5 Jan 2013
It’s only about 500km along the southern ocean from Esperance to Albany and it took us a mere 2 weeks to cover it. And we still didn’t do it justice!
Our two night stay at Fanny Cove in Stokes National Park became four as we were having so much fun snorkeling at nearby Shoal Cape. What a magical spot. We camped right on the beach at Fanny Cove and saw a fisherman catch a sting ray (and try to release it) and a 6 foot shark. How exciting! We tried to see the octopus that makes it’s home in one of the rock pools but it just wasn’t going to come out and say hello.
From here, we skipped the rest of Stokes National Park and checked out Munglinup Beach (great camping and another beach protected by a reef), saw the very first Rabbit Proof Fence (Fence No 1) and free camped at a beautiful spot at 12 Mile Beach (about 12 miles from Hopetoun). The free camp turned out to be not so free as we left our fabulous hammer behind that also had a tent peg hook at one end of it which made pulling out tent pegs a breeze. We enjoyed our refreshing swim in the beach the following morning as it was also protected by a reef. We didn’t take single photo of this lovely beach.
I was really looking forward to spending some time at the Fitzgerald River National Park as it is the biggest national park we’ve seen in WA so far, is a UN designated biosphere, and is a floral wonderland with plants growing here that grow nowhere else on our planet. But we were sorely disappointed. Yes, viewing the East Mt Barren ranges on the horizon was special as we approached them, but the sites at the campground were too small for our camper trailer, the road through the national park was closed 10km into its 122km because their sealing it, so we couldn’t get to Sepulcralis Hill the only place in the WORLD where the sepulcralis tree grows.
It was a long drive from Hopetoun around the perimeter of the national park (via Ravensthorpe) to drop back into it to camp at Point Ann. It was a 90 minute drive through the park from the South Coast Highway to reach the campground. Here we saw where Rabbit Proof Fence No 2 began on the headland of Point Ann when the WA government realized the first rabbit proof fence wasn’t working. Perhaps if we were here in wildflower season we might have left with a different impression but we were expecting big things from Fitzy and it didn’t deliver. Mind you the Royal Hakea plant didn’t disappoint, it was weirdly beautiful.
On the other hand Bremer Bay exceeded our expectations. We thought it would be a comfy place to stay for a few days but Dillon Bay was a beauty with a number of beaches along it so no matter the weather, you’d find one protected from the wind. The weather had turned cool, not suitable for swimming, so after lunch and a short game of beach cricket with other holiday-markers we headed to the Stirling Ranges.