Albany’s infamous Dog Rock

From Esperance we drove to Albany, which was the biggest city we’d been to in a long time. We walked around the town a bit, visiting the infamous Dog Rock. It’s funny because this huge rock, shaped a bit like a dog’s head (with a collar that someone painted around the base of it) is pictured and mentioned in all of Albany’s brochures, but when you get to the rock it’s hidden behind a parking lot, on the edge of a road with no real signs or markers leading to it. And it was infested with flies, so we grabbed a quick obligatory picture and moved on.

Then we made the short drive down to Torndirrup National Park where we visited two of Albany’s other big attractions: The Gap and the Natural Bridge. While pretty, I’m not sure I was overly impressed with the two sites. But it was scenic. We also stopped and saw a couple pretty beaches, but the flies were really bothering us so we didn’t spend much time. Lastly, we stopped at Whale World. It seemed a bit overhyped to me from what I’d read, but we figured it might be interesting. I was expecting a $5, maybe $10, entrance fee but it was $25 each! So it was a no-brainer for us to pass that up, and I don’t think either of us regrets it.

A scenic beach in Torndirrup National Park

We decided to keep moving and took the scenic drive to Denmark. After all the long distances we’d been putting it the entire trip (even from Esperance it was five hours to Albany), we could barely comprehend the short distances between everything in the southwest, for the rest of our trip really. It was about a 30-minute drive to Denmark, which was a nice little town set in a picture perfect forest setting. Being surrounded by big lush green trees was such a pleasant feeling after so much outback and nothingness.

Our caravan park was right at the mouth of the river so we had an abundance of birds all around. There were tons of ducks roaming all over the park, lorikeets and cockatoos feeding in the grass, and pelicans and other waterbirds hanging out on the river.

We were excited to find the fruits and veg in the local IGA supermarket were really cheap ($2 for a huge basket of big juicy strawberries — you can’t get a small basket of bad strawberries for that cheap anywhere else!) so we decided to fix ourselves a “gourmet” dinner. Oscar cooked us up a nice stirfry with our regular 3-minute noodles plus carrots, onions, mushrooms, capsicum and chili pepper. It was delicious! A nice treat for us to have a yummy meal in a pretty, relaxed place.

Sunset at Emu Beach, behind our caravan park in Albany

The next day we started off with another scenic drive. There were a number of wineries and gourmet food shops along the drive, but we weren’t feeling much in the mood so we only stopped at one cheese and fudge shop. They had probably 15 or more cheese out to try, all of which were absolutely delicious! And they had some wines and fudge (the dark chocolate delight was to die for!) that we were able to taste as well.

Denmark was definitely a nice area (we just liked saying that we were in Denmark, or that we’d made the drive from Albany to Denmark in just a half hour!), but it’s tough because it offers the same kind of things as a lot of the other places in the area that we were going to visit (Pemberton, Margaret River), but with perhaps a little less punch. We were more eager to explore forests and sample wines and cheeses in the other places in the region.

This is part 9 of a 12 part series. Read the rest of the Epic Aussie Road Trip series or watch the video to drive across Australia in 2 minutes.