Sunday, 6 December 2009

Australian travellogue: Albany's natural charm

2 Nov 2009. We couldn't leave without visiting one last place around Albany: the Torndirrup National Park. It was a leisurely 25-minute drive southwards along Frenchman Bay Road before turning into Gap Road which took us to our final destination, the Natural Bridge.

This was really a place to experience the power of the Southern Ocean. It was also the place to stand right at the edge of Antartica. Okay, maybe it's not exactly so now but it was quite possible about a billion years ago. Then, Australia and Antartica were joined as one and it was "only" about 45 million years ago that the Australian continent parted and started floating northwards towards a collision course with Papua New Guinea. Nothing for us to get alarmed about because it won't happen anytime soon, certainly not within our lifetime.

So there we were, admiring the dramatic and rugged coastline. Even from afar, we could feel the force of the swells and the waves as they rushed onshore. We understood how the constant and relentless pounding of waves had eroded the original softer layers of rock and left behind unique natural formations such as the Natural Bridge. In the next few million years, even more of the rocks will wear away and this huge piece of granite will collapse. It was really awesome to even think about it. Imagine if we were there to see it happen (but not, of course, while standing on the granite bridge itself).

As we turned away from the Natural Bridge and the Gap and realised the wide expanse of sky and earth before us, we suddenly felt so small and insignificant in the whole scheme of the universe. Gingerly, we traced our way across the rocks and boulders to the car park.

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