So today we left Wave Rock at 830am after I had a lovely shower, on my own, and headed through Hyden to see the statues which Lachlan had noticed yesterday – they were pretty impressive. A lot of outback towns seem to have metal statues representing their history (my favourite is of course the Power Station).
We then continued onto Harrismith for the wildflowers which are recognised internationally for the wide variety of wildflowers that grow in the area, with a well-defined walking trail which surrounds the town between September and December. So we arrive at Harrismith (having gone out of our way slightly) and i was quite excited about seeing all this colour which the magazines and websites had promised…hoping that the colours would suddenly be upon us. We see signs saying ‘Wildflowers’ and ‘Wildflower walking trail’, so we drive along and literally ZERO. I can feel Lachlan breathing heavily and giving me a silent “hmmm… I knew we shouldn’t have come”. To say that Harrismith is a ghost town is an understatement, it was non-existent and reminiscent of a scene from the walking dead. Maybe 2 houses, both of which were run down and vacant. Not quite sure who does the marketing for Harrismith, but its impressive considering there is nothing to market. We drove down a track and ended up trying to do a 3-point turn as we were heading in completely the wrong direction and that didn’t work, so we drove on a bit further and luckily there was a gateway to a field so Lachlan used that to turn around. We gave up on the idea, although Lachlan was very patient until I decided that we should give up!!! We then headed to the next town, which sounded like a character from Harry Potter, called Dumbleyung, where Donald Campbell, a British speed record breaker from Surrey, UK, broke the world record on 31 December 1964 for the world water speed record in his boat ‘Bluebird’ in the local lake (which is normally dry!) going at 444.71km/hr – he then became the first and only person so far to set both land and water speed records in the same year!. He died only 3 years later attempting to break another record. The Bluebird K4 replica was pretty spectacular and his memory is definately part of this small town (probably the main part!).
We set off to Katanning to then have lunch and to suss out the sheep sales yard (biggest sheep sales yard in Southern Hemisphere, and the only sales yard in Australia to have water in the selling pens) 44,000sqm and capable of selling 12million sheep a year. We decided that we should definitely go tomorrow to see all the sheep being unloaded and the sheep dogs working, before the sale on Wednesday. I am excited about this and glad we have decided to stay. We thought we should stay at the local caravan park, but did a drive around and decided that it was worth a 20min drive to the next town whose park was rated quite highly on Wikicamps.
So we arrived in Broomehill (which reads quite well) and this time the marketing was correct. A very quaint town and as we drove to the caravan park, we spotted a local vineyard and cafe “Henry Jones Winery & Cafe” – so low and behold – we stopped. Can’t miss a local drop, especially as we are running low on the vino!. We walked into the antique shop, which is in a corner shop in a strip of buildings called the ‘Jones’s Buildings’ – named after Henry Jones. The lady that runs the shop is nearing 80 (her words!) and used to own the local vineyard called ‘Wadjekanup River Estate Wines’ with her husband which they started back in 1995 with 2 rows of vines (like the Italians) and then realised that it tasted really good and extended to 20 hectares. 2 years ago they had to give up as it was too hard work and now have a load of wine to shift – hence they purchased the Jones’s Buildings so they had an outlet to sell their wine. The building were going to be demolished by the council – so they are now investing and trying to build up a cafe and bookshop as well as an antique shop (I would call it junk). Most of the shop currently is her collections and not for sale – which is quite bizarre, she even pulled out an old pram for the girls to play with – she had some fantastic stuff. We tasted some of their 2005 Shiraz which was really nice (although starting to ‘go’), so we decided that we should buy a couple of bottles but maybe the 2010 would be better. So Lachlan was summoned out the back to get the wine down from the cases, of which there were in the region of 150 cases…a lot of wine! She added up the wine and it was $7 a bottle – of which we bought 4. As she said ‘she just needs to shift it’. We returned to the caravan park and opened a bottle of the wine with some cheese and biscuits, and it’s really good. Immediately Lachlan and i look at each other and started working out how much it would cost to ship some back to Sydney. Auspost quoted us $140 online, so we just called the lovely lady again, to see what she can do for 2 cases. Her husband is yet to call us back with a price….
The caravan park is owned by the council and the laundry is free as are the showers – so a load of washing is in (can’t turn down a free wash and dry!!) and I am writing the post whilst Lachlan is playing mums and dads with the girls (he is the baby).
Steak and slaw for dinner tonight, and then tomorrow we will head to the sheep salesyard around midday to watch all of the activity, and the girls will have a play on the famous Katanning All Ages Playground, before heading to Bridgetown.