Day 218 – 224 Whitby and the Margaret River
The start of a new week is always spent with a trip to the library to print out my blog for my very dear friend Florrie. Previously I would send Florrie a post card so that she could follow our journey, but while we are in Whitby I thought it would be a great idea to go back to Week 1 and start printing out the blog so that she didn’t miss out on our adventures.
Next up is the post office and then onto the shops for groceries and home to do my 5 minutes of housework in the van. The rest of the day is spent working and late in the afternoon a bit of weeding. Andrew lights the fire and we try out cooking our veggies in the coals. My timing was out a little bit, but none-the-less they were packed with flavour! It’s so cold, Andrew tries out his beanie on Cinta – she didn’t look impressed!
I asked Andrew to take me out to two art galleries today and wouldn’t you know it both were closed on a Tuesday. We stumbled across Churchman Brook Dam, built in the 1920’s. It’s well known for its many beautiful picnic areas and has a catchment area of 16 square kilometres. We walked the steep steps to the top of the dam and the view is really scenic.
On the way home we decide to treat ourselves to lunch at Avocados. It’s set in the eastern foothills of Perth near Roleystone and Kelmscott and is set on 10 acres running along the Canning River. Immediately I think of our friends Greg and Leanne and there is a long story about avocados fruiting and weddings. Avocados is also a wedding and function centre and the trees were fruiting… It’s really peaceful sitting along the riverbank and our lunch is very nice.
We are heading down the Margaret River for a two day break and have booked an Air BnB right in the heart of Margaret River. It’s a beautiful day today, 19 degrees and the drive is really scenic. Our apartment is at the rear of a house with a forest view. It’s very warm and welcoming and it’s dog friendly. We have everything that we need for a couple of days.
After we are settled, we leave Cinta inside and head out to the Leeuwin Estate Winery. It is a vivid memory for Andrew so he wants to take me there. He was last there in 1989, the day after Dion Warwick performed. The stage was still set up in the magnificent grounds. Leeuwin Estate is one of the five founding wineries in the Margaret River region. A storm was brewing and the wind was howling so we had coffee on the deck before heading inside for the tastings. My favourite was the 2018 Siblings Sauvignon Blanc.
There is also an amazing art gallery which hosts the “Art Series” wine labels. There are over 150 artworks, many of which were specifically commissioned. The gallery is impressive and at the end of the room are two tables set up for tasting, how we wish we could have been seated here.
After the rain has eased we travel further onto Voyager Estate Winery. The first vines were planted in 1978 when it was known as Freycinet Estate. The buildings are Cape Dutch architecture and the gardens are stunning. We wander through the rose garden which has been heavily pruned ready for the next season and there are only a couple of roses blooming, however the fragrance is alluring. Further on is the kitchen garden where every type of vegetable and herb you can imagine is being grown here. The gardens are spectacular and I would love to come back to be able to see it in full bloom.
Inside is warm and welcoming with a fireplace burning and comfy lounge chairs where you can sit and enjoy a glass of wine. Further on is the spectacular restaurant, walls adorned with beautiful art works and the ladies is even just as impressive. This is my favourite winery.
The storm is intensifying so we quickly head back to the car and make our way back to the retreat. It’s wet, windy and only 9 degrees outside but our apartment is warm and cosy and we pick up a Thai take-away to have with a few glasses of wine.
We have a big day planned today and our first stop is the Margaret River Chocolate Co. Wow, so many chocolates, so neatly stacked. I can just imagine a child knocking something over and there would be chocolate everywhere!
Morning tea is in order before heading next door to the Providore. Voted one of Australia’s Top 100 Gourmet Experiences by Australian Traveller Magazine, Providore is a food and wine lovers paradise. They have a beautiful organic garden with many flowers adorning the herbs and vegetables.
Next up is Vasse Felix established in 1967, Margaret Rivers founding wine estate. Meandering through the tree lined road arriving in the car park, the Restaurant and Cellar Door is nestled amongst the vineyard. The original Vasse Felix winery has been preserved as an Art Gallery and here, a seasonal program of exhibitions from the celebrated Holmes à Court Collection is shown. The gallery experience extends to the Vasse Felix grounds where gardens of local flora have been embellished with a sculpture walk comprising works by local artists.
It’s almost time for a late lunch and the Cheeky Monkey is on my radar. It’s a brewery and restaurant and for two people who don’t drink beer, what better place to stop for lunch. The fireplace is raging and it’s warm and cosy inside. They have a lovely garden overlooking the lake and lunch time is the perfect time for reflection photos. The rain has eased and the sky is cloudy and blue.
Next up is a quick look at the Margaret River Dairy Co where you can buy award winning cheeses and try the delicious yoghurt. Travelling further north is the small quirky township of Cowaramup more commonly known to the locals as “Cowtown”. Forty two life-sized fibreglass Friesian cows and calves have taken over the town and wander the streets, parks and shops. The gardens are really pretty with wildflower blooms.
After an extremely busy morning out we head back home to pick up Cinta and take her for a drive to Prevelly where the Margaret River meets the Indian Ocean. Prevelly is also known for its exceptional surfing and interesting limestone caves. It’s blowing an absolute gale and it’s freezing cold in the wind at the lookout. The view is spectacular though and worth every minute in the freezing conditions. We have never seen surf that big, the waves are thunderous as they crash over the rocks.
Further along is Gnarabup Beach, the longest and most popular swimming beach in Prevelly. The waves are supposed to be smaller here and when we arrive the skies open up. There is a father and son putting on their wet suits and heading to the beach with their boards. I’m intrigued and follow the pathway to snap some photos from a distance. There is also a guy who is standing up and paddling out on his board too. He catches the waves and the father and son are soon riding the waves too. It’s a real thrill to watch.
After a full day we head back to the retreat for a few quiet drinks and some lovely cheese and crackers. Cinta is snugged up on her bed and ready to call it a night. We are not far behind her.
It’s 11 degrees as we leave Margaret River and head for Yallingup which is nestled on a ridge, surrounded by the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. There are spectacular views over Yallingup Beach out to the Indian Ocean. We have never seen surf that big, the waves are thunderous as they crash into the cliff face and over the rocks. The surfers are all lined up on their boards but they are not paddling out and attempting the waves while we are there.
Next stop is Dunsborough for a coffee break and then onto Busselton for our lunch break by the beach. Western Australia is blooming ready for spring to arrive. There are many fields of lillies and the highways are bursting with colours of yellow, purple and white flowers.
Tonight we’re staying with our good friends Linda and Phillip who are living in Capel. It’s so lovely to finally see where they are living and Cinta is keen to catch up with Chopper again. Linda and I have plenty to catch up on and the boys have headed off to have a round of golf. Happy hour is on once they get home and Linda has made a delicious roast meal followed by a lemon dessert. It’s a late night for us all and a lovely slow start to the morning. Time to pack up and head back home to Whitby. We’ll be catching up again before we have to leave our house sit.
Wildlife: sheep, galahs, horses, cattle, dead kangaroos, No 28 parrots, swans, alpacas, llamas.
Week 32 total expenses: $918.03 still under budget after having 2 wonderful nights in the Margaret River and dining out!
That’s a wrap for Week 32 of the Lap of the Map.
PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!