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on the run, on my own: there’s a reason why it’s so green

Image: Jo Williams

Image: Jo Williams

I’m writing this while sitting in a soggy Kombi watching out the window as the predicted thunderstorm rolls in.

When I first arrived in Sydney all those months ago, I was talking with a woman in a hostel who said that the south-west was her favourite place in Australia. She described the white beaches, the beautiful cliffs and the luscious green forests.

I couldn’t wait.

Well let me tell you something: there’s definitely a reason why it’s so green.

In my naive British mind I still didn’t 100% believe that Australia had rain, especially not like British rain. But after leaving Margaret River, we made our way through the tree-lined Great Southern Highway joining the dots of Denmark, Albany and Esperance and I don’t think it had stopped raining.

Even though about 80% of this leg of the roadtrip was shrouded in grey clouds, I can still see why the lady said it was one of her favourite places. There were great stretches of road that felt like we were driving through the exact place where the forests and the ocean meet.

I will always love being surrounded by green and, event hough I loved the outback and the red dirt, this country girl will always crave the trees. So imagine my delight when I got the opportunity to actually climb them!

The first tree we clambered up was called the Diamond Tree; a huge 50 something feet with a ladder built into it and a little lookout right at the top.  I’m not sure if it’s just me but I have never, and probably will never, associate Australia with green canopy but that’s what spread before me when I reached the top. The second tree we climbed, however, was less majestic, partly due to the fact that the ladder wasn’t as securely fastened as my friend and I would’ve liked and it shifted a few centimetres while we were 60 feet off the ground.

Needless to say only a few photos were taken due to our sweaty palms and heart palpitations.

We explored the D’Entrecasteaux National Park and camped in what is one of my favourite campsites so far. After following a misleading Wikicamps entry and battling a very-much-so 4WD road in a Kombi, we arrived at a beautiful site right by a river. Having a cup of tea on a mini jetty surrounded by trees and cackling kookaburras was definitely worth getting eaten alive by mosquitoes for!

The Valley of the Giants Treetop walk just outside Walpole had been on my list of things to do since well before I bought my guidebook. It had been raining all morning when we arrived there so everything smelt amazing.

(Image: Jo Williams)

Image: Jo Williams

After that we headed to Denmark, a sweet village that would probably benefit from sunshine but was charming even in the rain. The campsite we stayed at was just a few ks outside Denmark and we took our time exploring the area. I think my favourite place was the combination of Elephant Rocks and Green Pools, which were stunning beaches and rock formations. As the weather was atrocious, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. When we first arrived at the pools, I was a bit disappointed at how horrible the weather was and how I was wearing a waterproof jacket in November. I couldn’t help but think how nice it would be if it was sunny but then the sun came through the clouds and cast the most beautiful patterns on the ocean. I attempted a photo but my camera doesn’t do it justice.

Image: Jo Williams

Image: Jo Williams

Silver linings and all.

Albany and Esperance were in the same vein. The weather was still crap but we managed to do everything we wanted to. One of the highlights of Esperance was camping in Lucky Bay in the Cape Le Grand National Park. While the site itself was just a glorified car park, our back garden was a stunning bay surrounded by cliffs and covered in sand which was excellent to draw in!

Image: Jo Williams

Image: Jo Williams

Image: Jo Williams

Image: Jo Williams

The last few days of this roadtrip were spent laughing at the fact we were in our winter woollies in November, eating fish and chips, clambering rocks and mountains, driving along coastal roads and hiding out in camp kitchens playing Eddie Veder on a ukelele while the rain provided the percussion.

After yet another goodbye, it’s just two of us now. We’re leaving the coast and Western Australia behind us and we’re about to embark across the Nullaboor. We have playlists, desert plains, kangaroos and the odd snake crossing our path.

Image: Jo Williams

Image: Jo Williams

See you in South Australia!

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