Australia 2010 - Week 1 (Wednesday 1/13 - Tuesday 1/19/2010)
We arrive Perth late afternoon on Tuesday, 1/12, after losing a day crossing the international dateline, pick up our rental car, and proceed to Peppermint Grove, that beautiful community just south of Perth city. This is the home of the Barton's, the family that have always made their home our home away from home. Those of you who have had the opportunity to look at my Australia 2001 and Australia 2004 entries will know that Gwen is the Mum of Tony, Kent, Bron and Brett. All have played a special part in making all our visits to Australia such great experiences. Unfortunately this trip Gwen is facing some health issues, but as we soon see, she's taking them on with a positive attitude, and her great sense of humor is sure in evidence. (Example - I called her at one point and said "This is a big, fat Yank calling for Mrs. Barton", and she responded "Well, hello there Big Fat Yank!") Here's an earlier shot of Gwen, Tony, and Kent:
Corinne and Tony begin their hosting of our visit by waiting dinner and providing us with the first of several opportunities to experience Tony's incredible culinary skills. I have a feeling that as Chairman of Australian Heritage, he'll continue to do well, but should he decide to take another tack, Bartoni's could cut a mean swath through the WA gourmet community! To give you an idea of how much I focused on the food and attempts at solving world political and financial issues, I never took a picture while at the Barton's this trip! Unheard of, and missed the chance to have Corinne, Tony, and their gorgeous 15 year old, Victoria, grace this page. (If Corinne will shoot me a pic of the three of them, I'll rectify that in a heartbeat.)
Perth is still the cleanest, most attractive city I've ever seen in the million + population category. Western Australia (WA) comprises nearly one third of the land mass of Australia, and while having a bit less than 20% of the country's population, thanks to it's rich resources, brings in approximately 40% of the country's revenues. For visitors like us, though, we see WA as Australia's best kept secret. Most of our friends from the States who visit Australia will generally get to Sydney, Melbourne, Alice Springs (Ayers Rock), and possibly Cairns (Great Barrier Reef). All great places to visit, but to REALLY experience Australia, you need to see that area bounded by the Indian Ocean on the West, and the Southern Ocean on the South. More on that later. First, a few shots of Perth, as well as some beach shots from the beaches in the immediate Perth area. (Don't forget, you can enlarge the shots by clicking on them, and then return to the page by just clicking on the "back arrow" generally found in the upper left hand corner.)
The picture in the center is of a Boab tree in King's Park, Perth. Most are generally found in the Northern Territory, and they are a great source of stories for the Aborigines.
Once again, we find Patty's favorite -- The Norfolk Pine.
Then we head south to the Margaret River area ---- passing thru a few small WA towns on the way ----
We have dinner with our friends, the Carys, and the Slees, at Caves House in Yallingup, a wonderful seaside community near Dunsborough where both couples live. Once again, I fail to take a picture, so I have to resort to pulling up a picture from a previous enjoyable visit with these folks, OR you might have to go back and review Aus 2001 and Aus 2004 just to see how handsome this gang is! Well, actually here's an old one with John Slee in the blue cap, and Julie & John Cary on his port side. I'm sure you've figured out that that is not Eleanor to his starboard side!
The next day (Saturday) we take a LONG drive, only about 700 Km, but it is a LONG 700 Km from the Margaret River country to Esperance. I had done it before in a day, but I was obviously a younger man then, and had a bit more energy! Still, a beautiful drive, and I was anxious to get to one of my favorite spots in the world, just outside of Esperance, Lucky Bay -- in Cape LeGrand National Park! Still, just the drive to Esperance is pretty spectacular -------
---- and, even before we get to Lucky Bay, we get a wonderful surprise! A phone call from Julie & John Cary's son, Doug, who lives in Esperance, and asks us to join him, and his 15 year old son, Jak, for a coffee. What a handsome and great pair of guys, and what a nice welcome to Esperance!
We're off for Lucky Bay! Some of you who have seen pictures from my previous visits (2) to Lucky Bay will be forgiven if you skip these, but it will be your loss!
Only a family of beach cricketers, and berry eating wallabies join us this trip!
And the trip back to Esperance through Cape LeGrand isn't without some beauty!
We wrap up Week 1 leaving Esperance, and heading inland to the gold mining capital of Australia -- Kalgoorlie! This is a first for me. We head north, but where, in the past, I've turned east at Norseman to cross The Nullarbor Plain, this time we continue north into the mining areas of Coolgardie, Kambalda, and Kalgoorlie. We'll start our exploration of the Kalgoorlie area tomorrow (Week 2), but we took a few shots on the way up. It is HOT!!! 46 C, which translates to you Fahrenheit folks to about 120 F!!!
You might want to read up on Kalgoorlie! Patty did! They still have Bordello's!!
Stay tuned for Week 2!