Albany to Bremer Bay – “No Worries Mate!”
Kangaroos - Quaalup Homestead Fitzgerald River NP WA

Albany to Bremer Bay – “No Worries Mate!”

We woke early and enjoyed a hearty breaky (pronounced brekkie) at the Three Anchors in Alby. (Hey – this learning the lingo is a real breeze!).  A group of other early risers were lifting weights with big grins on their faces outside the cafe.  Middleton Beach has a net line set up for swimmers (large marine animals can’t pass through it, but small fish can) and there were half a dozen of them braving the cool morning to have a dip in the ocean.  They all came in to the cafe to warm themselves against the roaring log fire – standing in bare feet to sip on their flat whites and long blacks.  No-one opted for a London Fog (a very sweet coffee, apparently) – we didn’t try it either.

​It was interesting to see that a 3 bedroomed house the same as the one we were staying in was on the market for $299,000 AUD (about £165,000).  The news in WA this morning is that the euthanasia is on the brink of being approved by the WA government in response to public pressure.  Same sex marriage is definitely nowhere near getting to the statue books though.

We pulled in at a garage in Albany (Alby) and were surprised to find that our car was filled up for us – the garage is proud to declare that it is 100% locally staffed.  It’s a long time since that happened in the UK.  The drive to our next stop near Bremer Bay was about two and a half hours straight, so we took a short detour via the Stirling Range National Park, which allowed us to climb Buff Knoll and enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.  The propensity to change colour through blues, reds and purples is captivating.  The Park has over 1,500 species of wildflowers with more than 100 different species of Orchids including renowned Queen of Sheba Orchids and Stirling Bells. The hike up to the Bluff Knoll (6km return 3-4 hrs) is well graded tourist track and the view from the top is spectacular.  We decided to get to the half way point (2 hours return) as we had a fair drive on gravel roads in too country ahead of us and didn’t want to risk arriving after dusk.  The path was very steep, but decorated with many pretty wildflowers – many of them white, interestingly.

Tip for Future Travellers
Many of the National Parks do not allow dogs or any other domestic animals.  They are treated with poison to deter anything that may prey on the indigenous wildlife (possums etc.).

The road passed through changing countryside as we drove past large fields of wheat en route to our next stop close to Bremer Bay.  A powder blue sky opened out before us – a sky so big you felt like you were right in the centre of the world somehow (rather than at the end of it!).  The sky was filled with whips of fluffy white clouds all around us – as if someone had spent the night tearing strips of a humungous cotton wool ball and let them go in the breeze to float away.  You just can’t do this sort of landscape justice with a single photo.  We stopped to refuel (never miss an opportunity!) at the Boxwood Hill Roadhouse – the last fuelling stop before we hit the wilderness of the Fitzgerald River National Park.  I’ve heard that Roadhouses are nicknamed a “chew and spew” here – this one didn’t serve any food though, so I suppose it wouldn’t count as one of those (unless you include mint flavoured Tim Tams, which I couldn’t resist purchasing.

Click on READ MORE (under photos) to find out what Quaaluup Homestead – our Wilderness Retreat in the Fitzgerald National Park was like and see more photos…

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Torndirrup National Park – Being a Human Being …
Sharing a Golden Gaytime

Torndirrup National Park – Being a Human Being …

Breakfast at the Three Anchors Middleton Beach was generous and set us up well for a day’s hiking, although the day started cool and damp, which took a while to clear.  A short distance out of Albany brought us to the Gap and the Natural Bridge in Torndirrup National Park, both of which can be visited from the same access point.  Even in dull weather, they were pretty spectacular.  The power of the Souther Ocean rages beneath you as you reach over the ledge to take your photo, backed by the safety of some mega sized steel girders.  The rock is Gneiss (pronounced ‘nice’ endearingly) – a meta orphic or ‘changed’ rock.

A short drive away along th coast brings you to the blowholes.  When they blow, these could be pretty spectacular I think – up to 3m high – but they weren’t blowing today.  You could hear them beneath you, but you couldn’t see them.  The path was slippy in the rain and the health and safety protection left a bit to be desired – there was nothing there basically other than a sign that looked like it was ready to blow away into the ocean.  You could have easily stood practically on top of a blowhole and not even realised it – until it blew.

Read more to see what the afternoon held in store …

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Accommodation Review: Dolphin Lodge, Albany
Dolphin Lodge WA Lounge

Accommodation Review: Dolphin Lodge, Albany

Spacious self catering accommodation with a fully equipped kitchen and a washing machine.  Our unit (No 10) had three bedrooms - more than we needed, but great if you are…

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Accommodation Review:  Cape Lodge Margaret River
Cape Lodge - The view from the excellent restaurant

Accommodation Review:  Cape Lodge Margaret River

A very well appointed hotel with lovely gardens big enough to take a nice stroll around.  Spacious, light and airy rooms have lake or garden views and spa baths big…

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Kaya Wadandi Noongar Boodja
View from White Elephant Cafe

Kaya Wadandi Noongar Boodja

Kaya Wadandi Noongar Boodja  - Aborigini for “Hallo and Welcome to Wadandi Noongar country.  This morning, we took the short drive to Ambergate Reserve and Walk Trail and walked through…

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We have got standards …
Voyager Estate Tasting Menu

We have got standards …

Today, we had pre-booked a tour of the Voyager Estate which included a 7 course degustation lunch tasting menu.  The tour started at 11am and we set off at 10…

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Accommodation Review – Seashells Mandurah
Seashells Mandurah WA

Accommodation Review – Seashells Mandurah

A comfortable apartment style hotel with a spa bath and kitchen facilities.  There is a small infinity style swimming pool and easy access to coastal walks and the waterfront.  Our…

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Mandurah to Margaret River – G’day Skippy!
G'Day Skippy

Mandurah to Margaret River – G’day Skippy!

Our journey south continued today via Dunsborough - a pretty little place on the coast with a good Visitor Centre, a bakery selling all sorts of tempting goodies and peaceful beaches for…

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Rottnest Island – “I will survive”
Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island – “I will survive”

We pre-booked a day trip to "Rotto" (Rottnest Island) - the family holiday playground of choice for Perth locals - with Rottnest Fast Ferries.  This car free island is an…

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Arrival in Perth
Perth Elizabeth Quay by night

Arrival in Perth

We left home in the UK at 10.45 on Friday morning and arrived safely in Perth at 5,30 on the following Saturday afternoon losing several hours, some beauty sleep and…

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Western Australia – The Road Less Travelled
Kangaroo - Pinnacles Desert WA

Western Australia – The Road Less Travelled

Another exciting road trip begins and will takes us through Western Australia - a land which offers so much:  national parks, Aboriginal culture and the closest fringing coral reef.  We…

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Accommodation Review – The Pulitzer Hotel Amsterdam
Pulitzer Amsterdam Bedroom

Accommodation Review – The Pulitzer Hotel Amsterdam

The Pulitzer was a perfect choice of hotel for our short break in Amsterdam.  The Pulitzer is a comfortable hotel and ideally located right in the centre of the city.  Everywhere you want to visit is within easy walking distance.  The rooms are nicely decorated with a modern feel and every effort is made to provide you with everything you need for your stay including a shopping bag, a brolly and even a bike repair kit!

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Amsterdam Day 4 – Left wanting more …
Goodbye Amsterdam!

Amsterdam Day 4 – Left wanting more …

3 days in Amsterdam is a challenge. There is a lot to see in this city - although we saw most of the major sites and walked through every part of the city - we were both left wanting more.

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3 Days in Amsterdam Day 1

I am travelling with my daughter on this trip and we have three days to get to know Amsterdam and appreciate the best it has to offer.  I am looking forward to sharing the journey with her and seeing a new city through her eyes as much as my own.  We have based ourselves at the Pulitzer Hotel right in the centre of Amsterdam so we don't waste too much time getting from A to B (see accommodation review for more detail).  We have 3 days in Amsterdam - how best to fit everything in?

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