Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Western Australia, March 2006

Travelled during summer - March 9-18, 2006 (10 days)

Transportation: via Singapore Airlines to Perth. $2,076 for 2 adults & 2 children (ages 5 and 1)

Visa fees: $94 x 4 persons = $376

Travel Insurance: AIG Family Comprehensive $180


Waverock Hotel Motel -- 2 Lynch St. Hyden.
Email: waverockmotel@westnet.com.au.
AUD112 (1queen+1single bed) - one night

Pink Lake Tourist Park -- 113 Pink Lake Rd, Esperance.
Email: pinklake@westnet.com.au.
AUD82 (one bedroom villa w/ 1queen + 1 double futon) - one night

Country Manor Inn
-- 369 Albany Hway, Albany.

Booked through Discoverwest.
AUD120 (triple room w/ 1 single bed + 1 double bed + cot) - 2 nights

Pemberton Hotel -- 66 Brockman St, Pemberton.
Booked through Discoverwest.
AUD123 (triple room) - one night

Paradise Motor Inn -- 6 Pries Avenue, Busselton.
Email: paradisemotorinn@bigpond.com.
AUD99 (triple room) - one night

Holiday Inn City Centre -- 788 Hay St, Perth. FREE! - 3 nights

Car Rental: Bayswater Subiaco Depot -- 260 Hay St. = A$770

Carseat Rental: $42

Gas expense: A$444

Groceries Expense: A$110

Meals Expense: A$285

Activities/Entrance Fees/Souvenirs Cost: A$420 (including opal earrings in silver)

Itinerary: (click on the Day to check pictures and details of the daily trip)

Day 1 - From airport, took a cab to car-rental office. Then headed to Perth Visitor Centre. Lunch at KFC near the visitor Centre. Drove to Hyden (5hrs / 350kms). Visited the rock formations (Waverock and Hippo's Yawn) and nearby Mulka Cave. Checked in at Waverock Hotel Motel. BBQ dinner in the hotel.

Day 2 - Drove off to Esperance (4:20hrs / 364.8 kms). Visited Cape Le Grand National Park. Holiday Park Pass $22.50. Went to Lucky Bay (the kids took a dip in the freezing water). After a few hours in the park, headed to Esperance town. Passed by the Tanker Jetty and Municipal Museum along the Esplanade. Then followed the Great Ocean Drive (40kms) starting from The Esplanade to see the Rotary Lookout, Demster Head, Twilight Beach Rd, Observatory Point, Wind Farm, Pink Lake.

We were able to get cheap water for AUD6.70 (4 bottles) at one of the groceries in town.. Stayed at Pink Lake Tourist Park. The room was big enough for all of us. The downside is that the kids cannot play around and make noise because the next door guest can hear them.

Day 3 - Drove to Albany (7hr drive) with a detour at Ravensthorpe (187.4kms /1hr 56mins). Stopped by one of the hway signposts for a photo op to show how far we still need to drive to Albany (292.8kms /3hrs). Went to Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve.

Day 4 - Sight-seeing around Albany. Went to Torndirrup National Park early in the morning where we saw The Gap and Natural Bridge and the Blowholes.Then to Whale World ($36). It's an old whaling station turned into museum. There is a whaling ship and bones of whales on display.

Day 5 - Drove to Denmark (53.4kms /35mins) on the way to Pemberton. Visited William's Bay National Park to see Greens Pool (sheltered beach) and Elephant Rocks (huge boulders in the shoreline). The kids took a dip (again) and doesn't mind the cold water, while mom and dad tried to build a tent-like structure using towels and the stroller as peg :)

Then we headed to the Valley of the Giants (44kms / 30mins). Here we saw giant karri and tingle trees. We took the Treetop Walk (where we walked over a man-made bridge going up close these giant trees at 38m) and Ancient Empire walk (where we strolled along a boardwalk on the base of these giant trees). $12.

Then off we went to Gloucester National Park (117.38 kms / 1:28 hrs from Walpole), which has the Gloucester tree. This is Western Australia's most famous karri tree. Visitors can climb up to a viewing platform 61 metres above the ground, using the climbing pegs inserted into the tree. This is mainly used to check for forest fires. We were the only ones in the park during that time. We were not brave enough to climb to the top of the tree but we tried to take a few steps up to get a feel of it.

After a whole day of nature - freezing cold beaches and giant trees - we were on our way to our hotel (Pemberton Hotel). Then went out again for dinner. We tried out Pemberton chicken. It was good enough.

Day 6 - Early morning drive to the Cascades (which should have been a clean, cascading waterfall). Unfortunately, we were quite disappointed to see stagnant water and a lot of branches stuck around the end of the falls.

Off we went to our next stop - Augusta (122.09kms /1:31hrs). The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse can be seen here. Cape Leeuwin is the most southwesternly mainland point of Australian continent. It is a point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean. It was quite breezy during the day. We were like being blown away by the wind! From the lighthouse, we followed Caves Rd to visit Caveworks (where there are exhibits of how caves were formed in the region). There is a souvenir shop near the cafeteria/restaurant and I bought kangaroo skin wallet for myself, and rubber Australian animal set for Kelvin.

After the visit to the caves, we were on our way to visit the chocolate factory at Margaret River (30mins, but it seemed like a long way there). The factory has a glass window where visitors can see how chocolate was being made into different forms and flavours. There is also big bowls of free kisses-shaped chocolates! If you are a chocoholic, this is definitely a place you will greatly enjoy.

After filling our stomachs with handfuls of chocolates, and buying some to take home, we drove to Dunsburough (46.12kms / 47.05mins) to see Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. At first, we didn't find our way there (with our map, route plans and GPS at that!), finally we got there before it got dark. This lighthouse is smaller than Cape Leeuwin, and is off limits. Visitors were not allowed to enter the premises. Darn! So we just went along with our plans and drove to Busselton Jetty just a few minutes away. It is the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere. We were supposed to walk towards the end of the jetty (or take the train but it was not working that time i think), but it was too windy i got scared! The wind was quite cold as it gets dark. We then headed to our hotel to check in for the night.

Day 7 - We went back to the jetty for an early morning view. Then drove off to Donnybrook to visit Goldfields Orchard. The orchard itself is situated very far away from the main road. We almost abandoned our plans of getting there cause we might ran out of time. But since we were already way deep into the outskirts of Donnybrook, we continued our journey and finally arrived in the orchard. They had different fruit trees - nashi (tasted like pear), plums, grapes, etc. Visitors were allowed to pick fruits that they can consume in the orchard.

Drove to Bunbury (54.31kms /58mins). Then to Koombana Bay hoping to see some dolphins. Unfortunately, after a few hours of waiting in vain, no dolphins showed up! So we headed to Mandurah, cut our trip and left out some destinations on our original itinerary. We hoped to get to the Abingdon Miniature Museum ($36) before it closes for the day. There were miniature displays of buildings from all over the world. There was also a garden maze, which Ira (in the stroller) and I had to take, while Mark was on the lookout tower trying to lead us out of the maze. The kids played in the playground for a few minutes and then we were off to Perth(71.4kms /55mins).

Checked in at Holiday Inn City Centre.
Day 8 - Drive to Cervantes (245.85kms / 3:30hrs) to Nambung National Park. To see Pinnacles ( eerie-looking limestone pillars) Then to Lancelin (167.89kms / 2:45hrs) to check out sand dunes. Then back to Perth for the night.

Day 9 - Drove to Fremantle and took a ferry to Rottnest Island via Oceanic Cruises ($112), where we were almost left by the cruise ship! Whole morning in the island. Took the bus service around the island and stayed at Little Salmon Bay for a dip in the water. Then back to Fremantle to see Fremantle Market and the city sights.
Day 10 - Last day in Perth. Walked around the shopping area near our hotel. Bought opal earrings at one of the Perth jewelry shops $70 (silver + opal). Went to Caversham Wildlife Park $29. Then back to Perth city to King's Park, our last stop before going to the airport.

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