Day 148: 25 October – Exploring Bremer Bay

Author: Mr A

Location: Bremer Bay

Distance walked: 6 km

Today we had decided to take a short 20 minute drive up the road to the nearest settlement, Bremer Bay. We set off with very little in the way of a plan, all we could gleam from a bit of Googling was “a small settlement surrounded by fabulous beaches, with fishing and surfing opportunities”. Well that describes 99% of all Australian coastal settlements…what was special here? We soon discovered that as we came to our first view of one of the surrounding beaches. What incredible colours, the vivid blue of the ocean was in stark contrast to the almost white sand. One local described it as ‘Whitehaven Beach without the temperatures and crowds!’

The cold wind soon drove us back in the car again (a great day to be behind glass) and we carried on around the town trying to find its centre. Looking at Google Maps it wasnt really apparent, because it doesn’t have one. Is the pub near the houses? No. Are any of the few shops clustered together? No. It was quite odd. It’s called a town, has 250 permanent residents, and apparently this swells to 11,000 in the school holidays. But really had no feeling of hanging together. 

We drove around and found another spectacular beach though, and then headed to the local fish processing plant, as we had been told they would sell us some fresh catch. They hadn’t got any prepared, and we had no gear to gut and scale, so we brought some vacuum packed, frozen but locally caught, shark and sardines. The owners were delightful and we chatted for a while about their move from Gosford on the east coast of NSW to run the business. 

We finally found the pub we had been told served a pretty decent feed, and were warmly greeted by a very friendly barman. Everyone here has the time and genuine inclination to have a natter. Food was ordered and delivered to our table, sheltered from the wind. 

We were a little thrown by the very scary sculpture on the way out though! As the Ranger we spoke to said, he’d lived here for 15 years before he realised what it was. See if you can guess.

We took a bit more of a drive around and then headed back a bit ambivalent about the place. Yes, it was surrounded by such beauty, but seemed to have no coherence, just a series of buildings scattered about randomly. Lots of land was up for sale so clearly there’s an appetite to develop the town, but it needs more infrastructure and planning. Get a new town council! 

Back at the camp a rather lazy afternoon followed, with Tassie being the recipient of far too much attention. 

We dragged ourselves out of the cosiness of the Zone though for one final sunset walk around the property, as we will be leaving tomorrow. This has been a fantastic bush camp and all credit to Terry, who keeps the place immaculate, and to Robert, the owner, for setting this facility up. Everyone here has been so friendly.

Day 147: 24 October – It’s all about orchids!

Author: Mrs A

Location: Tozer’s Bush Camp, Bremer Bay

Distance walked: 6 km

We did something quite different today, joining Terry, an amateur botanist passionate about orchids, on a wildflower hunting expedition around the bushland surrounding Tozer’s bush camp. I must admit we have very limited knowledge of Australian flowers, and Western Australia seems to be richer in diversity than anywhere else we have been – possibly due to the smaller population and poor soils for farming purposes.

The three hour tour commenced at 10am and we were immediately educated with stories of the importance of the right amount of bushfires to help distribute seeds and open hard seed pods and shown the impact fire can have on the land. Then there were the orchids. Many are dependent on the sun to open (particularly the Shy Sun Orchid which will close up as soon as the clouds come over), whereas others just need warmth.

Below a few that we saw – I will try to remember all the names, but can’t guarantee they are all right!!

1. Leopard Orchid

2. Shy Sun Orchid being shy

3. Purple Enamel Orchid

4. Cowslip Orchid

There are many many more but they will have to wait for a wifi connection – we’re running low on mobile data.

It was a fabulous morning, and we returned for lunch with our heads spinning with all our learning.

We concluded our day with another walk, trying to remember what we had seen during the morning and spot more flowers, while enjoying the serenity of the bush. We finished up at the communal campfire for a chat with our fellow campers before heading back to the mobile apartment for dinner as the sun set. Just another day in paradise!

Day 146: 23 October – Back to the bush

Author: Mr A

From: Denmark

To: Tozer’s Bush Camp, Bremer Bay

Distance: 233 km

After a very civilised few weeks working our way round the vineyards and cafés of the SW of WA, we headed off this morning  into the wild and wooly hinterland further east along the coast. Firstly though we thought we would detour through Mt Barker, and of course a winery beckoned. Well Ok then, just one more tasting. Plantagnet Winery was just on our route…it would have been rude not to…so we spent a very happy hour tasting some of their range. I know, what a way to spend a Monday morning.

We had a few hours drive ahead of us and were overjoyed that Tassie had decided to crash rather than stomp around the car, as is sometimes her want. Catherine employed the “Thunder Shirt” technique that is used on dogs to calm them when there’s fireworks or thurnderstorms. Basically swaddle them in something warm. In this case Catherine’s waistcoat. Seemed to do the trick, she was flat out the whole trip – wonderful!

We then drove through the magnificent Sterling Range, stopping for a roadside lunch to admire their towering presence, rising almost sheer out of the flat country surrounding them. 

It was finally time then to head bush, this time to a place called Tozer’s Bush Camp, which had shown up on WikiCamps as a relatively new place getting 5 star reviews. We headed off the tar and onto the dirt for the first time in over 6 weeks…it felt good. We met Tozer himself briefly, and his 9 month old kelpie. Tassie woke up and viewed both from the safety of my driver’s seat. We were told to go and pick ourselves a spot, which we did, a fabulous array of wildflowers surrounding us. This looks like a top location. Only 3 other caravans are here, and 50 metres to our nearest neighbour. We are so loving travelling in the off season here. From December on it will be heaving. 

I know it’s a Monday, and in the “old days” that meant fasting and alcohol free, but what the heck, madam was cooking up a storm of a fish red curry, so I brought out the big guns with a bottle of the Rockcliffe Third Reef Chardy we had brought in Denmark. A Halliday rated 97 pointer. We can’t believe how we have both been converted after such a short sojourn in the Margaret River. Such floozies! So easily swayed from “Oh no we don’t really like Chardy”…stereotyping a whole genre of wine with one foul swoop. The delicacy of the oaking is quite remarkable. It’s there in the background, but not shouting at you. 

The evening concluded under the stars with a glass or two of Plantagenet Shiraz, meeting the neighbours around the communal fireplace and exchanging tips and stories. One of the many joys of travelling.