The heat gets tight but, come Friday, Perth he abstracts from the force and becomes free.
The escape space around is vast. It appears filled with a raw and resplendent nature, practically all that an Australian true blue you need to be happy, if we add to it, of course, the camaraderie, the company of the surfboard during the day and the favorite beer from the end of the afternoon.
Some residents make their way to the sand line that endows the Indian coast to the north and south of the mouth of the Swan River. Others flock to nearby Freemantle and its insular soul mate, Rottnest Island, Rotto, as intimate visitors prefer to abbreviate.
Still others venture into the depths of the endless province eager to breathe the pure combined airs of the Indian Ocean and the farthest Antarctic Ocean. After almost a month of delightful stay in the capital of Western Australia, we joined the evasion.
The first tens of kilometers of the route are divided between the surrounding streets and the motorways exiting the metropolis. With distance, the first summer refuges began to follow.
At the speed allowed, with no stops worth noting, at the end of the same afternoon we are in Bunbury. The village does not fill us with measures, so we just sleep there.
Yallingup's Wild Coast and Surfer
We take the Bussel Highway towards Bunker Bay and Cape Naturaliste.
In the middle of the southern summer, forest fires are raging there and access remains blocked by the authorities. With no valid alternatives, we cut to Yallingup.
In the local Aboriginal Noongar dialect, Yallingup means “Place of Love”.
It doesn't hurt to see why the wealthiest Australians – including, we are told, several professional cricketers – have fallen in love with the place and have holiday homes there.
The road ends in a minimal car park.
When we got out of the rental car, we found Smiths Beach, a huge wild bay, lined with verdant coastal vegetation and an open sand that the blue-green Indian invades.
Taj Burrow: A Near-Myth of World Surfing
The setting is grand. It inspires an army of determined surfers as does the legendary figure and resident of Taj Burrow. Taj is the son of American parents.
In 1988, at age 17, he became the youngest competitor to qualify for the ASP World Tour, but he postponed his participation until the following year – when he re-qualified – because he felt too young to spend so much time on around the world.
Since then, he has triumphed in several renowned competitions and defeated much more highly rated competitors, such as the now eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater.
his disciples arrive in campervans and aged vans. We see them putting on their suits and preparing their boards to then walk along the long path that leads to the sea, in a hurry, as if they feared that it might disappear from one moment to the next.
We also see them from a distance, overcoming the first white break to reach the ideal waves that, fearless and sometimes unconscious, they share with sharks, including great whites.
Gnarabup, the beach that follows, has a sea too shallow for these portentous predators to approach but is despised by the surfing community.
Its waters run faster than conventional bathers, eager to relax in the idyllic setting before getting lost in the thousand and one flavors and aromas of Margaret River.
Margaret River: The Wine Capital of Western Australia
Mags – the affectionate nickname – is the quintessential wine and food town of southwestern Western Australia. In no other area is the large island so Mediterranean as there.
From the coast to the interior, along the eponymous river, the vegetation evolves from the cliffs on the cliffs on the beaches to pockets of cork oaks and eucalyptus trees that refer to the Portuguese south, even more when they make room for the famous vineyards of the region, for the pastures of Australian cattle and to your aussie cowboys.
One hundred and forty wineries, most of them tiny, occupy about 5500 hectares and produce increasingly huge wines worldwide. Margaret River only guarantees about 3% of the Australian grape.
Even so, 20% of the country's Premium production comes from there, with emphasis on the Sauvignon Blanc which every year helps to attract one million visitors.
We leave Mags to its oenological and tourist maturation.
South from Cape Leeuwin. The Domain of the Great Australian Eucalyptus Forests
We continue down the long Bussel Highway passing through Karridale and Augusta. On these sides is the gateway to Cape Leeuwin, the western threshold of the Southwest, where the aussies they believe the Indian and Antarctic oceans collide.
We proceed to the region of the great Australian forests, a mystical and powerful realm that makes the ozzies more patriotic and sentimentalists, moved by the warm smell of the earth, surrendered to the imposingness of the gigantic trunks of the jar, husband e karri trees, the eucalyptus species that proliferate there.
For hundreds of kilometers, this majestic forest robs us of the open view of the sky and leaves us apprehensive. Australian distances are endless. We cannot go through them slowly.
Only, on those sides, the wallabies and larger kangaroos cross the road frequently.
Any collision could cause irreparable damage from both sides, even more serious in a domain that inveterate environmentalists hold as sacred.
“We Love Music” repeats, over and over, with an accent ozzy, the female voice in the ether. To make up for the monotony of the landscape and endless straights, we keep the radio tuned to Triple J, one of Australia's youngest and most irreverent stations.
At one point, we were treated to an interview with two members of Buraka Som Sistema who, at the time, animated one of the main Australian summer festivals to the sound of the contagious “wegue wegue” and other topics of your progressive kuduro.
As the miles and marsupials pass us by, we can't help but laugh at Lil John, Kalaf and DJ Riot's discussion of the musical virtues and perverseness of the ever-prepotent American Kanye West.
Almost an hour later, we remain subsumed in the forest and the unexpected sight of several canvases and protest posters confirms the latent presence of environmentalists.
Until recently, the region's trees – many of them secular – have fueled a thriving logging industry based in Nannup, Bridgetown, Pemberton and Northcliffe.
Pressure from environmentalists has never stopped increasing. As a result, the government limited slaughter to an essential minimum.
Discovering the Majestic Valley of the Giants
Today, these small villages seek to compensate for the cut in their old and easy livelihood with profits from newly twinned ecological activities.
Finally, we come to the Great Australian South. Still surrounded by trees and trees, we plan to stop at the Valley of the Giants, eager to trade in the car for the most impressive of these environmental tweaks.
We pass through Walpole. After Nornalup, we flex inland until we reach the protected area that gives it its name.
Unique to this small region of Greater South Western Australia, the trees tingle tingle (eucalyptus jacksonii) that abound there can live for over 400 years and grow 60 meters while their trunks reach 16 meters in diameter at the bases.
For decades, nature-enthusiastic locals and visitors traveled the route that crosses the valley to see the vegetal “Old Empire” that had settled in that place long before the Europeans anchored in the great southern island.
Today, thanks to the ecological thinking of the population and the authorities, more than just admiring from the ground, we can walk along the top of the forest along a structure of about 600 meters.
The wind makes the crosswalks sway and aggravates a controlled vertigo, but the surrounding sea of chlorophyll leaves us dazzled.
A Lost Denmark in Western Australia
Denmark is known as the village where that same seemingly endless forest meets the sea and the hippies meet each other.
Like so many villages across Western Australia, it proves to be a distinctly residential country retreat but filled with galleries and art shops fueled by the alternative lifestyles of many residents.
Contrary to what everyone and we might think, its name has little to do with the Nordic country. It was awarded to him in 1829 by the naval doctor Thomas Braidwood Wilson, the first white man to explore the area and who named the river that ran there with the nickname of one of his best friends, Dr. Alexander Denmark.
More than the town, it's the surroundings that attract us.
The eccentric coastline of PN William Bay appeals to us, in particular, full of perfect coves where the tides cover and discover curious rounded rocks – the Elephant Rocks – and natural pools with such icy water that only true masochists bathe in them.
We are already on the southern coast of Australia.
To the south on the map, only the Antarctica and, to match, there are furious winds that, in addition to lowering the temperature of the air and the ocean, seem to want to uproot the large granite boulders scattered along the beach.
South Coast Highway Away to Albany Final Destination
To the east, along the South Coast Highway, two types of extreme and pristine waterfront succeed each other, sometimes rocky and dramatic, sometimes dominated by verdant coastal vegetation and embellished by sands that look more like snow.
Even though it's only the sixth city in the state, with 34.000 inhabitants, Albany is the biggest we've visited since we left. Busselton, where we accompanied a sea swimming competition.
It is also Western Australia's oldest permanent colony, founded in 1826, three years before Perth. These days, it exhibits contrasting looks.
The one in the old historic center with its relatively well-preserved colonial buildings next to the waterfront and the one in the new zone that is clearly developing inland and increasing an Americanized extension of shopping centers and fast-food restaurants.
The charm of the old one pleases us. We stay between the streets and cafes of the center, the long promenade of Princess Royal Harbor and the renowned Middleton beach.
Nine days and 543 km after departing Perth, we had reached the final point of the itinerary.
Shortly thereafter, we took the Albany Highway and returned to the capital through the interior of the great south-west of Australia.