I am coining the term ‘Nanna Hangover’. It is defined as those few days after my Mum’s visit when we had to adjust to life again post-Nanna.
We dropped Mum off at the Esperance airport for her ‘red-eye’ flight back to the East coast, then headed West ourselves, on to Albany. Although it was nice to have our space to ourselves again, we really had to re-align ourselves, not to mention re-organise, back to a family of 5.
Albany was the place to do it! We stayed at the Big 4 Middleton Beach with was one of those caravan parks that you just love everything about.
It was right on the beach; it had a massive and practical family bathroom; pool and heated spa; games room, kid room, and a cafe down the street. It wasn’t the cheapest, but it was definitely the best place to rejuvenate and prepare for what feels like the second leg of our epic journey.
We seem to have reached a halfway point. Emotionally, financially, geographically and chronologically. Half-way. So that means we are on our way home! Albeit the long and scenic way home, but it is the downhill run from here and that changes the whole atmosphere.
We no longer feel like our trip is never going to end, instead are acutely aware of how much time flies and realise we will be back to ‘normal life’ again before we know it! Whatever ‘normal’ is going to be.
Brian celebrated his 37th birthday at the local Italian restaurant called Venice.
The pizza was awesome, and the kids were well behaved so it was a nice easy night. He loved his new Lego set that Jasper picked out for him!
Jasper is fairly Lego mad at the moment which is great and we are doing all we can to encourage him so we can draw him away from the DVD player! So that means we are all getting Lego for Easter!
On the 1st November 1914, the massive fleet of ANZAC troops left the Albany port en route to firstly Egypt, then on to Gallipoli. For so many young soldiers, this port was the last view of Australia they ever had so it was quite a poignant spot. Albany is gearing up for the upcoming 100 year anniversary celebrations which means lots of roadworks and beautification going on. And no access to the awesome mountain bike track. Bugger!
We also checked out Albany’s Whale World on recommendations from others.
It was once a working whaling station, one of many on this coast. It was interesting, especially the big ship you could climb all over, but it wasn’t worth the $29 per adult admission. And it wasn’t for the faint of heart either with many gruesome photographs of the poor whales in various states of dismemberment. Jasper found the grisly displays rather though-provoking which was healthy for a 4 year old I thought. Dash just delighted in running around, and running off, and playing on the playground. Which is also healthy.
The wind kicked in and Brian got a couple of windsurfs in, and then it was time to go.
Denmark was not very far down the road, and it was a great place to stop and do some laundry and visit a couple of wineries, a brewery and a meadery!
The honeywine was the stuff of legend and the jar of wildflower honey we scored continues to delight us daily.
The famous and picturesque Greens Pools were nearby: an absolutely gorgeous spot while the sun shone to highlight the fairly shallow, crystal clear, naturally enclosed waters.
We accidentally ended up at Parry Beach camping underneath the peppermint trees for a few days.
I say accidentally because we more or less stumbled upon it while we weren’t really sure where we were going. I love those sort of ‘surprise’ spots. It was only $10 a night, you could have campfires (WA is under total fire ban from November to April), and we somehow scored the pick of spots in a little glade all to ourselves.
It was run by this elderly couple who would do their rounds a couple of times daily on their matching 4 wheelers. Have ever seen a 90 year old lady on a 4 wheeler? The stuff of legend.
From there it was a couple of touristy stops at The Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk and the Ancient Empire.
The Giant Tingle trees had these huge hollowed out roots and back in the old days, (before National Parks) you could even drive your car through them!
It was a beautiful way to experience the forest; first you were on top of the trees, then you were inside them! Even if we had to bribe the kidlets with ice-creams at the end.
An even better way to be at one with the trees was to climb the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree near Pemberton.
It was a challenging and ultra-rewarding climb. Rather daunting to peer up the 75 meter trunk with the flimsy looking rungs posted in a spiral all the way up to a series of platforms at the top.
There was a big audience of Chinese fruit pickers down the bottom who were hooting and carrying on as I was climbing up as I was the only one brave enough to attempt it. The view from the top was trees, all trees but I was at the top of the tallest one and the feeling was so exhilarating!
We spent a night in Pemberton with its mountain bike tracks and wineries and I intended to climb a similar tree the next day – the Gloucester Tree – unfortunately my sore muscles needed a couple of days recovery first!
We were just keen beans to get ourselves to a little place called the Margaret River Region and to finally start the journey North.
So we are in Margaret River and taking stock, and stocking up. On wines mainly. But that is a story for another post!