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  • Writer's pictureClaire

11/01/24 Dunsborough to Mandurah

Our days driving are getting shorter because we are reaching the end of the trip. Also I'm knackered and finding it all a bit hard going now so easy days are the way forward. Being woken by the quacking ducks, we sorted out the van and were on the road by 9.30. We drove into Dunsborough, a popular tourist destination, with boutique shops restraunts and cafes galore. I spotted a pink cafe on our wandering, and had already made a mental note for later. Not only was it pink, it had stuffed chairs outside to sit on, a sofa inside and it was a chocolate place. If thats not heaven I dont know what is!! Oh and fairy lights. It was almost as if it had my name on the board inside, drawing me in like a magnet. When we had finished exploring we headed back to the little pink shop and sadly the outside chairs were taken. Inside however, right under the aircon, the sofa was free so we grabbed it. For a small place it was really busy with a rapid turnover of customers. Having tasted the smoothies i could see why.

From Dunsborough we drove to Bussleton. Its a really popular holiday destination and is home to the Bussleton Jetty, the longest wooden jetty (pier) in the southern hemisphere. it measures 1,841 metres long, and is managed by a not for profit organisation. Its construction began in 1864, and the first section was opened in 1865. Over the years it was extended numerous times until the 1960's and the last commercial vessel to call in at it was in 1971. The following year it was closed and passed to Bussleton Shire and its been gradually restored and improved since then. Clearly it's made of stern stuff, for it has survived Cyclone Alby in 1978, weathering, several fires and the threat of demolition and is now a major tourist attraction.

The jetty now boasts a railway track that transports tourists the length of it and also takes them to an underwater observatory, which is one of only 6 underwater aquariums in the world. The origional train was replaced with a solar powered electric vehicle in 2017.

Down the side ot the jetty are memorial plaques for people who had their ashes scattered from the jetty. Several young lads were also fishing off it when we were there and there are sinks and worktops on which to clean your fish. That's a monster bonus as it saves doing it at home. Being over a mile out to sea didn't thrill me to be honest, but in other news I could see the bottom and there were lots of people around. We gave the underwater observatory a miss too( jaws) and the seabed walking where they put a massive helmet on your head and you walk on the sea bed ..... why? Just why would you want to do that anyway? just snorkell, or better yet, look over the jetty. At the end there is a sign post with the mileage and directions of places you might want to go, not dissimilar to John O Groats and Lands End. We had the obligatory cheesy pictures taken there. It was a boiling hot day, so as we were already facing the right direction to get off the jetty we rolled back to solid ground.

From Bussleton, we drove towards Bunbury, I can remember wading into the water and having bottlenose dolphins swimming in and butting my shins and I wanted to see if they were still there. trouble being, I couldn't for the life of me remember where the beach was. In fairness it was 30 years ago... and I have suffered a significant head injury since then. So I was directing poor Simon to where I thought it was and we ended up in an industrial area with no entry signs everywhere. Definitely didnt remember that, so I approached good old google maps. This time the lonely planet guide to Australia isnt really cutting it, in fact i would go as far as to say as its been pretty useless. Note to self, don't waste any more money on lonely planet guides. Google led us to a lookout point in Vittoria where we were lucky enough to see dolphins but we couldnt have got into them if we'd ed wanted to. We saw several, and I'm still not sure if we were even at the right place. There is a beach there, but I not convinced it was the right beach. Suddenly we heard a scream from a woman so being the nosy people we are, we went to investigate. A young woman with a little girl had had a black snake slither across the sand in front of her, and was taken somewhat by surprise. We had a look around for it but it was long gone. The scream she let out, I would have been long gone too had i been a snake.

The beach area was quite deserted and the waves were quite gently lapping at the shoreline. Did I dip my toe in ? Nope not today. we had places we needed to be and things to see.

Next stop Mandurah,,our stop for the night. On our way there we passed through some pretty upmarket properties on the water. You know the types, with the odd boat parked up outside massive properties. The campsite was Mandurah coastal caravan site and was 500 metres from the beach. It was clean, and we were close to the facilities which to my mind is always a bonus. There were a lot of permanent residental caravans, and the residents kept pretty much to themselves so it was very quiet. The site was the cleanest one yet, and you could only enter the facilities by key, so Iuess that's what keeps it clean. The parrots were deafening as the sun was setting, and I managed to capture the sound on video even though the parrots were too far away to capture clearly visually . The sunset was beautiful and the sky was painted blush pinks, oranges, peach lemon and when the trees framed it, the sight was quite something. As soon as the sun had sunk from the sky, turning day into night the birds silenced, it was pretty much instantanious. All that remained were gentle murmurs floating on the breeze and the rustling of the leaves.

We sat outside til well after dark trying to cool off, the day had been very hot and sticky. At the time it was a grand idea, but then the mosquitoes attacked...

Much love


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