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Torndirrup National Park

Torndirrup National Park is a national park in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, 400 kilometres (249 mi) southeast of Perth and via Frenchman Bay Road is 10 km (6.2 mi) south of Albany.

Torndirrup National Park has many impressive rock formations on the coast. These include the Gap, Natural Bridge and the Blowholes all shaped from the local granite. The park is along the coast on the west side of King George Sound and consists of a range of cliffs, gullies, blowholes, beaches and promontories.

Torndirrup National Park  Skyprints

 

Natural Bridge

The area is composed of three major rock types, one of these being gneiss. The oldest of these was formed 1300-1600 million years ago. This rock type can be seen along the cliff walls of the Gap. The granites were formed later as the Australian Plate collided with the Antarctic Plate 1160 million years ago as molten rock rose to the surface. These granites are visible in the tors atop Stony Hill.

The park was gazetted in 1918, one of the first in Western Australia. It was later named in 1969 taking the name of the Indigenous Australian clan that lived in the area. The first ranger was appointed in 1973. The park is the most often visited park in Western Australia, with approximately 250,000 visitors per annum.

A large bushfire burnt through 700 hectares (1,730 acres) of bushland in the area in 2010 and caused the closure of Frenchman Bay Road isolating tourists and residents of the area.[5] In 2015 another fire burnt out 616 hectares (1,522 acres) of bushland between Stony Hill and the Blowholes including destroying important populations of the critically endangered Banksia verticillata]

Flora and fauna

 By Cygnis insignis (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Cygnis insignis (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Banksia grandis at Torndirrup

A large array of floral species can be found within the park, including the woolly-bushpeppermint tree, swamp yate, various banksias and karri forest. Coastal plants such as native rosemary, banjine and thick leafed fanflower are found in the heath. The park is also home to the very rare Albany woolly-bush[7] and the critically endangered blue tinsel lily of which only a single population exists.[8]

Fauna such as kangaroosbush ratspygmy possums and short-nosed bandicoots are found within the park. Many reptile species are also to be found, including tiger snakesbardickChildren's python and dugites. In 1876 the rare dibbler was found in the park.[9] Birdlife includes honeyeaterswattlebirdsbutton quailwestern rosella and a variety of seabirds.[10] Whales and seals can be seen from the cliffs of the park in the correct season.

The rare and ancient Main's assassin spider, currently listed as threatened, was found to inhabit the park during a survey conducted in 2008

Facilities

 

View along walking track out to Torndirrup Peninsula and Bald Head

Access to the park is via Frenchman Bay Road, which is sealed and well sign-posted. Access to most features is via sealed roads. No other facilities exist within the park but barbecues, tables, shops and toilets can be found nearby at Frenchman Bay.

The park has numerous walks, mostly of a distance of less than 1,500 metres (4,921 ft), including the Jimmy Newhills walk and the Stony Hill Heritage Trail walk. The longest trail is the 10 km (6.2 mi) Bald Head Walk along Flinders peninsula finishing at Bald Head at the eastern edge of the park.

 By Hughesdarren (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Hughesdarren (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A A$6.1 million upgrade of facilities at the Gap and the Natural Bridge opened in 2016. The redevelopment included two universally accessible lookout structures, connecting paths, a picnic area, interpretive signage and a car park. A cantilevered grated see-through platform at the Gap rises almost 40 metres (131 ft) above the Southern ocean (also known as Antarctic Ocean) and extends 10 m (33 ft) out from the cliff face, of which 4 m (13 ft) is directly above the ocean.

Mrs Jones Cafe - Denmark

Mrs Jones Café was been judged the WINNER in two categories of the Restaurant & Catering Industry Association’s 2016 Awards for Excellence in Western Australia. The awards were announced on August 29, 2016 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre,

CAFÉ OF THE YEAR - 2016 WA WINNER – Mrs Jones Café, Denmark

CAFÉ RESTAURANT - 2016 WA WINNER – Mrs Jones Café, Denmark

BREAKFAST RESTAURANT = 2016 WA FINALIST – Mrs Jones Café, Denmark

We stopped here for lunch on our way home, hoping to find some vegan food on the menu.  We were surprised to find 3 different options.  Thank you Mrs Jones, the food was awesome and it was so good to have a choice of lunch options.

We chose  Hummus Trio: beetroot, black tahini, chickpea, warm flatbreads and Tofu Tacos with Asian style slaw, avocado, salsa, flat bread. It was really delicious and we experienced the joy of eating delicious whole food .  The other vegan option was Salad Bowl: roast vegetables, mixed quinoa, spiced chickpeas, cucumber, avocado, sunflower sprouts, mixed leaves, tahini dressing.  We will try that next time.

Thurlby Herb Farm - Walpole

Thurlby is a delightful place to visit.  They maintain a philosophy of ethical, environmental and family friendly values. The Thurlby Herb Farm Gift Shop is a colourful and unusual haven of stylish gifts, including Thurlby handmade soaps and natural aromatherapy products. 

Thurlby Herb Farm Cafe

Changing with the seasons, the menu reflects a passion for healthy, delicious food at reasonable prices.

We enjoyed a gourmet vegan burger - Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Burger – Thurlby's famous homemade burger with basil and pine nuts served in  Turkish bread with salad and Thurlby Chutney.  We were pretty excited to find vegan food at this out of the way spot, only 1km from our Wilderness Retreat.  Of course we had to bring home some chutney and do some early Christmas Shopping.

Tourist in our Town - The Alkaline Cafe

“If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?” 

Birthday time and diet times don't normally go together, throw no alcohol into the mix and it's like let's just stay at home and eat a plain salad.  With The Alkaline Cafe in town it's a complete different story.  We enjoyed a beautifully presented and tasty lunch and the English Blue Smoothie was better than any glass of wine, made with organic blueberries, organic English Breakfast Tea, passionfruit, banana, raw honey and coconut.  It was served icy cold in a jar.

Becki ordered the Raw Zucchini Wrap - made in-house and filled with kelp noodles, sunflower sprouts, capsicum, mushrooms and house-made cashew Asian dressing.

I ordered the Raw Zucchini Noodles tossed in a creamy pine nut, basil, lemon and avocado pesto.  Both our meals were served with a fresh side salad.  We will definitely be returning.  Service was friendly and meals arrived surprisingly quickly considering it was very busy. 

The decor is quirky with great use of pallets to beautify the walls, and an eclectic blend of cute classroom style seating and vintage industrial styling.

Great concept and awesome for the Albany Region.  Thank you guys, can't wait to come back and will be happy to recommend to our guests who are looking for a healthy alternative for lunch.

Tourist in our Town - Three Anchors

With some of Western Australia’s best produce at their fingertips, Three Anchors  menu reflects what’s in season on the day and the chef’s create their magic around it.

Seafood and fish are menu staples, but you' re just as likely to enjoy burgers, steak sandwiches, or beef and pork while you .

Great beach front location at Albany Region's popular Middleton Beach, this is a pleasant spot with all day dining available.  Live music on sunday afternoons.

Sam had his first steak sandwich here and he was sold.  During the rest of his stay in Albany, if steak sandwich was on the menu he would order it.



Being a Tourist in our Town - Lunch at Lavender Cottage

A beautiful cottage house restaurant with very welcoming front of house staff and an experienced Chef who enjoys the finer details such as beautifully presented food.  Only open on Friday nights for dinner and by prior bookings only (please book early) but open during the week for morning tea and lunch.

We had lunch there with family which included a teenager who just loved his steak sandwich and chips and wasn't keen to try any of the tasty dishes on the menu.

We enjoyed our lunch together in one of the many rooms of this quaint cottage, with beautiful Parisian Artefacts on the walls.  Servings were generous and even the teenager enjoyed his lunch.  


Cooking with Skal in Nilla's Italian Kitchen

Last night Skal International Albany Australia met at the home of John and Nilla for our October members meeting.  We had a great time as Nilla's Italian Kitchen came alive with the busyness and chatter than comes with a group making and cooking pasta.  Nilla is an amazing cook, passionate, with a generous and warm heart, it was always going to be a great evening. We made Red Green and white pasta to match the Italian flag.  Together with a pork ragout she had made previously it was a restaurant quality meal.  And for the new vegetarian (me) there was burnt butter sauce with sage to toss through the pasta.  And did I mention the cake?  I have no idea how to pronounce it but it was the most amazing Italian sponge cake.  I did see half a bottle of cointreau going into the marmalade filling in the centre.  

It was a great evening with the mayor of Albany giving us up to date information of all tourism events and projects happening in the next few years.

Thank you John and Nilla for another fabulous evening.

Pepper and Salt Restaurant - Denmark

HideAway Haven offers 'Spice up your Life' masterclasses with Chef Silas from  Pepper and Salt.  We enjoyed his awesome food first hand when we travelled to Denmark last month.  At Pepper & Salt Restaurant they create inspiring dishes that nurture the heart and soul, using fresh seasonal produce.  They are enthusiastic in their love of spices and use them perfectly to enrich the flavours in their dishes. Dining at pepper and Salt restaurant is all about enjoying the whole experience and there is never a rush to get out the door.  You are encouraged  to enjoy the relaxed ambience, gaze at the stunning views, sample the boutique wine and savour the flavours.  Silas and Angela are the perfect welcoming hosts, explaining the dishes on offer and the best wine to accompany the dishes.  Why not book a master-class with Silas while you are here or enjoy a lunch at their restaurant.


Sour Dough Bread - Kissed by Fire

Gourmandise & Co is a wood-fire bakery, European delicatessen, communal table and store.
Located in the heritage precinct on Stirling Terrace in Albany and brought to you by Xavier and Janette Poupel (Terroir and Table) Gourmandise & Co will offer a selection of quality produce to take away or enjoy at our communal table in a rustic French-Australian ambience.

New to the Albany Region so we decided to check it out.  Xavier is an experienced wood fire chef and together with his wife owns and operates is own mobile wood fire oven catering business.  You can find them at the Boatshed Markets every Sunday.  We tried their sour dough bread which was baked in the wood fired oven and was lightly kissed by fire.  It was so good we have been back for more.  There is a long table in the store where you can enjoy tea, coffee and some of the delicious pastries on offer.  Or stop by for lunch.  


Wine & Tapas at Albany Rats Bar

We had a very rare Sunday off, so after visiting The Albany Boatshed Markets we had lunch at Albany Rats Bar.  Our long time friend and up and coming celebrity chef Dan Sharp is the chef and most of the dishes are his own inspired creations.  You can taste the passion Dan has for local seafood and local fresh produce in each bite.

Affogato - A coffee shot with vanilla ice-cream and FrangelicoWith Matt, who runs front of house and Dan the chef this is definately the place to enjoy some fine dining.

Lots of recycled timber and bricks make this a very cosy and inviting place to enjoy a few hours.

         

Enjoy Dan's menu which has been designed to enjoy sharing small plates of food.  We loved it!!  The menu also showcases great wine from the region.

RATS is an acronym for Ralph, Astrid, Trish and Sarah from the Flowers family who own RATS and also Bay Merchants next door.