes 78 Steps

Blowholes 78 Steps

Blowholes Fissure

Blowholes Fissure

Blowholes Path

Blowholes Path

Blowholes Steps

Blowholes Steps

Whale World Skeleton

Whale World Skeleton

Whale World Flensing Deck

Whale World Flensing Deck

King George Sound Islands

King George Sound Islands

King George Sound

King George Sound

Cosy Corner Beach

Cosy Corner Beach

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