The drive south of Perth to the Margaret River region provided another change of scenery - we were now driving through very green paddocks, most containing sheep or diary cattle. Our caravan park was in a rural setting (Tautons Farm Holiday Park) just 3km outside the township of Cowaramup. It was set up along the lines of a hobby farm with a resident pig, some donkeys, goats and a horse. Animal feeding happened every afternoon at 5.00pm and it was obviously a popular holiday destination for families with young kids. We asked the boys if they wanted to go along on the first day. There response was that they were a b it old for this now and would rather spend there time on the jumping pillow. Which they did along with most of the other kids in the park.
We had a bit of a look around Margaret River and Cowaramup townships on our first day. Margaret River is more along the lines of a larger town and a bit more commercial, while Cowaramup was smaller and had that "touristy" feel about it. Cowaramup is also known as "Cow Town" and is full of cow statues which makes it a bit of fun.
Cold start to the next day as we had to be up early to drive down to Previlli, which is the township at the mouth of the Margaret River, to meet our Margaret River Bush Tucker canoe tour. The four of us were in one canadian canoe as we paddled up the river, stopping every now and then while the tour guide picked some wild vegetables for us to taste (between you and me I will stick with the stuff from Woolies). Also learnt a lot about the history of the area and how it first came to be settled. We stopped for lunch and first sampled some aboriginal bush tucker of the area - wild limes, tomatoes and plums and a few other plants. Again, not exactly to our liking. Lunch, however, was delicious.
After lunch we ventured into a cave on the bank of the river. Once inside the cave, which was big enough for the 20 odd people on our tour to fit inside, there was the further option of doing a cave crawl through a very tight passage of some 20 or so metres. Vicki and I stood back and let the boys go; and watching them come out the other end we were sure we made the right decision. While they had a lot of fun and ended up covered in dirt from dragging themselves through mud, it was looking at and talking to the other adults that took the challenge that confirmed that it was not for us. They lost some skin getting through the tight tunnel and it seemed like quite an effort for them to get themselves out the other end.
After all of this it was back to the boats for the paddle home, which was to include a race over the last 100 metres with a promise of a bottle of wine for the winner. With this in mind a big effort was put in by the writer, only for us to win and find out we got a bottle of cheap white wine. Being in Margaret River I was expecting a bottle of top notch Cab Sav and felt a little cheated, although I probably should not have called the guide those names and smashed the bottle of wine in the car park.
After this we headed further south to explore one of the caves of the region, Lake Cave. There are numerous large caves around the area and you could spend a whole day looking at them all. We thought one would do and Lake Cave proved to be quite spectacular with its formations and underground lake that reflected like a mirror once the lights were turned on. Finally we ventured to the most south westerly point of WA, Cape Leeuwin, to check out the lighthouse and the area where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean. On the way back home we stopped off at Colonial Brewery and enjoyed some delicious beers in the beer "paddock" (not garden) out the back. Then home for some time on the jumping pillow (boys) and some red wine (me and Vicki).
The next day we headed north with our first stop the Margaret River Chocolate Factory. So much chocolate and so little time. After that it was off to visit Vicki's mum's cousin, Maureen, who lives in Dunsborough. We spent two hours there and had an enjoyble morning with Maureen and her grandaughter, Kinzi. Some family stories were told while the kids, after a slow start, enjoyed each others company. Then it was off to check out the coastal areas of the region, stopping for lunch at Meelup Beach. On the way home we decided to stop at Simmos Ice Creamery for, of course, a quick ice cream. However, they had a mini interactive circus set up where kids could have a go at trapize and tight rope walking. The boys had to have a go at this. Then it was a go on the "Bumper Balls" and then the "Atomic Orbs", so the quick visit became a long visit. But I eventually got my ice cream.
|Crazy Jakie out and about in Margaret River township|
|Main street of Cowaramup. Apparently, for some reason it's referred to as Cow Town|
|Some pictures showing the outlook from our caravan park, Tautons Farm Holiday Park|
|Getting ready to set off on our Margaret River Bush Tucker canoe tour|
|Looking down over the Margaret River|
|Some of the bush tucker we sampled|
|This one not to Nate's liking|
|Now this looks a little bit more appealing for lunch|
|Witchery Grubs - also on the menu but only sampled by Nate. The rest of us not game enough.|
|Heading into a cave on the bank of the Margaret River|
|Boys getting ready to head off on a cave crawl.|
|And then coming out the other end|
|Pair of grubs. The end result of dragging themselves through the cave crawl|
|And then the race for home (and a bottle of wine)|
|Entrance into Lake Cave|
|And inside Lake Cave|
|Out at Cape Leeuwin, WA's most south westerly point|
|Where two oceans meet. On the brochures it had a dotted line where they meet, but we couldn't see it.|
|Having an afternoon brew at Colonial Brewery. Very nice IPA and Porter brews|
|Jacob kicking back at the brewery.|
|Margaret River Chocolate Company - biggest chocolate store I have ever seen|
|"I'll take the lot thanks"|
|Visit to Vicki's great auntie, Maureen who had her grandaughter, Kinzi, visiting at the time.|
|The boys and Kinzi mucking around|
|The Circus Challenge that was at Simmos Ice Creamery; where we pulled in for an afternoon ice cream.|
|Nate on the trapize - flying through the air gracefully (his words)|
|Jakie on the trapize - flying through the air ungracefully (my words)|
|And the boys then trying the tight rope walk|
|Bumper Balls. That's the boys in there but I have no idea which one is which.|
|And finally in the Atomic Orbs|
|And after all our hard work we all get to have an ice cream (even though I did nothing)|