So after a day of wine tasting yesterday, and a terrible nights sleep for me, we had a slow start to the day. Trixie was hiding in one of the girls entertainment bags from yesterday, this didn’t cause as much of an issue as previous days, as we didn’t need to ‘use’ whatever it was she had tried herself up in. Lach bought me a cup of tea in bed, which is becoming a lovely morning ritual which I am adoring, and then Lach and the girls went off to build a cubby house whilst I cleaned the van and sorted stuff out. We were going to use Vicki & Karl’s washing machine and tumble dryer for the sheets, so it was a good excuse to get in and clean the van from top to bottom – toys found in all possible crevices. We then headed off to Hamelin Bay to meet up with Vicki and Karl, and to see the sting rays which are so tame they basically come ashore. It was a sunny day, but not warm at all – jumpers were needed all around. Margaret River definitely hasn’t shown us any warmth, but has shown us an amazing time full of experiences. I didn’t think that we would have enough to do in the 7 days we planned to stay, but we could easily stay at least 3 or 4 more.
We turned up to Hamelin Bay and the crystal blue water and the white beach – it teased us with the sun shining, but when we ventured down to the beach (Lach with his rod in tow) the wind was strong and it was cold, but the girls loved it.
A couple of sting rays showed their shadows, but weren’t coming that close in, only about 2m off shore. I walked along the beach with Vicki and the girls, whilst Karl kept Lach company attempting to fish (but we all assumed that the bait wasn’t being bitten by fish, the rays were having a good nibble).
After a good hour on the beach, we decided it was time to go and head down to Augusta, but Lach still had a load of bait he had to use up, so decided that he should try and hand feed the rays – which may I add, he did successfully and had a couple of other people taking pictures of him in the process. The rays were significantly bigger than they look in their shadows – one nearly ‘beached’ itself, its diameter was over 1 meter and its head was about 15cm deep, which amazed us all, as the ones we have seen whilst either diving or in captivity have a very shallow head. Lach was handfeeding them for about 15mins and about 4 or 5 were queuing up for the bait. The seagulls were also having a ball and collecting any bait that the rays missed. Such an amazing experience – that’s definitely not something you do every day. The girls loved it and I think we all wanted a go at feeding, but none of us wanted to get fishy hands.
Heading down to Augusta to have a drive around the coast, which was rugged and wind swept with white sand and turquoise waters (I think we are going to be saying this a lot over the next couple of weeks, as apparently it only gets more white and more turquoise the further south and east we go) and then stop for lunch at a café overlooking Hardy’s Inlet – another stunning location, in the middle of nowhere.
There was a caravan park at Flinders Bay which looked amazing, but I’m sure would have been very windy, as it was pretty much right on the tip of the most southern point of the Margaret River peninsula. We headed back to the car and the girls went straight to sleep. We thought we could sneak in ‘Voyager Estate‘ vineyard on the way home as its grounds are stunning and I really wanted Lach and the girls to see, knowing they would both enjoy. The rose garden is stunning, in perfect bloom and a huge variety of colours. They also have pathways with perfectly trimmed hedges – to which both of the girls immediately said “these are like Nanna and Grandpa’s hedges”.
The entrance is as spectacular as Amelia Park yesterday, but the wines once again were disappointing. You even had to pay for a tasting – first time we have had to do this anywhere. None of them were worth considering buying, irrelevant of the price. Our conclusion for the Margaret River wine region is that the small boutique single vineyards are the way to go – buy at cellar door, or get shipped to your door. This is making have a good think about our method of choosing vineyards in Barossa and McLaren Vale in January.
We promised the girls a swim at Vicki and Karl’s pool in the afternoon whilst we all relaxed and put some washing in. Audrey once again came up trumps even asking for her goggles, which she pulled off at her swimming lessons about 3months ago and refused to wear them since… she didn’t take them off at all today. The girls then had the luxury of a proper bathroom to get changed in, whilst the boys went downstairs to the pub to play pool. The girls had a bath – a REAL treat – they had bubbles and all, and I scrubbed them so much that I think I rubbed some of their sun tan off – they didn’t seem to complain though. Whilst Vicki brushed their hair and played salons with them, I had a gorgeous shower with all of Vicki’s lotions and potions – delicious! Thanks Vicki – simple things in life now J
I was designated driver for today, and seeing as the others all like a cider, the barman offered them a cider with mango nectar – sounded very odd to me, but by the volume consumed in a small space of time, I think it was delicious.
On the way home, we had a really surreal conversation with the girls, mostly with Ava, but Audrey put her penniesworth in a couple of times to. It all started based on a random breath test which I had to do on the way to Vicki’s, and I think Ava must have been thinking about it the whole time we were there, because as soon as we got into the car we were asked why they do them, and how did they know by me blowing into a straw that I had or hadn’t been drinking, and if I had been drinking, could I just not stop and drive past the policeman so that I wasn’t caught? Then the conversation changed to breaking the law, and why did policeman stop you, and we said to stop drunk drivers killing people by being under the influence and to keep the roads safe… then the conversation got really surreal. It changed to killing and who was allowed to kill people and what would happen if someone killed someone else. So we explained that no-one is allowed to kill anyone, it’s against the law, not even the queen, and if they did kill someone they would go to prison for a long time. Silence for a bit followed by a perfect question “What about people at war – they kill each other?” which then turned into a description of self-defence and police and army. When someone is in prison, where do they sleep? Do they get fed? What if they run out of food? Will they ever come out? …. The conversation finished as we arrived back at camp – PHEW!
Tomorrow is an action packed day starting with breakfast on the beach, then heading up north for some beach viewing and for Karl to check out the surf, followed by the few boutique wineries we have been recommended to not miss and finishing off the day with the Margaret River Chocolate Factory. Each has already volunteered to be designated driver for the day!!
Sitting out tonight, the wind has calmed down and its still chilly, but with the xmas lights around the awning – “it’s beginning to look a lot like Xmas”