The End of the Earth is at…

11/07/17 S 21 57.62 E 114 09.51 Exmouth

11/08/17 S 27 55.45 E 113 13.05

11/09/17 Fremantle

11/10/17 S 32 00.00 E 115 59.00 Fremantle

11/11/17 S 35 02.45 E 117 54.54 Albany

11/12/17 S 35 16.42 E 125 55.64

In 2008 we were told, by the rental representative from Apollo Campervans (“campervan” is Australian for “motorhome”), that Exmouth is the “end of the earth.” We were on a three-month journey around Australia by train, plane, automobile, and campervan. When we knew we’d stop here on our cruise, we decided to try and reconnect with the guy in Exmouth who fixed the refrigerator in our campervan and saved our trip from a possible disaster, Bill Ruby. We did reconnect and had a marvelous time with him at his club and home and “yacht club” (he neither knows how to sail nor does he own a yacht but he’s nevertheless been the Commodore for the past four years).

The bar for the Melbourne Cup Sweepstakes cum beer drinking excuse
Bill’s wife and her friend.
Pretty flowers at the “golf course”
Randy on the 16th tee of the Exmouth GC
Giant Shrimp

Bill opening a homemade wine.
Bill’s yacht club.

The day we were in Exmouth is the “day Australia comes to a halt”: Melbourne Cup Day, a two-mile (!) horse race in—what a surprise!—Melbourne. Randy entered the sweepstakes for a whole A$2 and lost it all: his horse came in 12th. But we had a couple of beers and a great time, met Bill’s wife and a friend of hers, and a shipboard friend did win A$240 on the winner, Rekindling.

Afterwards Bill showed us around town including the famous statue of a shrimp (Australia is known for its gigantic representations of various life forms) and his yacht club and took us to his house where he plied us with more alcohol while describing how he makes his own wine as well as beer. All in all, a great day.

Another sea day and a half and we arrived in Fremantle, better known to most Australians as Freo (Australians seem to want to abbreviate everything: breakfast is brekky, for instance). We had booked an independent (meaning not a Holland America tour) wine tour to the Swan Valley with 10 companions from the ship. Plus our plan to go to a special restaurant in Perth, Lalla Rookh. Pay attention, this is complicated: our friends, Robin and Skip, have a daughter, Katey, who married Patrick from Perth who is the chef who owns Lalla Rookh (you can google the name to learn the story of the name).

Pam, Patrick, Katey, Randy

So we had a wonderful dinner with Katey (while Patrick almost literally ran around the restaurant making sure all was working well) complete with a local wine and preceded by a local gin, West Wind. The gin was wonderful, a very distinctive and pleasant taste and aroma. We even managed, with the help of a local to buy our tickets, to utilize the train to get back to Freo and the ship.

Our wine group
Randy HAD to buy some Cammenbert!
And he had to have a rum raisin ice cream cone.
Fremantle Prison only closed about 40 years ago.
Fremantle market
Random street art

Our last view of Freo. The submarine that we toured in 08 is being repaired now and not open

Randy had two goals on this trip: to buy a new Australian hat (Kathy, you can now stop looking for his hat in the river in Idaho) and to replenish his stock of shirts from the Fremantle prison. As of the morning in Freo, he has now accomplished both goals (he found a hat in Darwin). I was too pooped from our 11-hour day in Perth/Swan Valley to go with him, however.

Not much time to rest, we went on to the next port, Albany, the very next day. Took a Holland America tour of Torndirrup National Park and the National Anzac Centre. Why have we not learned that HAL tours are almost always overpriced and overcrowded? We had a great, very funny, guide (who only talked to us while we were actually on the bus, never at our destinations) but 43 people arriving at once at a tourist spot is jolly good fun. And getting 43 old farts off a bus made for Japanese-size people is also jolly good fun.

Nevertheless we did see some very interesting places, especially Torndirrup NP. As soon as we started down the road I recognized that we had been there in 2008. Of course much has been modernized since then. Now there are Swedish steel walkways where in 2008 we clambered over the rocks!

Coastline of Torndirrup NP
The natural bridge at TNP
Some info about the very modern steel walkway
More Torndirrup NP
Part of the support of the walkway.

Then on to the National Anzac Centre, a museum dedicated to the warriors from World War I. Quite depressing, actually, although it is ranked as one of the best museums in Australia.

Our bus was FASCINATED with kangaroos.
One of the Lest We Forget memorials.
Just another view of our ship
A memorial to the soldiers and their horses from Gallipoli and WWI
A better view of the soldier watering his horse
Randy resting in front of the sculpture of the soldier and his horse.
Just an example of how things are phrased quite differently now than they were after WWI.
Aussies preserve EVERYTHING!
“Lest we forget” at the base of a monument.

Home to the ship, onward to Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Melbourne (apparently pronounced MEL-bun), and Tasmania (AKA Tassie—see previous comment about how Aussies shorten everything!

Author: Pam

I am 76 years old, have been married for 55 years (all to the same man!), and we both love to travel. I am also a bit of a photo nut and you'll usually see me with a camera in hand or hanging from my shoulder. Being an RN was my career (and raising 2 children to be awesome adults) and being a pilot was my husband's career. Now, it's travelling! By train, ship, car, RV (or campervan if you are Australian), and occasionally airplane---if we can't get there any other way.

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