Monday, March 14

southern forest funnymoon part 3


Windy Harbour is a holiday settlement situated on 190 hectares of crown reserve land, surrounded by D'Entrecasteaux National Park, on the south coast of Western Australia, 27km south of Northcliffe.   Since the early 1900's around 220 cottages have been built under a leasehold tenure.  The lack of fences, seasonal occupation and a strong community spirit have generated a settlement of unique character.

A sandy 4WD track leads 15 kilometres east from the hamlet to a campsite on the Gardner River. We gave Big White her head and let some air out of her tires for an easier ride to the our site under the peppermint trees, in a sheltered spot behind the dunes. This is fishing country, and crude squatter's shacks have provided shelter for generations.  The Heartbreak Hotel is open to all, with a sign requesting campers leave it in the same condition you found it; this condition being very rustic, dusty and charming. More than a few exaggerated fishing tales would have been told within its tin walls.

After the great depression, inexpensive camping holidays on the south coast were favoured by many of the south west timber workers, especially during the Christmas break. It was during these times that the strong social ties and community spirit, which still typify the Windy Harbour settlement, were first established.  The majority of dwellings are constructed with weatherboard and fibre cement sheets - a nod to the single men's quarters of the mill towns - and given whimsical names like "Didjabringabeeralong" and "Wywurk".  The yellow house below is for sale if anyone is looking for a remote sea change.


North of Windy Harbour, Mount Chudalup punctuates the coastal plain.  I have a favour for high points, and a short walk through karri forest leads to the rocky summit was on the itinerary.  Don't be misled by the title of "Mount" - a lofty peak it is not - but a granite outcrop remaining from an ancient range, eroded over millions of years.  The views are fantastic, over the D'Entracasteux National Park area to the Yeagerup Dunes and Southern Ocean. 


After our bout of mountaineering, coffee was on the agenda at the Wine & Truffle Company near Manjimup.  Thankfully the coffee is not infused with distinct earthy flavour of "black gold", and we were entertained by the training of a newly acquired truffle dog getting his nose in.


Nearby the trufflerie is one of our state's unsung treasures.  Fonty's Pool, is a privately owned natural swimming area, with over one acre of water surrounded by grass, gardens and picnic facilities.  Officially opened in 1925, the pool was created by Archimedes Fontanini, a migrant farmer with a vision for a community pool on his property.  In recent years, public Liability insurance issues were threatening the very existence of this icon, and it was forced to close in 2005.  The land was sold, and thankfully the new owners assumed the mammoth task of rejuvenating Fonty's Pool to appease the insurers and save the pool for the next generation. Bring your tent or caravan for a sleep over in the adjacent caravan park, or take a day trip next time the weather is warm.  Chlorine free fun.


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