Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The river that runs from above

(8 -11 November)

Heading down to Margaret River, we cruise down the newly completed freeway which almost drops you on the doorstep of Bunbury. We stay long enough to stock food, lunch and refuel before heading to Busselton. Setting up camp at a caravan park opposite the beach, we are ideally located for some sandcastle action, so the tribe is very happy at the prospect of the next couple of days.

During the evening, sprinkling begins sporadically. Later in the night, the sprinkling becomes less intermittent and more constant, eventually becoming rain as if someone worked out the right pressure from the taps above. We figure the rain will sour the next day at the beach as it feels like it has set-in.

We wake damp from the wet canvas that surrounds us – yes it does get in. The roof had streams of water dripping in at corners, we had a stream on the floor, the blankets, sheets, and pillows were damp from where they touched the permeable canvas walls.

Ahh, at last we have experienced the joys of these canvas-tent camper trailers (glorified tents on wheels). So the morning is spent at the laundromat drying the damp bedding, then finding the local Bunnings for a large tarp to cover the camper trailer’s roof in event of further rain which with the drizzle during the morning was inevitable.

Having dried all the bedding, we tarp the camper using the poles, guy ropes and pegs retrieved from our dearly departed previous camper trailer which should ensure for a drier night and happier campers. At least M and I no longer have to remind the tribe not to touch the canvas walls!

More rain overnight, but this time we are definitely dry – meaning we all get a better sleep and wake up the next day ready to make the most of our time here.

We take a drive down into Margaret River Valley and visit one of the cheese producers – the brie is to die for as is the marinated feta. Continuing our scenic drive, we venture up the road to the lighthouse at Cape Naturaliste just outside of Dunsborough – a pleasant meandering drive. However, the weather had not greatly improved so this trip proved to be on the fruitless side in terms of outdoor experience for the tribe.

A couple of things that struck us in about the region was the beauty of the landscape that combines the lush vegetation of small forest clusters amongst rolling farm paddocks between countless vineyards, wineries and olive groves. Another thing was the abundance of grass trees which in their proliferation, was simply stunning to our eyes, with their tall spears jutting out of floppy green fronds atop the base trunk – some short and squat, others gangly and tall.

The tribe had a wonderful time at the Margaret River Chocolate Company – watching some of the chocolate manufacturing process was an eye-opener for them, and the treat of some yummy ice cream, cakes and chocolates was a real tummy-opener. While there was temptation aplenty with the amazing range of chocolate products (chocolate soap anyone?), we played it safe and walked away with just a couple of minor (edible) purchases.

Yallingup Beach was a striking venue for a picnic lunch on our final day in the region, and with the weather clearing though still gusty, the tribe enjoyed the joys of the (wind protected) playground rather than venture down to the beach. The shoreline is wild and with wind and salt spray, you get a sense of the vibrancy of this coast – check out the right-angled tree. One of my recent music finds – Tame Impala holed up nearby in a house overlooking the rocky cliffs and sea to record their recent album, and I’m sure some of the influence of the environment has crept into their music.

So, while we didn’t ultimately see as much as we intended, we certainly were entranced by the attraction of the Margaret River region and deigned to return one day. However, the experience with our camper trailer convinced us that it really does not suit us and so we headed back to Perth to replace it – ahhh, the follies of travel!

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