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  • Writer's pictureClaire

10/01/24. Augusta to Dunsborough

Good morning lovely people!! Another bright sunshiny day in Augusta. Up at the crack of cow poo, ready to out some more miles on the van. Our first stop of the day was Hamelin Bay. You can get to the beach from the car parks which have great facilities or by following a path around me to the boat launch which is what we did. The beach, as per ALL Australian beaches is stunning, with the obligatory crystal clear waters and soft white sand. It was quite busy but given the size of the beach not crowded if you get what I mean? As we walked down the jetty, on the left there were a lot of people in the water, not an unusual scene for Australia, but what was unusual were the stingrays. These beautiful creatures swim right into the shallows and weave in and out of peoples legs. They were all sizes and we spent ages there just watching them float along and swim around our legs.

An American man was in the water too, and freaked out when a stingray touched his leg as it swam by. He yelped and turned so fast that he fell into the water, fully clothed, phone and all. The funniest part was him regaining his footing, I've never seen anyone scramble so fast to get out of the water (well apart from me). The more he scrabbled about the more he kept falling back in. His family were next to useless, they were far too busy filming him and laughing at him. For that matter so was everyone else, I think I found it so amusing because it would normally have been me in that situation.

Smooth stingrays, black stingrays, and eagle rays l, all equally beautiful, inhabit the shallow waters of the bay which is in the Ngari Capes marine park.

Hamelin Bay stingrays

On the jetty there is a sign that asks you not to feed them because the food is encouraging sharks closer into the shore. What did we see when we arrived?? No... not a shark, but some random woman feeding scraps of bread to the rays. (Eye roll here) I don't know much about Rays but I'm pretty sure sliced white bread is not a part of their regular dietary requirements.

The experience of having them swim right up to us in such shallow waters was amazing, we could have stayed for hours just watching them interact with us but sadly we had more places to go and things to see. They can be seen most days during the summer and very occasionally in the winter months.

From Hamelin Bay we carried on North towards Margaret River, an area known for its excellent wine production. There are vineyards every way you look, of all sizes. The region is ideal for grapes because it has a Mediterranean style climate, and doesn't experience extreme summer and winter temperatures. Besides vineyards the area has several hundred cave's, of which 6 are open to the public. Mamoth Cave, which is just south of the town, contains fossils dating back over 35,000 years. It was first discovered by European settlers in 1850, and has been open to the public since 1904. Unfortunately we didn't discover until afterwards, it is one of the few caves in Australia that offers partial disabled access.

The town is very busy, and has all sorts of artisan shops, my favourite one being the Fudge Shop!! There were several chocolate factories along the route, but because I'm on a diet we didn't stop. (Dramatic sigh) we had a lovely walk around and had a delicious lunch, it's such a chilled out place and has everything. Wine, tall forests, sandy beaches, good surfing (clearly not for me anymore) little cafes, galleries and a pub! What more could you ask for?!

As well as all the culinary delights, the coast is popular for whale watching and gives views of hump back whales from June to December.

Damn ducks

Due to my exceptionally bad organisational skills, we were unable to stay in Margaret River for the night so we ended up in Dunsborough. It was actually quite nice, well except for the duck shit everywhere. The ducks were amusing, their poop, not so much. Our spot was under a tree so we were nicely shaded. The facilities were close to the van, but random tents pitched made for an assault course to the toilet block. White galahs were perched in the trees screeching to each other and bombing the ducks.

We employed incense sticks in the van after reading a sign in the toilets asking guests to keep the outer door shut due to mosquitoes. Having gone most of the road trip we didn't want to be nibbled at this late stage!! Wine, cheese, fruit and a game of crib finished off the day perfectly

Much love


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