Route in SW Australia

The departure day of the flying part of our trip went smooth as silk. Checking out of Burswood Casino and Resort was hassle free and fast. Returning the rental car and hailing a taxi to Jandakot Airport, no problems. The usual filing of the flight plan and loading of the plane was again, very easy - no problems.

One glitch - wind from NE, only runway 06 was available. Long delays as we lined up behind 20 aircraft, meant long idles for all before take off – too much wasted gas without any good reasons – every pilot impatient – some shut down the engines. The Flying Doctor was also in line. At long last, 30 minutes later, we were off and headed south at 1000 feet towards Bunburry – first checkpoint.

Royal Aero Club at JandakotDeparture from the RACWA - loading fuel and luggage. Clash of nature, south of PerthVariety of nature, along the coast, south of Perth. Take your pick - swimming or golfing. Farming south of PerthFarming  gradually takes over while heading south.

Flew inland for a short time and saw many swish homes and resorts – then headed to the coastline – magnificent! Long stretches of untouched beaches were breathtaking. We changed the heading to SE over rolling hills of forest, interspersed with some small open mines. Decided it was a must to amend our SAR (search and rescue) time due to strong head winds. Just north of Walpole, we flew south straight toward the wild coastline of SW Australia. Such a coastline we had never encountered. It was spectacular looking from the air, the waves pounded the beaches from a mile out with such force that sand dunes well over a hundred feet high, were more like cliffs which buffeted the sea from the land. The contrast of aqua water, stark white surf, white beaches, and green sand dunes was a sight to behold. Many times, we did a 360 degree turn, trying to capture the beauty of it all. From Walpole, we headed due east along the breathtaking coastline towards Albany, our first destination for two nights.  

Mining as alternate to farmingOccasional mining sites start to replace the agricultural use of the land. South-West shore of Africa, facing AntarcticaThe south shores of Australia are wild and astonishing beautiful. Fury of the seaThe fury of the sea constantly at work, reshaping the shoreline.

Found Albany and landed without complications, Budget car was waiting. Airport manager fueled up the plane and we were off to check into the motel – nothing fancy – just enough, comfortable and clean. Drove to town to checkout local fishing pier for picture taking – super! Early dinner at Nonnas, highly recommended. Great – light food and good wine – snooty waitress.

Joan and Ueli on the shoreWe enjoy the sightseeing,  scrambling up and down the wild cliffs over a hundred feet high. Leaning rock looking out to seaSome rocks get tired also - or is it a long forgotten convict looking across the sea for a home? Natural BridgeNatural bridge carved by the sea's endurance.

 After a long and deep night’s sleep, we hopped in the car, visited the local outback store and purchased some sturdy tie down rope for the plane, then we drove south out onto the peninsula to watch the shore from the ground. Perfect weather led the way. Spectacular views beckoned us. The Gap and a Natural Bridge, once again took our breath away. These two natural features had been carved from ancient stone by the continuing onslaught of the tide. The Gap features a 25 meter drop to the Southern Ocean.  Took hundreds of digital pictures trying to catch the most spectacular wave crashing against the rocks while climbing up and down various parts of the cliffs – no easy feat! Then for some time, simply sat and looked out over the ocean and savored the quiet, yet exciting views, while sprays from the surf cooled our faces in the warm sun. Once revived, we drove along another lonely road encountering dramatic, yet controlled burn of the land. The picture says it all.

Ueli watching the surfeUeli documenting the excitement of the coastline. Big SurfThe tide rolls in with a a blast! Burning shoreBush fires renew the vegetation, a normal cycle in Australia.

Then, for a contrast, we checked the upscale sea front of Albany and stopped to enjoy the most special ice coffee and coffee mocha ever. This, we considered lunch, it totally hit the spot. The day ended with a light dinner in town and then headed back to the room to get ready for the next leg of our journey – a wonderful day! Albany is a must for a return visit – it’s a very special place and we loved it.

Scene after the fireThe fire does not destroy everything, life will return shortly. Grazing CountryCultivation gradually takes over, even the very remote parts of the country. Vermin fence across the countryThe "Rabbit Fence" - an attempt to keep unwanted creatures out of Western Australia.

 Departure day for Esperance – weather is checked, flight plan is filed – decision, a go! The aircraft is loaded and we’re off into the morning sky. We briefly flew over the two cliff attractions we had visited the day before. The waves were still pounding the rocky coast driven by strong winds. We followed Highway 1 to Esperance, our second destination. At first we crossed over large fields for grazing and hay production. It would have been easy to make an emergency landing except for the occasional herds of sheep. A little later however, the tree size shrubs took over and there was no open space to put down the plane if an emergency arose. Along our way, stretched a rabbit fence reaching to the horizons on either side of our route. Approaching Esperance we noticed an enormous bush fire burning to the east of the City – it gained speed and the smoke plume grew as the day progressed. It was interesting to watch the wind at various altitudes carrying the cloud of smoke in different directions.

 After a two hour flight, we landed the Centurion and taxied to the deserted terminal. By cellphone, we called the fuel attendant who promptly arrived and topped off our plane with 112 liters in what seemed to us be a record speed. When we mentioned that we came from the Aero Club at Jandakot, he responded, “The Royal Aero Club?” He was kind to correct us for forgetting to call the Club, “The Royal Aero Club.” We admired his loyalty and he was not afraid to speak up.  

 Getting a taxi took a bit longer as the airport was about 30 km outside of town of Esperance. On the way to town we discovered the old airport which was much closer to town, but now is used as a race course. The taxi driver was a quiet and pleasant fellow with long hair and a wild beard that reached his large protruding belly. The poor guy could not hear a thing. He probably would be better suited to another job other than being a cab driver, as he could not stay on the correct side of the road nor adhere to traffic signs and speed. There were many near misses. Joan closed her eyes in the back seat while Ueli sat wide eyed up front and hung on for dear life. We helped the driver find the motel, paid up and checked in. Prayers work!

Rare Table MountainTable mountains rise out of the natural green vegetation. Wind direction change with altitudeThe smoke from bush fires gives an idea of the wind patterns over the shoreline. The boys catch of the dayTwo boys learning to fish and proudly show their trophy.

After a brief nap, we walked the water front where many children were happily playing and fishing while parents relaxed in the warm sun. It was a perfect day for anything. We found a charming Tea House where ocean breezes blew across the shaded porches which surrounded the house. Eating a late lunch, we decided to also call it dinner. We resisted the ever present goodies which we adore, but are not too flattering on the old bodies. The main street of town was busy with people getting ready for the weekend and everyone was in a rush – just like at home. Very early on, we called it a day, did the planning for the next day’s flight and turned in for the night.

Town of AlbanyAlbany a nice little town on the SW shore with a large natural harbor.

The people are friendly and there is plenty to see. It is worth a visit.

Don't hesitate to give us your impressions.

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This page was last modified on 21. April 2005