Not too far from Pemberton are some sand dunes that are just begging to be climbed. We picked a lovely afternoon for visit. We’ve been loving the weather since we left Perth, it’s felt like autumn while we are still in summer. We expected to be in the heat a lot longer than this so it’s been a welcome change.
First we had a quick look at the lake and pondered this jetty. There was a nearby sign warning against diving in but this jetty looks made for it, doesn’t it? The water looked to shallow for jumping, but TurboBug (2) tried his hand at some fishing.
Then we set off to walk the 1.5 km to the sand dunes. We don’t have 4WD so we parked near the lake and headed up the road which very quickly became sandy. It was a nice shady walk but on soft sand so a bit more work, not that the kids noticed. The road suddenly turns into a sand dune and the tyre tracks go straight over the top. According to this site, these are the largest land-locked mobile dunes in the Southern Hemisphere, and they move toward the forest at the rate of 4m per year.
I was hoping the view from the top would include the ocean (9 km away) but no such luck.
The others all made their way over to a steep dune to do some running and jumping and bounding down. At one point they held hands to go down together but as one of them has short legs they didn’t quite make it down in unison. This particular spot had many tracks on it from others running or riding or driving down.
Every once in a while a good wind would come through and blow the sand off the tops of the dunes creating a blurred effect, it was so neat with that white sand and beautiful blue sky.
Someone forgot his sunnies, left them back where the road opened onto the dunes with our other things. This was his way of compensating for the brightness. It was warm, but not too hot. The sand on the dunes was cooler to walk on barefoot than the dirt-mixed sand on the road.
This one thoroughly enjoyed himself until it was time to go. Then he was dragging his feet. Or maybe his whole body.
Look! I was there too!
JitterBug had TurboBug copying his antics as we left. Or tried to leave, anyway.
TurboBug and I bounded down the final dune.
There’s those sunnies!
After taking his time and laying in the sand, someone was covered in it.
Here’s a view of the road. Quite narrow, but we only had one car pass us on the way. We saw a couple of others on the dunes.
These flowers are called kangaroo paws! They really do look like little kangaroo paws like on the joeys we saw at the visitor centre.
One of a gazillion grass trees we’ve seen during our travels.
We’ve driven past many sand dunes but these were the first we sought out for a good play on them. Having the boogie boards along might have been fun, but I don’t think we would have survived carrying them down the 1.5 km road to the dunes. I mean, we could have carried them, it’s the complaining we wouldn’t have survived!
On our way to Denmark, WA we passed this huge blue marron at the side of the road. A Big Thing that we needed to see! During our stay in Denmark we made a trip to Walpole and made sure to stop on the way back for a closer inspection. It’s such a beautiful blue, as is the real thing! The Big Marron is located outside of Old Kent River Wines and although we didn’t stop in I’ve read lovely things about their food.
What’s funny is that I’ve seen pictures of this marron when it was painted black! I have no idea how long ago it became blue.
The requisite ‘Oh no, I’m being eaten by a giant marron’ pictures.
We also made a quick stop into The Toffee Factory near Denmark. The kids were very curious about what toffee would taste like and we were hoping to see some being made through the viewing window into the kitchen. Outside was a lovely little playhouse with a slide. It always amazes me that even after a long day the kids have energy for these things!
TurboBug (2.5) was especially entralled with the playhouse and kept disappearing back outside for a climb up the ladder. Fortunately the area in front of the shop was fenced in so I didn’t have to worry about him running off.
These probably aren’t ‘official’ Big Things, but The Toffee Factory is also the home of Elephants Rocks Cider. Outside we found this big bottle of cider. This whole southwest area of WA is home to heaps and heaps of wineries, so it’s quite different to find a cider factory.
Inside we found an elephant enjoying a drink. The elephant rocks are a geological formation near Denmark (which we later visited), thus the name of the cider.
We were disappointed to find that they weren’t making any toffee when we visited, but we were there rather late in the day. We could see that the kitchen was all clean and they were boxing up some items for shipment. I imagine if you want to view some toffee making you’d need to be there earlier in the day. There are some free samples for tasting, and we chose to purchase some mint toffee. Yum!
Then we were back to rainy Denmark. We spent three nights there and it rained most of the time. We were told it had rained quite a bit over the previous couple of weeks. It was lovely to hear the rain on the roof again!
Part one is here. I have no idea what this little guy was but he was the cutest thing. We nicknamed him the Lorax, we can’t be the only ones to come up with that name.
Then we found the lemurs and we spent forever watching them. There was a young one who was very playful and he kept picking on his older sibling (it looked to small to be dad) while mum looked on. They played and wrestled and jumped from tree to tree. We stayed for quite some time, giggling at their antics.
LadyBug waited patiently for her turn in this car, so I’d better include this picture!
Then it was time to see the orangutans. They have quite the set up. The Perth Zoo has bred 29 orangutans which is quite the feat considering they have nearly a decade between births. They’re also critically endangered. They were lovely to watch but hard to get a good look at without binoculars or a good zoom on your camera.
They have a family tree chart nearby and it was interesting to see which had been born at the zoo, how old they were, how many babies they’d had, etc.
I didn’t catch the story behind this crate but I guess it’s what they transport the orangutans in when they need medical attention. LadyBug waited patiently for her chance in this one as well.
You really couldn’t get close to the giraffes unless you paid extra for a chance to see them eye-to-eye and feed them. Disappointing, especially since children had to be age 4+ which meant TurboBug couldn’t have joined us if we’d chosen to do it.
One of the beautiful tigers was pacing. I used to absolutely love tigers as a teen, they are so beautiful.
We were just in time to see the keepers interacting with the elephants.
This one got to have a play in the water while the keeper threw the ball for her (him?). We joined the crowd watching, TurboBug, as always, had the best view!
We had a quick stop in the reptile house, I don’t remember much of it now, but can you imagine seeing one of these in the wild? Yikes! We’ve come across a couple of wild goannas in our travels but nothing this large!
Then back to the front where I got to see the lovely pelicans again.
What trip to the Perth Zoo would be complete without a picture on the kangaroo statue? One child is missing because he’d misplaced his sunnies and had to be escorted back through the zoo by a thrilled parent to find them (which they did).
We collected our souvenir gold coin from the machine near the shop and we were done. Now for that long walk back to the car which isn’t so bad at the beginning of the day but by the time you’ve walked through the whole zoo it seems very far away.
When we arrived that morning and showed our membership card for the Melbourne Zoo the lady excitedly asked me about the butterfly house. I drew a blank for a moment, it’s been a very long time since we’ve been to the Melbourne Zoo and I immediately pictured the butterfly sanctuary we’d visited in Kuranda up in Queensland. I thought it would sound funny to say we hadn’t been to the Melbourne Zoo in such a long time since we had the membership. We’ll remedy that when we return to Victoria!
The day we arrived in Pemberton we stopped into the visitor centre for some information. We were so surprised to find a room full of kangaroo joeys all curled up in baskets.
A woman had been bottle feeding them, had worked her way through all but one so they’d all just had a nice feed and were very content to lounge in their comfy baskets. There were some leaves around to feed them but they weren’t real keen since they’d just had their bottles. TurboBug (2.5) was able to interest one of them but I’m not sure we ever got any others to eat. We found it interesting to see the padding that runs from their feet up the back of their lower leg. Kangaroos spend a lot of time sitting on their lower legs. We’ve never gotten to observe that in a grown kangaroo since you don’t really want to approach them from behind!
I ran back to the car for my camera and when I came back through the door I noticed a sign that I hadn’t noticed the first time. It warned that baby kangaroo joeys were wandering around inside and to please close the door quickly so they don’t escape! There was no danger of that while we were there, they were all dozing.
They were quite comfortable with us petting them and didn’t seem to care about how much noise we made. We were told they were all rescued from their mothers’ pouches after the mothers had died.
This is the youngest one which she said may have been about nine months old. I’d just been reading that koala joeys don’t stick their heads out of the pouch until they are five to six months old so I was curious about when a kangaroo joey first appears. From what I can find out they don’t leave the pouch until eight months and by ten months they are too big to get back in.
This little kangaroo made quite the mess in its basket and she had to change the blankets. That got me wondering about those pouches, does the mother kangaroo clean it out or is it all absorbed? From what I can find out it seems to be a bit of both. A bit is absorbed and the mother kangaroo will use her snout and tongue to clean out the rest.
Aren’t they cute? The tail on this one was different than all the others, it didn’t have all the fur on it yet. It felt almost rubbery. Look at those claws!
JitterBug (8) wanted me to take a picture of him with every single joey. Um, we didn’t quite make it to all of them.
TurboBug was fascinated. They were so, so soft and lovely to pet. It’s a pity none of them were up and moving around, he would have loved that. Kangaroos just his size. But we got to see one of them being bottle-fed, which was adorable.
They bring the kangaroos to the visitor centre twice a week during school holidays. We were lucky to be there on the right day!
Ever the comedian, my darling 8yo made sure we got a picture of the nearby frog.
I was so happy we happened to be there on the right day. We’ve seen plenty of kangaroos on this trip and gotten to feed a few, but this was our first encounter with young joeys. So cute!
Last year when we visited Bruny Island we made sure to visit South Bruny National Park to see the Cape Bruny Lighthouse. When we visited it was cold and windy. There was a lighthouse museum so I opted to stay there out of the cold while Dad braved the path for a better look.
When the lighthouse was first lit in 1838 it was Australia’s fourth lighthouse. It’s now the country’s second oldest lighthouse according to the Parks & Wildlife Service.
The view was quite breathtaking. That’s mainland Tasmania in the distance.
Inside the museum we had a look at all the interesting displays. I’m quite certain TurboBug shouldn’t have been sitting on this but he thought it was a train and couldn’t help himself.
Unfortunately at this point I don’t remember what this contraption is, nor the one TurboBug is sitting on above. It’s a very clean piece of machinery anyhow. This little museum seemed lovingly cared for.
There was a map, actually several maps, in the back room where you could place a pin in your hometown be it in Oz, Tassie, or the rest of the world. TurboBug found it quite interesting and I have no idea how many pins he removed when I had my back turned.
Here’s a map of Bruny Island, you can see The Neck, our camping spot is not far from there.
Many things on display to handle and wonder about. JitterBug found it entertaining to have a picture with nearly every item on the table.
There were signal flags hanging up with the (hand-drawn) code sheet on the wall so we made sure to check what they all said. These flags say ‘LIGHT’.
These flags spell out ‘OK’.
I’ll let you figure these out, the code is below!
It became quite windy and stormy, but we managed to spot a rainbow before we left.
On the drive home this was the view. When we arrived in Tasmania in mid-February it was still beach weather. A month later, not so much.
Hard to believe it has been nearly a year since we started our five week tour of Tasmania. Hope to return some day!
In Western Australia there are heaps of outdoor cinemas. It seems that every town has one. We found out that in Perth there was a good old-fashioned drive-in theatre that often plays family movies during school holidays. We’d been comtemplating seeing the new Star Wars movie while in Perth but it was going to be pricey and we weren’t sure what to do about the younger two, it looked like Sean would be taking just the older boys. We were so pleased to discover that the drive-in would be featuring both the new Pixar film and the new Star Wars movie after Christmas. We couldn’t believe the price, just $35 for all of us for both movies! We planned to get there about an hour and a half early as we’d read it can fill up quickly on the weekend. A last minute check of the website had us rushing as they’d upped the time from the prior week’s movies. We still got there with nearly an hour to spare and the place was at least half full at that point. We were happy with our spot and settled in with some snacks and played a Star Wars Trivia game that Santa had brought us. (These are not the greatest pictures, I know.)
Why are you taking my picture? I am trying to enjoy my snacks here.
If I smile will you leave me alone?
When it was time for the movie we got the kids all situated in the back. They all settled in quite contentedly with no arguments or anything.
Right. I can dream. Someone didn’t want to sit next to someone, and someone was touching someone, and someone couldn’t reach the chips, and everyone needed a blanket, and then we threw TurboBug in there once they’d gotten it all sorted.
We watched the beautiful sunset and the listened to the kids ask when the movie would start. The may have asked a few dozen times.
Finally it was time for The Good Dinosaur. Which we survived and it was fine but I don’t ever plan to watch it again because it was just quite blah. The kids thought it was funny in parts and would surely choose to see it again.
Then finally after a very short intermission (surely the length of the intermission is determined by a man who has not seen the length of the line at the ladies’ toilet) it was time for The Force Awakens. It wasn’t long before TurboBug was out for the night, and though LadyBug hadn’t been sure she wanted to see the movie she did just fine with it in the drive-in environment where she could ask questions or have a cuddle if needed. The boys were rapt and we all enjoyed the movie. I’m not enough of a Star Wars fan to care too much about all the details but I found it entertaining enough and especially enjoyed that the kids enjoyed it.
I just googled to see if there are any other drive-ins in Australia and it looks like there are a few more but it’s hard to tell which are true drive-ins and which are outdoor theatres. This one in Perth may be the only one our kids ever make it to! It probably meant more to us adults than the kids, but I hope they will remember having gone to the drive-in while on their trip around Australia.