Having family living in Margaret River, we thought that we knew it. BUT did we? We'd visited before, but never really as a tourist and now that we were officially on the road, it was time to change that.
We stayed at the Gracetown Caravan Park, as the Margaret River Pro (surfing competition) was on and the caravan parks in Margaret River were full.
There was also a Cow Parade on - it has been to
New York, London, Japan and was now here - basically model
cows are decorated by local artists and stationed around the area! We
hit the Margaret River Tourist Bureau (always visit the local bureau -
they come up with some real gems. We always ensure they know we are looking for things to do with the
children), they gave us a brochure, which as well as giving you all the
details on the cows, there was an area where you could tick them off.
It made us travel all around the South West looking for them!
Hubby visited all the wineries! GREAT you would think. BUT he was working at them, not what he envisaged, but it was grape picking season and work was there, so we took advantage of getting some $ in. He was more' grown up' of all the others, the others being back packers and we struck up a nice friend ship with a German couple and some Italian young men.
You will no doubt have the opportunity to visit many caves on the trip, we took the children to Lake Cave. A guide took us through and the children loved it. Whereas in the past, I would have just let them relax and look, I told them to think of it as a school excursion and that they would need to write about it later. It certainly made them more attentive.
The Margaret River Chocolate Factory! Not so much with the education this time, pure enjoyment really. WOW - whilst you are strongly tempted to buy lots, there are some free tastings and the children, hubby and maybe myself (!) took the opportunity to do some serious tasting! It was free...we were budgeting, perfect.
Cape Leeuwin was really something. In all honesty we only really went to see one of the Cows from the Cow Parade - but thought we'd visit the lighthouse while we were there. However....just to enter the actual grounds of the lighthouse was $19 for us all - just the grounds! Then, to actually tour the lighthouse would have been $67....frankly we were only so keen. So we skirted around the outside, climbed down the rocks and took pictures at a distance.
This turned out to be a truly awesome experience. The Great Southern Ocean and the Indian Ocean meet here and the energy is fantastic! The day we were there, you could actually see the incredible force of the oceans meeting. We also stumbled upon an old water wheel that apparently used to supply fresh water to the lighthouse from a fresh water spring. The wheel no longer turns as it has all calcified but there is a trickle of the fresh water from the spring and it gave us another opportunity to educate the children.
The wonderful Sunflowers Animal Farm and Farmstay has always been something we do on our visits to Margaret River. The children can get up close and personal with all the animals and the purchase of a bucket means you can feed them too. Strangely enough my boys favourite thing to do is play in the guinea pig enclosure. We visited with friends and of course managed a 'Pose', although not quite all in unison! You can stay as long as you wish and it's a lovely way to pass an afternoon.
It was finally time to leave our 'family' of Italians and 'Germans' at Gracetown, after sharing a wonderful month with them. Taking turns at cooking for each other - yes the Italian guys were completely self sufficient - (footnote - send boys around the world, to learn to budget, clean and cook for themselves and others). Up until this point, hubby's priority was surfing in Margaret River, this time it was a whole new experience. We'd managed to get our first bit of money earnt in a casual way and we were ready to move on and experience some 'free camping'.
Our Next Stop: Shannon National Park and Walpole WA