Loud voices, blue skies and tall trees

The road trip sing-along is a place of no judgement.  No matter how bad, there is an unspoken agreement that everyone sounds fabulous.

Last week we road-tripped down to the amazing Karri forests in south-west Western Australia (WA).

We fired up the iPod, and – covering all decades and many genres since about 1955 – we sang loudly.  Badly.  Proudly.

Between Perth and Pemberton there are many delightful places to stop, wander, explore.  We took a vehicular stroll through dairy farms, orchards, forest, and small towns.

At Coffee O’clock we stopped in Donnybrook. The boys’ iced coffees were served in 1ltr preserving jars.  The coffee was…acceptable.

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Two hours later we arrived in Pemberton.  Well-trained by childhood road-trips, I sniffed out the bakery for lunch, then gravitated to a stall on the side of the road selling delicious locally made jams.

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Fully loaded with saturated fat and sugar, we went on to the second-highest fire lookout tree in the world; the Gloucester Tree.  This is a magnificent tree with an un-magnificent name.

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Mark has a fear of heights and no intention of ever climbing it; I’d done it before so felt no need to subject myself to the terror/exhilaration again.  Kobi climbed the tree and returned satisfied to tick that off his bucket list.

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There are several options for bushwalking and we chose a gentle 1km meander through the ancient forest.

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The drive home took us through more forest as we weaved our way back to the freeway.

It’s a great day trip.  If time permits it could be a relaxing 3 or 4 days of exploring; there’s plenty of accommodation options and an ample supply of scenery, wineries, and bakeries.

The drive lends itself to singing, warbling, crooning and even in-your-seat dancing.

That being said, my dramatic, interpretive homage to Gene Pitney’s 24 Hours from Tulsa – a favourite of my late father – may have been taking it too far.  I think even dad would have changed the song.

And told me never to do it again.

Snorkelling and sugary delights

Yesterday’s mission – which was a resounding success – was to snorkel, so we ventured out for another meander.

We do ‘meander’ exceedingly well.

Our drive to Pereybere Beach took us through sugar cane fields, tourist towns with opulent beach-front villas, and narrow country streets. Along the motorway it’s about 20 minutes; the roads we took made the journey twice as long (and twice the pleasure).

The beach was as perfect as the reviews online said it would be:

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As the self-proclaimed ‘bag watcher’, I reclined gracefully (ish) on the towel while my husband and son enjoyed the delights of the bay. The beach was relatively quiet, and the beach hawkers respectful and polite when their offers to sell sarongs were declined.

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After we left the beach we followed the SatNav’s directions to what became a dead end. It was an adventurous ramble through increasingly narrow and rocky streets until we did a u-turn and found our way back to the highway.

A stop on the way home at L’aventure du Sucre where Mark tasted the locally produced, potent – and, he tells me, delicious – rum:
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And Kobi and I experienced the delight that is molasses:
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It’s a whole new world of delicious.

A very Ralph road-trip to The Pinnacles

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My dad Ralph favoured back roads and short cuts – which were almost always not short cuts – for his Sunday Drives which usually happened on other days of the week.

In September he visited us in Perth, and we did a Ralph Road Trip to the Pinnacles.

It was of his quintessential back-road-short-cut meandering Sunday Drive on a Wednesday.

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Entry to the National Park is $11. Once in there are options to walk or drive through the Pinnacles, and the visitor centre hosts an interactive museum. I feel the same way about museums as I do about zoos, so that part was lost on me, but most folk seem to enjoy it.

The Pinnacles are part of Nambung National Park and are natural limestone structures formed A Long Time Ago.

This is the land of the Nyoongar people (also: Nyungar, Noongar), and Namburg is a Aboriginal word meaning ‘crooked’.

….Okay, I’ll ‘fess up. That’s the extent of my knowledge of the history of the area. I probably should have paid more attention to the interactive museum….

I do know the coastal towns of Jurien Bay and Lancelin are an easy drive (30 minutes north and 60 minutes south respectively).

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Being only 200km north of Perth this is – in West Australian terms – an easy day trip. Straight up the Indian Ocean Drive, it takes about 2 hours.

We, of course, did the back road short cut. Which took 4 hours.

But we saw some cool (and some slightly bizarre) things on the way:

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tree back roads

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The journey and the company he kept was always more important for my dad than the destination.