Posted On 22 Mar 2024
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This entry is part 14 of 30 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#25


Under a thousand words he says… how the heck am I going to keep it under a thousand words? Does he know where I am? Does he know what I need to cover? One month in the south west of WA needs THREE thousand words! Oh dear – what to include and what to leave out? Well I have to mention the Tin Horse Highway. The community has gone to so much trouble to attract the visitors with 20 kilometres of 44 gallon drum “horse” sculptures, how can I just skip over it? One simply MUST stop at the Kulin Museum to see the Sunbeam motorcycle. And Wave Rock is notable even though Gorge Rock has a much better campsite and swimming hole.

And I can’t possibly omit Chittering or the New Norcia monastery. Did I mention the wildflowers? Oh…

what a display! The fullsize replica of Stonehenge is not everyone’s cup of tea but like Gnomesville, I am attracted by the spirit of the ridiculous and detour accordingly. (I actually visited Gnomesville twice after liberating a Perth gnome and setting it free amongst its own kind.) I suppose I could leave out the Corrigin Dog Cemetery and the Big Dog but then I’d have to leave out the Big Orange, the Big Marron and the Big Shears as well.

I should stick to the highlights then… umm, let me see.

Well, Margaret River of course. Food, wine, food, wine, chocolate, food and more wine. The Ten Thousand Calories a Day tour left me struggling to do up my motorcycle jacket. And poor Mo, my long-suffering little Postie bike which had already carried me 25,000km around Australia, already overloaded and unwieldy, had the good grace not to mention my spare tyre.

The south coast is another highlight.

From Esperance where I went on a peacock spider hunt, along the dirt roads of the stunning Stirling Ranges down to Albany where John taught me to ride a PWC (personal water craft?); the coastline was stealing my heart.

At Hopetoun I found sanctuary from a storm and at Denmark the spectacular William Bay and Elephant Rocks. In contrast to the north of WA, the tall trees of the South West held a majestic charm. The Valley of the Giants tree tops walk had me in awe although the Gloucester Tree at Pemberton did not entice me to scale its heights.

Each small town vies for the almighty tourist dollar with elaborate attractions to tempt you off your chosen path.

My convoluted route took me to Bridgetown to see the jigsaw museum, Cowaramup to see the Golden Cow (rump on a stump) and Meckering to visit the Big Camera and photographic museum.

So after rushing around the South West, some down time was on the cards. What better spot than Rottnest Island. I had met up with Linda Bootherstone, an author and fellow motorcyclist, and we spent a glorious week on the island exchanging engine power for pedal power. The island reeks in history having gone through many transitions from convict settlement to indigenous penal colony to WWII gun battery and finally playground for the rich. It is trying to reinvent itself as ‘affordable island holiday for the average family’ and it caters well for the many groups who visit, however “affordable” could be contested.

Relaxing island holiday it certainly was. The pace of the entire island slows to a crawl… in fact it transports you straight back to 1950 and the beach holidays we enjoyed as children. The simple pleasures of reading a real book, ice cream on the boardwalk and a game of beach cricket.

The Barracks hostel accommodation was warm and inviting with interaction amongst the guests. On the last day of our stay we were treated to an off-road Segway tour to visit the old WWII bunkers. What a superb piece of machinery taking us up sand hills and down rocky paths with the grin factor ever present. I did feel like I was cheating on Mo but as the old saying goes, what happens on the island, stays on the island.

To wrap up my time in the west, Linda and I attended the Horizons Unlimited Travellers meeting where we were each giving a presentation on our travels. Three days of inspiring talks, incredible fi lms, hands-on demonstrations, introductions to new riding gear and a hundred enthused participants left us exhilarated and exhausted.

So there you go Mr Bear, under a thousand words yet so much more to say. I would have dearly loved to stay another month, especially to experience Albany’s Anzac celebrations but cross the Nullarbor I must – while it’s still cool enough to be a pleasure and not a chore. I am already planning my return.

About the Author
Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
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