Our next stop was the small town of Margaret River, our base for four nights while we explored the surrounding region, famed for surfing beaches, stormy seas and spectacular coastlines, limestone caves, craft breweries, farm fresh produce and lots of wineries.
Margaret River food and wine frolic
First stop was the tourist office, to pick up maps and locate the many wineries and premium food outlets we planned to visit amongst the many scattered about the region.
Having a plan of attack for attacking the wineries also proved a useful standby for indoors activity in wet weather, given the forecast for high rainfall every day for at least the next week.
But where to start, when every road greets visitors with signs like this?
And so we set off, armed with our map of circled wineries and food stores.
Open fires were a very welcoming feature at many of the cellar doors in chilly wet weather.
We were surprised to see the use of sheep on some of the organic vineyards, providing natural fertiliser and mowing!
Many wineries had established grand cellar door buildings, some with restaurants or function centres, and often set amidst sweeping gardens.
The rain mainly appeared as intermittent showers, which really didn’t slow us down as we soldiered on, visiting the wineries and sampling their wares.
We were one of the last visitors at Watershed wines, as they’ve been bought out by a larger winery and were closing down the next day. On the plus side, they were discounting their remaining stock by 70% and charging just $5 per carton freight anywhere in Australia. So, we did the right thing and sent a few boxes of fine wine home.
We sampled and stocked up on a diverse array of wines and produce, including olive oils, dukkah, nuts, sourdough breads, chocolates, cheeses, fresh produce from the farmers market and even delicious pasta, sauces and soups. And, of course, the odd bottle of wine.
Here’s just a sample of our stash.
But our visit to the Margaret River region wasn’t all beer and skittles, or even wine, cheese and chocolates! We also checked out the sights.
The delightful little town of Cowaramup (otherwise known as ‘”Cow Town”) was just a few kilometres from Margaret River.
Playing on the town’s name, painted cows and calves were dotted throughout the main street and parks – even just outside the butcher shop!
Our next stop was Cape Leeuwin, at the south-western corner of Australia, where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet.
This area is known for its wild and woolly weather and pounding seas, but not on the day we visited. We jagged the warmest winter day at Cape Leeuwin since records began 130 years before – a cracking 25.5 C. And calm blue seas, to boot!
Margaret River mouth, Hamelin Bay and Gracetown
The point at which the Margaret River meets the Indian Ocean is a popular surfing beach in the region.
Next we are off to see the tall forests near Pemberton and the southern coastal areas.