I took advantage of James' business trip to Sydney to do some exploring around the region - the Caves around Margaret River had been recommended as a place to visit, so I was determined to visit at least one of them.
I drove down on Sunday, stopping at the quirky Crooked Carrot cafe, where I spent a while examining the charming home-made musical instruments, as well as everal extremely old vehicles. Then it was onto Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, where I was disappointed to fnd out that they 'don't do tours for one person' but apparently 5 minutes later were happy to do one for two (as they walked past me). So I moved off to Sugarloaf Rock, which was absolutely beautiful to see, and later onto Canal Rocks where I caught some spectacular shots of the waves. And after that I finally headed to Karridale to my home for the night, a gorgeous little hideaway nestled deep within the Karri trees.
On Monday I trooped into Calgardup Cave armed with a hard hat, a torch and my camera, and toured the cave entirely alone, which I have to admit was a new and invigorating (if scary) experience, and gained some fabulous images for the privilege.
From there I ventured to the Boranup Forest viewpoint, then onto Hamelin Bay (which was covered in bluebottle jellyfish!) and set googlemaps for Foul Bay, which is where it let me down by losing signal after having sent me down an unfinished and extremely bumpy road - as it deteriorated more and more I realised I needed to turn around (no mean feat in those conditions) and thankfully the car had enough pulling power to get me through the sand and back to civilisation.
This time I set the sat-nav and found Foul Bay, but more impressive by far was Cosy Corner, an exquisite little spot with turquoise waters and pure white sand - I could happily have stayed there all day, but I had to move on if I was to get to Cape Leeuwin. So it was a quick stop at Flinders Bay, and then Quarry Bay, enroute to the fabulous Skippy Rock and the 'mini-pinnacles'.
After that I made a stop at the historic waterwheel, a timber structure now almost entirely covered in calcified lime so that it strongly resembles stone (see 'Wheel Beauty' in the Great Southern Gallery), before heading over to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, and finally a brief stop on the shore of Blackwood River.
As I was driving home Tuesday, I had a relatively early start, touring the beautiful Jewel Cave in Margaret River. After that I took a recommendation to take Sue's Road, which brought me across Alexandra Bridge, and later along to Sues Bridge Campground - I never actually found the bridge itself, but the campground was stunningly beautiful, with arum lilies all around (yes, I know they're weeds) and the most incredible reflections in the river.