Wheel alignment

Monday 30 April 2012

Go West, Young Man! (part 4 of 4)

A few days in the Swan Valley just to the north-west of Perth were just the ticket to let us chill out after the long days up north and prepare us for going home. The Vines Country Club was perfect as a base to enjoy a bit of luxury.  Driving into the Swan Valley, the first thing we encountered was a 'roo hopping about on our side of the road.  Don't think our Hyundai rental would have come out of a collision with a big 'roo too well.

Beware of local hazards!

The Vines was a model of understated luxury and the photo below is the view from our room - grape vines and fountain with a small pool.  Why do I always feel slightly out of place in this sort of luxury?

Courtyard panoramic

A pair of ducks were swimming in the small pool and as soon as they saw me emerge from the room, they were over in a flash, expecting a feed.  Even when we closed the French windows, they stayed outside tapping on the window with their beaks to remind us that they were still there!

 Tap, tap - got anything to eat mister?

We'd already visited some vineyards down south so we skipped these, visiting a nougat factory and coffee roasting place instead.  The range of products was amazing and not good for the waistline either!  We also paid a visit to the motor museum of Western Australia which had a great range of bikes and cars.  There's a selection of photos below but my personal favourite was a hand-built special which was completed by the owner when he was in his 80's!!!  The first photo is my photo of a picture on the wall showing the chassis during construction with the builder's wife looking on (no doubt rolling her eyes and tutting).

Sigh.. her car probably has to sit outside the garage!

Tantalising glimpse of a Jag V12 powerplant through the rear window

Front view - what a looker with hand-made alloy panels!

I guess when you get to your late 70's and 80's, a lot of people would would be thinking of taking it easy but this guy is an inspiration to us all!

 Early Honda car with 350cc twin powerplant

Superbly-restored 1929 Studebaker

Aussie legend Peter Brock's racing Holden Torana - brutal

Greeves twin port single motocross engine
massive finning, tiny crankcase

Flawlessly restored Kawasaki Z1

On the ANZAC day public holiday shared by Australia and NZ, we drove out into the hinterland for a look-see and ended up in the historic town of York.  We were standing outside a shop when the vintage car in the photo below came chugging along and parked.  Somehow, it didn't seem at all out of place!

York main street

York lookout

An Acorn Banksia - flower is bigger than your fist

Grass Trees which look very alien!

On our last day in Western Australia, we were driving through the Perth suburbs and got held up at the traffic lights.  There was some reconstruction work going on and at first, we didn't notice anything amiss.  Click on the photo and look closely at the 2 big signs - isn't the world better for people with a sense of humour?

Simply wonderful!

I hope that you've enjoyed the selection of photos covering our travels in Western Australia.  We thought that it was a fantastic destination although it doesn't seem particularly well-publicised.  You've certainly got to do a bit of planning though because of the distances involved.  We mixed self-drive with two very good limited numbers tours in small luxury coaches.  The tours were excellent from the perspective that they included stuff which would be hard to find or organise if travelling by yourself.  The tours were well-organised and it would be extremely remiss not to mention our drivers, Mike from Pinnacle and Terry from Travelmarvel/APT.  Both were fantastic ambassadors for their country and companies - extremely knowledgeable, funny as heck, and supremely organised.  In fact, driving seemed a minor part of their role. They both ended up more as friends than company representatives, which says it all really.

Also, many car rental companies won't let you take their vehicles off the tar seal which is a shame as there are so many things to see down the dirt roads which outnumber the sealed ones by a country mile.  Mixing tours with driving is the only way you'll see things properly.  By way of a parting bit of wry humour, there was a sticker in our car which said that rental vehicle travel on dirt roads was not permitted unless it was in a 4x4.  It then added that the Subaru Outback 4x4 was excluded from the dirt.  Ironic really, that the Outback isn't allowed to travel in the...... outback.  The ultimate irony!


  1. Loving all the pics - looks like you had a great time. Got a bike in the shed that would love to visit that big island to the West...

  2. Hi Andrew and thanks! Very tempting to go by bike but having now experienced the less-populated areas of Aussie, it's anything but a cake walk in the northern latitudes. Have you seen this excellent Kiwi blog: http://kenandhelga.blogspot.co.nz/? Ken's round Aussie trip is very well written.

  3. Geoff, it has been a joy to read of your trip... Your photographer's eye is so astute - loved the signs in Perth.

    Again, thank you so much for sharing this special trip with all of us.

  4. Thank you Mark, that's very kind of you. It's my warped sense of humour that picks up on stuff like that!

    I hope you're going to celebrate your important anniversary in style!

  5. Geoff - Loved your trip reports. Without having experienced it there's nothing quite as daunting as seeing a sign that says "No gas for 650 kilometres" and thinking what that means in terms of the people who live in that environment. Simply amazing.

  6. What an awesome trip. I love the tradition that you and Jennie have of taking an anniversary trip each year.

    And I feel privileged that we get to share it with you through pictures. Thank you for 'taking' us along.

    Oh and I loved the signs in that last photo. We need some of those around here during contsruction.

  7. Canajun:
    Cheers for that and totally agree! Some friends worked in a mine in the Outback for a few years to amass some serious money. They had a Toyota Landcruiser with a long range tank and also carried extra fuel so that they could do 1000 km at a stretch. They also carried lots of water. The interior of Aussie is a lonely place.

    Thanks for the very kind words. Yep, planning an anniversary trip is great fun. In the early days when the kids were small and money a bit tighter, even planning a weekend to a place 100 km away was good!

    Hehe, it's cool when someone's day is brightened with random signs like that!

  8. Sounds like a great trip. Pity I didn't know about it earlier - I think we were in York on Anzac Day! They have some interesting stuff in the Museum there. Re the "sense of humour" in the photo of the Guildford Pub - no, it's not - sense of frustration, actually. The Guildford pub was a superb old building complete with a roof Belvedere, accessed by a spiral staircase from the verandah. It mysteriously burnt down 3 1/2 years ago, (arson, was the official verdict) and contrary to assurances by the owner - no rebuilding work has been started, nor looks likely to any time soon. It was a listed building, and, the feeling is, the owner is going to leave it until it becomes declared a hazard, then will clear the site! A lot of people are not happy - there is a "Save the Guildford Pub" society, and the signs you see are their latest batch to festoon the scaffolding. Extremely sad.

  9. Hi Jon and thanks for dropping by!

    It would have been nice to meet up - a pity! We liked York and the vegan sandwich I had for lunch from a cafe on the main street(I'm not a vegan)was one of the best sandwiches I've ever had. The amount of filling defied belief!

    Thanks so much for the background to those signs and it is extremely sad, but great that people aren't taking it laying down. Surprised that your local council can't do something - maybe it wasn't heritage listed as opposed to some other form of listing. I'm not generally enamoured with local authorities in NZ but most of them seem pretty good when it comes to push and shove on historic buildings and their restoration. Incidentally, we loved Guildford. Had a lunchtime tapas at Jezebelle on our last day which was absolutely superb and very well-priced.

    Best wishes....

  10. Geoff:

    I have to say I am very envious of this remote trip. I loved your photos and your sense of humour. You do have an eye for photography and for gathering information for us to understand what we are seeing. I loved the "falling Morale" too

    it's going to take some planning to top this trip

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    1. Bob,
      It was certainly something special but there again, it was our 40th anniversary. Thanks for the kind words but I just simply point and quirt my old Canon Ixus 105 pocket camera. Wish I had some of your gear!!!

      Yeah, wonder what Jennie has in mind next year? Possibly UK and Canada in 2014.

  11. I so appreciate being able to see the land down under through your eyes ... and the Grass Trees - Now I know where the real Truffula trees are (The Lorax - Dr. Seuss).

    1. My pleasure entirely. Of course!!!!! Now I know where I've seen them - thanks so much for that! We also learned because of their dark stems, they'd always been known in Australia as Black Boys, but that tends not to be used these days for obvious reasons.

  12. Mike Partridge28 May 2012 at 17:09

    Hi Geoff -

    The story behind the under building under reconstruction (the Guildford Pub) is that the seriously in debt landlord set fire to it for the insurance money...is now in the pokey.

    Cheers, Mike

    1. Mike - fantastic to hear from you!!!!

      Thanks so much for the heads-up, that's a real shame as it would have been a grand place to drink. We liked Guildford a lot.

      All the very best and give Lis a hug from me when you catch up - about time she took some time off!


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