A taste of Perth (and vicinity)

Aug 25th, 2009, 12:25 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Caught up on the installments again! It's great you are getting out so often and exploring the area. So easy to get caught up in the everyday and not do that.
Toucan2 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2009, 04:03 PM
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Thank you Toucan, I'll label those photos. You've been a great help! I'm trying to do as much as I can while the weather is nice and cool, as once it gets hot, I'm down for the count.

I hope you feel better.
Melnq8 is online now  
Aug 26th, 2009, 11:17 AM
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Always a pleasure to find a Melnq8 thread to read on a slow day at the office. Great to see that you're well acquainted with your new stomping grounds.

And now, when we get to Perth, we will have excellent suggestions on where to hike and caffeinate.

Thanks so much, and can't wait for more!
kim711 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2009, 06:18 PM
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Thank you kim711!

14) Indian Ocean views…

A flawless day in late August, I get on the Mitchell Freeway pointed north towards Joondalup. I take the Hodges exit, turn left, and then turn right on Marmion Ave. I’m shocked and amazed as I pull into the Iluka Foreshore parking area, having found it on the first try. Surely there’s been a mistake?

My destination is the Iluka Foreshore walk/cycle trail, another entry in my CALM book (page 69). Indian Ocean views from a cliff top have been promised. The ocean is certainly there, but I see nothing that resembles a cliff. I set out from what I believe to be the Beaumaris Beach picnic area; I’ll have to trust my book on this as I see no such sign. I find the wide paved path which leads in both directions, I go right.

The book certainly hadn’t lied about the views, they’re uninterrupted and endless. The path seems to be a popular one, bikers, walkers, joggers, young and old, wearing all manner of footwear, or wearing none at all. Ouch.

I work my way north, detouring to the beaches at every opportunity, taking photo after photo. The path is rimmed with ‘typical dune vegetation’. There are few birds, although I do see some species I’ve not seen on my bush and lakeside walks.

It’s a gorgeous sunny day and I’m kept cool by the ocean breeze. Before long I’ve found myself at Burns Beach, which seems busy for a winter’s day. I keep walking, and I’m soon entering a newish looking park, surrounded by very large homes under construction. A sign tells me this is ‘premium oceanfront living’. I’ll say.

I follow the path until it ends, then retrace my steps. I toy with the idea of having a coffee at the Burns Beach Café, but it’s busy, so I keep going. Three miles later, I’m back where I started.

I continue on, walking the section of the path that goes south. There are fewer people on this side and I’m soon by myself. I pass a sign for Cruisers beach, walk down to the sand and admire the limestone formations, it’s pretty down here. I continue on the path until I come to a boat mooring and a building marked Whitfords Sea Rescue Group. The path continues, but this seems a good place to turn around, so I head back towards my car. I’ve logged over six miles.

I later find out I've walked a portion of the Sunset Coast trail which extends from Burns Beach all the way to Cottesloe Beach.


My return home proves more difficult. I take a series of wrong turns which leads to an impromptu tour of Joondalup. I’m literally lost in suburbia. I see much more of this neighborhood than I’d planned, but I eventually find the highway and work my way home.

Photos for this section start here:


Next up: ???
Melnq8 is online now  
Sep 26th, 2009, 03:53 AM
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15) A great find in Walyunga National Park…

On an absolutely beautiful Saturday in late September we set out to explore Walyunga National Park. We take the Tonkin Highway to the Reid Highway to the Great Northern Highway and head north. Highways in Perth aren’t what we Yanks consider highways; they’re often only one lane in each direction. We pass through the Swan Valley, noticing that the vines are turning green; spring has sprung in Perth.

We reach the park in 50 minutes. There’s an $11 entry fee, but we have our annual parks pass, so we drive right in. We’re here to walk the Kingfisher Trail, an 8.5 km loop mentioned in my CALM walking guide. It’s a gorgeous day for a hike, the skies are what Bill and I call “WA blue”, not a cloud to be had. It’s sunny, cool and breezy, about 19c, perfect weather for walking.

We discover that there are five walk trails in the park (CALM said there were only three), and all begin at the Walyunga Pool picnic area. It’s early and the only other people we see are preparing to kayak in the Swan River, which runs through the park. We set out on the Kangaroo trail, which will eventually merge with the Kingfisher trail. It’s pretty through here, with wandoo and marri trees and gobs of orange and yellow wildflowers. The trail is easy at first, but gets considerably more difficult as we progress, and before long I have to pull out my hiking stick. CALM has rated both the Kangaroo and Kingfisher as Class 4 walks, meaning this isn’t an easy stroll.

The Kangaroo trail eventually merges with the Echidna trail and there’s an information panel detailing walk options. We’re both impressed with how well marked these are, which isn’t always the case in WA National Parks.

As we climb we’re treated to some nice views over the Swan Valley and some vast fields covered in wildflowers. About four miles in, we reach the junction for the Kingfisher trail, which we decide to forgo and continue on the longest and most difficult trail in the park, the 10.6 km Echidna trail.

We eventually reach Woodsome Hill, the highest point in Walyunga National Park, where we plant our weary selves down on a log for a break and a snack. It’s serene and peaceful. We have the place completely to ourselves. Well, unless you count the mob of about 10 kangaroos who go bouncing by as if we’re not there.

We begin our descent, or so we think. Before long we head up again, just to make another knee crunching descent shortly after. It’s steep with lots of loose gravel, prime territory for slipping and breaking one’s neck. We see the Swan River below us as we begin our final descent, being deposited at Syd’s Rapids along the river. It’s gorgeous here, the birds are chirping, the rapids are flowing, the more we look the more flowers we see, some of them incredibly tiny.

We join the level Aboriginal Heritage Trail, which eventually leads back to the picnic area, now filled with people out enjoying the beautiful spring day.

The information panel indicates the walk time for the Echidna trail is five hours. We’ve completed it in less than four (and we’re not spring chickens). Total walk distance from the car park is 7.66 miles, 12.3 km.

We’re hungry, so we decide to find a café in the Swan Valley before returning home. We want something casual, as we’ve just spent four hours hiking and we’re not looking or smelling our best.

A sign advertising wood fired pizza catches our eye, so we call in at Oakover Winery. For whatever reason pizza isn’t on the menu, but we decide to give it a try anyway. The cellar door and restaurant are busy, and it appears to be a popular stop on the tourist bus route.

Bill has the grilled Italian sausage, Danish feta, caramelized onion tartlet, toasted olives and homemade bread ($15). I have the caramelized onion and Danish feta tart, cherry tomato, feta, wild roquet salad ($13). We pass on the wine. We share a piece of decadent Velvet Crumble cake with our flat whites; we figure we’ve earned a treat ($14 total). The food is pretty good, but nothing to get excited about.


A very good day all around.

Photos for this section start here:


Next up: ???
Melnq8 is online now  
Sep 26th, 2009, 02:15 PM
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Just catching up - great descriptions, Mel.

Now I'll have to add Perth to my list.

I had the offer of free hotel for a week while a friend attends a conference, but just couldn't manage the time off. Now - if only they'd move the conference forward, to end October, I'd be there!
margo_oz is offline  
Sep 30th, 2009, 07:24 PM
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Caught up again. One of my future wishes is to come to Western Australia during wildflower season. I understand it can be spectacular. Here I am getting ready to clean out the flower beds for the winter!
Toucan2 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2009, 08:41 PM
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Just doing my part to support Perth tourism! The wildflowers are pretty amazing, all the more so because some of them are teensy weensy. If you don't look closely, you can miss a lot.
Melnq8 is online now  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 12:30 AM
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16) A different view of the Perth Hills…

The first day of November; the usual Perth wind is blowing full force, but the sky is a vibrant blue. We’re chasing winter; our cool weather days are numbered, so we take full advantage. The citizens of Western Australia have vetoed Daylight Savings Time; it’s full light just short of 5:30 am.

We hit the road early, taking the Tonkin Highway south towards the international airport, turning left on Kelvin, right on White and left on Hardinge Road. Traffic is virtually non existent, and we pull into Bickley Reservoir a mere 30 minutes after leaving home.

Our destination is the Kattamordo Heritage Trail, located near the Bickley Outdoor Recreation Camp, a short walk up from a picnic area and car park. I’m surprised to find the loo at the picnic area full of millipedes; I thought we left those behind in SA.

The Kattamordo Heritage Trail is a 27 km track that can be walked from either end; Mundaring Weir Road or Bickley Reservoir, or accessed from several points in between. The information I’ve found online describes the trail as one which ‘traverses forests, orchard and farmland along the top of the Darling Range to Carmel, where it descends via Bickley Bailey to Bickley Reservoir’. We’ve no intention of walking the whole thing; heck no, we’re just out for a few hours.


We find the track easy; wide and almost road-like until just past the New Victoria Dam, where it turns into a real trail. The new dam and the remnants of the old dam are interesting and oddly pretty, the bright blue of the water set against the red dirt and looming concrete. We thoroughly explore both, an added bonus to our walk. We stop for awhile at a picnic area in the shadow of the New Victoria Dam, explore the lookouts and enjoy the peace and quiet. There are a few wildflowers left through here, not many, but plenty of birds.


The sun seems entirely too high in the sky for so early in the day; we turn around and work our way back to the car park. It’s warmed up and the flies have found us, making our return less pleasant than our walk in. We’ve logged just under 6.5 miles in about 2.5 hours.

My research has revealed that this area is also home to the Bickley and Carmel Valley wine trail, one of three Perth Hills wine trails, so we backtrack a few miles on the Tonkin Highway and locate Welshpool Road, calling in at Fairbrossen Winery for a tasting and some lunch on their patio.


I order the Greek salad ($14) and Bill opts for what he thinks is a light sandwich that turns out to be anything but…eggs, rashers and béarnaise sauce on a massive Turkish roll ($10.95). We accompany our lunch with their 2009 Rosé; a wine we don’t generally like, but we’re quite taken with theirs…refreshing and crisp and a brilliant light ruby red…it’s almost too pretty to drink. We go whole hog, sharing a slice of dense chocolate cake over flat whites for dessert ($12.50), effectively undoing the good we’ve done on our walk. Oh well.

More wineries beckon, but we’re feeling oddly sluggish, so we decide to save them for another day.

Next up??
Melnq8 is online now  
Mar 20th, 2010, 08:42 PM
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I thought of you Maudie, as we've just returned from Cottesloe, where we had breakfast at John Street Cafe and poked around the beach for a quick look at this year's Sculpture by the Sea. We've been to the cafe twice now and we like it, but John Street was chockablock with cars and so congested that I felt positively claustrophobic. I felt bad for the homeowners...folks were using their yards as parking areas and people were milling about everywhere, as the beach parking lots were full.

Long wait to be seated for breakfast (very busy) and entirely too many people on the beach for my tastes, but the exhibit is here until Tuesday, so I might go back and take a closer look tomorrow.

I've been remiss in adding to this thread...we tend to hibernate during the summer months and a second knee surgery has somewhat curbed my hiking enthusiasm (and ability). As soon as the snakes go into hibernation, the exploration will resume.
Melnq8 is online now  
Jul 28th, 2010, 10:04 PM
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17) Tackling the Eagle View Trail...

It took us a year, but we finally got around to a return visit to John Forrest National Park to hike the Eagle View Trail, which so enticed us last winter (see #6 above).

On a beautiful Sunday in July, we set out on the longest and most challenging trail within John Forrest, the 15 kilometer circuit that leads through the less visited northern edge of the park. We registered at the ranger’s station, hoping they’d come look for us if we didn’t return in a timely fashion (!).

We crossed the bridge over Jane’s Brook and accessed the trail from the right (east). I later read that the trail was designed to be walked from the left, but going in from the right turned out to be a good decision. We had the track to ourselves until late in the hike when we encountered several groups walking in from the opposite direction.

We really enjoyed the first 2/3 of this track...plenty of trees and birds, interesting granite formations, some nice views...but it became progressively more difficult and the last three kilometers seemed to go on forever. Being the klutz that I am, I managed to stumble and land face first into a prickly bush, resulting in several bruises and scrapes…you can’t take me anywhere…

Some four hours of steady walking later, we were back at the ranger’s station, seriously worn out. By now the parking lot was full and there were people everywhere (first weekend of school holidays).

We’d planned to re-visit the Mahogany Inn just up the road from John Forrest, but alas, it's closed indefinitely for renovations.

Our next attempt was the Margaret River Chocolate Factory on West Swan Road (yes, they do serve more than chocolate, but I’m certainly not opposed to having cake for lunch), but the minute we saw the place we knew we were in trouble…the parking lot was packed, fellow chocolate lovers were everywhere, some having parked on the surrounding lawns (a WA practice that completely baffles me) as well as up and down the nearest side street. We lucked into a parking spot as someone was leaving, but one look at the queue at the counter and we split….no thanks. I so dislike school holidays…

We retreated to the suburbs, finally ending up at Siderno Café, a lovely little Italian café in Osborne Park, where I had a massive serving of Bruschetta ($9) and the spouse opted for an equally generous serving of grilled hot sausage with baked olives, bocconcini and bread ($19). My plan was to save room for cake and coffee, but the staff was so busy serving a large group that they never got around to bringing it to us; we got tired of waiting and left. The gods must be trying to tell me something…

Melnq8 is online now  
Jul 28th, 2010, 10:25 PM
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18) Yet another place I can’t pronounce - Gidgegannup…

A sunny winter’s day in late July, we’re out the door early and on our way to the Perth Hills via the Reid Highway. My research has revealed two walk trails out this way, on the opposite side of John Forrest National Park, both promising waterfalls.

We turn onto Toodyay Road and work our way east towards Gidgegannup. We eventually turn left on Reen Road, travel another 8.5 kilometers and easily locate the first of the trails, some 50 kilometers north-east of Perth.

We park and set out on the FR Berry Walk Trail which leads through the largest nature reserve in the City of Swan. We’re soon walking amongst Wandoo, Jarrah and Marri forest alongside the Wooroloo Brook. We don’t generally take the promise of waterfalls in WA seriously, as they’re often just trickles of water on rock and/or completely dry. Today however, there is indeed a respectable waterfall flowing over the granite rocks, thanks to the recent winter rain.

It’s a nice easy loop of about 2.5 kilometers. We have it completely to ourselves; we embrace the serenity amongst the chatter of birds.

We backtrack to Toodyay Road and continue east, eventually turning at the Noble Falls picnic area, across the road from the Noble Hills Tavern, where we embark on our second track, aptly named the Noble Falls Walk Trail. The path leads across granite rock, over the Wooroloo Brook and meanders through pasture before leading down an embankment and then up to a paved road. This is an odd, convoluted trail, and we’d have been in trouble without the map I’d printed and brought along. Part of the trail is through bush, the rest on paved road, not exactly what I’d had in mind. It’s a moderate walk of about 3.5 kilometers. The trail disappoints, but the picnic area alongside the brook is very nice and there are more WA waterfalls…


We turn west on Toodyay Road and head towards the Swan Valley, where we’ve scoped out a promising venue for lunch. We turn onto West Swan, which takes us right past the Margaret River Chocolate Factory; resistance is futile, I absolutely must stop.

School holidays are underway, but the small crowd is tolerable, so we pop inside to see what kind of cake is on offer, deciding to live by my motto, 'life is short, eat dessert first’. We agree to share a gorgeous slice of chocolate mud cake, accompanied with fresh cream and some nice flat whites ($15).

Back on West Swan, it’s off to Elmar’s in the Valley, the largest glass micro-brewery in the Southern Hemisphere and, we quickly discover, the home to some pretty good German food. I choose the Kartoffelsuppe, creamy potato soup with bacon bits and cocktail wieners ($9.90 and better than it sounds) and a glass of sparkling wine ($7.50). Bill opts for the Grillbratwurst, grilled pork sausage with German sauerkraut and potato mash ($17.50) washed down with a smoky wheat beer ($6.50). The food is so good that we pick up some grillbratwurst from their small goods store to grill up later at home.

This was a good stop, and it’s been added to our ever growing list of good places to eat in/around Perth.

Melnq8 is online now  
Aug 17th, 2010, 10:51 PM
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19) A taste of the Bibbulmun…

August, Friday the 13th, we’ve had two solid days of rain, but today the clouds look harmless enough, so we set out towards the Darling Range of the Perth Hills, an area we can’t seem to get enough of.

We travel south on the Tonkin Highway, noticing a low fog near the airport, briefly wondering if flights have been affected. We locate the Albany Highway and continue south, the speed limit dropping to 60 km as we pass through town after town. We skirt around the city of Armadale and we’re soon motoring along the southern edge of the Perth Hills.

It’s pretty through here, sprawling ranches, rolling hills dotted with sheep, and the occasional alpaca farm. We’re soon entering Gleneagle Forest, surrounded by Jarrah trees. Nine kilometers past the turnoff to Jarrahdale we look for the car park that my online research has promised. It’s not easy to find, no markings whatsoever, but we manage to locate the unsealed road which meanders back into the trees and ends at a makeshift parking area. Were it not for my notes, we’ve never have found it. This area is derelict and overgrown, the road flooded in a few spots. We find the information board for the Bibbulmun track tucked back here, completely hidden from the road. It’s taken us 1:20 to reach this spot from our home.

We walk across the Albany Highway, turn left (north) and immediately begin to climb Sullivan Rock, a large granite outcrop. After traversing the rock, we join the Bibbulmun Track, following the ‘waugal’ trail markers (Aboriginal mythical dreamtime serpent). We’ve walked several sections of the Bibbulmun over the past few years and every time I see one of those yellow serpent markers, I’m reminded that I’m walking in Australia, snake country. I wonder if that’s the whole idea, to keep walkers alert for snakes?

We walk through a burn area, surrounded by orange leafed trees and blackened shrubs. The noise of the highway eventually fades as we work our way to the summit of Mt Vincent, assorted wildflowers in early bloom along the trail.

We’re soon huffing and puffing as we ascend Mt Vincent, where we’re rewarded with expansive views of the surrounding forests as well as Mt Cuthburt and Mt Cooke, the highest point on the Darling Scarp at 582 meters. We soak up the scenery for a bit and then retrace our steps, opting to walk a portion of the Bibbulmun track in the direction of Mt Cooke, before the skies open and chase us back to our car. We’ve logged six miles and discovered another hike for yet another day, the climb to Mt Cooke. We’ve not see another soul.

We backtrack on the Albany Highway, taking the turnoff to Jarrahdale, thinking we’ll pop into our favorite winery for a tasting of their new vintage. But we spot another walk trail sign, so we turn on Acacia Road and we’re soon walking the Wetlands Experience, which the information board indicates is a 40 minute circuit. It’s an easy level trail though lush meadows, shaded forest and bushes laden with fragrant yellow flowers. There are ponds, a boardwalk and an assortment of bird hides. This is a lovely peaceful walk, just under a mile long.

Back in the car we continue towards Jarrahdale, passing orchards, Jarrah forests and an interesting house with steel siding. Before long we’re pulling into Millbrook Winery, idyllically situated overlooking a lake and vineyards. I love this place! We partake of a wine tasting and decide to stay on for lunch, no booking needed today as it’s very quiet. We’re seated just as the only other guests are leaving; we’ve got the entire restaurant to ourselves.

I opt for the roasted beetroot, served with steamed leaves and Cypriot haloumi in a mint dressing ($20). It’s made with fresh beetroot from the winery’s onsite garden. I’m apprehensive, as I associate beetroot with the bizarre red stuff that comes from a can, but I’m pleasantly surprised as I tuck in.

Bill opts for the char grilled veal rib eye, cooked in a Pedro Ximenes reduction and served with a fabulous cauliflower cheese concoction that I can’t seem to keep my fork out of ($42). We accompany our meal with some fresh baked bread and olive oil ($7) and our favorite Millbrook wine, their Sauvignon Blanc ($10 per glass). We thoroughly enjoy our splash out lunch overlooking the vines. Our waitress is very helpful and attentive, bringing us a few extra wine samples.

As we leave the property we notice a mob of kangaroos grazing amongst the vines. This has truly been an ‘I Love Perth Day’.
Melnq8 is online now  
Aug 17th, 2010, 11:28 PM
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Photos here: (scroll to bottom of page for most recent photos)

Melnq8 is online now  
Nov 7th, 2010, 07:21 PM
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20) The reality of York...

On an overcast Saturday in mid September, we set off towards York, hoping for fields of spring wildflowers. We take the Great Eastern Highway towards the Perth Hills, zipping past Mundaring, a sign informing us that we’re following the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail.

Some 96 km later, we approach the town of York and start looking for wildflowers in earnest. I vividly recall seeing fields of purple and yellow blooms in this very spot during our first trek to York in the spring of 2008. But no, we see nothing but green pastures; it seems we’re too early.

We enter the small historic town; we’re immediately sidetracked by the Mill Markets, which are open only on weekends. We park the car and poke around for a bit, perusing the baked goods, the handicrafts, an art exhibition and my personal favorite, the solid timber furniture. We ooh, we ah, we move on.


We wander the streets of York, looking for Jules, a cafe I’d learned about from a poster on TA.

It seems Jules is in the kebab business. It looks promising, so we opt for a couple of plates, lamb for the carnivore, falafel for me. The food is good and filling, but a wee bit on the expensive side at $18 each. We dine alfresco (no other option) at a tiny table right outside the shop, battling the wind as we eat, watching York fill with weekenders. We linger over flat whites, listening to a fellow playing a harp and selling CDs, all the time puzzling…what on earth is the attraction of this odd little town?

After lunch we wander some more, trying to unfold the mysteries of York. There are some mildly interesting rough and tumble historic buildings, but that’s about it.

Still puzzled, we reclaim our car and work our way towards Gwambygine Park, which I’d been led to believe was lovely and the perfect place to spot wildflowers.

Oh man, what a disappointment. The park is awful…truly awful…or as my spouse so eloquently put it “butt ugly”. This is by far the bleakest spot we’ve yet to encounter in WA. Perhaps we’ve been had?

It's deserted, sun baked and looks as if it’s been devastated by a plague of locusts. Forget the wildflowers, there’s not even a blade of anything remotely green; just dry, grey tinderbox that feels completely devoid of life; depressing beyond words.

Before giving up on the York entirely, we seek out the Avon River, crossing the swing bridge to gaze at the river…..and the abandoned furniture and grocery store trolleys within it.

We give up. We go home. As we travel west, we comment on the improvement in the landscape. After Gwambygine Park, even the most mundane pasture looks pretty darn good.

(Sorry no photos to prove my point, I managed to damage my memory card...perhaps in disgust?)
Melnq8 is online now  
Nov 7th, 2010, 09:03 PM
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Hi, Melnq8,

I have just printed off this report, along with the comments from everyone else, for my Aussie file. Perth is probably our next option and there is nothing like "local" knowledge to help wth planning.

Thank you for your ongoing report - it is definitely a very enjoyable and informative work in progress.
dotty is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 09:08 PM
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Many thanks dotty. I didn't think anyone was following this anymore. I'm working on the latest installment right now - a trip to Rockingham and Penguin Island.
Melnq8 is online now  
Nov 7th, 2010, 11:20 PM
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21) A return to the Bickley and Carmel Valleys...

A warm day in late October, we’re craving some good food and wine, so we set out to revisit the Bickley and Carmel Valleys. We’ve no specific plan, which is just as well, as a problem with the car sets us back several hours.

We head east to the Darling Ranges of the Perth Hills, and get down to the business of wine tasting and a leisurely lunch at Fairbrossen Estate, one of our favorite Friday lunch venues. It’s laid back, it’s relaxed and it doesn’t have a pretentious bone in its collective body. Lovely wines (we still love their Rose!), a covered eating area overlooking the vines and simple, down home good cookin’.

The menu is limited, but even this picky eater never fails to find something to please. On this occasion I opt for the vineyard platter, normally meant for two, but they’ve happily agreed to pare it down for one. My meat loving spouse goes for their beef and potato mash pie. Both meals are lovely and just what we were after.

Photos: Five photos, starting here:

While in the area we decide to pop in to Myattsfield, where we share a wine and cheese tasting on their patio overlooking the vineyard. How I have room for more cheese is a mystery, but I manage. Oddly, we’re not struck by any of the wines we sample and we actually leave empty-handed (this doesn’t happen very often!).

Our final stop is Hainault, where we chat up Lynn, who actually remembers us from our visit last year. We still love their wine and leave with an assortment of whites to help get us through the much dreaded Perth summer.
Melnq8 is online now  
Nov 9th, 2010, 02:59 AM
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Hey MeInq8!

I'm still planning for that Perth holiday. Wahahaha!
Chenoa is offline  
Nov 9th, 2010, 06:34 PM
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No worries Mel, I for one, am still following this thread when it pops up. I don't tend to be online as much lately, but when I am I usually hit the Australia boards to see what is happening, and where else you have been!
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