Masons Bay to Margaret River

Western Australia is 39% of Australia’s overall land mass and is the largest contributor of the country’s natural resources (read: cashed up bogans). Every second person here is adept at some kind of extreme wind/water based sport, and even the people who work in caravan parks seem to be chilled out. I don’t blame them, the place is phenomenal (I’ve only been to the southern regions at this stage, but they rock). Every day we’ve had in WA has been blue sky, sunshine and beach. I am now the most chilled out and the most tanned i have ever been.

In fact, part of the reason why I’m now doing mega blogging (in Geraldton) is that I discovered James Bond novels and was forced to spend the last two weeks lying on the beach engrossed. Yes that’s right, I’ve just been sooo busy.

 

From Esperance we found a 4WD track off to a campground at Mason Bay, where we literally camped right on the beach for 3 days in a private, sheltered little campground. The water was crystal clear bar a few sting rays. Joe had a field day getting his kites out on the bay. On his first kiting session, I’d helped him launch and then followed him down the beach, watching him blaze past rocks and reefs; half in control, half pretending not to be out of control.

 

I walked passed two older guys (no offence) watching Joe whipping through the water (and sometimes just sitting in it) and a thick American accent joshed ‘How long’s he been doin that for? I’d say about 24 hours! Hahah!’ Not a dig at Joe’s kiting ability,

it’s just that West Australians seem to be born with a kiting harness and a board strapped to their feet.

 

The voice belonged to ‘Mike the Yank’ who came over to our camp later that afternoon with a glass of vino in hand and offered for us to come and get some hot tips on where to go and camp for the rest of WA. We wandered up to his plot and met his wife Melissa – they were regulars at Mason’s Bay and more importantly, holders of Abalone licences – yay! Mike worked on diving rigs and ships as a medic and was an animated and hilarious storyteller; he even took Joe out to watch him dive for abalone the next day (note; I said Joe watched him dive, as the licencing rules are rigorous in WA, and the fines for poaching even more so). So we had fresh abalone fried with garlic and butter for breakfast two mornings in a row, followed by a chair on the beach with a book for the morning, a lazy swim, a walk, then back up to Mel and Mike’s for more banter and advice – best tips so far were; The Squid Shack in Albany (lush deepfried salt and pepper squid) and Donnelly River Winery (The Karri was awesome). Mason Bay was like paradise after nearly two weeks of back to back driving along monotonous highways, and after 3 days we were super relaxed, except for the flash dance I did when a baby snake lurched out in front of me on the path to the beach. I haaaaate snakes.

 

After our Megacamp at Mason’s Bay we were keen to burn up to Margaret River and spend a good 5-6 days there – Joe wanted surfing Mecca and I wanted the spa treatment I’d been promised as a birthday present. We drove through Albany, Denmark and Walpole stopping one night at Banksia Campground, down a sandy, bumpy 4WD track to yet another amazing beach. Then the next day through Pemberton and to Augusta, the southern end of the Margaret River region.

 

The guilty reason why I didn’t blog about this earlier is not very compelling, because actually we did sweet, sweet nothing for about 5 days – Joe surfed at Margaret River everyday, I beached it up, becoming the brownest Penny Young ever, and after James Bond, got into Phillip Pullman’s ‘The Northern Lights’. Epic, even if it is pitched at children.

 

I did manage to squeeze a rather brutal massage into my hectic schedule at a spa in town. Unfortunately the girl was some sort of masochist who wanted to have a conversation about conspiracies in American politics as she kneaded me into agony. Why???

 

But the best fun we had in Margies was going to the Red Cross and Vinnies and buying tennis racquets for the bargain prices of $2 and $10, then regripping them and playing in the scorching afternoon heat at the Busselton Country Club. Mine, the Pro Kennix Tiger 3 seems to have the winning formula, and the better colour scheme.

 

Our bush camp at Conto Fields in Leewuin Naturaliste National Park was an awesome setup too – so much so that we kept going back there every night after cruising the region for the day’s activities and loved the big private pitches complete with picnic table. That sounds really strange, but when you have to pack up your house everyday to move on like some sort of eighteenth century gypsy you appreciate the little touches.