New Year’s Day was especially blue, bright and sunny. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day to fulfill our new New Year’s tradition of flying somewhere, with my pilot/organist friend, Andrew. Last year, we went to the beautiful Rottnest Island. This year, he decided on Augusta. The crew consisted of our trusted pilot, three crazy singers – Belinda, Matt and I – and good ol’ Davis.
We met at the Royal Aero Club at Jandakot Airport, ready for some serious sight -seeing from the air. The day was a little hazy, but calm, and perfect conditions for flying (if not for photos).
With checks done and engines warm, we took off, experiencing the beautiful sight of Perth beneath us.
Davis and Andrew had a couple of photography jobs to do, so we circled the airspace above Perth for a half hour.
It was so interesting seeing the sights you know of Perth from the air. Whether a shopping centre, or a road, or highway that you travel all the time, it’s really interesting. It gives you a whole new perspective.
After this, it was onward and upward (quite literally). Andrew set the course south and we increased our height to 6500 feet, so the world felt quite little below us, but where the beautiful never-ending coastal views started.
Honestly, the Western Australian coastline holds some of the world’s most stunning beaches. Unlike other countries , it’s not only a beach here, or there, but miles and miles of coastline, with glorious aqua blue water and white clean sand.
We have an enormous country, with a small population, which makes everything feel ‘untouched’.
Over Busselton, the water was captivating and the famous two kilometre jetty, running out into the deep, looked like a little string from the air.
We continued further south, passing the small Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. The coastline started to become more rugged and wild there onward.
Western Australia is called the Ship-Wreck Coast, with over 1400 ships wrecked off its shorelines. It is amazing to note all the reefs, bays and rocks jutting out of the water that would have rendered the morbid name, along with the intense storms and winds this area can experience.
For us though, not a cloud was in sight.
Further south we went – the beautiful colour of the water ever unchanging.
And soon we were very close to our destination, coming across the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse near Augusta. This is also the point where the Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean meet – a very windy and wild area outside of the summer months.
The lighthouse is tall and impressive and I remember going up it years ago and being swept away by the cold wind, while walking around the beacon.
With a bit more flying, we had our sights on Augusta.
The town is very small and wraps around the estuary, where the Blackwood River meets the sea.
The miniature world below us began to grow larger and larger.
Andrew set us up for landing, and an excellent landing it was too, considering the sudden windy circumstances!
On the ground, we parked the plane (as you do!) and Andrew chatted to some other local pilots, before Davis bid his goodbyes, as he was heading off to spend a few days with another group of friends. It was our queue to set off down the road to town as well…by foot! It proved to be quite the hike, especially carrying bags and groceries. The challenge made arriving at our accommodation the more satisfying though, that’s for sure!
Settled in our rooms, Matt and I got stuck into preparing a BBQ dinner. It was certainly nothing flash, but just some hearty sausages, steak and good laughs.
After, we walked through the town at sunset.
Augusta is a very holiday style town. It has all your necessary amenities – a grocery store, a pub, bakery etc, but all wrapped up in a very relaxed, quiet setting.
But best of all, the river is just a short walk away, down the hill.
We sat there, soaking in the view and the last of the beautiful pastel light, with the banter never quite stopping with these guys.
Before long, we decided it was time to head home, running up the hill as we went (not something I enjoy on a full stomach!).
We spent the evening playing board games and chatting away until late, before we all called it a night.
In the morning, after cooking breakfast, eating out in the sunshine and packing up our things, we headed to the coast.
We found the beach and I was determined to swim. I think, you can’t ‘go down south’ (as we Perth people say) and not swim.
We grabbed our morning coffees, before walking around the estuary a little and hitting the beach for a swim.
The water wasn’t quite as crystal clear and aqua blue here as most other parts of the WA coastline, mainly because of the sandy estuary, but lovely all the same.
After my swim, I was certainly a happy little camper.
When it was time for lunch, we headed back to the road and grabbed some fish and chips, before sadly having to make our way back to the airport.
We met up with this little beast again.
Captain Andrew did the necessary checks.
Before it was ‘all aboard’ and heading skyward again.
We said our goodbyes to Augusta from the air and headed homeward bound.
On the way back, we played eye spy and sang really loudly over our headsets and maybe took in some beautiful views occasionally as well.
Back in Perth, we all said our goodbyes and I rushed off to the city to watch the tennis.
I think we can all agree it was an absolutely fun, beautiful and memorable New Year’s trip. I love the beach, but flying along the coast makes me appreciate even more just how lucky we are to have such beautiful untouched beaches, with white sand stretching on for forever. For us locals, it’s a holiday destination right on our door-step!
But you know…the great question is….where will we go next year?!
Happy New Year everyone!