The saga that was the Wave Rock was nearing an end. With the sun set, we followed the signs that appeared from the dark, heading towards Hayden. Sneaking in under the cover of dark, we skirted Hayden, pulling into the near by campsite with a plan to get dinner rocking. It was curry tonight, time to use up those last vegies we got through the SA quarantine. The sweet potato was looking like it needed to be used up, and I think curry was just the ticket. Went down a treat, and after a few wines, we were off to bed, with a plan to rise early, and see what this rock had to offer. I had a go at sleeping in the car. I think I prefer the tent…
We rose early, and after a breakfast of cous cous and onion, we went to investigate the Wave Rock and beyond. I’d never heard of it before, but the Germans had been on a mission to reach it. The rock itself reminded me a bit of Sam and Max, would be better suited in southern USA with a few casinos or glitzy lights around it. What really struck me however were the salt lakes in surrounds. While Hayden and surrounds didn’t seem to be the most happening joint vegetation wise, it now was a bit of a wasteland. And just from 100 years of attempted farming. Raised boardwalks wound their way through the eerie scene, the ground beneath glistening with a crust of white. Protruding from the crust were fading skeletons of trees. Some green was scattered through out, but still was an eerie sight.
In the centre of a cluster of holiday cabins, we came across a mechanical relic from time past, whose purpose we couldn’t figure out. Even which end was the front was ambiguous. Nearing the end of the loop, we spotted through the fence, some large white creatures, lazing in the scrub. Getting closer, we saw they were albino kangaroos, big ones at that. They looked to me like some sort of experiment, crossing kangaroos and albino humans. Their features looked quite human to me, and unhappy. Bit of a horse face.
With that we left Wave Rock, and attempted to leave Hayden. We left, and then returned, an hour later. The second escape attempt was more of a success, and we were on the road again, headed Albany way. To visit the place people confuse with Albury. One letter but a fair few km’s between. The drive itself was getting tedious, and then the rain began. It poured down. We arrived into Albany in the dark, dropping in at a fast food joint to make use of the net. To reconnect to the world, hear from people other then those in the car, and realise we where that close to Perth, it was all a bit exciting really. The closer we got to Perth though I felt, the slower we travelled. That night we snuck into another caravan park, in rain that reminded me of Jurassic Park. There were a few floodlights about, that created the ambience, cutting through the sheeting rain. We scouted about, and found a dry haven in the form of the laundry. Here we prepared a dinner of tomato tuna pasta, had a chat and shared some music.
The next morning we crept out, and had breakfast in town. The first stop for the day was just before Walpole, pulling into the Valley of Giants. Some big trees, here, pretty impressive, but now I was getting impatient, wanting to get to Perth. This day as well was marked by rain, and lots of it. I found out later that Denmark is in the midst of a massive water shortage, to the point that they need to truck it in. Well today they were getting a breather. Late in the arvo, we stopped in for fuel and got tipped off on a local road, a short cut to Margaret River. It was half dirt, with the sun setting right in front of us. The bush enveloped us, and it felt as though we were driving into a different world. Dodging a few kangaroos along the way.
We made it to Margaret River by nightfall. Tired, hungry and getting a slight case of cabin fever, I was ready to set up camp and kick back for the night. However we toured a few caravan parks, but to no avail. By now it was properly dark. We heard about a campsite just outside of town, by the beach, so out we trekked, keen to get set and sorted as soon as possible.
Once there, we got set up, and began the vegetable curry for the night’s eating. Being my birthday the next day, we’d bought some wine, of the box variety, to start the celebrations early. Turned out there was a school group camping nearby, and one of the teachers came over to apologise in advance,
“Hi, how’s it going? Just thought I’d let you know that we need to get up early tomorrow and, we’ll be making quite a bit of noise, so we’ll probably wake you up. Sorry about this, but we’ll try and be as quick as possible.”
We said that was fine, and then Thomas added,
“We’re going to be up late tonight, celebrating Tim’s birthday, so we’ll probably make a bit of noise.”
Yes, probably didn’t need to tell them that Thomas…
Anyhow, it was freezing that night, so once we got dinner cooked, we piled into the car, got the radio going and wine flowing. Car party. Louis decided to introduce to Heidi and I, and reintroduce to Thomas, the German phenomenon of the Party Song. These pieces of artistic brilliance are to be heard to be believed, preferably with a drink and a jovial German to translate. Basically think kid’s songs put to a techno beat. With such classics as ‘up your bum, Mexico’ (apparently it rhymes in German) and ‘where’s the coconut?’(The baby stole it, can’t trust the youth of today, it’s a disgrace), it was a little diddy titled, ‘Red Horse’, that captured our imagination. Of course with any good German party song, there’s a dance to go with it. So after some in car training, on the stroke of midnight, we all jumped out, cranked the radio and had a crack. Seemed like a great idea at the time but turned out the school group didn’t share our thinking. At least that’s what Thomas gathered from the glares he got as they were leaving. They must not have been as noisy as expected because I didn’t stir at all. Once I rose, they were nowhere to be seen.
Today was my birthday, and it had been one of the more memorable ones to date. Today however we were at the end of the adventure, with Perth in the sights. Slow was the motto for today. After a stop by the beach, something to eat, we managed to leave Margaret River by 3 in the arvo. The drive was broken with a road stop and impromptu b’day cake celebration, which was cool. We hit the southern reaches of Perth on dusk, as always. Travelling along the highway, we ran alongside large industrial complexes, which were silhouetted against the draining sunset. I thought it’d be interesting to talk to someone from the manufacturer’s union about where they saw the future of Australian manufacturing. Maybe I’ll get around to it. Fremantle was the departure point, and we followed the prompts, closer and closer. It was funny to be back in and around buildings, noise, people. We’d finally made it. Not before getting lost for one last time though.
We were close but, with a bit of a lapse of concentration on my part, we took a wrong turn, that turned into somewhere else, and all of a sudden we were crossing railroads and next to a darkened paddock. Hmmm… Retracing our steps, we found our path again, and ambled into Fremantle, ready to head our separate ways. Everyone had work on their minds, with the funds running low, and then the plan was either to keep travelling or, in Thomas’s case, head back home. I had a different plan, that was still congealing, but a bit of work would help the funds.
I was the first to go, meeting my friend Izzy in the heart of Fremantle. Transferring my gear from car to car, I reflected on how far we’d come. I felt now that I was only beginning to grasp what Australia is. It was sad in away to leave the others, feeling the intensity you get from travelling, beginning to fade. However, we made it. Time to check out what Perth has to offer…