There are two reasons we were drawn to Margaret River: waves and wine.
Our first stop in West Australia (which everyone calls WA) did not disappoint!
It turns out that Margaret River isn't simply a town, it's an entire region, stretching from Busselton (two and a half hours south of Perth), 92 km to Cape Leeuwin.
Although the beautiful region deserves at least a week, we saw everything (at least on our list) in 24 hours. How, you ask? Motivation.
We only have 14 days on the west coast and damn it, we're going to make them count!
We stopped to see Busselton's famous jetty - the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere - and enjoyed flat whites at the beach cafe.
Finally, we arrived at the Margaret River river mouth in time for sunset. The Pro Tour stops here, but conditions weren’t great so there were no surfers in the water. It's also a great place to watch the sunset, so we did just that before finding some dinner and settling into the van for our frist night. (That's right, everyone who knows Grace, we slept. in. the. van.)
We woke up the next day a bit sore but more or less rested - we’d need to work on the bedding situation!
But a couple of yawns couldn't stop us. We were super excited to be in Margaret River. There is so much to explore... and eat!
Since we were cramming all the goodness into one day, we drove to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, stopping only at an old water mill. I've always been charmed by tidal pools, and when we peered into those on Cape Leeuwin, we were greeted by some cool crabs with green patterns.
After leaving Cape Leeuwin, we drove through the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, where sunlight streamed in, through, and around the thin, papery tree trunks. Along the way, we checked out a local gallery, as well as Lake Cave, famous for one of the world's most unique cave formations, the suspended table.
We continued north, stopping periodically to take photos of the gorgeous vineyards. For lunch, we chose an olive oil farm that was serving delicious Italian food. It turned out that we were there at just the right time, freshly pressed lemon-infused olive oil had just been opened and they poured us each a small cup. The golden cloudy liquid was rich, smooth, peppery, and one of the most incredible things I've ever tasted. They told us that the oil would turn clear after a short time; the cloudiness and melted-butter-consistency showed just how fresh it was.
We popped by Gracetown (had to), but there wasn't much there to see beyond another surf wave.
Our last stop was a chocolate factory with free samples. Hallelujah.
I'm truly sorry we didn't get any photos of the delicious food, wine, and other treats we ate in Maragaret River! You'd think that after nearly 10 months, I would have learned to remember to snap a photo before indulging. But no. Sigh...
In summary, although words don't do it justice, Margaret River is like Napa on the coast. We totally loved it.
We left content but a bit sad we didn’t have more time there. We've promised ourselves that we’ll definitely go back!