Monday 30th 2015
Albany to Pemberton
We wash the van then take the scenic route to Denmark, WA that is. The road meanders through sheep and cattle farms and we see ducks, even a hovercraft in a paddock, a red one. This is so pretty, and the rivers have water. That’s always a positive.
Denmark is hilly, trendy and on the edge of the forest so the buildings have delightful timber decks to make up for the steepness. There’s a whiff of incense in the air and roasting coffee. The coffee is good and the award winning pies scrumptious. Double or Nuthin’ votes them the best he’s ever tasted.
We’re in the gourmet food belt now and we see signs for marron and lamb. After Walpole we drive through the Shannon National Park which was wiped out by lightning strike fire only six weeks ago. Tree stumps still smoulder and at times the smoke is heavy, yet the gum trees have new growth. The grass trees have crowns of flowers above their grass skirts, something we’ve never seen before, it’s as though they are in celebration of the fire.
Pemberton is all rolling hills, vineyards and orchards of apples and avocados. We make camp at Big Brook Arboretum in the heart of the forest. The camp is hosted by Jim and Flo. “It’s a Conservation Park so dogs are allowed” says Jim cheekily as he puts his arm around Flo. We sit around the campfire and celebrate Jim and Flo’s last night at this posting. They’re both 80, been married 60 years. They got a card from the Queen and one from “whatsisname, Abbott, yeah Abbott”. I’m sure the Prime Minister would be thrilled if he heard that. They’ll only have a few days break at home before their next posting up in the Pilbara. We crawl off to bed at 9:30 and Flo calls out “there go the old folks!”
Travelling Kms: 251Kms
Note: Western Australian National Parks have a brilliant system of employing usually grey nomads like Jim and Flo to manage the accommodation side of the parks. Depending on the popularity and size of the park there may be one couple or several to keep an eye on campers, collect fees and keep the camp clean. A parks pass may be purchased in advance then a nominal overnight fee is charged. This leaves the park rangers free to maintain the park itself. The camp hosts are reimbursed for their costs eg. Gas. The system works very well, we’d love to see it adopted in the eastern states.