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Australia – Margaret River – Perth – 8th Feb

We decided to have a “sight-seeing” day, and luckily for us we were able to borrow Jason’s car so we took ourselves off to the highly recommended area of Margaret River. It was quite a drive to this region south of Perth, taking over 3 hours to reach our first port of call at Cape Naturaliste. We had higher expectations of this particular area looking out to sea, but it was disappointing. The walk around the Cape is okay but doesn’t really take in the views until much further round and we were constantly beating off flies! This was the worst part and perhaps the biggest memory of this area…the flies. Perhaps it is the season for them but we were covered and they wouldn’t leave us alone, we were glad to leave. One of the positives was that we were able to have our own pack-lunch inside the cafe area. The Lighthouse was closed for refurbishment.

Further down the road we found a spot of paradise in Yallingup Bay. We’d stopped to take a few photos of the ancient coral and rocks before looking over at the beautiful bathing spot and so we decided we would spend a few hours there, swimming, sunbathing and reading. The water is crystal clear in these parts (and for much of what we’ve seen in Australia) along with a gorgeous aqua colour it just tempts us every time. So in we were, it was much chillier than expected but a relief from the hot sun. In some parts of the bay the current is very strong and there is quite a bit of rock on the ground but there are some great spots for swimming and the surfers were there too lapping up the waves.

On our way out of the bay we stopped at a quirky grocery store offering anything from souvenirs to ice-creams, umbrellas and camping food and they had quite an extensive menu. The air was very back-packer in vibe and we couldn’t help but sit and enjoy our ice-creams at this pleasant place.

Moving on along our drive we took the road to Margaret River and stopped off at one of the many many vine-yards in the area. Margaret River is renowned for producing great wines and so it would have been rude not to. We chose to stop at the very grand Laurance Vineyard and were greeted by a slightly out of place statue of an angel in the air along with fountains in the lake at the front of the property. The cellar door is a restaurant and they offer wine tastings including 6 taster of choice for $9 or 3 tasters, olives and bread for $9. They charge because they can, the location is beautiful and the venue is very appealing with large wooden furniture, big swinging doors and the toilets are particularly nice! We went for a tasting of 6 between us with Dave’s favourite being the Chardonnay and Helen’s the Rose. All wines were very good though and even in our post-beach scruffiness we felt quite grand sitting in their luxurious surrounds.

Our next stop was at the River Mouth of Margaret River where huge sand-dunes build up around the beach and river area. Helen’s brother had talked of the sand-dunes and so we were hoping we would find the right place. The ocean here is perfect for surfers, wind–surfers and kite-surfers and we watched in awe taking in the speed of which they were travelling. Further round by the sand-dunes we enjoyed a windy walk taking in more dunes, grass and waves. It really is a beautiful area.

We ended our day at the fish and chips shop in Margaret River, perhaps the cheapest place to eat in what is a busy tourist town. We didn’t spend much time in the town itself but the region is beautiful and we could see why so many people had recommended us to visit there. The drive back to Perth was another 3 hours plus and so it was a long day indeed, but well worth it.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0, 18mm f4, 90mm Tele-Elmarit f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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