Walpole and Fernhook Falls

With all the overcast weather and shady campsites we’d had, our trailer batteries were pretty much out of juice and we’d had the fridge switched off for almost two days. So we decided to book into the Coalmine Beach Holiday Park in Walpole to recharge.

After leaving Parry we went straight to the Denmark Good Food Factory which I'd been eyeing all week. The kids played on the playground while I hid in the shop and ate a giant ice cream all to myself, at 10 in the morning! We took a peak at Peaceful Bay while the kids slept then Matthias had an "Oh, I've been here before" moment when he climbed the lookouts at Conspicuous Cliffs. Dolphins had been jumping in the waves when he stopped in 15 years ago and he thought it was the most beautiful beach he'd ever seen. It's still a beautiful beach but I don't think it has retained that title.

Coalmine Beach Holiday Park was really lovely, our best caravan park yet. In contrast to Parrys it felt more like a bush camp ground but with the amenities of a caravan park, and a fraction of the people. It was in a stunning setting on the Nornalup Inlet, but it was cold and blowing a gale on the foreshore when we arrived.

Overnight we caught our second mouse! We'd seen evidence of another possible stow away a week earlier but after fruitless trapping attempts we thought he'd moved on. Then sitting in the car that night at Coalmine we heard him loud and clear in the roof space above us. We set the traps that night and boom!

Batteries recharged, we drove out the next morning around the Knoll Scenic Drive which fringes the Walpole and Nornalup inlets. We spotted the giant albino stingray at one of the fishing spots and imagined sunnier days at the beautiful Channel picnic spot. We shopped and had lunch in Walpole before moving on to the empty Fernhook Falls Campground.

This was another beautiful spot, amongst Karri trees and a short walk from the Deep River. We explored the Fernhook Falls (just a trickle in summer) and Rowell's Pool where we swam and played "honkey nut golf". That night we heard another mouse in the car! We set the traps but the bait was stolen. Maybe our first mouse had in fact started a family?!

The following day we drove out to Mount Frankland where we walked the 1.5km track around the base of the mountain then took the 600m spur to the summit. Both kids were troopers, Claire insisting on walking most of the stairs herself and the two hair raising ladders that took us to the top. We encountered two dugite snakes sunning themselves on the summit, prompting extra vigilance on the decent. And we had a wildlife first on the drive back to camp spotting three wild pigs tramping through the bush.

Back at camp Hugh and Matthias took the surfboard down to Rowell’s Pool while I waited in the car as Claire slept. The boys were nowhere to be seen when Claire and I finally made it down to the pool. We looked upstream but settled on the idea that they must have headed off down the river out of sight and earshot. Other swimmers came and went then finally my two explorers emerged triumphant from the bushes on the far side of the pool. Hugh was lying on the surfboard, Matthias swimming alongside. They’d had a great adventure swimming and scrambling over rocks and submerged trees to discover the further reaches of the Deep River. Claire couldn’t wait to join them for a swim and a paddle.

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A family of four, touring Australia in a camper trailer.

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