Thurs 24th March
And so an early start to the final leg of our journey. It will be breakfast en route, probably when we stop to do the Tree Top Walk.
As already detailed, a bad night's sleep, interrupted frequently by the timber mill across the road and the lorries roaring past all night long, and of course the grape pickers. It was a relief to get back on the road and to make our way to Walpole where we grabbed some breakfast and then dared to walk the Tree Top Walk. Actually it was a pleasant walk, if you don't mind being 60m up in the air walking on a narrow metal bridge which not only swayed from side to side but also from left to right! I managed to take a few photos so you should get to see them soon. Then it was a walk through the Land of the Ancients. It sounds like a tea time trip to the Willow Tree but in fact it was exploring all the old trees which have been there hundreds of years. So long that some of them were hollow and thick skinned (still sounds like some Willow Tree punters).
Then it was on to Albany where we saw the Natural Bridge and the Gap before going to the hostel and getting ready for a few beers in town. I have a sneaking suspicion that in order to promote Tourism, the Australians have created "places of interest" out of just about anything. Take the Natural Bridge for example.I suppose it does look like a bridge insofaras there being a "hole" underneath the span but the bridge doesn't lead anywhere except a rock face. But it is natural, andit looks like a bridge, so in true Aussie style I suppose calling it a Natural Bridge is only natural!
As it was approaching tea time, and hunger pangs were starting, we decided to walk into the town centre to grab something to eat. Easier said than done. Despite claiming to have a population of nearly 40,000 (which is huge compared to some of the other "towns" we have seen), we struggled to find anywhere to eat. There was a coffee shop which looked like it had just come off the set from Neighbours, and a pub, but neither menus were enticing. It was "burger this" and "burger that" so we "burgered off". There was a steak house with a good menu but the starters were nearly as much as we had paid for the room so we felt guilty about spending that much money. It's not being tight, honest, it's just part of living the "backpacker's life".
Then we came across it. The oasis in a desert of bad eating places. A Chinese take away. Lady luck was shining on us as it had only just opened up as well. So back to the hostel all ready to eat. Actually the Chinese was very bland but I suppose it did its job. We then hung around the TV lounge for a bit, killing time before going to the pub. We got chatting to a Gloucester girl who had been all over the world backpacking. Alright for some isn't it? She advised us of a pub down the road which wasn't too bad and said we could get a two-for-one voucher from reception.
She declined our offer to join us but pointed out a guy sat in a chair behind us saying he was off to the pub soon if we wanted to join up with him. We nodded at some neanderthal looking guy who introduced himself as James from Yorkshire but we quickly made our excuses, and our way to reception where we claimed our free vouchers.
The pub itself wasn't too special but there were a few people in at least. We managed a few beers before the apeman joined us and so we were able to sup up and go. Not that we were being unsociable but it didn't seem as though he was capable of holding a conversation. He was from Leeds anayway so what else could you expect from a Leeds United fan?
And so the end of yet another exciting day! I don't know how these backpackers cope with all this excitement in their life.