Our next major stop was Margaret River the famous wine, chocolate and cheese making region.Although before we got there we spent a couple of nights in a town called Busselton.Busselton is famous for it's jetty 2km long, a train normally runs the length but was not running at the moment as some repair were being made.So we took a leisurely stroll, stopping along the way to look back at the long sweeping beaches and the people fishing off different platforms all along the jetty.We got to the end where an underwater viewing room had been built but we decided to just have a walk back.The jetty was really busy with people walking back and forth, but it was a nice warm day.We got back and as we had seen a few people catching fish we decided to get our rods, yet again we did not catch a thing even though we could see the fish swimming around underneath us.We gave up and drove on to Margaret River.As we entered the main town we both immediately said how much we liked it.We had a look around the visitor centre which was a big wine display and got all of the information we needed.We then headed to the Margaret River tourist park where we booked in for 4 nights.We were put on a small site next to a swimming pool.As we were staying for a few night we decided to get the gazebo out and set everything up properly, but we were told by the on duty caretaker that we were only allowed the van as the site was too small, our Irish neighbours stepped in and said they were fine with it, so up it stayed!The following day we took off down caves road which runs slightly in land from the coast and covers the vast limestone cave network and is also home to a few wineries.We stopped at Mammoth cave, when we paid the entrance fee we were given a headset and audio guide.The cave was not too big but had great rock formations as well as the usual stalactites and stalagmites there were straws and blankets.The audio guide was good as it explained the formations and how they occurred and the history of the touring within the cave and the region.We then drove south on caves road and turned off through the barnap forest, a 20km scenic drive through the tall Karri trees. We were rewarded at the lookout point with a great view of the sea and a top picnic spot to have our lamb kofta salad lunch.The next stop once back on to caves road was Hamlin Bay a sandy bay, which was busy with families and also holidaymakers with boats.At the boat ramp we had heard that there were some resident sting rays, so we wandered over and were amazed at the size of the rays and how close to the shore they were. There were 2 and they were as big if not bigger than a round 4 seater dinner table, people were only ankle deep and he rays were right up to them, some people were even trying to touch them, not me I stood on the edge of the beach.It was a fantastic sight to see though wild animals so close you could touch them.After a drive back and a stop off in the town and the internet we headed back to the campsite to relax and have some food.
Our 2nd day in Margaret River and after a big bacon and egg breakfast we were off on the must do, a wine tour with Wine for Dudes.We were picked up by John the owner and after collecting everybody else and making the introductions we set off again down caves road to our first winery.Windance was the first stop we sat outside in big wooden chairs and were given the run down on how to taste wine, from the colour to the taste and smell and of course how to hold a wine glass properly.We tried about 8 wines a variety of reds, rose and whites, although all were OK none stood out for us so we decided to wait until we found something we both liked.The next stop was Hay Shed Hill, a small winery where we tasted about 1o wines, all were really good but we decided to buy a bottle of Chardonnay and a Muscat. We were then taken in to the winemakers room and we all had the chance to have a go attending our own wine.We were given equal quantities of cabernet and merlot, we then had to mix to our own tastes or until we go something palatable.We took our own blend out to the garden of the winery where we had lunch on picnic rungs under some trees it was 30 degrees.Lunch was delicious, dips and bread, cheese and meats with olives, sun blushed tomatoes and other nibbles.We were then taken on to the Margaret River chocolate factory a heaven for chocoholics, lots of different chocolate to taste as well as chocolate sauces and moisturizing lotions.I don't think anyone brought any chocolate but nearly all had an ice cream Wayne had tried the malteser flavour.The next stop was Lenton Brae, when we arrived there was a lorry parked up and was bottling the wine, apparently most wineries now use mobile bottlers than have their own bottling station in house.We were all quite sleepy looking while we tried the wines and we were not keen on any of them although that may have been because of the huge lunch and the chocolate and ice cream tasting.I can't remember the name of the final winery we visited but it was very modern and had great views out over the fields and vines.We tried about 10 wines again but none stood out, however John the guide did a quiz at the end on the way back to Margaret River and we managed to win, with it came a bottle of Shiraz from the last winery witch was actually really good.We were dropped off exhausted but we had a great day and loved the wine tasting experience.
The next day was Saturday 26th January and Australia day.We headed down to the sports ground where the local lions club had put on an Australia Day breakfast, $5 for a full breakfast all made on BBQ's it was excellent.We then walked on to the farmers market, which was small and did not have a lot there so we were fairly disappointed.As it was a lovely sunny day we decided to drive to the nearby beach, which was full of surfers, it was quite windy and we had parked in the car park on a hill overlooking the beach.We got our picnic mat out and sat in the sun and watched the waves.Our next stop for the afternoon was bootleg brewery, the garden was packed so we brought a drink and sat in the sun a guy was playing guitar and singing there was also a BBQ with sausages and beef skewers.We then drove a long way on the windy roads taking in the country view rolling green hills filled with vines.We stopped at the Margaret River Dairy Company and tasted some cheese and yogurt; we decided to buy a small chive cheddar.By the time we got back to the campsite it was time to cook some BBQ.Before leaving Margaret River we drove down to Augusta and Cape Leeuwin the most southerly point of West Australia and the point at which the Indian and Southern oceans meet.It was really misty and very windy so the view as we drove to Cape Leeuwin lighthouse was awful.We paid to walk around the lighthouse grounds and the small museum with information on the history of the lighthouse, when it was built, the communication system, the lighthouse keepers and also the positioning of their cottages.At the lighthouse there was some information on some of the shipwrecks that had happened off the coast, the sea was fierce on the day we were there and you could see the rocky islands off of the coast.We could also make out where the 2 oceans met as the waves were coming in and meeting at different angles.