Ava woke quite early this morning, in anticipation for the arrival of ‘Trixie’, the Christmas elf that visits the girls when they are well behaved. Admittedly I too was awake, not in anticipation of Trixie’s arrival, rather I couldn’t get back to sleep. Netherless, the first words out of Ava’s mouth was: “Whats that green thing hanging down from the window? – Trixie is here, Trixie is here – he is stuck in the window”. When looking in the ceiling of the caravan, I could see the back of Trixie’s head – it seems that Trixie had got caught trying to get into the van and was looking at both girls as they slept. Audrey woke shortly afterwards, with the same effervescence that Ava previously exhibited. Audrey’s first comments were “Oh, naughty Trixie”. Such a fantastic way to start the Christmas season early with the arrival of Trixie!! Heaven knows what trouble Trixie will get him/herself into over the next 24 days!
We left Busselton around 9.30am and started our slow ‘trot’ towards Margaret River. One of the shortest legs of our trip to date. If you travel point to point, it is around a 50km trip, so we decided to see a couple of sights on the way and have another leisurely day with the girls.
First stop was Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, a lovely white ‘traditional’ lighthouse approximately 20 metres in height (or 60 steps – I counted them) perched on a cliff face which increased the elevation by another 100 metres above sea level. We were very fortunate to have a personalised tour, just the four Beattie’s with a lovely attendant, whom told us interesting facts on the history of the lighthouse, including the erection of the lighthouse in 1902, constructed of limestone from nearby Bunker Bay. We also had the opportunity to see the revolving beacon, which was illuminated by the tiniest of light globes, far smaller than those in our lights at home and learn of some of the misfortune that occurred in previous years where ships tried to take a shorter course, only to be marooned on the surrounding reefs and rocky headland. We had beautiful uninterrupted views from at the top of waves crashing onto nearby rocks and the potential for some whale spotting. Caroline was convinced she saw a few whales (which was confirmed by the tour guide), making it her first ever sighting! We headed back to the car and headed to our second destination, Ngilgi Cave – which was previously known as Yallingup Cave.
The cave was originally named by the European settlers whom discovered it, due to it’s proximity to the nearby town of Yallingup, but was later renamed ‘Ngilgi Cave’ in recognition of Aboriginal mythology after a battle between good and evil, where the good spirit Ngilgi defeated the evil spirit ‘Wolgine’. The According to mythology, the caves were formed as a result of this battle.
We descended down a small set of stairs into the heart of the cave and were immediately surrounded by beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. A great way for remembering which is which (I always forget); ‘tites’ hold tight from the roof, while mites are mighty and grow from the floor’ thank you Caroline! In total there were 300 steps to take to the lowest point of the cave, where we were advised that our breathing may become a little laboured, due to the increase in humidity and temperature and higher levels of carbon dioxide at the base. The cave was absolutely worthwhile, with colourful lights used in the caves to illuminate different sections of crystals. A truly magical place, which reminded me a little of Superman’s fortress of solitude – what a great movie that was!
Audrey ascended with ease, powering up the stairs. Not sure if this was due to her lower centre of gravity or her weight to power ratio, but Audrey left Caroline and I for dead! Fortunately we had to stop on one occasion to let a family descend down the steps (the paths were so narrow they were only one person wide at the best of times, head ducking was mandatory for most of the tight windy track). We once again headed back to the car for our next destination, a lunch stop at Yallingup along with a play on the amazing play beachside play equipment.
Fish and chips for the girls, a burger and chips for me. An expensive lunch, but a great meal. Caroline calculated that we have only eaten out 6 times over the last 28 days, not bad I reckon considering we are on holiday! We devoured our meals in record time and headed towards the beach for a view of the coast. Sydney does have some lovely coastline, but Western Australia coastline is breathtaking. I love the turquoise waters that are momentarily interrupted by vivid blue patches of ocean. The girls were desperate to traverse the play equipment, so we about turned for some play time.
A little different to some of the other oversized equipment the girls and I have played on, this play area was tastefully done, using wood and stone rather than moulded plastic. The girls had their chance to have a fantastic run around and a play with a little baby before we headed to the car, bound for Margaret River.
Another change in scenery on the drive to Margaret River. What seemed to be an endless array of vines, planted perfectly in rows. Familiar vineyards that I have had the pleasure of consuming their spoils on previous occasions, along with some soon to be new found friends, that we shall meet over the next week. We found our home for the next week, only a few kilometres out of town, Wharncliffe Mill, a haven surrounded by bushland and the odd annoying teenager that are here on a Scouts or Christian camp. We headed to town for a few supplies before heading to Limeburners to taste some of their award winning Whisky. Being a huge fan of Islay whisky, I have to say I was not that impressed with the peaty options from Limeburners. I think the award was an Australian award, definitely not in the same league as the Scottish stronghold on my favourite dram. Whilst in town the girls managed to persuade us to purchase some santa hats for them – which they haven’t taken off since – very cute, they are convinced they now look like Trixie.
A lovely meal cooked by Caroline tonight, leftovers and salad, which was devoured along with the bottle of 2015 Pepperjack Shiraz. It did feel odd drinking a Barossa wine in Margaret River, but lets be honest, Barossa do make fantastic Shiraz – best of luck Margaret River, you will have to pull out the big guns to convert this South Australian fan!