Illness and misfortune dominated the next few weeks. But we had the Pinnacles first, an odd series of limestone formations that emerge from the desert like the ramparts of a lost fortress.
We stayed in the nearest little village, Cervantes, and the plan was to head off after Katie’s ‘Yoga for Kids’ (that she couldn’t live without) catching the Pinnacles at sunset. Well that was the plan, but the Yoga went on for an hour and a bloody half! Necessitating a number of laws to be broken in order to make it on time, which we only just managed.
We actually missed the sunset, but got there at dusk which was fine. We scooted past the visitor centre and straight onto the track that takes you on a route around the desert. So I only found out later on how on earth these odd, termite mound shaped sand castles were actually created.
It’s a pretty complicated series of events that had to happen, which I guess is why they’re not exactly a common occurrence.
First of all from Shark Bay down, the west coast of Australia used to be the bottom of the sea, and over millions of years the build-up of shells and dead animals slowly turned the sea-bed into limestone. Then, about 80,000 years ago, the sand dunes in what is now called Namburg National Park stopped drifting, allowing sand at the bottom to turn into soft limestone, as the rain filtered through.
Next, soil formed on top of the dormant dunes, protecting the development of the pinnacles underneath. And finally, thousands of years later the climate changed, causing the soil to disappear, the dunes to reduce and the pinnacles to appear. So there you go.
We had our dinner in the car looking out over the desert, took a few photos and then headed home.
Pinnacles done, it was time to hit Perth. Woo hoo!
The road turned into a dual carriageway, and then a freeway. With big signs overhead telling you which of the five lanes to get into. Jesus. We’re truly back in civilisation again. It was quite exciting actually. We were looking forward to wandering around a few museums, enjoying the buzz of a big city.
We drove through Perth and out the other side initially, setting up at a caravan park in Fremantle, just 20 minutes from the city.
Fremantle (or Freo as the locals call it) is on the coast, has a few nice beaches, lots of yachts and is full of character. It’s held on to all of its old buildings, renovated them with style, and sympathy. There were lots of cool bars and café’s, fantastic parks and playgrounds for the kids. Old markets at the centre, a port full of fishing boats and a couple of museums including a world heritage listed prison that was built by convicts. I loved the place, despite the cold and windy weather, and the number of blokes with topknots.
Our first foray into Perth took us to Kings Park. It was a rare sunny day, the grass was a bright emerald and the city shimmered across the water. We parked, and the kids rolled around on the ground while we medicated with take away coffee. Nice.
Our next trip took us to the science museum, where we spent an afternoon running around after the kids as they pulled levers, shot things into the air and created static electricity. It was all very hands on and the they absolutely loved it. Great.
Our third visit didn’t end so well. We parked, paid and displayed, and then wandered into the city centre, returning five minutes after the ticket had expired to find the Landcruiser on the back of a pick-up truck! Shit! The guy was very apologetic. “Just doing me job mate.” Nevertheless, our car was on a truck, and we were standing on a street corner. Bugger.
We hailed a cab, followed the truck to the depot and handed over $370 to get it back, which pained me, to the core. Freakin’ big cities…
I’m finished with civilisation. Highly overrated. Why can’t we treat each other like human beings.
A couple of days enjoying Fremantle and we were ready to head to the Margaret River. As one of Australia’s most famous wine regions, Erin had been looking forward to this for the whole trip. And for my part, we were going to be catching up with a very old friend of mine, so I was excited about that.
Then I got ill. Sick as a dog in fact. I threw up for four days, couldn’t eat, generally felt like shit and lost all of my energy. And it was freezing in the tent, so I’m sure that wasn’t helping my recovery. Eventually we left the camper trailer (all set up because I didn’t have the energy to pack it up) and we checked in to a wee house in Fremantle to recuperate.
It was lovely, and after a couple of days I was on the mend. Starving, and raring to go. Everyone felt the benefit of a few nights under a proper roof actually. Not having to worry about the wind or the rain, and a TV/couch combination didn’t do anyone any harm either.
So, fully refreshed and raring to go, we packed up the tent and got ourselves together. Then Erin popped in to do a last minute shop, and on the way out she stumbled on the kerb, and broke her foot.
I couldn’t, believe it. Jesus what a fucking disaster.