After deciding to hang around Denmark for at least 2 nights, we spent yesterday and today visiting all that we could manage of the local attractions. But before I launch into that, the previous days drive was interspersed with rather a lot of discussion about the Peregrine Falcon, mainly as seen on the Shanley's blog. The fact that the Peregrine is the fastest raptor through the air has created a huge quandary in the boys' mind: - do we go for the biggest bird as our favourite, or the fastest? And, how fast was the falcon going when it captured it's prey, and how did it hold it onto the wall, and did it eat it there or did it eat it on the wing? Thanks Pete for providing the children with another subject packed full of questions neither of us can answer, because, well, for me anyway, it is not as though we haven't had enough ie if a white pointer and a tiger shark had a fight, would the white pointer win? Any comments regarding the answering of these types of questions would be greatly appreciated, as after over 3 months of not working, my brain fails to compute these sorts of things.
So, we are now into our last 10 days of actual WA experience before the great Nullarbor Trek, although we have found out that there are two bird obser vatories in WA: the first is Broome, ahhhh we missed that one!; and the second is the Eyre Bird Observatory, between Norseman and the WA/SA border, and we will be stopping there for a visit.
So, back to Denmark.
After leaving Walpole, we hit the hustings and made our way to Dinosaur Park, which was a place which had some impressive dinosaur skeleton replicas, as well as snakes and lizards (we got to handle bearded dragons and a carpet python, and then see some more wonderful parrots, including a few from overseas. Ruby got to hand feed the Papua New Guinean lorrikeet that then promptly took a chunk out of another man's finger - lucky Ruby had food!
From the dinosaur/reptile/parrot place we headed to a Toffee place, followed by a Honey place and finally a Chocolate place, We managed to buy toffee, honey and chocolate for everyone for Christmas but alas the Toffee was too hard, the honey too runny and the chocolate looked like it was going to be too soft so we had to eat it all ourselves. Sorry, but we were thinking of you all and it is the thought that counts, or so we've been told.
Day 2 started rather wet, as for really the first time since we left Alice Springs, we copped a full watering by nature, as opposed to the Fremantle floods from the very rare sprinkler bird (we have a few of these types, the insulation bird, the shrub kangaroo, the stick lizard, all of which have either been photographed, or nearly been photographed). We had managed to have the forethought to get the protective ends up over the beds (which we have decided against doing previously and been rained on a little bit), but this morning was not only wet but very cold. We headed off to the Visitor Centre here at Denmark, which is one of the nicest we've been to, and yes, we have been to a lot, we normally visit these when we pull into a new major town, and this one had the World's Largest Barometer, now there's something we didn't think we would see. There is a great display about barometers and the history of what was made when, which was great to show the kids in a practical sense and they understood better how things worked, if not why people would use them anyway. Next stop was a wood-turning shop next door and we watched while an elderly gent finished off the body of a wooden dragonfly, which was about the size of a chair leg. We then saw some other amazing wood carvings and lathe-turned pieces including a goblet that would only fit a drop of liquid, not so good if you want a drink, but amazing craftmanship. We finally headed out of town and ended up at the Cheese Shop. As impelling as it was to ask if they had any Jarlsberg, I refrained, and we managed to buy more consumables, including some delicious Raspberry Chocolate Fudge, locally made cheeses and some local Olive Oil.
We then headed off to find a particular bird, supposedly common in a particular spot, but as with 2 previous "certainty spots", we lucked out. We have decided this will be the last time we "chase a particular bird".
Back to the Caravan Park for a quick lunch then off to the Alpaca Farm. Maybe not quite Aunty Val's farm, but still pretty special as we all got to feed baby animals including calves, lambs, kids (goat-variety), as well as feed kangaroos, emus (they are actually quite gentle when they do peck at foor), a camel, a donkey as well as the alpacas and rabbits. There were also ferrets, a byson, a pony and llamas there. Great fun for the kids and Annie gave us all a sense of what grandad's clothes used to smell like with the ferrets. We saw racing pigeons be set free and they had their own race around a tree (?) not sure what that was about, and the kids got to hold a joey and pat the koala.
From there it was a trip back to Denmark and Annie had some retail therapy in the Alpaca shop and a tea-room bookshop, surely her ultimate shopping destination, while the kids had a play on the playground. Moses in particular is needing a little bit of time out doing normal things like go to more playgrounds, rather than get in the car and go to yet another "boring" place of interest.
Tomorrow we are heading off to Albany, followed by Fitzgerald River and at this stage, through Esperance to Cape LeGrand and then back to Esperance but things may change, depending on weather conditions and how much we like the places we are staying.
We all feel as though we are almost at an end to the new experiences of our time away. With Melbourne only 2 weeks away, and 5 or so days of travel to get there, we are trying to fit everything in we can. It seems we all agree that Denmark is a place we would like to come back to as it has a lot of great features including the beach, the inlet, the river, the hills and the karri forests, national parks as well as a lot of really interesting places to go. We didn't manage to get to the Leather place, and a winery hasn't been visited here either even though Mad Fish is 7 kms from town. The town has a very friendly feel with people around the shops and lots of arts and crafts as well as horse riding and sporting clubs, not to mention the great bird-watching areas both here and nearby.
Photos to follow at a later post.