Dunnroamin’ – Road trip to Geraldton
Last weekend my husband and I travelled north from Perth to sunny Geraldton. It was a special occasion catching up with family with whom we spent some time exploring the area.
On the way we noted iconic landmarks. Typically, the Leaning Tree just out of Geraldton was irresistible to capture. We noted there’s now a tourist bay to pull into making the photo-taking exercise safer than in past years. Usually I yell out to my husband ‘STOP’ at which he thinks there’s a major crisis ahead. And there is! If I miss the photo I want to take he will hear about it for the next 20 kms! So the pullover bays suggested a stop, and this time he happily pre-empted my wishes!
According to the sign informing tourists of the tree’s history, Randolph Stow immortalized the bowed trees typical of the region in his novel, The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea which was published in 1968. He wrote ‘…On the windswept flats, crippled gum trees washed their hair.’
An afternoon drive along back roads inland from Geraldton took us to Ellendale Pool. This stunning spot had my camera working overtime. A cacophony of birds out-played the radio a camper had blaring. (I’ll never understand why anyone ‘goes bush’ then has a radio blaring across a campsite, wrecking the natural ambience. Surely you are there to indulge the senses in the sounds of nature!)
I was intrigued to learn this spot was popular many years ago when horse and buggy was the way to get there! No radios then, I’d guess.
Apparently this eruption of multi-coloured rock face stretches about a kilometre and the water bubbles up to the surface from an underground spring. It is touristy now, with campsite facilities (loos and a rainwater tank of fresh water) but still holds its own. I didn’t take photos of the bollards erected to prevent vehicles accessing and damaging the landscape close to the water’s edge. It struck me as a shame that it was even necessary.
On the way to the Pool the stunning landscape was reminiscent of Scotland. Yes, we have a touch of the British Isles in our own back yard! The rolling hills and the beauty of the place reminded us of the bracken faces of northern Scotland’s hillsides several years ago, and more recently, of landscapes near where my husband and I were last year. There was a touch more greenery in Scotland, though with much hoped for rain this would soon change our local landscape. The balmy warmth was a point of extreme contrast, however, to the cutting chill of the Scottish dales.
Massive wind turbines caught our attention
Another similarity to the Scottish vistas is the number of wind turbines that dotted the landscape. A massive turbine dwarfed a tractor and rainwater tank.
A brief stop in Geraldton to check put the beach front showed impressive changes since our last visit several years ago. Foreshore swings and playgrounds with stretches of lawn offered an easy-going atmosphere for families and couples meeting over midday coffees.
St Francis Xavier Cathedral
St Francis Xavier Cathedral with its unique structure and history caught my interest once again. From the year the foundation stone was laid, in 1916 it took 22 years to build. I only managed a passing shot this time.
Travelling north and back south again along the Great Northern and Brand Highways is always a challenge. Apart from numerous road-works, road trains make me hold my breath as we calculate a stretch of open road and the likelihood of it staying clear of oncoming vehicles, then ‘floor it’. Sometimes it’s necessary to overtake up to two swaying road trains, each with up to three carriages, before we reach the horizon beyond which we’ve no idea if there’s a vehicle about to greet us! Needless to say, we managed without mishap. On the opposite end of the spectrum we were treated to some vintage cars out on a Sunday drive which slowed our return trip to a more leisurely speed!