Trying to see the whole of South Western Australia in one weekend is about as possible as flying to the moon in a glass elevator. But that’s what I wanted to do and how much time I had so I was going to figure out how to do it and I had a day in which to do so. After a bit of googling I came across a three-day tour through YHA. It was with the group Real Aussie, pick up at 7:30am head to Albany, see the giant trees, Elephant Cove, Margaret River, taste wine, Busselton, which stole my heart, and then head back to Perth for 7:30pm It was as good as I was going to find and it turned out to be a perfect tour for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time, nor a car but wants the world.
There were 11 of us in total plus our guide; a jumble of ages, abilities, and life styles all sharing the same wish to see as much of the South as possible. All perfectly placed in our little old white van who faithfully got us from A to B to C. The weather wasn’t completely on our side as we headed South and I was grateful for the extra layers I had with me from NZ. So much for a quick summer vacation before I arrived in the clutches of a Nova Scotian winter.
We had a lot of distance to cover that first day as we were staying in Albany the first night, which is along the Rainbow Coast in the South. Our first stop was a roadside lunch before we headed to Castle Rock for a walk in the Porongurup Ranges where giant boulders of granite rock stand teetering over the valley. Well it looks like they are teetering but they’re pretty secure. I couldn’t move them. At the very top a metal-framed staircase and viewing deck winds its way around one of the highest rock crops. The view is stunning, but I must say it is a bit unnerving climbing up the ladder in the wind and standing on a gridded pathway if you lean towards the nervous of heights category.
After a sighting of Kangaroos, it was back into the van and straight to our hostel in Albany. We stayed at the 1849, Albany Backpackers. One of the cosiest and most welcome hostels I have stayed in. It was originally a boarding house for sailors and since then it has been added on to and changed to a charming working hostel. The best part about it by far is in the morning one of the owners, Danny, makes you his very own crepes with freshly squeezed lemon/orange juice sprinkled with icing sugar. Scrumptious and he will happily chat away and make them until you can’t possibly have any more. They tasted like a warm summers day sitting in an orchard surrounded by orange and lemon trees.
I would have happily planted myself there for a little while if I’d had the time but day two of our trip was to be packed with sight seeing though so we couldn’t linger. We said our goodbyes and thank yous for breakfast, packed old faithful and headed off to start the day at The Gap in Torgadirrup National Park