Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wednesday, September 16th, Margaret River


We’re in a farm caravan park.  The highlight of this evening was the 5pm feeding of the animals.  We passed in favor of sitting by our RV, drinking beer in our fold-out chairs, and reading.  The attraction wasn’t the RV park, but it’s location at the coast after a long day in the forests.

In the past two days, we’ve seen lots of tall trees.  Specifically, we’ve found the Tingle, Marri, and the Karri forests.  The first grows only in a 6,000 acre section of one forest, through which a treetop walkway has been constructed to view them.  

It’s actually only about a third of the way up the trees, and doesn’t connect to them in any way.  

Like a child’s erector set designed to mimic a unique local flower (tassle) and a long sharp leaf (sawgrass), the walkway was built of metal pieces that were no longer than three meters, could be lifted by two men, using a trail through them no wider than one truck’s width.  It’s a marvel to see and imagine, and even more to use.

The Karri and Marri grow over a wider area, but not much more.  There is a popular back road which can be taken (better with four-wheel drive) to the national parks which contain them.  These hardwood trees are sought after for exquisite furniture and home remodeling.  I saw one yesterday in a gallery for $11,000 that came from one of the last old-growth Karri.  Those we saw today were from seeds from the remaining trees in a logging frenzy in 1880’s, when an accidental fire took the rest.

And speaking of fire, we have seen the impact of a huge fire last year in this area.  Australian fires were well-publicized over the past decade, but it becomes real when you seem the destruction of already endangered trees.

Elsewhere, we visited other sites where parks were saved from logging, power plants, and development to become accessible, educational resources in the 1990’s.  Australians seem to have taken up the challenge to protect their floral environment in a decade of fervor.

You may have noticed a kukaburra sitting on a park sign in the photos today.  Famous for a children’s rhyme, he wasn’t laughing but did seem to be protecting his “old gum trees”.  He stayed there for enough time for me to turn around a mile up the road, drive back, and park just across from him.  Originally introduced into Tasmania in the mid-1800’s, they were re-released in 1900 from the Perth Zoo to rid the city of snakes.  Now their range is just abut the area of Western Australia we’ve just traveled.  Glad to have seen one befre we head east this weekend.

Before we do, however, I get one more look at some surf spots.  The coast north of Margaret River has some of the best breaks in Western Australia.  The warm Indian Ocean current and storm-generated swells add to the experience.  We’re checking them out tomorrow, and then heading on to our last caravan park before turning in the RV on Sunday.

We have limited wifi here, so photos will have to wait for the weekend.  UPDATED Friday! Thanks for waiting.  We're now sitting in a winery (3 Oceans) next door to our RV park, sipping their 2014 Chardonnay, and uploading these photos.   Here they are:

Tuesday, September 15th, Denmark
Wednesday, September 16th, Margaret River
Thursday, September 17th, Margaret River

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