Saturday, May 26, 2007

Brisbane to Perth with Holtie Part 9

This was a great photo I found on the net while researching
stories for this post. It shows a mob of emus crossing the road.
(Double click the photo to enlarge it)

Leaving Geraldton we headed south to the Pinnacles and
Perth. As we were driving down the Brand Highway I
suddenly told Peter to stop the car. I had noticed a Echidna
running across the road. Jumping out of the car we saw the
Echidna scramble into the nearby scrub. I was able to get
some video as the Spiny Ant Eater disappeared out of sight.

The Echidna (or Spiny Ant-eater) and the Platypus share the
distinction of being the only two mammals that lay eggs.
Echidnas are widely distributed throughout
Australia and they
live in a variety of habitats, from dry deserts to humid rain
forests or in the
Australian Alps. They look like a hedgehog or
porcupine but are not related. Echidnas grow up to 50cm in
The spiny ant-eater has remarkable defensive ability
when it feels threatened. It rolls itself into a ball, with it's
prickly spines out to protect its soft under-parts, and can
dig itself into sand or earth with great speed.

Two hours later and 180km south of Geraldton we drove off
the main highway and turned onto the dirt road that took us
into the
Nambung National Park and the Pinnacles.

The Pinnacles Desert is situated in the Nambung National
and is 250kms North from Perth and one of Australia's
best known landscapes.
Nambung National Park
covers an
area of
17491 ha. Here, thousands of huge limestone pillars
rise from the shifting yellow sands. They are all shapes and
sizes, some are jagged, sharp-edged columns, rising to a
point, while others resemble tombstones.
The raw material
for the limestone of the Pinnacles came from sea shells rich in
marine life. These shells were broken down into lime rich
sands which were brought ashore by waves and then carried
inland by the wind to form high, mobile dunes.

......................Peter at the Pinnacles.

The Pinnacles Desert remained relatively unknown until the
late 1960s, when the Department of Lands and Surveys
agreed to add the area to the already existing National park,
which had been established in 1956. Today the park is visited
by approximately 200,000 visitors each year from
and all over the world.

The Pinnacles are considered one of natural wonders of
Australia along with Ulura (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta
(The Olgas), The
Great Barrier Reef and many others.

Leaving the Pinnacles we now only had 245km to Perth
where we were going to stay with one of Peter’s sons.
As we drove further south I noticed a lot of small round
melons growing along the side of the road and there were
hundreds more growing wild in paddocks we were passing.
I asked Peter to stop so I could have a closer look at these
melons. I had never seen so many growing wild in one area.
Peter told me that these were Paddy Melons.

The paddy melon is a prostrate or climbing annual herb native
to southern
Africa. It has round spiky yellow-green or green
striped fruit; the fruit and foliage are toxic. The plant has
been known to kill livestock. The melon is a weed in
where it may also be known as prickly paddy
, bitter apple, and gooseberry gourd.
The paddy melon was introduced as camel fodder, and has
exploded in areas of disturbance. The melons are a favourite
of the pink cockatoo.

Getting out of the car I asked Peter if he had a knife as I wanted to open one of the melons to see what it looked like inside and to maybe taste one of them. He pulled a small pocket knife out of his pocket. Looking at the knife I said “That’s not a knife” and drawing the huge bowie knife out of the sheath on my belt I said “Now that’s a knife” I then opened the melon. Inside it looked like a watermelon, white seeds only with a light green coloured flesh. I asked Peter if your could eat these and he told me that they were not to be eaten as they were poison to cattle.
I wiped a small amount of juice onto my finger to taste the melon.
It was very bitter.

............Crocodile Wazza...."Now that's a Knife.

We drove into Perth about 5pm on a Saturday afternoon.
Later that evening all the family drove over to Marcus’s
(one of Peter’s sons and he also has his own blog
“Holt Press 2”) place for a family get together and have
dinner. The next day was Mother’s Day so all the Holtie
gang were meeting up at
Kings Park for afternoon tea.
That evening we slept in a real bed after a few weeks of
“roughing” it in a tent.

Double click on photo (or any photo) to get larger size.

Perth is the capital of the Australian state of Western
. A population of 1,508,000 makes Perth the
largest city in
Western Australia and home to three-quarters
of the state's residents.

The first documented European sighting of the region was made by the Dutch Captain Willem de Vlamingh and his crew on 10th January 1697. After Sydney was settled in 1788, interest was revived in “New Holland” (as Australia had been named by the Dutch). It was not until Matthew Flinders had circumnavigated Australia in 1801 that it was known that “New Holland” and the east coast were all part of the same continent.

Captain James Stirling, aboard the Parmelia, reached Perth on the 1st June, 1829. On 12th August that year, Mrs. Helen Dance, wife of the Captain of the second ship Sulphur, cut down a tree to mark the founding of the town. The name Perth was chosen by James Stirling for the new town. Stirling, a Scot, acted in accordance with the wish of Sir George Murray, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, that the town be named after Perth, Scotland, which was Murray's birthplace.

Swan River named after the Black Swans......Downtown Perth on the Swan River.

The Narrows Bridge linking North & South Perth.

On the 1 October 1872 an area on Mount Eliza was gazetted
as a public park by the Commissioner for Lands, Sir Malcolm
Fraser. The area was renamed Kings Park in 1901 in honour
of King Edward VII after a visit to Perth by his son, the Duke
of York (later King George V).

Banksia ................and a Morning Iris

The total area of the Park is 406 hectares (roughly 1,000
acres) and is located adjacent to the
Swan River and
approximately 1.5 km from the CBD of
Perth. Nearly two
thirds of the Park is natural bushland containing 319 species
of native plants and around 80 bird species.

Pink Fairy Orchid and Lechenaultia.

In September each year the Wildflower Festival is held in
Kings Park and if you are in Perth at this time of the year
it’s well worth the effort to visit to see the huge range of
wildflowers that are on display.

Carboprotis and Royal Mulla Mulla.

Silky Blue Orchid and Scarlet Feather Flower.


Most likely the first visitor to the Swan River area was
Frederick de Houtman on
19 July 1619, travelling on the
Dordrecht and Amsterdam. His records indicate he
first reached the Western Australian coast near
. The Swan River was named by the Dutch explorer,
Willem de Vlamingh in 1697, after the famous black swans
of the area. Vlamingh sailed with a small party up the river
to around
Heirisson Island. A French expedition under
Nicholas Baudin also sailed up the river in 1801.

.....Wazza overlooking the Swan River from Kings Park.

After a few days visiting with Peter’s three sons and having
a look around Perth we now set off for the South West area
to one of the best wine producing areas in W.A., Margaret
River, then Albany and finally Beverley and small town about
130km south east of Perth where we were going to stay with
friends of Peters for a couple of days. All this and more will be
revealed in Part 10, the final chapter or is it???


LZ Blogger said...

Wazza ~ The wife and I never made it to that side of your country, bur is sure looks unusally beautiful. If we ever get back, we'll have to check out the Western parts. Thanks for the beautiful photos and words to go with them. ~ jb///

Peter said...

G'day Wazza, I can't believe you are finally going to finish this trip in one more episode, at least you are doing a thorough job while you are at it though.

Jamie Dawn said...

Superb photos!
What I can't understand is that when Peter TOLD you those melons were toxic - poisonous to cattle - you took that humungous knife of yours, cut into a melon and tasted the juice ANYWAY.
Do you have some kind of death wish??
It's a wonder you weren't doubled over with diarrhea later that evening.

That Echidna creature does resemble a porcupine.
I'd keep my distance if I saw one, but of course, you would probably try and pet the thing. :-)

Peter at the Pinnacles sounds kind of like the beginnings of a nursery rhyme.
Peter Piper picked a peck of Pinnacles...

Jim said...

Hi Warren -- We're back, as you can see, early too. But I'm not in as good shape as when we left. Check my blog for that.

Those flowers and your big birds just might be enough by themselves to warrant a visit. We would like to come over some day, but it is likely to be with a tour group.

Puss-in-Boots said...

I love the blue orchid, I've never seen that one before. Mum and Harold have been to WA during wildflower season and they said it was incredibly picturesque and well worth seeing.

Thanks for the detailed description of your trip.

Raggedy said...

Fablulous picrues!
lol at thatsa knife!
Have a wonderful day!
(=':'=) hugs
(")_ (")Š from
the Cool Raggedy one

Lee said...

Wonderful chapter in your trek, Wazza and equally wonderful pictures. I've certainly been enjoying this trip. Thanks. :)

Merle said...

Hi Warren ~~ Great post again, both
the photos and the story. The wild
flowers are lovely as I have heard that they are. I have never been further west than Adelaide.
I like the photo of you with the Dundee knife!! Even I knew they were paddy melons, we had some around Nathalia when I lived there. The Pinnacles are amazing. Thanks for showing us all these things. Liked the emus too, even if you didn't take the photo. Take care,
Regards, Merle.

gledwood said...

Wow! This is some amazing stuff you've posted here... I got your address from Merle's blog. I was telling her I hardly ever get to meet Aussies online (don't know why) ... Man, some of those animals! Mammals that lay eggs.... you live on a strange continent ...
Long story but I could have been BORN Australian, but I wasn't, I'm a Brit ... but all my life I've felt this peculiar sense of being somehow "displaced" ... Anyway I won't ramble.
Take it easy. Glad I dropped by. I'll certainly come again!
All the best
Gledwood "vol 2"