For those wanting the short version, here’s the slideshow:
Yet another hot day predicted, we leave Perth at 7:30 am, pointed south. We’ve got John Street Café in Cottesloe in mind for a pre-trip breakfast. Bill’s quest to sample every version of Eggs Benedict in Western Australia continues, I opt for a plum and almond muffin and a hashbrown. The flat whites are very good, as is my food; the atmosphere is lovely on this quiet Thursday morning under the Norfolk Pines. Sadly, Bill isn’t remotely impressed, declaring John Street’s Eggs Bennie his least favorite to date ($32.50 total).
We locate Stirling Highway, meander through downtown Cottesloe and begin the painfully slow drive through heavy traffic towards the CBD. Forty minutes later (9 am), we’re finally on the Kwinana Freeway pointed south. We spontaneously decide to make a detour to Mac Nuts WA, to stock up on their smoked macadamia nuts…we exit on Mundjong Road, make a right on St Albans, a left on Doghill and presto, we’re there…they’re not officially open for the day, but they let us in anyway.
In record time, we’re back the Kwinana headed south. The landscape is dry and parched – it’s evident that we haven’t had a drop of rain in 51 days and that it’s been one of the longest and hottest summers on record. We’re beginning to wonder if the misery will ever end.
There’s not much to look at until 55 kilometers north of Bunbury, where we officially enter the South West. Gnarled trees appear almost immediately. We take the Bunbury Bypass and we’re soon on the Bussell Highway, entering the Shire of Capel. I seem to remember Capel having something to do with cheese, so we detour into the tiny town to take a peek. It’s cute, but there’s no sign of cheese, so we continue our drive to Busselton, via the Ludlow Tuart Forest Tourist Drive, a pretty detour through heavily treed forest, before re-joining the Bussell Highway, six km north of Busselton, where we arrive just before noon.
The Busselton foreshore is busy, it’s uncomfortably hot, but we decide to get some exercise and walk the 1.8 km Busselton Jetty. We purchase a jetty day pass ($2.50 each) and set out, reaching the underwater observatory in about 20 minutes. We’re not interested in the observatory, we’re just there to walk, so we explore for a few minutes and then head back. We’re soaked with sweat and cursing the heat by the time we reach shore…it’s late March, where oh where is autumn?
I notice a sign for Simmo’s, the ice cream shop that everyone who visits WA seems to plan their trips around, a place I’d never heard of until a few months ago. We absolutely must investigate. Bill chooses licorice and vanilla, I go for mango macadamia nut and ginger cinnamon. We’re each given a small cup with two small scoops and told we owe $14. Yikes, this stuff better be good!
It is good, but certainly not something I’d go out of my way for. The flavors are definitely interesting, but suddenly, that $8 liter of Classic Vanilla Connoisseur that I have in my freezer at home seems like a really good buy.
We leave Busselton around 1:20 pm, admiring the colorful flower filled roundabouts and the enticing blue of Geographe Bay as we work our way out of town. We turn towards Dunsborough via Caves Road, where we locate Cape Naturaliste Road and drive towards Bunker Bay.
The plan is to explore a bit and perhaps have lunch at Bunker’s Beach Café, which is exactly what we do. What an idyllic spot this is…the unassuming café faces the sparkling white sand and vibrant turquoise water of Bunker Bay – the view is glorious, but the flies that pester us in the open air café are a royal pain. We settle in for a semi-relaxing lunch, opting to share the Yallingup sourdough bread with Millbrook EVOO ($6) and the warmed selection of olives, venison chorizo, tomato, garlic and basil dip ($16) as an appetizer. As a main we share a smoked mozzarella, venison chorizo, onion with tomato and rocket tile fired pizza ($18), with a glass of wine each (total for lunch $60).
The food is lovely, the location divine, we’re off to a good start.
We continue our drive towards Margaret River, calling in at Lamont’s for a tasting and a look see. Lamont’s in the Swan Valley is one of our favorite Friday lunch venues, so we’re curious to take a peek at the Margaret River version.
Our next stop is Clairault Winery, which we discovered on a previous trip. We adore this winery, liking every single wine we try, the beautiful grounds and the entertaining chat we have with the gentleman pouring the wine.
It’s getting late, so we pop into the IGA in Margaret River town for a loaf of Yallingup Wood Fired bread, cheese, salami and fruit before heading 16 km east of town to seek out the first miss of the trip, our accommodation, Rosa Brook Stone B&B.
I’ve prepared a review of this B&B and I’ll post it on Trip Advisor as soon as they heed my request to have it added to the site. Suffice to say, we were very disappointed, and the accommodation detracted from our time in Margaret River.
We spend sunset on the verandah of our B&B, sipping wine, nibbling cheese and bread, listening to birdsong and some odd sounds from the swamp next door. And it actually begins to cool off – halleluiah!
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Hits and Misses - A Long Weekend in Margaret River
For those wanting the short version, here’s the slideshow: