html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> I Need an Invention, Intention, to stop Temptation to Scream...: December 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Perth Adventure Day 9

I'm back as promised!!! Moving on from Bridgetown, we travelled inward right to the heart of Southwestern Australia, entering Pemberton region famous for its nature trails, trekking and jungle related activities.

Frankly speaking Bridgetown and Freemasons hotel didn't look even remotely spooky in the day, as contrast to the night pictures taken in the previous road trip post.

It sorta has that 'old town kind of feel. Much like those ranch or bar saloons seen in the good old American Gold Rush Days...

I thought we were famous for chilli crabs??? Still 'Singapore' is more than a country. It's an advertising tool too.

Dark clouds filled the skies and this was the only day that drizzled! And for a short while only. Thank God for excellent weather throughout the trip!

Blackwood river and its adjourning park. On the fringe of bridgetown.

This weird looking duck greeted us the moment we alighted.

Guess we were too close for comfort!

A postcard in every direction! If you ask me WA should pay me to be their tourism advertising agent. And I shall trademark this quote. Hahaha.

The roads are so smooth to drive in. A bit too smooth if you ask me... *Hint hint...

And we arrive in Manjimup town! Told you there's like tens of places or town names ending with UP. So cute. We made for the visitor centre straightaway. Seems to be the trip's Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) whenever we reach a new town.

Check back again in a few years time and perhaps the visitor centre will look like this instead! Yup. Aussies love a joke. And you gotta admit having a visitor centre in a form a giant bottle of VEGEMITE does bring out the giggles. Now imagine if something like Expo is constructed in the shape of a giant tin of Milo. That would be cute too.

Manjimup Town ladies and gentlemen!

At Manjimup town at this time of the year, one makes a fastbreak for these...

Not christmas trees! These!!!

Manjimup town's famous for its cherry orchards and we were recommended to visit this nearby Maurallen Cherry Orchard.

Trees with ripe cherries are protected from birds. The bearded onwer so kindly guided us around his orchard, peppering his tour with bit and pieces of cherry related information.

Photo fun time!

We grabbed a huge bag of cherries before leaving. $12 a kg if I remember correctly.

Juicy sweet-sour yummylicous cherries that taste pretty much like grapes! It was my first time eating fresh cherries (call me sua ku or whatever) but I thought it would be pretty much like those on birthday cakes. So I held one by its stalk and took a big bite right into the middle of the cherry. I swore I heard a 'kunk'. I DIDN'T KNOW THERE WAS A HUGE HARD SEED RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE! That 'kunk' could be my teeth shattering. Remember! Cherries comes with seed!

We continued along the Southwestern Highway and soon we spotted a sign that says 'Advocados for sale'.

Thinking we could see a plantation or a fruit shop we turn in the direction directed by the sign which led us to this:

Someone left a huge box of advocados, a small locked attached tin by the side and simply requested any buyer to pick the number of advocados required and just deposit the payment amount written on the box into the locked tin! The words under huge red 'Advocados' sign read : *BE HONEST*

That's really trusting of the seller. Talk about honesty and integrity! We saw several buy-and-pay self service unmanned fruit 'stalls' along the way. Try doing that in Singapore, I bet the box gets nicked in a second.

There were indeed advocado orchards in the near vicinity.


I took quite a fair bit of weird looking plants and flowers all along the trip!

We finally reach Karri Forest Explorer drive!

86 kliometres of idiot-proof self-guided driving trail that will take your to as close as nature as you can get, while remaining in the comfort of your car seats.

The Marriane North Tree. A stunningly tall thin tree with a funky growth in the middle. Looks like a giant beehive or something.

We drove to the Diamond tree which allows visitors without acrophobia to scale it. I was not afraid of heights but I what was more concerned off was its method of ascend.

The Diamond Bi-centennial tree. Metal pikes are driven into the tree in a spiral and upward direction. So to scale it simply follow the 'ladder'. The catch? There are no safety nets under the metal pikes. So while ascending, a single slip of your foot could send you to your death as the pikes move in a spiral direction one after another. No kidding! It's totally different from say, climbing a ladder.

So we chicken-ed out, took it easy and just pose for some act-garang-but-wayang pics...

I love the stipes across the blue sky...

Of course we didn't chicken out you disappointed readers! Why scale Diamond tree when there's the scarrier 14 storey high Dave Evans Bi-centennial tree just a short drive away??? There are lots of similar lookout trees constructed in the 1920s to give locals a good vantage point of locating a forest fire during the dry seasons. Today we have GPS, so the trees are mere tourist romps now.

The Dave Evans Bi-centennial tree... 71 metres in height 64 scalable metres of adrenalin rush.

BEWARE! Well they did cover their own ass with a disclaimer. So here we go!

Think its short? Think again. I can't even capture the full height of the tree. A pic of the tree and some climbers before us. I regretted not wearing a pair of good climbing shoes. Was quite fearful as my old well worn adidas superstar has NO grip whatsoever! A cutting in the middle of the shoes would be best. I WANT MY GORETEX (army boots).
So off we go! XinYi's elder brother, Jian Ye led the pack while I brought up the rear. And after what seems like no time at all we reached the lookout point somewhere slightly more than halfway up. About 8 storeys high.

That was the easy bit? Yeah right...
No one else wanted to proceed further. Especially not me without good shoes on. Climbing up so high was fearful enough... Tried changing shoes with Wenqi (girlfriend of Jian Ye, only both of them had decent climbing sports shoes) but it was too small.
So I got the perfect excuse not to climb to the top! *CHAO KHENG But it was one of my personal regrets of the trip, not being able to scale it. Arrgh. Should have scaled that easy Diamond tree just for fun. Hahaha.
Jian Ye proceeded alone and took some pics at the summit lookout.

The entrance to the lookout...

And am I glad that I didnt proceed... It was stated that in strong winds, the summit lookout can sway up till 1.5 metres in the any direction. Is that freaky or what...

Actually going up is the easier part. Coming down was more of a chore...

Karri Forest, Pemberton... Too much to see too little time. We zoomed off as soon as we got down.

Pemberton used to be a place of extreme logging. Logging has ceased today. There's no reception of local radio stations deep in the jungle however, at major attractions there will be signs telling you to tune in so as to receive a pre-recorded touristy info guide on history and interesting features as you approach the attraction. Amazing! The reception dies off as soon as you're out of range away from the attraction.

Brockman Sawpit. One of the reminders of the past.

The journey continues!

I'd rather drive than navigate as I get giddy sometimes staring at maps. I love the compass on my faithful sect-com bag. Gave us quick bearings when called upon.

We reached another geographical attraction known as Fernhook falls. The water's black in colour due to the presence of microparticles some metal compound ( I forgot the name, so chem student anyone?) present in the water.

The falls would lead to a giant pool about half the size of Bedok reservoir.

Lots of rocks for us to climb all over...

There were tadpoles in water filled depressions on the giant rocks.

Its just like a waterfall and river of Kopi-O, culminating in a gigantic cauldron.

Known as Rowell's pool.

Check out the pretty adamantium coloured trees surrounding the pool.

And some weird looking plants around...

One would have thought it's fall!

Finally after a long day of trekking through forests and what nots we finally arrive at the town we will spend the night in.

Walpole town. After checking in at Walpole Lodge, we made a beeline for the food joint recommended by the lodge owner. We were starving as we didn't have a proper lunch! Snacked on the humongous amount of tidbits that we bought in the car to save time and get to attractions faster.

One powerful restaurant that serve a mean bit of pizza man.

While waiting for our takeaway orders, I stepped outside and caught this...

I can't tell you how good the food was as we were too busy attacking the food and didn't take any picture. Perhaps this seagull can tell you how crispy the fries were.

Comfy Walpole Lodge. Voted as one of the top few places to stay in Western Australia. The rooms are neat and clean. The common room has a pool table, internet enabled computer, squashy sofas with tvs etc. Best of all the whole area's wi-fi enabled. The comfortable lawn chairs see here provides an excellent view of the setting sun.
We showered and then went to the lawn to star gaze. The skies in Australia at night way different. You can see literally an unlimited of bright dots at night. The Orion belt seems much nearer and larger! Nightstar and I were the only lucky ones! We hanged out outside long enough in the cold to see a shooting star! That was one scene in my life I will never forget.

That wraps up another thrilling day!
Time to sleep and enjoy my half day of work tomorrow!
Have a rocking countdown tomorrow everyone!