The last two days there were no hikes whatsoever, it was all culinary and sensory experiences as well as beaches. After escaping the bush fires, we had a pretty nice end to an awesome tour with Nullarbor Traveller, but it’s not over yet until I’ve told you all about it!
**** This trip came to be through a sponsored trip. ****
Tree up High, Heart Sinking
Due to the closing of the highway with all the raging bushfires, our drive was two hours longer than usual. But we squeezed in an extra stop at the Diamond Tree. It stemmed from an idea that came to a forester in the 50s to help set up an alarm for the bushfires. With trees that high, erecting a lookout on top on several trees meant to easily locate any bush fires once spotted. This was done by triangulating the distances transmitted by each tree.
Even though this bush fires spotting practice was stopped in the 70s, it was renewed again when big fires in the 90s made flying with a jet plane impossible. They are still used today and the platform on Diamond Tree is at 52 m. It can only be reached by climbing metal sticks that are poking out of the tree’s side. Not for the faint hearted and really risky. I said no thanks, maybe later and watched a few brave souls dare their way up.
Food, Drink and Sunshine
To replenish the shocked nerves from our bush fires experience, we had a wine tasting immediately afterwards. That was soon followed by chocolate and cheese. It was a splendid day with radiant sunshine and sitting outside was great. Even greater was the ice cream where we stopped. I had custard with strawberry jam. An interesting mixture, I know. One more tasting was yet to come, which were different kinds of locally brewed beer.
The day ended with us exploring the once hippy now surfer town Margaret River and hanging out by the beach to catch the last rays of sunshine and watching the golden orb plop into the waves, where surfers were unsuccessfully trying to ride. Maybe it wasn’t the day for it. The sun, however, made the best of it and stole the show easily. With chocolate covered strawberries and feeble attempts at playing our self-made didgeridoo we concluded the day with more food and music.
Under the Earth
Early the next morning we sought out the Ngilgi Caves, guided by our knowledgable Aborigine guide Josh of Koomal Dreaming. We descended into the cave system that stretches for 14 km along the coast. It is a very important part of the local Aborigine culture. The ceiling had thousands of stalactites hanging down. To make it even more impressive, it was illuminated in dancing colours. However, when our guide Josh started playing a dreamtime tune on the didgeridoo, it became pure magic.
We were given some free time to do some more exploring and saw a 14 tonne heavy hanging stalactite, which equals a 4WD! After we ascended again, we were introduced some more into aboriginal culture and were shown different tools and how they were made and ended the session not only with a fire making demonstration but also a live didgeridoo song to which we made the percussions and beat the traditional way. On that note, I bid you adieu for that was my adventure. Until the next one, that is!
Note: The actual tour with Nullarbor Traveller takes 9 or 10 days but since I stayed on for a week, I got to experience 2 days extra with the other tour group coming from Perth. Read about me swimming with the tuna as part of the other itinerary., making it a 12 day tour for me.
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Don’t miss out on my other South and Western Australia adventures – read the full Nullarbor Traveller diary here: Part 1 (Flinders Ranges and Sand boarding), part 2 (tuna diving and koala spotting), part 3 (treeless plains), part 4 (THE kangaroo beach), part 5 (fleeing the bush fires) and part 6 (digeridoo lessons).