The girls woke early this morning, and also in a bad mood – I think today has been up there with one of the worst days we have had with them since we left. Constant crying, winging, shouting, screaming and general naughtiness all day. Trixie was hanging on the door curtain when we woke up, but within about 1 hour of being awake she had already left to go and report back to Santa about how naughty the girls were being. The girls decided to be nice when they realised that Trixie may not come back tomorrow, so they headed off to the playroom and playground like angels to play whilst Lach and I packed away and got ready for another short hop to Denmark, where we will stay for 2 nights so that we can explore the beautiful area – however the weather forecast isn’t the best and currently its pouring with rain….so we may not be seeing the tranquil waters, or swim in the ocean, or wade amongst the elephant rocks, or drive on the beach. We had a few comments from the neighbours this morning about our car’s xmas decorations too.
Lach drove around the winding roads whilst I looked at the map and googling to try to work out what there was to do enroute to Denmark before dropping the caravan off and exploring, as you can’t normally check in until after midday and we were going to be there around 1030. Trying to use the internet was challenging as we would have signal for 2mins and then nothing for 10mins. So we decided to turn off the main road and go the backroad on a dirt track – known as the Scotsdale Scenic Drive – which happened to take us right in front of a couple of vineyards we wanted to visit. One of the vineyards which also had a gallery called ‘Moombaki’ wasn’t open until 11am. Lach questioned whether we tried to see whether they would open early seeing as it was 945, but the driveway was narrow with massive Karri’s either side, and not knowing how long the driveway was and whether there would be room to turn the van around at the other end, we decided it wouldn’t be a good idea, so we carried on. We then had zero signal and so were going by the rough tourist map – which took us past an Alpaca farm (I think we will do this tomorrow as there is feeding time at 3pm) and then we continued about 2km further in the hope that we would reach the main vineyard we wanted to see called ‘Harewood Estate’. I’m not quite sure what the difference was between this vineyard and the last, but Lach turned up the driveway without any hesitation and then when we got to the end we prayed there would be a turning circle…..there was a largish area bordered by trees, but after about a 6 point turn with me watching the trees, Lach managed to turn us around so we could enter the beautiful building to taste some wine. Lach was designated today and we were greeted by a lovely lady called Divina who took us through the history of Harewood and the wines. They are well known for their Rieslings, of which they had 4 to offer due to the different regions their grapes grow around the area. I think the lady said that they just won James Halliday best Riesling 2016. I am no expert in Riesling and to be honest don’t normally like them, so the lady took this challenge on and explained to us both the difference in the clones of the Riesling grape and also the impact of a cold vs hot summer. We tried the Porongurup, Frankland, Mount Barker and Denmark Rieslings – all of which I actually liked. We then moved onto a sweeter Riesling which they call the Vendange Tardive Riesling – Late Harvest, which is to be served with spicy food. This I could image would be fantastic with a really spicy Thai green curry. Delicious. Now onto the reds, they are well known for their Pinots and have a few on offer, which are grown from the same clones but once again in different areas – the D-block Pinot (I assume means the Denmark vineyard) was fantastic and recently won the Qantas award. The reserve Pinot comes from the same vineyard, but is handled more carefully and left in whole bunches for longer etc. The girls were entertained in the corner drawing and Davina offered them ‘Sky Juice’ to drink – their eyes lit up and came over saying “yes please”. Davina gave them their drinks and Audrey looked up and said “this is just water”. Very cute. We left this vineyard with 1 bottle in hand – the 2014 Reserve Pinot – however we did send another case back to Sydney which consisted of:
- 2016 Harewood Estate Porongurup Riesling
- 2015 Harewood Estate Chardonnay
- 2016 Harewood Estate Denmark Pinot
- 2014 Harewood Estate Reserve Pinot
- 2013 Harewood Estate Shiraz Cabernet
- 2012 Harewood Estate Reserve Shiraz
Leaving here, we called up The Lake House to book lunch – which is a vineyard and restaurant, and then headed off to drop off the caravan. The marketing for the Lake House makes it look like a posh cellar door with a swanky restaurant, but it is completely the opposite. It is has a real English country cottage garden feel to it, and a very rustic restaurant, delicatessen and cellar door combined. We arrived and Ava was still asleep, so Lach carried her into the restaurant assuming she would wake up – but no – she remained asleep (see photo) for about 2mins after she was sat down in the chair…the other customers thought it was funny too. The girls then found the toy box so took the toys out to the garden to play whilst Lach and I chose lunch. The special of the day was a Beef and Shiraz pie, which immediately took Lach’s fancy, but I managed to persuade him to share the tasting plate with me – a bit like a very posh ploughman’s lunch. The girl’s menu also consisted of a kids tasting plate along with a juice and a freddo frog. We all devoured out lunch and then the girls went outside to play again with the ducks and another little boy who was having lunch too.
Next stop – Denmark Chocolate Company – started by a lady who came out from Switzerland and now imports all the chocolate from Belgium…A beautiful country garden which takes you on a zig zag walk through the history of Cocao and how it arrived as chocolate in the form we eat today. It was seriously good chocolate that actually melts in your mouth, unlike a lot of chocolate you buy in Australia. She even said that to taste the pastilles, it is best to let them melt on your tongue first for a bit before you chew them. Trying to teach this to Ava and Audrey was funny. Ava said she preferred chewing them, but once she realised it melted, she then chose that method. Audrey just ate them as fast as she could. Lach was the controlled one handing them out in the order we were meant to try them – very controlled for Mr Chocoholic. We tried many flavours, but the girls favourite was the strawberry (I think it was because it was pink) and both Lach and I liked the plain Milk. They had a lime flavoured white choc one which was actually really interesting too.
The girls were playing up and so we decided that we would do one more winery before heading back to the van – we were going to do the Alpaca Farm, but they didn’t deserve it today, so fingers crossed they will be better tomorrow and we can do it then instead. We headed back to Moombaki – thank goodness we didn’t try it with the caravan earlier on, we would have been camping there tonight if we had. The wines were nice, but nothing special and quite expensive to what was around for a better wine and better value. So we left there empty handed.
When we arrived back at the van, we all went and played put-put and the girls then went to the bouncing pillows before the girls found some new friends to play with for about 30mins before dinner time. We had pizza on the BBQ (great pizza stone Weber!!!) followed by Milk Chocolate buttons with our wine (of course after the girls had gone to bed).
Tomorrow we are hoping for some brightness to the weather, so some touring and then maybe some relaxing.