12 August 2011

Cape Leeuwin - Where Two Oceans Meet

When we do travel, there are some places that have a geographical significance for us. Cape Leeuwin is one such place that we, among the many, can say we've been there ....for Cape Leeuwin is the most southern westerly tip of Australia, about 267 km south of Perth.

Guess what we found there that mark this southern westerly tip of Australia, another lighthouse; The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.

The lighthouse was built between 1895-1896 from local limestone. It was one of the last manually operated lighthouse in the world using a clockwork mechanism and kero burner until 1982 when it was converted to electricity. It was fully automated in September 1992.

It was a sunny warm day as you can see from the photos below, but being at the cape it was also very windy as you will see from the video clip below.

There are still a few historical buildings on display at the site but as the lighthouse is automated, none of the buildings are actively used or occupied. From the car park to the lighthouse is a good kilometer at least, of leisure walking but one I found to be a breeze to do and quite enjoy after the 'long' driving.

Cape Leeuwin is also considered the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean, the only place where you can see the Indian Ocean to your right and the Southern Ocean to your left.

Now you will have to visualize an imaginary line that separates these two great oceans ....34° 22' South, 115° 08' East.

Note however that while in Australia, the Cape is considered the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean; most other nations and bodies however consider the Southern Ocean to only exist south of 60°South.

The cape is also a great place to see sea lions, dolphins and in the right season, whales. So do bring along your binoculars or your zoom telescopic cameras. You might just catch all three of them in your sight.

The nearest town to Cape Leeuwin is Augusta, a small fishing town which we drove pass, enroute to the cape and lighthouse. There was nothing of interest for us as we drove pass the town, but we did take notice of the bakery shop, the Australian Post, the Visitor Centre, a small IGA supermarket and probably the only hotel with a pub in town. Just a typical small town.

As it turn out, Augusta is a popular holiday spot and have a number of holiday parks to accommodate the many city-folks who choose to spend their (school) holidays there. There are also three allocated camping grounds within Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park with very basic facilities and no power, if you like to rough it out. A camping fee applies and can be paid to the local ranger at the camp site.

This video shows a 360 view of Cape Leeuwin and its lighthouse. You get to see the surroundings around the lighthouse including the buildings and hear the wind blowing at the cape.

This second very short video clip shows the imaginary line where the two oceans meet; the Southern Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

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