Newcastle, Eire

We left Edenderry early morning and headed for the east coast to embark on our counter-clockwise crusade of Eire. We had no accommodation booked, no firm destination. November in Ireland is not a popular time for tourists. We arrived at Warrenpoint around Guinness time and related our previous days escapades to the very friendly barman. He advised us to stick to the coast as, “there is nothing in the middle worth seeing.” Warrenpoint is in Northern Ireland, separated from the Republic by the Newry River. It was the scene of the deadliest attack on the British Army during the 30 year conflict between north and south. Eighteen British soldiers were killed and six seriously injured by two roadside bombs, aimed at their army convoy. The Warrenpoint ambush occurred on the same day, 27 August 1979, that Lord Louis Mountbatten was killed by an IRA bomb aboard his boat at Mullaghmore. The pervasive tranquility belies the violent history, the views across Carlingford Lough were stunning.

1.Warrenpoint looking west2.Warrenpoint Beach looking east

I wouldn’t mind living in one of these apartments.

3.Warrenpoint

The barman suggested staying the night at Newcastle, only twenty miles further up the coast. We called in at the tourist information office for some advice on accommodation. Most of it was quite pricey but there was one hotel that was awaiting star status so, for now, could only be considered one star. We were happy to have a look and found the Avoca Hotel, though not terribly attractive from the outside, was clean and comfortable and they served an amazing breakfast the next morning.

4.The Avoca Hotel

Overlooking Dundrum Bay and the Irish Sea, there were no complaints about the scenery, either.

5.Dundrum Bay

Newcastle became a popular seaside resort in the Victorian era following the arrival of the railway in 1869. The gorgeous buildings along Central Promenade are testament to that time.

6.Central Promenade

They all seemed well cared for, apart from one ‘renovators delight’ in the middle of the row.

7.Central Promenade

The Mourne mountain range, home to Northern Ireland’s highest mountain, Slieve Donard, lends an impressive backdrop to the town.

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As the sun was descending in the western sky,

11.Dundrum Bay

our thoughts turned to refreshments. We had passed a place on the promenade and returned to ponder the menu. O’Hares had a welcoming, rustic atmosphere

and after a Guinness, we advanced upstairs to enjoy a superb meal. On second thought, there may have been more than one Guinness.

15.O'Hare's Guinness

Yallingup Reef

The coastline in the north of the Margaret River Region is spectacular. Our day trip began with a diversion to Yallingup Reef.

1.Yallingup Reef

We stood, mesmerized by the breaking surf and perfectly placed rainbow.

2.Yallingup Reef3.Yallingup Reef

A little further north, Yallingup Beach is famous for its legendary surf breaks. However, Yallingup Reef is well protected from the wind and the beach stays very shallow for a long way out.

4.Yallingup Reef

The granite rocks of the point surround it completely and the breaking waves are far from the beach.

5.Yallingup Reef6.Yallingup Reef7.Yallingup Reef8.Yallingup Reef

I can see why the Aboriginal name for this beautiful area means ‘place of love’.

9.Yallingup Reef

 

Cape Naturaliste

We continued our traversal of Geographe Bay to our destination, Cape Naturaliste lighthouse.

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The tower was constructed in 1903 from local limestone and was activated the following year.

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Unfortunately, we weren’t able to tour the lighthouse which is now fully automated, being the last lighthouse in Western Australia to lose its keeper in 1996.

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At the northernmost point in the Margaret River Region, positioned on a 100m high bluff, the views were spectacular.

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Stormclouds were gathering out to sea.

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It is little wonder the French navigator, Nicolas Baudin, named Geographe Bay after his flagship and the cape after his second ship, Naturaliste.

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The traditional owners of the land, the Wardandi, call it Kwirreejeenungup:

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“the place with the beautiful view”.

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Meelup

Our first morning at Dunsborough was overcast as we set off to discover the beautiful coastline of Geographe Bay. Nature has painted the rocks with her wondrous palette,

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a stunning contrast to the calm waters.

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Nestled in the next bay is Meelup Beach, a perfect swimming beach, sheltered from wind and waves with crystal clear water. Meelup means “Place of the Moon Rising” and is one of the few beaches in Western Australia where you can see the moon rising over the ocean.

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There is a phenomenon called “Staircase to the Moon” when, during summer, the silvery light of a full moon rising is reflected in the ripples of the water all the way to the horizon. I would love to witness that, it seems a return trip is in order.

Gordon

While travelling with my sister when she was here on holiday, we followed the Channel Highway south from Hobart. The day was overcast and calm and we felt a contented peace as we meandered through the drizzle. We pulled over at Gordon, not realising the Foreshore Reserve is usually a popular camping spot.

1-boatshed

The boatshed and ramp were deserted and, apart from a couple of brave souls, there was no-one in sight.

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The subdued beauty of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and Bruny Island beyond was breathtaking.

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The channel and island were named after Rear-Admiral Bruni D’Entrecasteaux who discovered them in 1792 while searching for missing fellow explorer, Jean François La Pérouse (he was never found).

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We were mesmerised by the ethereal silence that cocooned us

and reluctantly, we continued on our journey.

11-serenity