Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Australian travellogue: Northcliffe and Windy Harbour

3 Nov 2009. "You haven't seen everything in Northcliffe if you don't go to Windy Harbour," the lady at the Visitor Information Centre told me when I asked her what was there to see around Northcliffe (population, 2006 census: 299).

She was only half right, you know, because even if we've been to Windy Harbour, we wouldn't have been able to see everything in Northcliffe anyway. But we were game. We asked her what was there at Windy Harbour. The name has a nice sound to it. "Oh, the view there is fabulous," she gushed at us enthusiastically. "We go there practically every weekend."

Mmm, I thought to myself, maybe the place wouldn't be so bad after all. "So how long will it take us to go there and back?" I asked the lady, casually mentioning to her that I wouldn't want to reach Pemberton too late for fear of meeting kangaroos crossing the roads again.

"Well, it's only a 30-minute drive in that direction," she gesticulated with her hand. "And don't worry, I haven't knocked into a kangaroo in my 30 years of driving."

Okay, we were sold. As it was only 3.50pm anyway, we could spend about an hour on the road to Windy Harbour and back, perhaps another 30 minutes looking around the place and then drive another 30 minutes or so to Pemberton and it still wouldn't be dark yet.

The drive was basically along a very long flat road. Except for several short stretches that took us through pockets of tall trees, all around us were wide open spaces. But soon, we reached the d'Entrecasteaux National Park and started winding up a small hill. So finally we reached it.....the look-out point to the Windy Harbour:

To say that Saw See was a little disappointed was an understatement. She had expected a harbour filled with ships and yachts and bustling with activity but what we saw was only a grand view of the Southern Ocean stretching for miles and miles in either direction and beautiful beaches lining the far distant shores. No ships. No yachts. No economic activity. In fact, no human activity. Such was the desolation of the place. But it lived up to its name. It was windy, real windy.

"Never mind, lah, let's enjoy the view instead," I said and to her credit, she really enjoyed our brief respite at Windy Harbour. We took a few snapshots then hurriedly drove down the hill and turned to Salmon Beach.

Well, this was a beautiful beach. On either side of us, majestic cliffs rose high to about 100 metres. To the cliff on our left, somewhere up there must be the Windy Harbour look-out point that we had just left a few minutes ago. But the sun was searingly hot and we couldn't stay for long in this weather. Moreover, we had to run along too. So another 30-minute drive took us back to Northcliffe and another 30 minutes brought us to the Pemberton town centre at about 6.20pm.

Next: Our lodgings
Previous: Going to the races

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