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In My Garden

Perth weather conditions can be challenging for gardens throughout the year. So early Spring suits my garden best when new life springs into action and for a while looks happy and healthy until lack of water and the harsh heat of summer takes its toll. I took these few photos at the weekend with my macro lens. The bee with lavender was my favourite.

Canning River Regional Park

Sunday 30 September, 2017
We had such a lovely walk after discovering Canning River Regional Park for the first time last week, we decided to go again on a different walking trail. Spring flowers were in abundance so here are a few more to add to the collection from the week before. I apologise for my lack of botanical knowledge – I have no idea what the names of the flowers are!

 

Sunday 24 September, 2017
I have lived in Perth for eight and a half years, and visited Canning River Regional Park for the first time today. The weather for this long weekend was dismal, but Sunday started fairly bright and dry so we decided to risk it and took a 20 minute drive to check out this park on the advice of a friend. And we were not disappointed. It was lush and green from all the recent rainfall and many areas were saturated with water which in the summer months would probably be dry and baked hard. So we were lucky enough to see it at its best in terms of the wildlife that the conditions attracted.

We took Millie the dog (pictured below in the car, anxious to be let out to explore!); dogs are welcome on a lead and it was nice for her to enjoy different smells for a change, although this resulted in multiple stops for more sniffing opportunities! Canning River Cafe is welcome at the end of the walk for coffee/tea and cake. We timed our walk perfectly as it started to rain just as we got to the Cafe!

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You can read more about this park via the link at the bottom of the page.

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Wildlife Heaven at Monkey Mia

Shark Bay is a World Heritage site in the Gasgoyne region of Western Australia. The 2,200,902-hectare (5,438,550-acre) heritage–listed area is located approximately 800 kilometres (500 mi) north Perth.

We stayed at the Monkey Mia Resort at Monkey Mia which is the only place to get accommodation ranging from camping to fairly luxurious beach front villas and a variety of other options in between. Denham is the nearest town and is approximately 30km from Monkey Mia with more accommodation options.

For me it was a paradise – somewhere to totally relax and immerse myself in nature. We went mid March which was a reasonably quiet time to go which for me was perfect.

People visit Monkey Mia from around the World to see the wild dolphins regularly visit the shoreline to be fed fish and interact with humans. They visit at their own instigation and are fed only a 10th of their daily requirement over a maximum of three feeds so that their natural instinct to fish is not compromised. Aside from regular visits from Dolphins, turtles and sting rays are regular visitors. Visitors are allowed to offer a fish to a dolphin if chosen from the crowd but they are forbidden to touch them. I would recommend a visit to anyone who wants to experience the wonder of a dolphin up close.

We also went on a three hour wildlife cruise with Perfect Nature Cruises on catamaran Aristocat 2 and had an absolutely magical time watching dugongs and turtles, with the highlight watching a large pod of dolphins herding fish. Magnificent!

I have done a short video just over 4 minutes long showing the highlights of this trip – looking back at it I probably took too much footage on the dolphins feeding during the wildlife cruise but never mind – it was such a wonderful experience. Hopefully it gives you a taste of what to expect if you ever make the trip! The link to the video is at the end of this post.

 

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Perth Zoo

During the Christmas Break I took the opportunity to go to Perth Zoo. I was quite impressed with the facilities they have for the animals there and the whole complex looks very well maintained. The plantings are green and lush which add to the experience.

I did feel sad for the Sun Bears and wasn’t sure, in view of their abusive history, that their continued rehabilitation would benefit from being ‘gawped at’ by humans, but they have certainly come a long way from their horrendous start in life.

One of the bears, Jamran, was found in Cambodia with his paws bound to a stake in front of a restaurant, where he was used as an advertisement for bear paw soup, a delicacy that can reach up to $1500 a bowl. He was rescued in 2007 along with Bopha, who was originally captured by poachers at two months old and sold to a wealthy family as a pet.

Current entry price is $29 per person which seems quite expensive but you can spend the whole day and if you have a passion for animals and nature, then the whole experience is well worth the money.

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Road Trip – 5030.7km & 16 Nights!

Cue

From Fremantle we drove approx 670km to Cue for our first night. In 2006 its population was 328 so I would imagine it has dropped even more since then. It has the feel of a ghost town about it but still an interesting place to stay for one night and soak up the atmosphere of an old outback town. We stayed at the Queen of Murchison Hotel, which is now a B&B and had dinner at the pub across the road.

Cue was established in 1893 when gold was discovered – the roads are wide to accommodate the camel trains that were used in those days. A couple of the photos below show ‘pensioner huts’ which were moved from the Big Bell mine sight in 1958 to provide accommodation for pensioners. Until a few years ago, they appear to have still been in use but are now currently unoccupied and in need of repair.

Karijini National Park

Our second night was actually spent in Newman but the less said about that place the better! (Mind you I did have the best meal of the whole trip at the Seasons Hotel so it wasn’t all bad).

We spend three nights at the Karijini Eco Retreat. With hindsight two nights probably would have been enough but it was a wonderful place to stay.Wildlife does include red kangaroos, euros, wallaroos, echidnas, geckos, goannas, bats, legless lizards and a large variety of birds and snakes including pythons but unfortunately for us we hardly saw anything apart from bats at Fern Pool and the odd lizard.It may have been something to do with the time of year we visited which was at the tail end of Spring so coming into the hot weather.  It was great to hear dingoes howling on our last night but unfortunately didn’t see them.

Karijini is the second largest national park in Western Australia and covers 1,550,390 acres.

Exmouth

Nights 6 – 8 were spent at Yardie Homestead outside Exmouth, close to the Cape Range National Park. The area relies heavily on tourism. Exmouth was established in 1967 and in the 2011 census it had a population of 2,207 which swells during the tourist season to over 6,000. Temperatures often reach over 40 degrees Celsius in summer.

Cape Range has spectacular gorges and covers an area of 506 square kilometres. We had hoped to see turtles nesting whilst we were there, but although we saw tracks and large dips in the sand where eggs had been laid we didn’t see any turtles come up onto the shore. We did see plenty of heads bobbing about in the ocean though!

Coral Bay

We spent two nights at Coral Bay which is a small town approx 1,200 kilometres north of Perth. It relies mainly on tourism and fishing. The Ningaloo Reef is a popular diving and snorkelling site with a large variety of coral and fish life and is one of the best places to see whale sharks and manta rays. We did go out on a manta ray cruise but only saw one of these giants (which measured approx three and a half metres in width – some get up to eight metres in size!) and visibility unfortunately was not very good due to weather conditions which had stirred up the sand in the water.

Shark Bay – Monkey Mia

Regrettably we had only booked two nights and one full day at Monkey Mia, Shark Bay but we loved it so much that we are going back for a four night stay next year – it is a place to truly relax.

Shark Bay is a World Heritage Site covering an area of 5,438,550 acres, approximately 800km from Perth. In the 2011 Census there was a population of less than 1,000 people with none permanently living at Monkey Mia as there is only one resort there.

Shark Bay is home to about 10,000 dugongs (sea cows) which equates to 12.5% of the world’s population. They feed on the seagrass meadows which cover over 1,200,000 acres of the bay.

Dolphins have been visiting Monkey Mia since the 1960s and Rex saw them in his youth before the resort was built and before it turned into a tourist attraction. Their feeding is strictly monitored and managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife which is a good thing as interaction with humans is kept to a minimum and their health and wellbeing is the prime purpose. They do come in most days but their attendance is not guaranteed.

Kalbarri

Kalbarri was our home for the next three nights. It is approximately 600km from Perth and when we visited was relatively quiet due to the end of the tourist season. The area has some spectacular scenery/coast line and is where the Murchison River meets the ocean. Again, this town relies heavily on tourism and fishing.

Attractions include the Kalbarri National Park, the Murchison River and daily pelican feeding.

Nature’s Window is spectacular and a very popular place for photographers. It overlooks hundreds of kilometres of the Murchison River.

Cervantes and Lancelin

We reluctantly left Kalbarri knowing that our road trip was almost at an end. We travelled towards Cervantes stopping at Northampton on the way (a quaint town where we were sad to see many shops closing down due to lack of trade), before stopping at Okabella Homestead (a few kilometres outside Northampton) which was supposed to be haunted, for a cream tea in the tea shop. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to stay for a tour.

We then visited the Pinnacles Desert before reaching our last night’s stay location of Lancelin and then all too soon our wonderfully diverse and spectacular trip was over but the memories will last a lifetime!

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