Western Australia – Day 8 – Exploring Natural Sights with Margaret River Exposed
There’s a great deal of natural beauty in Western Australia. Like Pemberton, we hunted around for an off-road tour of the natural sights in Margaret River. There seemed to be two tour operators specialising in this tour type and working the Margaret River region. The first option we found was quite well-known in the area – MR Discovery Company.
When we inquired with the company several months ago, we learned that the company owner would be traveling out of the country on holiday and thus unavailable. He referred us to another company – MR Exposed – and the two companies apparently have a some sort of covering arrangement as they primarily cover broadly the same areas within the region. The owner and sole operator of this company was Hank.
There seemed to be one key difference between the two companies too: Hank does customizable itineraries depending on what you’d like to see and if there are any limitations to work with. In our case, right from the get go, we had no interest in wineries and vineyards since Ling only drinks very casually, and I’m teetotaler. We also had two kids coming along, one of them only just turning 4. And lastly, we were really more interested in natural sights than those which were man-made or artificial. Towards our departure date, we appraised Hank of our visits to the Augusta area and that we’d visit the Margaret River town center spots and stay clear of the other areas so that there wouldn’t be any overlap.
And after a full day with Hank, I reckon we really couldn’t have gone with a better guide. We went off road to visit two forests, and his knowledge of flora and fauna in the region really fascinated Ling (especially, though less me as I’m not a green person LOL) that has been accumulated after having lived in Margaret River his entire life, and done a lot of exploration on his own. His interest areas are especially in wildflowers and orchids (he does those tours too in the appropriate seasons), and brought us to a number of spots that would not be on most tourists’ spots to visit – not just from a road accessibility point of view, but that even the locals don’t know some of the spots he showed.
The 4WD we were in. The vehicle’s suspension was a little more rough than the Toyota we used with Pemberton Discovery Tours, but the terrain was also less bumpy in MR.
Lots of wild kangaroos about, including these two young adult kangaroos who were boxing each other’s ears. Hank explained that they were really just playing rather than fighting over something (like the lady kangaroos LOL).
We spent a good amount of time visiting the cliffs and beaches along the coast line. This one is Surfers Point.
And that’s why it’s called Surfers Point. This was as far as my 40-150mm f2.8 with the 1.4X teleconverter lens could reach.
Hank helped us – or rather me – spot wild birds too, but the 420mm lens really struggled to reach them as the birds were skittish.
Took also a look at Margaret River itself. The house on the right was built by one of the earliest 19th century settlers into the area, but the heritage house was burnt down some years back and has yet to be rebuilt.
Magnificent coast line and steep cliffs over looking it.
Hank is also a photographer-enthusiast himself, and brought out his Nikon gear for photos too.
These two are color-matched!
Lunch was a quiet remote cafe inside Boranup Forest.
Boranup Gallery, a woodcraft gallery beside the cafe itself. Very exquisite but expensive tables on display – most costing $14K and above.
Some of the customizable tables can cost $30K – ouch!
Inside Boranup Forest, we were showed how the Marri trees secrete resin in response to boring insects onto the wood tissue.
This is what the resin looks like, hence the word ‘bleeding’.
Deeper inside Boranup Forest, Hank showed us his private spot that he found in his explorations that even the locals do not know about: a hidden valley full of nothing but grass trees. The tucked away area feels like an era from a long-gone prehistoric age.
Not a photoshopped image. This is exactly what the valley looks like on the ground.
Hannah wanted to head-in and explore the valley, and Hank said why not LOL. So in we went.
An intricately spun and undistrubed spiderweb with rain drops carried on its webs.
What we got was an incredible full-day master class of the flora and fauna of the region, something that Ling found really fascinating!
This valley was filled with sights whose balance have not been upset by human intervention. Still rain drops on leaves on the grass trees.
While Hank, the kids and Ling went down to the beach to explore, I found a large flat rock, perched myself down and spent an hour taking photos of waves crashing on the rock formations.
The rocks were some distance away, so these shots were taken at 420mm.
Exploring Redgate beach.
Returning to explore Margaret River in the late afternoon.
Hank showed us a spot to take piictures whose tranquil waters would cast near perfect reflectiions. The sky was really cloudy though at this point, and light was rapidly dimming, but this place will look stunniing in mornings.
Our last stop: back to Surfers Point to watch the sun set on Margaret River.
The end of a day of exploring the natural sights of Margaret River!
We also checked out Lake Cave too as part of the tour, so will write on that separately next. If we’re traveling again to this region in the second half of the year, we’d seriously consider going with Hank again for his wildflower tour!