The last two days in Perth were sombre affairs. On Friday night we bid farewell to grandsons #1,2 and 3 who returned to New Zealand to start the new school term. A few tears were shed by all at the departure gate and we are sure they would have stayed on if the opportunity was available. Still, they had a great holiday with us in the motorhome and there will be many more when we are back home next year.
Saturday night we attended a farewell bbq at the home of daughter Tiffany and partner Charles. This was the last opportunity to catch up with them before we left Perth on Sunday. It was a sad night in a way as baby Mia was now recognising us and Caleb loved having us around. Son Josh and his lady Tarsh also came along to make it a Western Australia whanau event.
We departed Perth on Sunday morning and made our way south passing by Kwinana, Fremantle, Rockingham and Mandura (we have visited all these places in the past so saw no reason to stop) before hooking a left and making our way inland to the tiny settlement of Dwellingup. The Dwellingup area was born in 1896 as a result of a developing forestry and milling industry. It was established as a town in 1910 when it became the administration centre for local rail, medical and other forestry support services. Dwellingup will always be remembered ‘as the little town that was wiped out in 1961 by a major bush fire’. While there was no loss of life, the majority of the township was burned to the ground.
The main reason for our visit to Dwellingup was to catch up with our mate Greg Caswell who owns the very popular winery ‘The Wine Tree’ just out of the village. He produces a top quality range of ciders, wines and ginger beers and has a constant flow of visitors and patrons on most days. It was great to catch up with Greg again and to see his business flourishing. Many thanks for your hospitality Greg and we look forward to your visit to Whangamata next year.
We left Dwellingup around mid afternoon on Sunday and made our way back to the coast and onto the city of Bunbury. Bunbury’s first settlers arrived in 1838 but it was not until the Donnybrook goldrush in 1897 that the small colonial outpost became a town. We had heard nice things about the Bunbury area so we decided to make it our home for three days. We have been parked up at Koombana Bay just a 10 minute stroll from the city centre and a 2 minute stroll to Koombana beach. The weather has been very kind to us with 26C days and down to 12C nights. Good for this time of the year.
Bunbury is one of those towns where you can walk or cycle everywhere. It is very flat and not too far to anywhere. We managed to get around most of the town and enjoy what has to offer. The standout for us was the number of restaurants and café’s in the town. There was any and every type of food available. There also seemed to be an abundance of beauty salons and hair dressing salons. We are not sure if there is a link between food and beauty here but we are sure that if challenged, we could make something up.
We made a visit to the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Koombana Bay. The Bay has a resident population of about 100 bottlenose dolphins who swim very close to the beach each day. While still ‘free’, they interact quite willingly with people wading in the water along the shore. A liberating experience.
We will reluctantly leave Bunbury tomorrow (Wednesday) morning and continue our journey. For those travellers reading our blog and if you are meandering south for the summer, make Bunbury one of your stopovers. It is a very relaxing parkup. Our plan tomorrow is to drive inland and do a big loop to incorporate visits to the areas many wine regions, National Parks, State Forests, rivers and dams. Just for your information there are over 40 wineries producing under their own labels operating in this area. Most offer cellar door and food facilities. Goodness it is going to be a tough few days!! Our loose plan is to be back on the coast just south of Bunbury at Capel in about 10 days time. Too much to see and so little time. We are hoping we will have reception most of the way so will update the blog when we can.