A road trip through WA Prt 2

Now for part 2 of our road trip in WA. I posted a rundown of part 1 yesterday. Catch up here if you missed it.

This part of the trip wasn't just about the wineries. In fact, neither of us are winery-sort-of-people. Whilst the region is renowned for its vineyards, it's also got a hell of a lot more to offer in the way of natural wonders, forests, ocean, caves and hikes.


Here's what we did:

Margaret River Region:

First stop: We gave ourselves a short pit stop in Busselton, about a 3-hour drive from Perth. It’s best known for its iconic 2km long jetty. I’ve heard it’s worth the walk to the end (although you can hop on the jetty train) because that’s where you’ll find an underwater observatory, 8kms below sea level. Unfortunately the observatory was closed the day we were there. We did, however, have a most delicious freshly brewed chai tea at The Goose cafe/restaurant (very cute), which overlooks the jetty. There’s a fireplace and although we didn’t eat, the food served up to others smelt divine. The menu stated plenty of local ingredients and free range eggs and chicken.


The Jetty, whilst sipping chai at The Goose cafe

Next stop:
 Yallingup. It’s not really a ‘town’ as such – there’s no central strip of shops, no main street – but it’s the perfect spot to base yourself for a night or two whilst you explore the top half of the region. We arrived on a late Tuesday afternoon and having no accommodation bookings, were deliriously chuffed to come across the Yallingup Caves House Hotel, a heritage listed, beautifully renovated pub positively oozing with character and charm (and that's not code for smelly). It’s also seriously good value – we paid $120 for their most basic room, which had a spa bath and this view out the window:


Just a nice view out the bathroom window
The Caves House Hotel. It's super super awesome!

And the place features not one but three fireplaces!

It’s also set on stunning grounds with a secret path leading to Yallingup beach, definitely worth a wander.

Things to see in & around Yallingup:

Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and WalkOh oh oh, one of my favourite experiences of the trip. You can pay for a tour of the lighthouse itself, but I chose instead to take the Whale Lookout Walk Trail. I was rewarded with these views – breathtaking:

There was not a soul but mine out here

I then meandered back to the carpark via the Cape Naturaliste Loop, enjoying views like this:



All in all it’s a 6.2km walk, but an easy one. You can finish it off with a hot cuppa at the Lighthouse tea rooms, overlooking the ocean.


The top left loop, that's what you wanna do

Yallingup bakery: Everyone told me about this bakery. They bake authentic sourdough in a wood fire oven, made with rainwater and love. They sell only whole loaves – buy one and enjoy with some local cheese and wine down at the beach at sunset.


Bread babies resting

Clancy’s Fish Pub: We ate dinner here on our first night, and lunch again on our last day, on the way back up to Perth. The food is just how I like it: simple, local and rustic. Here, you don’t have to order one large meal and be stuck with it, you can order a few small dishes and sample different flavours. Our mate Barry, whom we’d met earlier that night at the Caves House Hotel, suggested we try the Bussselton in-house pickled octopus. It was To Die For. As were the grilled local sardines with scorched lemon, served on Yallingup sourdough with local olive oil. Oh My. My meal was accompanied by a scrumptious roast pumpkin and hazelnut salad with tahini and yoghurt dressing. The bar serves local beer and wine – try the Harewood Estate Denmark Pinot; it’s heady, smooth, chocolaty, seductive:


Said fare at Clancy's, by a fire

There’s also a doozy of a deck, overlooking this nice little river:

Nice view with a local cider?

And a fireplace for Wintery nights:



Vasse Virgin Natural Olive Oil Factory
: These guys have been making natural olive oil soaps since 1993, when their kids were diagnosed with eczema and dermatitis. The olive oil is sourced from their very own olive grove. It’s cold-pressed and extra virgin. They use only rainwater in the mix. It can’t get much more local and eco-friendly than that. You can buy their products online here.

Knee Deep Wines: This was the one and only winery we ate at the entire trip (tragic to some). We ate local lamb and chicken. Both dishes made us happy:


Local sous vide lamb rump with spiced carrots, lamb and chickpea croquettes and yoghurt labne 

If we’d had more time in the region we’d have also lunched at Cullen Wines. All the locals raved about it and quite a few people on Twitter also suggested it to me. It’s a sustainable, biodynamic winery and the produce they dish up is all local and organic.

Ngilgi Cave: This is definitely worth a look-in. Navigate the paths to the amphitheatre, and get on your back for this spectacular lunar-like view of the stalactites:


Spikey!

If we’d had more time we’d have taken a Koomal Dreaming tour of the cave’s surrounds. Josh runs a few different tours: the Big Rock Cultural Walk and the Didj Meditation Cave tours took my fancy.

Yallingup Shearing Shed: It’s just a bit of woolley fun. They put on a shearing demo at 11am daily. You can buy ugg boots and the like. There was this fellow, who didn’t move an inch the whole time we were there:


He's real, I promise!

Next stop: Margaret River. The township itself is petite. One street and you’re done. But there’s some great places to eat and drink, and like the rest of the region it’s the small providers dotted throughout the surrounds that makes this a great place to stay for a couple of nights. We stayed at Bridgefield B&B – wow does that place have character. And a fireplace!

Things to see in & around Margaret River:

Pierro: Again our mate Barry urged us to visit this winery and try their 2010 chardonnay. Wow. It is tantalising. The best chardonnay I’ve ever graced my taste buds with. And I’m not normally a chardonnay kinda gal. The folks have a sense of humour too:



Margaret River Providore
: Situated next to an olive grove and a kitchen garden, it’s a sweet place to enjoy some lunch and try the 101 varieties of infused olive oils and verjuice concoctions. Maggie would be proud.

Margaret River Venison Farm & Shop: I’d read about this farm shop before the trip and was uber excited to try some of their chorizo. The owners farm their deer on site and hire a German man to cure the meat the old-fashioned way. Their range of chorizos and salamis is completely chemical free. We bought a small piece of venison chorizo to share.


Chorizo happiness

Deer friends


Boranup Karri Forest: On our way to lunch we drove through the Karri Forest where the trees are over 100 years old and reach 60 metres off the ground. We were the only souls there. There’s a lookout that provides a glorious view over Hamelin Bay – just watch out for the swarm of aggressive bees we disturbed.


Conto’s: We took our MR venison chorizo and headed off to Revive Health Foods in the middle of town to stock up on some nuts and other goodies for a peasant-style feast by Conto’s. After lunch we clambered over the boulders and inspected the rock pools like big kids. It made us happy. Back at the carpark, follow the sign towards the Spring, and although you’ll probably never find it (we never did), you’ll land yourself in Conto’s Field, the perfect spot to stop for a rest or swim before moving on (p.s there’s a decent toilet there too):

Conto's fields - decent toilet here!

Local nibblies for lunch on Conto's Rocks

Nom nom

An armchair! How thoughtful

Don't fall off kids

Wino’s: This place is something akin to Movida in Melbourne. We ate dinner there and boy was it a party on my tongue. Try the crab pate with lime jelly and the local chorizo with lemon juice. Amaze:

The crab

Yahava Koffee Works: If you’re into coffee, this roastery cafe is an absolute must. Hands down one of the best lattes I’ve had, ever. These guys source single-origin and Rainforest Alliance coffees from all over the world as well as Australia. Try their organic cuppa, and also the Indian Monsoon Malabar – my lordy it was incredibubble.

If we had more time:
Dirty Detours run mountain bike adventures through the Boranup Forest where they follow old logging routes, riding single track. We’d also have done a Cafe Cycle Cruise.

Also I thought I’d let you know about WA Tourism’s Experience WA Mobile App. You tell it what kind of trip you’re after, and it plans it for you!  

Okay! That’s it for now. Have you been on your own road trip through WA? Do you have any suggestions you’d like to share?


4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your experiences! I live in WA, and have hit a few of the areas you guys experienced, but would love to hit up the cafes and natural areas you have mentioned. I shall have to check out the app for the next trip to Busselton/Margaret River (one of my favs!).

    While the drive up North (Pilbara and Kimberlies) was too long for your 'short' trip across, it can be well worth it, if you like the scenery. Broome is also well worth the flight or trip up!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Laura. We so wanted to go further up north from Exmouth but were only there a few days. A trip to the Kimberlies is definitely on my list.

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  2. That is really a nice experience. Great.

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  3. I know I'm posting my comment many months late, but I wanted to share that my husband and I did a mountain bike ride with dirty detours and it was fantastic! They take you through the old fire tracks and theres no one else around. At some points there's views of the ocean and the scenery through the forest is stunning. Well worth it.

    ReplyDelete

 

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