My couchsurfing host in Albany is more than cool. Rachel is greatly involved in permaculture. The household system she created and her backyard farm are impressive. I can’t get enough of a pet kangaroo hopping around.
In the morning Anh picked me up and we drove to Bluff Knoll. Second highest peak in Western Australia is located in Stirling Ranges, 80 km away from Albany. I was excited, I planned to hike for few hours and hitchhike back to Albany. I didn’t bring my tent. It was a holiday, Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia. All supermarkets were closed. I had with me plenty of water, some nuts / seeds mix and extra clothes. A morning bowl of cereal supposed to carry me to the peak. Hype!
From the parking location we started to hike a clearly marked path. The trail was well organised and steep, the view… breathtaking.
It took us one hour to reach the top. 3 km with elevation, not a bad result, the reward was waiting. We enjoyed our lunch while admiring the scenery.
On the way down Anh was in great mood, she started to dance and sing. It wasn’t my type of music, I wanted some space… I put on my headphones and run away. We descended quickly and stopped for a coffee. I hate coffee! Anh treated me with some anzac biscuits. They were delicious. Anh was going back home to Perth. I had some more sightseeing to do. We said good bye, I thank her, we hugged. An amazing character, I hope to see her again.
I started to hitchhike back to Albany. I felt in a trap. My driver claimed she’s heading back to the city but in the end I was 16 km short and it was getting dark. Luckily I was picked up by Franziska. She’s seen me trying to catch a lift in the previous spot… I was legitimate.
Franziska was on her holiday, fresh in Australia, she planned to sightsee Albany`s area. We got along and had similar plans. Next day she picked me up in the city centre. We drove towards the coastline.
In my own mind I see myself as an adventurous person. I like extreme sports and risked my life doing silly things. That is why, I was surprised, it was Franziska that suggested to explore the top of Natural Bridge.
A granite rock formation didn’t collapse under our feet. We enjoyed a different viewpoint and the structure of rocks not seen elsewhere. Waves washing over and exploding against rocks fascinated Franziska. She appreciated the sight, she hasn’t seen anything like that before. As much as I’ve enjoyed the view, I wasn’t impressed. It was a cloudy day, I’ve seen better places… it was Franziska`s contagious excitement and her company that entertained me.
The Gap was meters away. Waves hitting the rocks underneath the metal platform were splashing water high in the air. 40 metres above I was contemplating life. I often am sentimental when watching the horizon.
Hitchhiking Tip – Library
There are so many amazing things about it. Free source of knowledge, a potential to charge the phone, use computer, free WiFi and toilet. You can hide from rain, heat, cold, relax and socialise.
I used free WiFi to video chat with my family thousands of km away. The advancement of technology in last 40 years is just incredible. What happened to era of letters and stamps?
I spent the next morning sharing travel stories with my host and housemates over the bowl of cornflakes. Franziska promised to pick me up, she was late, lazy morning. We were both leaving Albany and heading in the same direction.
Green Pool and Elephant Rocks attractions are located 70 km West of Albany. I’ve enjoyed the colour of water and a breeze of wind, Franziska has seen her first kangaroo.
We stopped for honey flavoured ice cream and coffee before reaching Valley of the Giants. The place was recommended to me by several people, I had my doubts and was keeping my expectations in check. Tree top walk, made of lightweight steel, took us 40 metres high above and between 400 years old trees.
We could admire colossal trunks of some of the tallest trees in the world quite close. I was sold. The weather changed, the sun shined, we had great time.
I said bye to Franziska at the Busselton crossroad. Thanks to another driver, I have end up wild camping in Bunbury, 200 km South from Perth. I already found on couchsurfing a host in Perth for my last days in Australia. I decided to keep it easy and see him the next day rather than banging on his door middle of the night. So close…