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  • Writer's pictureClaire

09/01/24 Valley of the Giants to Augusta

Up showered and on the road by 0700hours. As we are going to bed as soon as it's dark, we are waking as soon as it gets light, that's with all the curtains drawn in the camper. Our trip today took us firstly to Northcliffe. It's a little town not far from Walpole, where Si spotted a cafe that was open which was a great surprise as it was still early. We parked outside and went into Cliffe Cafe. Great little place!

Cliffe Cafe

On offer were breakfast burritos, wraps and all sorts of cakes and muffins. We spied homemade granola with fruit and yoghurt on the menu and my mouth instantly began to water. That was me decided what was for breakfast! They were advertising iced fruit tea and I thought that sounded great too. I was not wrong it was amazing!! Full of blitzes strawberries, with flowers and strawberries on the glass mug for decoration. Si's coffee wasn't half so pretty, nor his breakfast wrap! When the granola came out it was in half a coconut shell and bloody enormous! You'll be pleased to hear I soldiered my way through it like the hero I am! The locals were all really chatty and everyone passed the time of day at the very least. Some chatted for longer than others one lad in particular was heading 3km north to complete in a house she's buying and aaa saying that she was going to be doing air bNB. So if anyone fancies a trip down her neck of the woods her name was. Sue. Another old lady shuffled in on stick and the lad behind the counter had her tea ready and waiting for her as she walked in. I assumed correctly she was a frequent visitor,she was 90 if she was a day, and lives in the town all her life never felt the need to explore beyond it. Must be nice not to to have the itchy feet and the wanderlust!! There was a large art gallery next to the cafe with an incredible painting of workhorses ploughing or something similar.

From Northcliffe we carried on towards Pemberton. The home of the Gloucester Karen tree. This tree along with 8 others like it were used as fire lookouts between 1937 and 1952 until the introduction of spotter planes. To determine its suitability as a lookout tree, a forester climbed using just climbing boots and a belt. It took him 6 hours to get to the top and back down again.

The Gloucester tree is named after the then Governor General , The Duke of Gloucester who visited in 1947. He visited the tree and watched the pegging of the ladder and lopping of the branches to construct the lookout. The tree now has a metal platform at the top which you access by climbing up the 53 metres of metal bars that are hammered into the trunk all the way around it.

Until recently people were still allowed to climb it at their own risk, but now it has closed for people to climb . I was gutted to see it all fenced off but we got chatting to a park warden who explained that it needs

To be structurally checked to make sure it's still safe.

The Gloucester Karri Tree

At the beginning of 2022, they replaced the metal spikes, and they seem to be closer together that they were 23 years ago when Erin climbed to the very top of it with Jim! We had hoped to get Simon up there with Bob for an amazing photo but it wasn't to be. The area is pretty commercialised now and there is a go ape type thing for kids to play on right next to the tree. The website for the park is quite misleading, it states the tree is closed. We almost didn't go for that reason but there is so much more to see alongside the tree. Also, the website makes no mention of the go ape set up, nor any or the walks and trails that surround the tree which is something or a poor show really.

Whilst we were there, ABC. News were there filming as they were doing a feature on the tree and asking visitors opinions on it being closed. So and I were interviewed, both looking as rough as a bag of spammers, so I'm pretty confident that our interview won't get shown. I explained to them that Erin had climbed it when she was just. 5 and that it held many happy memories for us. They asked if we had any photos of the little Erin climbing the tree that we could send them. Obviously I do , but they are all at home, in albums and I wouldn't have the first idea of where to direct anyone to look for them. I asked Kay if she had any but she doesn't so they'll either have to wait till we get home or go without the pic. As we were leaving, a lady who was interviewed prior to us, gave us a Pemberton tree coin, which I thought was really nice. Turns out she's a local and is leading the fight to keep it open. Pemberton agriculture business has had an absolute battering during 2023 so they all now rely on tourism heavily to get by. You wouldn't believe how emotional I felt coming from there, that beautiful old forest isn't being promoted and if something isn't done I'm pretty sure the town will wither and die. That would be the biggest shame of all. Bloody politicians. I thought it was interesting that I was asked if I would allow the kids to do the climb now, had the tree been opened, which if they wanted to do, then they could. I feel kids need to learn to take responsibility for themselves and make decisions based on their own common sense. There is very little in the way of health and safety around the tree, which I suspect is another reason they want to close it, however, I think that climbing trees and doing things that are a little dangerous is good for a kid they learn to trust their own instincts, and also being outdoors is far better for them than being stuck indoors. Meh that's just me!!

Even Bob was gutted he couldn’t get any further than this

From Pemberton we drove to Augusta and visited the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. The lighthouse is the tallest one in mainland Australia and is still in use today. Since it became operational there has not been a shipwreck, and when it was opened it was dedicated to the worlds mariners. It's supposed to be haunted but the seven flights of stairs to climb it heard me saying oh hell no! It's a beautiful spot where you can sit and watch the waves roll in, also at the right time of year you can see migrating whales on the bay. The inlet is the most south westerly point of western Australia and where the Indian and southern ocean meet.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Construction of the lighthouse began in 1895 and is built out of hand carved Tamala limestone that was quarried a few miles away. It was transported 1.2km to the construction site by a temporary railway but the train wasn't powered it was pulled by horses. It was finished in a year and opened for use in 1896.

We called into a cafe called no sin cafe, well it was actually called no sun cafe but I read it wrong. The cake we thought we had better try was pretty darn good. We'd parked the camper outside and when we got back in we logged onto the Augusta wifi to try and find somewhere to stay the night. A lot of the camps were booked out but we had passed one on our way into Augusta called Munday campsite, as luck would have it, it has a spot and we went straight there. Right next door to it was another campground called Boogaloo, it had some smart looking yurts pitched up and advertised itself as a yoga retreat. I just loved the name. The site was pretty busy with lots of families. Showers toilets and sinks were all in individual cubicles spotlessly clean and each one had a perch stool, towel rail and hooks on the wall to hang your clothes . There was a camp kitchen, which we only used to wash up. But it had a BBQ that was available for use if we wanted it.

Munday Campsite camp kitchen

Being the Christmas season the cubicles had Merry Christmas decorations on the doors and there were fairy lights EVERYWHERE!! I wouldn't say it was one of my favourite campsites but it was clean, had good facilities, and had room for us for the night which was a bonus for sure!

A few games of cards with wine and cinnamon tea finished the day of nicely and as soon as it got dark we were in bed.

Much love


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