3rd May to 6th May, 2021: Now we leave Norseman, we have also officially left the Nullabor Plain, and are headed through ever increasing fertile land and on to coastal waters, Esperence – now a vast metropolis, very different to the much smaller village I visited last time, but still with the longest esplanade of any town I can remember.
But we have only one day in Esperance, as it’s booked out, so we’re headed for Albany via Ravensthorpe, where we stop in a pleasant midtown Rest Area for the night. We try to spend some money in Ravensthorpe, but everything seems shut. Even the local pub is shut! An old local restaurant-owner explains, while sitting dejectedly outside his closed restaurant:
“No staff, that’s why we’re shut. We depend on backpackers here, and there’s been none of those for a while – all this Covid stuff… everything’s shut here, bloody dismal.”
He tells us where the only place in town is open. We empathise, then move on, feeling helpless, but glad to ‘drop a little money in the town’ before moving on, headed for Albany.
I had always thought that the Mallee was something remote and unique, in Victoria – but when we were just searching for a good place to have coffee, we discovered that the Mallee spreads across half Australia – see map above, showing both the Nullabor and the Mallee Scrub area. The Yongergnow Malleefowl Interpretative and Research Centre at Ongerup was started by a woodcarver who, while searching for Malleefowl so that he could carve a sculpture of one back in 1992, saw a startling decline in numbers. So the Mallefowl Preservation Society was started – and today you can see the breeding pairs in a very well funded centre, along with the history of animals in Australia for the last 50 million years.
As we’re headed for Albany, we must pass the Stirling Ranges, and are lucky to witness one of the most amazing storms I have ever seen (and most amazing storm photos – taken by Ted of course:
Albany is such a delight. It has grown from the small ancient whaling village I once knew to a friendly and thriving seaside town, beautiful in both natural and man-made attractions.
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