Back on the road the next day Sarah directs me and George to Beedlup Falls, where George ends up behind bars. They are not the most exciting waterfalls I've ever seen… We then swing through the steeply hilled Pemberton and pass through the many national parks filled with forests that cover the south west of Australia. We learn that parts of it have their own radio station! 100fm that provides information about the forest. We try to tune in but it is not the best quality… We head for the Gloucester Tree tourist attraction, a 61m large Karri tree in the Gloucester National Park. Surrounding its trunk, metal pins form a winding ladder enabling you to climb to the top. I share with Sarah that it is most definitely a good place to find a hot man with a good butt above you! George spends the nerve racking climb to the top in my back pocket. I fear he or my camera will not make it to the top! Negotiating a trunk sticking out then a nearly vertical ladder I reach the top. It is genuinely like something out of the tree canopy scene in Jurassic park 2. Wow. It is amazing above the trees. The climb down is much harder. Especially so with little legs! My 2 foot 2 rung approach up turns into a 2 foot one rung down whilst holding onto the bar above all the way back down. Legs a little bit shaky, we then drive through Jane National Park! A moment to be captured on film if ever I saw one :-). I climb on a sign and George and I become immortalised. George then needs some first aid with some tape!
Onward venturing, we reach Walpole and decide to stay. We get upgraded to a twin room for the same price as a dorm room :-). We head off to explore the area. Hilltop lookout shows us Coalmine beach. We get to Tingle Tree, one of Walpole's attractions. So named due to the type of tree rather than what happens when you touch it ;-). We find many very big trees. Many hollow. I say we have to get in the trees. Sarah notes that she keeps getting in, on and under things with George ;-). The sign for the tingle tree walking loop informs us it takes 20 mins at a brisk pace. Having not had much luck in previous days re walking tracks, I note it is 16.50 and say we're suing them if it takes any longer. It doesn't. We wander round the well laid out and signed pathways reading the info and take many pictures. We find a tree called hollowbutt. George gets snapped. Obviously. I then get Sarah's butt and George on my butt! Then do some yoga in a tree. We learn about peripatus – a living link between worms and insects. We eventually find tingle tree. The base is massive. I make George tingle by rubbing him against it. We walk back discussing the merits of lookouts and paths. Got a lookout? Nope. Got a pathway? Nope. Team building in Walpole will show you how to do it :-). On the drive back we stop at Delaney lookout. The view shows us Nornalup inlet – a large lake, on the south coast. The view is awesome. A definite worthy stop on a SW road trip. It might just be one of my favourites :-). George then feels the sand beneath his shoulders on Coalmine beach :-). We return and take George by the YHA 'Tingle all the way' sign :-). We drink some Margaret River wine agreeing that most definitely did not buy enough…!
The next day, the theme of trees continues with the first thing on the agenda a tree top walk called the Valley of the Giants. George finds a bouncy bridge. We comment they should name the trees to make it a bit more interactive then stumble across one called Grandma Tingle. Whilst me and Sarah are a bit underwhelmed, George is proud of his tree top walk and buys himself a hat and a 'I walked above Giants' sign. Back on the road, on the South Coast highway, George becomes Conspicuous George at the beautiful Conspicuous Cliffs. We then go in search of elephant rocks and a green pool in William Bay. We walk down to the beach. The rocks are slippery and I fall and graze my arm. Luckily George and camera stay safe. We diverge from the highway, following the scenic drive on McLeod Road in order to find a cheese factory. We find one that enables us to taste some :-). Very tasty! The next town we reach is called Denmark. We are not sure if the actual George has been to Denmark, but he has now! He's gone global! Denmark has a quirky, peaceful, easy feeling and some of the nicest public toilets I have found in Australia. I like it :-).
Torndirrup National Park just further south from Albany and on Sarah’s list, we take a scenic detour. We mind the gap (a ferocious battering of the coastline by the sea between two tall rocks) and find a rocky natural bridge. George finds another lighthouse on Cable Beach and then some blowholes that don't blow… He traverses the world finding Vancouver lookout then becomes French in Frenchman's Bay. Filled with bricks, it makes for some interesting photos. The main road into Albany taking us along the waterfront, it lets us see Albany from afar. Built up into the hills, sprawling sidewards, with water in front, it very much reminds of Hobart in Tasmania. With a chill in the air as we wander through it, it very much feels like I'm actually back there! We climb aboard the Brig Amity boat. Now settled in Albany, it brought the first European settlers to Australia. We get on the cannon, steer the wheel and take an amazingly unplanned photo of George on top of Sarah's body! Much banter occurs. We take George to the pub and relax listening to the sounds of a band called Southern Exposure and watch a man dancing on the dance floor. Back in the hostel, the night ends with me left dumbfounded when a man asks some French hostel residents singing quite happily along to Edith Piaf to switch it off whilst someone is drilling in the kitchen… I know what I would rather listen to…! It has been an awesome introduction. Albany has a very good feel about it. I like it a lot. I think I could quite happily live there :-).