There’s nothing like a rum nights sleep to motivate you in the mornings I find. We headed into the minuscule village of Pemberton where there was a very tall tree. The Gloucester Tree is as exciting as things get out here. 60m tall with steel spikes hammered into it to aid climbing it was a bit of a no-no for someone with my fear of heights. While Rich climbed it, I hung out with the Rosella birds down the bottom. They’re so accustomed to tourists that if you stand with your arms outstrecthed a shedload of them land on you. There’s always one exuberant fecker who goes for the head as well.
After this frivolity we hit the road again to the impressive sounding Valley of the Giants - supposedly home to massive tingle and karri trees and featuring a walkway 40m high to give you views of the tree tops. What they don’t tell you is the platform is not very long and takes about 50 seconds to walk across at a moderate pace and that the trees aren’t that big anyway. They’re wide at the bottom which tends to hollow out so you can stand inside but they’re not much more than 40m tall and pretty thin after the wide base. The effect is underwhelming. In short, this place is Bundaberg - don’t come here.
Desperate to find something other than sheep farms and empty roads to justify the long drive down here we ended up in the small town of Albany which boats the marvellously non-PC Whale Slaughtering Museum. They call it Whale World but all the exhibits are of the slaughter (apparently called flensing) that went on here until 1980. You can wander around the whale cookers and other processing machinery (they were basically flensed into pieces small enough to fit in them before being boiled down to an oily soup), an old whaling ship with harpoon gun, see the flensing knives and graphic photos depicting their use, oh and watch a 3D movie about how whales are our friends now and its much better to earn money by sailing a bunch of tourists after them in boats than it is to chop and boil them although the smell of all those tourists is worse than a freshly flensed whale in many people’s opinion. No one else seemed to understand why I found it so funny. Shitehawks.
After another Bundaberg night in the car we’d pretty much burned up all our options in SW Australia so we headed back into Perth. We headed out to Whiteman park where we saw a pretty cool birds of prey demonstration and got to hold a brown falcon for the obligatory cheesy photo. By this time, Mr Reed had flown in from Malaysia where he had been enjoying monsoon weather on Tioman island.
Over the next few nights we sampled the Perth nightlife, with trips to comedy (not bad), theme bars (cheesy) and live music (good sound quality but mostly non-descript cover bands). Perth was very quickly losing its appeal and given that you can walk around the whole city centre in about 40 minutes it isn’t hard to see why. We spiced things up with a trip to see an AFL game on Sunday (West Coast Eagles hammering Carlton) but despite being an entertaining match, there’s precious little crowd atmosphere. No chanting, no songs, no insults aside from the odd boo. Disgustingly civilised. In between these brave efforts to pass the time we’ve had to send a ream of documents to the customs people to get the car in (it arrived Saturday safe and sound) and book a quarantine inspection so they can milk a bunch of dollars from us when they find the ants nest under the rear wheel arch.