It must take a bit more than one night of ‘roughing it’ to get used to it all I suppose as we woke up far too early. Thinking about it I am not too sure sleeping in a Wicked van exactly counts as being ‘rough’ but who knows. The Kookaburras had gone anyhow and taken their surliness with them but even then the day seemed to be taking its time in brightening up.
I got underway with the breakfast whilst Liz tidied up and tidied away the bedding. We then sat back and dined on omelette and beans but already the outdoors life was once more beginning to seduce us and by the time we had dined and had ourselves a cup of tea under the canopy of the trees we felt more than a match for whatever today could throw at us.
We then scarpered away from the campsite and I must admit to us not actually putting any money in the honesty box and furthermore I am ashamed to say that it was quite a thrill that we had outwitted the honesty system and not paid a bean – at his rate we will be able to afford to eat almost everyday – hoorah! In this area there were a number of caves we could visit but the first we went to was just a wee bit too expensive so we drove on to the next and the countryside during the drive was a delight. This area is carved up into loads of vineyards, farmer’s fields and the national parks and woodlands, really nice to drive through and you can almost feel it revitalising you and dissipating the aches we were feeling earlier in the morning.
We decided to go and have a look around the Margaret river area and perhaps go for a walk there but after chatting to the ladies at the Tourist Information Bureau nearby we settled on continuing a bit further to a place called Prevelly on the coast to go and stretch our legs. By now the sky was turning steel grey and quite angry looking but we were not deterred so we drove off towards the place, set on having a wander round. Upon reaching Prevelly the winds were high but still reasonably warm so we parked up at a little car park near a children’s playground and took the short walk to the water’s edge. The waves looked really dramatic, real surfing waters, the entire place had a wild but quite a rugged look about it without looking too bleak or melodramatic. We took a walk along the beach to where the Margaret river reaches the sea and then back again, along the way we read one of the boards that told the story about Surfers Point the reason why the place has been put on the map. The most challenging of the breaks are the Super Tubes where the waves break over sharp reef in shallow water – if you fall off here you would probably end up looking like you had been through a cheese grater … urgh!
Besides the violence of the waves and the stormy grey of the skies there were lots of beautiful wild flowers covering the wild grasses and the ground around the dunes close to the beach. The place was so very atmospheric that we just drove a short way up the hill on the way out and we found a lay-by where we could better survey the scene. Even better, in our new mobile home we could have a little break with a cuppa and drag out our folding chairs so we were quite comfortable as we surveyed it all. We remembered that Prevelly was a place that Neil came to surf so he must be either very good or not a little crazy, though my guess is that perhaps he has an even mix of the two!
After another drive it was then to go and find the caves – Ngiliga Caves at that, this place like lots of Aborigine place names along the way, are quite a mouthful. Over here in Australia the inhabitants seem to names their places and streets after the first thing they see or that comes to mind, the Aborigines though just seem to throw letters together, I am sure that is just their language but it does seem a mouthful. The caves lie underneath the limestone ridge that forms the headland of Cape Naturaliste. For the Aborigines the caves have a fascinating association between a good spirit called Ngilgi and an evil spirit called Wolgine. Either way it was a great find and made even better by the guide’s real enthusiasm for the place, as she put it she was a true spelunker (!!). The caves had loads of small stalagtites as well as some halactites, something I had never heard of before. Halacites, so our guide informed us quite excitedly, are rock formations that simply beggar belief and defy all explanation and she knows this because she follows such things and knows that very clever people have tried explaining them but have been lost for words! My explanation, though I must admit to not being one of the world’s greatest minds in ‘rockology’ or any other ology for that matter, is that they are ‘tites’ which look like they have been disfigured and are bent this way and that in order to perplex the greatest minds! As I said the caves were good though but Liz did get caught trying to touch one of the ‘tites’ and told off … lol! Like I say it had been a really good visit and so much the better for the guide being so enthusiastic about the place and the subject matter.
After the caves we then continued on to the cape, Cape Naturaliste to see the lighthouse and, if we were lucky, possibly to see whales as well. From where we parked up it was a nice walk down to the viewing platforms which were perched high on the cliffs above the waters but it was great vantage point. We looked and we looked and we looked to that point where we even thought we were seeing things but the whales they eluded us this time but we can wait, we will see whales oh yes, we will see whales! The lighthouse looked good though (yes I know it is not as good as a whale!!) but we did not venture in as there were a lot of touristy people around it but the whole thing had been a nice detour.
We left here and just had time for one more stop-off before going to find camp and this was at a place that Sue had recommended to us – Meelup Beach. Now this turned out be a really nice little beach but as the skies were greying further it was not at its best so after a quick run around we set off again. First a quick stop off to a shop to buy provisions – a couple of beers to celebrate surviving two days of our wicked tour of Oz. Then on to our next campsite and first off we actually managed to miss it! It was quite well hidden though, a grassy land with lots camper vans on it! Anyhow we soon enough turned around and went back and even then it did not seem like there was any room for us but everyone breathed in and we fitted in nicely on the end though, that’s just the backpacking spirit!
Once ‘camped’ we had ourselves another very nice meal and toasted ourselves as we drank our beers, whilst we did this a guy called Dennis popped over to chew the fat and generally give us tips on good apps that we could use whilst travelling as well as giving us the lowdown on places to visit and all that. We did notice though that the place had no toilet so I hope when the beers work their way through us there are not too many people about whilst we go for a piddle!