October 24, 2010

Western Australia Roadtrip: Part 3

You can read the previous parts here : The Roadtrip , Part 1 , Part 2

Margaret River - Augusta - Pemberton

I'm always an adventurist at heart and loving the outdoors. When I googled for things to do in Western Australia, I came across Cape to Cape Track. The track follows the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, which provides walkers with spectacular geological scenery such as granite outcrops, limestone cliffs, stretches of white beach and sand dunes. Its start and finish are the lighthouses at the tips of Cape Naturaliste in the north and Cape Leeuwin in the south, my next destination.

I'd love to do the walk. But the entire track is 135km long and will take around 7 days to finish. If I were to do that, I'd have to take longer leaves for my trip. 7 days on the track, 7 days for my body recovery (pengsan penat kot jalan 7 hari bawak backpack!), 7 days for the roadtrip and 7 days to cover the city of Perth. That amounts up to almost a month.

Being a slave to a Japanese company, means that I can't take leave that long. But once you start to travel, it's no turning back. You keep on wanting to explore some other place somewhere. I thought of taking 6 months unpaid leave to pursue this interest of mine but I doubt my boss would grant me that. In a time like this, how I wish I'd take up the WHV. It's a Working Holiday Visa if you haven't heard of it. You get to travel in Australia or New Zealand for up to a year, and when you are short of money, you can work. Great idea eh?

Only 2 years left for me to decide on doing it. Gahhhh!!! I think I am suffering from a midlife crisis. FML T__T

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yeah. I was heading to Cape Leeuwin,

where the tallest lighthouse in mainland Australia is. 

Opened in 1895, this used to be a kerosene lamp lighthouse and the poor men who used to operate it had to carry two 30kg cans of kerosene to the very top every 4 hours. If they ever let the light go out they were instantly dismissed! O_o

Nowadays, the lighthouse still plays an important part in navigation, but is an automated light and controlled from the Australian capital, Canberra on the other side of the Australian mainland.

Tours of the lighthouse cost AUD14 and includes admission to the grounds. Otherwise, you can pay only AUD5 for the ground admission to see where the 2 oceans, Southern Ocean and Indian Ocean, meet.

You can see the two bodies of water meeting in a crash of waves.

the meeting point

We were driving past Augusta's town when we saw a woman by the roadside, holding a placard with 'Pemberton' written on it. We were heading to the exact same location, and it's good to have a company, since it's always just the 2 of us. So we thought why didn't we just give her a lift?

We let her hitchhiked with us 125km to Pemberton. For all I knew, she might be a killer on the run or some dangerous psycho. But Barbara was a very nice woman. We had a good time telling our travel tales.

No. That's not Barbara. It was a baby kangaroo rescued from the forest. 

From Augusta to Pemberton, the trees get bigger and bigger till you get to a point where they are so tall you can't see the tops of the trees anymore.

The Pemberton area is famous for it's massive Karri trees which is a type of Eucalyptus tree which can grow up to 90m high.

Hundreds of thousands of people travel to Pemberton every year to tackle this famous Karri tree, and in 2002, it carried it's 1 millionth climber to the top.

Paid AUD11 per vehicle for the national park entry pass.

First, just for a treat, when you arrive at the base of the tree you're normally greeted by a myriad of native birds that flock to your arms, looking for a feed.
I got new friends

people climbing up the tree

even kids have the courage to climb it

Standing at 61 meters tall, the Gloucester Tree is from the Karri family, which is the third tallest tree species in the world. It was pegged in 1946 so that people could climb it and use it as a watchtower for bushfires.

It's definitely not for the faint hearted. Nadia and Barbara decided not to go up. But I didn't come here for nothing. So, I challenged myself to tackle the tree. And there's only one way to do it. By hand and foot up the pegs that have been stuck into the side of the tree. All the way, 61 meters up.

ready to climb

On my way up, some people were climbing down. I shivered as they passed me, while holding on tight to the peg. I didn't know how strong it was to be able to support 2 people at the same time.

Anyway, the view from the top of the tree was fantastic, and all the more special because of the effort I did to climb up there. Sangat mencabar. hahaha...

I did it!

Then there's just the small matter of getting back down. Looking down, I suddenly felt a surge of nervousness.

How. the. hell. am. I. going. to. climb. down???

Sumpah scary ok!

seriously, my smiling face was contradicted with what I felt inside!

But I couldn't be up there forever. Nadia and Barbara was waiting for me. I even heard them shouting from below, 'Rara, are you okayyyy?'. They were worried because I was up there quite long. hahahaha...

So, I read some doa and took that first step onto the peg.

And managed to climb down safe and sound.

moi and Barbara

Further exploration on the Karri Forest, we went to the Big Brook Forest.

It is centred on the scenic Big Brook Dam,

built in 1986 to increase the water supply to Pemberton.

We had some light snacks and enjoyed watching people fishing.

After a walk around the trail that follows the shores of the dam, we bid goodbye to Pemberton.


fatt said...

definitely u hv guts to climb all the way up! i mmg tak mampu sbb gayat :P

haha..experience kan tumpangkan org hitchhike..i dont mind doing tht in nz or oz coz i know they really need a ride..klu kat mesia i tak berani..takut betul. org rosak keta pun i takut2 nk benti bg bantuan, takut kene ragut, or worse..err..u tau kan..huhu...

My name starts with M said...


dan seriyes scary utk climb down tu.. pastu takde tali ke ape ek nak support?

~aku dah gayat haha

rara said...

fatt: masa panjat tu i pon gayat.. tapi nak jugak naik!
kalau kat malaysia memang tak berani i nak tumpangkan orang tak kenal.. hehehe

mas: tali nak support macam rockclimbing or abseiling tu takde la.. dia just ada jaring..

fatt said...

im going thru back all ur entries on perth..hihi..suddenly i came across this sentence "midlife crisis"...hihi..u know how to joke, like that line very much :D

me too, suffering my midlife crisis :P

rara said...

fatt: hahaha... sama la kita. hey babe, maybe one day we can meet up. boleh kongsi2 cerita :D