Since my return home two months ago, my wanderlust has not slowed, slackened or subsided in the slightest. I have been restricted in my travels thanks to my pitiful bank account and uni commitments limiting my time. So I have fed my addiction with short trips down to the gorgeous South West region of Western Australia. Stretches of secluded beaches, wicked surf breaks, acres of untouched national parks and an abundance of culinary treasures: it is one of my favourite places on earth and just a few hours out of town – my own little backyard paradise.
The very first weekend I was home, with four cars full of family and friends we made our way down to the small coastal town of Gracetown. A lovely four hour drive south of Perth. By the time I reached our beautiful beach house in Gracetown, I had satisfied every yearning I had while away in Europe: I had soaked my pasty skin in the warmth of that piercing Australian sun. Finally feeling fresh air and sun rays on my now snow white limbs that had spent the past four months covered in thermal wear. I had dragged my hair and bathed my skin in the salty ocean waters and finally got back out on the surfboard.
View from Gracetown house
I drove hours – yes hours! – through tree lined roads without passing through a major city or over boarders.. Just paddocks, small towns, a few petrol stations and good ol’ Australian bush. Caves Road, a 111 km stretch from Yallingyup down to Augusta, is one of my favourite roads to drive. A windy track lined with trees and with numerous wineries, breweries, caves and surf breaks every five minutes of each other there is so much to explore on the one road.
Just a few weeks later I shared the South West with some friends visiting from Germany. We made it to Yallingup for sunset and watched a group of surfers take on some decently sized waves as the sun slowly descended behind them and the skyline filled with layers of purple and orange hues. It wasn’t long before I noticed a fin popping up behind the group… then another… we watched as two dolphins rode the waves all the way into the shore. Showing up the group of surfers nearby who were all now frozen in awe. For the Germans who had only seen dolphins a few times before it was a gorgeous sight and a highlight of their entire Australian trip. For me any dolphin sighting especially when they are that blissful and free in their natural environment is a very special moment.
It just so happened that weekend was also the Margaret River Pro. We went down to watch on the day of the finals and arrived just in time to see Kelly Slater and Australia’s Joel Parkinson battling it out on 6 foot waves in the nail biting last minutes of their very close semi final heat. Perched high up on the cliff, it was still a mission to find a good line of sight in the crowd of hundreds.