Friday, January 2, 2015

Western Australia Day 5; Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, Eagle Bay, Climbing Naturaliste @ Dunsborough

Giant game of Connect-Four at Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse.

The sun rises a little past 5 am at this time of the year, and waking up at 8.30 am means three and a half hours of precious daylight gone! Unless it’s the holidays and we’re snug under the blanket when its under 20 degrees outside. The girls were out at the jumping pillow to wake themselves up while Daddy and Mummy got the house and car ready for the day. There was going to be a little more ‘stuff’ to carry today as we had sand play by the beach in mind.

15 minutes into our drive, we had to turn back as we had forgotten our socks and shoes for indoor rock-wall climbing in the afternoon. It was a good thing all our visits were nearby so a half hour detour didn’t cost us too much.

The ‘Geographer’ in Mummy had to be satisfied, and we looped to the end of Cape Naturliste to visit the lighthouse. She hoped that the scenery and splendour of the lighthouse here would match of the one at Cape Leuwin. This one was a lot smaller as it was already situated on the top of a hill quite a distance from the coastline. A short walk around the grounds was all it took to see most of the lighthouse and the surrounding. We did not opt for the guided tour but since the kids were happily distracted by the bouncing castle, Mummy walked the grounds on her own. It was getting hot, and the flies were simply annoying. Ice-cream helps in situations like these, and we made sure we had some before heading to the beach.

Girls were happy to have more jumping action.

There are many beautiful walking trails at Cape Naturaliste, but the weather was very hot and we did not intend to spend very long here.

The Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse is located on high ground and does not need to be very tall.

Daddy wanted to visit Shelly Cove near Eagle Bay a short drive from Dunsborough, one of the most popular snorkeling spots in the area. When we got there, the sun was so strong that we could not bear to stand on the sand. This was a ‘weird’ feeling as the wind-chill in the shade was very cold and the water was freezing. While the kids pranced around trying to get a dip in the chilly water and tip-toeing on the baked sand, Daddy occupied himself with the one thing this place was famous for… and the snorkeling did not disappoint. The water was calm and clear. Aside from a couple who were swimming, we had the whole beach to ourselves. Underwater, Daddy spotted school of fish zipping back and forth. Even way out among the rocks that broke the strong waves, the depth of the water never exceeded four or five metres. The bottom was covered in pastures of seaweed and sea-grass, amongst which hid all sorts of fish. There were many encrustations on the boulders, and it was best to keep clear of them as occasional swells may cause snorkelers to collide into them, resulting in cuts and bruises.

The girls had the beach all to themselves, and what a beautiful beach it was!

What a scenic and isolated stretch of beach! The sand has tiny seashells from which it gets its name.

After over an hour of sun, sand and sea (and hordes of flies), we washed up and headed to find something to eat in Dunsborough. In the heart of the town is Squidlips, an award winning fish and chips eatery. We went straight for the Squidlips Gourmet Box (snapper, calamari rings, prawn & scallop skewers and chips) and a serving of lemon-pepper grilled fish and chips. It came with a small serving of salad and we ate off counter tops sitting on high stools.

Gourmet Box

Lemon Pepper Grilled Fish and Chips served with a salad of your choice.

We brought the leftover fries with us into the car after lunch to our next stop, an indoor climbing gym called Climbing Naturaliste. There, we were hosted by a wonderful manager who geared us up and introduced us to the facility, briefing us on housekeeping and safety. Although we were inexperienced (the kids probably have more exposure to wall climbing than their parents), we climbed to our hearts’ content for the entire time we were there. It was an efficient energy burner and by the end of the session, Mummy’s arms were aching like she had been to the gym. The kids, however, never seem to tire.

Intense concentration.

The younger one giving the older one instructions as she navigates up the wall.

The girls take turns to scale walls of varying difficulty.

There is a bouldering wall in the gym where the girls had a lot of fun.

Mummy shows off her bouldering skills.

Just around the corner from the gym was Simmo’s. The locally branded ice-creamery is surrounded by family friendly gardens complete with carousels, BBQ facilities and sand playground. Mummy picked up a flyer at our caravan park and thought it’ll be a ‘cool’ detour on a hot day. We chose three flavours to share along with coffee and a vanilla milkshake, and the kids had a short exploration of the garden grounds after.  Two ice-creams in a day! Something that only happens on holidays.

Too many flavours to choose from. By the end of the trip, the girls have established a favourite Simmo's flavour - bubble gum.

Mini golfing available too

The creamery combines an outdoor play area for a unique concept where adults and children can laze around on the lawn in the warm summer sun while slurping on ice-cream. The trees provide the much needed shade from the summer heat.

Another round of the jumping pillow with neighbours at the caravan park as Mummy heated pre-cooked spaghetti. You know kids are starting to get tired when they start stepping on each other’s toes. No holiday is without the occasional squabbles, but we recognize that despite the down-times, the up-times outweigh them all.

One of the nice things about today was that none of the places we visited, except for Shelly Bay, were on the original itinerary. Instead, these were things we fitted into the timetable the night before based on what we felt like doing. I guess that’s one of the things that makes a road trip more palatable to us as we can adjust the plan as we go along. Tomorrow, the plan will be tweaked again, and who knows what surprises await us on our way to Perth Hills.

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