Surfing at Redgate, Augusta bakery goods for lunch and the afternoon spent by Flinders bay reading our books in the sun.
We searched the coast for the best beginners waves which honestly wasn’t easy to find. Hamelin bay was flat, Contos was difficult to find and down a dirt road (which my little bug wasn’t happy with) and Gas bay was dumping on reef.
Denver was happy to give Redgate a go even though the waves were thick. Redgate beach was gorgeous. A short 5 min walk from the carpark and down a few rocks. No crowds here. Beautiful soft, white sand. He surfed for just over an hour and came out of the waves exhausted. Hoping to find some nice beginner surf in Denmark/Esperence.
Today we had to visit the final cave on our list – Jewel cave! An hour long guided tour. This was our favourite, it had a bit of everything. It was incredibly large, but also had small chambers. There were stairs to climb and rocks to duck under. Pretty coloured light shows and all the different types of crystal formations. Overall we were extremely impressed with all four caves, each a very different experience, we would highly recommend seeing them all.
For lunch we travelled towards Yallingup to meet our friends at Hay Shed Hill Wines. We went all out with the six course degustation. They paired each course with a half serve of wine. The wine here was beautiful, I loved every glass. The food was delicious, my favourite dish being the gnocchi. Denver loved the mushroom sauce which was salty and sweet (kind of like a sticky date pudding).
Coffee in hand and we set off on a coast drive with my friend Emma (the lucky girl now calls Dunsborough home). She was the perfect tour guide showing us her beautiful backyard. Our favourite stop was Meelup beach which is less than ten minutes out of Dunsborough.
That afternoon we cruised south through Gracetown for a bite to eat and to gawk at the surfers in amazement.
Then to the caves! Mammoth and Lake cave. Which are only 4km apart on caves road (thirty minutes before you get to Augusta). Mammoth cave was mammoth in size and in spectacle. Headphones on for an educational audio guide and an optional 700m bush hike to finish. Lake cave newly fitted with a light show was a beautiful sight. It took a few hundred stairs down a sinkhole to reach the cave entrance (note: if you go down, you must come back up).
That was enough stalactites and stalagmites for one day so we settled in at Flinders Bay Caravan Park in Augusta.
The weather was off today so we shuffled our plans a little.
Kicked started the day by picking up a coffee (necessary) in Dunsborough then on to Sugarloaf Rock In Yallingup. There was a beautiful view of the rock at the lookout and the overcast weather provided perfect lighting for some snaps. Denver spotted a trail so we headed off-road for a closer look. Safe to say it rocked our world.
We zipped down the road to Injidup Natural Spa. This was a bit harder to find. Once parked walk to the left hand side of the car park, climb over some rocks and turn right to find the natural spa. On a warmer day this would’ve been a lovely place for a paddle. It was still a beautiful sight and a nice place to hang out for a while.
After all this rock climbing our tummy’s we’re hungry so we headed to Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery. This is approx 20 minutes out of Yallingup down caves road. They have a lovely area outside where we shared some plates (try the wings!) and the beer and cider tasting board.
After lunch we took a drive into Margaret River to look through the boutiques and surf shops. As per my request, we stopped at the Margerat River Chocolate Company on the way back to Busselton (which did not disappoint).
Today’s plans were to go snorkelling and explore a cave!
The drive from our campsite to Busselton Jetty was about 10 minutes. We brought our own snorkels and fins so we could dive straight in and start exploring. We soon found out the best snorkelling was way out at the end of the jetty which is a 1.8km walk – but well worth it. Dive and snorkel equipment is available for hire and the designated swim spot here is supervised by staff. So many little fishies to see and we even spotted a sting ray!
We wanted to capture our underwater adventures so Denver used his Go Pro and I took a risk with my new Lifeproof (apparently waterproof) Iphone case. Both worked a treat underwater and now we have some amazing snaps to share.
On to Ngilgi Cave, in Yallingup, 20 minutes from the campsite. We bought entry to all four caves to make it a bit cheaper ($67). This tour starts with a guide for the first 10 minutes and then you a free to explore the cave for yourself taking about an hour in total. There are lots of steps and we were constantly ducking our heads under rocks so be ready for a bit of physical activity. Apparently the depth we hiked was equivalent to a twelve story building. The sights inside were beautiful. I’m excited to see the next few caves.
I drive a Ford Fiesta Zetec and we packed that little car like a game of Tetris. I can confidently say it was not designed for long road trips. Tyres pumped, petrol filled and surfboard strapped to the roof – off we went.
First stop: Collie, approx 2 hours South-East of Perth. Rather than heading straight down we took a detour east for a dip at Honeymoon Pool and Black Diamond Lake (these stops are just before Collie town center). Honeymoon pool looked lush and green, water was cold but this didn’t stop Denver diving in. I loved Black Diamond Lake. It was a beautiful bright blue scene. Water was warmer as it was exposed to the sun – perfect for a swim once you got over the squishy clay under your feet. People were SUP boarding, paddling and floating around on various inflatable animals.
We only did a quick drive through Collie to visit the Woolworths and then continued on to our second stop: Busselton. The drive from Collie to Busselton took approx 1.5 hours. We pitched our tent (thanks Aldi) at the RAC holiday park in Busselton. Personally I think this campsite is fantastic. I know it’s only our first stop but we have free WiFi, a fully stocked kitchen, clean bathroom facilities, a pool and spa, bikes, BBQs – I’m a happy camper here.
After hearing about the amazing South-West coast of Australia we decided we had to see it for ourselves. Nothing but a couple of amateur surfers, amateur campers (well one of us) but a keen sense of adventure and a few spare weeks on our hands. If you’re trying to plan a great Australian adventure and don’t know where to begin, this blog might shed some light on the highs and lows of crossing the Nullarbor form Perth to Adelaide.