Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

With its plethora of wineries and rolling green pastures you might sometimes be forgiven for thinking you were in France when visiting the South Western tip of Western Australia. Of course, the tall Karri and Jarrah trees, not to mention the red soil, are a bit of a giveaway but in fact there is a stronger French connection to this part of Australia than you might at first realise. The names provide a clue! Late one afternoon on our winter’s break, we stopped off at another of our favourite little spots along the Cape Naturaliste Road, Bunker Bay. The road out to Cape Naturaliste point and lighthouse is dotted with sheltered beaches and inlets and is, not surprisingly, favoured by tourists and holidaymakers. On this particular day, however, we had the place to ourselves (as we had done for our earlier stroll along Meelup Beach). The sunlight was just begin to fade and the light was somewhere between a soft aquamarine and lilac/blue.

 

 

No need to explain why we love this particular spot! Photos don’t do it justice – it’s incredibly beautiful and peaceful. I can remember years ago somehow getting our younger daughter’s stroller down the rocky path to the water’s edge. There are no wild seas here – the bay is calm and sheltered and has easy access for young and old alike. Bunker Bay is on the coastal trail (the Bunker Bay Loop), which we took in part round the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse on the tip of the point (see here).

 

 

After walking around and admiring the view for a while we noticed the information sign, which gives you some background on the history of European exploration in the area. It turns out that many moons ago in the time of Napolean, the French decided to send a couple of ships under the captaincy of one Thomas Nicolas Baudin to discover more about the “Great Southern Land”. Equipped with 262 crew and 23 scientists, Baudin and his entourage arrived in the bay off the South Western Cape on 30th May 1801 (after 7 and a half  months at sea). They spent 10 days exploring and gathering samples of flora and fauna to take back home – the largest ever collection of such specimens from a single voyage! Baudin named both Cape Naturaliste and Geographe Bay after the 2 ships under his command.

 

Information about Bunker Bay and Point Marchant South Western WA

Information about Bunker Bay and Point Marchant South Western WA

 

The history of French exploration in these parts was extensively documented by Professor Leslie Marchant (1924 – 2004) in his book, “France Australe”. In honour of his research efforts he was awarded both an Order Of Australia and a French knighthood. As a mark of respect the northerly point of Bunker Bay was named Point Marchant in his honour in 2005. His work is carried on by the Woodside Valley Foundation who encourage the preservation of artifacts and research into the exploration history of Western Australia.

 

There are a number of walking trails in the Cape Naturaliste area in addition to the Bunker Bay Loop and you can find out further information on the Trails WA website here and here as well as information about many other bushwalks and trails in the rest of Western Australia. Talking of walks, Restless Jo has some wonderful ideas for walks around the globe in her weekly Monday Walks and Ting and Allane have some equally fascinating travel stories and ideas in their fortnightly Monday Escapes.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Ruth (RuthsArc) and her daughter for coffee this morning. They have been on a short holiday in Perth and Ruth will have plenty of stories to share from her Perth trip, which I’m looking forward to reading (always interesting to get a visitor’s perspective on your home town!).

In the meantime I’ll leave you with some lingering shots of the beautiful Bunker Bay!

 

Packing my Suitcase

Copyright © 2016 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

34 thoughts on “The French Connection: Bunker Bay

  1. restlessjo says:

    What a lovely spot, Rosemay 🙂 Not the most pushchair friendly one I ever saw, but I liked your spirit of enterprise. Rock pools are great for youngsters. I was cliff top this morning and resisted a scramble down and back up again 🙂 Many thanks for the link! Must have been nice to meet Ruth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes looking back Jo it wasn’t the best idea to try and take a pushchair down onto those rocks but we managed somehow and fortunately there were no huge waves!! The girls always loved the rock pools – they spent hours searching for crabs and little sea creatures! Good that you weren’t scrambling up and down rocks and cliffs in the cold weather. Yes it was lovely to meet Ruth and her daughter – we had a good catch up and it’s always nice when people come over to Perth (being such a long way from everywhere!). Certainly Bunker Bay is a special spot in a lovely part of the world 🙂

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  2. Beautiful place to be 🙂 The trees are unique..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Indah it is certainly a beautiful place 🙂 The trees are definitely unusual – their position on the bay and the prevailing winds has helped to shape them over many centuries! It’s not only a beautiful spot but very peaceful too – the waters gently lap the rocks, which is a lovely sound 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Anabel Marsh says:

    Looks beautiful, and how lovely to meet up with Ruth. I’m really looking forward to meeting up with some Canadian bloggers later in the year. One day Australia!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Anabel yes this is certainly one of my favourite places down in the south west. Yes it was lovely that Ruth and I could meet up – she was in Perth for a few days with her daughter. They managed to see a lot in a short time including a couple of places I’ve not yet been to! That will be lovely to meet up with some Canadian bloggers 🙂 Hopefully you’ll make it back to Australia one day! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Isabel von Prollius says:

    I particularly enjoyed this post. I have not been to Bunker Bay but it’s now on my list for this year. It was interesting to read about Professor Marchant, too. His widow is a colleague of mine, a fellow German-English translator, and a lovely lady.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Isabel – that is such a coincidence that Professor Marchant’s widow is a colleague of yours 🙂 I found the story fascinating and would love to read the book at some point (not sure if it’s still in print). It’s a lovely tribute to his work to have named the Point Marchant after him. I think you would love Bunker Bay as it’s such a beautiful and peaceful spot (just a bit further out on Cape Naturaliste Road from the Eagle Bay Brewery and restaurant if refreshments are needed and not too far out of Dunsborough). Hope you have a lovely weekend 🙂

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  5. Glorious photos – I haven’t ventured south of Perth… yet!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Susan – the South West region is gorgeous and I always love going down here (not often enough with other commitments unfortunately!. Hopefully you’ll get there one day 🙂

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  6. What a gorgeous place Rosemary and such interesting history too. How lovely too that you had it all to yourself – just perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes this is another of our favourite south west places Joy 🙂 We actually prefer it out of season – the cooler months are definitely our preferred time to go down there just a few nights and you feel so relaxed and away from the cares of the city! Even so we were surprised to find no one else there that day – it was lovely walking around the beach and rocks and also learning more about the history of the area (I always love the stories behind a place). Hope you had a lovely weekend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The coast looks absolutely fabulous. I love these blue tones, it’s so pretty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The coast is lovely here Gin and the colours were gorgeous in the late afternoon light. I think you would find plenty of inspiration for your jewellery designs here! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Especially since I really love that colour ! 🙂

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        1. Yes I remember from your designs – you would have a field day in the South West (and Australia as a whole) for colour inspiration! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  8. RuthsArc says:

    Rosemary, it was lovely to meet you face to face. One of the joys of this blogging community is making new friends and your blog certainly gave us great ideas on places to visit whilst in your part of the country 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Likewise Ruth – lovely to meet you in Perth 😀 Am glad you enjoyed your trip here and look forward to reading more about the places you visited. Great that you could get some ideas from my blog and also add in some of your own places too!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Love the landscape and the trees. Looks very unique 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Hanna and great to hear from you again – I’m sorry I haven’t been over your way for a while either I will head there now! The landscape is very distinctive and beautiful in this part of the world 🙂

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  10. I had no idea about the French influence in Australia, how interesting! Sometimes I think I will be really impressed when I visit Australia someday!
    I totally understand why that is your favorite spot 😀

    Happy to have you with us over on #MondayEscapes. Have a wonderful day 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Allane – yes it’s so interesting what you can discover about places. There is also a strong French influence in parts of New Zealand – we visited a little town called Akaroa in the South Island where many of the streets have French names ..Rue de etc. Have been meaning to join in again for a while now with Monday Escapes – am trying to read a couple of blog posts each day. That’s the plan!! Still have more to go! Hope you can make it “Down Under” someday – I think you’d love it! Hope you have a wonderful day too 🙂

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  11. I can just imagine that the photos don’t do Bunker Bay justice – it does look wonderfully serene. Love the history lesson about how the French explorers came and took away so much in 10 days. Thank you for linking up with us once again, it’s lovely having you as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ting 🙂 Yes it is a beautiful spot and so tranquil. I found the history of the French explorers fascinating – obviously there weren’t any customs restrictions back in those days! Have been meaning to link up for quite a while and finally got round to it! There are so many great posts to read! 🙂

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  12. pommepal says:

    The lovely soft colours are so peaceful. What a lovely place and one I missed on our trips in your area. Will have to come back!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes definitely Pauline – can highly recommend a trip down to the south west! It is a lovely spot – always feel so relaxed down there! 🙂

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      1. pommepal says:

        I love that area too. So much to explore.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s lovely isn’t it Pauline. There’s certainly a lot of things to do – walking trails, exploring caves, wineries, art galleries, delicious food and surfing if you’re feeling adventurous!

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          1. pommepal says:

            I’ll do all the others but leave the surfing to the experts.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I’d be the same Pauline – surfing is definitely not my scene but there are some great surfing spots if anyone loves that sort of thing!

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  13. vinneve says:

    It is good to know there’s a touch of France in South of Perth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it’s interesting isn’t it?! This part of WA has always reminded me of France – of course the wineries help!

      Liked by 1 person

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