Tuesday, 27 December 2011
Tour Number 2: And now the end is near
We were getting used to things not really working out for us so when we got to our morning destination of Mount Franklin and our guide made a point of telling us to take the summit not loop walk we should not have been surprised to discover the summit walk closed when we got up there. Since it was a nice day we decided to take the loop walk and had a pleasant morning walk through the forest. I am sure the views weren’t as good as from the summit but it was a nice walk and I am sure we were all glad for the break from the bus. Once we returned to the bus our guide expressed his disappointment at the lack of signage about the closed walk but we reassured him we were happy enough with our morning so far. It turns out the closed walk was the least of our guides problems. Our bus (which had been serviced recently) had another hissy fit and we were forced to make another unscheduled stop, this time in the small town of Pemberton. Fortunately it’s a nice little town and though we had to wait for our orders at the small cafe on the main street once they arrived our drinks and cakes were all approved of. Thankfully our bus problems turned out to be minor and we were soon on our way again. Since we had missed the Diamond and Fire tree the previous day our guide took us to the Bicentennial tree where a number of our group braved the climb to the top. As it had been raining and we had decided that my accident proneness was in part due to my shoes I declined the opportunity. I am glad I didn’t go up then but I do hope to try climb one in the future..... when I am not going through a phase of falling over and have better shoes.
Our final campsite was to be at a caravan park. Now I know we were on a camping tour but we were all so so happy to have proper showers and both phone and internet reception once more, though mostly the happiness was for the showers. It’s amazing how a few days without a proper shower can make a person appreciated hot running water. As usual the first order of business was to get the tents up but once that task was finished instead of our usual exploring we rested in the common area and I helped prepare dinner as the others took advantage of the plentiful hot running water. Before the sun went down there was one very important task for us to complete. There was an inflatable jumping pillow and we were determined to try and get a photo of us all jumping up from it. That was a lot harder than he envisaged so instead we got many photos of us falling over which were equally if not more entertaining. Mission amusingly failed it was time for our last dinner as a group and for us to mark on our maps all the places we had visited along the way. Then it was my turn to take advantage of the heavenly hot showers before joining the rest of the group around the camp fire for our last evening drinking together.
Our last morning on tour and we started the day by airing out our swags and rolling them up as tight as possible. We then had to pack the trailer ensuring that the last people off had their bags at the back and the first people to leave had theirs at the front. Packing accomplished we started to make our way to Perth. We took the coastal road and passed through Yallingup where we stopped at one of the famous local caves. Before exploring the caves an aboriginal man took is on a small bush walk explaining the uses of the surrounding plants. He then showed us how his people traditionally made fire, tools and even music. He gave us all an instrument and whilst he played the didgeridoo we attempted to join in. It was a fun as well as education al morning and ended with our aboriginal guide telling us the story of how the caves were formed. On entering the cave we all rubbed some dirt on our skin before throwing it in to the caves entrance so the spirit would recognise us and then it was time to see the beautiful stalagmite and stalactites’ that had formed in the caves.
We stopped in Bussleton for our usual lunch. This time the weather was not against us but pour guides usual lunch spot was fenced off due to work being carried out along the beachfront. We sound found another spot and quickly made our sandwiches and filled out the questionnaire our guide provided us with. This was not our last stop though as we had one more treat before arriving in Perth. We stopped at Simmo’s ice-cream factory for our last group outing. We didn’t have long there before we were back on the bus and on our way.
By early evening we were all safely deposited at our hostels and well and truly back in civilisation. Though the tour was over my friends and I were all staying in Perth for a varying amount of days so we knew our adventure wasn’t done yet. A friend and I met up for dinner before heading back to my hostel where we joined our guide and other friends for our first drink in Perth. It was a great end to an interesting tour and a lovely welcome to the WA capital.