Southern Escape: Answering the question: “why Bunbury?”

Yesterday morning Stephen went to the Tourist Information Office to register our vehicle for our free stay. The first question on the questionnaire was ‘Would you have come to Bunbury if we hadn’t offered free camping on the beach’ or words to that effect. He answered ‘no’ and even after a couple of nights here that would be our response.

Our park up is lovely, we can see the sea even if we are not right on the beach and go to sleep to the sound of waves. We spent yesterday walking to and from the main street, which is about 600 metres from here. A visit to the art gallery was interesting because it is in an old monastery, and appears to have been added on to from time to time, creating a maze of galleries.

This is Stephen’s take our visit there.

“It is the old Sisters of Mercy convent, beautifully converted. There were three interesting galleries that caught my attention.


Firstly a display about the two young men accused of sodomy when the early Dutch ship was shipwrecked on Dirk Hartog  Island. Their sentence was to be each marooned on two adjoining islands, and thus dying in isolation. So there were photos of items collected from the islands (eg a clay pipe) as well as a wall chart displaying how attitudes to gay behaviour have change from then to now. Also a map of the world showing which counties still had the death penalty for sodomy (red dot) through to green for acceptance. 


The second was the result of the artist having spent time in China and had taken typical Chinese paintings and given them a western feel. Also captured much of the construction going on (cranes and massive apartment buildings. I liked a drawing of birds eye view of street of a town, where the grid pattern had been selectedly  drawn in red as a certain Chinese character, pronounced “ha”. Apparently Chinese people have used it as ha ha ha to represent laughter.
The third gallery had works by Elizabeth Ford and Robert Juniper et al and the gallery notes challenged the viewer to spend time analysing the works (some hints were given) Too often people pass by too quickly if the work looks “puzzling “


It was quite a surprising and pleasant visit. Good one Bunbury!

We had lunch at one of the Thai restaurants we had noticed on our walk the first evening. The food was not that special, but had a variety of vegetables and gave us the feeling of having a healthy meal. I went back to the van for a rest whilst Stephen took in the public library.

At 3.00 p.m. we met at the cinema. I chose to see ‘The Marksman’ starring Liam Neeson in another action role. The attraction is that he is the same age as me doing these action roles at quite a late stage of life. In an interview he said it was quite challenging for him even though the fight scene was staged. A nice story that left us feeling pretty good. We could have seen a more thoughtful movie, but we wanted something that wasn’t challenging, we have real life for that!

We came straight home so that I could cook the meal I’ve been planning for a little while, a lentil and vegetable curry, with yogurt bread to follow. Yogurt bread uses yogurt and flour as the basic ingredients, with additives depending on whether you want the final result to be sweet or savoury. To go with our meal we wanted savoury, so I added salt and herbs. This was my first go and I made it a bit moist and slightly too thick to cook through in the ridge monkey. However, I will try again sometime. Stephen learnt this recipe when he did a community cooking class a couple of years ago. I added a teaspoon of baking powder as well, I’m not sure if it was needed. The bread smelled slightly yeasty as it was cooking.

We have spent a reasonable amount of money on the meal out, pharmacy products, some spices and a coffee or two, plus our visit to the cinema and choc bombs. We would definitely be more cautious about some of the spending if we had to pay for accommodation. Bunbury has done quite well out of our visit. I found it surprising that there are so many cafes and restaurants here, plus little bars, etc. And traffic, most people seem to drive and we had to be really careful crossing roads as pedestrians. Yet, it is a nice little CBD to walk around.

I think offering the free beach side stays has been beneficial for this town, as well as us. We always like to be able to camp at the beach. There are a few more free camping bays about a kilometre away. It looked a bit quieter there, but being able to easily walk to the main street is preferable from our point of view.

There seem to be more campervans and motorhomes using the spaces at the moment. Vans are more likely to have a built in grey water tank than caravans. There was a caravan when we arrived, but they had to put a portable grey tank underneath the van.

The deal is that we ‘leave no trace’ and do not put out awnings and chairs on paths. Next to us is a green lawn strip. People do use it as a path, but we have put out our awning for a little while anyway, I don’t think it really qualifies as a ‘path’ and we wanted to make sure it was completely dry. The last time we had it out was when it rained one morning in Albany.

Basically, Bunbury offered us a safe, beachside camping area with easy access to the town centre. That’s why.