Chocolate, cheese and wine. So read our list of expenses for Monday third of October. It can therefore only be concluded that we were in Margaret River. The chocolate was from the Margaret River Chocolate Factory, the cheese from the Margaret River Dairy Company and the wine, a 2009 Shiraz, was from the Laurance Estate.
There are more than a hundred different wineries between Cape Leeuwin in the south and Cape Naturaliste in the the north. There are also five breweries and at least three different mazes. Completing a maze seemed a bit much after a winery so we mainly visited those brewing establishments that had children’s playgrounds. The 2011 visitors guide provides a very handy list of such establishments.
The wineries are fancy, with architecturally designed buildings set amongst landscaped gardens and well maintained vineyards. The Laurance estate was so fancy I walked in on a gentleman in the bathrooms taking happy snaps! Of the artwork and the bathroom itself that is, at least I think… He did put his camera away awfully quickly when I walked in. In his defense it was a very fancy bathroom. I suspect the artwork was worth more than dad’s caravan.
We managed to afford our little indulgences by lodging ourselves at a very affordable camp site on a working sheep station about 10 km south east of Margaret River itself. Twas a splendid property, where Amy and Oliver made their best friends of the entire trip with three girls from Mandurah, down for the school holidays. This meant that while we were not out looking at wineries, forests, lighthouses or chocolate factories they were virtually nowhere to be seen. The gang’s favourite hang outs included the cubby house tree, the aluminium can recycler (they would fish out the unsquashed cans and busily ensure they occupied less space) and the sheep paddock.
On one occasion I walked over to the tree cubby just to, you know, make sure all was well and discovered an ingenious pulley system had been rigged up and Oliver was being lowered from three meters up the tree down to the ground. While impressed, I felt obliged to insist all future lowering was restricted to Teddy bears. Yes I’m a worry wart.
While in the region we also visited the Ellensbrook Homestead, watched the kite surfers ‘tear it up’ in some stormy swells at the famous Margaret River surf break, dropped by the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and watched the Indian and Southern Oceans collide, took in a fantastic free flight bird show at the Eagles Heritage predatory bird rehabilitation centre and drove the scenic Boranup Karri Forest drive. Oh yes and there was the Yahava Koffee works where I paid $7.00 for what was supposedly one if the best three coffees in the world. According to whom I ought to have asked. It was good but Tim’s coffee from Beppe’s cafe at Belconnen Markets is better.
On our last night in Margaret River there I sat, a glass of Shiraz, Camembert cheese and a book on the history of philosophy! Don’t ask me why, but that is just what I happened to be reading at the time. The epitome of culture.