Mike & Carol's Bushtracker Adventures Around Australia

Friday, November 21, 2008


Saturday 15 November – Friday 21 November
Fremantle – Margaret River
Blog 15

Fremantle Markets are a must when in town and we spent time browsing, food shopping and enjoying the atmosphere.

We then drove to the historic town of Guildford which is the beginning of the Swan Valley with most of its buildings listed by the Historic Society. We had lunch at the Rose and Crown, the oldest pub in WA still in operation. Guildford was the furthest point along the Swan River where the boats could go. It was the beginning of the fertile farming land and an inland port which shipped the produce down to the settlement of Perth.

We then drove further east to the Perth Hills and to the lovely little town of Mundaring and the Mundaring Weir. The weir was completed in 1903 in conjunction with a pipeline to supply Kalgoorlie with water. The water was pumped 560km using 8 pump stations to get it there. It was an amazing engineering fete and is the longest pipeline carrying water anywhere in the world. It takes between 7 to 14 days for the water that leaves the dam at Mundaring to get to Kalgoorlie.

We spent the next day in the Swan Valley which is really still a suburb of Perth. We stopped at the Sandalford Winery; very up market and beautifully set out. It had Lovely buildings and grounds but the wines were very ordinary. We decided to take the Swan Valley Wagon Tours which took us around in a horse drawn wagon. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and the pace of the horses was perfect. We stopped at an aboriginal art place, an ice-cream place, Charlie’s Winery where the wines were again very ordinary but it was a lovely stop. Our last winery had a great atmosphere. The group was getting noisier with each drink and it was a lot of fun.

We took the coast road from Fremantle and stopped at Cape Peron which is different from Cape Peron North near Monkey Mia. It was a lovely spot out on a peninsula with water on 3 sides. We continued to head south to Mandurah stopping along the coast. We wandered around Mandurah on the boardwalk and had a look around and then we headed to Harvey via Pinjarra.

We really wanted to go through Harvey because of the dairy commercials on WA TV. Harvey is where milk, beef and cheese are produced from happy cows. The countryside was really beautiful with lush farmland and happy looking cows, Angus, Frisians and Jerseys. Harvey is also May Gibbs country. She wrote Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, the gum nut babies from her childhood memories from when lived there as a little girl in the 1930s.

We lit a fire at the campsite at Lake Brockman with its tall gum trees and enjoyed our drinks, the fire and the wonderful Australian Ringnecks (28s), magpies and the crows.

On our way out of Harvey we stopped at the Internment camp where Italian and German locals were interned at the outbreak of WW2 and also then the captured men from the Kormoran after the sinking of the HMAS Sydney. We also stopped at the new Harvey Dam which was completed in 2002.

We drove to Bunbury along the coast making it base for a few days.

The walk along the 1.8km pier to the underwater observation tower at Busselton was a must. The day was warm and calm with no wind for a change.

After lunch we drove to Dunsborough and then onto Cape Naturaliste only to discover we had just missed the last tour of the Light House by 15 minutes and couldn’t actually go to the Lighthouse so we just drove to all little beaches on the peninsula. Our first stop was Bunker Bay, then Sugar Loaf Rock where the road was closed so we took the dirt road and then walked the rest of the way. It was a beautiful spot with turquoise water and white sands.

After that we went onto Eagle Bay and then took the coast road to Meelup Beach. They are all beautiful little beaches and little communities with houses set into the hills overlooking the water. On to Castle Rock which was another lovely little beach. Our final stop for the day was to drive to Yallingup.

The whole way down the west coast we were surprised at how many wild flowers were still in bloom considering it was already November. The diversity both in shapes and colour was amazing.

From Busselton we took Caves Road to Margaret River stopping at Laurance Vineyards on the way.

We wandered around the beautiful rose garden enjoying the sculpture of the lady in the lake. The lady symbolises freedom and that we should appreciate the wonderful freedom we have in Australia.

We didn’t taste the wines because it was too early in the morning but it wasn’t too early for hot chocolates and cake at the Margaret River Chocolate Company. We also had to stop at the Providore and the Fonti Cheese factory.

It was wonderful to catch up with Steve and Leith, people who we have travelled with before and who are now living in Margaret River.

Even though the area has mostly wineries we did find a new brewery and stopped at the Cowaramup Brewing Company and finally the Nut and Cereal Factory.

The area around Margaret River offered places like Gracetown, Ellensbrook Homestead and then to little Meekadarabee Falls near the homestead. In the evening before heading to Steve and Leith’s place for dinner we had time to stop off at Redgate Beach and the mouth of the Margaret River.