Wednesday, 16 November 2016

A sunny weekend in Albany

Not long after arriving in Esperance, I started an evening job and have been working really hard on writing more on the Necrosanguin series during the day. Because of this I haven't been exploring this beautiful region as much as I could be, I also haven't been dedicating any time to the Trooprock blog either!  But just recently, after completing a productive week of writing, we decided to take a weekend trip to Albany to catch up with Jen's parents, who were also visiting Albany.
With a population of  about 34,000 Albany is much bigger town than Esperance. It has what you'd expect from a town of this size on the southern coast of Australia, plenty of shopping opportunities, cafes, bars and nice attractions just on the outskirts.
One of the first destinations we hit, was Torndirrup National Park. Here you can find some magnificent granite like rock formations by the wild waves of the southern ocean. It is all easily accessible by a raised pathway, which runs direct from the car park, to both viewing platforms.
One of those platforms shows off the Natural Bridge, the fruit of an artistic display of erosion, giving you a window to the wild waters. On the way to the Natural Bridge, we saw a turtle, a giant turtle! He was made of rock, and we may have been using our imagination a little, but I'm sure with a little imagination you could see many different things in these rock formations!
The second platform is known as the Gap, and this is absolutely amazing! The raised platform continues slightly over the edge of the cliff, giving you an amazing view of the ocean crashing against the cliffs, sending giant explosions of water into the air, while you stand comfortable 40 metres above. We stood here just staring for quite a while, and I think this view could obliterate ones stress with ease!
There was also a lighthouse in Torndirrup National Park, we never got around to checking it out though, as there were a couple of people who had recently had their cars broken into and it deterred us from leaving the car behind in a secluded location. It is really sad to see this kind of activity occurring in these places where people go to relax and get close to nature, but it made me realise how lucky we are to have not been broken into. Also one would need a truck to steal all the junk out of our Troopy, and even if someone did, I doubt selling all our clothes, bedding, pots and pans would cover the cost of fuel for the truck! Regardless of what you do travel around in and where, I'd just like to remind you to take your valuables with you, or at least keep them out of sight while you are not with your vehicle.
The last destination within the National Park we visited was a set of blow holes. It was a nice walk out, however the tide was too low to shoot water up and out. Standing close though, did blast you with one heck of a hit of air!

Returning to town, we decided we wanted to sample some of the local beverages. We had heard of the Wilson Brewing Company, a new brewer in WA, but we later discovered they won't actually open until December. Instead we ended up at a distillery called Limeburners. They do not offer samples as such, more of a bar, where you can buy nips of each of their spirits. The nip prices ranged from $5-$15. I sampled a few of their beverages, but found them a bit rough for my liking, a little more time in the cask could have made them a bit more pleasant. In the end I did enquire on the price of a bottle, as I do like to support local businesses while I travel, but at over $100 a bottle, I decided I'm much happier to buy an aged, smooth Scotch or Irish Whiskey at a somewhat lower price when I need another bottle!
Next we went in to The White Star in Albany where they had a few beers that were made in the pub under the banner of Tanglehead Brewing Company. They had 4 beers on tap which we grabbed a paddle for, stout, wheat, lager and a ginger beer. They were refreshing and mild beers. It more feels like extra beers on tap, rather than a brewery though. The brew room is at the heart of the pub, with glass windows, which is pretty cool. The brewer actually lives in Perth, not Albany, so I assume he just comes down to setup and keg etc. while keeping the batches relatively simple.
Later we did find ourselves at a pub called the Hybla Tavern, just down the road from the caravan park we were staying at. They had a beer called Rough Seas Pale Ale, which happened to be from Wilson Brewing Company, so we bought a couple of pints. It was a much refreshing hit after the other drinks we had sampled. What you'd expect from a clean crisp pale ale, a little cloudy and bitter to call perfect, but the publican informed us the recipe is being changed to perfect the Rough Seas! It wasn't too bitter though, I ended up with another pint... and a full growler! While we sat on the deck of the Hybla we watched a bunch of Black Cockatoos flash their bright yellow tails about the sky, while the clowns of the sky continued to galah about. One particular galah was pretty adamant it was a Christmas ornament.

Before returning to Esperance, we did check out a little beach, called Little Beach, in Two Peoples Bay National Park. This place, like a lot of the southern coast was spectacular! It was also possibly the warmest day this summer. Actually it definitely was, we discovered this with a 5 hour drive with no aircon! We went for a walk with Jen's parents around the beach, said our goodbyes, then grabbed our snorkelling gear for a bit of an explore! We found the main beach a little rough, but if you walk all the way down the end, over a small hill and through some rocks, you will find a really calm and stunning spot to spend some time. It was almost our own private beach, with private waterfall and everything! We saw a nice variety of small tropical fish and abalone, nothing too exciting, but it felt amazing getting back in the salt water after what feels like the longest winter of all time!

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