Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
6 May 2006 - Hopetoun to Albany

Location map The day began with a strong breeze threatening rain and I hurried to pack up and fold the A-liner. The rain arrived in a torrential downpour just as I put away the water-hose to complete packing up. I had to fold the A-liner in the rain wearing the poncho I keep behind the Territory driver's seat for just this occasion. Rain continued intermittently for most of the morning.

We returned to Ravensthorpe, that's the only way in and out of Hopetoun on bitumen, then headed for Albany on Route 1. The road is initially a nearly straight stretch 119 kilometres long running along the edge of Fitzgerald River National Park to Jerramungup. Although the road is lined with scrub we periodically passed wheat bins (as silos are called in Western Australia) and there must be fairly large areas of wheat grown nearby to support these bins despite the scrub beside the road giving the appearance of undeveloped land.
Woodland Road bridges on the main road use wooden piles with a bitumen roadway.
Woodland Cattle grazing beside the road near Albany. The green paddocks contrasted sharply with lower rainfall areas towards the Nullarbor.
Albany receives an average of 934 mm of rain, far more than Ravensthorpe's 424 mm. and the impact of this much higher rainfall becomes obvious approaching Albany from the east as we left the grain growing area behind. Gum tree plantations (described as 'Tree Farms' in roadside signage) stretch for many kilometres along the road, at one point we had plantations on both sides of the road. One plantation was pine trees, the majority were eucalyptus. Next day we noticed that commercial television in Albany carries advertisement for farmers to make their land available for tree farms.

Arriving in Albany we passed the Woolworths Caltex petrol station. It was encouraging to see the price of petrol displayed was exactly the price in the e-mail I had received yesterday from the FuelWatch service run by the state government. I had registered for this service to receive daily e-mails listing the price of unleaded petrol at nominated brands in Albany. FuelWatch provides the ten lowest prices. I could get prices for other types of fuel (diesel, autogas, etc) if required and can nominate other places by logging onto the Fuelwatch web site when we move on from Albany. Having the petrol price at the destination is very useful. The price of petrol is now so variable that deciding when and where to buy petrol has become complex. The Territory trip computer displays how far we can go in the existing road and weather conditions at the current speed with the petrol in the fuel tank; sometimes the destination is further than we can go with the petrol in the tank and we either have to buy more or transfer some from the spare tanks (two x 20 litre drums) to get where we want to be. With FuelWatch e-mails telling me the price of petrol at our destination I can decide whether to buy petrol in smaller places we pass or to transfer petrol from the spare tanks when additional petrol is needed.

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