Gracetown WA

Trip Leader: John & Sue

When: 13th – 18th April 2006

Location: Gracetown WA 6284

Saturday 15th April
Day Trip to Boranup Forest and Augusta.
I need to note at the outset that Diana, Duncan & Frith have done these trip notes for other valid reasons, as they were not the last to arrive! The seven participant vehicles met at the entrance to the Gracetown Caravan Park and set off shortly after 10h00 – a very genteel time on a relaxing weekend.
We headed south on the sealed Caves Road, dropping in to two beach spots which offered stunning views of the coast, azure sea and endless sapphire sky. There were some bone-jarring corrugations and so we stopped for some drivers to soften their vehicle tyres for a more comfortable ride. Part of the road passed through an area recently devastated by forest fire, and the radio chat discussed the need for fire as a vital part of the seed regeneration cycle.  John B assured us that if we returned there in a year, you would hardly be aware that a fire had swept through – the regrowth is so swift and efficient!
We then turned east and plunged off-road and into the forest itself, on Bushby Road. The soaring trees with ground cover of “Blackboys” and other ferns were a marked difference from the windswept coastal low-level scrubby bushes. The road sides were a bit scratchy, with a few sharp rocks in places, but otherwise easy driving. We meandered pleasantly through a large swathe of this delightful glade, and then turned onto Lovespring Road, which displayed “4×4 Only” signs. While we waited for the tail of the convoy to catch up, we were treated to a choir of bird-song, and discussed the appropriateness of this road name in view of the Ryan’s wedding anniversary the next day.
An early lunch stop took place in a lovely clearing, and discarded champagne corks on the ground led to the thought that John & Rosalie had been there previously! While eating our packed lunches, John K mentioned the delights offered by the bakery at Augusta – the pies being particularly good. Wilma said she was friends with this man, and he had been as slim as her Gary when he opened the business, and now is a very large man – and the customer queue regularly extended out the bakery door! A unanimous vote saw us high-tailing down the bitumen to Augusta!
We had not been further south than Leschenault, and so were really pleased to be able to see more of this lovely and scenic part of the State. The vineyards interspersed with fields and meadows are very attractive, and there was a picturesque swampy area with a forest of tall paperbark trees as a bonus.
We pulled in to the car park at the bakery, and joined the queue! The staff was flat-out serving the never-ending stream of customers, and the wares met all expectations…… Wilma was told that they had prepared more stock than ever before; so much that they had run out of surfaces to place it on!

While we were there, they were removing many of the ‘available’ pie labels as these were sold out.

Frith and I also visited the gracious Catholic Church next door – with a stunning view across the bay from its elevated position. The altar, lectern and font were all hewn from roughly finished / natural looking tree trunks – very simple and effective.
At this point the group divided, various groups heading off in different directions. Paul, Louise, Matt, Sam, Myself, Duncan and Frith went down to the petrified water-wheel, which Paul said “was really scared.”
Duncan said “it was so scared that it was wetting itself…….!”
We had a distant view of the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, and detoured onto a delightful little ‘challenge’ down to a gem of a secluded bay. We also tried a dirt track up the hill, but were thwarted by a locked Water Corp gate – reminders of Dwellingup ….. It was mooted that the Club really needs to court a Water Corp employee who has a master key to these gates! As the sun was now low in the sky, we reluctantly headed back to Gracetown, taking the Bussell Highway and passing through Margaret River town.
Our return to the campsite after a wonderful day was dampened by the bad news that Wilma had been taken to Margaret River hospital with burns to her feet and ankles. She had stepped out of the vehicle and the soft verge blanketed with cool-looking ash hid the burning hot sand underneath. She was subsequently flown to Royal Perth Hospital by RFDS.
Eventually all seven vehicles were back in camp, and a near-perfect day ended with a very successful Annual Easter Quiz, efficiently managed by Sue B. Much debate and (unsuccessful) attempts to win favour with the Quiz Master ensued, and great fun was had by all. The evening temperature was cooler than previously, and we all headed off to bed – our thoughts with Wilma and Gary, and appreciative for another good day with good friends.
Diana, Duncan & Frith

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