Day 6 - Salmon Gums to Albany
Tuesday 7th February 2017
Distance driven 599 km Total – 3525 km
Salmon Gums – Esperance – Ravensthorpe - Albany
We had another excellent night’s sleep at the rest stop, waking to find that three more vehicles had joined after dark. We had heard nothing. We were on the road before 7 and making breakfast overlooking the Southern Ocean at Esperance by 8.30.
We whizzed through Grass Patch before it was even awake. Only 78 km to go to Esperance, be there in time for breakfast.
Burnt trees on both sides of the road. The re-growth suggest fairly recent fire, and we wondered if deliberate firing or accidental.
Still driving through wheat country. Another small town along the way – Gibson. We didn’t stop.
We parked the van on the foreshore at Castletown Beach, looking out over the ocean, while we had breakfast.
Looking out over the bay at Esperance from Castletown Beach. And towards the town and docks.
Quite an industrial port.
Then we had a look around the town – a very pleasant, clean and attractive holiday town. It was first landed by French explorers sheltering from a storm in 1792, and is named after a French ship, L’Esperance, meaning ‘hope’, although it was first settled in the 1870’s by a pioneer family of Scottish descent and became a farming area. Today the town has four key industries – tourism, mining, fishing and agriculture. It definitely felt to us like a quietly well-to-do and well looked-after little town.
The clock tower at the western end of town. Looking back across the bay towards Castletown Beach.
Whale tail sculpture on the foreshore.
After stopping for some shopping at Woolworths, and re-stocking our beer and wine supplies at BWS, we got back on the road. As we drove out of the car park, we saw our first-ever drive-through coffee shop. What an excellent idea!
No need to park to get coffee, just use this drive-through.
We stopped for lunch at Ravensthorpe, a town with a wide main street which we ended up parking on the side of. It was the first time Wikicamps had let us down, as the area that had at one time been used as a day picnic area and rest-stop was in the process of being redeveloped and no stopping was allowed. The parking sign had been taken down and was laying sadly beside a pile of earth. There were no restrictions on roadside parking, however, and as we were both hungry, we decided to stop there anyway. The public toilets were still in use, in fact they were very clean and pleasant and even had paper towels, so it wasn’t all bad.
We didn’t linger long, and as we headed out of town we passed a very pleasant-looking picnic area where we could have parked among the trees. Oh well, you can’t win ‘em all. The sky had now clouded over, and it had become cooler. We stopped at a roadside rest stop for a cup of tea and a hot cross bun (remind me, when IS Easter?) and arrived at Albany Happy Days Caravan Park just before 6 and just in time to catch Reception open. We got a powered site for the night, right on the bank of the King River. Very nice.
The sky was now looking very unfriendly, but so far no rain. It was decidedly cooler though – maybe we might need Steve’s new hoodie after all!
Google maps to show today’s drive through Esperance to Albany on the WA south coast.