Thursday, November 23, 2017

B&W Retrospective

As I do from time to time, I bring you a look back on our recent travels to explore a few locations in monochrome. The road above is just south of Norseman. While this is not part of the longest straight road, it is long and straight.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Farewell to the Indian Ocean

Due west of us is the suburb of Mullaloo on the Indian Ocean. We drove over to have a last walk on the beach and a last chance to dip our toes in the ocean on the western shore.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Perry Lake

Another lake not far from the city center is Perry Lake. We found this place to be very restful. Lots of trees and a reedy wetland around the edge of the lake. Wandering among the reeds was a family of Pacific Black Ducks. At this time of the year, we see lots of ducklings.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Fremantle Market

The Fremantle market is open Friday-Sunday. We decided to try a visit on a Friday to avoid the mash of people we encountered on our previous Saturday visit.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Monger Lake

We found a few places near Perth where we can see a few birds without having to drive for hours. One of these is Monger Lake in the Wembley suburb. Here we found the Australian Shelduck.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

Lesmurdie Falls

We drove to a nearby park to see Lesmurdie Falls. The walk from the car park first led us by Lesmurdie brook. It was nice and cool under the trees on the hot day under a clear blue sky.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Cemetery in Gingin

In the small town of Gingin, there is another cemetery, beside a small chapel in town that is quite different from the one you saw here yesterday. This one is filled with stories I can read.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Cemetery North of Gingin

Cemeteries are typically places filled with gravestones that tell stories. These stories are told by the engraving on the stone. A kind of stone age tweet of a life. This cemetery just north of Gingin, about an hour away, is filled with graves that really break the mold.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Styles of Living

I found an interesting way to compare living styles - Google Map. Consider the section of Staunton, VA. This is a suburb that those of you in Virginia may well recognize.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sunday, November 12, 2017

War Memorial

King's Park in Perth is locating on a hill with a commanding view of the confluence of the Swan and Canning Rivers. Located on the bluff overlooking the Swan is the memorial to those lost in war.

The eternal flame burning above this reflection pool was lit in 2000 by Queen Elizabeth.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Tawny Frogmouth

While in the King's Park, a fellow was all excited, he'd found a Tawny Frogmouth. Now, this is something to get excited about. This is a nocturnal bird related to the nightjar. In fact, he'd found three of them!

Above you see the backside of one of them sitting in the crotch of a tree. But it gets better.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Kings Park and Botanic Gardens

As our long-time readers know, pretty much every town in Australia seems to have a botanical garden. We visited one of the more amazing ones here in Perth.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Fremantle Prison

The prison at Fremantle was built originally to house convicts transported from Britain at the request of the Australians. They needed people to work, so they asked the motherland for help. Unlike the other sites for housing those transported, they were able to have a say in who they accepted.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

The WA Maritime Museum

When we learned that there is a maritime museum in Perth we were excited. When we arrived we learned that there is a visiting exhibition about Pompeii and the evacuation by sea after the eruption of Vesuvius. This was going to be great.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Monday, November 06, 2017

Aquarium of Western Australia

Out of Victoria Quay in the Hillarys suburb of Perth is the Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA). We decided to visit to see what we could learn about the western sea life.

On the way in we saw this young fellow on the quay trying to catch a fish. He's not quite a excerpt from Norman Rockwell, but he does seem to capture the essence of being young in Australia.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Saturday, November 04, 2017

New Norcia

In 1846, the Benedictine monks arrived at a spot about 132 km north of Perth on a mission to convert the local aboriginals. And, thus, New Norcia was founded. It remains a town largely inhabited by the monks. We spoke to the young woman in the hotel bar that served us our cider and learned that she commutes an hour each way to work.

Friday, November 03, 2017


A ride in the country toward Waroona took us past some fields that were beginning to show signs of lots of wild flowers. Unfortunately, I could not capture the scene in any sensible way with my pixel grabbing machine.

On the way home, however, I did find a fascinating place that I could capture: Lake Clifton.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Araluen Botanical Garden

The Araluen Botanical Garden is located about an hour north of Mandurah. We decided to visit to see the flowers we've been hearing about. While it was surprisingly low on birds, it was a rich environment of flowers.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Samphire Cove

We also visited Samphire Cove to see what was happening here. We didn't much at all in the way of waterbirds, but there were a few old friends to see.

Above is the Magpie Lark in the midsts of his mating demonstration. Flapping his wings and making his call, he hopes for a mating opportunity.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Creery Wetlands

In Mandurah we visited the Creery Wetlands. Along the long board walk across the samphire out ot the water's edge we found a Splendid Fairy Wren. The male is bright blue all over. The Superb Fairy Wren on the east coast is only partially blue and merely superb. Being all blue makes you splendid.

Monday, October 30, 2017


In a section of the highway between Perth and Cervantes is a field full of grasstrees. These are odd plants. Taking often more than a year to germinate and growing about a centimeter a year, these plants with grassy fronds on the top and tree-like trunks below are very common in the perth area. Because they grow so slowly, the ones in cities are transplants. We see trucks hauling them about nearly everyday.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Lake Thetis

After leaving the Pinnacles, we headed on over to Cervantes, a small town on the shore for a look about. We brought sandwiches and drinks so we had no need of a place for lunch. We just wanted to see what there was to be seen.

On the way into town, at the edge of Nambung park we found a muddy dirt road leading out to Lake Thetis.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Pinnacles Desert at Nambung National Park

Our destination on our long northward journey is Nambung National Park near the coastal town of Cervantes. Here we find the Pinnacles Desert. This is a place filled with an endless array of limestone pillars.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Cockatoos at Seabird

Once we moved on from Rockingham to Mandurah were we have only a house a few fish to watch, we have more freedom to explore.

Just a note about Australian pronunciations. The emphasis is almost always on the first syllable. We naturally say Man-DUR-ah. Here is it MAN-d'ra with the last half of the world really shortchanged.
With our new-found freedom, we decided on a long day out and drove north of Perth along the coast. We turned off the Indian Ocean Highway toward the small coastal village of Seabird looking for diesel for the ute. Instead, we found a sizable flock of Carnaby's Cockatoos.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Our house sit in Rockingham is in a house a block from the beach. It was not hot, but the weather started warm enough for shorts. Later in the visit, the weather turned colder and windier (as you no doubt saw on Instagram  - steve.whisnant - if you are following along there).

Monday, October 23, 2017

Road Trip!

Our time in Western Australia is nearing the end. We have places to be and things to do. There is so much of Australia we have not yet seen, we're going to go see some of it.

So, we are hitting the road on our biggest adventure yet. After our drive west sleeping in our tent, we've decided that we are ready to jump in with both feet for the full(er) Aussie experience.

Greenbushes Cemetery

In our drive through the countryside, we came across the Greenbushes Cemetery. While it had many of the usual sorts of cemetery art, it was also interesting with some of the markers being unique in our experience.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Muir River Observatory

Leaving Albany, we headed inland toward Bunbury and Rockingham. We found along the way the Muir River Observatory. This is a boardwalk from which to see Lake Muir and the surrounding area.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Lockyer Bay

The town of Albany is larger place than Esperance.  Esperance is clearly a beach town that really exists only for the holiday crowd. Albany is more substantial with some industry scattered about. Yet, it too, had the feeling of being a place were visited after the bomb was dropped. The people were nice and the businesses open (mostly), but the streets were pretty empty. Kind of creepy.

We took a drive along the shore and found ourselves in Lockyer Bay looking at a Great White Heron fishing.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Anzac Centre

After leaving Esperance, we headed west to Albany, another town on the souther coast. This is our last stop on the shore before heading inland to cut across the corner (as it were) to head to Perth.

Here, we visited a museum dedicated to the Anzac corp from WWI located on Mount Clarence in Albany. I didn't take any pictures since it really didn't lend itself to that. It was an excellent museum and told the story of these brave people very well.

Upon entry, we were given a card with a photo of the one of the Anzac's. At selected locations around the museum we could put this card on a reader and up would come a file of information about this person. We could read about and connect with an individual. This was really great.

There is an excellent memorial to all the fallen. In a room overlooking the shore is a table-height display with all the names slowly scrolling along on a screen. As the names run along the length of the table toward the window, there is water flowing over the names and all a small waterfall at the window end. It was a very moving experience to stand here and feel the connection between the large number of people lost and the sense of inexorability as the water just flowed for ever.

Although Albany is a long ways from much of what might bring you to Australia, this is a place that you shouldn't miss.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Eleven Mile Beach

The Eleven Mile Beach comes at the end of the long shore line drive just before it turns inland and heads back to Esperance. This portion of the beach is largely covered with various succulents and bush, making access difficult if not impossible from the land side in many places.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Observatory Beach

A headland a bit farther along the beach is Observatory Point and the beach here is very protected (even from the sun). This is called Observatory Point because the island just offshore is Observatory island.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fourth Beach

The Twilight Beach Road is one long stretch of beaches. This one is called the Fourth Beach for some reason or other.

Monday, October 16, 2017

More Beaches along the Twilight Beach Road

As the day got later and the sun lower, the beaches began to take on a different character. A bit further along the Twilight Beach Road from West Beach, we continue to find beautiful places.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

West Beach, Esperance

As the day was getting on, we left Cape Le Grande and headed back to Esperance. There is a nice scenic drive along the beaches here and we took this to see what we could see. There were indeed some excellent beaches. the sand was not the snow-color we saw on Cape Le Grande, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Hellfire Bay

We drove around to yet another of the magnificent beaches here a Cape Le Grande, Hellfire Beach. The name seems to be related to the sighting of St.Elmo's fire here by some early sailors.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Lucky Bay

The stop at Lucky Bay was our first encounter with the blindingly white sand found on the beaches here.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Thistle Cove

After our visit to the modern marvel of WA's Stonehenge (!?), we continued on the Cape Le Grande. Here we found some exquisite beach and great scenery. Our first stop was Thistle Cove.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Now for a little trip back in time. Just outside of Esperance, WA is a complete reproduction of stonehenge. The one found in Wiltshire, UK. Built ca 5000 years ago. For some reason I do not understand, a new one was quarried and built in Australia. I guess it is to make people like me pay to see it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Between Norseman and Esperance

After a tiring day driving to get to Norseman, we found ourselves in a curious town. Clearly mining is important here. It is a nice sized little town of round about 1,000 people. what made it feel odd was that the streets were empty. It kind of felt like we arrived after the evacuation. Even the birds were quite.

Going in a store - the grocery, for example - was a bit better, it was clear that we are out on the edge of civilization. Our hotel was nice enough, but very old (from the '30s) and was a bit scary from the outside. But it was the only place in town to stay.

Monday, October 09, 2017

The 90 Mile Straight

For those of you who are hooked on the metric system (as am I), that's a 146.6 km straight. this is the longest section of straight road in Australia. It does go up and down as the land mildly undulate, but it does not deviate from a straight line.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Madura Lookout

After leaving Eucla, we embarked on our longest day of driving in the trip...about 7 hours. Thus we stopped very little along the road. One stop we did make was near Madura.

Pretty soon after Eucla we saw a ridge running along side of us, very roughly paralleling the road. We had the sea one side (even it we could not always see it) and this ridge on the other. In Madura, we headed inland and uphill and the road came out on top of the ridge. From this point we headed inland toward Norseman and away from the water.

Saturday, October 07, 2017


After our drive through the nullarbor, we crossed the state line into Western Australia. the next outpost of civilization is the village of Eucla. We rented a campsite for the evening in the caravan park and found ourselves on a hill overlooking the foreshore and the beach.

Friday, October 06, 2017

The Nullarbor

On the sixth day since we left Phillip Island, we finally entered the nullarbor. The name comes from the latin for 'no trees'. And it lives up to the name.

Thursday, October 05, 2017


As teased in the previous post, there were whales to be seen at the Head of Bight. The southern right whale comes north to the bight to calve before heading south for the summer to feast in the rich cold waters of the antarctic. We were able to see at least 9 whales on our visit, mostly mother and calf pairs.