Sunday, 26 October 2014

Margaret River

Aah Margaret River. How do I love thee!? Let me count the ways.
Aaron Lily.
Seriously, there is so much to see do and drink in this little South West corner of West Australia, I was beside myself most of the time. The coastline is unbelievably dramatic, with a 6 day Cape to Cape walk traversing its length. There is great surf (the Margaret River High School Surf Team had just been crowned State Champions when we were there) beautiful beaches, cool green forests and in spring, wildflowers and carpets of Aaron's lilies

Oh and there's wineries, wine, gourmet food and boutique breweries. And wineries.  Did I mention the wine?
Capel Vale Shiraz tasting plate.
Before we arrived I was a bit worried about all this winery action, afterall trying to denote whether a wine has a berry or plum nose, an acidic or smooth mouthfeel and all that other wanky stuff is pretty hard to do when your toddler is eyeing off that really delicate looking arrangement of bottles and or screaming about going outside. But all that worry was for naught as almost every winery/brewery/anywhere is catered for kids, some with a full playground or enormous sandpit with a thousand toys in the middle. And most of them are fenced (= Yes! + fistpump + only call for me if you're bleeding).
Capel Vale Chardonnay tasting plate.
We covered this beautiful area twice, first with the McGary's and then three weeks later with my parents, so if I mention a lot of wineries it's because we did it twice. Plus we're complete pigs who probably have an unhealthy obsession with wine. So much so that we almost bankrupted ourselves on wine and lunches whilst our (read: my) waistlines grew much larger by the end of our time in the south west.

The weather didn't help, being rainy and freezing, the enemy of bush and beach walks but terribly conducive to long meals by the fire.

We picked up the McGary’s in their wheeled mansion from the hire place in Perth and had a good look at the inside before we actually headed off. It had a little kitchen, beds aplenty and a tiny ensuite... Aaah such luxury! When we questioned Tim whether the ensuite would be used he replied with an emphatic and clear "Hell no! That's disgusting!!" in regards to emptying the toilet cassette. Fiela and I found this to be quite amusing, especially since we considered ourselves to be hardened campers after our chemical toilet escapades at Warroora. We stood around, discussing the toilet issue when in a quick count of little heads we realised a small McGary had gone missing. After a short and frantic search we heard a little voice from inside the motorhome inform her parents that not to worry, she was just on the toilet, doing a poo. Luckily all the kids went inside to get a good look at how this was done, which allowed Tim, outside, to swear unhindered by the presence of  impressionable young  vocabularies.
Happy times. The Uys and McGary families employing some quality parenting techniques at Capel Vale Winery. And Tim's leatherman- an implement he showed off at every opportunity but was unable to make any reasonable use out of. Much like his other implement.

And Tim, proving to be less than reliable in the babysitting department.
Gathering ourselves after the Great Poo Disaster of 2014, we drove down the coast, with a quick stop for lunch at the Capel Vale Winery before settling into the Yallingup Beach Caravan Park. We stayed here three weeks later with my parents, and whilst it's not the cheapest place we've stayed, it is certainly an excellently maintained and positioned one.  There is a beautiful grassy common area out the front, with barbecues and tables, perfect for checking out the surf and having your winey sundowners.
Sundowners at Yallingup.
And what to do? A Walk along the cliffs on the Cape to Cape track? Or a swim or surf in the beautiful clear waters? Perhaps a beachcomb amongst the rockpools and gorgeous sandy beaches? Maybe in warmer less windy and wet conditions. Luckily for us, there are some world class eating and drinking places just around the corner...

Our favourite brewery was the Eagle Bay Brewing Co, the Margaret River Bakery was exceptional, Xanadu Winery was fantastic on the kids + fine wine and dining vortex, Vasse Felix had the most consistently delicious wine for tasting, whilst Voyager was an amazing child free fine wining and dining experience. We tasted a lot of wines from both big estates and small, and it was rare if there wasn't at least one or two we really liked.
A typical South West day at Bunker Bay, a brief bit of sunshine to warm our cold bones before the rain hits.
Our only regret was that we didn't get to experience more of the natural wonders of this beautiful area. We had a look at the Ngilgi Caves, near Yallingup which were really impressive, but all our other sightseeing was done from the car.

So until next time Margaret River when the sun is shining and the sea is sparkling, we'll come back and do more than eat and drink our way through your beautiful landscape.  We can't wait!

More photos...
Marguerite and the Capel Vale alpaca.

The crew at Busselton Jetty.

Lunch at Eagle Bay Brewing Company- the best pizza and great wine and beer...

... and the BEST sand pit EVER!!!!

The descent into the Ngilgi Caves.

Ngilgi Cave action.

Ngilgi Cave.

Strange formations in Ngilgi.

Even stranger.

A child's haven- this is the 'natural' section of Yallingup Maze, where there's also a jumping castle, playground and a maze.

Fiela attempting to put Caesar asleep in the pram at the Cheeky Monkey Brewery. There was a little bit of hard work done in the Margaret River!

Kangaroo paw.

At the Margaret River Chocolate Factory, where actually, it's just a big shop of chocolate.

Morning scene from Big Valley Campsite, a spot about 10kms out of Margaret River. A lovely spot but a bit too far from the action.

Bunker Bay

More Bunker Bay. There was a school group here surfing. The girls were all discussing the Maths Test they had next lesson when they got back to school. Cool! 

Yallingup and Nana goodness.

Jumping pillow.

More jumping pillow fun.

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