Thursday, December 21, 2006

Up and Down Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Following our visit to Ngilgi Cave we had a fine lunch at Janet Holmes á Courts' restaurant at one of our favourite vineyards, Vasse Felix. We walked off lunch by climbing the original narrow cast iron spiral stairs 39 meters to the top of Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, said to be the most southern, westerley projecting point of Australia, where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet, 3,398 miles from the South Pole.

There are 350 navigational aids around the coast of Australia and some 25 operational lighhouses (lighthouses have a much stronger light beam). We have 'done' four Australian lighthouses now, Norah Head, Byron Bay (when we were here 12 years ago), Cape Naturaliste and now Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse which is the oldest. It was built in 1896; its light has a range of 26 nautical miles; it was not connected to mains electricity until 1983, now it is automatic, with a computer link to Perth. It is known as Cape Leeuwin after the Dutch ship Leeuwin which came across Western Australia by mistake in 1622 while trying to find its way to Indonesia.

Luckily for us on the day before the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year here in the Antipodes, the winds at the top of the lighthouse were less than usual - just 20 knots instead of the normal 35 knots and we were able to enjoy the far reaching views without getting blown away!

We came back to Dunsborough through the Boranup Forest which was very magical. It was a long day but very lovely.

2 comments:

PMM&L said...

Crikey - you must be worn out by now, and looking forward to Christmas Day. Civilisation has reached us - bought our Turkey & lots of lovely things in Waitrose today!!! :-)

axx said...

Ah I'm going all misty eyed at the thought of Waitrose :-)