Monday, January 2, 2012

Perth Trip Recap (5)

Day 5 - Pemberton / Nornalup / Walpole / Denmark / Albany

Per our plan, today is a very intense day.  Not only we have to drive for 4+ hours from Margaret River to Albany, we also got a few planned stops with *moderately strenuous activities* waiting for us... (I actually bought Salonpas at HKIA just in case, which came in very handy later on this trip...) *we are proud couch potatoes*

Side note:  the winding roads from Pemberton to Denmark is perfect for any vehicle commercials, or Initial D, Fast and Furious, etc.   Thus our theme song for the day- (if you are Asian, you probably guessed it... we actually filmed our own but I had the camera on portrait instead of landscape... :S)

we can't use his other song since we are driving south... :P

Bicentennial Tree - We left Margaret River around 8am and started driving.  Originally we wanted to stop at a lavender farm in Nannup but since the pamphlet did not give us an exact address and the GPS didn't know where the place is,we skipped.

The Bicentennial tree is a 75m tall tree located in the Warren National Park.  The road leading to it is actually unpaved and at a 45 degree turn off the main highway.  It was really tricky when you are going 110 km/h with a car tailing behind you honking on a one lane highway...  I don't remember how this tree / activity came onto our itinerary but here we are...

I had every intention in the world to climb all the way (and take a panorama picture)... but being there and actually doing it is a completely different story.  The tree is freakishly tall and there is no safety net beneath each step (climb at your own risk).  You have to use all your muscles climbing this tree... Since I still have a full day of driving ahead and another week in Australia, I really can't afford any broken bones... so... I stopped at the half way point - still a pretty good achievement if you ask me :)

My friend climbed maybe 10 bars - other than Vee, that's probably the most any of my other friends could have achieved.  Then there was this young Asian guy (< 15 years old) that went all the way up (like a monkey).

so this is how 75m looks like

I am here!
... easy? i don't think so...
looking down
"For a grander sight, climb another flight"
the 45 degree turn to an unpaved road leading you to the tree!
Lavender-Berry Farm and Cottages - after the climb, we were both hungry.  Since we didn't stop at the lavender farm in Nannup, we stopped at this one, which is also located in Pemberton.  We ordered a berry pancake and a lavender scone.  Both were delicious.  It's a nice little stop.

the raspberry was very sweet
lots of bees and they won't leave me alone >.<
(I wore a bright yellow shirt!)

berry pancake
lavender scone
it came for our leftovers
Valley of the Giants and the Tree Top Walk - after another 2 hours drive, we arrived and are ready to get out and stretch our legs.  It's a very nice walk.  The construction of the tree top walk is environmentally friendly (it's all built with man-power, no machine used) and the guided walk to the valley of the giants is very informative.  For instance, if you ever buy furniture made with dark mahogany, chances are, it's made of Australian Karri :)

it's actually shaky up there...
the branch looked like a ballerina

our guide and our group
these grass cuts
our guide made even spider web sounded interesting
the grandma tingle
fall of a giant
dementor silhouette?
We were exhausted after all the climbing, driving and walking at this point... we had 2 more stops planned but had to skip... it was en route if anyone is interested...
We also saw this en route but are too tired to stop...

The road to Denmark Farmhouse is actually quite tricky without a GPS friendly address.  Anyways, if you are driving on the South Coast Hwy towards Denmark, pay attention to the Scotsdale Road Tourist Drive Sign and turn left!  The tourist drive will take you all the way to Denmark but if you go to Denmark first and drive back, it will be a waste of time and gas as you will be driving an extra 30 km. (which we didn't do)

Mt Romance Sandalwood Factory - This was a planned stop for the following day but since we skipped the two stops, we arrived in Albany earlier than expected and decided to make a quick stop at the factory.  Since we got there around 430pm (it closes at 5pm, of course), there are really not much production to see. The products are okay but we didn't buy anything...

the process
the shop

Yet, I am glad we knocked this out today since we saw the most gorgeous rainbow in the field on one of the off roads...

never seen a rainbow this big before!

We checked in at the Albany YHA for the night.  The Albany YHA definitely feels more like what you would normally expect for a YHA.  We didn't have a private bathroom this time but the common bathroom is just down the hall.

Albany YHA
I wish I took a picture before he put the tarp on -
coolest bicycle ever!

very nice artwork
very nice artwork #2
After settling down, we went for a quick dinner at the Squid Shack across town at Emu point.  (Again no GPS address so we guessed our way there.)  We got giddy when we saw "fresh shucked oysters" on the menu... happy too soon... the cashier said "no oyster... the oyster farm can't harvest oysters when it rains..." WTF... call me ignorant (I am awaiting to be enlightened - no pun intended) but this is almost as lame as the excuse my contractor once gave me when he can't come to work - his dog can't poop... (hence the lack-of-oyster mystery solved at the Settlers Tavern... it did rain every day when we were there...)

The squid was better than last night though :)

30-minutes wait for deep fried food...
my first pop this trip - definitely deserved it today
pepper squid and chips, with side fish fillet x2
still no oyster ;(
Emu point
so serene 
my first time seeing wild pelicans!

After dinner we went to Coles (a local grocery store) and picked up some food.  I discovered my love of the trip - calypso mangoes - ate 6 and a quarter total this trip - so yummy!  They were ~AUD1.98 each (cheapest I found was AUD3.50 for 2).  I saw them in Macau... they are ~MOP25-30 per lb here.  We also went to Target to check out local cosmetics - my only thought -  EXPENSIVE!

I asked the guys at the seafood counter if those oysters can be eaten raw (I am desperate for some oysters at this point...) but their answers were like "hmm... I think so, I think they are fresh, I don't eat them raw but you can try"  Ya... thanks but no thanks...

expensive - but at least they got Nissin cup noodles!
unbelievably expensive
the Revlon lipsticks was USD5 in the US and it's AUD22.75 here
Loreal and Max Factor are even more ridiculous
when in Oz, eat mangoes and kiwis :)
I think that's about it for the day.  After patching myself up with Salonpas, I fell asleep as soon as I tucked myself in bed.  I am so sore from all that climbing...

Extras - Guess what, one of the TV channels was showing a CANTONESE film - 保持通話 - it's based on the Hollywood film "Cellular"... what a coincidence!


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