On Monday evening, and prior to our departure from Albany, we had a few quiet ones with our hosts Mike and Caryn, the managers of the Emu Bay Park. With Rod and Mike both originally from New Plymouth, they had a few tales to swap about life in the town in those earlier days. As it turned out they both did the same milk round as kids but under different owners. While the money was good for the day, neither of them liked the 3am starts. Mike’s mum still lives in the same street in New Plymouth as Rod and his family did when they resided there.
On Tuesday morning is was back on the road and heading toward Esperance. We really had no plan other than to stop when we found something interesting. About 100km later we arrived at the Boxwood Hill Roadhouse and the turnoff to Bremer Bay. The Roadhouse had a lovely little café attached, the Bush Chook Café, so we decided to make that our lunch stop. We had no details of Bremer Bay and none of our fellow travellers had mentioned they had been there so after lunch we thought we would take the risk and travel the 60km and make a visit.
We ended up by staying three nights at the Bay in a small camp at the entrance to Point Henry Peninsula. Bremer Bay is a town of about 240 people and is situated on the south coast of Western Australia between Albany and Esperance and at the mouth of the Bremer River. Interestingly, the area’s electricity is generated by a wind-diesel hybrid system. In 2012, the town was menaced by a bushfire that burnt for five days after being started by lightning. The fire burnt out 10,000 hectares of farmland and bushland and was bought under control just outside of the town. Bremer Bay is known for its beautiful beaches, fishing and diving opportunities. On Wednesday we took the jeep and visited as many bays as we were able to access. It seemed to us that all roads led to a stunning beach. While having the 4WD made life a little bit easier, some of the roads made for a very ‘rough’ journey.
On Wednesday night the weather turned nasty. We had thunder and lightening and it poured down most of the night. We tossed up on Thursday morning whether to get back on the road or stay put. At around 10am with the rain continuing to come down, we made the decision to stay put for another 24 hours. We were on higher ground and nowhere near trees so we felt quite comfortable about our position. As a result of the rain, the dirt track from the camp back onto the road had turned soft and we wanted to avoid a ‘bogged down’ situation. In the end we had a relaxing and pleasant day – we watched a few DVD’s, caught up on our reading and in the periods of ‘no rain’, we explored the local area on foot. Bremer Bay was a great little stopover and certainly worth the 60km diversion off the main South Coast Highway.
This morning the rain had cleared so we decided to move on. Our first stop for the day was the little village of Jerramungup back on the South Coast Highway. Like most of these rural villages they are born out of local agricultural industry needs but are still interesting to travellers. We spent an hour or so strolling around before making our way further east to the next highway village of Ravensthorpe. Again we had a quick wander around the village, picked up a few groceries from the local IGA then sat in the motorhome debating our next big decision. Do we carry on to Esperance or do we turn right and visit the coastal village of Hopetoun. Hopetoun won the day and 50km later we arrived.
Hopetoun is on the south coast of Western Australia and is approximately 160 kilometres west of Esperance. The town was established in 1900 as a coastal town servicing the Phillips River Mining District and while nickel mining is still a major industry in the area, the town has also become a very popular holiday spot. We did a quick walk around when we arrived and managed to spot the primary school, police station, the pub, a bakery, supermarket, two Cafes, a gift/souvenir shop, a hairdresser, two beauty salons and a Hardware store all within about 500 metres. By this time it was getting late in the day so we have managed to find a parking spot for the night about two km out of town.
We will definitely be in Esperance tomorrow as Rod wants to find somewhere to watch the Kiwi’s/Kangaroo’s game and hopefully the All Black test later in the night. Our plan is to base ourselves in Esperance for the next four or five days and explore the area from there. We may even shift after four days and base ourselves in the Cape Le Grand National Park for a few nights.
Have a great weekend all.