Return to the concrete jungle
In Albany, we visit its charming Farmers’ Market. Quaint and local, anything from fresh produce from the sellers’ own farms or orchards, to jams and honey are for sale here. A changing roster of street musicians entertains the weekend crowd, the one attracting the most attention is a nine-piece band made up entirely of elderly women playing cheeky songs.
Unforgiving, rugged beauty greets us at Torndirrup National Park. Just a couple of minutes’ drive from the market is a place that was once joined at the hip to Antarctica for almost 1,300 million years. Granodiorite and gneiss rocks featuring prominently on the windswept landscape were formed as a result of the collision of the Antarctica and Australia tectonic plates; they are the “roots” of the mountain belt formed by the convergence, though many thousands of millions of years have done their work in eroding the mountains, leaving what you see now.
Romantic alternative history declares that Yeagerup means a place of love.
The Gap and Natural Bridge has claimed many lives and the sheer ferocity of the environment inspires both awe and fear. It beggars belief how one man managed to survive his own stupidity after being swept away by the surging of waves under The Gap.
We head on to another Albany local, Oranje Tractor Wines, for one last moment of quiet before we make the final four-and-a-half-hour journey back to Perth. An afternoon spent foraging and snacking on fruit freshly plucked from the orchard is nicely wrapped up with a tasty ploughman’s lunch and a small tasting of the winery’s finest paired with delicious morsels of cheese and olives. We linger longer than expected at the cosy and lovely Oranje, and have to make the final, long drive a speedy one. Stomachs and hearts full, the luggage compartment of our secret service vehicle is packed to the brim with fresh fruit, wines and other delicacies.
On the highway through Bannister into Perth, a dead kangaroo lies by the side of the road. We’ve spotted a number of road kill throughout the trip, but this is the first massive kanga that we’ve seen dead on the road. A solemn silence descends, a mixture of deference for the dead and, realistically, our now-fatigued bones from the last eight days of travel at breakneck speed. We enter the city of Perth and the lights begin to look familiar in the fast-approaching twilight. People are starting to head out in full force for the vibrant nightlife; the serenity of wide, open spaces all but a whisper in our memories.
Perth as a place of retirement? Surely, there’s far more to do out in Western Australia that’s catering to more than those recovering their hard- won CPF monies. If it’s escape that you’re looking for in a holiday, there’s no better place than in the multi-faceted WA.