Outback Road Trips

Perth to Pemberton

Fremantle

We enjoyed our three days in Fremantle. There’s lots of historical buildings to admire and a strong Italian influence with great food.

1901 P&O Hotel – the beer always tastes better in an old pub
There are 252 Heritage listed buildings in Fremantle, this is one of them

Rottnest Island

We took the ferry from Fremantle to Rottnest Island planning to hire bikes for the day but it was raining heavily so we took the bus instead. Of course the rain stopped as soon as the bus left. It turned out to be a good day. We rode the bus to the far end of the Island where we spotted whales, seals and a pair of nesting Osprey then walked back via the lakes.

Quokka cuteness overload:

There are 10 Osprey stacks on Rottnest, some 70 years old
Australian Pied Oyster-catcher

Saturday 21 August: Perth to Bunbury 200km

After parkrun at Cottesloe we picked up our Apollo campervan and drove to Bunbury for the night. The local Council allows free camping opposite the surf lifesaving club so we stayed there.

Rose Hotel in Bunbury was licenced in 1865 but this building dates from 1904
We went for fish and chips and we surprised to find every table (bar one) reserved

Sunday 22 August: Bunbury to Margaret River 160km

Big Swamp, Bunbury

Big Swamp in Bunbury is a unique wetland reserve, home to over 70 species of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish. There’s a 2km walk through the wetlands.

Our campervan was attacked by mother duck when we drove too close to her babies!
Birds of the Big Swamp
Big Swamp is one of the favoured breeding grounds in Bunbury for the Black Swan

Manea Park

Manea Park is Bunbury’s premier bush reserve and supports several threatened species. The 2.3km walk takes in a range of habitat types. It might not be peak wildflower season but there were dozens of plants in full bloom.

Over 30 species of orchid have been identified in Manea Park
Some of the Manea Park wildflowers
More wildflowers – yellow predominates

Tuart Forest National Park

Tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala) is one of the forest giants of Southwest Australia. The Ludlow Tuart Forest between Bunbury and Busselton is the only naturally occurring one of its kind. It’s a good place for possums but we didn’t see any in the middle of the day.

Remains of a large Tuart tree
Arum lilies invading native bushland Tuart Forest National Park
Western grey kangaroo in the Forest

Busselton

Busselton Jetty is 1.8km long, the longest timber-piled jetty in the southern hemisphere
Construction commenced in 1864 and was extended numerous times until the 1960s

Monday 23 August: Margaret River Wine Tour

We spent the day touring Margaret River wineries with Tony of Margaret River Vintage Wine Tours. A great day, we visited two iconic estates in the morning – Leeuwin and Xanadu then after lunch at Olio Bello two smaller boutiques – Thompson Estate and Jarvis Estate.

Of the 6 wines we tasted at Leeuwin Estate, it was the 2020 PRELUDE CHARDONNAY that took our fancy. “A vibrant and ethereal palate – great direction with shape and frame. Energetic and lively citrus fruits meets saline acidity. Gentle nuances of hazelnut, and sweet spice add a complementary layer and contour to the palate.”

Sheep mowing the grass between the vines at Xanadu Wines
We liked their 2021 Sauvignon Blanc, only available cellar door
After a filling seafood lunch at Olio Bello we picked up some of their new unfiltered olive oil
Trying the wines at Thompson Estate – we bought the Pinot Noir Chardonnay Sparkling
A quick stop at The Margaret River Chocolate Company
Matt Jarvis serves WTF (Wine That’s Fortified) from the barrel at Jarvis Estate
We fell for a fortified white and a Tuesday wine (Jarvis Estate Classic Red) bottled yesterday

Tuesday 24 August: Margaret River to Pemberton 210km

From our camp at Margaret River Nature Park there’s a nice 20 minute walk to town
The kookaburra is not native to WA – it was introduced in 1897
The WA Ringneck Parrot differs in head colour from those in the eastern states
A particularly nice drive today through the Boranup Karri Forest with undulating 60m high trees
We went via Hamelin Bay hoping to see stingrays in the shallow water but strong winds kept them away
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, the tallest on the mainland
It was built in 1895 from local limestone and is still a vital working lighthouse
Beedelup Falls, a good lunch stop
Pretty Fairy Wren at Beedelup Falls
We bought 4 live Marron and had them cooked for dinner
Marron are a large freshwater crayfish endemic to south-west WA
With handmade fettuccine, fresh sourdough and a bottle of Leeuwin Chardonnay an excellent dinner