WA08 pt 3 - More of The Great Southern

Williams Bay National Park

On our final day in Denmark we went to Williams Bay National Park. This is just west of Denmark and features very different coastline than Torndirrup National Park. The Torndirrup coast has high cliffs with big waves pounding them. Williams Bay tends to have sheltered spots with long, slabby rocks leading down gradually to the water. The first place we went was Green's Pool which is billed as a good family beach and swimming spot. It was very sheltered from the surf and really pretty with all the rock slabs. There were a fair number of people there too. Although the water was fine for wading it was a bit cold for my tastes for swimming. And while it was pleasant where the wind was blowing, as always if you found a sheltered spot to lie on the beach in sun and soak up some warmth, the flies found you. We really enjoyed a walk along the beautiful sandy beach but decided to leave the lay out on the beach stuff for tropical destinations. There are no shortage of them close to home.

Next we drove a little farther to Madfish Bay. We couldn't pass up a place with a cool name like that. Sounds much better than visiting "Ocean Beach". It was another really pretty spot. It was also possible to hike a ways and reach some pretty beaches that were completely empty. But since no one else was there we just stayed near the car park.

Rock slabs at Green's Pool

After a morning on the coast we decided to try going to the Pentland Alpaca Farm. We had driven by the previous day and it looked like they had a nice gift shop. Sandy figured she might find some nice yarn there. They also let you (for a fee) tour through and see all their animals, even get up close and feed and touch and pet them. We thought at first it was just a kiddie petting zoo. But when we got there I noticed that they had quite a few other animals, particularly some interesting Australian ones like kangaroos and emus and even a koala. No one else was there so we took the tour and they actually had quite an impressive little private zoo.

Our first stop was to check out their koala bear. They were supposed to have two of them but we only saw one. His name was Banjo - named for Banjo Patterson, a famous Australian folk singer. The keeper told us that Banjo was ten years old. Banjo didn't mind if we stood right next to him for photos or even petted him. He was awake which is unusual during the day. Koalas sleep up to 20 hours a day (quite the life) and when they are active it is usually at night. But they had trained him by feeding him at 10 am every day so he was up every morning for breakfast!

Gift shop at the alpaca farm

The aplacas weren't that special since I had seen a lot of them in Bolivia when I went climbing there a few years ago. But what was remarkable was that they had a newborn alpaca which we learned was only two hours old. Wow. It hadn't even been there when we had breakfast that morning. Amazing.

There were a lot of farm-type animals like goats which were funny because they practically mobbed you to get the feed that you had for them. It was interesting to see the differences among them. Some were pushing and shoving to get food and some were just waiting patiently for their turn. Kind of like people. We tried to make sure that everyone got their fair share but it was tough. Even funnier were the emus (named Em and Mu). Once when I turned my back on one after feeding it a handful it actually tapped me on the shoulder with its beak to let me know that it wanted more to eat.

They also had a number of kangaroos. One of them was carrying a joey (baby kangaroo) in it's pouch. Kangaroos will carry their young in the pouch for up to a year before mom eventually kicks them out. Kind of like teenagers. This joey was about six months old so it ate grass instead of nursing. It just hung its head out of the pocket and grazed while mom was grazing. Tough life.

Time for a late lunch. We went to a nearby winery/restaurant called The Lake House. It was on the shore of a small lake (surprise) and had beautiful gardens around it. For lunch we had a sampler tray with breads, crackers, cheeses and olives along with a bottle of their wine. A delicious meal in a very tranquil setting. There were quite a few people there for lunch with a combination of both tourists and locals.

Momma kangaroo and joey

After lunch we decided to try one more winery. The first winery we went to was closed. There was a piece of paper taped to the door saying that they would be back tomorrow. I guess they were having a slow day. Or maybe they knew that we were coming. Then we went to a winery that turned out to be closed except on weekends. The only time our usual dependable info on the wineries failed us. Strike two. After that we had trouble finding our third try and were begining to think that we would strike out. But eventually we found Mariners Rest Winery. We thought we were out of luck again as no one was in the tasting room. But after a while a man came in behind us and said his wife was supposed to be there and went off to find her. She finally showed up and we thought we would just hurry up since these folks were obviously busy with other stuff. But the lady turned out to be very hospitable. She wanted us to sample all their wines (usually we just do the whites). She made up a whole tray of crackers and cheeses and olives for us. And this was right after lunch! She turned out to be quite a talker. We heard stories about their wines (like where the name of the red called "Nelson's Blood" came from) and about the winery and the area. She even told wine jokes. We ended up staying quite a while. We felt badly buying only one bottle of wine when we left because she had gone through so much trouble for us. We would have gotten more but we had quite a bit in the car and only a few days left before we had to fly back to Singapore. But she said we had been good guests so she threw in an extra bottle for free! (And we did manage to sneak the extra bottle back to Singapore - don't tell anyone.) Australians are certainly hospitable.

Lunch at The Lake House

We made a stop in the town center of Denmark for Sandy to synch up her email. The internet place was right next to a small cafe that featured kangaroo burgers. Since we had been doing nothing but eat for the past three hours, we were spared having to make a decision on whether or not to try them. It would have been tough right after feeding the little joey. Sandy also found a shop which had really unique jewelry made by putting gold and silver designs on a hardwood base. The jeweler had a tiny workshop where he made everything right in the store. Even the visitor center in town was interesting. They had a water barometer which according to the Guiness Book of World Records is the largest barometer in the world. The building needed a special three story tower just to house the barometer. That's why they use mercury in barometers.

Ocean Beach - this time on a warm sunny day

Since it was such a nice day we took another trip out to Ocean Beach. With bright sun, clear sky, deep blue water and a long bright white sandy beach it was a beautiful place. It was still very windy there but much warmer than on our visit the other evening. There were a few hardy souls in the water but we thought a walk along the beach was a better idea. Ocean Beach is right at the outlet of Wilson Inlet. It used to be a freshwater lake but at some time in the past it broke through to the ocean. The outlet is very narrow and since it is dry in the summer a sandbar forms that connects Ocean Beach to the Nulaki Peninsula and closes the inlet off from the ocean. We were able to walk along the beach and right across to the other side. We didn't walk too far along past the outlet - we didn't want to come back after two hours and find out that the sandbar only closes it off at low tide. That would have meant about a 15 mile walk back to our car! Or a very cold, rough swim. Afterwords we drove up to a viewpoint on the ridge where you could see how Wilson Inlet was closed off.

That's about all we did that day.

Additional pictures

Sandy at Williams Bay National Park