10 Days Western Australia - Roadtrip - Part 2

clifford chow
4 Jun 2020
 

In Part 1 of our Western Australian roadtrip, we covered Perth City, Fremantle, Rockingham, Bunbury, and Busselton. In the second half of this two-part special, we explore Western Australia’s Wine Country - Margaret River, have ourselves shaken by whales stirring up the sea below us at Augusta, and we got lost!

Margaret River Wine Region - WA’s Wine Country

The Margaret River Wine Region features countless vineyards and food establishments, all of which boasts the best of wines and regionally grown produce. 

Stores like Barnyard1978 are an ideal stop on your journey South, with offerings of honey, pasta, a selection of wines… and a place to enjoy some coffee and cake. A drive along Caves Road will spoil you for choice, with a number of wineries like Robert Oatley, which boasts three beautifully built guesthouses.

Photo Credit: barnyard1978

If wine is not really your thing, Black Brewing Co, located just across the road offers a fine selection of craft beers and gins for you to take along for the rest of your trip. It also has a kid-friendly restaurant if you do require a lunch stop.

Stay chubby George

Horse Riding Tour

Getting up and close with horses is truly a magical experience, especially for city dwellers like us. Jesters Flat is a highly-recommended tour operator which also offers its own accommodation, which would come in handy if you intend to take part in their longer programmes.

I signed up for the Twilight Ride, which lasts an hour and a half. The programme is also suitable for tweens and teens (10-15 years), since it is designed for beginning and advanced riders. The tour takes you through surrounding bushland, culminating with a campfire, a few bites of bread with an olive oil, dukkah dip and a glass of wine.

The Twilight Ride costs AUD $95 for adults and AUD $85 for those 10-15 years of age.

Travelers Tip:
Do ensure that you have a place to stay for the night arranged nearby, especially if you are taking up the Twilight Ride, since it does get dark before 6pm. Wild animals tend to emerge from the bush at around this time, and some areas may not be well lit.

Whale Watching In Augusta

Whale season around Augusta which falls typically between June to August, sees migratory Humpback and Southern Right whales and even occasional Orcas swimming up North. Tour operators like All Sea Charters, and WhaleWatch Western Australia, cast off from Augusta Boat Harbour. The trip which takes approximately two hours, and costs AUD $85 per Adult and AUD $250 for a family of four, leaves at two time slots, once at 10:30am, and the next at 13:15 (based on the rates and timings of All Sea Charters, which offers a slightly better family concession between the two tour operators).

The whale watching tour is a must-have activity for anyone who visits Western Australia. Humpbacks are playful and inquisitive, and are bold enough to swim right up to your boat.

Travelers Tip:
It is advisable to bring along some seasick pills, which will come in handy, especially for those who easily get motion sickness. The tour operator also supplies motion sickness armbands.

The humpback whales seem to like playing with their human spectators by rocking the boat by swimming under it a few times. 

Those who are bringing their cameras along with them, a kit 18-55 or 18-135mm is actually decent enough, and you would not want to switch lenses out at sea.

Check your car to make sure it is locked, and that valuables are out of sight.

Denmark

Not the country but actually a coastal town to the East of Augusta. On the way to the town, you can make an optional stop at the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. The attraction features a 600m walkway which rises 40m above ground, and is surrounded by giant ancient Tingle trees, which reach a height of 75m.

For those who are still keen on a horse riding tour, and have missed the first opportunity, Brumbies Run is a tour operator within Denmark itself.

Travelers Tip:
An hour at the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk is about all you need.

We Got Lost!

The lure of a good Fish & Chips was a little too much for us to resist, as we made our way to Peaceful Bay, or so we thought. 

With limited reception, our car’s SatNav gave out on us, and to make matters a little interesting, Google Maps began directing us further off the grid. At one point, we found ourselves at a roundabout of someone’s home.

And since our SatNav kept prompting me to turn the car into the bushes at 20m intervals, we decided to carry on exploring the path we had taken, and stumbled upon the most surreal of sights.

An entire forest ravaged by a recent fire, which made for one of the most extraordinary backdrops I have come across. We took advantage of the BMW X3’s AWD, which made turning off to routes less-chartered possible. Whipping out my camera, I did what I am more accustomed to doing, which is photographing cars.

The smell of burnt-out hulks of what were once trees lingered in the dewy air, and would have smelt crisp if not for the fire.

Travelers Tip:
If you can get in… make sure you know how to get out (especially in challenging terrain). Having a car stuck when you are alone is no joke; and if you are a guy, there will be no way to preserve what is left of your fragile ego.

Even if your car has “soft roading” capabilities, do not make the assumption that you can drive off just about anywhere. You may not have the sufficient frontal and rear clearances you need to approach some taller bits of terrain. 

In the event that you do get mildly stuck, turn off your traction control, to ensure that power is not taken away from the driving wheels, and refrain from going hard on the throttle.

Denmark Animal Farm & Pentland Alpaca Stud Petting Zoo

A family-friendly petting zoo is always hard to resist. The Denmark Animal Farm & Pentland Alpaca Stud petting zoo boasts pens with Alpacas, Kangaroos, Emus, Cows and even Chickens and Rabbits. Visitors are able to access some of these pens safely to feed some of their animals.

I was particularly smitten by King Lear, their handsome Scottish Highland cattle. I also learnt that horses can count, and when feeding them, they are quick to voice their displeasure when one gets more food than the other…. And I have still not found myself a goat that goes “What What!”. Entry for adults is AUD $14, while a family with three children costs AUD $45.

Look! It's King Lear!

Travelers Tip:
Children should be supervised at all times, since they are still dealing with animals. Be very vigilant if their hands were to go through fences to pet some of these animals, as they may get injured if they get caught against an animal unintentionally brushing against the side of the fence. I am saying this from my own experience, as I nearly twisted my arm, when it got caught between a fence and a cow’s horns, while it turned its head.

Greens Pool And Elephant Rocks

If you would like a visit to the beach, Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks are ideal locations to bring the family to. Calmer, clear waters makes these two spots family friendly. The Elephant Rocks, which is just next to Greens Pool, gets its name from the large granite boulders, which resemble a herd of elephants.

Drama Unfolds - We Get A Flat Tyre, And It Is The Weekend!

So somewhere during our trip, the low tyre pressure warning came on, and I began to notice the front end of the car wallowing with every right-handed bend. 

While modern runflat tyres have stronger sidewalls, to withstand the weight of the car, allowing you to drive on, they are engineered to do this at lower speeds, and for a limited distance… all this with some sacrifice to ride comfort.

Since runflats do remove the need of a good-ol spare tyre, and even in many cases, an emergency repair kit, the logical thing to do is to head straight for a fuel station, garage or tyre shop. The latter of the two options were closed, since it was a weekend, hence I could not get the tyre repaired.

The next best option was to find an instant aerosol tyre repair kit, which can sometimes be found at a fuel station, but we could not believe our luck that the entire town of Denmark did not even have a can of that gooey stuff. 

Solving this problem requires a bit of forward thinking, as it is a 55km journey from Denmark to Albany. So, topping up the tyre, we set-off for Albany, with planned filling stops at fuel stations along the way… I could so use a full-sized spare at this moment… Fortunately for us, the leak was not a large one, allowing the tyre to retain a decent amount of pressure to last about 20 minutes.

Seeing traffic build up during our drive was a good sign, as we knew that we were approaching the city of Albany. A stop at a fuel station, and hearing the reassuring sound of the gushing foam from the emergency repair kit filling the tyre, certainly put a smile on our faces. 

Travelers Tip:
Stay calm, think things through, find logical solutions, prioritise, do not speed.

Albany

The historical city of Albany, marks the first point in Western Australia that European settlers set foot on, and the last destination of our roadtrip. The city which  was once famous for its whaling station, now instead offers whale watching tours. If you have missed this opportunity at Augusta, Albany Whale Tours offers you whale sightseeing and sunset tours. 

If you are a history and war buff, the National Anzac Centre which honours the sacrifices made by both Australians and New Zealanders during the First World War, allows you to be acquainted with how both nations contributed in the war effort.

The 1,000km Bibbulmun Track, which begins in the Perth Hills, terminates at the South coast of Albany. The track also passes the Albany Windfarm, an area which boasts a breathtaking view of the ocean.

At Torndirrup National Park, there is the famous Gap and Natural Bridge, where there are viewing platforms where you can observe the awesomeness of the swelling sea below you.

Just a short drive from the Gap and Natural Bridge are the Blowholes. An ideal place where you can catch sight of migrating whales in the distance. With some luck, when the ocean swell is ideal, you might be able to hear and witness the blowholes in action with water majestically gushing out from the gaps. 

Travelers Tip:
If you have children with you, be very careful near the blowholes, as the backwash can be strong enough to drag them into the water.

Back To Perth

The journey back to Perth, where we began our trip, is an approximate 5 hour drive, via the Albany Highway. 

With every good beginning of a journey, there also has to be a good ending. As mentioned in Part 1 of our Special Feature, do not forget to load up on reduced-price off-season apparel, and also look out for food to take home with you, like a few juicy steaks and an Australian favourite, Vegemite.

Thank you for joining us, and we hope you enjoy planning your next trip to Western Australia.

About The Car

Our trusty ride for the trip is a BMW X3 xDrive20d, which is powered by a 2.0 turbocharged diesel engine delivering 140kW, and 400Nm, and is equipped with full time AWD. 

This variant is fitted with adaptive dampers which are ideal for different driving styles during the long journey. 

Recent upgrades like its Operating System 7, which features the all new Intelligent Personal Assistant, responds to naturally-spoken voice commands. It is deeply integrated with the car's functions; taking the user experience to a higher level, and is safer to operate too... all this while hands remain on the wheel, and eyes on the road.

While we will not find this gem of a diesel engine in the Singapore-spec cars, do check out our BMW X3 reviews, beginning with the base sDrive20i, middle-of-the-pack xDrive30i, and high-performance M40i.

#VisitWesternAustralia #WA #OZ #Perth #WesternAustralia #Busselton #Travel #Roadtrip #SG #Singapore #SelfDrive #Drive #Holiday #Vacation #Stralia #MargaretRiver #JestersFlat #Augusta #Denmark #Albany


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