One of the things that many retired people look forward to is to travel, I was no exception, desiring to see the world and re connect with old friends. This trip to Australia was a fulfillment of those dreams. I was fortunate to have timed my trips just weeks ahead of the COVID 19 epidemic when this would not have been possible. I am truly blessed to have had this opportunity which may never be a possibility for some of you as travel will not be the same again for a long time, so I wanted to share this with you so you can enjoy it with me..
The drive through from Perth to Dunsborough was uneventful as we drove through the Western Australian open bushland with low scrub trees, plants and open fields, quite different vegetation to Queensland’s tropical forests. After driving through Church Mile, an area donated for church and scouting camp sites, we arrived in Dunsborough and went straight to the Sculpture by the Bay Exhibition as it was closing at two o’clock. We wandered through the sculptures, some of which were very inspiring. A large clay snake made by school children with texturing from local natural objects, reminding us to be aware of the environment and bush safety, this was certainly brought back memories of our youth spent in Rhodesia with dodging puffadders and cobras! There were also some pretty poignant pieces, I liked the one of a man sitting quietly looking out to sea, very meditative and part of nature. I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition, a red heart made out of broken pieces of reflective glass from crashed motor vehicles really spoke to my heart. When we had finished at the Sculptures, we went to my host’s apartment where we had lunch and enjoyed a cup of tea in the garden.
There were lots of noisy birds in the garden, magpies, twenty eights (parrot like green birds) and others, attracted by the bird seed my hosts fed them! Later that day we walked around the corner to a student art exhibition at the Gallery on the Hill, to be further inspired by local artists. I watched one lady doing exquisite botanical paintings in water color. In the late afternoon we walked down to the beach which was not more than a hundred meters from the house. It was pretty as a picture mesmerizing us as the sun sparkled on the ripples and the gentle waves lapped at the shore in the late afternoon sunshine, while gulls sorted through debris on the beach. We walked the long way home past the Gallery on the Hill, finishing the day with dinner relaxing on the lawn telling yarns of the good old days.
The next day we drove down to Meelup beach (‘up’ in aboriginal language means ‘water’), then onto Point Marchant named after a WA historian who specialized in this area where the first French Explorer, Nicolas Baudin had arrived and mapped the coastline in 1801, this area is called Cape Naturaliste after his second ship. The sea here was a tapestry of extraordinary blue and turquoise strips and patches reflecting the blue sky above. From there we drove to Bunker Bay whose lovely long white beaches stretched into the far distance, and onto Pullman’s Resort where we stopped for coffee. This was a very upmarket place so we only had coffee, which we enjoyed looking out over the forests and the sea. The buildings blended into the scenery with roofs painted the color of the forest so they did not jar the eye. The foyer was decorated with beautiful pastel paintings of the ocean by a local artist, Ann Steer, they were a true representation of the mood of the place, the turquoise seas and tumbling waves of Bunker Bay. After exploring the resort with its luxury cabins situated in the forest around a small pond and walking down to the beach, we drove on to the lighthouse on Cape Naturaliste. From here you can get beautiful views
across Geographe Bay, named after Nicolas Baudin’s flagship, and the Leeuwin National Park. This was quite expensive to visit and I am not good on heights, so I decided to give this one a miss. We drove onto Eagle Bay where there are very expensive homes, but no water, so everyone is dependent on their rainwater tanks. We returned to the apartment and later in the afternoon walked along the beach again to the parking lot where the Curry and Rice pop-up van was parked. We ordered our Chicken Corma and poppadum’s and sat at the picnic tables enjoying our meal watching the waves and children jumping into the water from the pier. It was really relaxing to just sit and enjoy my retirement connecting with old friends.