Go for a "Wander": Charles Kobelke
With Tourism WA urging locals to “Wander Out Yonder” and take a different kind of holiday, Business News chief executive Charles Kobelke writes about his experience exploring Western Australia's backyard.
It’s been a hectic time for most in the past couple of months, with the pressure of uncertainty and the need for more information weighing on businesses and decision making.
That’s why I took the opportunity late last month to take my wife, Narelle, and my two children, aged 5 and 8, for a week away.
We had initially discussed going to Lancelin or Denmark for a few days, but had left planning for a trip until the weekend before we were meant to go away.
Being as it was school holidays, the kids had graced us with their presence, with my youngest incessantly asking me for more time on his iPad.
“Sure,” I said one day, “if you can plan our four-day holiday?”
I was only half joking, but he took it as a challenge, peppering me with questions about how to plan a holiday, where we could go, and if there was any risk of us catching “the COVID”.
As my kids bounced ideas off each other, running through websites and tossing around random ideas, both had decided they wanted to catch fish and go canoeing.
And then it all came together.
Together, we sat down and mapped out a list of all the things we wanted to see in WA, using a digital map to plan and create a list of activities we could do within a four-hour drive of Perth.
That way we could get around issues about accommodation and travel; worst case scenario, we could just drive home if things didn’t work out.
We chartered a clear path with the kids; on the first day we decided to drive north to the Pinnacles, moving south-easterly towards Wave Rock on the second and third day, before meandering home on the fourth day.
Accommodation came next, and going by the websites, everywhere was booked out and required a phone call to confirm availability.
Luckily, this is where I got to teach my eldest how to make a phone call, the novelty of which kept her engaged as she bantered along with friendly regional hospitality operators.
Many of the major hotels were at capacity, but every single operator we spoke to knew who in town still had availability, giving recommendations, contact details and, in a couple of cases, sent text messages to nearby hotels to let them know we were coming.
The feeling of warmth each operator had gave me the feeling that, even if things didn’t work out, they would have found me and my family a place to stay if needed.
Once we had booked our accommodation, we packed up the car and set off on what is sure to become an annual Kobelke road trip family tradition.
Setting off on our drive, I couldn’t help but appreciate the vast, empty and enormous grandeur of WA’s countryside.
Truthfully, I feel the scenery is a part of my DNA, having spent my early years in towns like Tom Price and Port Hedland; it was a privilege to pass those scenes on to my kids.
We may not have travelled far, but the change in scenery was fantastic to behold.
On our first day, we spotted koalas at Yanchep National Park and ate pies from the Lancelin Bakery atop the sand dunes.
Later in the day we caught fish off the jetty at Lancelin before going to see the Pinnacles at sunset, and eventually eating dinner at Cervantes Country Club.
On the second day, we went for breakfast at Cervantes Resort before moving onto a game of Big Chess in the park.
That flowed into a trip to the Badgingara wind and solar farms and afternoon coffee and cake in Moora Monastery in New Norcia.
Before we knew it, we were spotting ‘roos just outside of Toodyay, racing across the suspension bridge in Northam, before dining at Lume.
Our third day started with breakfast at the new Dome Café in Northam before a trip to York, searching the streets for tiny doors, fairies, hobbits, the town hall, the sock factory, the motor museum and the old swing bridge.
A hearty, home-style lunch in Corrigin where the kids got to experience a real Aussie outhouse followed, before driving to Wave Rock, Hyden Dam and Lake Magic, where we sat and watched the sunset.
Dinner at the Hyden Hotel served as a prelude to a 10-minute drive down the road, where the kids had the chance to see what the clear night sky looks like without a light in sight.
The final day started with a hike to the top of the Humps before a trip to see Aboriginal rock art at Mulka's Cave.
There, we stood inside Hippo’s Yawn, witnessed the fields of canola starting to bloom, and ate lunch at the Imperial Homestead in York before crossing Mundaring Weir.
So there you have it: one of the most memorable trips we could have, and it was right here in our own backyard.
Don’t hesitate to go for a “wander” yourself.
Have you got a great WA travel story from the past few weeks to share? We'd love to hear about it! Email us at email@example.com.