Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

The West Is Well Worth a Visit

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

The West Is Well Worth a Visit

Article excerpt

I'VE just returned from a whirlwind 10-day, 2500km tour of regions to the north and south of the West's lovely capital, Perth, where the scenic 400-hectare Kings Park Botanic Gardens gave a tantalising preview of the wildflower delights to come.

Travelling with Val, whom I met when on a working holiday in New Zealand in my youth and her husband Bob, we drove north to the productive plains around Chittering.

The checker-board of yellow-flowering canola, wheat and lupins and sheep grazing in green paddocks surprised me, as I expected semi-desert.

The green was deceptive, however, as rain had come too late for the crops to yield well.

A wildflower farm near Moora has 1600ha under flowers, and can fill an order for one million banksia heads for Italy's florists.

New Norcia, Australia's only monastic town, has Spanish-style buildings established by Benedictine Bishop Rosendo Salvado in 1846.

Many of its collection of Old Master paintings were stolen in 1986, but recovered 20 years later.

Since being restored, they again hang in the art gallery.

By contrast, a digital montage of around 2000 images of Jesus is also part of the contemporary art on display.

Monks here produce wine, olive oil, bread and biscotti in between prayer.

I spent a night at farm-stay Warrakatta, a 7200ha sheep and wheat property before finding some unique wreath flowers, leschenaultia macranta, which look almost artificial in their symmetry.

In the Coalstream Conservation Park, by the Irwin River's colourful rock formations were masses of pink, yellow and white everlastings, not as prolific this season due to dry weather earlier, but still impressive.

Back to the coast to watch the sun set into the Indian Ocean at Dongara, noted for lobster catches.

Near Cervantes the Pinnacles, thousands of eerie shaped limestone columns dotted around 400ha of yellow sand, were formed half a million years ago and covered for 6000 years, and were discovered two centuries ago.

A massive windfarm at Emu Downs north of Perth cost $180 million and has 48 turbines whose three slowly turning 41m-long blades generate power to serve 50,000 houses without disturbing cattle grazing beneath them. …

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