I awoke around 7.30 and David was just boiling the kettle, so he hadn’t been awake for long either. We decided to sit on the verandah and enjoy the nearby kookaburras and the sounds of other, invisible bird calls, but then decided that we’d go for a walk with my big camera lens to see if we could catch the wrens. We made a cup of coffee in our insulated travel cups to take along with us. The wrens, however, didn’t want to be captured. Instead, we did get the darling little robin after a flash of red in a nearby tree.
Bless his heart, he hopped down and bathed in the little river flow by the side of the road. He practically posed, and stayed long enough to make sure we’d taken a few shots before going up into the tree once more to preen and shake off the excess.
Then he virtually vanished into thin air so we wandered through the old orchard and slowly back to the cabin again.
The sky was rather overcast and we decided that today would be a trip to Northcliffe, or nothing. As we approached the joining of the 2 south western highways just south of Pemberton it began to rain really heavily. Should we turn back? Rain had been coming and going during the morning but this was the first heavy downpour so we decided to continue on our way, but we promised ourselves brunch when we got to Northcliffe. Our bread had run out and our tummies had been expecting a breakfast that they never got.
When you come into Northcliffe there’s a mural of about 8 horses pulling a tree trunk on a 2-wheeled cart, and on the other part of the wall is this rib tickler…
We drove through and found ‘Understory’, the sculpture walk based in the Tourist Information Bureau but it was so busy that there weren’t even any bays left in their carpark. We don’t like crowds, and weren’t sure the weather would last long enough to walk all around the area with the sculptures in it. Some that we’d seen in a brochure were very modern (which is the same word as ‘ugly’ to us when it comes to sculptures) so we found a café to have that meal instead.
The girl that served David at the counter was really friendly and he ordered us a fish and chips each, which were just the right size for a lunch-time meal. The décor in there was really interesting with many art-works for sale including some really beautiful oil paintings on saw blades.
After this we went to fill Monty with fuel and looked at the visitor information board near the garage in the freezing wind. The next thing I knew, we were heading out of town on a different road than we’d arrived on. I was riding along, doing my crochet and thinking ‘how did that happen?’ It must have shown on my face because David asked if I had actually wanted to see ‘Understory’. Well probably not really it was just something to do, but we’d driven quite a distance to get to somewhere we didn’t really want to go. We could only laugh. As we drove along I suddenly said “Stop, stop!” I’d seen this tree next to someone’s gatepost.
Now I could be wrong, but in my opinion that’s the roots of the tree at the top, so someone has dug a hole to plant a tree upside down. That really *is* different! Though I’d love to know why.
I’d looked at the rough map we had in the car and coming up on the right was ‘Jane Forest’. I asked David to watch out for it so that I could take a photo of the sign for my friend Jane, but it turned out the entrance to that forest was down a side-street that I missed because I was crocheting. Sorry Jane! It really wasn’t worth going back by the time I realised. The road was a good one, nice and wide (by country standards) and although it rained lightly as David drove, it really didn’t matter.
According to the map we should reach a T-junction and then turn left for Pemberton, which eventually happened. Soon after our turn there were signs for the ‘Diamond Tree’ and we decided to pull into the bush parking area and have a look. The rain stopped for us too.
The Diamond Tree was one of 3 around the surrounding areas that are equipped with massive metal spikes spiralling around the outside so that they can be climbed. On the top is pretty much a wooden garden shed. Apparently the trees all used to be manned as a bushfire watch. I can’t imagine climbing such an incredibly high tree for my working day. Well, I wouldn’t!!! There’s the Gloucester Tree (61 metres, 153 step pegs), the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree (75 metres, 165 step pegs) and the Diamond Tree (52 metres, 130 step pegs). You can see how big each step is in the photo below! Apparently each of these trees are around 250 years old with a life expectancy of 350+ years.
As I posed for the photo I began to say to David “Any time soon that you’re finished is fine by me!” Those spikes were freezing!!! When he was finally through with his clicking he found out exactly how cold – I touched his cheek and he recoiled in horror LOL I didn’t climb to the top; it wasn’t possible you know, as I was wearing a backpack and that was against the rules har har!
Two men on motorbikes arrived just as we were about to leave. They had South Australian plates so I don’t know if they were touring and had ridden all the way from there. The bikes were nicely equipped with plenty of storage so it was possible. They were lovely men and we had a bit of a chat before getting on our way again.
The road we were on said it was heading for Manjimup. But oh, look – there was Channybearup Road! We hadn’t really expected that. David turned in, but I asked if we could perhaps buy a cake for later, so David said we’d go to Manjimup after all. I thought ‘Oh wow, that’s kind!’ until he added “And incidentally I want some wine.” Oh, is that why he agreed to drive 8 kms in each direction to ‘buy me a cake’ har har!
So we finally got to leave the highway and see Manjimup shops. It was maybe 3pm (I just checked the time the poppy photo was taken… It was 2pm) but many of the shops were closed and rain was approaching again so it felt later. We found a bakery with no difficulty and I bought an éclair and David got a fruit slice and a loaf of bread to go with our dinner.
The bottle shop was a little up the road and we loved that they had plenty of local-to-the-area wines, including the big winery we passed on Channybearup Road. I’ve no idea what he bought in the end though. Wine and I are not friends. Once we put the shopping in the car I dragged David to one of the smaller roundabouts because it was liberally adorned with poppies – yellow, white and orange. Despite gusts of pretty strong winds I did manage to get a few shots.
They’re not competition quality but I like them and yes, the orange poppy photo is the right way up LOL And then the rain started so we bolted for Monty, drove around the other main street of Manjimup, behind the one we’d already viewed, and then went home.
It was rather more chilly than usual now and David quickly lit the fire and we enjoyed some bread and butter with our cup of coffee while we watched a ‘Midsomer Murders’ on TV. Then David made a ‘Chicken Tonight’ meal while I crocheted. Yes I was doing fairly well with the girls’ scarves. In fact here’s what they looked like when I assembled the multiple pieces once we got home and I began to sew them all together.
We ate our dinner and then snuggled in for the evening with me sitting on an outdoor chair. My back was no longer liking the couch or the bed very much. We did the nightly strip-and-sweat with the intense heat of the fire, but it was definitely better than being cold! And as so often happens, we found ourselves doing a ‘partial packing’ before we went to bed. We had to check out by 10am and although we’d been waking in plenty of time it is always better to feel well-prepared.
David woke at 7 and myself at 7.30. I think it would hurt David’s pride if I ever got up first, but we always both get up earlier and earlier every morning when we’re on holidays. Remember I said right back at the beginning that we were holidaying in the south to get misty lake photos? Well David had gone out most morning to peek at the dam and see if there was any mist there, but there never was. He told me the temperatures weren’t cold enough.
We had 2 cups of coffee each while adding to boxes and bags assembled in the lounge, did a final check of all rooms and cupboards and were ready to check out by 9 ish. I got one last photo of our beautiful laughing neighbour.
And then went and grabbed David, saying “I have a gift for you!”
He always loves to find heart shapes in unexpected places, and here were 2 leaves, stuck together with raindrops, into a perfect heart. They didn’t even belong to the tree they were hanging on.
We had 975 kms on the trip meter as we left the Karri Valley.
Heading along Channybearup Road – the first time we’d travelled along it from west to east, the sun was sending rays of light through the trees and I just had to get David to stop so I could take some photos.
When we reached Bridgetown we thought we’d have another go at the Pottery Café, but it was still closed so we failed again. Oh well, it was not to be. Three attempts, all failures. Never mind.
Next town was the beautiful Balingup, which still had an amazing and appealing atmosphere to it. We decided to brunch over the road from the Mushroom Café, this time at ‘The Packing Shed’. There were masses of motorbikes of all descriptions parked outside it and all the outside tables (in the lovely sunshine) were taken. We got chatting to one of the bike riders and it turned out that they were a club from Nannup that meet once a month for a ride. I think they usually end up in Balingup for morning tea and then Bridgetown for lunch. It was a perfect day for it! They’d all headed off before we took our photo.
We ordered a pie and coffee each, I forget what kind, but they were very nice and the lady was so kind as to turn on the overhead gas heater just for us because it was really cold in the shade of the central arcade. Once we’d eaten we had a bit of a look around the little museum in the back of the building and then drove round to the Old Cheese Factory once more. I’d still been keen to go back and have a more thorough look.
This tree was right next to where we parked. I guess someone once promised to plant it, but it’s too late now.
Viewing the entire contents of The Old Cheese Factory would take quite some time. There must have been around 15 rooms, with crafts of every nature, and old furniture, pictures, maps, ewers and bowls, some top quality and some absolute rubbish, a selection of mallee roots and other pieces of wood suitable for craftspeople to buy and work with. It really was the most amazing place. David asked the lady on the counter where it all came from and she said the owner goes to Britain and buys things by the shipping container load! Perhaps he purchases deceased estates because you could probably kit out an entire house from the bric-a-brac there.
And then we could delay no more and began the long drive home. We did find the toilet block north of Bunbury again, just for a quick look to see if David’s keys might be sitting on a wall there, but it was not to be.
We arrived home in the mid-afternoon to an ecstatic dog, having travelled 1,312 kms in total since we left on Monday morning.
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