Tag Archives: western australia

Following the Everlasting Wildflower Trail

The Everlasting Wildflower Trail runs in a loop from Perth to Mullewa via both Indian Ocean Drive and the Great Northern Highway.  The total distance, round trip, would be a little over 900 km.

Everlasting TrailI would recommend at least one week of driving if you plan to complete the entire trail.  As we only had a day, we made New Norcia our first stop.  If we had time, we would tackle the drive to Dalwallinu.

On many roads ‘travelled’, I generally do not drive with the purpose of destination.  In fact the destination is the journey.  And our journey was labelled “The Hunt for Wildflowers’ with no particular end point in mind.  Notably, Dalwallinu is known for a number of wildflower patches, so making it to this point would be ‘blooming amazing’.

New Norcia lies just off the Great Northern Highway.  The Great Northern Highway will take you to the furthest point in Western Australia called Wyndham, roughly 3,200 km north of Perth.  I can guarantee that this town is not part of this journey!

We were barely on the Great Northern Highway when I began noticing paddocks of purple flowers.  I had questioned myself the night before whether this would be the correct route, and seeing hues of purples and blues put me a ease.’

Wildflowers Western Australia
Much to my horror – I found that this patch of purple hue is actually a weed known at the Paterson’s Curse.

Of course, regular stops became part of the route.  I was amazed at just how many wildflowers there were.

For the untrained eye, you will generally see brown scrub.  In most cases, wildflowers don’t grow in carpets of color.  So, you really need to keep a watch for patches of color in between the brown grassland that lines each side of the road.

It took us almost 5 hours to reach New Norica.  Given the distance which is roughly 96 km, we should have reached this in one hour.  However, that would mean your destination was New Norica and NOT wildflowers.

Wildflowers Western Australia
Rough Leaved Cone Flower
(Isopogon scabriusculus)

For any first time travelers to this neck of the woods, I would recommend taking your time.  October is a great time to travel along the Great Northern High, as hills are green, rivers are full and colors just seem to light up mood and landscape.

Hills in Chittering
Green Hills During Spring Time!

Arguably, you will be tempted to stop frequently.  I know we did.  Apart from Wildflowers, there are some unique stops that the whole family can enjoy.  One of these is the Bindoon Museum.

Bindoon Museum

Unfortunately for us, it is only open on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.  However, seeing that we made the stop for a little ‘look see’, I was happy to find some more wildflowers.  And the Wildflower hunt continues!

Wildflowers Western Australia
Honey Bush (Hakea lissocarpha)

With lunchtime fast approaching, I decided that it was time to go directly to New Norica.  No stopping – No side tracks – just a direct route to the only Monastery in Australia. Apart from historical architecture dating back to the early 1800’s, you can either enjoy a wander around town ‘solo’ or join one of the local tours.

New Norcia

As New Norcia is part of the Everlasting trail, I was fixated on finding as many wildflowers as possible.  To my delight, there were a number of wildflowers in and around New Norcia and because of the recent rains, they were in full bloom.

Wildflowers Western Australia
Kangaroo Paw

The Kangaroo Paw is one of my more favorite wildflowers.  I spent the best of two years hunting for them.  Of course, I was looking in the wrong places.  Kangaroo paw likes to grow in grass like terrain/shrubs.  As I stated in the video, you could quite easily drive (or walk) past them as your eyes become accustomed to the brown foliage.  Unknown to many newbies to Wildflowers, there is actually two other types of Kangaroo Paws – The Green Kangaroo Paw and the Black Kangaroo Paw.  Both of these are found further north (Moora to Cataby and Minginew to GinGin)

Wildflowers Western Australia
According to information found this is a Myrtle…possibly Heath Myrtle.

The above flower is what I found to be a Small White Myrtle.  However, there are discrepancies in the findings as most of the flowers I found are white and pink, where as this one is more white and green.

Wildflowers Western Australia
We have still not be able to identify this wildflower. It has four unique shaped petals. Please comment below if you recognize it!

This was a unique flower found among the grass lands.  I am still unable to locate a name for it, however if you know this flower please comment below.

Wildflowers Western Australia
Could be related to the eremophila family?

Wildflowers Western Australia

The above two flowers were found near fields.  They are quite common.  The pink colored flower is what I found to be a Pink Fairy Orchid.  Unfortunately, I am still on the hunt for the name of the white/yellow pea bush flower, but you will see them in fields and along road sides.

Wildflowers Western Australia
Marno ( Daviesia divaricata)

This little shrub is easily spotted.  This particular photo was taken just north of Bindoon along the roadside.  They tend to grow in patches making it easy to spot.

Wildflowers New Norcia Blue wild flowers
Blue Dampiera found along the road side. This is a typical wildflower sight when driving.
Wildflowers Western Australia
Geraldton Wax (Chamelaucium unicinatum)

Initially we called this an Emoji flower.  We located this flower by the Bindoon Museum.  However, we soon learnt that they are called the Geraldton Wax and is now one of the kid’s favorite wild flowers.

Wildflowers Western Australia

The above wildflower was found just outside of New Norcia.  It is a single stem white flower and I would like to lean towards a type of orchid.

There are many more photos, and I only captured a few.  However, if you plan to make this trip I suggest you take a few things with you:

  1.  A book on wildflowers (unless you are a professional in this area)
  2.  Make sure you wear the proper attire.  Even though it is hot, long pants/trousers will prevent you picking up things like ticks.  And, the correct shoes will help with traction.
  3. Take a good camera.  You really want to capture more than just a snap shot.  I used a Canon 550 D.  It is an older model but it works.  I also used my iPhone for landscape shots.
  4. Make sure you have plenty of water.  There are some gas stations along the way but they are not frequently spaced.  You may also consider taking snacks and/or a picnic basket.
  5. We filled up with fuel in Perth and were able to make a trip to New Norcia and back.  However, if you are running low on fuel, I recommend filling up when you can.

Outside of this, I hope you enjoy your journey.  From reading and research I have learnt I missed a number of wildflowers.  Hopefully I will still be able to find a few more in the next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Wonders of Yanchep National Park

Yanchep National Park can be found about 45 minutes north of Perth.  It is one of WA’s treasure troves which host an abundance of things to see and do – if you are the outdoor type person.

yanchep national park

Today, I decided to take the girls up to see this park.  I have visited here before, and have written about Cabaret Caves, however this time I wanted to show them the Wonders of Yanchep National Park.

Entry to the park costs about $12.00 per car.  If you are travelling in a bigger group than 6, I would suggest visiting the website to find out fees.

Lakeside Yanchep

I find Lakeside Park is a great place to start.  Apart from toilets (much needed after a long drive),  and a beautiful bbq/picnic area, this section of the park gives you access to view an abundance of wetland fauna and flora.  And, every time I visit this area, I see something a little different – today it was a line-up of Spoon-bills along the water’s edge!

Spoonbill Fauna Yanchep

After a little wander along the water’s edge, one can meander up towards the McNess information center.  Charles McNess was one of the main supporters to the park in the 1930’s. [When I write another article about Cabaret Caves – I will talk a little more of how much one person made an impact to a community!]

Photo by Gillian

I suggest you do not rush this walk, as I found that most of Nature’s beauty are hidden in broad daylight.  I know – an oxymoron – however it really is the truth.  So many people rush to a destination…and miss out on the journey along the way.  This little pathway to the information center is no exception to that rule.

McNess Building

Autumn, or the first weeks of winter, is a beautiful time to visit. Leaves are turning from green to hues of red, dry barren areas are now a rich lush carpet of grass, and animals/birds seem to be a better spirits.  Of course, having a cloudless day after two weeks of rain helps put everyone in better spirits – including me.

Over the next few weeks I will be talking about a few amazing areas that you can visit and see in Yanchep park.  So join me as I “stroll” through the park – article by article – and showcase some things you may just want to add to your bucket list!

Next Article:  Meet the Koala’s

Sailing with Wind Dancer Yacht Charters

Because of my encounter with a 22 footer many years ago, I have steered well clear of the water for many years. However, thanks to White Shark Africa in 2012, I tackled my fear of sharks which in turn, released this amazing amount of freedom.  When one is dominated by fear of a story you magnified in your head, one tends to miss out on a number of things which I would class as the ‘crushing of one’s spirit’.

Wind Dancer Yacht Charters

Since 2012, I have made leaps and bounds when it comes to water.  The first step was stepping into the ocean to swim.  I would normally be the one sitting by the beach watching everyone swim wishing I had the courage to do the same thing.

Wind Dancer Yacht Charters

Earlier this year I was given a kayak for my birthday.  I remember how nervous I was on the kayak and a mere 500 m paddle set my heart rate well into the 200’s.  I kept watching the water below, waiting for that 22 footer to show itself. [stories in your head]

Wind Dancer Yacht Charters

As each day goes past, I gain more confidence knowing that the sea demands 100% respect which I give in return for the freedom of my spirit.

Wind Dancer Yacht Charters

I firmly believe that there are a range of skills one must learn in life.   One of these skills is understanding water and wind which is encompassed through sailing.  So, when given the opportunity to learn to sail with Wind Dancer Yacht Charters, I committed with both curiosity and nervousness.   How will one know if you like something if you don’t give it a go?

Wind Dancer Yacht Charters

Tony from Wind Dancer Yacht Charters met us at Hillary Boat Harbour.  I invited my daughter to join me, as learning the skill of sailing is advantageous, especially for teenagers.

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I was a litter nervous at first, but after the rest of the “crew” (others seeking the adventures of the sea) arrived, Tony briefed us on the day and what to expect.  My daughter was given the helm, as we made our way outside of the harbour.  I looked in amazement how easy she took to the wheel navigating us through the maze of yachts & boats.  Tony was giving her instructions all the way, and one could see a sudden sense of confidence as she looked forward to big blue sea in front of us.

Wind Dancer Yacht Charters

The swells were fairly high, which I didn’t mind.  I did my small bit helping where I could but staying close to the entrance to the cabin.  Just when I was become comfortable with the gliding of the yacht through water, Tony called me to the helm.

A Road Travelled Sailing

I will admit that at first I was extremely nervous.  Even though I was told that turning the wheel, as seen in movies, is NOT what one would do in reality, I still found myself doing so.  Like most novice yachtsman (or woman in my case) I made a number of mistakes which I quickly learnt to correct.  I am not entirely sure when I become comfortable at the helm but I just remember looking down the bow of the yacht and thinking “WOW, I could do this everyday”.

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I could feel the yacht slicing through the water.  For that moment I was her [the yacht] and could feel every part of the water around her.  Tony started to teach me how to read the wind direction monitor on top of the mast as I headed the nose (bow) just a little left (port side) from direction into the wind.

Wind Dancer Yacht Charters

The swells became bigger and I began to have a lot more fun.  Somehow I could feel the boat riding up on the wave and then dropping down into the water.  Each drop of the bow caused water to spray over the boat.  It felt AMAZING!

Wind Dancer Yacht Charters

 

We tacked a few times.  While I was keeping the nose pointed into a direction, I began to observe the actions of the tack.  I watched the mast move, the sails adjust to the wind and felt the acceleration of the boat as we headed into another direction.

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Of course, I was loving the helm and even though I wanted others to share that same experience, secretly I did not.  I offered others to take over, but I think they all knew how much fun I was having and gracefully decline.  I was gracefully thankful.

wind dancer yacht charters

As time went on, I urged a few others to give it a go.  And in doing so, started to watch how things were done with more interest.  I was taught how to roll up rope and to move a mast.  I watched how Georgia, another crew member of Wind Dancer Yacht Charters, scaled up the mast.  She looked so nimble and I wondered if I could ever do that?

Wind Dancer Yacht Charters

The sail back to the harbour was a lot calmer with the wind behind us.  I grabbed my camera and began to take photos.  Everyone seemed to relax a little more, including myself.  Somehow I found my spirit – or did my spirit finally find me?

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Upon entering into the harbour, it was noticeable that I was a different person.  I didn’t initially feel it, but I think another yachtsman can sense when someone has been ‘set free’!  Or maybe it was this smile on my face that remained there hours after our voyage – not entirely sure!  But the world did look different and I felt extremely happy!

Wind Dancer Yacht Charters

I would like to thank Wind Dancer Yacht Charters for inviting me for this amazing experience today.  I know they will see me again in the near future.  So much to learn, so much to experience and so little time to do so!

Wind Dancer Yacht Charters
Photo By Georgia at Wind Dancer Yacht Charters

If you would like to experience something like this, then you can book an experience with Wind Dancer Yacht Charters.  They are offering an ‘Introduction to Sailing’ for December 2016 and January 2017 for only $70.00 which is an amazing value considering the length you are out at sea together with the amount of things you learn.  Who knows – you may just find true happiness on the water and that, in itself, is priceless.

 

 

 

Corrigin Golf Club

As I travel, I find  golf courses becoming progressively better.  Unfortunately I did not have clubs with me, however I am thinking a Golfing TRIO now!

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Corrigin Golf Club will cost a little more than Kondinin Golf Club but rightfully so.  Besides having a hole on the green, this course actually has flags!  Wahoooooo!  It will cost $5.00 for 18 holes!  Well worth the experience!

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Another feature this course has is a practice fairway.  I think I have just found the new Long Drive Championship course.  With the practice fairway extending past 300 meters means that a quick bush clear out at the bottom end can accommodate the BIG hitters.

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Of course….I can see ego coming into the picture with a little more run than usual.  Hopefully in the right direction!  [LOL]

I just want to hit my driver here just to see how far it will go? WORLD RECORD maybe???
I just want to hit my driver here just to see how far it will go? WORLD RECORD maybe???

The tees are made from artificial turf.  The fairways are about the same as Kulin, but I think these are cut a little shorter.  The greens seems to be made of oil sand or black sand, but this time they have a scraper by the green so that you can smooth out the surface after you finish the hole.

The practice fairway
The practice fairway

Outside of this, the rules are pretty tough.  I thought the course by itself would be a challenge. However, one can receive a 2 shot penalty if you hole a ball of edge of scraper mark.   I not entirely sure what this all means but I can only guess that if you run a groove through the hole and then putt and hole out…then you receive the penalty

Is that a Short Game Practice Green?
Is that a Short Game Practice Green?

Of course, one can clean the ball only on the same fairway.  This is pretty interesting because if you hit a great shot and it hits a rock to be deflected to another fairway – you are out of luck.

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However…you can place the ball.  So it is all good…only if that ball is on the same fairway and green of the hole you are playing.  Phew – these guys are tough….!

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Tips for playing this course:

  1. I would say – second hand clubs come into the picture?
  2. Water, Suncreen, and Hat
  3. Aim for the center of the hole when putting.
  4. Watch out for snakes.  Apparently you play at your own risk!  LOL
  5. Technically I would take a wood, an iron and a putter with some balls.  I guess that helps me have a quick getaway in case I see a few brown things moving in the grass! 😉

 

 

Salt Rocks and Sculptures

Just outside of Kondinin you will find these sculptures placed perfectly by a Green Salt Lake.  Unfortunately, after some research on the official Kondinin page, I could could not find a name for the place or the sculptures.

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Is That Rain?

The four sculptures are marked with the following labels:

  1.  Is that Rain
  2. Crop Inspection
  3. Clearing Land
  4. Shearing
pick-up
Crop Inspection

From what I can I can gather, these sculptures tell a story of this area which include Clearing Land, Rain, Crop Inspection and Shearing.  However, as it the sculptures are also by the Salt Lake it could also mean how the clearing of the land created the Salt Lakes!

Clearing
Clearing Land

One can easily drive past the lake as there is no signage.  However, because I was curious to find out more, I did a quick U-Turn and parked in a safe area away from the road.

Plough
Shearing

Although there was a fence around this entire area, there was a wooden framed doorway which basically said:  “Welcome – Please explore!”  [invitation accepted]

Because it was in the middle of the day, I paid particular attention to moving objects on the ground.  (i.e. snakes). At first, my interest was more drawn to the sculptures.  I was hoping to find some history about them.  Unfortunately – NOT!

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Then I was drawn to the white frosted edging around the lake.  The closer I walked, the more salty and acidic the air became.  I questioned whether salt could be an acid and with some research, found that there is an Acid Salt.  [Glad I did not put my foot into that water!!!!!]

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There were not many living things around this lake.  It reminded me of movies such as ‘2012’….and I remember making comments to the kids that jumped into the acid lake that they should have known better by observing the environment.  I observed….nothing but dead wood and a floating feather.  Maybe the remnants of an unfortunate bird?

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Under closer exception I could feel the salt crystals crush under my feet.  For those familiar with this area may laugh at my description of this area … they may even suggest to scoop up some salt for use at home!  I prefer to follow one of my rules “Better be SAFE than SORRY!”  Besides – if everyone scooped up salt – what would be left???

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Overall – I was really glad to have stopped.  I am sure the water was not that bad (although I was not willing to take that test).  The sculptures were amazing…and I can now say — “Been There – Done That ——> BOUGHT the T-Shirt!”

The Quokka on Rottnest Island

The Quokka is one of the animals found on Rottnest.  They used to be found in abundance in and around Fremantle, however with the introduction of predators they were quickly eradicated.

That look of: 'Not entirely sure I am enjoying this Paparazzi experience!'.
That look of: ‘Not entirely sure I am enjoying this Paparazzi experience!’.

The Quokka itself is a very friendly animal.  They are know to carry salmonella which was only discovered in the mid 1900’s when there were horses on the island.  They are unsure if the introduction of horses introduced salmonella or the rottnest is the host to salmonella, however they do know that Quokkas carry a form of salmonella.

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Quokkas were originally thought to be big rats.  This is how Rottnest acquired its name initially which is Dutch for “Rat Nest’.  At first glance, it can be thought to be a rat as they have the same shape face with tail  However, Quokka are marsupials and are the only member of the genus Setonix.

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One of the main problems Quokka have on the island is being fed by humans.  Quokka are very sensitive to any yeast products which causes them to loose their fur.  Tourist often think they are helping a Quokka by giving them a piece of bread, however they are only shortening their life span.

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Another problem Quokka experience are humans themselves.  I found many children either feeding Quokkas sweets or using a stick to probe them.  If you are travelling to the island with young kids, make sure they understand how to treat an animal.  Quokka are on the endangered list.

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While the main town has a number of Quokkas, one can find Quokkas all through the island.  Some of the Quokkas in the town are a little shy of humans (for obvious reasons) however I find the Quokkas further west are a little more naive and inquisitive.

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Whatzzup???

 

Quokka Experience Tips:

Do not feed the Quokkas even if you think fruit may not harm them.  Their system is used to all things on the island and introducing any new foods can be lethal.

Please take note of a Quokka’s behavior.  If they make an effort to run away from you, please do not chase them.

Some Quokkas love the camera.  Enjoy your moment with them in their own habitat.  Please do not pick them up for a quick photo.