Feb 16, PM – Widening the Range: Caves House, Yallingup, Canal Rocks, Smiths Beach, Shearing Shed, Sunset Hike on Yungarra Rd
After an exciting morning and early afternoon in Dunsborough, we decided to widen our sightseeing range.
First, I wanted Elizabeth to see one of the local antiquities, the Caves House in Yallingup with its beautiful grounds. The hotel was built in 1903 by the government of Western Australia. It was the first accommodation in the area for visitors who wanted to explore the many caves between the two capes – Cape Naturaliste to north, and Cape Leeuwin to the south, connected by the Caves Road (see the maps).
We walked from the Caves House on a foot path to the town of Yallingup and its beautiful beach. This is a Mecca for many surfers in the area, including the construction crew that worked on my Bolt Hole house in 1998. The length of their work day would depend on the direction of the wind. If the winds were favorable for surfing, they would knock off early and go to Yallingup for some afternoon surfing. 🙂
“Life’s beach,” reads a T-shirt sign I first saw in California. In the Yallingup area, they live it.
As we walked around Yallingup and its beachfront, I noticed that this is where the greatest changes have taken place in the last 10 years. Where there used to be a bunch of small restaurants and shops, some cold foreboding condos have claimed the front row view of the beach.
Ten years ago, I would sit in a small cafe sipping my Flat White and shooting the breeze with the locals. I remember even coming here for dinner occasionally. No more. “Progress.” Hm…
The access road has also been changed. Some might say “improved.” But I liked Yallingup better when it looked like a sleepy town invented by and for the surfers. Kind of like Paia in Maui near the Rainbow Shower. And nobody in his right mind could ever conceive of the Paia locals allowing some condo development in their midst.
So Yallingup is the first time and the only place in my old neighborhood that I felt a sense of nostalgia for good old times.
Elizabeth liked Yallingup, though. Of course, she had not seen it before. So I never told her of my disappointment. No sense in spoiling it for her. At least the beach was still the same. And in this case, it is the beach that makes the town.
Canal Rocks, Smiths Beach
After Yallingup, we drove on to the beautiful Canal Rocks. This and the nearby Smiths Beach have always been my favorite places on the Indian Ocean side of the Cape Naturaliste peninsula. Ocean waves break against the rocks, creating little pools of crystal clear water around them.
Take a look…
Our final stop for the afternoon was at the Shearing Shed off Wildwood Rd. I knew Elizabeth would enjoy shopping at the source. And you can’t come closer to the wool than the Shearing Shed. There are always some sheep hovering just outside (see the pics).
I had been telling Elizabeth about this place long before we got there on Monday afternoon (Feb 16). The same family – Butterfly – has owned and managed this sheep farm since 1934. They opened the store to public in 1992.
I have fond memories of biking to and around this lovely area back in the days I used to own the Bolt Hole. I was delighted to meet Mrs Yvonne Butterfly again and swap tales with her about the bad neighbors’ dogs attacking and eating her pregnant ewes. Fortunately, that is no longer happening.
Elizabeth bought a lovely sheep hide which she plans to turn into a pillow. Both of us got our new Australian bushman hats. I used to have one years ago, but sold it along with the Bolt Hole 10 years ago.
Evening Hike on Yungarra Rd
I finished this busy day with an evening hike on Yungarra Rd. This hilly and twisty country road had been my favorite hiking and biking place when I lived here more than 10 years ago. Not that I could manage to bike up its many steep hills. I would usually end up pushing my bike over the top, looking forward to the downhill surge on the other side.
Well, this evening, I did not have a bike, and I was not out to prove anything. So I just had a leisurely stroll by myself. Elizabeth was not feeling well after the exhaustion of our earlier activities. So I let her rest while I did my sunset walk.
I was not alone, though. I was able to walk to within 10 yards of two of our Blackboy Cottage neighbors to take this picture. I am sorry I interrupted their dinner. But I just could not resist the temptation of recording this typical Aussie sunset scene. The two roos went on to their dessert after I left the lawn.
Finally, during my last night’s sunset walk on Yungarra Rd, I took a picture of this termite hill. It is only about a third of the size of the termite colonies I used to find in the bush around the Bolt Hole.
Want to know how to get rid of them? No, no pesticides are needed. Only a pick and a long hose and a pair of rubber boots. The pick – to break up the termite hill with. The hose – to flood them out. The rubber boots – to stomp all over the mess you’ve made and level the hill. smile emoticon
It worked! A 100% environmentally friendly solution. We never had any termites at the Bolt Hole even though the house was based in a termite-infested bush.