We have gotten a quick introduction to Aussie Rules Football or "footy". Today was the Grand Final between the local team - the West coast Eagles and Sydney. We were on the road driving to Kalbarri and it was deserted. We pulled into Geraldton for lunch at the local pub, the Freemason's Hotel. The town was like a ghost town but the bar was full of fans. We could barely place our order at the bar over the din of cheers. They were watching the game on three big screens. Everyone was decked out in blue and yellow - the Eagles colors.
Aussie football is like non-stop football without any padding and the players all wear tight little shorts. You can't pass the ball as you do in US but you can kick it. Scoring is by kicking. Even if I didn't understand it, I did enjoy watching the players. :)
We had to move on before the end of the game so we found it on the radio. It was a nailbitter ending. But the Eagles prevailed and won by one point. Every town we passed through had fans. We could tell from the balloons, streamers and flags. And they were still partying when we arrived in Kalbarri. But I've gotten ahead of myself.
We picked up our car on Friday and it was a snap getting our of Perth. No traffic. We left on the Great Northern Highway which took us out through Swan Valley. We switched over to the Brand Hwy. I am surprsed at how easy it is to drive this time. I'm certain it is partly due to driving on the left last year in South Africa and partially due to having an automatic for once. But there is a unique item on the highway here - road trains. These are trucks with several trailers attached. They are very long and definitely a challeng to pass on a 2 lane highway.
Our destination was Jurien Bay about 200 km north of Perth. It should have been a 3 hour drive but we got distracted by the plants. All along the hwy is native bush - banksias, grevillas and other prickly bush plants the equivalent of the chapparel in California. We had heard good things about the flowers at Badgingara so we stopped at the road house for lunch and information. A roadhouse is like a freeway gas station minimarket with food to go or a small restaurant. We had a couple of sandwitches and picked up a brochure on a local walk at Phoebee's reserve and went off to explore. Two hours latere we were still finding new things but we needed to head on so we could
make the Pinnacles at Cervantes before sundown.
We found our B&B, The Heights and we were welcomed by Alan, the owner. It is a very cozy and clean B&B - perfect for our quick stay. Alan gave us some information about the town and the Pinnacles and a warning about the Kangaroos. They come out in the evening and night and are similar to deer in the US. Very unpredictable so watch out. You don't want to hit one.
The Pinnacles were about 40 minutes away and pretty interesting. Sandstone pillars in the bush created by wind. In the late afternoon light they turn golden. We stayed until sundown and slowly drove back. So far we have seen more dead kangaroos on the road than live ones. We have had more luck seeing emus. We even saw a baby.
We got an early start on Saturday and drove into Leseur National Park. We hit the mother lode of wildflowers. Everywhere we looked there was something new to see. I couldn't keep George in the car. He'd wander ahead looking for plants and I had to drive up and pick him up. Hopefully on our wan back down to Albany we can stop and explore more of the park.
Today we plan to explore the parks and shores of Kalbarri. Time to slather on the sunscreen and find some more flowers.