Australia Day 23

Wednesday December 25

Christmas. Another sunny day but a bit hazy.

After breakfast in the campground, we drove north about 90km to the Stirling Range National Park for a Christmas Day hike. The Stirling Range is a chain of hills and mountains that rise abruptly out of the surrounding plain. The park preserves and protects the hills and a large area of bushland in the midst of a huge area cleared for agriculture.

The drive to the park is through dry farm and ranch land with no towns. In parts it feels like driving through parts of the BC interior. Except for the kangaroo in a field, that’s a sure sign you aren’t in BC.

We did the hike to Bluff Knoll, the highest spot in the the southern part of Western Australia. The peak is 1095m above sea level, but I don’t know the elevation at the parking lot. We climbed perhaps 600m. Steep and hot with good views at the top and lots of wildflowers. It feels odd but good to be in alpine surroundings in Australia with big hazy hills in the distance.

We saw two emus by the road on the way back from the Stirling, probably a mother and her “baby.” The mother was about 1.5m tall and the baby was already 50cm. Unfortunately animals on the road are a huge problem here, especially at dawn and dusk when animals want to feed in the cool air. We see far more road kill than wild animals and avoid driving early or late in the day. The van rental company tells you to hit a kangaroo rather than avoid it and the van insurance excludes claims for accidents from trying to avoid wildlife. Sad.

Tonight we dined on Indian food at one of the very few restaurants open on Christmas Day. Good food and a multicultural way to celebrate Christmas.