On Sunday morning we bid farewell to Steve and Jane as they made their way toward Perth to ready themselves for their return to New Zealand for the summer. We also continued south only to pause 30km later at Cervantes. As we were taking a quick look, we came across a crayfish processing factory with a shop and restaurant attached. For the princely sum of $20 we were able to purchase a reasonably good-sized crayfish. Crayfish in hand, and because it was still so early in the day, we decided to carry on to New Norcia for the night and return to Cervantes on Monday for a couple of nights.
The navigator planned the route and decided we would tour the Pinnacles countryside on the way to New Norcia. It was a stunning journey through wheat fields, wildflowers, canola crops and sheep and cattle country. Again the climate made a huge difference to the vista. The area has had a bit of rain, it is green and the crops are flourishing. We stopped for an hour or so at the township of Moora for a bit of lunch (crayfish) and had a wander around the town then continued on to New Norcia.
The attraction and the fame of New Norcia is that it is the only monastic town in Australia. It is situated 130km north of Perth and on the banks of the Moore River. The New Norcia Benedictine Community is the official title of the group of Roman Catholic monks who have owned and operated the small town of New Norcia since 1847. The monastery has ownership of a little over 8000 hectares surrounding the monastery and the nine monks in residence manage its business. The monastery employs just over 60 staff in a variety of roles and its primary income is derived from cropping and the 10,000 head of sheep on the property.
We arrived just in time on Sunday afternoon to undertake a formal tour of the town and the monastery. The town’s building are in a Spanish style of architecture and the historical sites including two old boarding schools, an old mill, a wine press, a hotel (still operating), and the monastery itself. Our tour guide had worked in the town for 40 years so was able to provide us with a great history. We parked up for the night in a field next to the monastery itself.
Monday morning it was back on the road to complete the navigator’s loop of the Pinnacles countryside. We headed southeast to the small country town of GinGin for morning tea then travelled north through Dandaragan and onto the Emu Downs Wind farm for lunch. We are not really into wind farms but just so as you know we were paying attention the wind farm has 48 turbines, produces 80 megawatts, supplies 50,000 homes and only requires 7 people to operate and maintain the farm.
After lunch it was onto Cervantes. The total distance of the navigator’s Pinnacles countryside tour was approximately 250km. While New Norcia was our ‘must see’, the rest of the tour enabled us to visit a number of other small country communities we would not have otherwise seen.
Cervantes has been our home for two nights. The village has a population of about 450 and is a laid back fishing settlement about 198 kilometres northwest of Perth. Our park up was the local caravan park approximately 50 metres from the waters edge and with a great view of the towns fishing fleet tied up on buoys about 100 metres from the shore.
We can already attest to the quality of the crayfish and we can now confirm the marinated octopus is delicious. The Indian Ocean Rock Lobster Factory and its associated restaurant “The Lobster Shack” is directly on the beach and they have a broad range of fish products available. They also allow self-guided tours of their factory where one can see how the lobster gets from the ocean to the dinner plate. We have spent a bit of time at the Lobster Shack!!
We are reluctantly departing Cervantes tomorrow and continuing toward Perth. The goal is to make Yanchep by tomorrow night.