Just as the weather was finally improving, we headed away from the coast for an 850kms inland detour up to Wave Rock, near the small wheatbelt town of Hyden, and then back down to the coast again.
Of course, we took the longer scenic route via Katanning, Wagin, Narrogin, Kulin, and then back to the coast via Ravensthorpe (as you do!) to check out some quirky Aussie sights along the way.
The drive through this south-western part of Western Australia was spectacularly green, due to recent rains and the newly sprouting wheat crops, interspersed with golden fields of canola.
After four months of seeing only outback red dust and stones (and many more months of eastern Australian drought before that), we still marvel at the sight of healthy green paddocks as far as the eye can see.
Of course, we had to stop in Wagin to say G’Day to the Giant Ram.
(What is it about Aussies and their love of ‘big things’?)
Then back into the car for more driving, and more wheat and canola crops. Often running parallel to the highways were long kilometres of pipelines, delivering water to inland communities.
We based ourselves in the small town of Kulin for a couple of nights, drawn as we are to support small towns that offer great free camps to attract self-contained travellers to visit (and spend money in) their communities.
As it turns out, Kulin is developing quite a following and attracting many visitors, courtesy of its quirky Tin Horse Highway (comprising more than 80 imaginatively decorated tin horses) and annual bush races.
But the story of how Kulin acquired a second-hand giant water slide (the largest in rural Australia) is a fabulous tale of a community working together for a shared purpose.
Kulin was such a fabulous and quirky find, and is a great story of how a once-struggling small country town has reinvented itself, that it deserves a blog of its own. Check out our Kulin blog and pics here.
Kulin is only an hour’s drive from the famous Wave Rock, a 15m high concave wall of granite, colourfully streaked with black and orange algal remains.
A low wall has been erected around the upper section of Wave Rock, to capture rain runoff and channel it into a small dam nearby.
Wildflowers were in abundance at the base of Wave Rock.
After our day trip to Wave Rock, it was back to our camp at Kulin, in time for farewell drinks to say goodbye to our honorary Roe’ving Australia member, Deb, who left us in Kulin after two weeks exploring WA’s south west with us.
We waved goodbye to Deb and the inland for a bit, and headed back toward the coast – this time towards Esperance.
But first, we stopped to check out the small town of Ravensthorpe which, luckily for us, was in the midst of its annual wildflower show AND was in the news for the unveiling of the world’s largest lollipop the day before. Exciting times for Ravensthorpe!
Ravensthorpe is also home to a stunning 25m high silo art display, Six Stages of Banksia baxteri, inspired by local wildflowers.
Next stop, the beautiful southern coast of Western Australia as we head towards Esperance.