Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 17 - Purposeful Meandering Around Oz

Warren NP – Margaret River – Bunbury
Kilometres          20279 - 21444km

Monday was moving day for us and once again the kids had to say goodbye to some friends they’d made along the way, but with a promise that we’d catch up again in Adelaide….. We headed west along the southern WA coastline to Denmark where I showed the family some of the amazing cache finds I’d found a few days earlier. We continued on, stopping at another chocolate factory and the incredibly tall lookout trees, near Pemberton. These trees which are used for fire spotting have steel spikes circumnavigating their way to the top in the form of a ladder. The smallest of these trees being 50m high while the tallest tree is the Dave Evans tree at 65m high. We stopped at two of these trees and watched in amazement that WA OHS still allows the climbing of these trees to the public. We chose to climb with the kids halfway up the taller 65m high tree. The view from this height was breathtaking enough. Leaving the Pemberton area we continued on to a beautiful bush camp within one of the many National Parks in that region.
Tree climbing - Pemberton
With nothing to disturb us we enjoyed a sleep-in on Tuesday before hitting the road and making our way to the Margaret River region. We chose to stay in the township of Margaret River with the plan to use this as a base for the many attractions that lie within this wine region. A quick stop at the tourist information had us well stocked for info on the 100+ wineries, caves, beaches and other attractions in the area. We spent the remainder of the day by the van as the kids caught up on some schoolwork.
The enchanted forest
On Wednesday we headed out to some of the many attractions this area has to offer. We headed down south stopping first at a barrista coffee warehouse where we enjoyed a nice early morning coffee. Next stop was “Cookie Galore” whereas the name suggests the family gorged themselves on an array of yummy cookies. We continued south via the picturesque caves road. The enchanted forest and Hamelin Bay were well worth the stop. We eventually arrived at Cape Leeuwin which is the most south-western point of WA, we quickly jumped on the end of a lighthouse tour where we got to climb the tallest mainland lighthouse in Australia. This amazing lighthouse sits metres from where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet. To complete our day we sampled a number of nice wines as we visited a few wineries as we returned to Margaret River.
Climbing to the top of the Lighthouse
We gave ourselves the luxury of a sleep-in on Thursday, the kids set about catching up on a few days schoolwork while we did some letter writing. About lunchtime we headed off to see some more sights. We stopped by Surfers Point beach which hosts a round of the world surfing championships. From there we sampled a few more wines before stopping at the famous Margaret River Chocolate factory, once again the girls of this family were in heaven to the many options available. We continued to sample some wines as we headed around the region, finally stopping at the Margaret River Dairy Co where the kids devoured some delicious milkshakes.
Margaret River Surfing reserve
Our plan for a lazy morning on Friday didn’t materialize, the van park had stuffed up our booking and had asked us to move to a different site, so our shortest day on the road occurred as we moved 2 sites to the left. After setting up again and the kids playing on the jumping pillow we headed out once again, of course to visit more wineries. It was at one of these wineries that we got a hot tip about pizza and beer at a local brewery. We didn’t spend much time sampling wine as everyone was keen to sample the Millers Ice Cream farm. This dairy farm specialises in its own delicious ice creams which we all enjoyed sampling….. By night fall we headed out to the Colonial Brewery for a great night of live music, pizza and a few specialty beers.
Hamelin Bay
Another day but there was no let up to the frenetic pace we’d been setting around MR. Today we headed north to Busselton and the surrounding towns. The weather was perfect and many people swam in the turquoise water of Geographe Bay. We chose to catch the miniature train out along the 1.8km jetty to the underwater observatory where clear waters allowed us great viewing of the marine life some 10m below the surface. Returning to solid ground we saw a few more sights of Busselton before spending the rest of the day driving south along the coastal tourist drive. Of course this area is teeming with wine makers so we naturally had to stop and sample a few more wines, ciders, beers and chocolates.
Busselton Jetty
Sunday (today) was moving day and it couldn’t come any sooner. The Margaret River wine region has been expensive and hectic, but beautiful. We both agreed that a few days R&R and to detox is necessary. With only a short drive till our next stop there was no real urgency to be on the road early. We packed up and grabbed a coffee from the Barista warehouse before hitting the road. The kids spent most of the 100km to Bunbury reading, to the point they said the trip had only felt like a 10min drive. Leonie and I looked at each other and wished every long day in the car could have the kids feeling like that….. We quickly found a van park in Bunbury and setup just as a heavy rain shower swept over us. We spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on a few domestic chores. We finished the week by heading out for dinner to celebrate Leonie’s birthday.
Rotary Tower - Bunbury
Happy Birthday Lee. 

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