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Entries about lighthouses

Rottnest Island

Chasing Quokkas on Rotto

sunny 27 °C
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Rottnest (or "Rotto") is a small island 12 miles off the Fremantle coast famed for its wildlife (and in particular "quokkas", cat sized marsupials) and used as an idyllic holiday retreat by the locals. The day started with catching the early ferry from the Barrack Street Jetty in Perth and then an hour long cruise down the Swan River past West Australia's equivalent of Millionaires Row to Fremantle.

Perth from the Barrack Street Jetty

Perth from the Barrack Street Jetty


View from the ferry on the Swan River between Perth and Fremantle

View from the ferry on the Swan River between Perth and Fremantle


Fremantle Harbour

Fremantle Harbour

Having berthed up beyond the "Costa Deliziosa" Cruise Ship (the big cruise ship currently in port) and loaded up with more tourists, bicycles and ballot boxes (for the imminent state election), the ferry sped past ships queueing to berth up in Freemantle Harbour. Arriving on Rottnest Island about 30 minutes later, we then got on a RIB (Rigid Inflatible Boat, apparently similar to those used by the SAS) for a 90 minute "eco-tour" right around the island stopping at coves to see the wildlife along the way.

Bicycles and Ballot Boxes being loaded on the Rottnest Ferry at Freemantle

Bicycles and Ballot Boxes being loaded on the Rottnest Ferry at Freemantle


Approaching Rottnest Island on the Ferry

Approaching Rottnest Island on the Ferry


The RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) we were on going around Rottnest Island

The RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) we were on going around Rottnest Island


On the eco-tour RIB speeding around Rottnest Island

On the eco-tour RIB speeding around Rottnest Island

The ride bouncing along at up to 35 knots outside the speed restriction areas was fun and we saw lazy New Zealand Fur Seals, nesting Ospreys and well as foraging Stingrays but I must admit I had hoped to see more as dolphins and seas lions are often also seen on the trip I took.

New Zealand Fur Seal at Cathedral Rocks on Rottnest Island

New Zealand Fur Seal at Cathedral Rocks on Rottnest Island


Kayaking and snorkeling amongst the seals on Rottnest Island

Kayaking and snorkeling amongst the seals on Rottnest Island


New Zealand Fur Seal floating on his back on Rottnest Island

New Zealand Fur Seal floating on his back on Rottnest Island


Osprey perched high up on a cliff on Rottnest Island

Osprey perched high up on a cliff on Rottnest Island

On returning to Thomson Bay (the main settlement on the island) I hired a bicycle for a couple of hours to explore the island's interior as with cars non-existent this is the recommended way to get around. I managed to reach the Oliver Hill Guns (WW2 Battery installed to defend Freemantle Harbour), Wedjemup Lighthouse and ride past some of the salty pink lakes (4 times saltier than sea water and like the Dead Sea you naturally float in them) before I had to return back to make sure I was back in time for my ferry.

The WW2 Gun Battery on Oliver Hill

The WW2 Gun Battery on Oliver Hill


Wadjemup Lighthouse on Rottnest Island

Wadjemup Lighthouse on Rottnest Island


A pink lake on Rottnest Island

A pink lake on Rottnest Island


Me exploring Rottnest Island by bicycle

Me exploring Rottnest Island by bicycle


Geordie Bay full of yachts on Rottnest Island

Geordie Bay full of yachts on Rottnest Island

Back in Thomson Bay I made a quick visit to the museum and "Quod" (old prison now hotel, Rottnest was used as an aboriginal open prison during the 19th century) was beginning to worry the only quokka I would see would be the one sleeping by the surf boards at the bicycle hire shop. I need not have worried, literally just before I got back to the boat one wandered out in front of me and good as posed for my camera!

The Quod (Old Prison) at Thomson Bay

The Quod (Old Prison) at Thomson Bay


The Old School and Chapel at Thomson Bay

The Old School and Chapel at Thomson Bay


Quokka posing for me as I am about to board ship

Quokka posing for me as I am about to board ship


The Ferry back to Fremantle and Perth

The Ferry back to Fremantle and Perth

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in Australia Tagged beaches animals birds museums lighthouses boat forts cruise_ships harbours tour perth marine_life videos prisons solo Comments (0)

Margaret River

My return to an old playground

overcast 24 °C
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The Margaret River area is the south west toe of Western Australia about 3 hours drive from Perth. I had been there before on my previous visit to my cousins in Perth back in 2002 but definately wanted to go back there again as there was so much to see.

We started by visiting the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse situated at the most south western point in Australia which is where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet. After the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa and Cape Horn in South America this is one of the most treacherous capes in the world. The lighthouse was built in 1895-96 and is 132 feet (40 metres) high with walls 7 feet (2 metres) thick at its base - and 176 steps we had to climb to reach the top!

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse


The Lighthouse Lens at Cape Leeuwin

The Lighthouse Lens at Cape Leeuwin


The view of the rest of Australia from Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

The view of the rest of Australia from Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse


Me at the meeting point of the Indian and Southern Oceans

Me at the meeting point of the Indian and Southern Oceans

Next stop moving north was Lake Cave, the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge which is the backbone of the Margaret River Area is peppered with over 100 of them most of which have the most amazing natural cave formations. Lake Cave is considered the prettiest of them with an impressive colapsed cavern entrance known as a doline and its stalactites within reflecting in the stream that flows very slowly through it. From the karri trees growing in the entrance it is estimated the doline colapsed about 700 years ago and inside Lake Cave there is a very unusual cave formation known as as suspended table formed by the flowstone beneath columns being eroded away.

The impressive entrance down into Lake Cave

The impressive entrance down into Lake Cave

Stalactites reflecting in the water inside Lake Cave

Stalactites reflecting in the water inside Lake Cave


The suspended table inside Lake Cave

The suspended table inside Lake Cave


The deepest part of Lake Cave

The deepest part of Lake Cave


Day light again! Re-emerging from Lake Cave into its doline

Day light again! Re-emerging from Lake Cave into its doline

The Boranup Forest above the caves contains an amazing forest of karri and marri trees, driving along the Caves Road that runs along the spine of the area you are aware the trees are tall with similar sized trunks but all of a sudden the trees seem to be 3-5 times taller than they were previously - very belittling! Karri Trees are a very straight trunked hardwood tree with all its branches high up that can grow upto 200 feet (60 metres) high. The most famous karri is the 200 feet high Gloucester Tree near Pemberton about an hour's drive away to the east which is used as a fire lookout tree and can be climbed but I was quite happy keeping my feet on the ground!

The view from the Boranup Lookout across the Karri Tree Forest to the Indian Ocean

The view from the Boranup Lookout across the Karri Tree Forest to the Indian Ocean


Karri Trees line the track as we drive through the Baranup Forest

Karri Trees line the track as we drive through the Baranup Forest


To give an idea of scale, our car stopped on the track amongst the Karri Trees in the Boranup Forest

To give an idea of scale, our car stopped on the track amongst the Karri Trees in the Boranup Forest

Where the Margaret River enters the Indian Ocean is also world famous for its consistent surf and I remember a fun day on the beach there during my previous visit. Since then the shape of the coastline seems to have changed a lot and still shows the scars of a bushfire that ravaged the area a couple of years ago but as we stopped for old times sake we could still make out the surfers practising in the waves on Surfers Point for the annual Pro Surf Competition being held there starting at the weekend.

Surfers practice at Surfers Point, Margaret River

Surfers practice at Surfers Point, Margaret River


Lifeguard Notice at Margaret River Beach

Lifeguard Notice at Margaret River Beach


Surfers encampment at Margaret River in readiness for the Pro-Am Competition the following weekend

Surfers encampment at Margaret River in readiness for the Pro-Am Competition the following weekend


Scrubland at  Surfers Point recovering from the Bushfire that ravaged the area in 2011

Scrubland at Surfers Point recovering from the Bushfire that ravaged the area in 2011

However what Margaret River is famous for more than anything else is for being Western Australia's premier wine region so what else were we to finish our trip to the area but with a tour of a local winery? The winery we chose to visit was the Leeuwin Estate, one of the original wineries in the area when it was identified as an ideal place to grow grapes back in 1972 and which often hosts open concerts for famous entertainers such the London Philamornic and Sting. Our tour was given by a very enthusiastic guide and one of the senior growers and was very interesting and fun - honest I learnt a lot! We then finished off by sampling some of the different vintages before starting our long trek back to Perth.

The entrance to the Leeuwin Estate Winery

The entrance to the Leeuwin Estate Winery


The stage all set for the next open air concert at the Leeuwin Estate

The stage all set for the next open air concert at the Leeuwin Estate


Where the grapes arrive from the fields

Where the grapes arrive from the fields


Wine fermenting in the vats at the Leeuwin Estate

Wine fermenting in the vats at the Leeuwin Estate


Wine aging in oak barrels in the cellars of the Leeuwin Estate

Wine aging in oak barrels in the cellars of the Leeuwin Estate


Of course no tour of a winery would be complete without some wine tasting!

Of course no tour of a winery would be complete without some wine tasting!

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in Australia Tagged beaches trees lighthouses tunnels caves wine perth videos Comments (0)

Cape May and the South Jersey Shore

Washington Crossing and Cape May then the playgrounds of Wildwood and Atlantic City

sunny 29 °C
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After experiencing the big city bustle of New York we drove south and passed over the Delaware River on a steel truss bridge (very common on the US East Coast) at Washington Crossing.

The memorial on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River at Washington Crossing

The memorial on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River at Washington Crossing


Crossing the steel truss bridge (built in 1904) over the Delaware River at Washington Crossing

Crossing the steel truss bridge (built in 1904) over the Delaware River at Washington Crossing

Washington's Crossing (or Taylorsville as it was called then) was the site on Christmas Day 1776 of George Washington's famed crossing of the ice flow laden Delaware River during the American War of Independence. The following morning he led his army on a successful attack on the Hessian garrison six miles to the south east at Trenton. Prior to this the American Continental Army had suffered a series of defeats at the hands of the British and there were serious doubts whether it would survive the winter as a fighting force.

A monument recreating Washington's crossing of the Delaware River

A monument recreating Washington's crossing of the Delaware River


Looking back at McConkey's Ferry Inn and the truss bridge on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River at Washington Crossing

Looking back at McConkey's Ferry Inn and the truss bridge on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River at Washington Crossing


Other later historic buildings (and a nice bike!) at Washington Crossing

Other later historic buildings (and a nice bike!) at Washington Crossing

New Jersey's Atlantic Coast is more commonly referred to as the Jersey Shore and is a popular 217 mile (349 kilometre) long holiday riviera, traditionally with New Yorkers to the north and Philadelphians to the south (for Brits think of somewhere like Blackpool and the Sussex Coast and you wont be far wrong!). The plan for the day was to visit the southern part often referred to as the Southern Shore and Atlantic City.

Founded in 1620, Cape May is at the southern tip of New Jersey where Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean and is the only place in the state where the sun both rises and sets over water. Famed for its historic Victorian houses, Philadelphians began holidaying at Cape May in the mid 18th century and it's recognized as the USA's oldest seaside resort.

Downtown Cape May

Downtown Cape May


Victorian houses leading down to the beach at Cape May

Victorian houses leading down to the beach at Cape May

The Cape May Fire Department built a cute colonial style museum to permanently house for its pride and joy a 1928 American Lafrance fire engine but unfortunately it wasn't there the day we visited.

Cape May Fire Department Museum

Cape May Fire Department Museum


Inside the Fire Department Museum - minus its 1928 American Lafrance fire engine <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_sad.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':(' title='' />

Inside the Fire Department Museum - minus its 1928 American Lafrance fire engine :(

Located at the tip of Cape May is the Lighthouse built in in 1859, it is 157 feet (48 metres) high with 217 steps to the top. On a clear day it has views to Wildwood to the north and Cape Henlopen a 17 mile (27 kilometre) ferry ride west across the bay in the US State of Delaware.

The Cape May Lighthouse

The Cape May Lighthouse


The final steps up to the Lighthouse's rotating lens

The final steps up to the Lighthouse's rotating lens

Cape May is also a well known bird migration spot and beside the car park by the Lighthouse there are a couple of class rooms and a row of five bright white bird houses perched about 15 feet above the ground and obviously very popular with the energetic Purple Martins that nest in them. On the beach near by is a World War II Bunker constructed in 1942 to house four 155mm coast artillery guns; when built it was on high ground 900 feet from the ocean covered in grass sod but since then coastal erosion has meant it is now on the beach and two 6" gun turrets a bit further out to sea have disappeared completely.

Purple Martin nesting boxes at Cape May

Purple Martin nesting boxes at Cape May


The view east from the Lighthouse with the WWII Gun Emplacement on the beach

The view east from the Lighthouse with the WWII Gun Emplacement on the beach


The WWII Gun Emplacement on the beach at Cape May

The WWII Gun Emplacement on the beach at Cape May

Carrying on with the World War II theme, close by there is Fire Control Tower No. 23; built in 1942 it was one of 15 lookout towers constructed as part of the coastal defence of Delaware Bay known as Fort Miles. The fort was never completed as by 1943 advances in amphibious warfare had made them obsolete. From the top of the tower looking west across Delaware Bay can be seen the wreck of SS Atlantus, the most famous of a dozen concrete liberty ships built in 1918 at the end of World War I. She was used to bring back American soldiers from France and then to transport coal in New England. The intention had been to use the SS Atlantus and a couple of sister ships as a dock for the Delaware Bay Ferry but she ran aground during a storm in 1926 and nobody was able to free her.

WWII Lookout Tower at Cape May

WWII Lookout Tower at Cape May


The wreck of the SS Atlantus (made from concrete) from the WWII Lookout Tower

The wreck of the SS Atlantus (made from concrete) from the WWII Lookout Tower

Having done the history and wildlife at Cape May we then drove up the southern Jersey Shore to the coastal resort of Wildwood with its famous Boardwalk originally built in 1890 following the success of the original boardwalk built a few years earlier in Atlantic City just up the coast. A "boardwalk" is a raised wooden walkway running parallel to the beach originally conceived as a way of preventing sand being trampled through hotel lobbies but then became magnets for holiday goers and shops in their own right.

Trams running along the Wildwood Boardwalk

Trams running along the Wildwood Boardwalk


Someone dressed up as a Yogurt Carton on the Wildwood Boardwalk

Someone dressed up as a Yogurt Carton on the Wildwood Boardwalk


Police cart outside an amusement arcade on the Wildwood Boardwalk

Police cart outside an amusement arcade on the Wildwood Boardwalk

The Boardwalk at Wildwood is 1.8 miles (2.9 kilometres) long and lined with amusement arcades, food outlets and gift shops with 1950s neon light lit "Doo-Wop" style motels just behind (several of which are now heritage-listed). There was also a classic style roller coaster on the beach at Wildwood called "The Great White" although at the time of our visit it was closed for refurbishment.

50's style burger restaurant on the Wildwood Boardwalk

50's style burger restaurant on the Wildwood Boardwalk


One of many t-shirt shops along the Boardwalk at Wildwood

One of many t-shirt shops along the Boardwalk at Wildwood


The 'Great White' classic style rollercoaster on the beach at Wildwood

The 'Great White' classic style rollercoaster on the beach at Wildwood

The big pull however are the three large amusement piers along the Boardwalk owned by the Morley family. These are incredibly popular, especially with teenagers who can buy day long passes giving them unlimited access to the amusement park rides and the two waterparks with their large water slides.

Entrance to Morey's 'Mariner's Landing' Amusement Pier at Wildwood

Entrance to Morey's 'Mariner's Landing' Amusement Pier at Wildwood


A blend of old and new amusements on the Mariner's Landing Pier

A blend of old and new amusements on the Mariner's Landing Pier


The Ghost Ship Ride on the Mariner's Landing Amusement Pier at Wildwood

The Ghost Ship Ride on the Mariner's Landing Amusement Pier at Wildwood


The waterslide at the Raging Waters Waterpark at the end of the Mariner's Landing Pier at Wildwood

The waterslide at the Raging Waters Waterpark at the end of the Mariner's Landing Pier at Wildwood

About an hour north along the coast is Atlantic City, the US East Coast's answer to Las Vegas. The city boomed as a holiday and gambling resort in the early 1900s because of its excellent rail links to Philadelphia along with some innovative marketing ploys from its hotel entrepreneurs.

The Expressway sweeping into Atlantic City beside Lakes Bay

The Expressway sweeping into Atlantic City beside Lakes Bay


Casinos clustered next to each other as we approach downtown Atlantic City

Casinos clustered next to each other as we approach downtown Atlantic City

Atlantic City declined after WWII with the advent of cheap jet flights to places such as Miami and the Bahamas but then attempted to revitalise itself by legalising casino gambling. Although on an overall smaller scale to Las Vegas, Atlantic City now has about a dozen mega large combined casino, entertainment and hotel themed 'resorts'.

The Golden Nugget (until recently the 'Trump Castle' ) hotel, casino and marina in Atlantic City

The Golden Nugget (until recently the 'Trump Castle' ) hotel, casino and marina in Atlantic City


Harrah's flagship hotel and casino in Atlantic City

Harrah's flagship hotel and casino in Atlantic City


Tropicana Casino and Resort Atlantic City

Tropicana Casino and Resort Atlantic City

In addition to having the first seaside boardwalk in 1870, Atlantic City has been the home (apart from 2006-2012 in Las Vegas) of the Miss America beauty pageant since it was founded in 1920 and was the inspiration for the original Monopoly Board Game in 1935 (the London version popular in the Commonwealth appeared slightly later).

View along Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City

View along Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City


the Roman facade of Caesars Atlantic City

the Roman facade of Caesars Atlantic City


Bally's Wild West Casino in Atlantic City

Bally's Wild West Casino in Atlantic City

An amusing billboard in Atlantic City advertising a dating agency website

An amusing billboard in Atlantic City advertising a dating agency website

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in USA Tagged beaches bridges birds boats lighthouses forts theme_parks war_memorials us_east_coast Comments (0)

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