Monday, 12 May 2014

Southwest WA

From Lucky Bay we headed into the southwest of WA. We set up camp in the sterling ranges national park for a few nights and explored lots of great walks in the park. We attempted bluff knoll, the highest peak in WA, but it was a little tough for the kiddies, the views were still amazing though, Oscar attempted scones in the weber as part of his school project and after such a great attempt he is now on baking duty for the rest of the trip.

We arrived in Pemberton with an excited Oscar who was keen return to this area as he was on a mission to attempt all the climbing trees. One afternoon he snuck off with Mike, a mischievous grin on his freckled face, he blew me a kiss as they drove off and I knew they were going for a climb. My stomach was in knots until I received the picture of him at the very top of the 57m tree. He was so excited that the next day we went to the Gloucester tree in the national park. It is the tallest climbing tree at 67m and it had been wet the night before so I was not inclined to let him climb, but in a blink of an eye he was gone scaling as fast as he could. I watched as he got smaller and smaller, the knots in my stomach getting comparatively bigger and bigger, I think the climb up isn't as bad as watching the climb down, Oscar feeling his way down the metal pegs, me hoping he doesn't slip, my breathing only returning to normal as his feet reached the ground. Scarlet and Lola still haven't  stopped giving Mike darkies for not letting them climb and quite often remind him that it's their turn the next time we find another tall tree!

After seeing the joy on Oscars face at achieving his goal I decided to see  if I could break my record for climbing the trees, a whole 12 pegs!!!!! Well I accepted the challenge and with my knees knocking I made it to peg 13!!!!! Woohoo record broken!!! Oscar may have climbed  nearly 200 pegs by by golly I made it up 13!

Each night Mike had a big fire as the weather was a little cold and drizzly, the kids spent a lot of their nights eating the oozing goodness of cooked marshmallows.  With each marshmallow Oscar would repeat 'I'm melting, I'm melting', as his marshmallow rotated on his stick. The girls would giggle as each marshmallow met the same slow fiery death.  I was happy to have a big more space to move in and made use of the camp kitchen in the caravan park, I became friendly with a of French backpackers who were working in Pemberton and living in tiny tents for 6 weeks. Every night after work they would roll in, I'd call out 'hi honeys how was your day at work?', and they would giggle at the crazy women stirring her pots on the stove. I was always so impressed with the simple but delicious food they would whip out of next to nothing, they certainly had their cooking down to a fine art, they even made swigging on wine out of a brown paper bag look stylish and super cool!

On the final morning I went for a walk, it had rained all night so it was misty and the forest was a deep, deep green. The ground was soft underneath and the smell of the eucalypts strong. Pemberton is a beautiful little town surrounded by the most majestic trees, so tall and the smell of the forest invades your senses, I always thought I felt so at peace near the sea, but the invigorating freshness of the forest seems to be challenging the stormy seas for top place.

From Pemberton we moved to Leeuwin naturaliste national park just near Margaret River, it is such a beautiful part of the world, more gorgeous forests to walk through, cool underground caves to explore, amazing light houses to climb in Augusta......oh and did I mention the wine..... Hello heaven!!! Clever old me timed our visit to Margaret river to coincide with Mother's Day!!!! What better way to celebrate Mother's Day then touring the beautiful wineries, breweries and cideries in the area. I picked our tour to be suitable for all of us, a brewery every hour or 2 so the designated driver could complain about the 'crap'  overpriced boutique beer he drank, and most of the wineries chosen for me also had a playground for the designated driver and the kids to amuse themselves with whilst I savoured the wine tasting! Happy days, it would only have been better if I had some of my favourite women folk with me to share a bottle with, I don't think I'll be able to save any bottles for my return though....We had  a long leisurely lunch at cheeky monkeys brewery and enjoyed the music and beautiful scenery for a few hours, we finished a perfect Mother's Day at the ice cream shop just out of town.

During this lovely week exploring Margaret River we have met some lovely people and spent long nights around the campfire sharing dinners and a few beers and bottles of wine. I have got to do a few things on my list of things I love to do, hang out with really interesting people, play cards and drink wine in beautiful surroundings, go to the farmers market and stock up on delicious food from the type of holiday.  (Wow i just read that back to myself and I am so cool, markets cards and wine......maybe I really am getting old??)

So next stop who knows, we have a week or so before we get to Perth, we may stop near donnybrook, pick some apples, visit more markets and maybe even update the Watson gnome family at gnomesville with any later additions since Sharon's visit. Happy travels xx

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