Our Australian Road Trip – Week 1


Today was the big day where we headed off on Our Great Australian RoadTrip for 3.5 months. We had so much to do before we left it was really hard to get excited, however once the car was packed and we were sitting in it, the anticipation and excitement became very real. 

Our first destination was Dunsborough WA.  But of course when you are not in a structured working environment, you don’t realise that there is a Public Holiday on your first week away, Dunsborough and Yallingup were booked out, so Busselton RAC Big 4 Peppermint Holiday Park it is.

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This place was awesome with such great facilities, clean and large shower blocks, many BBQ areas, 2 pools with 1 heated and the huge camp kitchen where we were able to place our shopping in the fridge and use it as our office on several occasions. The park was close to everything Busselton in one direction and Dunsborough in the other, which allowed us to also freely explore photography spots. I can highly recommend this park. Busselton Holiday Park

We have to admit that this is our first time camping in a tent for approx. 12 years, even though we were great campers in our younger days , time passes quickly and when the suggestion was made to camp we thought why not.  Our new tent the Boab Geo 3ENV Dome Tent took us approx. 45min to erect, you know how it is, myself reading out the instructions with Aaron just going for it. However Aaron has given me a new nickname the “peg master” I can tell you right now our tent wasn’t going anywhere!!!!

Busselton Jetty

Extending 1.8 kilometres over the protected waters of Geographe Bay, the heritage listed Busselton Jetty is the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. As one of the most popular tourist attractions in Western Australia, it is a must see for any visitor to the Capes Region.

Construction of the Busselton Jetty began in 1865. Beginning as a mere 161 metres, sand drift resulted in an additional 131 metres being added in 1875.  Further extensions were made throughout the following 90 years creating the remarkable 1.8 kilometre length.

After more than a century of use and servicing over 5000 vessels, the Busselton Jetty officially closed as a Port in 1973.

Getting there- Just two and a half hours drive south of Perth, the Busselton Jetty is situated at the northern gateway to the Margaret River Wine Region, in the seaside resort town of Busselton.


Injidup Beach

The beach is a semi isolated beach and when we approached it at sunrise it had a very eerie feeling. Take the small path of steps down to the white sandy beach and the big red earthy rocks are right in front of you, perfect for photography.  On the morning we arrived, the waves were massive and of course Aaron perched himself up on the rocks (I wasn’t so game) and at one point after yelling to Aaron “ I think that wave rolling in is going to be huge” Aaron scrambled off the rocks realising if he stayed any second longer he would have been under water.

The beach was so surreal and the sunrise was gorgeous, the sky filled with soft pastel colours amongst the moving fluffy clouds. A must see beach.

The name Injidup comes from the Nyoongar word (inji) for the lovely red pea flower (Templetonia retusa) that grows along the limestone cliffs in spring.

Getting there- Off Caves Road, Yallingup, WA


The Other Side of the Moon

The Other Side of the Moon, is a beach that can be found on your way to the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, just outside of Dunsborough, and just past the turn off to Sugarloaf Rock. You take a often rutted dirt track off to your left just before you reach the entrance area to the lighthouse. You make your way down the track to a parking lot, and here you will find an entrance to the trail down to the beach. It’s a beautiful walk through the dunes down to the beach, and at one point you pass a large rock up in the dunes that echoes the waves crashing on the beach, almost making it feel as though the waves are crashing next to you on the trail. When you reach the beach it stretches quite a way in both directions, in one direction you can see Sugarloaf Rock in the distance and in the other the lighthouse on top of the headland. This beach isn’t often photographed as it’s not the simple access you get at many of the others, but it’s definitely worth a visit, as there is interest all along the beach. 


Canal Rocks

A series of rocks jut into the ocean creating a natural canal hollowed out by the power of the sea. We ventured here after running our Advanced Photoshop workshop in Dunsborough and I wasn’t wearing the right shoes to be climbing rocks, when we got to the desired spot it started to rain, but we set up anyway. After sometime the rain got a little heavier and so did the giant mozzies which proceeded to attack me (I’m allergic to mozzies) I did the bolt (not quick when climbing and manoeuvring rocks) back to the car. On my back to the car I bumped into a man proposing to his girlfriend, so all was not lost, I still managed an exciting moment out of a disappointing situation. Word of warning; cover yourself in mosquito repellent!!!. Aaron proceeded on to get some spectacular shots.

The Aboriginal name for Canal Rocks is Winjee Sam.

Getting there- The Canal Rocks are located just south-west of Smiths Beach and Yallingup, in the north of the Margaret River Region. Turn west off Caves Road onto Canal Rocks Road. This will take you all the way down to the carpark next to the rocks.


Sugarloaf Rocks

Aaron had pre-warned me of the beauty of this rock, and as we approached I could see why. This gigantic beautifully structured granite rock emerging from the Indian Ocean was spectacular. The sound of the thundering blue turquoise sea against the rock is exhilarating, mesmerising and almost tranquil at the same time. I can see why it’s the most photographed hallmark location in WA . I felt so privileged to photograph this special icon and especially at sunset on a stormy but moody afternoon.

Getting there- From Dunsborough, drive along the scenic Cape Naturaliste Road for approximately 10km then turn left onto Sugarloaf Road. Follow Sugarloaf Road for approx. 3 km. Sugarloaf Rock and the car park are at the end of the road.


Stirling Ranges

On conclusion of Busselton our most interesting, maybe funniest part up packing up and wondering “how did all that stuff fit in the car” why don’t things fit back where they come from? I’m sure gremlins came over the week and added more stuff to our collection. Anyway after much shoving and pushing what didn’t fit back in the boot went into the back seat of the car.

After a 4 hour drive, the Stirling Ranges appear in the distance, almost from nowhere. The magnitude of these ranges is invigorating which only makes you want to stare at them more.

The Stirling Ranges encompasses the only major mountain range with in the southern half of Western Australia. The peaks, rise to more than 1000 metres above sea level, feature stark cliff faces, sheltered gullies and magnificent views. The park also has a rich diversity of unique and colourful wildflowers. 

As it was a slightly colder, rainy day, you could see the clouds forming and hovering over the top of the ranges giving that moody feel.

The Stirling Ranges are famous for their unusual, and sometimes spectacular cloud formations. The Aboriginal name for the ranges is Koi Kyenunu-ruff, which means ‘mist rolling around the mountains’ – a frequently seen occurrence. The ranges are also one of few places in Western Australia where snow occasionally falls.

We arrived at the Stirling Ranges Retreat  http://www.stirlingrange.com.au/  to our tent campsite, with the managers saying we could choose which spot we wanted (of course we can, who would be stupid enough to camp with forecasted rain coming….us of course) The rain held off and we managed to get the tent set up before heading out to explore a sunset location.

We decided not to venture too far and headed up to Bluff Knoll which is directly across from where we were staying. The sunset didn’t appear that crash hot but the light hitting the ranges was beautiful.


We cooked dinner in the basic camp kitchen, it wasn’t as 5 Star as the Busselton one, but it had a BBQ, Fridge, Sink with hot water and tables and chairs. It wasn’t enclosed so it was a little chilly but it did the job and we were grateful for another “Dowling Burger”

The night was rainy and cold (apparently) I stole the covers, have to be a first, but I was cosy. The sunrise didn’t really happen so we took the opportunity to drive around and look for locations for the next shoot. Back to camp for coffee and a walk around the park trying to capture some birds. (A birdy paradise with approx. 150 bird species) This was my first time trying to take pictures of birds and I must say not an easy task, they are so fluttery and every time I tried to set my camera and take a photo, they were gone. Hats off to all those bird photographers.

We then headed off to explore along the Red Gum Pass Rd. What an amazing drive, but  I do have to warn you the road is pretty corrugated and we had to go very slow, I’m sure I’ll see bumps in my sleep tonight.

We encountered every weather pattern on the drive from sunshine, to rain, wind, pelting rain, and heavier pelting rain. Did that stop Aaron, noooooo. One time he was out there with the umbrella shooting in the pelting rain. Even so, this was a beautiful drive, the weather made for an awesome atmosphere with darks and lights, clouds and rain smothering the ranges. There are many areas to pull over at lookouts, also many trails for hiking!!!.

The South West of Western Australia is one of the most beautiful areas in the state, and is definitely worth the visit. We’re now off to Albany then Esperance….can’t wait. 

This entry was posted in Australian Road Trip.


  1. Tony Bourke May 1, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    Fabulous photos, so atmospheric, you truly feel that you are there yourself

    • Aaron Dowling Photography May 1, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

      Thanks Tony, it’s such a stunning country we live in here…. I can’t wait to get to some of the places I have never been starting with Esperance tomorrow.

  2. Catherine Williams May 1, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

    Great story so far. Hope the weather holds out and the Aussie Mozzie is kind to you.
    Great view from the ANZAC War Memorial in Albany, especially looking South to where all the ships would have been anchored in 1914.
    Looking forward to more posts.


    • Aaron Dowling Photography May 1, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

      Thanks Catherine, it’s been great so far…. We’ve been caught in a lot of rain, but we wouldn’t change it for the world. I think Tiff will be running from many more Mozzie’s before it’s over.

  3. Sharon Hook May 1, 2016 at 11:25 pm #

    Great start to you blog and trip, you guys have got a great combination going with the info and images. Looking forward to following this journey.

    • Aaron Dowling Photography May 2, 2016 at 9:32 am #

      Thanks Sharon, I have to give a lot of credit to Tiff for the words, I get far to focussed on the photography.

  4. Brad Donaldson May 2, 2016 at 12:09 am #

    Enjoy Esperance … it’s beautiful. The beaches around there are out of this world! I’m heading home to Albany in a couple of days. Shoulder op went well. Good luck for the rest of your trip.

  5. Tolga erok May 2, 2016 at 2:46 am #

    Excellent photos and journey. Looking forward to more posts.

  6. Chris de Blank May 2, 2016 at 8:09 am #

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading week 1, can’t wait for week 2 to come out. Stunning photos Aaron.

  7. Nola May 6, 2016 at 8:59 am #

    A great read and your photos are just beautiful! Look forward to the next instalment.

  8. Sharon Holmes May 6, 2016 at 2:05 pm #

    Stunning photographs and equally beautiful, descriptive writing. You paint pictures with your words. Thank you.

    • Aaron Dowling Photography May 13, 2016 at 5:27 am #

      Thanks Sharon, it’s very much appreciated. Neither Tiffany or I are the greatest wordsmiths, but it sounds like the fun we’re having is coming through.

  9. Johanes May 8, 2016 at 5:07 am #

    Amazing images!
    Keep em coming :)

  10. Jane November 22, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    Gorgeous colour in the sky on the Canal Rocks picture. If we ever get back over your side of the country, I’ll have to check out some of these locations.

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