Sensational Scenery

From Augusta to Esperance, south coast WA

Lucky Bay on the south coast of WA
We set off from Augusta, super excited to explore the south coast of WA. Rumoured to have giant trees, old forests, pristine beaches and charming small towns – we found out they are all true! Compressed into this small stretch of coast is some sensational scenery.

The towns, countryside, forests and coast were all seriously fantastic. Even while driving there is so much to see. We drove under giant trees, through rolling green hills dotted with dairy cows, along rugged coastal cliffs and down into white sandy bays.

We camped on the doorstep of rivers dwarfed by tall trees and right by amazing beaches, which never gets old!

Sue's Bridge Campground, Blackwood River NP     Campsite-Parry Beach    Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand NP

We really enjoyed the national park campgrounds, a couple of notable ones are Sue’s Bridge, Blackwater River NP and Drafty’s, Warren NP. Both are winners for us because they are set up in beautiful remote bush by a river, have good camp kitchens and toilets, along with fireplaces and chopped firewood. Because it was cold during our time in this area, we sure made the most of those fireplaces!

Camp oven roast    Camp oven roast

Camp oven roast    Camp oven soup

We loved the township of Pemberton and the surrounding area. The biking trails looked phenomenal and we longed for our bikes, but happily settled for walking and jogging them. We camped on the edge of a forest full of these trails, and set off for jogs right from our (car)-door-step. We would walk into the village in the mornings for a coffee and to visit local street vendors for delicious home made goods.

Dave also climbed three giant karri trees in this area – where amazingly the ‘steps’ and ‘handrails’ consist of steal pegs hammered into the tree. Don’t worry there is chicken wire mesh to catch you if you slip… These were constructed as fire lookouts mainly during the 1930-50s – which explains a bit, like the lack of safety standards! There’s the Gloucester Tree at 61m with 153 pegs, the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree at 75m with 165 pegs and the Diamond Tree 51m with 130 Pegs.

Diamond Tree, nr Manjimup    Diamond Tree, nr Manjimup    Diamond Tree, nr Manjimup

We’ve had some really cold weather, brrr. I remember one morning while walking back from the ablutions block in the freezing cold, I’m thinking about how I wet my puffy eyes in the bathroom and how I was getting a very cold sensation just on my eyes – kind of like putting cool cucumber slices on them right? Okay not really, but it’s as close as I’ll get to a beauty regime.

Camp oven saltana sconesOf course we would rather be living on the road in cold temps than be anywhere else. And one benefit of all the fires we were having, is that we’ve progressed with our camp oven cooking skills!

Okay, we’re just a little bit proud of our new found skills! We learned that baking chocolate scones, saltana scones and damper treats was not all that hard and for the most part we already stock the main ingredients in the van.

Camp oven chocolate scones    Camp oven chocolate scones    Camp oven damper treat

And the occasional foul weather didn’t stop us from doing much. Dave will brave the windiest, wettest days and keep on fishing. Sometimes I’m brave (or stupid) too. One day we were camped behind sand dunes, protected from a beach where the sand was blowing sideways and white caps all around. What did we do while everyone else had the sense to huddle inside? We set off for a jog in our long jogging gear (and beanies!) along the beach, battling a head wind and proving to be the first jog I have ever done where I’ve returned colder than when I left.

Wondering how our surfing is going? In WA when asking around about the best surf spots, there seems to be a new category that comes up in conversation…the waves are clean, bla bla…it’s a bit sharky…bla bla..hang on what? Here the level of sharky-ness often gets thrown in with the detail. So the answer is: No. Ne. Nein. Nope. Maybe we’re just not psyched enough?

We ventured inland to Porongurup NP to hike the Castle Rock Sky Walk and also to hike the challenging Bluff Knoll in Stirling Range NP, which we really enjoyed. The photos will speak for themselves and be sure to check out our latest photo album for more.

Castle Rock Sky Walk, Porongurup NP
Above: Summit of Castle Rock Sky Walk

Hike up Bluff Knoll, Stirling Range NP
Above: Summit of Bluff Knoll (with the car park where we started down below)

Walpole-Denmark-Albany-Esperance, the whole stretch between these towns is incredible and there is one specky beach after another.

Greens Pool, nr Denmark
Above: Greens Pool, near Denmark

Greens Pool, nr Denmark
Above: Two grinning people at Greens Pool, near Denmark

Elephant Rocks, nr Denmark
Above: Elephant Rocks, near Denmark

Great Ocean Drive, Esperance
Above: A beach along the Great Ocean Drive, Esperance

A stand out we have to mention is Lucky Bay and Thistle Cove in Cape Le Grand NP. Lucky Bay is a tremendous long bay with blindingly white sand and clear water, while surrounded with a rugged and rocky coastline just begging to be explored. If you’re wondering about the where the feature image at the top of this post is, this is it. We set up camp and couldn’t leave until there was nothing left to explore. We spent time walking the long beach, trail running the rocky headlands, we hiked Frenchman’s Peak and to other bays in the area. Thistle Cove was one bay we hiked to and it’s my FAVOURITE beach in Australia so far! BIG call I know!!! We explored the huge rocky outcrops and found awesome fishing spots where the beach dropped away into deep waters. We caught a myriad of fish and met a friendly seal. I also climbed a granite headland twice a day to get a precious 2 bars of mobile cover to email and send work off. Not the usual challenge you would expect to face during a day at work! I guess when the OHS computer use guides say that too much use of a computer drops your physical activity, they didn’t allow for Freelancers on road trips.

Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand NP
Above: Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand National Park

Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand NP
Above: The granite headland that I climbed twice a day (with people on the bottom left for some perspective)

Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand NP
Above: See I wasn’t joking!

Thistle Cove, Cape Le Grand NP
Above: THE Thistle Cove beach, Cape Le Grand NP. White sand, clear water, amazing rugged surrounds, secluded, deserted, small intimate bay = amazing!

What we saw compacted into this area of Australia was astounding and I would highly recommend you visit the whole of southwest WA. For me, it has been a huge highlight of our whole trip so far. Ohhh another big call…!

Be sure to check out our photo album for this area too.

4 thoughts on “Sensational Scenery

  1. All I can say is WOW!!! Loved it all! Not so sure bout the tree climbing bit but could never stop our boys from climbing anything! Yr cooking skills are great & was salivating over the chocolate scones! Ray liked the bake dinner. His favourite meal! You could sell some of those shots. Brilliant! Take care, travel safe & can’t wait to hug you both! XXX

  2. How great is our country – you just seem to be coming across places that are even better than where you’ve come from. Like that “ooh aah wow” feeling when something is so good that you are lost for words. I’m just so glad that you have moved past Esperance, those poor people there have lost everything. If you’re in Adelaide that means you’ve joined up (on the map I mean) did you have a celebration? Enjoy the rest of your trip home. xxx

    • Hi Rilla,
      So good to hear from you! Yes, we are constantly amazed at what we see and experience in this amazing country of ours. It’s sad what happened in Esperance. My cousin (who is also doing a lap of the country) was there at the time. They got evacuated from the campground that they were in. Luckily it was all done safely and they are ok.
      Yes, we’ve joined up the line on the map! We didn’t really have any major celebrations because we feel like the real ‘lap’ will be completed when we arrive in Sydney (where it all started).
      Hope you’re doing well. Have you got any trips planed yet?
      Dave & Chels

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