Windy Harbour, referred to as Windy by locals, is our favourite holiday getaway where our family has a beach hut that my parents built on land leased from the Government in the late ‘60’s. I’ve written this post to share the history of our hut and what it’s like holidaying at Windy.
Windy is a small unique remote holiday settlement of about 200 beach huts located in an isolated area in the South West region of Western Australia. Accomodation is limited unless your own a hut, know someone with a hut, or stay in the small camping ground.
Windy represents everything I don’t have living in Perth – a simpler, quieter life, time to slow down.
While much has changed since the ‘60’s – Windy remains fairly unchanged. It’s still isolated. There is no electricity – you either have an old Windy hut like ours that is powered by a generator that you run in the evening or have modernised the hut with solar electricity and have continuous power. There’s no takeaway shops and the nearest shop is 30 minutes away.
Photos of my family building our hut 1968-1970
Holidays At Windy As A Child
Windy is where we spent most holidays and many weekends as a child as my parents loved ocean and my father’s ill health limited other holiday options.
My sisters’ think it’s hilarious that I now love going to Windy. I was the only member of the family that Windy didn’t hold a special place in my heart. They all loved Windy! I’ve spent most my life hating Windy.
My favourite holidays were escaping to Perth, the capital city in Western Australia, from Manjimup (called Manji to locals), an inland timber and farming town I lived in located about 3 hours from Perth. Perth to a child growing up in the 70’s had everything Manji didn’t have – more TV channels, radio stations, movie theatres and shops!
Windy represented – No TV, no shops, no electricity, no phone. Summer holidays meant six weeks at Windy which included two weeks of vacation swimming lessons in the ocean….which I hated….chance of snakes…which terrify me. The hour drive from Manji felt like forever as a child especially as the car aquaplaned on the gravel road on the last section of the road (thankfully the gravel road is gone).
Before our hut was built we stayed in a tent in the camping ground. I still remember the snake in the tent.
Windy as an Adult
My oldest son fell in love with Windy and we’ve started spending holidays at Windy since 2019. Nowadays the drive is longer – takes over 5 hours from Perth where we live – but is an adventure.
Our trips to Windy are full of funny moments, memorable incidents and adventures. Below are just some of our highlights:
Christmas Day at Windy
Most Christmas Days as a child was spent at Windy and I enjoyed the few Christmas lunches we ate with other locals. The most memorable was the Christmas Day lunch at the Northcliffe Hotel.
Our first year driving down on Christmas Day in 2019 I learnt my expectation of being able to buy food for Christmas lunch from a shop driving to Windy didn’t match the reality. Limited stores opened meant we were lucky to find any food for lunch.
This year I packed a lovely simple lunch for the Christmas Day drive and we sat at a picnic table in Donnybrook to eat.
We have adventures with animals
The native animals and local animals regularly add excitement.
The bat(s) that visits our hut at night – that no one believed – until I calmly recorded a bat flying to nest in the mattress above my husband’s head while he was sleeping.
Being surrounded by dairy cows when we weren’t sure what to do when cows are coming towards you when driving on a country road.
Me screaming when I discovered the blue-tongued lizard had joined us in the hut after my husband left the door open while working outside. At least it wasn’t a snake.
Waking up early in the morning to see the kangaroos feeding around our hut. Or spotting kangaroos and emus on my early morning daily walks.
We’ve been fixing the hut
Since we’re started visiting the hut we’ve been making improvements. I confess to having slightly envy of those who live in the modern Windy huts with their solar power, fridges, washing machines and reliable water supply.
January 2020 we spent time cleaning out old furniture, clothes, removing all the old floor coverings in preparation for fixing up the inside of the hut. We now have the original jarrah floorboards – still waiting for the gaps between floorboards to be filled – at least the gaps help cool it in summer!
Between December 2020 and February, 2021 we spent time fixing up the outside of the hut. Repainted the outside, replaced the verandah roof, the chimney, boarded up broken windows. Which meant spending hours driving to Albany (6 hour return trip), Busselton (5 hour return trip) and Manjimup (2 hour return trip) to source paint and supplies for fixing the hut.
My husband hated the color of our hut before we repainted it – but it was impressionable enough to be included in Robert Drewe’s The True Colour of the Sea book.
Did I mention reliable water supply? Our water pipes are failing from age.
June, 2020 the copper pipe to the water tap in the toilet came apart when we tried to fix a leak. Thankfully plumbers just happened to be working on a nearby hut and fixed our toilet.
December, 2020 the pipe underneath our bathroom started leaking. We were fortunate enough to find a plumber willing to travel to repair the broken section of pipe.
Initially we showered using a camping shower – which takes two people to run.
This year we’ve been game enough to run the old instanteous gas water heater.
Initially we watched TV on the phone.
Now we’ve set up a TV and chrome cast using the Internet on our phone.
You learn to be very organised with meals wIth no takeaway shops, no UberEats, the nearest shop being 30 minutes away and limited space for keeping food cold.
As a child our food was kept cold in our kerosene fridge – now we bring a portable camping fridge.
It’s smaller than the kerosene fridge but safer to use.
We used to cook our meals on the portable camping stove until my husband destroyed it – in a cooking accident.
We now cook using the old gas stove.
I go for an early walk most mornings and Windy is my favourite place to walk because of the amazing walking trails from the township to the lighthouse and along the cliffs to lookouts. Breathtaking views within comfortable walking distances from our hut – I frequently spot kangaroos and emus.
Things to Do
There is lots to do in and around Windy from swimming, snorkeling, fishing, bush walking, 4WDing to checking out local tourist attractions. Below are just a few examples.
Mount Chudalup, a granite block, with a 1.5 km walking trail to the summit 187 metres above sea level, provides 360-degree views of the surrounding area including Windy Harbour in the distance.
Around Walpole there are the red tingle trees, circular pool, the tree top walk.
Pemberton is surrounded by picturesque karri forests, green pastures and vineyards. It’s where you’ll find the two climbing trees, Gloucester tree and Dave Evans Bicentennial tree. I haven’t climbed either.
My big kids love the giant slide at the Manjimup Timber park.
The occasional fallen tree blocking the road is part of the adventures.
It seems fitting that this post was written while holidaying at Windy. This Christmas holiday we decided to take a rest from working on the hut and have relaxed. Off course no Windy trip is without it’s challenges – this trip the toilet has a new leak, our generator is playing up and our neighbours were nice enough to let us borrow theirs to keep our battery charged.
No bats yet – but give them time!