Cape Leeuwin is the most south western tip of the continent of Australia. The coast is wild, rugged and beautiful. Just over 50 kms from Margaret River, it is one of my favourite places to visit whenever I head this far south from Perth.
Yes, the Leeuwin Lighthouse is spectacular. It sits at the point where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet. Built in the late 1800s, the Lighthouse as well as the cottages inhabited by those who tended it, are a must see in this region. I visit the Lighthouse almost out of a sense of duty, because the tourist brochure says I must. But I am always more eager to visit the nearby Water Wheel.
Leaving the Lighthouse there is no sign to the Water Wheel. The sign is visible only as you are entering it. Dazzled by the coastline is it possible people forget to visit this little pocket of historical importance as they leave. I know to take the first left off the sealed road and onto graded dirt track, a short distance to the small car park. It is rare to find people here. The first time I found this place I watched a seagull spa happily in the spring. Then I found a pair of rubber thongs, neatly placed on the rocks. I knew I wasn’t alone. I never did find the fisherman.
The Water Wheel is fed by the fresh spring. This is limestone country, so the wheel has calcified over the years. It was life for the keepers of the Lighthouse. The spring is audible even against the roar of giant surf. I love this little area. It is full of history. In the stillness of thought, you can almost hear children’s laughter.
I visited a day when there was a break in winter storms. Perhaps that is why I found no birds except for the solitary Sooty Oystercatcher, looking spectacular in black with vivid orange eyes and beak. It ignored my presence as it continued with the forage on rocks.
Whenever I visit the Water Wheel I feel like I’m visiting a rich indulgent relative because there is something generous about a fresh spring. Despite storm clouds above, it gurgles like laughter. It has an energy. A visual reminder. Life.
With one last look and a deep breath, I reluctantly left the Water Wheel as I watched cars in my rear view mirror. They drove away from the area without turning left. Sadly, they don’t know what they missed.
Until next time
a dawn bird